Reports are claiming that Nintendo will be region-locking the Nintendo 3DS, meaning that imported consoles won't play domestic titles. According to a support email supposedly sent from from Nintendo Japan to a would-be 3DS buyer on Ruliweb, region codes will be embedded in both the console and the games.
"There are no Region codes in DS and DS Lite, but DSi, DSi [XL], and 3DS have region codes. The region codes are installed in each game and the 3DS itself. … You can’t play if the region codes are different.
For example, if you play a Korean 3DS game with a Japanese 3DS system (or vice versa), you won’t be able to play at all."
The DSi and DSi XL were region-locked, but the system was only used for DSiWare and DSi-Enhanced titles. From the (translated) support email, it seems Nintendo will be more stringent with their locking system on the 3DS.
There's no official word from Nintendo on the subject at present, and so this could all turn out to be a misunderstanding. Still, it potentially puts a dampener on anybody outside of Japan hoping to jump the queue and import a Japanese 3DS when it launches on February 26 2011.
[via Tiny Cartridge]