Sometimes a company says "No Export for You
" and refuses to release its media outside of its home country. And then there's this situation, where they do release it, but in an intentionally watered-down, poor quality, or overpriced version.
This is most likely to happen with video games and anime. Media produced in Japan are particularly prone to this, because high prices make them expensive in Japan. To discourage Japanese fans from buying cheaper from abroad, many distributors make their foreign products expensive or unattractive (e.g. by removing Japanese audio or subtitles). The fact that they are screwing their overseas fans matters little, as their domestic market is worth far more than the American or European one.
Because companies seldom announce why they licensed a product in a particular way, the information is often spread through rumors, so some of these may be unreliable. This trope is only for examples where you think the company intentionally produced a lower quality version
. Please don't list examples which are just "this was a bad port
" or "they put out an alpha version
" unless you think they did that on purpose, not just because they were lazy or ran out of time. Likewise, don't add examples which are just Americanizing something because they think Americans want it that way. Or, if a localized version loses features — most commonly multiplayer mode — due to lack of infrastructure, that is not this trope. If the soundtrack is changed, it is NOT an example either; music tastes are highly subjective.
People in isolated areas can get very angry about No Export for You
and Bad Export For You. That is why there are other choices
is an inversion
of this trope applied to Video Games
Compare Porting Disaster
has its own page.
open/close all folders
Live Action TV and Film
- Toho is infamous for this.
- As a result of this, the Parasite Eve movie was released with hard subtitles.
- May be why Godzilla movies are released in the United States without the extras they had in Japan. Until the mid-2000s, they didn't even have Japanese tracks.
- This is why Destroy All Monsters had its American DVD release without a Japanese track or even a menu or chapter stops.
- This will fortunately soon be rendered moot since Media Blasters is working on a release of the film, which will feature the film's original Japanese version with subtitles.
- The company that's currently releasing them (Classic Media) is making its own extras for the American releases to make up for this. As mentioned, though, a lot of these movies were unavailable in their original Japanese versions — including the undeniably classic original Godzilla (1954) — until 2004 or later, well after the American market for subtitled foreign films came in vogue. And now Classic Media is releasing Gojira on Blu-Ray — before the Japanese release!
- Which turned out to be another case of Bad Export For You, since the Blu-Ray that we got turned out to be a glorified upscale, rather than the shiny new HD transfer that was eventually released on the Japanese Blu-Ray.
- Criterion to the rescue!
- Averted with Madman Entertainment's Australian DVD releases. Granted, they didn't get the license for five of the movies, and Godzilla 2000 is the American cut only, but all the other have both Japanese and English tracks and are anamorphic.
- New Video Group's US release of H2O: Just Add Water (all 3 seasons) is OK and all, but it lacks the bonus features of the original Australian home releases. The only bonus? A 90-minute recap of each season. Seriously?
- Even the DVD releases of Digimon for the US (Adventure, 02, Tamers and Frontier) also suffer from this. (This is from the same company that released the H2O example above.)
- When Let the Right One In was first released on DVD in English-speaking markets, fans got an irritating surprise - the DVD producers had decided to try cutting costs by coming up with their own subtitles so that they wouldn't have to pay royalties to the folks who'd written the subtitles for the theatrical release. Those who'd seen the theatrical version were able to tell the difference, and raised enough hell that the DVD company ceased production on the cheap version, and released a version with the theatrical subtitles restored.
- Walking with Dinosaurs was released in Hungary as a box-set that included the original series plus the Big Al and the two original Nigel Marven specials. Instead of recording a new narration for the base series, the producers chose to use the old dub and simply reorder some sound bites to match the original narration's timing... together with the background sounds and music. What more, in five of the series' six episodes, the sound is now out of sync by a full second. They also turned the originally 4-disk set into a 3-er, by combining the WWD base disk and bonus-feature disk into one, which came with the price of leaving out one of the extras. Despite this, the DVD case still said it was a 4-disk set. The creator interviews advertised on the back of the Chased by Dinosaurs case have also been replaced by typo-ridden dinosaur fact-files, written in English, save for one which is inexplicably French.
