Yoshida cannot yet confirm region-free PS4
posted on 02.21.13 at 11:22 PM EDT by (@sqexgal)
Famitsu interview Sony Worldwide Studios boss.

PlayStation 3 is a region-free games console. You can import games from all around the world and play them no matter what region your system. According to Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida, Sony cannot yet confirm if PlayStation 4 will boast the same capability. 

“The PS4′s design is finished,” Yoshida told Famitsu.com, “but I cannot answer about this yet. Moreover, I think that it will be announced at another time.”

Though already confirmed, Yoshida also told the publication that used games will be playable on the platform, as well. (This response is a bit more in-depth than that covered earlier.)

“I think one of the causes for the rumor [that used games are not playable] was because of a patent put out by SCEA, but this doesn’t have anything to do with what actually becomes a finished product. When you have an idea, you apply for a patent. So the first thing I want to clarify is that this is not something being introduced to the PS4. Another thing I want to mention is that, for example if you brought over your own PS4 disc to a friend’s house, you’d of course be able to play that disc on your friend’s PS4 system.”

Another topic on everyone’s mind is whether ‘so and so’ title will be coming to PlayStation 4. Yoshida cannot answer these questions on behalf of third-parties, but what about The Last Guardian?

“At the present time, I can’t answer anything,” said Yoshida. “Ueda just recently blogged about this, even I myself am speaking openly about The Last Guardian, but when the problematic technical parts are resolved and it’s in a ready shape to share, I’ll want to tell you about it, so please wait some more.”

Earlier today, Yoshida said he is “waiting for the right time” to reintroduce The Last Guardian.

  • Raiyu

    Sony… Don’t do this to me

    • Budgiecat

      *prays with you with teary eyes*

  • http://www.facebook.com/kamenrodo Rodolfo Salinas

    is it just me or yoshida doesn’t know shit about the ps4?

    • Solomon_Kano

      He knows everything. That doesn’t mean he can just tell us. There’s a time and place for that, so don’t expect much until E3.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kamenrodo Rodolfo Salinas

        this was the best time to me. It just seems that sony japan had nothing to do with the ps4, the model is totally western

        • Solomon_Kano

          Highly unlikely given the very first game they showed was developed by Japan Studio. Just like when the Wii U was first unveiled, they aren’t giving out all of the info at once. It was a whole year after we saw that controller that we learned the price and what the system looked like. Sony just is saving something for E3.

          Like the Vita before it, PS4′s structure was determined by WWS. Well, Yoshida’s the head of that. Japan was definitely involved.

    • gold163

      I think Sony’s PR is very disorganized. The brunt of their marketing has always been this very aggressive brand of superiority over their competitors, but when it comes to describing their own hardware they always seem clueless. Just a day ago Jack Tretton was saying that the PS4 was still in development, but now Yoshida tells us the “design is finished”?

      Maybe this specific case is more an issue of “lost in translation”, but does anybody remember Sony at E3 2006? The PSP and PS3 ad campaigns? More recently, the commercial mediocrity of the Vita? They can’t even be trusted to maintain the momentum of their own hype. They’re always so clumsy with it. A lot of it probably has to do with a disconnect between what their products actually are and what they imagine them being.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kamenrodo Rodolfo Salinas

        and that same misinformation is the one that makes them look like they are just making things up

  • ShinAsura

    Well we’re not using dvds anymore and Japan and the US are in region A for blu-rays so whatever

    • DrForbidden

      We’re not talking about movie Blurays…

  • Bloodios

    If it is region-free, there’s absolutely no reason why he couldn’t talk about it. The only reason he’s dodging the answer must be because… *gasp* oh man, the pessimism is striking me hard… I can feel my psyche crumbling as we speak.

    • Raiyu

      Well to be fair, we didn’t know if the Vita was region free till E3.

      • Bloodios

        Right… right, I’ll stay hopeful and… hope for the best

    • DrForbidden

      THIS.

      Oh, man. This is bad. Let’s hope for the best.

      It would be hilarious is PS4 turns out to be region-locked and Microsoft announces that their console is region-free…

  • http://soundcloud.com/tet-chan TetsuyaHikari

    The fact that he says he can’t answer it at this time bothers me. That usually isn’t a good sign since it means they’re just trying to buy themselves some time before breaking the bad news. I sure hope that isn’t the case though.

