Wii U to be Region Locked

Monday, September 24th, 2012

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Over the years, Nintendo has had a nasty habit of region-locking their consoles. Ever try playing your European import of Pandora’s Tower on a North American Wii? I can bet that attempt didn’t end well.

Unfortunately, Nintendo doesn’t seem to be changing this habit for the Wii U. A translated post on Twitter states “What can be played on the Wii U is restricted by a region-lock feature; software not sold in the same region cannot be played.” This comes off as a great disappointment considering Nintendo of America’s unappealing localization policies of late (Nintendo of Europe does not escape condemnation either). It is a shame that this con should blemish the multitude of pros for the Wii U: next-gen capabilities, a great library, terrific third-party support, a price competitive with currently available consoles, and its unique controller. If Nintendo is going to region lock their new console, they had better step up their game in terms of localization.

Wii U

Why, Nintendo? The Wii U has so much going for it.


So, what do you think about Nintendo’s decision to region lock the Wii U? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.


About James Best

James Best is a recent addition to the oprainfall staff, joining just before E3 2012. Primarily a video game critic, he also reports on news occasionally. He hopes to become a professional critic sometime in the future. While he does enjoy a good RPG, he can appreciate a wide variety of genres from platformers to shooters.


  • Sigh,i don’t understand Nintendo why want so bad decided to region locked?

  • Disappointing, but not surprising. Though it’s still not an unusual practice in game hardware.  The 360 is region-locked (only a select few games are region free) and the PS3 isn’t by default, but allows for it (as European Persona 4 fans are no doubt frustrated by).

    I’d be shocked if Microsoft and Sony don’t continue their current policies into their next consoles.

  • AAAaaaannnnnd I’m hacking mine

    • Ninty

      Would you have not even if Wii U wasn’t region locked?

    • Mic Redford

      damn straight

    • Would depend on if it is not region locked AND if it gets proper support. So far it hasn’t, Sony has the PS3 and Vita unlocked but they get no over seas support either. Region locking does nothing but limit the revenue they can generate by us importing games the refuse to localize in a specific area. If they make an english version of a game for Europe and we don’t get it in NA I would be able to import and play.

  • Kai

    This is hardly surprising news. I hope they step up their localisation efforts in response to the community action taken during the Wii’s twilight years.

  • I’m not really angry at Nintendo for doing this, as difficult as it may be for you to believe. Disappointed and a bit upset, certainly, but not angry. I mean, it’s so predictably disappointing, how can I be?

  • Ninty

    It’s pretty sad, but I’d rather play games I can understand; I generally play games that have story, and if I want a JRPG or something, while I may enjoy it…I think you get my point.

    Also, I’m getting a bit confused by the way the term “next gen” gets thrown around. It’s certainly the next generation console, but innovative? It’s certainly doing something different, that’s for sure.

  • James Mueller

    Since Nintendo pretty much started the Region Locking for consoles with the NES, they seem to be major adherents to it.  I was excited when the DS was region-free, but honestly I never got a single game from another region for it.  In the end there are many reasons to region lock, but profit margin is mo0st likely the one foremost on companies minds.  However, Nintendo has historically been very sensitive to cultural differences in their games and changes in localization, so it is possible they are looking at it from a maintaining appearances viewpoint.  What would be interesting to know, is whether or not companies see more loss from being region free (and the lost profit margins due to parallel importing) or more gain from purchases made for games that don’t get localized and the only way to get in importing.

  • This sucks, but it’s really no surprise. No one should be buying Nintendo consoles expecting to play games from other regions without hacking.

  • hello modding community!

  • I can only speculate that they lost so much (money or support) making their D.S. and G.B.A. region free and showing people how easy it is to region-mod the G.C.N., that they went back to region locking.  It may be that the people who choose to hack their console will cost Nintendo less money than if they make it region free out of the box.

  • Eugene Ng

    This sucks! Step up localisation policies Nintendo, or prepare to see a lot of gamers to refuse to buy the Wii U (including me). Take the Game Boy Colour and Game Boy, it wasn’t region locked so why make region locked for the consoles, its a nuisense because we have to buy another console of the different region to play games from overseas. Sony’s PS3 was region free, Xbox 360 may be region locked for consoles but had a few region free games to play on any console! Man, they are going to lose sales… I have a feeling about that…

  • John Ellis

    If Nintendo hadn’t region-locked the Wii, Operation rainfall wouldn’t existed.