- The 2011 French romantic film Q was notable for its unsimulated sexual scenes. When the film was released in North America on DVD, not only was it retitled Desire, but all the scenes in question were removed and replaced by non-explicit tamer versions, even though anyone with an Internet connection can easily access to the uncut version in lieu of buying the censored DVD. This is not the only example of this.
- The French-United States co-production Lucy has scenes filmed in IMAX, and yet the IMAX version will apparently not be playing in the United States.
- The region 2 blu-ray of MuppetsMostWanted includes "On the Set with Walter" and "Inside the Gulag". Both of which are not on the region 1 blu-ray.
- For a while in the mid 2000s, record companies would release UK albums outside the UK with a track missing, with the intent of making people import the (more expensive) UK versions, several examples being Jamiroquai's Dynamite and Kaiser Chiefs' Employment. They all have UK-exclusive songs that were supposed to be part of the actual album.
- This is also frequently inverted, with later international releases often getting bonus tracks that the initial North American releases do not. Niall Stokes writes about one such bonus track ("Fast Cars" from U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb) in The Stories Behind Every U2 Song: "They needed an extra track in Japan. It's to do with release dates and the dangers of imported copies – and so it's a tradition with U2 to give their Japanese fans something extra as a kind of bonus for waiting. The UK and Ireland generally get the benefit – in this instance with the inclusion of 'Fast Cars' on the album release." note
- The US copies of the Foo Fighters' Wasting Light vinyl come with a code to download a better sounding mp3 version of the album. The non-US copies of the vinyl are exactly the same except they don't come with this code. And they're more expensive. What's the point?
- Inverted with The Beatles' album Magical Mystery Tour. In Britain, it was a 7" EP, encompassing most (but not all) of the songs from the TV movie ."Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" were not present, as British practice at the time was to keep singles and albums totally separate. The US version was an expanded full 12" album that restored the single tracks and added a few more songs as well. In fact, now the US version IS the canonical version of the album on both sides of the Atlantic.
- It's notable that the US album was considered for release in the UK at the time, but it was felt the double EP was better value. However, demand for the US version was so high that it became a canon UK album when reissued in the 1970s, and many people forgot about the EP. Despite this, there are still fans who don't see it as a proper album.
- During the 1960s, it was routine for US music labels, when importing UK albums, to remove a few songs. When they'd accumulated enough extra songs, they'd be released as an "extra" album.
- In the case of The Beatles, Capitol removed tracks and added singles and filler to them so that they could release 'new' albums later on. A particular egregious example of their policy is taking Side 1 of the UK Help! album, interspersing its tracks with the orchestral score from the Help! movie (not performed by The Beatles), and releasing this as the US Help! album. With the second side of Help!, they spread the 7 tracks amongst three albums, Beatles VI, Rubber Soul (US) and Yesterday And Today. The Beatles were so annoyed with the latter that they insisted Capitol stopped the process. The only US album released later was Hey Jude, which was a compilation of non-album singles and the previously soundtrack only (in the US) Can't Buy Me Love and I Should Have Known Better. This was released as a stopgap whilst the band worked on Abbey Road (they had promised Capitol the album Get Back aka Let It Be but weren't satisfied with it at the time).note
- The Malaysian release of the Strawberry Shortcake Strawberry Jams soundtrack CD lacks the final two tracks of the US version (Friendship Grows (Like a Flower) and the closing theme) for some reason.
- The US release of BT's Movement in Still Life was heavily adulterated, with several of the trance tracks replaced with American-geared trip-hop, the track length in general decreased, and the bonus CD omitted. Some of the otherwise UK-exclusive tracks did get a limited US release on the Extended Movement EP, which was distributed through college campuses.
- Shows up in, of all places, arcade games. In many cases, it's actually a form of region locking, in which the game cartridge detects the region of its underlying BIOS, and if it's running on a non-Japanese BIOS, locks away certain features and even changes the difficulty. Examples:
- Magical Drop II hides the challenge mode from US Neo Geos, and switches to an alternate voice bank of sub-par quality.
