Nintendo Fans Fight To Get 3DS And Wii U Region-Free

Nintendo Fans Fight To Get 3DS And Wii U Region-Free

If 2012 was the year of Kickstarter, 2013 is the year of the fan petition. Following in the footsteps of the successful #PS4NoDRM campaign, a number of passionate Nintendo fans are setting out to get the Wii U and 3DS region-free.

Nintendo’s current consoles are region-locked, meaning that you can only use each one to play games from the area of the world you bought it in. If you have a U.S. 3DS, you can only use it to play games released in the United States. Want to import 3DS games from Japan? You’ll have to buy a Japanese 3DS.

For some context: the DS was completely region-free, so if a North American gamer wanted to play, say, Last Window: The Secret of Cape West, which was only released in Europe, all it took was an import. The Wii was region-locked, so many Americans had to wait a year before getting to play the English versions of Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower, which were all released in Europe wayyy before they ever made it here.

Region-locking is not a very gamer-friendly practice, and both Sony and Microsoft have already announced that their next consoles will be region-free. So Nintendo fans are congregating on Twitter, the Wii U’s Miiverse, and message boards like NeoGAF. Their goal: get the 3DS and Wii U region-free, so people can play Nintendo games from any country.

A sampling of the lovely Miiverse art created by gamers across the world as part of this campaign:

Remember, Nintendo has said they’re bringing Earthbound to the Virtual Console because of the fans that requested it on Miiverse, so this petition has at least a small chance of reaching the right ears. I’ve reached out to Nintendo to ask if they’d like to comment on this campaign, and we’ll let you know if they’ve got something to say.


  • I have my doubts as to whether this will make much of a difference, considering Nintendo elected to region lock their devices in the first place – no business would be stupid enough not to realise how immensely unpopular such a move would be.

    But good luck to them though – I sincerely hope someone at Nintendo listens. Region-locking is just plain ridiculous. You’re alienating customers and even denying them access to games. If that US release you want so bad doesn’t get localised – tough. Buy a US console, or just accept you’ll never get to play it. It’s not right.

    • Could happen if the Wii U is underselling like it’s been forecast it has. Lack of 3rd party titles and the such if they make it region free alot more people will buy them and import games from Japan and the like that don’t get released

      • Pretty much this!

        I’d kill to have a working copy of the Phoenix Wright X Layton game on my 3DS!

        I’d kill…

        *Stares at Nintendo CEOs*

  • I was under the impression the PS4-no-drm petition was irrelevant because Sony had already announced that there wasn’t going to be drm months earlier at the PS4 reveal.

    All Sony did was come out and tell us what they already had, and the internet praised the power of a twitter petition (no idea what it actually was, I wasn’t involved)

    • Sony didn’t say anything about their DRM at the original reveal. The closest they came was when somebody (I think it was Shuhei Yoshida?) was asked about used games and he rather cryptically just said that PS4 would play used games. He didn’t make any mention of whether or not it would need some kind of activation code or validation etc or be restricted in any other way.

  • I’m all for this. There are lots of games I would like to import from Japan. Alas, what are the chances it’d happen with the 3DS when they’re already selling pretty damn well….
    Would it affect DLC pricing significantly? Cause I did get my FE DLC cheaper with my NA 3DS than I would with an AU 3DS.

  • Unless Reggie wants another Operation Rainfall on his hands he needs to approach Iwata about this, I know Reggie has nothing to do with this as I recall someone at the Wii U launch in New York complaining about Project X Zone and 3DS Region Lock and all he could was stifle an apology

  • I never understood the point of region locking a portable games console. A 3DS that is locked to games sold in a particular country, is MUCH less “portable” than a DS that plays games purchased anywhere!

    • And suprisingly, there are some people who OFTEN travel the various regions.
      It’s so backward 🙁

    • The worst part is that a whole bunch of the games themselves are region-locked for their multiplayer features – Star Fox 64 3D, for example, can’t be played multiplayer with people from another region. It only gets played via Download Play, and my friend with a US 3DS can never join in on our games. I think it’s happened with non-download play games too but can’t remember which. Then some games from different regions have their StreetPass locked too, so while I get that same friend in StreetPass Plaza, I’ve never gotten him in Shinobi. So fucking stupid.

  • I have been living in Canada for the last year with the intention of going back to Aus at some point. I haven’t bought a Wii-U because, being region locked, I’m going to have to import games one way or the other at some point. I also haven’t bought a 3DS game in the last year for the same reason, even though there are games I want.

  • This might slightly help with the game drought they are having.

    If all the differnt continents nintendo stores were merged into one, I might be interested in buying a hack & slash with a language I didn’t understand (meaning games with less text in general).

    Some game companies may add more languages to their games right off the bat if they didn’t have to worry as much about sending their games to other countries via a middle man.

    Current games may be patched with extra languages retroactively if they suddenly became available on the store.

    imo all that would be needed is ample warnings on games that are not your native language during purchase.

  • Im a kid and i just ordered Naruto-Powerful Shippuden 3DS from, then i realised the 3DS is REGION LOCKED and the game i brought is NTSC not PAL. All i want is to play that game, because i cant find it in any store. all i want is to play that game, but nintendo with this obssesion with region locking now -_- if i had a wii U i would be posting sooooo much to request they end region locking, i mean sony and microsoft, are going to do it! IF nintendo doesn’t do it they will be losing fans and their going to lose against Microsoft and Sony. honestly…. nintendo… shape up or ship out. please SHAPE up! 🙂

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