News Article

3DS Hack Removes Region Locking For Retail Cartridges

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Plays legit cartridges only

It's no secret that some gamers would like Nintendo to drop its region locking policy, especially in light of major rivals doing just that with their latest systems. It's not a simple argument, as Nintendo has legitimate reasons and the demand for playing games from other regions is probably, when all is said and done, minor. Yet it does frustrate some gamers, to the point that it seems a group has found a way to modify a 3DS so that it will play legitimate retail cartridges from any region.

Details have been posted over at, with the process requiring a 3DS that hasn't been updated for a number of months — this means version 4.5 or before, due to system updates locking out so many flashcards. It requires the one time use of a DS flashcard — of which there are controversially so many — along with the usage and modification of a specific launcher; ironically, applying the back-end change to the launcher will mean it no longer runs DS ROMS, but rather only retail 3DS cartridges. It is then apparently possible to run 3DS retail games (only legitimate copies) from another region on any 3DS, essentially breaking the region lock. It's far from simple, however, as even though it's possible to update the 3DS firmware after the change has been made, playing titles such as Monster Hunter 4 online is reportedly out of bounds.

We'll have to see what, if anything, Nintendo does to respond the this development, while the tricky implementation and limitations also mean that this is very unlikely to be widely adopted. We've seen Nintendo successfully block out various hack attempts at the 3DS in system updates, and it may explore its options once again.

This workaround does show that some gamers — perhaps small in number — are keen for region locking to come to an end. Nevertheless Satoru Iwata explained his reasoning for the policy in 2013, while we've considered the pros and cons in editorials.

Let us know whether you still wish for region-free Nintendo systems in the comments below. When discussing this topic bear in mind our Community Rules, sticking to the issues raised in the article and refraining from posting any links that are inappropriate.


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User Comments (136)



yojo said:

While I wish region locking would come to an end, I understand that it doesn't effect most people



9th_Sage said:

It's too bad I can't do this (3DS is on a current menu...I want access to all the features). Then again, I couldn't really think of anything in particular I would want to import (the Hatsune Miku games maybe?).



JaxonH said:

People can go through all this trouble and pay for flashcards and endless hours researching how to mod the system, OR, ya know, they could just buy a Japanese 3DS and be done with it.



Volmun said:

Nintendo will pick up on this sooner or later. Hopefully thay will get that ppl realy dont want Regen locking enimore (ik Nintendo have there reasons for it)



kamifox1 said:

I honestly don't understand what the issue is with playing legitimate foreign games. If anything, it gives the developers/Nintendo more money from the extra sale. I'm mostly annoyed at it because I imported legitimate copies of Digimon World Dawn and Dusk from America which now can't be used on my 3DS and I now have to carry 2 devices (a DSi for Digimon) in order to play it out and about as I always carry my 3DS for streetpass.



JaxonH said:

If you're asking if I have personally had experience modding my 3DS to play games from other regions, no, but I have plenty of experience modding systems and all things software related. I know how much of a pain this kind of stuff can be for the average Joe, which is why it's probably not a better option than just buying a Japanese 3DS.

Not sure how you came to the conclusion I don't know anything? But there you have it. I do know about this.



alLabouTandroiD said:

At least it shows that it can be done and isn't carved in cold hardware stone.
I've got dozens of NoA-only games for the DS and would get Code of Princess in a heartbeat since its boxart's so gorgeous. Also a few other games that never came to Europe yet and collector's editions (if still available). As well as at least half a dozen Wii games.
I'd also like the option to buy digital games that weren't released outside of the NoA region so far. But oh well, more money on the bank didn't ever hurt anyone.



Shiryu said:

Nintendo should just step up and remove this awful virtual shackles of all their systems already.



TruenoGT said:

My original 3DS has sit unused and un-updated since getting my XL at launch, and I also have a DS flashcard (honestly for non-pirating purposes), so theoretically I could try this out. However, I'm as eager to play import eShop/online games as retail/offline, so this doesn't seem worth it. I'm holding out for a method (official or not) to convert the region of the whole system so there's no difference between a retail Japanese unit and a converted one.

I may have to just bite the bullet one day and buy a Japanese 3DS, but I'm a patient man.



kamifox1 said:

Unless it works by the servers, I'd also love a Japanese copy of Animal Crossing New Leaf because all their event stuff's so much nicer than ours (aside from the made up events, of course).



unrandomsam said:

I think it will be Datel that comes up with a somewhat safe version at some point. (Still strange that they use the same exploit as the flashcards to get their DSi Action Replay to work on 3DS / DSi including parts of a retail ROM.



