I know, I write about the Xbox One and it’s shortcomings a lot, but I read something on the Microsoft forums the other day that amazed me. I understand why Microsoft has decided to “region lock” the Xbox One by only releasing it in certain countries, however, in my opinion, it might not be a bad idea to include all of the countries where their opening titles are made.
I have read a lot about Microsoft’s “region locking,” and I’ve found of all of the countries not included in the first release of the Xbox One, Poland seems the most infuriated, and I’m not really surprised. For those of you who do not know, The Witcher series was created in Poland. One of the most anticipated games at E3 was the newest installment, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
In an ironic twist, the developers of the game, assuming they go through the correct channels to buy a next gen console, will not be able to play their own game on the Xbox One! Thankfully this series IS NOT an Xbox One exclusive; it will also be released for the PS4 and the PC. I don’t know about you, but I smell a change in the console winds over in Poland, as many of it’s citizens look towards switching their alliances to the PS4 or leaving the console world all together.
Why Did Microsoft Decide to Region Lock Their Console?
Well, certainly there are many theories, and Microsoft has released some of their rationale, so I thought I’d enlighten you. Although many people are angry about the decision to region lock, it is very much a strategic play for Microsoft. What many people do not know is that Microsoft, and other console makers, build and sell their consoles at a loss, as the hardware used in them is very advanced (and as such expensive).
Their profit comes from the licensing of the system (exclusive and otherwise) to developers. By region locking the console, the demand for the console will be smaller by default, as it is available over a smaller market. This allows Microsoft take less of a gamble and given all of the new decisions they have made, they cannot afford to be on the wrong side of a financial game of chance.
One of the other primary reasons that Microsoft has decided to region lock is because they have analyzed the sales figures for Xbox on launch, and soon after and found the most financially “viable-on-launch” countries. These countries act as the “early adopters” as their sales figures are larger than other countries early in the console’s life. Again, this is another strategic move on the part of Microsoft because it allows them to initially sell to a wider audience before working out all of the kinks in the new console (which there are sure to be many).
I hope this has given you a look into why Microsoft made the decision to region lock and that rather than being lazy, Microsoft was merely being strategic with the Xbox One.