Sorry Folks, The New Nintendo 3DS Will Still be Region-Locked

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Sorry Folks, The New Nintendo 3DS Will Still be Region-Locked

new 3ds nfc

The new Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL models will boast a range of new features, but region-free gaming will not be among them.

Sometimes Nintendo is on the edge of innovation, and other times, it's a big, stomping dinosaur, clinging desperately to old practices its competition abandoned years ago. Region locking, that is, restricting software bought in a specific region to only work on hardware from the same region, is its most draconian of such policies, and one that both Microsft and Sony completely abandoned with their latest machines. Now, it looks like region locking will continue onto the recently announced "New 3DS" models.

Nintendo confirmed to GameSpot that the new models will still have the region lock that was first introduced to the DS line with the DSi. This means that games released across Japan, Europe, and North America will only be playable in those territories, effectively eliminating the opportunity to import games without also importing foreign hardware.

Last year, there was a concentrated effort from Nintendo fans to convince the company to drop its region lock policies, which somewhat ended with Nintendo president rather curtly defending the policy, stating:

"From some people's perspective, it might seem like a kind of restriction. However, we hope people can appreciate the fact that we're selling our products worldwide. 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."

As an Australian who lives in Japan, and has to juggle two 3DS consoles just to be able to play games in both languages, this policy greatly saddens me.

Source: Gamespot

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Steven Bogos:
As an Australian who lives in Japan, and has to juggle two 3DS consoles just to be able to play games in both languages, this policy greatly saddens me.

Aren't you then supporting their decision to keep region lock? If you are giving them twice the money, why would they stop?

Rocket Girl:

Steven Bogos:
As an Australian who lives in Japan, and has to juggle two 3DS consoles just to be able to play games in both languages, this policy greatly saddens me.

Aren't you then supporting their decision to keep region lock? If you are giving them twice the money, why would they stop?

Normally I'd agree with you, but as a journalist I need the American 3DS console to play review copies of games, and the Japanese one to be actually able to purchase games in my local area. I did buy the Japanese console 2nd hand, however, so that's technically not giving them any money ;)

I kinda of expected as much.
Oh well, I still want it.

Call me a sucker.

Steven Bogos:

Rocket Girl:

Steven Bogos:
As an Australian who lives in Japan, and has to juggle two 3DS consoles just to be able to play games in both languages, this policy greatly saddens me.

Aren't you then supporting their decision to keep region lock? If you are giving them twice the money, why would they stop?

Normally I'd agree with you, but as a journalist I need the American 3DS console to play review copies of games, and the Japanese one to be actually able to purchase games in my local area. I did buy the Japanese console 2nd hand, however, so that's technically not giving them any money ;)

That's a rather sucky position to be in. Couldn't you play Japanese review copies? I'm ignorant of how that whole thing works. I'd assume living in Japan would make it easier for you to get Japanese review copies. I don't think that's any different than a German reading a review written by an American reviewer with a U.S. English copy.

I love Nintendo and all of it's products, but even then I agree that this region locking thing has got to go. I may not import games but I'm sure there are many people who can and will if Nintendo would just do away with this policy.

Continue the region locking all you want Nintendo, I'll continue not to care about your backwards company that's still stuck in the 90s and shows how much it hates it's consumers. Unfortuently I actually do want to get a Wii U but ugh this makes it hard to care when they rip us off charge so much more than anyone else.

I don't think Nintendo's given any indication whatsoever recently that would lead anyone to expect that they would somehow randomly be more consumer friendly for a new system. They're going to milk all of the money out of you they can. Especially given the way they're losing money right now.

Region free New 3DS was about as likely as Ubisoft suddenly announcing Wii U will be a cross platform target for all games again.

I know, I know, Hope springs eternal.