Peach64 said:

@JaxonH This is a far cheaper and easier option than paying for an import system. I imported a Japanese DS before the European release, and when the d-pad broke within a year, Nintendo didn't want to know as warranties only cover the country the machine is sold in. I'd never recommend anyone import hardware for that reason.



Tasuki said:

While I can understand Satoru Iwata's point on region locking I dont see what he's afraid off. I mean Sony and Microsoft do it and they haven't ran into problems like he's talking about.



unrandomsam said:

@JaxonH Pretty easy as far as some of the things that people have had to do. (The region free and 60hz mod for the PAL Saturn is an absolute nightmare by the looks of it otherwise you need a custom RGB cable).

Current situation is particularly bad for such as g-rev (Who say you cannot survive making shooters but they cannot even sell them in the West at full price. They would have got 3 times as much or so if I could have just bought the jap cartridge and imported it).

If they region locked their own stuff and let the dev choose for the rest that would be probably OK it normally costs at least double for me to import something. (Definitely possible otherwise the museum thing couldn't be region free).



9th_Sage said:

@unrandomsam It's not strange at seems they don't figure things out themselves, but wait for someone else to do it then use the exploit, which is unfortunate (it would be far from the first time they've done something like that). You're giving them too much credit. I used to really pay attention to the DS homebrew scene, so I heard a lot about that, haha.



AVahne said:

YES YES YES!! Unfortunately, my 3DS is up-to-date
Perhaps I'll wait for Nintendo to abandon support for the 3DS, which should happen in about 2 years. By then, we'll probably see better hacks for this.
Finally, I'd like to say Great Job to the hacking community;those guys deserve a trophy for doing this.



MikeLove said:


Spending $250-300 on a Japanese 3DS or reading a tutorial for 15 mins and using a $30 flash card....hmmmm...decisions....



Hyperstar96 said:

@JaxonH I meant you don't understand the purpose of this. Sure, there's an easier way to do it, but it's so much more satisfying to take control of the technology that you own and work on a project that gives you some sort of mental and material benefit. These are the sorts of modifications you do because you can, and because they're fun and interesting. If you want to take the easy (albeit expensive and lazy) way out, go right ahead, but don't look at a project like this and say "or you could just buy something else that does the same thing," because it only proves that you don't understand the significance.



OdnetninAges said:

The only problem with this is that some future games from regions other than the hacked 3DS will require an update to use, making it impossible to play them on the hacked 3DS.



JaxonH said:

@Peach64 @unrandomsam @FutureAlphaMale

Oh, I totally agree it's the easier and cheaper option. But surely you must realize that the vast majority of gamers aren't tech savvy. To someone in the know, it's a breeze, but most gamers aren't in the know. I remember when Hombrew hit the Wii scene. I remember how lost people were, bricking systems without BootMii or NAND backups, installing the wrong IOS, upside down screens... it was a disaster for many.

And Japanese 3DS don't cost $300- you can get one for the same price as they are here in the west. And if you catch a good sale or seller, you can even get one for less.

And you must consider the consequences too. From what the article states, you will lose online functionality- that's huge. You also lose DS backwards compatibility. That's huge. And it's gonna cost you a bit for the flashcard.

If people who KNOW how to do this stuff want to sacrifice online and DS play, as well as the cost of a flashcard and time spent, by all means then! But by and large, this is not going to be the best option for the vast majority.



unrandomsam said:

Another thing about this is it requires modding somebody elses loader (That is legally exactly the same e.g one of Nintendo's 3DS Commercial Game ROMS).



JaxonH said:


If you're the type of person who does stuff just for the heck of it, because you can, more power to you. But not everyone has that mentality. Most people who want to play games from other regions will want to do so WITHOUT sacrificing online play and DS compatibility. Buying a Japanese system is the more expensive way, but it's certainly not the lazy way. It's the ONLY way you can play Japanese games and actually have online. I mean, what good is MH4 if you can't hunt in parties online? That's half the fun right there, see what I'm saying?

I'm not railing against you, or anyone, who for whatever reason has the desire to go this route. I'm simply pointing out the obvious fact that this is NOT the optimal solution.



9th_Sage said:

@unrandomsam Oh, yeah...I wondered about that as well. I'm going to assume it's because what Datel were doing didn't really hurt their bottom line as piracy could, and that it would have cost more money than it was worth to pursue that lawsuit.



9th_Sage said:

@JaxonH No, you don't lose online just can't play Monster Hunter 4 online because apparently it requires an update, and you can't access the Japanese eShop on a US system, thus you're locked out of playing it online.



