Why do tech manufacturers region lock their devices?

726 views
0

Like, why can’t my 3DS play Japanese games, or my DVD player won’t play discs from a different region

In: Economics

Many reasons. Sometimes they need to lower their price point in order to sell into a poorer market. Sometimes they release content differently in some markets (think, censorship in China, for example). Other times it is easier to region lock than to meet all local regulations in all devices.

People in Europe, UK, and USA are wealthier than the rest of the world, so sometimes you can sell your devices for more in those areas, and cheaper in the rest of the world. Otherwise, no one would buy those $1000 cell phones in Botswana, for instance.

If you left them all unregulated, then some enterprising entrepreneur would be buying up all the $400 cell phones in Moldova and shipping them to his buddy in Akron, Ohio, and reselling them on eBay for $750. That would be bad for business.

It’s pretty simple, depending on the region you sell your product the highest price people are ready to pay for your device can differ quite significantly. If you have the same price all over the world you wont sell in some regions. If you have different prices and don’t region lock people will just buy from the cheapest region. The “solution” is region lock.
Tl;dr: it’s because of money.

Because different regions have different laws, and so different requirements are baked in to the configurations.

That’s the argument anyway. The real reason is that they’ve found they can make more money from regional exclusivity through sales and reduced technical support costs.

Companies ironically jack up prices outside the USA and Europe or have different release dates(christmas equivalent is different) so region locking prevents that.

It(people buying from different regions) also screws with local distributor sales which is a big factor in wholesale. If every hardcore fan bought the japanese version with english subtitles online then other local, nationwide retailers are much less likely to order as many copies next time from publisher X let alone try to promote their titles due to lower sales. Technically the publisher sold the same amount but different distributors made less and will be pissed off.

There are a couple of middle men when it comes to physical sales and sometimes online sales….region locking definitely helps them.