- Magical Drop III hides only the hardest difficulty of VS. CPU mode, but takes away the character's voices completely, replacing them with a generic and annoying announcer. It also hugely strips down the boardgame-esque mode, removing all the competing characters and the story scenes. Finally, the single-play mode strips out the Kyu and Dan Ranks present in the Japanese version.
- Many, many modern Japanese arcade games are susceptible to this, if not only because they tend to rely heavily on online features (which are only available via subscription services in Japan), thus locking players out of all the online content - which, in several cases, may be all of the content. In a way, this has served as a hard-coded enforcement of the "FOR USE ONLY IN JAPAN" thing that arcades had long been able to ignore in the past.
- Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere. The Japanese version had 52 missions, branching to allow you to do the game from all four perspectives at once, the ability to change perspective on the fly, anime style cutscenes for all those branching mission paths, and more. What we got internationally was one perspective, only one of those cutscenes, and generally international players were left scratching their heads as to what the heck was going on. What's worse, pretty much every game after Electrosphere contained countless references to its plot, which go completely lost on non-Japanese fans.
- The American version of Captain Silver for the Sega Master System is only 1-Megabit instead of the original 2-Megabit size that the Japanese and European versions were sold as. Because of this, two whole stages were removed and many enemy characters, including half of the bosses, were removed. Additionally, the visuals in the ending were removed, leaving only a text-only epilogue. Despite this, all of the enemies and stages that were cut from the American version are still listed in the manual.
- Sega did the same thing with the Master System version of Enduro Racer. The Japanese 2-Megabit cartridge was cut down to half that for American and European release, thus reducing the number of levels from ten to five.
- The Japanese version of One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP contained both parts 1 and 2 of the Wii version plus the new Marineford mode, adapting an arc the original game didn't include, but the European version is missing part 2 entirely. Worse, since this is a One Game for the Price of Two deal and the plot isn't concluded until the second game, it's effectively like getting half a game, not just one of two games. And to think the 3DS enforces a Region Lock for the first time on a Nintendo portable. Oh, and the game was still advertised as "Unlimited Cruise SP" with no indication whatsoever that half of the game was entirely missing. Fans weren't happy.
- Slightly subverted in that the second game is eventually getting released as well, but as its own game. Making it even more One Game for the Price of Two. Still a middle finger for Europeans.
- The US version of Dance Dance Revolution Super NOVA lacked the eAmusement feature, preventing access to the secret songs outside of the Extra Stages, which Betson refused to unlock for the North American version.
- Oh, and the US and JP home versions of Extreme are two different games all together. Three guesses as to which one was better, and remember this is Konami. (Hint: the Japanese version has the option for playing on a dance pad properly.)
- Dance Dance Revolution X's infamous North American cabinet. While both North American and Japan got new dedicated cabs for DDR X, the North American cabinet is infamous for various cost-cutting measures, which lead to various problems such as display lag and pads not only failing to register hits, but also being very fragile and breakable. Problems with the Japanese DDR X cabinets seem to be far less common.
- DDR has had these kind of problems from pretty much beginning to present (or at least until it started fading in popularity across all regions). North America's first domestic machine was Dance Dance Revolution USA, which sucked. Konami Original songsnote tend to take years to come to NA after their first release in Japan. While even in Japan there was a problem where the most difficult charts were too much harder than the next-hardest charts, the problem was worse when such difficult charts made it to NA even though by this time there were enough almost-as-difficult charts available from the Japan games that they could have presented a much smoother difficulty curve on their "second go." On the plus side, there are songs that are licensed solely for the NA market, and some games such as the PS2's Extreme 2 show a good deal of localization effort. Meanwhile, Europe's DDR is called Dancing Stage and has wider differences that make it harder to compare.
- The Famicom Platform Game Hao-kun no Fushigi na Tabi had the intro screens and last third of the game removed when it was localized as Mystery Quest.
- The Japanese Game Boy Color game Moomin no Daibouken game has many levels and cutscenes not present in the European release, Moomin's Tale. What's ironic here is that Moomin originated from Finland.
