All I can say for sure is the Wii may be region locked ... or it may not. Wired originally reports ... or ... well blogs that the Wii will be region free. Region encoding allows publisher to price discriminate. Basically with region encoding consoles sold in North America will only be able to play games with the North America region codes. Consoles sold in Japan will only be able to play games with the Japan region codes and so on. While totally irritating to gamers these restrictions allows publishers to charge different prices in different regions. If the little region bit weren't there entrepreneurial Ebayers and the like would buy up all the games in the cheap region and sell them in the expensive region. In B-school parlance this is called leakage and can diminish the profits from a game.
Many gamers including myself rejoiced at the prospect of unfettered access to tons of weird, obscure Japanese imports featuring two dimensional singing animals and protagonists with over-sized weapons and pointy hair. However, Engadget is reporting that the Wii will be region locked after all. A Nintendo spokesperson finally put the rumor mongering to rest according to GamesIndustry.biz. In the same piece Nintendo stated the Wii will not feature DVD playback capabilities either. Nintendo told Gamespot, "Because the price of DVD players has dropped so much and they have become so commonplace, Nintendo saw no need to create extra hardware options that would drive up the cost for consumers".
Is it possible that region locking lends some legitimacy to console modders? Surely buying an import game is quite different than making a "backup" copy.
As far as I can tell, Sony lost the modchip lawsuit in Australia because it legal uses (imports) were taken into account, as Australia is usually the last region to get consoles and games.
While I understand the need to region lock the games for profit, I think that's asking for trouble. Regions outside Japan and North America already have to deal with inflated prices and many games not being released, and personally, the number of people buying and making a profit from ebay transactions would be in a clear minority.
As for the DVD issue, it's their call, but it reeks of profit-mongering and feature impairing. While a DVD player here can be bought for as little as 25 eur and console playback was bit rubbish, I really don't see the ability to play DVDs as that profit threatening. It also allowed me to see how two-faced some people are ("oooh, the xbox and the PS2 are too large, I can't have so much stuff under my tv" and now "who cares about the Wii not having a dvd player, I already have one"). Well, at least, If I didn't want to get one of those recordable DVD players (to capture console screenshots, I think that's possible) I would certainly get an xbox or a PS2 to do so.
I dunno. Nintendo would have to license the DVD playback functionality at it may be their margins are really that thin. You get a lot of bang for only $250 US. While they claim they will be making a profit on the hardware that profit cannot really be that large.
Yes, the DVD consortium fee. They'd have to design a decoder, etc...
As stated, a great number of people already have multiple DVD players, as they come with so many devices now-a-days. How large is a DVD player these days? Not very. It would have been great to see the Wii play DVDs, but it's not as huge a deal in this near-saturated DVD player market.