The reason for this is actually strangely simple but would be a better article for Forbes rather then an enthusiast mag like the escapist. The reality is that they started introducing region locking back into their hand held products with the 3DS as the previous DS and earlier Gameboy models were all region free. The reason for this is that in 2008, one of the bigger effects of the market crash in Japan was that the Yen exploded while the dollar dropped, which caused an extreme nearly 40 point drop in the exchange rate. Where prior to the crash the yen was trading at 107 to the dollar, it dropped down to the mid 70's. What this meant for Japanese manufactures (across the board, not just gaming) was that their products became hugely more expensive overseas. So when they first designed the 3DS they sold it at 25,000 yen in Japan, at a time where that would have been roughly 225 dollars. But when the dollar plummeted and the Yen increased in value, the price of the DS in dollars became more like 310 dollars after the exchange rate. The 3DS was already criticized for being too expensive in the US and Europe, which would force them to drop the price, since this kind of price drop is common in hardware, in anticipation they probably decided to region lock it because Japanese gamers might likely go out of their way to buy the hardware at the overseas price which would kill their profits.

This actually applies to a lot of Japanese entertainment. Anime fans living in Japan will probably tell you how insanely expensive it is to buy anime in Japan where buying the american version over amazon costs you substantially less. The practice of selling one episode per DVD priced at nearly 40 dollars is common place in Japan and even still prevalent. But maybe the biggest factor there is that Japanese fans will shell out the cash. This stuff gets bought despite the fact that the prices are insane. This is a huge point, if it ever became easy for Japanese gamers to buy hardware significantly cheaper by importing it from overseas, this would seriously cut into profits. You'll likely see Nintendo drop region locking when the dollar AND (not or) the Euro over take the yen by a significant factor. (at least 10 percent)

It has nothing to do with content in any way. The laws covering content are much more relaxed, it is simply a pricing issue. If you want proof of this, Atlus pretty much admitted as much when they released the first region locked PS3 game, persona 4 arena, which they claimed was because of overseas pricing differences at the same time pointing out that they had made literally no content changes.

A side not actually, from a pure cost perspective, the physical costs are higher in creating region locking, its just that they will maximize profits based on pricing.

I can get behind and fully understand what the president of Nintendo is thinking when he defends the policy.

Yeah, they do sell their stuff worldwide, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't realise that the problem isn't Nintendo not supplying their stuff worldwide, it is other companies not supplying their stuff worldwide (E.G Game devs/publishers).

As an Australian who has both an Aussie 3DS XL and an imported NA 3DS XL I am a little annoyed they are sticking to this practice.

I was hyped for SMT IV, they advertised it as a worldwide launch in (July 2013?) but a few months before the launch EU's launch date was postponed and heard nothing of the release date for months, it wasn't until more than a year later we got an actual release date and it still isn't even out yet...

We are talking about 2 English versions of a game that are virtually identical, they had to add in the letter U for some words.

Then Rune Factory 4 came out and it was confirmed that there would be no Australian release, So I simply imported an NA 3DS XL.

Before I did though I ran into another problem with region locking. I imported the UK version of Devil survivor overclocked, because Ghostlight for some reason don't publish in Australia, so that game was never getting an Aussie release, but UK games are PAL and I could import them.

The problem arose when Ghostlight somehow managed to sneak a game-breaking bug into the game (whenever you summoned a demon, the game broke), they released a patch for it but because the game was never sold in Australia, the patch was never released on the Australian E-shop... there was no way for me to patch the broken game.

Whatislove:
The problem arose when Ghostlight somehow managed to sneak a game-breaking bug into the game (whenever you summoned a demon, the game broke), they released a patch for it but because the game was never sold in Australia, the patch was never released on the Australian E-shop... there was no way for me to patch the broken game.

I'd like to correct that, the patch is available in the Australian E-shop. I have the game too and the patch for it came out last year. Instructions on getting the patch can be found here if you need to manually download the update. Hopefully that helps.

OT: I'm not really surprised, tbh. Even if Nintendo were planning on removing the region locks, why do it in the middle of a generation? Surely they would wait until the next generation to remove them.

*Looks up*

What? Nintendo's handhelds are still being shit? Screw 'em, then. They know my terms.

*Goes back to Shovel Knight*

So, being someone who doesn't like to read foreign languages unknown to me, import games, or vacation abroad does this even affect me?

RicoADF:
Continue the region locking all you want Nintendo, I'll continue not to care about your backwards company that's still stuck in the 90s and shows how much it hates it's consumers. Unfortuently I actually do want to get a Wii U but ugh this makes it hard to care when they rip us off charge so much more than anyone else.

