Yep, Nintendo Is Region-Locking The Wii U

Yep, Nintendo Is Region-Locking The Wii U

In what should be a surprise to no-one, Nintendo has confirmed that it will be region-locking the Wii U. Just because it’s unsurprising though, doesn’t mean it’s not hugely disappointing.

For those playing along at home, region-locking a console means that only the games bought in that particular region will be able to be played there. That means no importing games from Asia, Europe or the US for you soon-to-be Wii U owners.

Nintendo is a big fan of region-locking it’s consoles. It has been doing it for years right back to the Nintendo 64.

The news came out of Famitsu in Japan. Translated, it reads:

In addition, the feature region lock the region can play the Wii U is limited is mounted, you can not play other than software that is sold in the area.

Collective sad face. [Neogaf via The Verge]

Originally published on Gizmodo Australia


    • One of a progressive series of dick moves that ultimately led me away from Nintendo. I jumped ship the moment Final Fantasy 7 came out on PSX.

      • I understand where you’re coming from buddy, but I don’t know you can say you were “progressively” lead away by dick moves like this one if you stopped liking their products some 15 years ago!

  • Woah. So the Aussie console is set to a different region from the EU one? That’s a whole new low. No one’s ever gone that far before.

    • Okay, so after looking at the original article, it appears as though Nintendo will be region locking the Wii-U the same way the DS, 3DS and Wii were region locked. EU imports should work fine on AU consoles (They’re both lumped together as a single region). *phew* Almost had to import there.

    • Hangon… aside from what appears to be random guess-work… where is the confirmation that we can’t import from Europe?

    • I don’t know about that. That’s what the author of this article said, but I don’t know how he came to that conclusion from that small quote.

      • Yo.

        So Nintendo is definitely region-locking the Wii U, but I’m not sure what the regions are just yet. We’re in the same PAL region as EU, but that’s not a confirmation that EU imports will work perfectly. I’m chasing this up with Nintendo. Where I get with that, we’ll see…

        Apologies for the confusion, resume normal service.

        • There’s no reason to assume all PAL region games will not work, they always have in the past. Might be worth editing the article. Certainly chasing up the facts is cool, but to err on the side of caution here would be to assume we can import from EU rather than to assume we can’t because… well not really sure why you thought that at all 😛

          • Just because things worked that way in the past, does not mean they will work the same way innthe future.

  • Found out this morning. I predicted this, but its still a kick in the guts. Still waiting to find out if we’re in the same ‘region’ as the UK. I presume we will be, which will at least leave importing as an option.

  • Despite what Luke wrote, I highly doubt that Australia will be seperated from the other PAL regions. We’re just not bif enough of a market. Besides, many european games are sold here with a local rating sticker slapped on the outside, so that, by its very definition, means that we will still be able to play euopean games as the are “sold in the area”.

  • Nintendo were actually region locking before the N64. The cartridges were shaped slightly differently in the SNES and you had to remove the two little tabs to play between JAP and US NTSC systems. PAL could not play either JAP nor US because of the lockout chips inside the cartridge.

    • True we couldnt play Jap or USA games, but we could still play European games on our Australian purchased Super Nintendos. *i have a few Russian cartidges
      According to this, we won’t even be able to play Pal UK games…

  • Any idea if we are going to be trapped in our own little Australia region or will this be like DVDs and Blu-Ray where there are other countries that share our region e.g. BDs from the UK work in Australian players?

  • Back when Sony launched the PS3 region-free I thought we were finally entering a new age of non-stupidity among console platform holders. Sadly, history since then (3DS, Vita, Wii U) suggests that was just an anomaly and that stupidity will reign after all.

    • Vita games are not region locked (bar one which isn’t even out yet), but you can only have one PSN account linked to the console at any given time.

      • Ah, OK – so if you buy a US game on physical media then it’ll still work on your Vita if it’s linked to your Australian account? That’s not so bad, I guess, although still a bit of a pain if you want to play downloaded stuff… I still don’t see why it couldn’t have been as simple as having separate AU and US accounts on the one Vita like you can have on PS3 considering how awkward it is trying to change accounts on the Vita (although I think it may have been made easier since launch… can you just swap the memory card over or something?). But I guess it’s still probably better than what the competition are offering.

        • The ‘account locking’ is because Sony doesn’t want multi accounts on a portable since their view is that a portable is a personal device. This was the case on the PSP and always had been, except that the PSP was just so easy to get around with the various unofficial software.

