The DS and DS Lite are not region locked, but the DSi and DSi XL are, and it appears that the 3DS will also be restricted by geopolitical boundaries. A user support e-mail from Nintendo, which was translated by a poster on NeoGAF, states clearly that 3DS units will use region codes.
We attempted to sway Nintendo by blasting U2's One outside its North American headquarters in Redmond, Washington, and thought we nearly had them with: "One love, one blood, one life, you got to do what you should. / One life with each other - sisters, brothers."
Reggie Fils-Aime, who stepped onto the roof to confront us, may have shed a tear, but from our vantage point in the parking lot it was impossible to tell if the glint on the side of his face was raw, Bono-induced emotion or just bead of sweat. Either way, it quickly became clear that our assault had been unsuccessful. Nintendo counter-blasted a two-hour loop of the line "We're one, but we're not the same." Reggie then asked, speaking through a bullhorn, if Nintendo had "disappointed or left a bad taste in our mouths" and if it will be "easier on us now that we got someone to blame." We fled the parking lot playing With or Without You.
Import and homebrew fans are obviously upset by the news (hey, we tried to help... in our imaginary scenario), but it shouldn't shock anyone that Nintendo is sticking to hardware-regulated regional exclusion. It'll be hacked in a week, anyway.
Note that Nintendo hasn't officially announced region locking, so it's still technically possible that the e-mail is a forgery. Just very unlikely.
Jan 11, 2011