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 gbatemp.net, 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.