News Article

Nintendo 3DS Guide: Louvre Is Region-Free

Posted by Liam Doolan

Mixed messages

In the past — and to the outrage of some — Satoru Iwata has made it clear that the days of region-free Nintendo hardware and software are over.

Now though, the door has been left slightly ajar. Whilst region-locks were thought to be the future of Nintendo gaming, this theory has now been partially crushed with the announcement of the region-free Nintendo 3DS Guide: Louvre.

Nintendo recently confirmed with Kotaku that the Western retail and downloadable editions of the game available in North America, Europe, and Australasia will work across all three regions. This comes as surprising news after Nintendo has tried considerably hard to justify region-locking to fans.

The only real catch here is the fact Nintendo 3DS Guide: Louvre is essentially a software application, not an actual game. The product does not have to be rated or classified as a result, and the title is also sold in separate language versions; we should also remember that as the Louvre museum attracts worldwide visitors, it may have disapproved of the impracticalities of region locking the download and boxed equivalent available from the venue's gift store.

According to Nintendo’s reasoning, if the art museum guide of the Louvre doesn’t need a rating, it therefore does not need a lock. Express your thoughts below.


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User Comments (40)



ueI said:

Cue the-quite justified-demands for further region free software.



HopeNForever said:

I personally already figured this when both US and UK Nintendo Direct Minis showed off identical cases for the physical version of the software, so no surprise here. In addition, being exclusive to the Louvre in Paris, how else would tourists owning North American Nintendo 3DS hardware would be able to use this guide if they get the physical Game Card?

This shows Nintendo are not particularly picky about region-locking, but rather picky about the technical and legal issues of games being sold locally or otherwise. Here's to a future without borders for Nintendo games in general.



Benjelo said:

How this affects you really depends on if you are in favor of borders or not. I suppose there are always...exceptions... to the rules, however I would rather have absolutely no borders (which I am slightly against) than to have mostly no borders but some exceptions. Being in between usually is not the best decision. There is, of course... the possibility that this is one of those times where it is the best decision... oh inception you!



Windy said:

Region free would be cool. But personally I could care less. I cannot already keep up with the amount of software being released for 3DS and have a backlog of about 6 games still in the shrinkwrap. If they unlocked everything I would go poor. Wait a sec......I'm already poor



eza said:

A couple of weeks ago I got this reply from Nintendo UK when asking them if changing the country on my Nintendo Network ID was possible:

"In regards to your query, I can confirm you will be able to change the country for you NNID by contacting customer support team. Please bare in mind by changing the country setting this will wipe your eShop purchases that you may have on the console"

But with the Louvre guide being region-free, would it survive any change in country?



Kaze_Memaryu said:

@eza Probably not, at least regarding the download version.
Your ID is linked to a specific region in several ways, and at the same time your purchased/free downloads are tied to that ID. This means that downloadable software is region-tied by proxy, but can be downloaded to any region.
However, if you reset/delete/change your ID or region, all software which was tied to the ID will be rendered permanently unusable unless the ID it is tied to is recovered.

That said, this comes to show that region-locks are purely triggered by software and only detected by hardware, but the software itself could easily be region-free.



Gold_Ranger said:

I've got 2 3DS XL's...
One has everything on it... The Legendary XL
and my Original Red XL has nothing except for the stuff that comes pre-installed... I think I'll change the region on my Red XL and be able to get the Japanese exclusives!



redsoul91 said:

Region lock is kind of biting me right now.. in a few months I'll be going to Australia for school, and cannot take my Wii U, nor can I buy any 3DS titles between late February (thank God I can get Bravely Default) and mid December. Does anyone know if I could download from eShop still?



