Nintendo’s next gaming system could lack region-locking, allowing owners to buy and play games from any country, according to new reports. Let’s Play Video Games cites sources with knowledge of the console, known only as NX for now, who say that early development kits can run software from any region.
That would be a major if small change from Nintendo’s earlier home consoles. Wii U, Wii, GameCube and beyond can only play games from their region of origin, meaning American gamers have had to miss out on games like Captain Rainbow, Disaster: Day of Crisis and Doshin the Giant. These and other Nintendo-published titles skipped the U.S. but had Japanese and European launches. If the NX system can run any region’s titles, it would allow fans to import exclusive games that skipped their home countries.
Prior to Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo’s handhelds have traditionally been region-free as well. (That means imported copies of Mother 3 and Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupee Land are playable on any compatible hardware.) The NX is rumored to be a portable system, and Let’s Play Video Games’ latest report says the dockable hardware could be slightly thicker than a Nintendo 3DS XL. (That’s with its expected detachable controllers attached.) Still, Nintendo hasn’t called it a successor to the 3DS — or Wii U, for that matter.
That’s because we still know next to nothing about what the codename NX system actually is. Despite rumors and reports piling on on a regular basis, Nintendo has not confirmed any details about its next gaming system. Everything we know about NX, beyond its existence, March 2017 launch window and handful of titles, is speculative or unconfirmed. We hope to know more later this fall.