JaxonH said:


"even though it's possible to update the 3DS firmware after the change has been made, playing titles such as Monster Hunter 4 online is reportedly out of bounds"

To me that sounds like he's saying it's possible to update the firmware after the modification, so all games will be playable because you can in fact update to the most recent firmware. However, he also states that despite the update, Monster Hunter 4 wouldn't go online. I could be wrong, but it seems like that's what he was saying.



9th_Sage said:

@JaxonH The game ITSELF requires an update...presumably there were some bugs post-launch that they wanted to fix. You need to go to the eShop for that (I should point out that you don't go to the eShop to do system updates), but you can't, since as of this time a US system can't access the Japanese eShop. Please, read up on this a bit more. IT did not take me long to click through and read up on this.



Chris720 said:

@JaxonH Jeez man, that's way too easy. I will go the really complicated way just to prove I have a big brain and not much to do with my life.



JaxonH said:

Ok, I understand what you're saying.

Me personally though, I'm not even remotely interested in playing Japanese games I can't even understand. MH4 is the only game I'd really want to play anyways, and it'll come to the west in English eventually, so I'll wait. I commend the brave soul that attempts to play through MH4 in the Japanese language, cause I sure as heck ain't gonna do it lol.

I swore I'd never mod another gaming console again, and I fully intend to keep that promise. Besides, this seems like a waste considering the ONE game I'd want won't even go online, and I can't understand the scribble anyways. Not to mention it destroys your ability to play DS games. I don't have a separate DS, so this would also render my entire DS collection as useless.



kamifox1 said:

@russellohh, It's not much different from modding a PC game or operating system (very common practice and even allowed by services like Steam, as far as games go), only difference is that a console is built in a way that requires the person to add things to the machines that shouldn't be there as far as the manufacturer's concerned.



fchinaski said:

Frankly, when they announced that the 3DS would be region locked I was pretty annoyed and thought that it was ridiculous etc. Now, seeing that the majority of titles are eventually being released in Europe, even niche ones like Project X Zone and JRPGs like Etrian Odyssey IV and Braverly Default, I stopped caring. Of course, I still would love to see the Dragon Quest series back on PAL territories, but this is a localisation issue, and not a region-lock issue — and, with so many games that I certainly won't have the time to play anyway, even if some games never get to be released outside Japan, tough luck, but I'll live with it.



andreoni79 said:

@fchinaski Etrian Odissey IV and Bravely Default can't be considered "niche" games.
Being Italian, I'd love to buy the american version of SMTIV, released months ago in a collector edition that's cheaper that any pal version, not localized and without any extra from Atlus, that maybe one day I'll be able to buy...



MikeLove said:


The fact your mind immediately went to My Little Pony as an example to support your argument is disturbing.

If not for rampant piracy, the Wii wouldn't have sold 100 million units either (same with the the PS2 and DS), so its not all bad for the manufacturers.



IxnayontheCK said:

Sure, my family lives in UK and it would be convenient if they could buy games for us and then mail em to Florida but really I don't see region lock as a major deal. We'll live...



kamifox1 said:

@russellohh oh, yeah, I'd totally buy a brick with awkwardly placed buttons for that... This sort of thing's only really illegal because companies don't like us breaking their rules, it's ultimately no different to game/OS modding. The only time I see things being illegal being reasonable is if it harms a person or group of people or causes companies/individuals to lose out on money. If it was used to gain new games for free, yes, that's fair enough, they worked hard on that product, they deserve the money they gain from it but for getting rid of region locks to buy foreign games therefore give the companies more money, I don't see an issue.



fchinaski said:

@andreoni79 "even niche ones like Project X Zone and JRPGs like Etrian Odyssey IV and Braverly Default"

I said that Project X Zone was niche, and that EOIV and BD were JRPGs. And SMTIV will come to Europe eventually. If you care so much for the collector's edition, you can buy it anyway afterwards, since the collectibles have nothing to do with the game per se (hence, collectibles). I understand the frustration, but, as I said, I'm past it — too many good games coming on and too little time for me to care.



Technosphile said:

I most certainly do still want Nintendo to end this archaic practice once and for all, especially since next month is seeing the release of a major title with offensive censorship applied to it. Censorship in localized releases has always been my primary reason for importing.



kamifox1 said:

Although, while we're on the subject of pirating, why do most people emulate or pirate games anyway? To play the games they otherwise can't due to region locks. See the irony here?



MikeLove said:


If you are talking about North America/UK/Japan, yes you are correct.

However, if you are including Mexico/South America/South East Asia/Middle East/Most of Europe then no, as the majority of people who either live there or who have travelled there can tell you that piracy is rampant in those countries because either the games are incredibly expensive or they are otherwise unavailable.



