Depending on how “diehard” you are into the gaming scene, the concept of a region free gaming system may or may not appeal to you. Ask anyone who is seriously into gaming and they will likely tell you that region-free is something that makes a huge difference in a console.
For those who may not be “in the know”, region free refers to the ability of a system to play games and software released in different regions of the world. For example, you cannot play a Japanese Xbox 360 game in your American Xbox 360 system (though there are a few exceptions, very, very few. That is because the systems are “region locked” . The PlayStation 3 on the other hand will accept PlayStation 3 games from any region because those systems are “region free”. Sony has officially announced that the PlayStation Vita will be that way as well.
Sony’s president of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, stated in a recent Twitter post that the system would in fact be region free. This is going to allow gamers to import and play releases on the system that might not see localization in their area(s). It also means that you will have a chance to get your hands on that next big JRPG close to when it launches rather than waiting two years for a company to secure the rights and localize it.
On the other side of things, Nintendo’s 3DS handheld, the VIta’s main competitor, is region locked. This is a huge change of pace for Nintendo as all of their previous handheld systems had been region free.
We can officially score one for the Vita in the pending handheld war that will kick off on December 17, 2011...