The Wii U is $100 less than the other new consoles, and you can get a game bundled with it for no extra, and loads of Wii U games only cost $40 now. And there's been loads of free content deals and DLC cheaper than most other AAA games. So unless you're really looking forward to playing Zelda 2 again Nintendo isn't ripping anyone off.

That quote really just convinced me that Nintendo really doesn't know how region free works. It's a niche convenience feature, for a minority that are probably already aware of various cultural differences and what not. Making your system region free doesn't suddenly mean every region exclusive game needs to be modified so snot-nosed [insert any country here] kids can play it.

The only real reason to have region locking is to control pricing, and if that's the case, at least be fucking honest about it. If they're going to spoon feed us a load of garbage like this so they can continue outdated practises, maybe they should go back to their "pathetic" (Miyamoto's words, not mine) casual audience, because I don't buy any of this BS. Adults should have the right to play whatever they want.

And people question why I hate Nintendo.

Haru17:

The Wii U is $100 less than the other new consoles, and you can get a game bundled with it for no extra, and loads of Wii U games only cost $40 now. And there's been loads of free content deals and DLC cheaper than most other AAA games. So unless you're really looking forward to playing Zelda 2 again Nintendo isn't ripping anyone off.

Now to convert that into Australian prices:
Wii U - $419
Wii U games - $70-$90

PS4 - $548
PS4 games - $80-$100
PS4 games imported - $40-$60

There's a big difference with PS4/XBO since their not region locked and that's not bringing the PC with its far cheaper games. Sorry but the Wii U's region lock forces their games to be double the price of even a PS4 game that I can get from ozgameship.com and has no chance against PC.

Nintendo handheld market is king.But it seems to mirror the mobile phone market; every few months a new improved device. The sad part is people keep buying them. I gave up around the DS lite, xl, etc. Only game I really liked was Pokemon, but even that lost it's appeal.

That's a rather sucky position to be in. Couldn't you play Japanese review copies? I'm ignorant of how that whole thing works. I'd assume living in Japan would make it easier for you to get Japanese review copies. I don't think that's any different than a German reading a review written by an American reviewer with a U.S. English copy.[/quote]

He works for a non-Japanese gaming site, so he gets a non-Japanese review copy. He's not a Japanese reviewer, so there's no reason for the Japanese division of a company to send him a Japanese review copy.

And Man:
He works for a non-Japanese gaming site, so he gets a non-Japanese review copy. He's not a Japanese reviewer, so there's no reason for the Japanese division of a company to send him a Japanese review copy.

Right, but if someone from, say, Russia comes to this site and can read a review written from the English version of the game, why couldn't someone write a review of the Japanese version for English people?

Rocket Girl:

And Man:
He works for a non-Japanese gaming site, so he gets a non-Japanese review copy. He's not a Japanese reviewer, so there's no reason for the Japanese division of a company to send him a Japanese review copy.

Right, but if someone from, say, Russia comes to this site and can read a review written from the English version of the game, why couldn't someone write a review of the Japanese version fro English people?

Because he would have to be able to get a copy of the Japanese version. Review copies are typically sent out before the game is released to the general public.

And Man:

Rocket Girl:

And Man:
He works for a non-Japanese gaming site, so he gets a non-Japanese review copy. He's not a Japanese reviewer, so there's no reason for the Japanese division of a company to send him a Japanese review copy.

Right, but if someone from, say, Russia comes to this site and can read a review written from the English version of the game, why couldn't someone write a review of the Japanese version fro English people?

Because he would have to get a copy of the Japanese version. Review copies are typically sent out before the game is released to the general public.

Right. And he lives in Japan. Why would it be difficult to get a review copy in Japanese if, as we just discussed, it is fine to review a different language version of a game than that of the reader's country?

Then Nintendo get upset when people just use flash carts, I do not agree or support piracy but you easily see why significant numbers of people will opt for it. When the pirates offer a more convenient or superior service (or even a service at all as some games never get released outside Japan) you know something isn't right, I don't know about the 360 but last gen even the PS3 wasn't region locked in general (I have imported games from Canada). Same for the PSV too, I think developers can opt for it and this only applies to retail cartridges and there are some issues with PSN games as those services are regional.

