YouTube Exploit Can Disable 3DS Region-Locking

YouTube Exploit Can Disable 3DS Region-Locking

3DS tinkerer extraordinaire Jordan Rabet, aka smea, has (with a little help) found a really easy way for Nintendo 3DS owners to get around the company's region-locking.

Previous attempts at breaking down Nintendo's region restrictions have required buying certain games and the installation of custom firmware, but this new method — called tubehax — is much easier; it still involves using custom firmware, but the installation is quick and painless, as it involves nothing more than installing a few files on your SD card, changing your system's DNS setting, and then firing up the YouTube app.

This video shows how to use the exploit to install the custom firmware needed to unlock region restrictions, but there are more detailed instructions here.

If you're thinking of trying it out, note that there are some catches: namely, that you won't be able to access the eShop so long as you've got the custom firmware enabled, so if you want to play games from other regions, you'll need the cart. The good news (if that worries you) is that tubehax will only remain in operation so long as you've got your 3DS pointed towards a specific DNS. Reset that and your 3DS will return to normal.

Nintendo will obviously be concerned about the potential for 3DS piracy, but smea says that's not an issue with the way this particular firmware runs. From the exploit's homepage:

Does this let me run roms ?

No. These exploits run strictly in userland, meaning that we do not have full control over the console, and therefore cannot run pirated software. That being said, we have the same amount of access as regular apps and games to the console's hardware, and so we can make some kickass homebrew!

In addition to running homebrew (and by extension emulators, which Nintendo would also be pissed about), tubehax also lets you install custom 3DS themes.


    Good news for me, as I want to play some NA games that weren't released here

    So any day now, there will be a 3ds update removing the youtube app.

    Because you know.....nintendo rolls like that

    Or, you know, Nintendo could just disable region locking.

    Again proof that region locking is software only and Nintendo can disable it at any time, but choose not to to screw over fans of niche gaming.

    Tested and works. Found a few issues with it, but hoping they'll be resolved over time. If anyone knows a way around this, or can confirm it's not just me?

    -I found I can launch the homebrew menu just fine, play an NA game on my AU 3DS (awesome!) - but you can't quit back to homebrew menu from the 3DS game, seems you can only go back to the main 3DS menu.

    -Every time I want to start the homebrew menu, I have to run it via the YouTube app and thus have to be connected to the internet. Doesn't sound huge, but means unless I tether my 3DS to my phone, I can't launch the homebrew menu while I'm out and about?

    -Also closing the 3DS on the homebrew menu seems to put it to sleep, and you can't wake it back up.

    Keen to see where this goes. Leaving that DNS in my internet settings, and not updating my system software on any of my 3DS at this point. Because fuck region locking. No interest in piracy whatsoever here for me - just.... region locking, why, Nintendo, why? *looks sadly at my three different region 3DSes* such garbage.

    Interesting, i'm still waiting on full support of things like this (i'm a sucker for save state and region free) but it could be a useful stop gap for those not interested in those things, why Nintendo did you region lock? At least Playstation got with the picture!

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