Fashionably late to the party, as always.
Of the three console makers currently on the market, the only one that continues to region lock its machines is Nintendo. It comes off as hopelessly outdated- not only is the Wii U’s region lock unlike either the Xbox One or PS4’s full region freedom, but the region lock on the 3DS, which came after two decades of region free Nintendo handhelds, misses the point of a handheld entirely.
A lot of people have spoken out about Nintendo’s draconian region locking policies, and now, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata has given the clearest indication yet that the company may be about to reverse its stance. Speaking at a shareholder meeting (translation via NeoGAF), Iwata said that he was ‘optimistic’ that region locking on Nintendo machines would soon be a thing of the past.
“Removing region-locking from current game machines presents various issues, so we don’t consider that to be very realistic,” he said. “However, regarding NX, given the customer feedback and proposals from the market, while nothing has been decided yet, we’re currently investigating internally what problems there would be in realizing it. You can think of that as the current situation. I understand your desire, so I’d like to look at it optimistically going forward.”
So, the long and short of it is- on Wii U, 3DS, and New 3DS? The region lock will stay. For future Nintendo machines? It is far more likely Nintendo will embrace the region free future.