What's the logic of region locking mobile games?

Artwark

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Ok look. Nintendo is now going mobile and blah blah blah, they are releasing a few more games this year.

The games that they have released are Miitomo and Pokemon Go so far and some will claim that Pokemon isn't owned by Nintendo and while I can somewhat agree to that, I can somewhat disagree to that since they do get some share out of it.

But getting back here....now we're gonna get Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem on mobile and while its fitting, it does raise an eyebrow particularly in the case of FE.

So this is turning out well and I wanted to try out Miitomo so when I tried to get the app, I can't get it and then I realized something.......

Their mobile games are region locked!

Now I'm just asking as a loyal Nintendo fanboy......what's the logic of region locking their mobile games?

I understand the reason for it which is to sort of help fix the piracy issues and that there are certain games that do well in specific regions only like say FE before it came to the west and I get that devs need to see the potential of such a game whether is it worthy to localize it or not.

......But that approach is simply meaningless in the Mobile territory where its downright easy for anyone to access the games. So why oh why is Nintendo doing the region locking here? Isn't the whole point of them making games on mobile suppose to target the ones who don't/can't get Nintendo systems?

Sure, Pokemon Go and Miitomo are doing well despite the region lock but they can do even bigger if the games are released everywhere. I'm around Asia and I still can't get Miitomo. Isn't Japan part of Asia? What's the big idea here?
 

YoshiBoy

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Well, maybe it's to control region support. They probably lack out in regions where they can't support the app as much. Or maybe it's because they want to control scaling, and can't afford to have as many people using the app as they want to yet, so they use several factors in determining what regions to lock for the best interest of the company.

I have no clue if that's true, I'm just making a guess.
 

rz3300

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I am really not sure but I would think that it would have to be something along the lines of what @YoshiBoy mentioned above. I found the scaling one interesting, and it might be that they see a lot of people using it at once and they do not want to overload it, and they are phasing it in in certain areas. Who know, but I am guessing that we will find out soon enough.
 

Artwark

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But then what's the point of Nintendo making mobile games then? Wasn't the idea of getting people to play their games one of the reasons to release them on mobile?
 

grahamf

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There has only been two Nintendo family mobile games so far. Nintendo Go is a reskinned Niantic game and was developed by Niantic and the Pokemin Company, not Nintendo. The other is Miitomo, which I suspect was made in the intention of creating a safe social network that doubles as heavy marketing for console and handheld games. Nintendo is not making much money on either, and it seems the interest in PokeGo is starting to dwindle a little.
 

Artwark

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@grahamf but what does that have anything to do with region locking the games? I mean it does explain whether Nintendo is making profit for this or not true but.....
 

NormaD

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I have no idea what the logic behind that is either, but I think that if I had to make a guess I'd go the same avenue and say that it might be to control region support. That's the only thing that makes sense to me.
 

Artwark

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Not that I'm saying that I don't appreciate you guys trying to give answers because I DO appreciate that......its just that I still, find it so hard to believe that region support is the reason behind....region lock.

Sheesh man, are you trying to tell me despite how investors can make easy money on mobile because of it being cheaper than a dedicated gaming console, region support is still a risky affair for mobile?

If that is the case, then I can't play Fire Emblem Mobile because of the lack of "Region support". :|
 

grahamf

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Distribution agreements. Same reason why Netflix Canada is shitty compared to Netflix USA, yet is the only Netflix region with the seventh Star Wars movie.
 

Artwark

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Can I ask the difference between localization and distribution agreements?
 

pwarbi

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I was also going to say as well that I wouldn't have thought it was actually Nintendo's idea to region lock the games, as they would be more than happy to release everything they have worldwide so they get more sales. The fact they can't due to various licenses in different regions will probably be as frustrating for them as what it is for us gamers.
 

Artwark

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Since when do you need licenses to release your game in Play Store and ios? I can't picture a mobile dev who refuses to release games globally simply because of licensing issues. On top of that, the games are owned by Nintendo. I can see games like After Burner running out of license because they use actual brands for those games.
 

grahamf

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The thing with the App Store and Play Store is that they are the only distribution for the games. With games for the Wii U and such you have physical copies of the game which are sold through places like EBgames and Walmart, who will have agreements in place to prevent Nintendo from selling them the games at one price but then letting consumers buy the game elsewhere for a dramatically lower price. And with games for the Wii U and such they are required to undergo a rating system that is mostly region-specific. One region can be more permissive about certain elements while another region can be much more restrictive, and Nintendo has to customize the game a little for each region. The governments would no be happy if people can buy a version of the game online that circumvents their restrictions.
 

Artwark

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Ok, so I can see how its not as easy to release games on mobile as a usual console game......but that just begs another question, why make games on mobile?

