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3DS Download Play Region Locked

by Pedro Hernandez - September 2, 2011, 5:23 pm PDT
Total comments: 14 Source: (Siliconera), http://www.siliconera.com/2011/09/02/nintendo-3ds-...

Wanna play Star Fox 64 3D with a friend who has a Japanese 3DS? There might be a problem.

The 3DS's Download Play feature is region locked, according to a report by SiliconEra. Unlike StreetPass, which is able to share data with other 3DSes from around the world, when a player tries to use Download Play from a game on a 3DS from another region, the feature is unavailable.

This result is unlike DS games, which allowed Download Play features with DSes from other regions. Star Fox 64 3D uses Download Play for its multiplayer components. While 3DSes of the same region can participate, the transmitted game does not even appear when Download Play is initiated on 3DSs from different regions.

Region locking was implemented on Nintendo handhelds beginning with the DSi system, and 3DS cartridge and download software is also restricted by region.


KITT 10KSeptember 02, 2011

A "reign lock" is one of the stupidest things I have EVER heard of. That's just a stupid and useless thing to do.

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Associate Editor (Japan)September 02, 2011

Good job I didn't get a US or Eur 3DS, I wouldn't be able to play with anyone here.

I wonder if multi-card games would allow multi-region multiplayer, i.e 3 US copies of Mario Kart 7, versus 3 guys on Jpse versions?
Also what about Mercs 3D co-op? I'l have to try that out.

TurdFurgySeptember 02, 2011

The odds of me having the opportunity to play against someone from another region are pretty slim, so this definitely doesn't effect me. It's still kind of stupid though. 

nickmitchSeptember 02, 2011

Is this a byproduct of the 3DS itself being region locked? Because I just can't see why this would be intentional.

NinSageSeptember 02, 2011

I really think that if I sat down and thought about it for an afternoon I could figure out a way to eliminate region locking and still make it fair for local game developers/retailers.

But how would I go about getting the entire gaming industry to adopt such a philosophy?

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Associate Editor (Japan)September 02, 2011

I understand the reason why companies don't like grey market imports of hardware, heving a product in the wrong region might cause power-supply related damage in the long run if not handled properly, also they want to keep track of what sells what in each region, customer service can't repair units not in their language, blah blah blah. (OK i don't really understand it)

But software, I don't get. If you buy from an import shop, they've bought a product from a Jpse retailer and paid for shipping costs, the Jpse publisher gets the money, even if the game is being played elsewhere.
Why lock out people from doing that if they want to?
Especially when lets say....a publisher decides to not release 3 massive games in your country.
Then it's almost like they're saying "we don't want your money, in any way shape of form, your money digusts me"

On a personal note, it also makes things friggin difficult, annoying and expensive.

Thanks Nintendo!

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorSeptember 02, 2011

I'm not agreeing with this, but there are a couple of business reasons why they don't want you to import.

For example, there are cases where individuals can import copies of games (and even hardware) cheaper than buying it in their native country.  This can be due to all kinds of licensing, budgeting, advertising, R&D, and tax reasons.  Let's say, for example, you have to charge $5 more for a European edition of a game to help cover the translation costs (yeah, $5 is way more than you'd have to).  Well, the folks in the UK think this is screwed up, so they just import the US version.  The folks in Spain think this is screwed up, so they just import the Latin American Version.  French folks import the Canadian version.

So, now, Nintendo of Europe is looking at their situation and they have to decide if they want to start charging the Germans, Italians, etc., even *more* money.  And remember what happened the last time those guys got po'd and teamed up?

And looking at the licensing fees - Let's say your a Japanese company with hot Anime license X.  In America, you license this property out to CompanyU.  In Europe, you go with a more established CompanyE.

CompanyU is better able to quickly translate and release your game (as they have 1-3 languages to translate into).  CompanyE, however, has about a half-a-dozen languages.  Three of which they're probably going to wait until CompanyU has translated, then fix the dialects.  Well, people in CompanyE's territory who don't need to wait for the translation could then import the title from the US.  This gives CompanyE less sales, which means less money, which means the license is less valuable for them.  Which means they're going to offer CompanyJ even less money the next time the license contract is up for review.

Wouldn't the media functions *coughnetflixcough* mandate region-locked hardware?

Doesn't mean the game developers have to use it - surely there's a "Region 0" - but Netflix isn't going to do anyone in say, Europe any good.

KDR_11kSeptember 03, 2011

Meh, you don't need region locking to hide some stuff in a store from users in a specific country.

Quote from: UncleBob

I'm not agreeing with this, but there are a couple of business reasons why they don't want you to import.

Still doesn't make sense for download play.

Mop it upSeptember 03, 2011

This doesn't really affect me since I don't plan to import games and am extremely unlikely to run into anyone with an other-region 3DS, but it does seem strange.

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Associate Editor (Japan)September 03, 2011

As much as this sucks, I do have one good thing to mention about the download play option.

During my multiplayer match with Danny on StarFox (as talked about on the Famicast) we started to play the first match but there was a connection problem and we had to start from the beginning again, I went back to download play expecting to sit through the 3 min download screen again but the progress bar jumped to the end and we went straight back into the game, it had actually stored the file in memory!
An obvious thing to do, but not what I expected to be honest!

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorSeptember 03, 2011

That *is* awesome.  As much as I've played Mario vs. Luigi and had to download it.  Wonder how long it stays in the system memory...

Yeah, I mentioned that feature in my impressions, but I didn't get to compare it to the initial download.

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