Nintendo ‘looking into’ region-free devices

There is some light at the end of the tunnel for Nintendo fans clamoring for an end to the company’s habits of region locking their systems. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata recently said that there may be benefits in ending region locking for both them as a company and their consumers:

The game business has a history of taking a very long time with localization among other things, such as having to deal with various issues of marketing in each particular country, or games that have made use of licensed content that did not apply globally, and had all kinds of circumstances, so to say, that region-locking has existed due to circumstances on the sellers’ side rather than for the sake of the customers. In the history of game consoles, that is the current situation.

As for what should be done going forward, if unlocked for the benefit of the customers, there may also be a benefit for us. Conversely, unlocking would require various problems to be solved, so while I can’t say today whether or not we intend to unlock, we realize that it is one thing that we must consider looking to the future.

This is far from the answer fans want but it is encouraging. Nintendo knows that their hardcore fans would love to be able to import the Japanese games that typically don’t make it over to the west. It would simply make it easier for die-hard fans to give Nintendo more money, plain and simple.

I doubt anything changes as far as region locking goes for Wii U and 3DS but Nintendo’s next-gen console and handheld just might be region free. We can dream!