Nintendo confirms 3DS region-lock

Tuesday, 18th January 2011 08:10 GMT By Patrick Garratt


In a statement just given to VG247, Nintendo has confirmed that 3DS hardware will come in three region-locked varieties, following rumours that the handheld would be geo-specific.

The measure, according to the company, has been based on a number of factors.

“Nintendo 3DS hardware is available in three versions: Japanese, American and European/Australian,” Nintendo told us in a statement.

“Nintendo has developed different versions of Nintendo 3DS hardware to take into account different languages, age rating requirements and parental control functionality as well as to ensure compliance with local laws in each region. Nintendo 3DS also offers network services specifically tailored for each region.”

It went on: “Additionally we want to ensure the best possible gaming experience for our users and there is the possibility that Nintendo 3DS software sold in one region will not function properly when running on Nintendo 3DS hardware sold in another.”

Nintendo says “guidance” will be published on packaging for 3DS hardware and software to warn potential customers.

“Guidance will appear on every packaging of Nintendo 3DS hardware and the accompanying software. If you are in doubt, Nintendo recommends that you only purchase Nintendo 3DS software in the region where purchased your Nintendo 3DS system.”

3DS launches in Japan on February 26. The company will announce release details for the US and Europe at events in New York and Amsterdam this Wednesday.

The Amsterdam event will be streamed live online.

The first publishers for the event were reportedly confirmed earlier this morning.



  1. trav

    Hmm.. the way that reads seems to suggest that the region-lock is down to the publisher more than anything, like the PS3. Hopefully like the PS3 most won’t bother.

    Well here is hoping.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Suikoden Fan

    unless the eu gets treated with some damn respect i expect lots of games never coiming here as usual, hell if it wasnt for the fact the ps3 is region free demon souls never would have got its notice and praise like it did

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Blerk

    Sounds like not only the software will be locked, but also the network functions. So if you buy one in the US, you won’t be able to access the European store, etc.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. JPickford

    @trav it’s down to the publisher on 360. The PS3 doesn’t have region locking on games.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. orakaa

    I’ll wait… and the more I hear about the 3DS, the less I’m interested in it…

    IF the games are interesting, and IF Japanese publishers don’t “lock” their games to their own region, then maybe I’ll take one, if there are interesting games.
    When I see my DS Lite, at least half of the games I’ve bought are Japanese and NEVER got released in Europe (Ouendan, Taiko no tatsujin, etc.)

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Blerk

    I’m willing to bet that every single game is going to be locked. It’ll all be part of some new-fangled ‘anti-R4′ protection thingy to try and lock out the hackers, who’ll no doubt be onto this from day one.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. orakaa

    @6 : I never bought a “R4 card” for my DS Lite and paid for all my games… but if this region lock is effective on all games, then I’ll have no other choice than buy such a device and illegally download games…

    That’s REALLY a dumb move from Nintendo… Region free consoles don’t fully prevent piracy… but region lock HIGHLY encourages it (most of my friends got their PS2 modded to play Japanese games… and, as it was then POSSIBLE to play downloaded games as well, they jumped into it)

    #7 4 years ago
  8. DARKFiB3R

    @orakaa Totally agreed.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Aimless

    I’m fine with Nintendo trying to cut off another R4 fiasco at the pass, but does region locking even help in that regard? As far as I can tell it merely annoys legitimate customers.

    I’d never have imported Ouendan if it required me to buy a second DS just to play it.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Blerk

    Quite. The hackers will demolish the security in a matter of weeks anyway, and the legitimate consumers get pissed off for years to come. I never said it was a good solution. :-)

    Region locking is almost universally bad. The only reason it’s not such a big deal on the 360 is because practically everything gets a worldwide release. If Nintendo can commit to that then no problem. But they won’t – they’re Nintendo!

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Suikoden Fan

    i’ll just like to point out the Etrian Odyssey trilogy

    all 3 were released in the us, nintendo only released number 1 in the eu, that forced importing, now nintendo are saying fuck you, you dont deserve these games

    #11 4 years ago
  12. varsas

    @3: Hardly a surprise given that the DSi has region locking for the network aspects too afaik.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. SplatteredHouse

    I’ll be investigating options other than those provided by NOE, as a result of their proven useless approach to software availability.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Rudderless

    Not just Etrian, all of Atlus’ output will be off-limits to the majority, now. Which is something that will affect me quite a bit, as I import a lot of their games.

    And yep, III’s the best Etrian and we’ll never see it in Europe. Pity.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. SplatteredHouse

    YES. Atlus, that thought flashed acros my mind, too. I already had to import my Devil Summoner, but, at least I was able to play it once I did so! Horrid situation. Tomorrow, then…

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Hunam

    This is me no longer buying a 3DS.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Gekidami

    It would be pretty devastating now, if Sony announced the same thing for PSP2. Though i’d doubt it.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Suikoden Fan

    wait its the software that may be locked not the system itself?

    #18 4 years ago
  19. JPickford

    Yeah the system stops working if you take it over a national border.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Suikoden Fan

    @19 dont be a dick, i’m asking if the system outright refuses to play other regions games or is on a case by case basis

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Bond James Bond

    Fucking region locking and friend codes. Really, Nintendo? This is the best you can do in 2011? :facepalm:

    Typical Nintendo, always behind the times. I wish the firm would fuck off and go die in a corner somewhere.

    #21 4 years ago

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