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.