In an unexpected announcement, Nintendo revealed the Nintendo Switch will not be region locked.
“Region-lock” refers to when a console only plays the video games released in a specified region. For example, an American Nintendo 3DS only plays games for the American region, and a Japanese Nintendo 3DS only plays games for its region. Region-locking isn’t limited to video games. Most DVD and Blu-ray players also limited by region-locking.
The decision to not region-lock the Nintendo Switch is an about-face for the game maker. If the console truly isn’t region-locked, then the Nintendo Switch will allow any console to play any Switch game from any region. This feature will appeal to Western gamers who hope to import Switch games that may take longer to reach the states — or may never be translated for the English-speaking market.