AlexSora89 said:

Oh, yeah, "Region Locking is a total non-issue".
That junk is the reason games keep not getting exported, such as Mother 3. Publishers give the finger to other regions and get away with that because regional lockout prevents them to import and play the game!
Okay, maybe there isn't such a direct cause-and-effect relation, but you have to admit this doesn't help gamers who resort to importing as it's kind of a necessity with non-exported games, such as Mother 3.



MikeLove said:


Why would someone in a developing nation/one with loose copyright laws go onto eBay and order games from North America, when they can go to their local mall/market and select pirated games from a catalogue and pay less than $2 a game and have them instantly?


It's hard to believe that someone so naive is employed in the games industry...



fchinaski said:

@kamifox1 No, no, no. Sorry, but even tough I live in Europe I'm from Brazil, and I can say for a fact that the majority of people resort to piracy because they can't afford to buy the games, or because they are so expensive that you can't just buy and resell easily if you don't like them, not because they want to play a handuful of games that were not released/distributed in their territories.



kamifox1 said:

@russellohh Yes but, and get this, there's things called import tax, delivery fees and VAT on top of the actual price. Then there's the games with these magical things also on them.



Fazermint said:

The removal of region locking has no impact at all on sales. If anything, more units are sold.



MikeLove said:



russellohh - "People of Indonesia!! Listen to me!! Stop buying pirated games for $2!! Instead, you should go on eBay and buy $15 copies of Mario Kart from a guy in Portland, Oregon, then pay another $17 for shipping to your island and cross your fingers that it will arrive in a month, if not at all!! Don't resort to piracy!! Please buy your games second hand from American people on eBay at a cost that is half your monthly earnings!!"

"Pride? A sense of worth? The need to actually pay for a game, and have that money go to the person who made it, and not the smelly store that sells bootleg copies of games that are $5 on eBay? Hard to believe that someone with such a loose sense of morality, hard work, pricing, and ethics couldn't find work in the gaming industry."

^ Weren't you just criticizing someone else for speaking as if they were on a "high horse"?? Yikes.....



fchinaski said:

Not to mention the need for international credit cards and/or PayPal accounts etc. I'm not defending piracy, but in Europe I can go to the nearest mall and buy used for 5 bucks, until a few years ago this was impossible in Brazil, and to my knowledge retail stores still don't have used game policies. Things are starting to change, but it's a slow process.



kamifox1 said:

I still don't quite get how we got from region locks to piracy though. Way to derail, russellohh.



fchinaski said:

@russellohh No taxes for you. When it gets there, customs can apply taxes up to 60% the value of the product. And when I lived in Brazil I never, ever received a game in a week. I have friends that are waiting for packages from October 2013 back there. It's not so simple as you're trying to make it.



kamifox1 said:

@russellohh Yeah, I got that part but that's not even the point of the article. You completely took away from the original point with your righteousness.



MikeLove said:



"Keep breaking those rocks, Johnny! In another two years you will have earned enough to buy a second hand copy of Wii Sports from some eBay guy in Chicago!"



MikeLove said:


"- didn't realize how terrible Brazil really was."

You don't realize how a lot of the world works apparently. Stop arguing with people who live in/travelled to these areas and who have first hand experience on the way things happen over there (in regards to rampant piracy and the reasons why). You are trying to apply your very narrow view of the world to things you don't understand and it's not flattering.



fchinaski said:

@russellohh Nothing to do with Brazil being terrible. It's the same as everywhere in the world where taxes apply: you get a note from the mail with the value and go to the nearest mail office to pay and collect the parcel. It's what I do here in Portugal also, whenever I have to pay taxes for somenthing I've ordered from the US.



AugustusOxy said:

Hate to say it, but nintendo could make money off the import scene.

They could A: Allow Japanese games, untranslated to be downloaded from the e-shop. Or B: make a PAID application that plays Japanese games.

I'd buy it, there are a few games I'd like to play, and a lot of them don't have steep learning curves.

C'mon nintendo. Seriously.



AugustusOxy said:


Can I have your job where you make 300-400 dollars a day?

Considering the pretentious nature of your comment, your parents probably buy all of your consoles and you probably haven't worked a day in your life.

Some of us have responsibilities and just "buying a brand new console' to play one or two japanese games that SHOULD be accessible over here is just ridiculous.

Import consoles are not CHEAP, they have inflated prices for all sorts of reasons, be it conversion or just the process of purchasing it. So take your flawed richboy logic elsewhere.



Hyperstar96 said:

@russellohh Flashcarts aren't sold at retail stores since they can be used for piracy, but they themselves are completely legal, and there are people that use them strictly for legal purposes. And "illegal" and "warranty-voiding" are far from the same thing.

