With Sony and Microsoft officially supporting region-free systems as they enter their next generation of hardware, Nintendo remains committed to a strategy and philosophy that it has used for the majority of its time in the games industry - Wii U and Nintendo 3DS are locked to specific regions, unable to play software acquired from another territory. Fans have taken to petitioning Nintendo to change its approach, with over 10,000 supporters pushing the publisher to end its restrictive practices. During E3, I had a chance to ask Nintendo global president Satoru Iwata about region-locking. My question was bundled with our discussion of digital rights management and used games, coming at the last minute during our wide-ranging conversation, which also covered Nintendo's future, struggles and more. "From some people’s perspective, it might seem like a kind of restriction. However, we hope people can appreciate the fact that we’re selling our products worldwide," Iwata told me, acknowledging that Nintendo has "historically" worked with region-locked systems. "There are many different regions around the world, and each region has its own cultural acceptance and legal restrictions, as well as different age ratings. There are always things that we’re required to do in each different region, which may go counter to the idea that players around the world want the freedom to play whatever they want. " Iwata noted that the strategy behind regional approaches to hardware and content was something not unique to Nintendo, that it was something the entire industry had to "grapple with" and manage. "I hope that game fans can understand that the industry isn’t doing this solely out of business ego," Iwata said. "There are some reasons behind it." Unfortunately this conversation came before Microsoft completely reversed its restrictive digital rights approach, which now leaves Nintendo as the most conservative hardware manufacturer. Nintendo's general history, and current approach for Wii U and 3DS, would seem to preclude any shift in approach, regardless of fan interest. Still, Nintendo has experimented with its approach, even during Iwata's tenure - the original Nintendo DS and DS Lite were region-free, before the DSi locked things down.