    99% of my library consists of imports. The region free capability of the PS3 was a big selling point for an importer such as myself. Granted, if they DO go that route and decide to region lock it, I’ll just import the console =3=

    • Eclipse

      It seems I’m in the exact same boat as you. I’d say around 95% of my games are imports, so the PS3′s region-free capability has been incredibly helpful to me since the PS3′s release

      If it truly is region-locked (Which would be quite sad), then I’ll also have to import a console. At least there’s always some pretty cool special edition JPN consoles that we’ll definitely see in the future. ^_^

      • http://soundcloud.com/tet-chan TetsuyaHikari

        Haha. Glad to see a fellow importer then! I just hope we don’t have to resort to such a thing because I WILL have to eventually buy a NA console too for the occasional Western game I actually like that gets released (sorry, but games like Uncharted sound totally weird in Japanese to me, almost comical at times, really, lol).

        • Eclipse

          Lol, I have no idea what Uncharted sounds like in Japanese. But yeah, I also buy just about every game from Naughty Dog (And also Insomniac), so I’d probably have to buy a NA console for them (I always play games in their original language). I guess we can only hope that Sony keeps the system region-free.

      • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

        Same here, though my library is more balanced. Still, at least 40-50 % are imports from Japan and the States. I’m gonna import a Japanese LE PS4 anyways (can’t confirm with X anymore, especially as I now own the white Japanese LE Vita as well), but due to my balanced buying habits I would be screwed royally. There’s absolutely no reason for Sony to region lock the system, and so far they have made very reasonable choices with PS4′s design.

        • Eclipse

          I agree. All of the features announced on the PS4 sound pretty good, so region-locking the system would definitely be a step backwards for them. Let’s hope for the best. ^_^

  • DesmaX

    Let’s hope for the best.

    I mean, I’ll feel bad for the poor European Atlus fans if it does have Region Lock

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fitzpatrick-Phillips/1786364591 Fitzpatrick Phillips

    Tread carefully Sony….tread carefully…

  • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

    Wasnt the Vita region free?
    If so,then no worries.

    • gold163

      Let’s be cautious about self-setting precedents. The DS was region-free, while the 3DS was not. The Playstation and Playstation 2 were not region-free. There can be no indications that the PS4 will be region-free based on the region-locking of completely different systems.

      What really determines region-locking is the state of the regional economies. Currently, the Japanese yen is collapsing and the world economy is not looking much better. The chances that they will region-lock the console are still there because of the economic circumstances.

      • http://twitter.com/Elvick Elvick

        DSi wasn’t region free. So… it was obvious they were going to go that way with 3DS. There was a clear indication that the 3DS would be, since their latest revisions of the DS were region locked.

        Where as, Sony’s last release is region free.

        • ronin4life

          Yes… but with complications. Psn accounts require a lot of effort to use if you want multiple regions. A good workaround us owning multiple mem. Cards… with their hideous mark ups.

          And then there are one off casea like P4:Arena for ps3, which were region locked most likely to keep european gamers from buying cheaper in other regions while waiting for it to release there.

          The only bright spot is the Yen is improving… so maybe that will play a role.

  • chobitsza

    Let’s hope that it’s not true…

  • RedWolfe

    Well, given how the PS3 was indeed region-free (save for a few exceptions), I’d like to be optimistic and say that this feature would and should indeed be present in its successor, if Sony is smart.

    Region locking doesn’t make much sense to me, in general, these days. Why limit sales to a particular region and lose possible sales in other regions especially when in, many cases, there is no legal way to obtain said item in your own region. May not be quite as big or malicious as other reasons, but this is part of what drives people to piracy.

    The only manner in which region locking is in any way acceptable, is when the publisher fully intends to distribute the media equally in all regions but wants to control purchases in each region because of the varying exchange rate of the world’s currencies, or so says ATLUS. However, even this is debatable considering ATLUS’s (as much as I love them) poor handling of Persona 4 Arena in Europe.

    I’ll be satisfied if, at least like the PS3, region locking is not hardware related and is only permitted on a case by case basis. That way, if we have a problem we can take it up with an individual publisher, and not be screwed by default because of the hardware.

    On an unrelated note, I really want to hold the dualshock 4.

    • gold163

      Well, to be fair, the Xbox 360 was region-locked on a case-by-case basis. There are cases of Japanese-region games on the 360 that were indeed compatible with other regions of the system. Most of these were Japanese localisations of western-developed games, however. It so happened that the majority of games were region-locked, for one reason or another.

