Six reasons to get a Japanese Wii

By Alex Kierkegaard / August 30, 2007

So the good news is that the only region-locked current-gen consoles are the 360 and the Wii. The bad news is that those two seem to be winning the console war, which means they'll end up with a ton of games you can't play. My "advice" would be to get the Japanese versions of both, of course, but if you can only afford one I'd say go for the Wii. Here's why:

1. Because of its significantly lower price, the Wii will most likely surpass the 360 in terms of sales, probably even by a large margin; so even though both systems will get a bitchload of games, the Wii will get a lot more. (Just look at the flood of DS titles coming out in Japan and be thankful it's region-free.)

2. If its projected market dominance weren't enough, the Wii is also the cheapest system to make games for, so the smaller, wackier developers who pretty much monopolize the "fun" genre these days will flock to it. Naturally, many of those games will be Japan-only.

3. Since the 360 is an American console, and seeing as it's faring quite poorly in Japan, most of its exclusives will end up being either Western games, or Japanese ones that get localized (the non-exclusives are not important because you'll be able to play their region-free PS3 versions). Therefore, you won't lose out on much by only getting a Western 360. The opposite is true for the Wii.

4. The selection of Japanese XBLA titles is paltry compared to those of other regions, so the US and/or EU XBLA are the places to be. The Japanese Virtual Console, on the other hand, will end up with all the cool Japan-only titles that you wanted to play back in '92, but couldn't afford to. So while Americans are treated to the same-old same-old stuff and Europeans rediscover the wonders of the PAL Age (black bars and slower games FTW), you'll be having fun playing all the cool shit.

5. The Wii does not include a hard drive, and is overall far more reliable than the 360, so the chances of it getting damaged in transit are far less (remember kids: getting import consoles serviced is a bitch, if at all possible).

6. The Wii is cheaper and much lighter than the 360, so shipping costs and any potential customs charges will end up being lower.

There's really no comparison here: for those living in Western territories the Wii is by far the import console of choice. That said, affordable and easy-to-install modchips and/or swap discs could appear at any moment for either system -- though since they haven't so far, chances are they never will (moreover, even if they do, you'll still end up being excluded from most -- if not all -- of the modded console's online features, not to mention that Nintendo and MS could brick your console at any moment through firmware updates).