Sunday, September 6, 2009

New Column: So That's Why...

Going by the history of this site, you'd probably expect (with good reason to) this column to be recurring for a week or so and then die off and never be heard from again. I will be doing my best to keep that from happening to this one.

Now, as for what the whole point of this. The point of "So That's Why..." is to explain some of the purpose of some of the more confusing things that this site covers. This week, I'll be explaining the reasoning behind Region Locking (with a little bit about Japanese Bonus Tracks).

Region locking - the annoying thing that keeps us from importing games (among other things), becoming an Otaku's major enemy, but also keeps us from playing games we buy somewhere else. Say I travel out to Germany, and while I'm out there, I see a great deal on Batman: Arkham Asylum and decide to buy it. When I try and play it back at home, it won't work.

In the old days, most TVs could only read the PAL or NTSC encoding systems, so companies would have to make separate versions for the different encoding systems.

Today, most TVs can read both. So that leaves many wondering why we still have Region Locking if there's no technical rational behind it. The cause for Region Locking is to keep people from buying cheaper games somewhere else. If there were no Region Locking, there would have to be one universal price for a certain game, which would not work.

One scenario is: The Halo franchise is infamous for selling pretty lukewarm in Japan. So, if there were no Region Locking, a few clever people would simply import Halo 3 from Japan where it would have a bargain bin price.

Because it kinda fits in with Region Locking, I'll explain the reason for Japanese Bonus Tracks.

Some of us may notice on "special addition" albums of our favorite musical artists we occasionally see a "Japanese Bonus Track". See, CDs have no real Region Locking on them and CDs in Japan tend to be a bit more expensive then other places. The bonus track is there as incentive to keep Japanese people from simply importing cheaper CDs from elsewhere.