Rocket Girl:
Right. And he lives in Japan. Why would it be difficult to get a review copy in Japanese if, as we just discussed, it is fine to review a different language version of a game than that of the reader's country?

Because he would need a pre-release copy of the game, and there's no incentive for a Japanese developer/the Japanese division of a company to send him one, because he doesn't review for a Japanese site, so his Japanese audience is likely insignificant. Basically, he would need a company to send him a Japanese copy of a game before the game is actually released, but there's no reason for the company to do that.

And Man:

Rocket Girl:
Right. And he lives in Japan. Why would it be difficult to get a review copy in Japanese if, as we just discussed, it is fine to review a different language version of a game than that of the reader's country?

Because he would need a pre-release copy of the game, and there's no incentive for a Japanese developer/the Japanese division of a company to send him one, because he doesn't review for a Japanese site, so his Japanese audience is likely insignificant. Basically, he would need a company to send him a Japanese copy of a game before the game is actually released, but there's no reason for the company to do that.

The reason is the same as sending any other version out: publicity. Why would a Japanese company have "no reason" to care about publicity, when you say they will send out an English version of the game for publicity? That makes no sense.

Rocket Girl:
The reason is the same as sending any other version out: publicity. Why would a Japanese company have "no reason" to care about publicity, when you say they will send out an English version of the game for publicity? That makes no sense.

That's why companies have American and European divisions: to deal with the American and European audiences. It's probably cheaper and more convenient for The Escapist to just get American and PAL review copies from American and European company divisions than it is to try and work with a Japanese division to get a Japanese review copy. Hell, if they did try to work with a Japanese division, it's likely that they'd just get shot down and told to contact the American or European division.

And Man:

Rocket Girl:
The reason is the same as sending any other version out: publicity. Why would a Japanese company have "no reason" to care about publicity, when you say they will send out an English version of the game for publicity? That makes no sense.

That's why companies have American and European divisions: to deal with the American and European audiences. It's probably cheaper and more convenient for The Escapist to just get American and PAL review copies from American and European company divisions than it is to try and work with a Japanese division to get a Japanese review copy. Hell, if they did try to work with a Japanese division, it's likely that they'd just get shot down and told to contact the American or European division.

Why would it be easier and cheaper for them to get am American copy of a game and then send it to him in Japan, when he could get a Japanese copy from Japan? And if they aren't made in Japan and it's not easier, why not still get the Japanese copy and he can have one DS and play all his games.

Rocket Girl:
Why would it be easier and cheaper for them to get am American copy of a game and then send it to him in Japan, when he could get a Japanese copy from Japan? And if they aren't made in Japan and it's not easier, why not still get the Japanese copy and he can have one DS and play all his games.

[As a precursor, I'm not a game developer or reviewer, so these are mostly assumptions, but assumptions that I would imagine are more or less correct.] An Escapist reviewer gets his review copies through The Escapist. The Escapist is a non-Japanese gaming site, so it works with the American and/or European divisions of a company. Therefore, Escapist employees get American and/or PAL review copies. If they wanted to get a Japanese review copy, then The Escapist would have to get one from the Japanese division. But the Japanese division probably isn't going to work with The Escapist, because it's a non-Japanese site, so it's the American and/or European division's responsibility. So, because The Escapist likely has to work with the American and/or European divisions, Escapist reviewers are going to get American and/or PAL review copies. Now, why he doesn't just get his own copy of the game? Review copies are typically sent to reviewers early, before the game is released publicly. This is so the reviewer can have a review of the game published before the game is released to (hopefully) generate more hype, and thus more sales. And this can't be done if a copy can't be acquired before the game is publicly released.

Also note that Steven started out with the American 3DS and got the Japanese 3DS for his own, non-work-related convenience.

And if you still don't understand, then how about this: Why would the American/European division of a company get a Japanese copy of a game to send to a reviewer, when they can just say "Too bad, get him an American/PAL 3DS so he can review that version of the game."?

