Nintendo Wii U is region locked, keeping Japanese, European games out of US hands

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Planning on importing a copy of Dragon Quest X for your Wii U come November? Better plan on buying a Japanese console as well as the game as Nintendo’s new machine will be region locked.

Nintendo confirmed for both Famitsu and Eurogamer that the Wii U would have restrictions blocking games from other regions from being played on a locally purchased machine. So Japanese and European games won’t run on a US Wii U, and vice versa.

It isn’t particularly surprising that the Wii U is region locked. Almost all home video game consoles have been equipped with some sort of region locking mechanism. While software restrictions kept American Wiis and Gamecubes from playing foreign disks, Nintendo’s cartridge-based Nintendo 64 and Super Nintendo consoles simply used different plastic moldings to prevent the games from fitting in machines from different regions.

The weird thing though is that up until the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo’s handhelds have been entirely region free. This was especially nice during the Nintendo DS era since there were a number of excellent Nintendo games, including Last Window: The Secret of Cape West, that were only available in the United Kingdom.

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