For those living in Japan and wanting to play Western games in their original format, the invention of the Blu-ray disc was a godsend. Suddenly games shipped with both versions, Japanese and English, right on the same disc. But for some reason, EA never followed suit.
From Mass Effect 2 to Mirror's Edge, the English versions of these games have been completely wiped from the disc, leaving a Japanese-only title. Even games they chose not to dub over—like Army of Two for example—are still localized to the point where all menus, subtitles, and descriptions are in Japanese only—with no way to access the original version of the game.
Moreover, downloadable services like Steam keep EA's titles blocked from appearing to anyone with a Japanese IP address, making it impossible to get an English edition from these sources either.
When EA released its own online store, Origin, I was ready to see more of the same. But boy, was I happy to be wrong. While some games, such as The Old Republic do not appear on the Japanese store, many of EA's western releases do—including those not yet released in Japan. Mass Effect 3 (English edition), for example, is available now for preorder and will be available on the same day it drops in the West, even though the Japanese language edition has yet to receive a release date. Even Dead Space, a game never released in Japan, is downloadable through Origin.
EA has really chosen to go the extra mile for the admittedly small PC-owning, Western-importing, demographic here in Japan. Now let's just hope this means EA will stop wiping out all the English assets on its disc-based releases as well.