Xbox 360 is not Region Free and I Hate That

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I’m about to buy an Xbox 360 (Amazon affiliate link). I live in Spain but travel frequently to the US, so I decided to buy it there because they are cheaper. I thought I only would need a new power adapter to make it work in Spain. After all, it’s a modern product full of technology and it should not have problems jumping over a small ocean.

Wrong!

Before ordering I did some research and it turns out that most consoles are not region free. The nasty thing is that they are not because the manufacturers have decided to make them that way consciously. They have worked more to prevent me from buying one in a continent and using it in another one! There are chips for this! If I buy my Xbox360 in the US it would not work on all TVs, it would only play games bought in the US, I would need new power adapters (of course!) and I could have problems with warranty and support if something breaks…

Some time ago some devices were not region free because different technologies in each continent made it impossible to make them work everywhere. VCRs were an example. In Europe we had PAL for TVs and in the US they had NTSC. Both systems had different number of lines, so manufacturers needed to produce a device per continent. Only high end VCRs were able to work everywhere. Today the technology to surpass this issue is cheap. And it would be cheaper for manufacturers to make only one version than to make several. But they don’t because they prefer to be able to maintain different prices and policies everywhere. Consumer is harmed because Microsoft and others decide so.

In a world that is smaller each day, with people moving around all the time, products should be region free whenever possible, not the other way.

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Posted: November 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Internet and Technology | Tags: , , , | 12,304 Comments »