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Nintendo Wii U to be region-locked

Nintendo let slip the news that its next-generation console will include region coding for its games.

Nintendo let slip the news that its next-generation console will include region coding for its games.

Nintendo's Wii U. (Credit: Nintendo)

In a not-particularly-surprising move, it's been confirmed that the Wii U will feature region-coding to lock down games to particular parts of the world.

In an interview with gaming-magazine Famitsu, Nintendo said, "What can be played on the Wii U is restricted by a region-lock feature; software not sold in the same region cannot be played".

The line was picked up and quickly posted to NeoGaf, and then later confirmed by the company to gaming website CVG.

Nintendo has a long history of region-locking its consoles, right back to the original NES. In the past, this has been of particular irritation to some gamers, as certain Japanese titles are often changed significantly for Western releases, or never sold out of that region in the first place.

Both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have region lockout functionality, but it's up to the gaming publisher to decide whether a title will be region locked or not. For example, from 2006 to mid-2012, all PS3 games were released region-free.

In Australia, the perception that games are sold at an unnecessarily high mark-up compared to international pricing has lead to a portion of gamers choosing to buy via overseas websites or grey-importers, taking advantage of the region-free nature of the Xbox and PS3 where possible.

Nintendo's Wii U will launch on 30 November in Australia, with two bundles hitting the market: a basic pack, which contains a white 8GB Wii U console with a white GamePad controller for AU$349.95; the second pack has a black 32GB Wii U console and black GamePad controller for AU$429.95.

Does region-locking affect your ability to play the games you want? Let us know in the comments below.