WiiLovePeace said:

@redsoul91 yeah you can. A friend of mine moved to Canada over a year ago from a Australia & downloads from the 3DS eShop just fine. So I expect it to work the other direction too.



unrandomsam said:

@redsoul91 If you want to use the US eshop Afaik you have to use a US bank account and card that is the only other restriction. (Only applies to the US one though.) Don't think it applies if it is set to another region say Canada or whatever. (Same restriction doesn't exist for e.g the Japanese eshop).



unrandomsam said:

It is sad really because I would have paid full price for Kokuga when it was first released and the genre isn't well supported so it had to be sold at a cut rate price less than it is worth to me.



eza said:

"region-locks are purely triggered by software and only detected by hardware, but the software itself could easily be region-free"
Yeah, all my old imported DS games work just fine on my 3DS.
I first encountered it with my Japanese DSi, when I got my first "DSi-enhanced" (aka 'region-locked') game for Christmas one year and it wouldn't work, which was a little bit disappointing for the gift-giver.

@redsoul91 right now, yes you can. But it's not known whether you will still be able to when they release the 3DS system update that forces you to link a NNID.
I asked Nintendo about it and was told:
"We cannot confirm if you will be required to change your ID to the correct country upon linking it to your 3DS as there have been no announcements with regards to this."

So I can only recommend that you buy any eShop games that you want to play before they release this update, and that you don't update your 3DS until you know what the update will do to it regarding moving between regions.

If it's anything like the Wii U, then it won't let you use any online features if you're not physically located in your console's region.



DualWielding said:

If the system support region free the Nintendo should allow third parties to decide whether to region lock their games or not, I'm sure most third parties would choose not to region lock as it happened with the xbox 360 and ps3 who let third parties decide



AVahne said:

Doesn't change the fact that Nintendo is still driving recklously in the wrong lane.



D3athBr1ng3r187 said:

I'm not going to take a bite out of this post because this was understandably contradictory that Nintendo couldn't go Region Free with they consoles sigh......but this crap is ONLY thing Region Free profound sadness.......- _ -



Einherjar said:

Maybe its some sort of "testrun" for further titles ? Maybe they try to implement a system similar to the 360, where the region lock was implemented in the software, not the console itself and that devs / publishers can decide for themselfes if they want to lock it.
Otherwise, i cant explain why they would state that fact out in the open with a title like that... time will tell



kereke12 said:

I think they should just unlock the regions already. Sony has already done this. But it's a start.



DualWielding said:


They are now country locking the 3DS so they seem to enjoy screwing customers for no reason, no such hope that they will eliminate region lock



Uberchu said:

@ferthepoet Source?

Anyways I'll be planning a trip to this place ASAP and i'll get 3 copies, one for myself, one for a friend, and one to keep shrink wrapped forever!



DualWielding said:


After the New update comes once you register a NNID you would be unable to change the country of your 3DS, physical games would continue to be just region locked but digital games would become country locked ... Nintendo would allow to purchase games without an NNID for a while so you can spend any remaining money you may have in different currencies but they are adamant on country locking everyone and if you want to download a demo or free app you'll need to register NNID and become country locked.... That policy cannot be explained as anything other than wanting to screw customers in order to get back at them for complaining about region lock



crazycrazydave said:

Extend this to your games catalogue and i'll buy a hell of a lot more 3DS games. One of the biggest problems of the 3DS in my opinion.



StarDust4Ever said:

Another great reason to buy physical game carts instead of download. I'm curious about the Louvre app. Waiting for a review but if the app becomes available as a retail title I may get the UK version. I can understand why it would be region-free if they plan on selling them in the Louvre gift shop. I would love to see some of the art they house there. The region free aspect may be a blessing for future homebrew programmers, although I don't think there's a lot in terms of homebrew (yet) that can't be pulled off using the less powerful and more widely supported, region-free-by-default hardware of the Nintendo DS. Also kind of a lame move by Nintendo that certain "DSi-enhanced" games will work on a DS phat of lite model from any region yet still remain region locked on DSi or 3DS. Many of those games don't use the DSi enhancements for anything else besides region locking.