      • Ita Dakimasu

        I think it has to do with licensing fees. iirc, Microsoft charged publishers on a regional basis (so you were charged for the number of regions you were letting the game be played on). Sony did the opposite it seems, either charging to allow regionlock to be implemented, or just not supervising publishers at all.

        • RedWolfe

          Seems slightly stupid of MS to do that but it’s the only thing that makes sense to at this point.

      • RedWolfe

        That’s interesting. I was only aware that at least a good majority of the 360′s games were region locked so I assumed the console was.

        And not to start a fight or anything but I find it hard to believe that the majority of the publishers would choose to region lock their games on the 360 without MS being involved, especially if at least some of these games also had PS3 versions, which I assume weren’t region locked.

    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

      I agree with your sentiment. Region locking, makes no sense at all and encourages mod chipping/ piracy. I seriously hope Sony do not even consider it as it was a blessing for Vita and PS3. Region-free is a huge selling point and will determine whether I’m buying PS4, or at least how soon.

      ATLUS: This was an exception as the exchange rate was, indeed, unfavorable but then again I doubt many Japanese gamers, except Gaijin living in Japan, would even bother to import the US version. Have you seen the regular BD/Game/CD prices here in Japan, they’re ridiculously high all the time, so I really doubt any Japanese gamer would have bothered. Thus I believe it was a dick move by Atlus, especially as they don’t give a fuck about Europe (sorry for the strong wording, but as an European I am quite frustrated with their “we don’t give a shit about that other Island, we only care ’bout ‘MERICA and Japan” attitude – pisses me off).
      I might add, that games not supporting 720p (some very few, very early PS3 games) are running in B/W if fired up on another region’s (NTSC/PAL) PS3. While not a region lock per se, it is an inconvenience.

      As a lover of Japanese LE consoles I would be royally screwed should Sony decide to region lock PS4 for inexplicable reasons. Blocking used games makes more sense from a business perspective than region-locking your system. Mr. Yoshida is a very smart man and I can’t imagine him agreeing on region-locking PS4 – an asinine decision. Thus I’m gonna remain positively optimistic until it’s official. No region locking means less desire for hackers to crack open the system and make it “region free” on their own. C.f. PS3 vs. 360 time spans until they were hacked respectively and why.

      Region locking PS4 would make an almost perfect system (no BC for PS3 games is understandable due to a vastly different CPU architecture but it’s a bummer, especially for digital titles) way less desirable and definitely imperfect.

      Well, to be fair he literally said that he can’t talk about it at that specific time and that he thinks it will be announced later. So E3 it is then. Might have quite an impact if paired with some new awesome game announcements.

      • http://twitter.com/RaiuLyn Raiu

        “Have you seen the regular BD/Game/CD prices here in Japan, they’re ridiculously high all the time”
        Australia says hello…..

        ” Thus I believe it was a dick move by Atlus, especially as they don’t give a fuck about Europe”
        I can’t blame them entirely to be fair, Atlus doesn’t have an European office to begin with…

        • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

          See, ‘coz they don’t care about Europeans. Case in point.

          I am also well aware of the high Australian prices (German ones are ridiculous as well, 70 Euros for a new game is a joke) but my comment was meant to re-iterate that Japanese are used to high prices and would not probably not have imported the American version anyways. ;)

      • Budgiecat

        Why the hell did Nintendo region lock their 3DS when the NDS wasn’t? Aren’t they supposed to be smart too? That really pissed me off. Wii U not so much because I haven’t had any interest in buying it yet.

    • ronin4life

      Different currency values. If a gamer in europe imports an american copy, he is paying A LOT less. Many Japanese gamers could do the same thing.

      The games are cheapest in America, then(I believe) Japan and then the EU. It is all about sales control to maximize profits.

      • RedWolfe

        Thanks for the clarification.

      • Budgiecat

        Fine then do it on a case by case basis. But don’t region lock the console. For instance; region locking Japanese exclusive games is stupid and no average Japanese gamer is going to go hunting down that extremely niche store in ‘Merica that has no online store and will probably mark up the imported game anyway..

        • ronin4life

          I don’t know. I think Play-asia does pretty well for themselves doing that.

          Well, at least well enough to keep doing it.

          • Budgiecat

            Play-Asia screwed up my FotNS2 & Gundam Extreme VS order and billed my CC without my permission.

  • plsburydoughboy

    So many mixed messages on used games and region free, I don’t know what to believe right now

    • http://twitter.com/Elvick Elvick

      There’s no mixed messages about used games at all. :/

      You can play them. What’s mixed about that?