Furthermore, this article is about playing region-free games. Why are you whining about something completely irrelevant?



kamifox1 said:

Exactly, Augustus Oxy, $15 IS a lot to some people. I, for one, struggle to even afford a £5 game most of the time!



Nightwalker said:

"This workaround does show that some gamers — perhaps small in number — are keen for region locking to come to an end."
Perhaps small in number?



MikeLove said:


"Stop acting like you're the crusader for third world children everywhere."

I'm the crusader for common sense and reality.

Someone in Indonesia who makes $200 a month isn't going to spend 80% of their monthly wage on buying an imported Wii game. They may, however, purchase pirated games at $2 because thats all they can afford to do. What's wrong with that? They would never have bought a legit game otherwise, so Nintendo isn't losing a customer by them buying a copy.



kamifox1 said:

Oh, mister game dev thinks everyone earns the same amount depending on how hard they work! Well, I've got news for you, they don't. There's things called manual labour and factories, you honestly think they earn barely enough to live on because they don't work hard enough? Yes, I have internet access, I can barely afford it. Yes, I have a PC and consoles, I bought all of it cheap.



Le_Gazman said:

Region locking on a mobile system is silly. Home consoles I can understand it a bit more, but a system intended for travel that doesn't allow you to play games you've bought while traveling is ludicrous.



kamifox1 said:

No, I'm talking about other countries, you know, where a lot of us are from? America isn't the only country in existence and their earnings don't equate to what people earn for the same job in other countries. Then there's the differences in value and prices. Also, how much of what you mentioned then goes on bills, MOTs (for cars etc.), fuel and food? Not much left for luxuries.



AugustusOxy said:


I'm sorry you're losing money because of pirating. Perhaps the gaming industry should figure out a real way to combat it instead of alienating its paying consumer base.

I personally know maybe 2 people in my experience that make anywhere near 24.50 an hour, and that is under the assumption that they get a full eight hour day, which most don't. Particularly in the midwest where the economy is still poopsydoodoocacapoopledoople. Even then your 'less than a days pay' logic works real great in a situation where say, someone has these things called 'bills' and responsibilities. If you wanna bring statistics into it, I think a 2 person household on average costs about 150 dollars a day to operate, that's a national average I read not too long ago.

Please tell me what company you work for so I know to never buy a game from them again.

150-200 dollars might not seem like a WHOLE lot to someone who 'works in the gaming industry' but it is for someone who has real world responsibilities... Why am I even bothering? You're not going to get it.
It is possible to refute arguments without resorting to insults — TBD



AugustusOxy said:


Thanks for confirming that once again, the gaming industry has little to no idea what their user base is like and how they operate.

Please tell me some more fun figures and statistics you've googled in your sparetime to justify the poor way you're treating the people on this page.



Tasuki said:

Can we all just chill and get back to the topic at hand instead of one uping each other? Thanks.



kamifox1 said:

Hold on one sec, Augustus, I'm currently on a games course but I tried and failed 5 years running before finally getting in (bit of an unfair assumption, is all). I'm completely with you on the rest of what you said.



BinaryFragger said:

"...retail workers, which isn't even remotely difficult."

Go work at Wal-Mart or McDonald's for a day and see how "easy" it is. Working in retail and fast food for minimum wage in my younger days (before I started working in IT) were the most difficult jobs I ever had.



AugustusOxy said:


Not looking to insult game makers in general, but I do find that the industry is filled with people like Russel who are so out of touch with their user base they do things like come on here and shout angrily at potential costumers.
Watch the insults — TBD



SomeoneDifferent said:

I find it hilarious that this website (which, again, makes me wonder if has some reason to do so - you know what I'm implying) defends Nintendo in any way, when it comes to region locking.

Like Nintendo on many things (such as online play, or how they juuuuuust implemented an ID system across all consoles), they are behind and an embarrassment to themselves, in many ways.

I love my Wii U and 3DS XL, but again - not an excuse. Nintendo, quit being complete morons...



unrandomsam said:

@russellohh It is very amusing for me the flash card situation. (It is the same as what America did when it was first formed). Exactly the same. (All the IP was stolen).



Mallard said:

Region locking is bad, I very rarely import games anymore, but I would like to be able to buys games if I went on holiday. Nintendo only lock their games to make more money, i.e pay the £ not the $ rate. There is no justification to region lock games, I love nintendo games, but they are so behind the curve sometimes.



