Nintendo Won’t Make The 3DS Region-Free, But The NX Might Be

Nintendo Won’t Make The 3DS Region-Free, But The NX Might Be

People hate Nintendo’s region-locked consoles. While the Kyoto-based game maker says it can’t unlocked current 3DS unit, the upcoming NX console could be region free. Nintendo is looking at that right now. No promises, though!

During a recent investor’s meeting, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was asked the following question:

When you were asked if you would lift the region locks at the Financial Results Briefing six months ago, you answered that you would take it into consideration. Please explain the current situation.

Here is Iwata’s response:

My understanding is that it is not realistic on the existing video game systems because unlocking them after they are already on the market poses a number of hurdles. On the other hand, regarding NX, we understand that many consumers hold such opinions and such suggestions exist in the market, and although we have nothing concrete at the moment, we are internally analysing what hurdles exist to lifting region locks. That is the situation right now. We acknowledge your request, and I personally want to give it positive consideration.

As this shows, unlocked current systems appears to be rather simple, no?

One of the most annoying things about the 3DS — and the Wii U, for that matter — is Nintendo’s region-locking. Let’s hope that Nintendo does decide to make the NX region-free. That would be a big plus for the system.


  • To be honest region locking is the only reason Nintendo is surviving in every region. They were struggling so bad in Australia that they don’t even print enough copies for launch titles anymore. They just print an initial amount and restock it a week or two later and repeat. Importing is crazy here

    • I think they did that with Luigis Mansion but then forgot the restocking part. Havn’t seen that game in any store ever. Not even around launch. Even online UK stores barely ever have stock.

    • Not really IMHO..

      If the stock of carts on various shops is anything to go by nothing much has really changed as far as region locking has gone. They still ship out the usual “big” nintendo titles in decent quantities as well as the more “well known” releases. Which always sells like hotcakes. Whilst you will be lucky to get 1 or 2 third party games outside of smaller shovel-ware stuff which will still languish on shelves.

      Been exactly the same as DS games… the only difference now is if you *are* a huge gamer your forced to wait for DL only releases (if your lucky) or you’ve already invested in an overseas 3DS anyway since a fair few games still do not come out here if at all.

  • “My understanding is that it is not realistic on the existing video game systems because unlocking them after they are already on the market poses a number of hurdles.”

    Yeah… I call bullsh*t. The fact that hackers have already demonstrated numerous workarounds for the region locking prior to this prove that it’s simply a software issue. If Nintendo wanted to, all they’d have to do is disable the region check in the 3DS’s firmware via a system update and then BAM! Region-free games for all! But they won’t because they like being able to charge higher prices in some regions than others (*COUGH* Australia *COUGH*) while simultaneously giving players fewer options to get a better price.

  • If it can been done with a genuine cart and some fiddling, (which is then undone with an update), then region free can be done with an update. The only reason I’m seeing them not do it is because of existing agreements not to.

  • I assume by “poses a number of hurdles.” he meant, “we need to think of another way to make back the profit’s we’d lose by not ripping you off.”

  • They could make the 3DS region free tomorrow if they wanted to. But Nintendo is just too controlling to make that happen.

    • it can’t unlocked current 3DS unit
      I call BS on that. You are right they could do it tomorrow if they wanted. There’s probably guys who can crack it without support from Nin?

  • You know what people loved? Nintendo’s region-free handheld, the Nintendo DS!

    The Nintendo DS is the second highest selling console ever, having sold over 154 million units (just 1 million units below the PS2 – thank you for the figures Wikipedia).

    By comparison, the 3DS has sold just 52 million, the 2DS 3.7 million, and the New Nintendo 3DS is currently sitting on 3.2 million – even with their totals combined, they haven’t even come close to selling half of the numbers that the Nintendo DS got.

    Come on Nintendo, I know you aren’t ignoring these figures!

  • Yeah i totally agree, the DS had it right with region free! It legitimately encouraged me to buy more DS games. By contrast, i’m still waiting for the appropriate updates in the modding world to be able to use save state for 3ds games which i’m hoping is before the next console but i can wait!

  • I believe the hurdles he is referring to would be legal hurdles
    by having region locking, they can enforce to a degree, a different version for each region, eg. the differences in outfits to characters in bravely default.
    by having region free console, it “could” cause legal issues, so they’ll need a team of legal experts look at the potential consequences.

  • Going back to when we had PAL and NTSC – that was in relation to the old TV’s right? So if I had an NTSC N64 could I play that in Australia on a modern flat panel telly?

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!