Nintendo’s NX console, which the company has yet to officially unveil, will reportedly be region-free — a stark contrast to the 3DS, the Wii U, and virtually every home console Nintendo has ever produced.
The news comes courtesy of Let’s Play Video Games‘ Laura Dale, who continues to churn out new information on the handheld-console hybrid. A move away from region-locked consoles seemed inevitable, with late CEO Satoru Iwata telling investors last year that Nintendo would “look at it optimistically going forward.” The 3DS and Wii U, however, show no signs of such a switch.
Nintendo’s legacy of controlling the games on its system goes back to the NES, where special lockout chips prevented unauthorized cartridges from being played. Its earlier consoles also varied in design between different regions, with Super Famicom games incompatible with the Super Nintendo, for example.
This generation, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita are region-free; imported games should run without hassle. To run a Japan-only game on a 3DS, your best option is just to buy a second system and split your game data across the two.
Along with the report comes specific dimensions on the console itself. At 281mm in length, 92mm in height and 25mm in thickness, it’s roughly the same size as the Wii U GamePad, and without its two detachable controller components, it’s considerably smaller.
Removing the add-ons from the NX appears to be a simple process, with a single-button mechanism holding them in place on each side. Headphone and cartridge slots are located on the bottom of the system, as is the power button, while the “TV connector” and SD card slots are located on the top. The “share” button appears to be under the new split digital pad, removed from the “start” and “select” buttons on the other side.
The Nintendo NX is scheduled to launch in March, 2017.