We finally did it! The Nintendo Switch is officially region-free! Thirty-two years of region-locking in Nintendo home consoles and 8 years in portables are about to come to an end.
Our deepest and most sincere thanks go out to:
- Nintendo, for listening to customers' request to go region-free and doing so with the Switch. We eagerly look forward to playing more games on your systems, no matter what markets their releases may be limited to.
- Employees of Nintendo who exhibited admirable bravery in challenging existing corporate policy and advocating the end of region-locking. Speaking up for the customers in this case couldn't have been easy, and we appreciate you spending your valuable political capital on this issue.
- Richard George previously of IGN, David Gibson of Macquarie Securities, and Takashi Mochizuki of The Wall Street Journal for asking NCL the region-locking question.
- Miiverse users, who made lots of great drawings and posts.
- Emily Rogers, for her article featuring indie developers' requests for Nintendo to end region-locking, and for investigating the Switch's region-free status along with Laura Kate Dale.
- Josh A. Stevens and the nearly 37,000 people around the world who signed the change.org petition for Nintendo to end region-locking.
- And you, for your enthusiastic support for the #EndRegionLocking campaign.
Now let's celebrate!
Daft Punk - One More Time
Happatai - Yatta!
Kiss - Rock & Roll All Nite
Kool & The Gang - Celebration
Pharrell Williams - Happy
E3 2016: #EndRegionLocking for NX at E3 2016
E3 2015: #NintendoRegionFree 2015: Project NX
May 2015: Iwata updates position on region-locking at Nintendo investor Q&A
Q7: When you were asked if you would lift the region locks at the Financial Results Briefing six months ago, you answered that you would take it into consideration. Please explain the current situation.
A7: Iwata: My understanding is that it is not realistic on the existing video game systems because unlocking them after they are already on the market poses a number of hurdles. On the other hand, regarding NX, we understand that many consumers hold such opinions and such suggestions exist in the market, and although we have nothing concrete at the moment, we are internally analyzing what hurdles exist to lifting region locks. That is the situation right now. We acknowledge your request, and I personally want to give it positive consideration.
This turned out to be Iwata's last word made publically on the subject.
October 2014: Iwata addresses region-locking at Nintendo investor Q&A
Q4: Currently, Nintendo hardware and games are region-locked in territories throughout the world, so that a game purchased in one region cannot be played in another. Are there plans to do away with that restriction and unlock them?
A4: Iwata: There have been various conditions at play in the game business, such as a history of localization taking an extremely long time, a variety of marketing constraints and circumstances in each country, and the fact that the license needed to sell games have not always been granted globally. In a sense, the region-lock has existed more for reasons having to do with the seller than the consumers. That has been the situation throughout the history of video game systems, and as for what should be done going forward, there may be advantages for the consumers and also for us if they were unlocked. Conversely, unlocking them would mean having to resolve different issues that would subsequently arise. While we have not decided whether we will unlock them or not, we do recognize that it is an issue that needs to be considered in the future.
E3 2014: #NintendoRegionFree 2014 STARTS NOW!
July 2013: Nintendo 3rd-party indie developers slam region-locking
July 2013: Nintendo's President discusses region-locking
Satoru Iwata said:From some peoples perspective, it might seem like a kind of restriction. However, we hope people can appreciate the fact that were selling our products worldwide.
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 were 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.
I hope that game fans can understand that the industry isnt doing this solely out of business ego. There are some reasons behind it.
This was obviously an unsatisfactory answer. Region-locking IS a restriction, and such an anti-consumer practice has no place in luxury products. Other platform holders have dropped region-locking despite the same cultural, legal, and ratings issues.
What we want is to be able to play legally-purchased games for Nintendo platforms purchased from anywhere in the world, irregardless of any hardware region setting. If parental controls are a concern, access to out-of-region titles can simply be disabled by default and enabled by adults.
E3 2013: Let's convince Nintendo to go region-free!
September 2012: Famitsu: Wii U region-lock confirmed
Famitsu no. 1242 said:なお、Wii Uにはプレイできる地域が制限されるリージョンロック機能が搭載されており、その地域で販売されたソフト以外はプレイできない。
"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."
February 2011: European Nintendo 3DS Reviewed
Oli Welsh said:We can confirm that the software is locked by region; inserting one of our Japanese 3DS games into our European machine produces no result at all it's as if no card has been inserted. This remains a deeply disappointing decision for handheld devices which will be taking a lot of long-haul flights.
My body is ready for region-free gaming. Is yours?
Thank you, Iwata. We love you.