It seems Sony is likely bring an end to the era of region coding. Michael Ephraim, head of Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, has said that the PlayStation 3 will most likely not have region encoding technology for games. He says the reason is that it will not be as necessary as it has been, now that international television standards are emerging.
Of course, all Sony's home consoles have been region locked between the USA and Japan, even though they both use the same television and power standards, so that argument seems a little strange.
"If you look at the fact that it will support high-definition TV, which will be a global standard, there's a good likelihood that it will be global region, as for example we've done with the PSP (PlayStation Portable)," said Ephraim.
SCEJ head Ken Kutaragi hinted at the possibility of region free gaming in July, but Ephraim's statement is the first official announcement.
Astute PALGN readers may recall that Sony Australia recently lost an expensive four year legal fight involving mod-chips. The outcome was that mod-chipping a PlayStation was declared legal since Sony had combined their possibly legal copy protection with illegal region protection. The ACCC argued that the region coding was “an artificial trade barrier that unfairly blocked consumers' access to games from other markets which are often cheaper”. As a result, the High Court ruled that while pirating discs was illegal the mod chips did not infringe Australia's copyright laws.
Now while it seems this PlayStation 3 announcement may have been directly related to Sony's loss of legal control of their protection methods, Ephraim has other ideas.
Ephraim made his first comment on the result since the ruling, describing it as 'redundant'. He claims that the ruling only applies to PlayStation 1 consoles, and that the company may begin a new case soon for PlayStation 2 consoles. They will also be lobbying the federal Government to have mod chips banned again.
This is great news Now I can order a PS3 from overseas and games 6 months before it will actully really come out here!! and yeah I can finally play NTSC games that dont come out on PAL