Software specifically created for the Nintendo DSi will be region-locked, meaning that European software will only work on European consoles, and more importantly US and Japanese software won’t.
Eurogamer is reporting that Nintendo is planning to begin region-locking all of its software that will be released on the upcoming new platform. This comes as a pretty big disappointment as DS and Gameboy owners have until now enjoyed region-free software from the gaming giant. It happens that some games in certain regions have different content while other regions have games released exclusively for them that others may want to play. I think this is a bad move on Nintendo’s part.
Shack News is also reporting that digital distribution won’t be replacing retail.
While it’s true that some people won’t have available access to broadband connections, the problem can be alleviated by installing download stations in retail centers. The point of moving to digital distribution, aside from convenience, is to get rid of all the excessive packaging! All of that hot-candy plastic, silicon, and metals will end up in the dumps some day. Try to imagine how much of this stuff is out there… millions of DS units already with probably at least an average of 4 - 5 games each! That stuff isn’t going to just “go away.” Plastics, metals, and silicon will stick around long after we’re all dead. Digital distribution would avoid a lot of those problems.
The “fondle factor” isn’t enough of a compelling reason for me. At least not for portable gaming. Most games I play on consoles are quickly and easily forgotten once I’m done with them. Occasionally I get a nostalgic hankering for some old game I played; but I just fire up an emulator and boom, it’s there. That’s the beauty of this medium: instant gratification.
As much as we want gaming to be accepted as an art-form, it’s just not like collecting vinyl records or first edition books. It’s a different medium completely and doesn’t need to be restricted to physical limitations. That has never been a part of gaming’s charm anyway. Let’s just accept that and embrace the full extent of technology’s potential.