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Games released physically in only one region - your thoughts?

the8thark

ZD Champion
Joined
Oct 13, 2013
Location
Australia
An issue has arisen with certain games and game developers. The issue being they release their games digitally world wide but only release the same game physically in one region. So if you live outside that region and you want a physical copy you have to import or miss out. Sure region free consoles exist but should be have to deal with this? Why are the game developers so against releasing their game on physical media world wide?

A lot of the time the cart/disc is US exclusive and the rest of the world has to import from the USA or miss out. Sometimes the cart/disc is Japanese exclusive and have to use places like Amazon.jp to import. A few have been European exclusive.
Note Well - this is not about collectors editions. This ius the standard version of the game (most times the only version) not available physically worldwide.

Are you fine with this and just import without worrying and wait for it to arrive to you?
Or does this annoy you and do you think these game developers are scum for not releasing their games physically world wide?
 

Spirit

ZD Legend
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
I've had this problem for years and it has only gotten worse recently. Luckily the Switch is region free but previous consoles havent been and i've been unable to play a lot of games i've wanted to play.

Space is also a problem so buying digitally puts me off and I'd rather import a physical.

If they release it in one place they should release it everywhere.
 

Dizzi

magical internet cat....
ZD Legend
Joined
Jun 22, 2016
I het that but then theres games that are popular in japan but not popular in europe and shops only have so much space...
 

Satan

chunky plant goop
Staff member
ZD Champion
Comm. Coordinator
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Jul 13, 2009
Location
Shadow Moose Island
Gender
gaying mantis
i can understand localization processes; nintendo is usually on top of having all localized versions ready in pretty close succession, but other companies i can't really speak for. i know i will have to wait for rune factory 5 longer than japan will, probably for at least a year and a half, if im lucky. as for region exclusives, if its because of a localization reason, i can say its somewhat justified--some countries sadly don't get their language printed. but i cant really understand it for english translations of games, why they're not available in english speaking countries at the same time, or not at all. back to my rune factory example, britain got rune factory 4 two years after the united states did, and it makes absolutely no sense as there is no translation process that would have needed to occur between these two releases.

countries never getting certain games is a puzzler, and i always felt that it probably encouraged illegal distribution of games more than anything else. a lot of games have fan translations to be either played on an emulator or hacked system, and thats kind of sad when it comes down to why it got to that point. pirating hurts the developers, but in these specific cases, we're talking about a sale that wouldve never happened anyway because the people doing this dont have reasonable access to the game.

but as spirit said, the switch fortunately isnt region locked. i dont really intend to import any games , but its good to know that if i ever run into a situation where i may have to, that my system will be able to play an imported game.
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
It isn't always easy to get your products out to different region. Previously, it was a necessity as companies simply wouldn't get sales if they didn't physically get their games into the right companies. As such the games that were only physically released in the past were released as such because the company didn't foresee enough sales to justify the logistics involved in having the right licenses obtained, approvals signed and trade deals bargained.

Nowadays a game doesn't need to release physically to see sales. Getting a game on a digital storefront is easier in some ways than getting it to physical stores, and so if you aren't expecting many sales in a particular region or simply aren't logistically equipped to handle such endeavours then there aren't too many penalties for skipping out on the process entirely.

Imagine having to ship out a parcel to a friend in your country. Fairly easy, right? What if they're in another country? It gets a bit more difficult. Now imagine it's not just a friend, but a customer and for an item you need to have declared, approved and provide quality control for. Now imagine that parcel is actually 300,000 copies of a game and they've got to got to 250 different stores and you haven't agreed on a price yet. It isn't a simple process and so I find it understandable why certain circumstances would make a distributor not want to release physically in some regions. It sucks for potential fans of that game, and that's why it's important we get consoles with expandable memory and without region locks to ensure we have methods of getting games we really want.
 

the8thark

ZD Champion
Joined
Oct 13, 2013
Location
Australia
@CraftyLuminaryObject
Imagine if a devlopment studio said "our game is digitally only because we release it physically worldwide"
I think the customers would be happier. Also the price of the game physically is not an issue as most of the time it's the same digitally. If the price is agreed upon for the digital version, then there's very little effort to set that already approved price to the cart or disc.
I think the customers would prefer whatever option is chosen, digital or physical to be world wide. in other words digital only beats out region exclusive physical media.

