News Article

E3 2010: 3DS Could be Region-Locked

Posted by James Newton

Decision not made yet, says Reggie

With no concrete release date for the 3DS yet in any territory, gamers everywhere are already plotting which importer to go with should the machine reach their country last. Nintendo of America's President Reggie Fils-Aime says the company has not yet decided if the machine will be region-locked, leaving the door open for an import frenzy later this year.

Speaking to Kotaku, Mr Fils-Aime did note that DSiWare games were the first region-locked titles for the entire DS line. Whether this means it was the first step towards further region-specific games or that it was the exception rather than the rule is yet to be seen, but as soon as we know, you will know.

The interview also confirmed Nintendo's assertion that the 3DS design shown at E3 is not final hardware, although the extendable stylus is said to be entering production, and that the machine's battery life will be comparable to that of the current DS line. When asked about pricing, however, Mr Fils-Aime expertly executed a barrel roll, dodging the question completely.


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User Comments (50)



invmat said:

I hope it is not region-locked. Region-locked has only downsides in my opinion.



Tails said:

But it still makes me wonder are they gonna ask even more then the PSP Go? or maybe around the same price as a PS3? If so i still might be a little worried. Seeing as i want to own the handheld. I don't wanna fork out 300 or more dollars for a new handheld.



madgear said:

I hate anything being region locked. People these days travel around the world a lot and, especially with handhelds, they sometimes like to keep some of their games when they move. I don't think it's right you can legitimately buy a game, move country then it no longer works on your new machine (or if you keep your old machine, new games wont work but your old ones will).



jackaroo said:

Please dont region lock it . Sometimes its hard for me to get certain games in there PAL format so I have no choice but to Import from america if I want to play them. Im sure many people are the same so region locking would benefit no one.
Also ive been worrying about pricing for a while now and this does not lessen that worry. Since he was saying how much 3D equipment costs these days in the press conference its had me concerned.



TKOWL said:

The Original DS wasn't region-locked, so why do it with the 3DS?



Token_Girl said:

I honestly don't care if it's region locked. All the games I own are US versions. I don't really mind waiting a bit, and there's really not that much we don't get eventually and even if there was, I already have too many games to play. I think region locking is stupid, in principle, and serves no real purpose with the exception of the handfull of dollars countries with high tariffs will lose from those savvy enough to import (who will probably just import the hardware anyways).

I'd just be happy with a universal charger. The DSi is the only electronic device I had that needed a separate charger when I moved to China. Every other electronic, even the cheap ones, I own have 110v-220v compatibility now. That's what's the real kicker for people who travel at all, especially for a portable (you know, maybe you want to play it on the plane back from vacation). I had to get a new charger, since voltage converters are so freaking expensive. The other solution would be to stop changing the freaking charging ports every iteration of the DS and make a universal standard like Apple, so I could just use my USB charger I have now.



Ark said:

Please, no. I love importing games and to me the highlight of Nintendo's portables is that you can play the games from all regions. It just gives people more incentive to pirate when you don't include this stuff. T_T



KrazyKain said:

there is reason behind region locking, not that i like it..

but basically, when 2 different companies have distribution/publishing rights to a game in the different regions, then its unfair for example if, the american company gets all the sales, including the ones in Europe simply because Europeans didnt wait for release.This way the publishers of the appropriate region get the money



MasterGraveheart said:

Woudln't mind TOO terribly, if this happened... I only buy US games anyway... I for one like to be able to READ the games I play... it'd be downloadables that I might not like being region locked... I want Metal Gear for Virtual Console... >.>



FonistofCruxis said:

I hope it isn't reigon locked because not all games come out in Europe. For example shin megami tensei:devil survivor didn't and I imported it to get and it's awesome.



Mik said:


I (and most other people) DO care if it's region locked. I bought my DS when it came out in America (a 6 month back between that and its European release date - I was the king of cool at school) and obviously bought American games.

Almost 6 years later, I now own 17 American DS games and no European ones. I now can't buy a European DSi and have to import one from America. Due to this issue, and the furore surrounding DSiWare and whether or not I'd be able to download games etc. I decided against importing one.

