Update 31/10/2021: The initial decision to exclude Australia, New Zealand and a number of other countries typically included in a ‘Western’ release has been overturned. You can view more information on that here.

The original article follows below.

Or rather, Amazon Games won’t take my money for Lost Ark. Nor anyone else’s money if they happen to come from New Zealand or Australia. *sigh*

It was last August we first heard about Amazon Games entering a distribution deal with SmileGate RPG and while Lost Ark was never explicitly named, we knew. Yesterday during the Summer Games Fest kick-off event, Amazon finally revealed that yes, it was in fact Lost Ark. And that it was coming relatively soon.

In fact, jump out and buy founders packs right now! On Steam or Amazon!

Except…

Attempting to load the Steam Lost Ark page

Can I just say, this was all quite an emotional rollercoaster yesterday. I found out from a friend while at work that Lost Ark was finally confirmed! Dated! On Steam now!

For better or worse, I’ve been aware of Lost Ark for a very long time now — back in 2019 I finally decided to jump through the necessary hoops to test out the Korean release and absolutely loved what I found, every bit as much as I thought I would. If not for the constant worry of the account being irretrievably closed, I could have happily continued to play it there.

So to go from the highest joy of seeing a game come out you know you’re going to love, to realising that this particular ‘Western’ release was still going to exclude you… Oof.

I managed to get a reply from the official Lost Ark twitter account, but it was nothing unexpected:

And yes, I do know that from a locational perspective, Aus is Eastern hemisphere and NZ depends on how you’re splitting — but from both a geopolitical and gaming release perspective (one of these is more important than the other, I’m sure) it is still typical to include us as part of the West.

So from what we can gather, SmileGate really went to town on chunking down their regional rights. Which when you consider the releases so far being specific to Korea, Russia and Japan as independent entities, I suppose is none too surprising.

Possibly SmileGate has Aus/NZ in a broader SEA regional package (as I can’t see the player base scale existing otherwise) and Amazon Games wasn’t interested in purchasing those rights… At this stage?

I suppose my hope at this point is that Amazon still has the option of picking them up and will do so if they can see from the NA/partial Europe release that it’s going to pay back. I’m not sure who else might be interested in SEA rights otherwise. Nor do I particularly enjoy the prospect of not being able to play with my NA-based friends!


Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

8 Comments

MagiWasTaken · June 12, 2021 at 8:04 am

Came here surprised that they will not take your money as in… it’s your choice to not let them have your money… but then I was surprised again as my initial surprise was met by the fact that people always forget about kiwi-land. Sorry to hear, Nait! Hope they add you to the roster as well eventually!

    Naithin · June 12, 2021 at 8:07 am

    In the MMO space, this is actually quite unusual. Even for Asian-imports like BDO where we were part of the NA/Euro launch.

    SmileGate is being particularly greedy here in splitting these rights out from that group — and I think stupidly so, since I can’t imagine anyone else willing to buy this region on its own with the lack of scale present.

Jeromai · June 12, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Region locks suck, period.

Come to think of it, have there ever been any successful and popular region-locked MMOs?

    Naithin · June 12, 2021 at 2:55 pm

    I certainly can’t think of any.

    And yes, yes they do. I really hope Amazon will reconsider their decision not to pickup these rights, and soon.

    But I wish moreso that SmileGate hadn’t been quite so greedy with their splits in the first place.

Mailvaltar · June 13, 2021 at 7:06 am

Aw, that sucks.
I’ve just now learned about the release date, and as I live in Germany I’m obviously quite happy now. I hope they’ll somehow sort it out for you guys too.

    Naithin · June 13, 2021 at 11:55 am

    Happy for you! I was thinking you should enjoy this announcement when I heard about it. I’ll look forward to seeing what you reckon after finally getting to give it a go after all this time!

Phillip Robbins · June 28, 2021 at 4:01 pm

I was so bummed when I found out. Will you be playing with a VPN? Would you have any tips on how to get a founders pack in Australia? Which country do you recommend playing from?

    Naithin · June 28, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    I’m tempted to jump in with a VPN. I’ve done it before for the Korean and Russian releases. If I do, I’d probably connect to US West. However I don’t think I’m willing to trying out a purchase of a founders pack. Steam is… OK… with people playing games via VPN. Buying things via VPN is a whole other story.

    Now true, their main problem is when you go buy something from a region with cheaper pricing than your own.

    But my Steam account has too much on it for me to be willing to risk it over Lost Ark.

    If you were going to do it; I’d suggest a secondary Steam account completely unlinked to your own.

    The risk of Steam taking action is pretty low, sure, but any risk is too much for me when it’s this close to home!

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