Nintendo Just Released A Region-Free 3DS Title

Illustration for article titled Nintendo Just Released A Region-Free 3DS Title

About the only thing really wrong with the 3DS is that, unlike its predecessor, it's region-locked. Though it appears not as region-locked as once thought.


Nintendo 3DS Guide: Louvre has both a downloadable and a retail version, and Nintendo has confirmed with Kotaku that the Western edition of the game - available in North America, Europe and Australasia - will work across those regions.

This might sound weird, seeing as no other 3DS title to date has been region-free, but there may be a good reason: being a guide of an art museum, and not a game, the product doesn't have to be rated or classified.

Earlier this year, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explained his company's recent insistence on region-locking, saying "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 we're 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."

If Nintendo 3DS Guide: Louvre doesn't need a rating, then according to Nintendo's own reasoning it doesn't need to be locked!


I've always been a little confused here.

Maybe I'm wrong, but no game actually needs a rating. There's no legislation, (I'm talking about America. There may be in other countries.) that legally requires video games to be rated, right?

It's more of a mutual agreement between game publishers, and retailers, isn't it? Retailers demand all games be rated. ESRB provides the ratings. Publishers comply with retailers wishes in order to maximize shelf facing, and thus sales.

If so, why are download-only titles ESRB rated? I know Steam has several titles that skip this, especially indie titles, but go to the 3ds eshop and everything from $40 big titles, to $1.99 micro games all have an ESRB rating slapped on them.