        • You can play any game on any account, but if you import a foreign game you won’t be able to access any DLC on your AU account. Same way that it works on PS3, basically, except that PS3 lets you link multiple PSN accounts so you can usually just switch to one from the region for your game to get the extra content.

  • While this is no surprise, I really can’t understand why Nintendo continues this archaic practice. There’s no reason in this day and age to region lock.

    BTW Luke, Nintendo has been region locking for longer than the N64. The SNES was region locked too (in fact the cartridges between regions were different shapes, so you physically couldn’t use them without a converter).

    And yes, we’ll be able to import from Europe. We’ve always used the same region as them.

    • You sure there’s no reason. Surely, “so that the customers have to buy from local distributers and thus keep them in business and games on store shelves,” would be a fairly significant reason.

      • ‘Surely, “so that the customers have to buy from local distributers and thus keep them in business and games on store shelves,” would be a fairly significant reason.’

        Please tell us you’re kidding. Our buying at retail stores has no bearing on keeping games on shelves nor the keeping people in the workforce.

        If the stores are to remain and to keep people in the job, retail needs to adapt to the high volume, low overhead and low profit model. At the moment the reason why retail is suffering is because of hyper inflated mark ups for no reason other than it can be done.

        If retail cannot adapt to the model used online, then it deserves to perish. Demand goes where the value to the dollar is and that value has almost vanished completely in retail.

        Just for safety, let me say I do not pirate. I shop online mostly from, Games Universe, Play-Asia and (where possible) Amazon.

      • Why do local distributors have to stay in business? It only disadvantages me as the consumer. Make em go find new jobs, it’s supporting a broken system.

      • With Dolphin you can use a Wii remote or your mouse for motion control. Not completely sure about how touch screen would work but it won’t be compulsory in every game hence the 360 like controller.

  • I’m 99.99999% certain that we’ll be in the same region as Europe. Don’t worry. One thing I’ve noticed about the 3ds is that a lot of games don’t even get an Australian print. They just get our ratings sticker on them. They wouldn’t have the capacity to make Australian copies of every Wii U game.

    I’m really tempted to buy an American console. Anyone remember Smash Bros, Mario Galaxy and Super Paper Mario? That’s why. Also most of the good RPG’s never get a European version. I’m getting pretty pissed at all the good 3ds games I am/will miss out on.

    • Funny you should say that about RPGs.

      As irony would have it, is only just now getting The Last Story, etc.

      See project Rain Fall.

  • Oh well.. bring on the homebrew apps and hacked consoles.


    They are only shooting themselves in the foot.. like they’ve done with every other release.

  • This is kind of a bummer. I want to play Japanese games, in Japanese, but not necessarily all the time. Should I import the system from Japan and have to translate for my friends and family?

  • I thought this was up to the publishers. I can import 90% of my 360 games but there are a handful that are region locked.

  • Ahahahahhahahahahhahahahhahahahahh…. *Gasp* *Gasp*…. Aahahhahahahahahhahaa.

    What a freaking shock. What an absolute freaking shock. Nintendo, the studio that goes out of its way to prevent the consumer from having the right to choose, has region locked ANOTHER console.

    I got suckered into buying a Wii and I’ve regretted it ever since. Not this time. This just reinforces that I’ve made the right call to not buy a SINGLE damn thing from Nintendo again.

    • This^ Totally agree.
      I loved Nintendo up until the GameCube. Now its a re-hash of the same shit, offering little new for the players.

  • “Nintendo and Unity Deal”
    Wow, maybe the Wii U isn’t so bad…..
    “Nintendo Is Region-Locking The Wii U”
    oh wait, yes it is.

  • Nintendo DSi was the first handheld to be region locked. Though you can play DS games from any region on the 3DS, just the 3DS games are region locked. I have American & Japanese Gameboy through to DS games and am able to play them all perfectly on a PAL console.

    Also we are the same region (PAL) as Europe. There would be no point in separating the regions because Australia and New Zealand don’t have a big enough population to support it. So I’m 99.9% sure we will be able to continue buying PAL games from Europe.

  • If anyone has bought the Australian Wii U and planning on playing games from the UK, your out of luck. As I have over 20 Wii games from the UK. I moved to Australia and bought the Wii U and bingo none of them work. So pissed! Be warned, until someone comes up with a work around I would keep clear of buying from the UK.

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