Nintendo May Consider Region Unlocking

NintendoLogoNintendo President Satoru Iwata addressed the future of Nintendo products in a recent investor Q&A, including the prospect of unlocking regions on their devices.

Region locking is a process that restricts games to certain markets or hardware. A locked device in the U.S., for example, cannot play a game with an Asian region code.

Other consoles from Sony and Microsoft have moved away from the process in recent years. However, Nintendo still keeps regions locked on their current Wii U and 3DS consoles.

“As for what should be done going forward, if unlocked for the benefit of the customers, there may also be a benefit for us,” Iwata said via translation. “Conversely, unlocking would require various problems to be solved, so while I can’t say today whether or not we intend to unlock, we realize that it is one thing that we must consider, looking to the future.”

In the past, Nintendo’s region-locking lead to campaigns from other markets to bring popular Japanese games overseas. One such title, Xenoblade Chronicles, received critical praise and will be released again on the New 3DS in 2015.

Nintendo did not disclose any more information about the details of unlocking regions, should it decide to do so. Likely, any changes to Nintendo’s hardware would be reserved for future consoles.


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