New Nintendo 3DS Will Be Region-Locked

Upgraded hardware will maintain Nintendo's controversial policy on blocking cross-continental compatibility.

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Nintendo will maintain its policy of region-locking hardware with the New Nintendo 3DS handheld, the company has confirmed to GameSpot.

It 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 importing foreign hardware, too.

In contrast to Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo has a long history of region-locking its hardware, implementing the restriction to both the Wii U and 3DS systems.

Despite hope that this policy would change, on Wednesday a representative for Nintendo told GameSpot that the New Nintendo 3DS, and New 3DS XL, will both be region-locked.

In July last year, a petition imploring Nintendo to change this policy was endorsed by tens of thousands of consumers. At the time of going to press, the petition has close to 32,000 signatories.

The New 3DS and 3DS XL will launch across North America and Europe next year
The New 3DS and 3DS XL will launch across North America and Europe next year

The petition's author argues: "This practice is restrictive to customers, including those who enjoy playing foreign games not available domestically, speak foreign languages, serve in the military, or otherwise travel or live abroad."

Incidentally, on Wednesday the game developer Atlus announced that the European release for Shin Megami Tensei 4 has been delayed to "late October." The game shipped in Japan in May 2013, and was available across North America two months later.

Last year, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata defended the region-locking policies.

"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," Iwata said at the time.

"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."

Two new shoulder buttons add to the several new features included in the New 3DS
Two new shoulder buttons add to the several new features included in the New 3DS

The New Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL will launch later this year in Japan, with a European release penciled in for 2015. Nintendo of America has not yet confirmed a North American release.

It comes with various hardware improvements, such as a small C-Stick next to its face buttons, which effectively works as a second analog stick.

Also featured are two new shoulder buttons--ZL and ZR--along with what Nintendo is calling "Super-Stable 3D," which will broaden the viewing field of the stereoscopic 3D.

Upgraded hardware will allow the system to run faster, while the in-built NFC technology will enable the use of Nintendo's "amiibo" figurines.

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