I honestly think it's a case of the one of two things.
1. The developers feeling not enough physical sales will happen in the region
2. The developers want a larger slice of the revenue pie.
I feel number 2 is more common as it's well known the developers get more revenue from digital sales. (when compared to physical sales)

The reality is - physical sales only still exist because we customers demand it. The second our demands for it weaken, the physical carts/discs disappear. It's a $$ game. There is more revenue for the platformer holder (Nintendo/Sony/MS) and more revenue for the developers to sell game digitally. The only people losing out in the digital only world is gamestop employees (a dying breed) and the few people actually interested in video game preservation.
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
@CraftyLuminaryObject
Imagine if a devlopment studio said "our game is digitally only because we release it physically worldwide"
I think the customers would be happier.
Although I'm a little confused by your wording I think I get the jist of it. And absolutely, gamers everywhere are always happier when the games they want are available in the formats they like. I much prefer a game to be available both digitally and physically if possible so I have that choice available to me.

Also the price of the game physically is not an issue as most of the time it's the same digitally. If the price is agreed upon for the digital version, then there's very little effort to set that already approved price to the cart or disc.
When I talk about prices to be negotiated I mean between the game company and the retailer. The retailer has to buy the games off them to then sell to us, and that buying price has to be negotiated. These are extra logistics that aren't involved in a digital only release.

I think the customers would prefer whatever option is chosen, digital or physical to be world wide. in other words digital only beats out region exclusive physical media.
Again, absolutely. I wasn't trying to insinuate that regional releases are a good thing, only that I understand why a company may not want to release physically in all areas.

I honestly think it's a case of the one of two things.
1. The developers feeling not enough physical sales will happen in the region
2. The developers want a larger slice of the revenue pie.
I feel number 2 is more common as it's well known the developers get more revenue from digital sales. (when compared to physical sales)
I would not disagree that either of these points are valid and have happened. I would merely add that some instances are a case of not being able to logistically handle such physical releases.

The reality is - physical sales only still exist because we customers demand it. The second our demands for it weaken, the physical carts/discs disappear.
Truth be told the demand for physical sales has weakened. More and more gamers are turning to digital only platforms and practises. Hence why more games are being digital only and hence why some have less consequence to not being able to handle the logistics involved in an overseas physical release. Not having a game available to you physically that is available elsewhere is annoying. However, I don't hold this against the company if they aren't capable of handling such logistics or if predicted sales make it economically unviable to consider my region.

There is more revenue for the platformer holder (Nintendo/Sony/MS) and more revenue for the developers to sell game digitally. The only people losing out in the digital only world is gamestop employees (a dying breed) and the few people actually interested in video game preservation.
You're right, I'd agree with most of this. However, I don't necessarily view this as a bad thing that more games are going digital only. In cases where a developer could have released physically but chose not too simply because they wanted more revenue digitially, I dislike such practise and wouldn't think fondly of such a company. However, I like the fact that games that would never have been possible for me to obtain a couple of decades ago now have a logistically simpler way to reach me.
 

the8thark

ZD Champion
Joined
Oct 13, 2013
Location
Australia
Although I'm a little confused by your wording I think I get the jist of it. And absolutely, gamers everywhere are always happier when the games they want are available in the formats they like. I much prefer a game to be available both digitally and physically if possible so I have that choice available to me.
Well said and I agree.

When I talk about prices to be negotiated I mean between the game company and the retailer. The retailer has to buy the games off them to then sell to us, and that buying price has to be negotiated. These are extra logistics that aren't involved in a digital only release.
I thought Nintendo enforced the RRP / MSRP for each game. The retailers have the choice to pass on that price or lower it and take a loss. Useful if a prticular software title is going to be a loss leader.

