As more and more details about Nintendo’s 3DS are leaked or unveiled, the hype that set in when the device was first revealed back at E3 has begun to diminish slightly as certain disappointing elements come to light, such as the poor battery life. Now Nintendo fans have even more disheartening news: Unlike the DS and DS Lite (and DSi, technically), the 3DS may be region locked.
What does this mean in practical terms? Well, it means if you want to import any games from Japan or Europe, either because those games didn’t get a North American release, because you can’t wait, or you simply want to practice your Japanese, you will have to also import a territory-specific handheld.
While this probably won’t affect most Canadian or US gamers terribly much, it is still a disappointing step backwards. I know I plan on importing the sequel to Hotel Dusk from Europe since it never got a North American localization, and the fact that I won’t have that option with the 3DS, combined with the dismal battery life and disappointing launch line-up, makes me want to reconsider pre-ordering, especially at the steep cost of entry.
Of course, Nintendo hasn’t officially said whether the 3DS will be region locked, but considering how the DS was one of the few exceptions for this type of thing, fans of imported games may want to start saving up for another 3DS.