What is not seen is me flipping off Nintendo because they seriously seem determined to be afraid of money at every turn. They make nice decisions and then shoot off their foot right away. Seriously Nintendo, digital region locking I can understand, but physical region locking is just asinine in this day and age. Hell, even Microsoft's console has gone region free now. Some policies are meant to change over time, and this has just cemented my decision against getting a New 3DS unless it has the most amazing game ever exclusive to it, and even then I might not buy it out of principle.

Now to wait for all the people who say how we shouldn't complain about region locking, just because it doesn't affect that person... >.>

if it was unlocked, it would have been a day 1 buy for me, simply so i could ask for an import copy of rune factory 4 as a combines bithday and xmas gift (both in the same month)

as it is, i wont shell out for it unless there is a new game i just have to play. i may drag my heels even longer till i can get a 2nd hand one or a sepcial edition one (i was one month too early for the original 3ds+OoT version, so i will wait it out this time)

but then, im not the target audience. i dont trade my old models in, nor my old games. im a hoarder lol

As long as we all get Xenoblade I'm happy.

No Nintendo, just no. There is no benefit to this policy, it is all detriment. It only helps you out, nobody else is benefiting from this policy. I like your handhelds, and sometimes you do alright by me, but for the most part, you guys just seem to like to shit the bed on situations like this. So no Nintendo, fuck you. Don't screw people over and then tell them why it's important to that they get screwed like that. At least have the fucking balls to say a real reason behind it. This is the Tomodachi Life thing all over again, or the lack of a female character in ACU. It's not the fact that something is or isn't there, it's your response as to why it is or isn't there. That's what pisses me off.

As someone who imports this is a darn shame. Can't make do without having a 3DS as a lot of good stuff is on it, I suppose I'll just have to be content playing some of those games in their ludicrous late EU release dates.
The result of all this is I have spent much more money on the Vita, funny how that happens when I'm put in such a situation.

J Tyran:
Then Nintendo get upset when people just use flash carts, I do not agree or support piracy but you easily see why significant numbers of people will opt for it. When the pirates offer a more convenient or superior service (or even a service at all as some games never get released outside Japan) you know something isn't right, I don't know about the 360 but last gen even the PS3 wasn't region locked in general (I have imported games from Canada). Same for the PSV too, I think developers can opt for it and this only applies to retail cartridges and there are some issues with PSN games as those services are regional.

360 was region locked though there are exceptions as Microsoft didn't enforce it as a definite must (however DLC was always region locked I believe which would be annoying I imagine), PS3 was region free though publishers had the option of region locking their game if they wished...oddly the only game to be region locked was by Atlus of all companies because apparently all versions have the same language support and they knew everyone who cared would import the Japanese version (they'd be no downside except for them I suppose).

Vita is region free, though if you want to download those Japanese only exclusives you'll have to make a Japanese account to access the store so some faffing about is needed if you're doing things digitally.

RicoADF:

Haru17:

The Wii U is $100 less than the other new consoles, and you can get a game bundled with it for no extra, and loads of Wii U games only cost $40 now. And there's been loads of free content deals and DLC cheaper than most other AAA games. So unless you're really looking forward to playing Zelda 2 again Nintendo isn't ripping anyone off.

Now to convert that into Australian prices:
Wii U - $419
Wii U games - $70-$90

PS4 - $548
PS4 games - $80-$100
PS4 games imported - $40-$60

There's a big difference with PS4/XBO since their not region locked and that's not bringing the PC with its far cheaper games. Sorry but the Wii U's region lock forces their games to be double the price of even a PS4 game that I can get from ozgameship.com and has no chance against PC.

Thank you for helping support Australian Retailers.

ElMinotoro:

Thank you for helping support Australian Retailers.

Actually the majority of my physical games are from Aussie retailers, jb hifi 2 for $40 is them being competative, thanks to online stores the locals are now forced to compete and give a good price. Not so much with Wii U games for the above reason.

PC is the platform that retailers are losing to in my buying, and a lot of that is because we dont have a local gog, also steam sales lol, which once again retailers are learning to compete with.

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