- The World version of the Arcade Game Undercover Cops may have been localized from a beta version, since it lacks a lot of moves and graphical details. This was fixed in Undercover Cops Alpha: Renewal Version, a re-release that wasn't widely distributed—indeed, the Compilation Re-release Irem Arcade Hits presents the earlier, inferior version.
- With the release of the Virtual Console service on the Wii U, it has become apparent that the games being released in Europe are running at the slower 50Hz frame rate the localized games originally used, rather than the normal 60Hz everywhere else. While the European Virtual Console games on the Wii also ran in 50Hz (save for some import titles, such as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels), games released on the European 3DS Virtual Console retained the superior 60Hz speed.
- Konami completely butchered the US version of Thunder Cross. All of the weapon upgrades except the Vulcan Cannon were removed and replaced with "Lil Baby" smart bombs, autofire was disabled, the Options were made non-adjustable, and the order of the stages was changed. Not surprisingly, the sequel stayed in Japan.
- Players hoping for an English version of Phantasy Star Online 2 were gravely disappointed in AsiaSoft's Southeast Asian localization of the game. Among the myriad problems with the game were a botched translation that pays no heed to the source material (referring to Technics as "Magic", to name the most egregious example), Arks Cash (the cash-shop money for the game) depreciating in value almost ten times compared to the original Japanese game, costumes that binded to characters upon equipment, and Sega region-blocking players from the Southeast Asia region, forcing them to use proxies to play on the Japanese servers. Players outside of Japan hate it immensely and have taken to either using English patches on the Japanese version of the game or continuing to hold out for the American version which remains in Development Hell to this day.
- The American arcade version of Area 88, U.N. Squadron, cuts out the special "rescue the passenger jet from timed bombs" mission. The U.S. being a country where video games were seen as little more than kids' toys in the late 80's, it can be assumed that this was to prevent Moral Guardians from accusing the game of promoting terrorism (since you can shoot the plane you're supposed to rescue).
- The North American version of Bare Knuckle III, Streets of Rage 3, forces you into a bad ending after completing Stage 5 on Easy difficulty. Not only does no such mockery exist in the Japanese version, but the North American version's difficulties were inflated by one level, so JP Normal is NA Easy, JP Hard is NA Normal, etc. And where is the Japanese version's Easy level in the North American version? It does not exist.
- Super Aleste's North American version (renamed Space Megaforce) and European version strip out the character art and bonus difficulty-based ending artwork. Additionally, Area 3 loses its unique music track and instead uses the same music used in Areas 6, 9, and 10 for some unknown reason.
- Atari wasn't sure how well The Witcher would sell in the United States, being a game by a then-virtually unknown Polish developer based on a fantasy novel series hardly even heard of outside of Poland. The version the US initially got had weak translation and a lot of censorship. Fortunately, after it proved a Sleeper Hit, the devs prevailed on Atari to redo 90% of the English voice work, releasing it as a free patch to the Enhanced Edition along with a host of other tweaks. A separate, optional patch removes the censorship.
- While not exactly bad as a result per se, a couple of the Tales games lack the Skits that are a large part of other Tales games, namely Tales of Destiny and Eternia. This is a bit of a problem, since a good deal of the comedy, plot, and characterization depends upon the skits. Lilith is also completely removed from the North American version of Tales of Destiny as a playable character.
- Tales of Legendia also had voice acting of dubious quality. The second half of the game is unvoiced entirely, apparently because of lack of budget given to the localizers, who were told that the second half was optional (it's not).
- The English localization of Project X Zone (which, granted, we were lucky to get in the first place) had quite a few music tracks cut and replaced due to licensing issues. These include "Over the Clouds", "Ring a Bell", "Moshimo Kimi ga Negau no Nara", "Rocks", "World's Love", "High-rise to Hell" note , and Mexican Flyer." On the other hand, since those last three tracks did not have a track already in the game to replace them, the English version ended up getting some exclusive tracks of its own. They are "Hope", "Poop Deck Pursuit", and "Coco Tapioca: The Huge Dancer" respectively.