      • plsburydoughboy
        • Skerj

          It’s Kotaku. ..can’t say any more than that.

          • plsburydoughboy

            Sure I can. Kotaku links to another press release from Sony after the Yoshida interview that muddled the issue even further: http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2013/02/21/sony-says-ps4-won-39-t-block-used-game-sales.aspx

            To quote directly: “We are just now announcing the basic vision and strategy of PS4 and will have more information to share regarding used games later this year.”

            Yoshida was misquoted by Eurogamer as confirming they won’t block used games. If you go back to actually read the interview and other secondhand accounts, there was a lot of confusion and Yoshida actually had to double check with other people before making a statement. Yoshida was oddly evasive and noncommittal when it came to other questions.

            The concern about blocking used games is a valid one, irregardless of who said it first or if it affects sales. Some US state laws could make it possible to sue Sony, although I think a lawsuit is more likely to come out and prosper from Europe. Even if you don’t care personally since you’re already decided to get one, it is an issue that will affect the PS4.

            • DrForbidden

              “Yoshida was misquoted by Eurogamer as confirming they won’t block used games.”

              There was no misquote. Unless the Eurogamer writer outright lied or fabricated the article. As far as we know, Yoshida said what Eurogamer claimed he said. Now whether there are any hidden catches are a separate matter. Even if Yoshida had simply answered, “Yes, you can play used games on PS4″, there would still be room to read too much or too little into it.

              • plsburydoughboy

                I would have put my faith in Yoshida’s statement too, BUT it was the fact that they came out with a press release after that that gums up the works.

                One possibility I’ve read on other threads is that there will be a one use pass of some sort, which would let you play a used game after you paid the developer again for a pass. This would make Yoshida out to be half lying, or unaware that this is going on. And this is possible in spite of what Yoshida said because the 3rd parties they depend on, like EA, want used game blocking.

                Look, you guys are saying people are reading too much into it, but what I’m saying is there is reasonable doubt. Until a used game scenario plays out IRL, we won’t know for sure what Sony is planning to do. Look out for yourselves guys, a press release is rarely the final word.

                • http://twitter.com/Elvick Elvick

                  That’s hardly lying.

                  Can you play the used game? Yes. You just have to pay something. It’s not blocked completely from use after you use it in one console.

                  Lying would be if he was asked if there’s an additional cost involve, and he said no and what you’re saying turned out to be the case. That would be a lie.

                  • plsburydoughboy

                    Look, you can’t hang on to that, because that wasn’t even announced. That’s just a theory being spread around, which I just shared so that you can see how this could play out. Yoshida may as well be lying, or he could just as well not know what people are doing behind his back.

                    Here’s the facts: Yoshida said no used games blocking, but Sony made another statement after that messed it up. Sony needs to clear it up, but they won’t be doing it for a while.

                    • http://twitter.com/Elvick Elvick

                      I was following your hypothetical, and pointing out that it’s not lying even it it were true. And explained what lying would actually be.

        • Bloodios

          “So, used games can play on PS4. How is that?”

          Source: EUROGAMERThat’s all there is to that. Kotaku is reading way too deep into this stuffs.

          • 浪黒雷 (Roland G.)

            Kotaku is crap anyways :P

  • DrForbidden

    “You can refuse to answer; but you must be aware that your refusal is in itself an answer, for you would not refuse if you had not something to conceal.”

    - The Valley of Fear, by Sir A.C. Doyle

    Man, I really hope I’m reading too much into Yoshida’s refusal to answer . Given the PS3′s success with region-free games, I don’t understand why they would take such a step back.

  • Zohar127

    I think it’s early to worry about this. Corporations that are selling a big product like this are -very- tight lipped about their messaging and PR. Everything is a carefully constructed and precisely timed message.

    It could be that they are just holding back for E3 or a post-xbox reveal so they can come out with another PS4 presentation (E3) and list more features. It seems sensible that they wouldn’t region lock the PS4 IMO. They could just still be in the process of finalizing all of their licensing requirements and can not at this time make any statements because all of the legal stuff is still in flux.

    Bottom line… don’t panic till it’s time to panic.

  • zakou

    I don’t really mind now that Namco finally releases Tales of games outside of japan and North America. But i do feel sorry for those who want to import Japanese games only, however to You i’m going to have to say: If you love Jrpgs that much and know japanese then buy a japanese PS3 xD,

    But yeah PS4 might end up being region free.

