Hackers Have Found A Way To Make The 3DS Region Free

For my money, the 3DS is the most essential console on the market right now. It's got an incredible set of new exclusive games, it's reasonably priced and it's just hitting its stride. The only issue? The ill-advised region locking. But hackers have found a way to make your 3DS region free without the need for illegal hardware.

But first a disclaimer: we're not suggesting this is a great idea or that you should attempt it. In fact, we recommend you don't attempt it. I'm quite happy with my 3DS XL the way it is, I've got my hands full with the games I can buy here in Australia. Your mileage may vary.

That being said, the hack can be done without any illegal cartridges or whatnot, it's merely done by tinkering with the 4.1-4.5 firmware on the 3DS using a flashcard. You can find out more information here.

I think what's most disappointing about this is the fact that it proves that the 3DS's region locking is something that, most likely, could be removed at any time by Nintendo via firmware. Region locking consoles is a completely archaic process and needs to be sent back to the dark ages where it belongs. Particularly when it comes to handheld consoles, the consoles you typically take overseas when you travel to other countries where there is the possibility that — gasp — you might want to buy a game in another country!

Hackers found a way to disable 3DS region lock [Tiny Cartridge]

Via NeoGAF


    Is this legal tho ?

      Pretty sure it isn't. Nintendo most likely will make this impossible to do in a future update anyway.

      I am no lawyer but I think the legislation says it is legal as long as you are not circumventing the technological prevention measure. The main problem with the 3DS is the region locking and TPM are tightly intertwined and make it difficult to circumvent one without breaking the other so it will be interesting to know if it is a legal hack.

        Pretty sure it's legal in Australia specifically to get around region locks. Not for piracy though.

          Well considering regional locks are not recognised as TPMs and circumvention solely for the purposes of bypassing regional locks have been acknowledged in the Copyright Act as not infringing, then I think this should be fine. Of course Nintendo will challenge this and will eventually patch it, but a cursory analysis of copyright law will say this is an allowable method.

      It's not illegal to modify the hardware you own. It is illegal to use the modified hardware to access content you don't have a license for.

        in otherwords, do it and if for some unbelievable unlucky reason you get say your thing bricked or something along that nature just call the support line for a warranty repair.

          You'll void your warranty.

          By modifying the product in any way, you forfeit your right for it to work the way it was intended at sale. It isn't illegal to modify a thing you own, but you can't expect the selling company to support you for messing with their design.

            But they will, because chances are you bought your device from a retailer and they wont be experienced enough to check. It is my experience at least that it doesn't matter what we do as consumers in the end the manufacture and retailer don't care, they are so brainwashed to keep customers happy that common sense goes out the window, so we might aswell take advantage of that.

              The retailer sends it to Nintendo. If Nintendo don't notice your messed with hardware/firmware/custom roms, then you should buy a lottery ticket.

              Give it a go if you like, but i would advise caution.

                sorry late reply but the retailer will give you a new one then and there, so yeah Nintendo will figure it out but that is not the retailers problem.

      It's not illegal, it will just void your warranty

      It's not Illegal it's just a breach of your contract and will therefore leave it without warranty. You can't go to jail for doing this to your own device.

    God I hope this remains a stable crack... I don't care if they can't make the 3DS run 'backup' games just removing the region lock is fine (hell probably better since there's less legal backlash).

    The Aus tax on portable games is obscene. I've seen wonderful sales listings for Fire Emblem in the USA for $15 while I've never seen it for under $50 in Australia.... As good a game as it's sounds god it's hard to swallow what amounts to a 300% markup :(

    I fully support this. I'm not pro-piracy, but I am definitely anti-region restrictions. These days there's literally no excuse for region locking. The internet has made it redundant. Irrespective of this, region locking offers no benefit to the consumer whatsoever. It only benefits the publishers, because it enables them to enforce things like the "Australia Tax" by making grey importing either impossible or extremely difficult. Granted, with the 3DS we can import from the UK and Europe without a problem, but looking at Amazon UK (and the ever-decreasing Aussie Dollar), the price you pay is virtually identical to here anyway. It only seems to be in the USA where 3DS games regularly go on sale for substantially less than their RRPs. And this doesn't even include region-exclusive titles like those in Japan.

    The sad thing is, Nintendo will never open the system up willingly, and will more than likely plug this exploit in a future system update (assuming they haven't already since this hack requires a specific firmware).

    Finally! I ended up having to buy a second 3DS XL to cross regions and was considering getting a third one for JP stuff as well.

    Not being able to import from any region actually results in me buying less games and having a much poorer impression of the 3DS hardware in general.

      This a million times. Having to have a second 3DS just so I can play Mario Kart with my friends (since my original 3DS was from the states) is absolutely crazy.

    Pre 4.5 firmware...
    Let me know when the hackers actually get good. I refuse to have outdated firmware just to have region free.

      You can actually update your 3ds afrer you made it region free. So no need to keep outdated firmware. You can even DL us oatches for eu games if the game was released there as well.

      The 4.1-4.5 fw is required for the exploit (which you must run after each hard reset.) With EmuNAND you can boot into the latest fw able to access store & online...at least for now. Unfortunately this is still region restricted so you can't buy dlc for your (U)/(J) games on an aus 3ds.

    If they didnt try to screw over certain countries on unfair pricing, this kind of crap wouldnt happen Nintendo.

    Bought a 3DS with old firmware on it specifically for reasons like this.

    I'm a collector, I have no interest in piracy whatsoever. What I do have interest in is playing games and protecting my data, and it's only because of the hacks/mods/homebrew community that I am able to do that in many cases. More power to 'em.

    This might make me get a 3DS. There are a ton of Japanese games that I want to play, but at the same time I still want to be able to get local games to game with my friends. Didn't want to plonk out all the money for 2 3DS machines just to play 2 different regions.

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