Gridatttack said:

lol the comments were pretty fun to read :3

fun to see how some think everything is like in the US (which is not )

Also yay, no region lock. IMO nintys excuse is lame. They want to take care of everything, in which they cant :T



theblackdragon said:

How in the ever-loving hell did this conversation get twisted into a life-or-death argument about Indonesian farmers and piracy? The article clearly states that this hack will only allow legit cartridges to be played. If we're done devouring one another, I'd like to not see that sort of thing happen again, guys, or temp-bans will be handed down. I'm seeing some familiar players in that mess up there, and you may all consider yourselves warned.

I'm serious, it ends here. If you see your comment gone, do not re-post it. That argument is over, move on. Don't like it? Feel free to get in touch.

As to the article at hand, I kinda hope Nintendo just opens it up and allows all legit cartridges to be played on all systems, that'd put a wrench in flashcart peddlers' new selling point and make life much easier for the rest of us all. I know they won't, but i guess i can still hope :/



unrandomsam said:

@theblackdragon The hack itself involves using a loader which has exactly the same legal status as one of Nintendo's games or any other copyrighted file. Then patching it. (Which you definitely cannot do without permission from the copyright holder). Plus it looks like it is the same loader that loads pirated 3DS rom's so whether you can even use that at all legally I dunno.



theblackdragon said:

@unrandomsam: The question was rhetorical — that portion of the discussion had gone way too far afield and needed to end. Thank you for trying to be helpful, though. :3



Luna-Harmony said:

At last !! if nintendo did bot region lock stuff people wouldn't have to hack to get a point across. Region locking is bad in this time and day PS3,PS4 can play any game from any part of the world. Unlike nintendo i would have loved Code of Princess limited edition for my collection & Kingdom hearts Limited edition..



Volmun said:

@Luna-Harmony yeah id like MH4 among other games but i seam to remmember the regen lock is there to stop the perental controls braking as UK EU US & JPN all have difrnt age ratings. Or something like that I cant honestly remember.



chadi said:

Here in the Philippines, it's fairly common to see resellers of Japanese 3DS's and even EU ones because of region lock since only US games are locally available here. Got a regular JP 3DS for around $90 and I think the XL version ranges from around $110-135, used. I bought one just to play MH3G at the time and it was challenging to get games for it at first. It has become a lot easier now though since almost all games are available via eShop. I can even get the latest games Day 1 which I did with MH4. For the amount of time I've spent playing my JP 3DS, I'd say that my purchase was well worth it.

Now, if this workaround was available before I got my JP unit, I can honestly say that my decision would've stayed the same. For one, I still want to be able to play my DS library. Losing backwards compatibility would render them useless. Also, not being able to access the JP eShop means I would need to import physical copies of all my games which will accumulate tax and shipping charges. Then lastly, losing online functionality and game updates released via eShop would really suck and will not let me enjoy my games fully.

If it didn't have those major issues, then I would probably try it. But at the moment, it doesn't seem like a good alternative.



greatomnipotentdicta said:

Region locking is the big deal breaker for me, for both Wii U and 3DS. As someone who moves long distances on a semi-frequent basis, I feel it is just a much safer bet to get a PS4.



MAN1AC said:

Too bad my 3DS is up to date. I'm usually against hacking but in this instance I hope they continue. Its really disgusting how Nintendo continues this nonsense.



unrandomsam said:

"along with the usage and modification of a specific launcher"

More I read into it then the more surprised I am this is here. (i.e The only way to get it is to pirate it in the first place or break the encryption yourself which are both certainly illegal). It uses the gateway launcher but that is only available from them encrypted.

Same thing legally as getting a trial of something from Adobe or whatever and then cracking it. (By decrypting part of the program first in order to do so).



ultraraichu said:

I'm more of a localization over import type of guy but I still find it weird they have a hack like that. It's like breaking into a store when no one around to get some items but leave money (tax included) at the register.



WiiLovePeace said:

Wow that's awesome. Too bad my 3DS XL is on the latest firmware. It wouldn't region free the eShop though.



Blizzia said:

I love it whenever I have to talk about region locking. My argument: Remove region locking. Your argument: Invalid. Region locking is just another way of shoving the finger in our faces for no apparent reason other than greed. Forcing me to buy a EU, US AND JAP 3DS to be able to play my games is beyond greedy. People might argue "but you can just wait and see if the games come to your region!" The many fantastic but slightly niche games I love wouldn't ever leave japan, and I don't mind playing them in japanese... But for the love of god please don't make me buy a new CONSOLE just to play it. It is a sign of greed. That being said, their pockets do like my money. Oh well, can't have it all I guess But still, removing region locking would make my life SO much easier (and make my pockets actually have money in them).



kolz said:

lol waste of time. I like my games in English or at least with sub titles. No reason to play a game and have no idea wtf is going on because they are speaking Japanese.



