Wii U Confirmed As Region-Locked, Not Region-Free

This won’t affect the majority of the Wii U’s potential owners, but it’s been confirmed (via Famitsu magazine) that the next Nintendo console won’t be region-free.

“What can be played on the Wii U is restricted by a region-lock feature;” is the offered up translation from Japanese. “Software not sold in the same region cannot be played.”


In other words, the Wii U is region locked. Buy it in Europe, and it’ll only play European games.

This shouldn’t be a massive surprise – the Wii was region locked and the DSi and 3DS suffered the same fate – frustratingly for handhelds.



  1. Don’t really see the point in this. Surely it’s just more effort for Nintendo and other publishers, yet it only actually detracts another feature, which some people actually enjoy using on the PS3/Vita!

  2. Every time I hear about the Wii U it’s bad news. I’ve completely lost interest in anything about this console and it hasn’t even been released yet.

  3. Yet another nail in the coffin for the WiiU for me.

    I honestly dont see what purpose region locking serves. If i want to import an obscure Japanese game to play here in the UK I should be able to and not be dictated to by Nintendo that I cant.

    I thought we had moved on from this archaic practice.

    • Now that is optimism redefined. Console not even released and it’s lights out draw and the curtains already haha.

      • Agreed on the pointless region locking though ;)

      • Yeah im full of optimism ;-)

        To be honest though, there is nothing about the WiiU that has made me say “I need this console” . I dont know if its the fact that the original Wii I purchased now gathers dust due to the amount of shovelware that appeared on it. Yes there where some great games but they where few and far between and I cant help thinking that the WiiU will be full of halfed arsed conversions from PS3/360 titles with the occasional diamond in the rough. Even exclusives like Bayonetta 2 cant tempt me towards it (and i loved the original).

        The controller does not appeal in any form due to how uncomfortable to hold it looks and lets not forget the price of them. Perhaps I’m just getting too old now for consoles as I find myself moving more towards PC gaming. Either way the WiiU will not be on my christmas list but no doubt it will be out of stock everywhere like the Wii was due to nintendo limiting production to increase demand. Not that they did that intentionally of course :-p

  4. Thank god the Vita isn’t region locked. Ragnarok Odyssey still doesn’t have an EU publisher but I have the ‘option’ to import it if I want. I don’t know why Nintendo continue to do this. Surely more money can be made if people can import games not released in their region.

    • That’s what i was thinking,wouldn’t it benefit Nintendo in the end if it wasn’t region locked?
      I thought this practice had stopped ages ago?

    • The Vita’s one account policy is worse than a physical region lock if you ask me…

      • I’m not saying the Vita is perfect but at least I can buy physical copies of games from other regions and still play on my EU account. With a Wii U that isn’t possible. There is no way around anything with Nintendo

      • I understand, but I would rather have the Vita support multiple accounts, like the PS3 does, since I haven’t imported a game from a non-PAL region in years while I regularly buy stuff from other PSN stores. :/

      • Completely agree. I would love to be able to change to other accounts as well as there are things the NA store gets that we don’t but for anything major it usually gets a retail release which means I can import it if I want it. Here’s hoping they change the policy on the VIta in the future.

      • I won’t get my hopes up but if it does happen it’ll be a wonderful surprise.

      • There’s worse than not being able to buy from other PSN stores with the same Vita. I gave a Vita to my son, and until I buy a second memory card and go through the troublesome procedure to backup his account and set up mine, I practically can’t play a Vita game the proper way, which is, with my save games and my trophies. Which is exactly what he does on my PS3. Wasn’ t for that, I’d have bought some games for me, such as Gravity Rush, Stardust and Persona 4 (when it’s out, of course), which is good for Sony. But as it stands, it’s too much trouble for too little, so I just passed those games. And I think I don’t stand alone out there.

  5. stupid, stupid, stupid.

    nintendo still behind the times i see.

    makes me think nintendo’s online service is also going to be years behind everybody else’s.

  6. It sucks but I only ever import from the UK, which is still PAL so I’m not really affected by this descission.

  7. don’t know Nintendo would do this…surely there’s more pros to having it region free than cons?

    • It makes sense in a way for the Japanese market, where games cost much more than in the US. Their idea is to stop people from importing cheap US games to play in Japan, as most games nowadays have all their menus in almost every language. But for consumers it’s just bad, and even Sony added some measures for some games, for instance, Persona 4 Arena is region locked, to avoid exactly that: people in Japan importing the less expensive US version.

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