Wasn't the whole point of releasing mobile games is so that people can access Nintendo IP without owning a Nintendo console? I can't picture a country besides some few of the obvious like India, China(sort of) and I think other parts of Asia and that's that. How and just what logic would it then be to make mobile games if localizing the mobile games is as hard as console games?

I seriously don't understand the whole point of this mobile game experiment really. Its not like they have made or did anything big yet just decent and that's that. But if its region free, it can do bigger than what it is now.
 

SirJoe

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There could be a issue with charging and paying taxes, that could be one of the reasons. If they sell there products in a specific country they should pay taxes in that country.
 

Casiox

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That reason you stated about "Prevent piracy" is kinda racist, because they're denominating countries or regions as potential cheating areas and that should not happen, there are hackers and products pirates all around the globe and that region block system does not make any sense at all, however, I personally think they will release regions one at a time to make it more stable and whatnot, that's my opinion though.
 

SirJoe

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@Casiox I doubt that they would block a country based on these grounds. That would indeed by a great insult to that country. I doubt that the reason that they haven't launched the games in certain countries is pure speculation, there has to be another reason. It could be licensing or taxing but even if there was piracy in one or other country, the gains they would have would out weigh the losses.
 

Artwark

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@Casiox @SirJoe Well I'm sorry if that sounded racist but why else would they region lock games? What was the reason that Mario & Wario became a Japan exclusive release only seeing as how Mario sells more in the west than in Japan? And the mouse thing for the SNES was even released in the west? A simple translation was a problem?

Certain games are region exclusive and so whether that piracy thing sounds racist or not, the fact that certain 3DS games are being exclusive in Europe and certain others being exclusive to NA is already insulting enough because that means only certain type of people can play those games. If it really was the reason of licensing and paying taxes for those countries, I really don't see how that can be such a problem if a brand as powerful as Pokemon, Mario and Zelda is bound to sell well. The ones that don't sell well will be compensated for the others that make a profit like Fire Emblem, Metroid etc.

Again, the problem being is that this is for mobile.....how can it be so hard to release games on mobile when several small companies are easily able to release their games globally? With that happening, there's no reason why only CERTAIN people can only play Pokemon Go and why I can't try out the Fire Emblem mobile game( as much as I hate to believe it)


Now again, If its for console gaming, I have no issues with region locking because only few games end up getting region locked so unless you're a game collector or you want to get more out of the system, it really isn't going to do much in the long run. But mobile gaming being region locked?

So you're saying that unless Nintendo gives a real good reason why games on mobile can't be global, I can't try out Pokemon Go, Fire Emblem Mobile and Miitomo? By the time that happens, Nintendo would've long forgotten about the interest of releasing games globally. I mean, if Pokemon Go did huge (granted Nintendo isn't getting much out of it but still) with just few countries, what reason would Nintendo have to release mobile games globally?
 

grahamf

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Or maybe it costs money to localize and market a game for each country, and Nintendo has a market research team that predicts if it will be profitable to bring certain games to certain regions? Although Japan is technically a little more xenophobic than other countries I doubt race is a major consideration.
 

Casiox

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@Casiox @SirJoe Well I'm sorry if that sounded racist but why else would they region lock games? What was the reason that Mario & Wario became a Japan exclusive release only seeing as how Mario sells more in the west than in Japan? And the mouse thing for the SNES was even released in the west? A simple translation was a problem?

Certain games are region exclusive and so whether that piracy thing sounds racist or not, the fact that certain 3DS games are being exclusive in Europe and certain others being exclusive to NA is already insulting enough because that means only certain type of people can play those games. If it really was the reason of licensing and paying taxes for those countries, I really don't see how that can be such a problem if a brand as powerful as Pokemon, Mario and Zelda is bound to sell well. The ones that don't sell well will be compensated for the others that make a profit like Fire Emblem, Metroid etc.

Again, the problem being is that this is for mobile.....how can it be so hard to release games on mobile when several small companies are easily able to release their games globally? With that happening, there's no reason why only CERTAIN people can only play Pokemon Go and why I can't try out the Fire Emblem mobile game( as much as I hate to believe it)


Now again, If its for console gaming, I have no issues with region locking because only few games end up getting region locked so unless you're a game collector or you want to get more out of the system, it really isn't going to do much in the long run. But mobile gaming being region locked?

So you're saying that unless Nintendo gives a real good reason why games on mobile can't be global, I can't try out Pokemon Go, Fire Emblem Mobile and Miitomo? By the time that happens, Nintendo would've long forgotten about the interest of releasing games globally. I mean, if Pokemon Go did huge (granted Nintendo isn't getting much out of it but still) with just few countries, what reason would Nintendo have to release mobile games globally?
I know that some games are locked by region, but it really sounds kinda racist when saying they get locked due to piracy issues, that's what really sounds weird, the rest is just okay.
 

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