MAB said:

If it doesn't allow you to play Monster Hunter 4 (the only decent 3DS game not in the west) online then who in the hell cares anyway



AlbertoC said:

Quoting my favorite part. " no longer runs DS ROMS, but rather only retail 3DS cartridges. It is then apparently possible to run 3DS retail games (only legitimate copies) from another region on any 3DS, essentially breaking the region lock."

I approve of using a flashcart for losing the posibility of using flashcarts for good and removing the region locking to hard copies of difficultly and legitimately obtained, exotic games from Shangri-La. Have a good day.

@kolz @MAB: That exactly is the very essence of it, my friend. Playing exotic games in their original languages. Some of us like and value it since they give us a chance and a reason to practice any foreign language we're studying. We are in a globalized world, developers should let us choose what language we read on, and Game Freak with their latest Pokemon installment gave a push in the right direction in this regard. Some other games even have the option to include the original voice acting, which is a rare yet delightful ocurrence.



vattodev said:

I wonder what would happen with games like Super Robot Taisen when there is no region locking. They do not follow the same copyright laws as the other countries. What would happen, then?



Squiggle55 said:

Region locking is crap. Sony wins this battle. We are your customer and region locking is anti-customer. They can try their best to spin it and introduce their arguments but at its core it's just a consumer benefit they choose not to provide.



divinelite said:

Isn't it the same way illegal then gateway
My friend could play Bravely default from Europe even when his machine is us because of that

Well just blame Nintendo for putting the lock and move on



kereke12 said:

Region-locking is a joke and should be removed, Sony wins this one. Nintendo should consider taking off region-locking.



MAB said:

3DS sales compared to VITA tell a different story of who's winning... And profit is the only kind of winning a business ever really needs



kurtasbestos said:

Awww, the article's title got me all excited that I'd be able to buy a 3DS in the country I live in (Japan) but still be able to play games in my native language (English)... but now I see that it's far too complicated and I'm probably better off just not being lazy.



mozie said:

Personally delighted by this news, was just about to import a 3ds. This seems simple enough really and i have a suitable 3ds, there really is no valid reason for region-locking in this day and age.



Seren77 said:

If they don't sell something in my region and I want to buy but cannot, then it's a lost sale.



unrandomsam said:

@Squiggle55 Sony's implementation isn't perfect either. Most of the stuff I want is PSP only and UMD only. (Not on either PSN store). It isn't a simple process you need a memory card per region.



WYLD-WOO said:

I`ve been playing old DS games from the US on my EU 3DS of late and enjoying cheaper games, together with titles that were never released in Europe. Anyone got the answer...... Could Nintendo just send an update to make all 3DS consoles region free????



Kirk said:

This shouldn't have been necessary in the fist place.


Clearly, Yes based on what these hackers have done, which is why it's so f'n annoying that Nintendo is just being a total and utter duck about stuff like this.

This kind of stuff can't seriously be defended at this point and it is imo all the little problems like this (region locking, no basic CD/DVD/movie-file playback on Wii U, lack of current-gen graphics power, lack of unified accounts and eShop services, overpriced VC titles, missing analog on Wii U's shoulder triggers, etc etc etc...) which is why so many gamers are no longer interested in Nintendo's consoles any more.



SeVok said:

Region-locking in this day and age is simply obsolete. Instead of finding ways to prohibit and secure there system and spending resources on it, they should embrace the demand for this desired functionality and legitimatize it. Really Nintendo, give people the freedom of choice of what version to buy for whatever reason.



FX102A said:

Like many have already said, the fact that many niche titles (especially JRPGs) are seeing European releases have made the need for importing from the US less of an issue (although patience is still required), although special edition swag is still missed out on unless you double dip.

It was the complete opposite on the DS where I built up a large collection of NTSC-U JRPGs that Europe never saw the light of day.

But if I had a choice I would still prefer no region lock.



WYLD-WOO said:

So... No flashcard would be needed to make the change. If, Nintendo wanted they could just send an update. Cheers for clearing that one up Captain.



ProfanePelican said:

If Nintendo were to remove its region-locking policy I think it would be a gradual implementation rather than one fell swoop like most would hope for. I suppose there are, have been, and will be plenty of attempts at creating a (illegal) workaround, which definitely demonstrates some interest. Nintendo has already explicitly stated its stance, though, so I don't see them changing their policy in the foreseeable future. This hack, like others, will probably get blocked in a future system update if it grows in popularity.



