Nintendo may drop region-locking

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Nintendo fans fond of their 3DSes and Wii Us have reason to be cautiously optimistic: Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has told investors the company is considering dropping the “region-locking” that prevents gamers from buying 3DS and Wii U games from other countries.

It’s not confirmed, of course, but it’s promising. Apparently Iwata said as much in a Q & A session after a recent investor call, according to

“As for what should be done going forward, if unlocked for the benefit of the customers, there may also be a benefit for us. 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.”

Nintendo could use a bit of a boost, as the company has been lagging behind other big-name gaming names when it comes to sales of their hardware and software outside of Japan. A telling sign that the company is considering new things is the fact that they’ve recently announced they’re bringing out a new smartphone app that will let people edit and manage their Miis; it’s but a small step to other Nintendo properties appearing on smartphones (but that’s in no way, shape or form even hinted at, at this point).

So while there is no definitive answer on the region-locking, at the very least Nintendo appears to be mulling over the idea, and that’s progress. It’s an especially intriguing prospect for South African gamers, who will finally be able to buy games overseas (often for less than they sell for here) without worrying they won’t play on their South African systems.

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Deon du Plessis

Deon du Plessis

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.