The still mysterious Nintendo NX could be the first home console from the company to be region free.
Removing region-locking from current game machines presents various issues, so we don't consider that to be very realistic,” Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata told investors, as per a translation on Neogaf.
However, regarding NX, given the customer feedback and proposals from the market, while nothing has been decided yet, we're currently investigating internally what problems there would be in realising it.
You can think of that as the current situation. I understand your desire, so I'd like to look at it optimistically going forward.”
Iwata has in the past suggested that cultural acceptance and legal restrictions” made the idea of making systems region free an impossibility. However, six months age he seemed to change his mind, admitting that a region free console strategy would benefit both Nintendo and its customers.
Note that while the Wii U is region locked both the PS4 and Xbox One are region free.
In the past Nintendo's handheld systems used to be region free, although this practise came to an end with the 3DS.
The removal of region coding enables customers to obtain games from overseas. Why would they want to do this? Well, in some instances importing games can be cheaper but more commonly it allows gamers to play titles that have not been released in their region. This was quite a big thing for Xbox 360 shmup fans, for instance, who last generation were able to access a small library of Cave titles that the publisher made region-free (which actually varied on a title-by-title basis).
A more modern complication with region-free gaming is that games bought from other regions may not be compatible with DLC or other add-on content acquired in their home region.