Just like the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 that preceded the new Xbox One, the console will be region locked meaning it will not be able to run games purchased abroad.
The locking of games to specific regions is in line with the approach taken with other sectors of the entertainment industry, and Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox One will be no different. Just like the movie and music industry, games must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are approved for sale, and therefore must be categorised into regions to segment these different requirements.
Microsoft have confirmed this approach with the Xbox One:
We will continue to work with our partners to follow these guidelines with Xbox One.
Region locking means that games that are purchased abroad outside of the region designated to your console won’t work. So I cannot go and buy a US Xbox One game and expect it to work on my UK Xbox One – just like I cannot buy a US DVD and expect it to play here in the UK. Similarly, this region restriction will also continue to apply to the consumables on Xbox Live, such as Netflix, which has separate libraries in the UK compared to the US.
Xbox One Cloud Storage
It’s not all doom and gloom though, the Xbox One will come with three times the amount of cloud storage we’ve seen previously. The Xbox Live cloud storage is especially useful to share saved games between various consoles and the increase in space available will only enhance this functionality.
We’re doing that flat out so that any game developer can assume that there’s roughly three times the resources immediately available to their game, so they can build bigger, persistent levels that are more inclusive for players. They can do that out of the game.
Region locking has been the common approach for many years, so it shouldn’t come too much of a surprise. However, the increase in cloud storage is definitely a welcome addition.