- Super Valis IV was a slimmed-down port of the original Valis IV, which never made it outside of Japan. The American version only has one playable character as opposed to three and fewer levels, but then again it makes sense with the reduced storage capacity of an SNES cartridge as opposed to the CD format for the TurboGrafx-CD that the original version had.
- The English version of BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma infamously removed the Library function from the game entirely without prior warning. The Library Mode allowed players to read up on series lore and learn what various story and fighting game terms mean so they could understand the story better. It was removed from the English version due to Arc System Works US handling the localisation of CP themselves and admitting that it was too hard for them to translate these terms efficiently. This has thus resulted in ire from fans who were looking to make use of it.
- The Rockman Complete Works remakes of the NES Mega Man games were brought overseas thanks to Mega Man Anniversary Collection, but many of its features were removed in the process:
- There is no unlockable Hard Mode.
- The PocketStation mode is removed.
- Mega Man 1, Mega Man 2, and Mega Man 3 are missing the Database and the Boss Rush mode.
- Mega Man 4, Mega Man 5, and Mega Man 6 are missing Dr. Light's Laboratory, the Sound Room, Mission Mode, and the ability to play without your helmet.
- Additionally, the weapon menus in Navi Mode (featuring descriptions of the weapons available) are replaced with the old weapon menus.
- During Navi Mode, the text of the messages you get from the navigator is displayed immediately rather than one character at a time, meaning you won't get to see the navigator's talking animation. Furthermore, the translation of the text tends to be spotty.
- The GameCube port removed the music exclusive to Navi Mode. Even in the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions, there are still a few missing tracks.
- And finally, the additional credit sequences for the creators of the remakes (accompanied by gameplay footage) are removed.
- In a rare example, Mortal Kombat II received a censored version for the Super Famicom in Japan with the blood turned green and all a greyscale filter over the screen whenever Fatalities are performed.
- The NES, beloved and revolutionary game console though it may be, was noticeably inferior to its Japanese counterpart, the Famicom. Nintendo chose to redesign the system for its American release to implement Copy Protection and make it look less like a game console, because retailers refused to stock video game consoles in the wake of the Great Video Game Crash of 1983. This redesign, however, introduced many problems not present in the Famicom, such as reliability issues stemming from the complex VCR-like cartridge loader, and the inability to use sound chips in cartridges to improve sound quality. It has however the ability to save your progress. The original Famicom did not have this ability, which is why Nintendo had to release the Famicom Disk System there.
- One of the most enjoyable features of Professor Layton And The Last Spectre is the minigame London Life. Unless you're European, in which case you'll never get to play it. The irony has not gone unnoticed.
- The original Sengoku Basara game was released in the west as Devil Kings, with all characters names and the game's setting changed to remove any references to the Warring States period of Japan in order to loosely tie the game in with Devil May Cry, in addition to changing the difficulty and adding or removing several weapons. The game was poorly received, and the second game never saw the light of day outside of Japan. When the third game eventually made its way west, thankfully, Capcom learned their lesson and released the game unadulterated.
- The Famicom port of Salamander allows three options per player, but its overseas counterpart, released as Life Force, only allows two. Additionally, the export versions only have one ending, which is a static shot of the Konami logo, not even a credits roll!
- The original European release of Pokémon Trading Card Game had the option of playing the game in 5 different languages (English, French, Spanish, German and Italian). The 3DS Virtual Console release is only in English. Made ever weirder since other Virtual Console releases of games with translations in other languages available in the original release (such as Pokémon Snap or many GBA games) keep them for the rerelease.
- Asia got the Steam version of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy in Japanese only. Thing is, not many Asians outside Japan speak Japanese, and Sony even sells the official English version on Blu-Ray for the PS3 (along with a separate Chinese (Mandarin+Cantonese) and Korean version) at Sony Centers throughout the region. One wonders if Square is trying to sabotage the sales of their own games on the platform in the region, and if yes, why?
- Dragon Quest IV's DS remake had the "party talk" feature removed from the US version. Before you dismiss this, this constituted enough of the game's dialogue that the US version's ROM is a full 18 megabytes smaller than the Japanese one.