Again, absolutely. I wasn't trying to insinuate that regional releases are a good thing, only that I understand why a company may not want to release physically in all areas.
I agre 100%. Developers have their reasons. At times reasons not fair to thewir worldwide customerbase but business is business as they say.

I would not disagree that either of these points are valid and have happened. I would merely add that some instances are a case of not being able to logistically handle such physical releases.
I do agree but I don't thnik every case is just logistics. I think the real logistical cases end up on places like Limited Run Games. That's not to say other legit logistical cases exist. I just think some of them are logistial, not all of them.

Truth be told the demand for physical sales has weakened. More and more gamers are turning to digital only platforms and practises. Hence why more games are being digital only and hence why some have less consequence to not being able to handle the logistics involved in an overseas physical release. Not having a game available to you physically that is available elsewhere is annoying. However, I don't hold this against the company if they aren't capable of handling such logistics or if predicted sales make it economically unviable to consider my region.
I think you are right. The digital sales are up year on year. I just think they the digital Collectors Edition space is very under utilised. If Nintendo or Sony had dedicated artbook viewing and soundtrack playing apps . . . Then digital CEs could exist with that stuff included on the disc/cart. Also because this stuff is not limited by physical print runs, you could still get the digital CE's years after release if you wanted to.

You're right, I'd agree with most of this. However, I don't necessarily view this as a bad thing that more games are going digital only. In cases where a developer could have released physically but chose not too simply because they wanted more revenue digitially, I dislike such practise and wouldn't think fondly of such a company. However, I like the fact that games that would never have been possible for me to obtain a couple of decades ago now have a logistically simpler way to reach me.
I think it's a sign of the times, this digital world we are moving to. My only issue with it is the video game preservation project - as I like to call it. It's just my made up term for those trying to keep the older games alive and playable. Old online stores that go out of business (like the Wii shop and every single store eventually too) will make it really hard to play the games. Physical games have the similar issues. How can you download that required day 1 patch or OS upgrade if that console's online store was discontinued decades ago?
Imagine hypothetically that Mario 64 required a day 1 patch and OS update to play on original hardware. I know N64 didn't have that but hear me out. Say that was a thing in 1996/1997. That particular online store would be long gone noe and you'd have no way to play the game on official hardware without hacks, or already having the required downloads done years ago when the store was still up.
Games like Astral Chain require this now. Day 1 update and the most up to date OS at the point of release. To prevent those using hacked Switches on older OS's from playing the game. Sure that's a good thing now but useless in 30 years time, when you get an old switch at a flea market and have no way to get the latest downloads required for it (without hacking or emulation).
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
@the8thark That's a very good point about video game presevation. However physical releases don't necessarily solve this. Cartridges and disks degrade eventually to a point where repair isn't possible and so I don't think a physical library is the answer.

Digital games can theoretically be preserved indefinitely. However, it requires a far greater system than any games company has yet introduced. Emulation seems to be the only real way to ensure a games long term survival yet Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft don't seem willing to co-operate with this method. It's understandable that they wouldn't want their games out there for free yet the efforts they're taking are ensuring many games are lost entirely. As mentioned, physical games degrade and any official digital collection of these games is at the mercy of how long they wish to extend the service for.

Personally I would prefer that every game had a digital release and games companies put some time in to ensure that their online libraries are not lost as soon as the next console comes out. I don't know how hard it would be to create a system that could be transferred from one generation to the next, but if hobbyists can create fully working emulators for old games then surely the companies themselves can do the same in a much shorter timeframe for their next machines.

If they don't want to go with such a method then it only seems fair that if a game and the console it is released on are discontinued then free emulation should be allowed. A developer gets no income from a game that they aren't selling anymore. They don't see any used game revenue so the market is essentially dead to them. Pursuing emulation providers for games which are long out of print is grossly unfair in my opinion.
 

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