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The Daily Grind: Should games be region-locked?


A reader named Sam recently wrote in to Massively with a concern: He's a U.S. expat who moved to South Korea only to find he cannot log in to his North American Age of Conan account. The reason? Funcom employs region-blocking. Customers in Korea simply cannot connect to the U.S. game servers.

Many games make it obnoxiously difficult for players in one country to play with friends in another. At the dawn of every World of Warcraft expansion, my own guild sees a flurry of Americans fussing with PayPal and buying boxes for our European members. But at least that's possible -- at least Blizzard isn't blocking their logins altogether. And upcoming MMOs, like Star Wars: The Old Republic, seem to be reversing this trend, forsaking region-locking altogether and letting folks play together and deal with the lag in their own way (although the company's not exactly making it easy on its customers Down Under).

What's your stance on region-locking (and -blocking)? Do you think companies should insist on keeping players neatly corralled by country and language for the sake of server stability and customer support? Or do you think that such policies undermine one of the best qualities of MMOs -- the chance to play with people from around the globe?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

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