- The U.S. version of the NES game Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde cut out two levels from the Japanese version and replaced them with copies of other stages, which makes the Japanese version better. "Kind of like eating a skunk versus eating a skunk with a little salt on it."
- The European Mega Drive version of Prince of Persia, which was handled by British video game developer Domark Software, has four levels not found in any other version.
- The Complete Adventures of Tintin is a complete set of all the books released in the UK, including the controversial first two books and the unfinished final book. Unfortunately, the pages have been shrunk to half their original size, ruining the artwork and making the text hard to read.
- The first English versions of many of Jules Verne's books were Blind Idiot Translations, and only Verne's most famous works, as well as a few obscure ones, were retranslated to a higher standard. To this day, many of Verne's books are only available in low-quality translations, and the bad translations of even the more famous books still float around today, often being published as "unabridged" editions. Thankfully, the new translations have overtaken the older ones, at least with newly printed versions.
- The exported version of the pinball machine Black Hole lacks the normal version's spinning black hole and mirror effect on the backglass.
- The Pingu Show was this when it was exported to Britain. It ruined the cartoon as a whole with an annoying narrator, highly underdeveloped activities, and to add insult to injury, it broadcasted the 20th century episodes, only they are edited...EDITED!!!
- It should be noted that many former British colonies also got this version — for example, Australia and New Zealand. However, other Commonwealth countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, got the proper version.
- The Region 2 DVDs of Adventure Time have no special features.
- Germany got a decent DVD release of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, with Seasons 1-2 complete in the span of a few months. The rest of Europe, instead, gets stuff in a way slower pace: between November 2013 and December 2014, they got the entirety of Season 1 in 5 compilation disks (which means that the episodes are totally out of order even in the compete boxset release), plus the first Equestria Girls. With subs available in every language only during audio commentaries and only in French otherwise, and the Italian audio track features songs lowered by an octave (except for a single episode) in the first two discs, turning stuff like "Hush Now, Quiet Now" into a banshee lament. The third disc fixes the aforemented issue from Italian audio tracks, but the reprise part of "Art of the Dress" haves lyrics going blatantly off-synch with the music compared to the TV airing of the same episode. The fourth disc is perfect, but the fifth disk's Italian track is completely raised by an octave
- In a weird inversion, Frozen was released on Blu-ray 3D in various foreign countries seven months ahead of the American Blu-Ray 3D release. Until then, those who want the 3D version will have to either download from an official Disney-sponsored website, import from another place, or wait several months for a domestic release.
- However, while the blu-ray releases are also region-free, this trope is also played straight in that the Foreign Blu-Ray 3D releases are sold without the regular 2D disc in some markets and said 3D disc have restrictions so that it would not play on non-3D players. Also, the 3D blu-ray doesn't come with any of the bonuses found on the regular blu-ray disc. In other words, Foreigners who want to watch the movie in both 3D and 2D and enjoy the movie to the fullest had to pay twice for the film.
- Inverted with The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Some countries have the show available on both DVD and Blu-Ray, but America just has it on DVD. To boot, the releases for the second season don't have the episodes arranged in chronological order.
- Almost all of the episodes of Season 7 of Thomas the Tank Engine in the United States have revised music to coincide with the music of the new series. This happened on TV broadcasts in the UK alongside Season 8, but unlike the US, they are not strictly limited to this version.
- Disney has canceled plans for future Blu-Ray releases for the Hungarian market (including Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars productions) on the grounds that, due to their steep prices (and suspected piracy), Blu-Ray releases typically sell very poorly in the region. Guardians of the Galaxy was the first movie to be hit with this, as only DVDs will be available in the foreseeable future, with what little bonus content they may come with.
- Cartoon Network aired in the BENELUX from 2001 to 2011, but all of the breaks were in English (even though most shows on the network had a Dutch dub). It was also third-party commercial-free and aired only half-time as it shared a block with National Geographic (which only could belong on here due to sharing its slot with the aforementioned network, since it had third-party commercials and the breaks were in Dutch, but you could argue that it is extremer than that since most programs on the network were subbed and not dubbed). From 2011 onwards the network would take more initiative and air full-time in Dutch and with third-party commercials.