New “We the People” petition to help prevent console region-locking

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Under the new We the People online petition initiative set in motion by the White House, a very video game-centric hot topic has come to light. As many gamers know — particularly those who enjoy handheld gaming — region-locking is a particularly pesky and limiting feature that’s become the norm in consoles over the last couple of generations. Thankfully, one pro-active person has decided to help get the support of the US government to take a look into the issue. And this is where you can help.

The petition titled “Ban the use of region-locking in games, movies, software, and Internet traffic handling” is proposing a motion to prevent distributors from hindering the ability of consumers using products they’ve imported from other regions. In other words, being able to play games from a Japanese 3DS cartridge on your US handheld, for example. It’s an global issue that constantly rears its ugly head upon a console launch, or when a particularly interesting title is only available in another region and won’t see a local release (at least, for the foreseeable future).

As of this writing the petition has garnered 376 signatures out of its 100,000 goal to qualify a response from the White House by February 15, 2013. And as recently reported, even some humourously outlandish proposals have seen a formal response. But if this is an issue that really affects you — or you see as something holding back the gaming industry from international growth — then you’re encouraged to show your support by signing. And if you’re of the mindset that gamers won’t be taken seriously, Australia just recently introduced its R18+ classification for video games, which was spear-headed by a large demographic of vocal gaming enthusiasts and has been an issue for over fifteen years. Gamers can indeed help make a difference.

How do you feel about this proposal? Is it something you feel strongly about? Have your say below or contribute to the discussion in our forum.

Having been an avid gamer for twenty-two years now, I've come to appreciate all facets of gaming (music, culture, development, etc). I originally started out with a Sega Master System II, then moved onto a Nintendo 64 and the rest is history. Though my focus is all things Nintendo, I still love having a taste of everything. No one console is perfect, and that's the way I like it.