Looks like Nintendo 3DS will be region-locked

Bad news, would-be importers of Nintendo’s new 3DS handheld: all 3DS software will be region-locked. That means importing kooky Japanese games is out of the question for owners of a North American 3DS, while importing a game that arrives early in North America is out of the question for owners of a European 3DS. Or to put it another way: graaghjhgfklhfuhne.

An email from Nintendo of Japan support appeared on NeoGAF earlier today, and pretty much confirms the news:

“There are no Region codes in DS and DS Lite, but DSi, DSi [XL], and 3DS have region codes. The region codes are installed in each game and the 3DS itself. … You can’t play if the region codes are different. For example, if you play a Korean 3DS game with a Japanese 3DS system (or vice versa), you won’t be able to play at all.”

If you hadn’t already guessed, I see region-locking a handheld console as asinine and pointless, a measure that pisses off consumers (what exactly is wrong with wishing to buy a game from another country?) and that keeps only publishers and retailers happy. Cheers, Nintendo.

The 3DS is due out in the U.S. and Europe in March, and in Japan on February 26th. After this news, I imagine most of us will be waiting for the console to arrive in our own region before splashing out.

[Via NeoGAF]