Kirk said:

Pretty sure Nintendo could do a simple update to make this work on both the 3DS and Wii U if it really gave a sh*t about doing so.



CureDolly said:

I would definitely like region-free consoles. I have a Japanese 3DS and can't play Western games at all. I prefer it that way around, but I'd much prefer the ability to play both.

Incidentally breaking the region lock is not in any way "illegal". The machine is your property to use as you wish. The import games are also your property. Nintendo has the legal right to lock its software if it wants to. And users have the legal right to break the lock if they can. Region locking is not a law it is an attempt by a company to impose its will.

Pirating games is an entirely different question, and that is rightly illegal.



Kolzig said:

There are no pros for region locking, only cons.

It is unbelievable that 3DS and Wii U are region locked. Wii U I can still kind of understand since all regions have kind of gotten almost all the games, but 3DS is dumb since you travel with that and it would be awesome to buy a game for 3DS if happen to visit Canada for example from Europe, just like was possible with DS.



unrandomsam said:

@CureDolly Not sure about this. Breaking the Region Lock isn't illegal. Many of the ways of going about it unfortunately are for various reasons.

However discussing such methods are against our rules -LZ



unrandomsam said:

@WYLD-WOO Nintendo could just allow dev's to make region free stuff anyway.

(The Louvre 3DS App already has those rights so no changes at all are needed).



CureDolly said:

@unrandomsam Thank you for the details. Actually I was not thinking of using this particular method, or recommending it as I don't own a flaschard thing (and I know they are pretty dubious). I was really just saying that in principle there is no illegality about de-crippling your own machine to play all your own games. Which you say too, so we are in agreement. It is true that many of the ways of de-crippling machines (I say "cripple" because the principle is the same as "crippleware" where something is wholly capable of doing something but deliberately disabled by the maker) also enable piracy. This is a rather foolish aspect of the region-locking policy, since people who would never dream of going to all the trouble of unlocking their machines if it were not to play their own Nintendo games on a NIntendo system may afterward be tempted to use some of the other "benefits".

I know several cross-national kids who hacked their Wiis just to play their whole collections gathered in different countries. Having done so, even though they weren't really interested in piracy, some of them did run some illegal ROMs.

You can blame them if you want, but I would say Nintendo brought that situation about by not thinking about the needs of those otherwise loyal Nintendo fans.



kamifox1 said:

Sorry to everyone about what happened before, I promise to avoid a similar situation in future. (Not trying to bring it up again, I just think I owe those of you that got caught in the crossfire or annoyed about it, possibly enough to report it, an apology)

Anyway, on this topic, as I think I said before, I'm mostly annoyed because I now have to carry a DSi (outdated therefore potentially embarrassing, especially being on a course that's filled with gamers) around to play the US Digimon games I bought legitimately online which were never released in this country, I bought them before my 3DS got region locked. I have every right to be able to play them on my most up to date device but I can't because they locked me out for no real reason, as far as I can see. This has also deterred me from legitimately buying any of the other Digimon games I want on DS and boy, do I want them...



Expa0 said:

If Nintendo doesn't get their **** together soon and release SMT4 here in Europe this may be worth looking into.



Uberchu said:

@Kolzig there are cons:

People don't buy the game in their region, thus sales for the game look low and 3rd parties with not a lot of funds may be less likely to bring the game over there.

Don't forget no CN support for most games bought in other regions. (unless you live in AUS/NZ then UK games should work for CN)

Theres probably more but not as important.



thelastgogeta said:


Unless and often even if importing is painless as can be, the amount of people who import should be incredibly small though they will appreciate it and if the game is good praise it to the heavens so much that the game gets a quickly built fanbase in a region regardless of them double dipping (as I did for The Last Story, BlazBlue, Ace Attorney 5 among other games).

This effect has been pronounced positively in the case of Game of Thrones where even piracy was having a positive effect on how the show did overseas. Plenty of anime and manga get pushed hard

It only has a problem in cases where the game is bad (see Time and Eternity, but anyone could google for Japanese reception too) as people are aware they don't want the game months or years in advance or when the game is significantly delayed which may decrease interest immensely if the game is easy to import and the console is going through a phase (Devil Survivor Overclocked had new bugs with a four year wait and DS 2 was just plain late in 2013 for a DS game when there is still a better version coming - Both turned out fine though).



Honelith said:

I would love to buy a retail copy of Rune Factory 4 and SMT4, not the eshop only versions for the UK...So, I check some threads on how to disable regional locking and now I have some knowledge on how to play 3DS roms...Not good.

Nintendo, get rid of the annoying region lock or you're just pushing gamers to use exploits and potentially onto rom carts...

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