This is an emotional appeal to all those at Nintendo who read NintendoLife: Please don't region-lock the 3DS.



Bobpie said:

Nintendo DSs, DS Lite & DSi are not region-locked.

That is a great thing, and i too hope that the 3DS isn't region-locked



Iggy said:

Aslong as its 200-250 dollars ill buy it right away. But if its 300+ ill propally just wait for them to make a new model. Because i dont want to buy something over 300 dollars when they are going to improve on it in only a year or two like they did ds lite, dsi, and dsi xl.



Cryptonic said:

the news on this site is soooooooooo late.sigh i guess nintendolife=forums and kotaku=news



Objection said:

Region locking would be foolish. I've already had to import 2 games that I otherwise COULD NOT have played.



RadioShadow said:

Well that would not be good news as I have 4 JP, 3 US and 10 EU Nintendo DS games.

Down with region lock I say.



GamerZack87 said:

When asked about pricing, however, Mr Fils-Aime expertly executed a barrel roll, dodging the question completely.

In other words, it'll cost you the entire Lylat System to purchase



Stuffgamer1 said:

Region locking is downright evil cruelty to paying customers nowadays. Sony has had tremendous success with the PS3 being region-free, and that should be a sign to others to make their next consoles region-free, not add region locks to handhelds, which have traditionally been region-free!

Region locks for DSiWare, I can understand, to a point. They don't want someone accidentally downloading a bunch of Japanese games, and storefront pricing for only one store would probably be an issue anyway. If they had a user account system like PSN, they could not have to region lock those either, because it takes intentional EFFORT to get a game from another region.

The reason KrazyKain gave makes SOME sense, but it all falls apart when you get games that simply are not published in certain regions. All American Tingle fans HAD to import Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland just to play it, for example. Hudson is also TERRIBLE about publishing Bomberman games over here; we missed Story DS and the terribly titled "Bomberman 2."



AVahne said:

Hopefully it's not region locked! and I hope the design doesn't change too much, the current one looks AWESOME!



artofmana said:

Hi all, I'm new here . . . thought I've browsed this site a lot in the past year. And after that shameless little plug, I thought I'd mention that the most exciting part of this article for me is knowing that the design of the 3DS as it is now is not necessarily the final design. It's not unbearable, but I do think it could be better. I like the direction Nintendo had been going with the DS lite, the Wii, the DSi and DSi XL and this seems like a step backwards to something that looks more like the original fat DS and doesn't have the nice sleek design that makes you feel like you're holding a fine piece of elegant equipment. That being said, I don't care what it looks like at this point, it sounds like what it does and how it feels is awesome!



Big_A2 said:

@8.Token Girl: I agree with the charger thing. I'll be leaving for America tonight, and it looks like I'm going to have to buy a voltage converter at the airport. Ugh...

But it would be horrible if the 3DS was region locked. Of course, it wouldn't be a problem if every game released in the US or Japan made it here.



ejamer said:

It's pretty clear that downloadable content will be locked to a region judging by what has happened with Wii and DSi, so I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo tried to lock down the whole system.

"I honestly don't care if it's region locked. All the games I own are US versions."

Totally agree. The number of import games I've purchased can be counted on one hand with room to spare... but I suspect people in smaller regions look at importing differently than I do.

"I'd just be happy with a universal charger. The DSi is the only electronic device I had that needed a separate charger when I moved to China."

I bought a separate USB charger for my DS for exactly this reason - now as long as I can find a computer, I can charge it no problem. (Haven't actually tried anywhere except Canada and China, but have no reason to believe it wouldn't work elsewhere.)



Token_Girl said:

Yeah, that's what I ended up doing too. The usb charger should work anywhere your computer does, or you can stick it in the wall plug for an ipod or cell phone charger.

I do feel for people in smaller regions that don't get a lot of games. My personal belief is that region locking just encourages piracy, but it's sort of down on my personal list on how Ninty will screw over users with the 3DS. I'm thinking there will be no DSiWare transfer, no download service for older handheld titles (ok, that's not really screwing over, but it would be nice to have, wouldn't it?), and the unit itself will be too expensive in the first place. Those are what I'm concerned about most.



