In direct contrast to the story we posted late last week, the upcoming Nintendo Wii console is, apparently, not region-free. According to Nintendo UK General Manager David Yarnton, Nintendo of America was incorrect in announcing that the Wii would be region-free, and that the console will in fact be “region-locked.” This basically means that games bought in one region won’t work on a console of another region, shattering hopes that imported games would work without any kind of special hacking.
An alternative theory is that the US and Japanese consoles are region-free, while European buyers will be forced to stay within their region. I personally find this theory to be quite unlikely, as European users would have little incentive to buy a native console and would do better to import one, which would drive Europeans Wii sales down. So, unless Nintendo UK was wrong and Nintendo of America was right, it looks like we’re going to be region-locked for quite some time longer.