The lack of ratings is actually a blessing in disguise. Assuming you can use the app to browse virtual exhibits of art, well let's face it, some art contains nudey bits regardless of how tastefully excecuted, and if the game required a software rating this fact alone would likely bump the rating up to Mature or at a bare minimum Teen or 14+ or whatever equivalent exists in various regions for what is in essence an "educational" title. I think the virtual tour would be nice, although I'm wondering how much "replay" value it has.

Cool to have an E-souvenir for a place I've never been. I've been to Italy in 2005 and the Naples Museum of antiquity (mostly artifacts from the partially excavated city of Pompeii which was buried under volcanic ash from Mt Vesuvius in AD 79) was really awesome, especially the "forbidden" exhibit!

Never been to Paris unless you count the airport terminal, LOL!



123akis said:

so basically Nintendo region lock games just because of the age ratings, why can't all regions use the same age rating system! anyway, region lock doesn't bother me too much



StarDust4Ever said:

@redclow the exhibit contained "adult" art, pr0n, and other objects recovered from the ancient city of Pompei. It was basically the "sin city" of the first century. I toured the ruins. Phallic icons were everywhere.



DualWielding said:


Thats the excuse that's not the real reason the real reason is protecting local retailers and distributers but is a dumb reason specially since they don't have distributors everywhere



ejamer said:

So importing a physical copy may be possible? Fantastic news!
Very interested in this... although still want to hear some impressions before laying out any cash.



eza said:

Nintendo's reason for region restrictions, as emailed to me:

"We are sorry to hear you are disappointed with our region restrictions.

The reasons for our restrictions is that there are many different regions around the world, and each region has its own cultural acceptance and legal restrictions, as well as different age ratings. There are always things that we’re required to do in each different region, which may go counter to the idea that players around the world want the freedom to play whatever they want."

I replied asking "What has changed in terms of cultural acceptance and legal restrictions between the time of the Nintendo DS and now?"

I'm still waiting for a response...



unrandomsam said:

I suspect this may lead to a region free device. (Datel will trick just enough of it to make it work).



gregrout said:

This goes beyond ratings. Many countries have certain restrictions. For example: EA Sports MMA was not released in Denmark because of a law prohibiting marketing for energy drinks. Hearts of Iron was banned in China for portraying Tibet, Sinkiang, and Manchuria as independent countries and Taiwan as under Japanese control. Wolfenstein (Uncut) was banned in Germany because of Nazi references. The Witcher - All the female portrait cards shown after Geralt's "sexual conquests" were censored ("retouched to a more modest standard") for the U.S. release version. As you can see there's a lot more where this came from. The current rating systems do not take into account social and cultural standards. There are a lot of Japanese releases that would be considered M-rated or banned due to sexual content in the USA. By the same token Resident Evil 4 - was sold as is in North America but in the Japanese version the game was censored to not show decapitations and other various portrayals of gory death.



unrandomsam said:

@gregrout That isn't the main reason. All Neo Geo stuff was region free according to the bios it was decided what to show or not. There is absolutely no way that couldn't be done again. (And Sony and Microsoft seem to not be bothered about it). It is a business reason plain and simple designed to rip off the consumer to a lesser or greater extent depending on where you are.



Tetragrammaton said:

I honest to Arceus want to see Nintendo go under for this. I would rather entire gaming industry as a whole fall then let it go to this. I'm on the extreme end of the opinion spectrum about region locks or locks of any kind, so I am biased here, but I truly mean it, I would rather the entire industry crash again then have it in a fragmented Big Brother format. I'm seeing red. I guess I'll just have to do without the eShop because I'm beyond done with this. If it had always been this way, perhaps, I would be more willing to accept it; but I have been importing systems and titles for years. To suddenly say "Well, we don't like it anymore so you just have to deal" is beyond unprofessional. They can spout excuses all they want — every gaming company, every industry that complies with these ideas — but in this day of global connectivity there is NO excuse for these artificial boundaries. If I need something out of the eShop, I'll do without. I hate this.

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