Ristar42 said:

If DS was locked I couldn't play Ouendan, Contra 4 or Jump Ultimate stars - Don't do it Nintendo!



RyuZebian said:

Although I've never had to import any games, I think region locking is foolish... I really don't want to have another "EarthBound Incident." Yeah, it's in the history books now. Mine at least...



Alfred_ENG said:

All consoles and handhelds should be region free. I import games. I wish the 360 and Wii were region free like PS3/PSP. I hope they take notice of what we little people are saying.



Guybrush_Threepwood said:

Bad news especially for all European Nintendo fans! Sony doesn't need region locking nowadays, many Xbox360 games don't have region locking (You can even access American and Japanese Xbox Live with an European Xbox360). So why does Nintendo try to annoy their loyal customers? There are still Wii and DS games not being published in every region. And don't forget the clearly inferior European Virtual Console with no option to download the games in their best version (60 Hz)! The region locking of Wii has only downsides for customers. It would be the same for the 3DS!



Slapshot said:

My favorite GBA and DS games I own are Imports. That is one of the biggest highlights of the systems for me. Japan gets some of the best wacky games over there that fail outside of Japan, so we import them to play. Taking this away on a system that offers such incredible variety to a developer and keeping us from playing it is downright wrong!

@Token.... my guess is $250-$300 USD. Watch all the little fanboys here that ranted and raved about PSP Go and its price for weeks will justify the price to no end!



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Slappy: To be fair, such a price for the 3DS would be more justifiable than it was for the PSP Go simply because of the feature set. PSP Go wasn't even backwards compatable with the regular PSP, but 3DS, an actual all-new, beefed-up machine, can run DS games. 3DS includes (obviously) 3D, which costs money to implement. All PSP Go had was a SMALLER screen and unimproved battery life.

All that said, I'd much rather the 3DS was cheaper, but I'll understand if it's not. Either way, it's absurd to insist that only fanboys can see the difference in value here.



GammaGames said:

i dont get what region locked does, does it make so that a DSiware game released in Japan isn't available in US? I hav a DSi, so thats was my comparison



Sean_Aaron said:

I'm against region locking full-stop and I think these companies (platform owners) over-estimate the number of importers out there when they do this. The reality is that most games are purchased at retail or within their home territories with importers largely being impatient folk that cannot wait for a new release to hit their turf or people who are really into gaming and want exclusives that aren't available in their territory for whatever reason.

All I see region-locking doing is giving more people incentive for hacking the system to play games from other regions and potentially causing more confusion when folk are on holiday and think about buying a game they see in a shop.

Though most Nintendo handhelds have been without locks (DSiWare and original DSi software - of which there are very few titles - being the exception) it's worth bearing in mind that the last time anyone at Nintendo said "we're not sure if we're going to do a region lock" on a system it was the Wii, so be prepared for the answer to be "yes, the 3DS will be region-locked."



Peznaze said:

The 3DS is going to sell hotter than the Wii, iPhone and iPad combined. It won't matter that it'll most likely cost at least $250. They'd region-lock it for the same reason Apple wouldn't let you buy an iPad with cash. You'll just buy it and sell it overseas where it's not as readily available yet (if at all) for 10x the price, and people will still buy it. Since the rumors are a Christmas release in Japan and Q1 2011 for the rest of the world, there's at least a 3-month window of gouging for a region-free 3DS.

But I agree, it shouldn't be region-locked. That's just stupid.



citizenerased said:

I care, for these 3 reasons: Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan (J version far superior), Rhythm Tengoku (took forever to get here, original didn't) and Band Brothers (again, took forever to get here)



RoyalBlur said:

Region Locking keeps things unique, diverse and special for each region to which the Nintendo 3DS is released in.



skywardtrumpet said:

"When asked about pricing, however, Mr Fils-Aime expertly executed a barrel roll, dodging the question completely." XD
Sure hope it's not Region locked....

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