    • DrForbidden

      Well, that’s certainly an option, as long as you don’t mind not having a warranty. Personally, I’m not about to put down $400+ for a console without a valid product warranty from the manufacturer.

    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

      Well, it’s cool for people who don’t mind the English VAs in Japanese RPGS. I do mind them so I am forced to import the Japanese version anyways. Gonna wait and see, but region locking the system would be a bummer.

      • zakou

        This English VA thing is out of hand, people go as far and even call the good english VS’s “shitty” people have gotten overly japanesed.

        FFXIII imo has very veeery good VA’s, Vanille sounds like she does because It is her character to sound like it, shes is very spunky, childish, good spirited, wth would people want her to sound like? mature? male-ish?

        Angel Beats anime, the voices are very good yet people complain that they are shit.

        Naruto English va’s are shit everyone knows that and i agree with it but really let’s not talk english vas as not matter how perfect they would be, people would still choose Japanese Va’s this is the truth.

        • Budgiecat

          Sound like Avril Lavigne

        • 浪黒雷 (Roland G.)

          I do not mean to imply that all English VAs of Japanese games are bad. I’m simply somebody who always plays games in their original language (played W1 in Polish ^^) and I am studying Japanese, so it’s kinda natural for me to prefer the original Seiyû.
          It’s true that some English dubs are good but a lot of them are more miss than hit. It’s really just a personal preference of mine, nothing personal. Ni no Kuni’s dub is stellar, for instance. Anime are a different matter. Sorry mate, but I can’t watch any Anime with English dub. Again, personal preference ;)
          Glad you do not mind them, as it certainly makes your gaming life easier. I love Japanese games; Japanese games’ prices and EMS shipping rates, not so much -_-

          • zakou

            It is true that most of not all Anime sound better in original Japanese voices i will give you that but games, can be hit or miss just like you said.

            Imo FFXIII Lightnings english voice is just what i would want Lightning to sound, i can’t imagine her in other voice and I also like it better than the Japanese voice but i don’t think i have heard enough of Japanese light voice to judge.

            Lol at the prices and shippings, yeah it costs a whole lot.

            • 浪黒雷 (Roland G.)

              Yea, Hillis does a great job as Lightning, but so does Baker as Snow etc. FFXIII English dub is extremely good but I still prefer Sakamoto as Lightning and Fang’s original Seiyû is the best =)

  • Skerj

    Huge step back if it’s not region free, I’m going to have to believe that it is.

  • Learii

    if is have regions locked they better bring JRPG or any gmes out of japan

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/PwerlvlAmy GameNChick
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Obb/100001994017630 Bob Obb

    I don’t think it will be region free. Today’s economy is different from when PS3 was announced. Strong yen, reverse importing, etc.

    • http://twitter.com/kawaiisza riesza

      Have you seen the Yen’s course recently?

  • http://twitter.com/RaiuLyn Raiu

    Sony is walking on a very thin line here… Region lock and the ‘so and so’ titles holding back…

  • Heistt

    I really doubt it’ll be region-locked. Sony’s financial situation isn’t as bad as to need doing that.

  • http://twitter.com/Nates4Christ Nate

    My favorite Ps3 game Gundam Ms Front 0081 is an import game. It might be a game changer if it is locked. The fact is there are a lot of great Gundam games but they will never come to the states. Same goes for Macross.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyosuke.yoshino.9 Kyosuke Yoshino

    If it won’t be region-free for me Sony will lose their biggest advantage… I really hope it will stay region-free.

  • weyou

    PS3 is a region lock console but most of developer let their games region free except Atlus. If PS3 is really region free, Atlus had no way to region lock P4A.

  • weyou

    PS3 is a region lock console but most of developer let their games region free except Atlus. If PS3 is really region free, Atlus had no way to region lock P4A.

  • weyou

    PS3 is a region lock console but most of developer let their games region free except Atlus. If PS3 is really region free, Atlus had no way to region lock P4A.

    • http://twitter.com/Elvick Elvick

      That’s not how it works…

  • http://twitter.com/LordKurow Kurow Akutenshi

    I won’t buy it if it’s not region free. And I won’t buy any of the consoles if none of them are.

  • PrinceHeir

    Sony don’t screw this up :(

  • KurisuMakise

    Quit playing games with my region free heart ;-; (or the heart that longs for The Last Guardian and Versus XIII)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bladez0fDr4v3n Sae-Won Yoon

    Damned if Sony does Region lock,

    Not so damned if they don’t.