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What You Need to Know About Playing European Exclusive PAL Nintendo 3DS Video Games

The Nintendo 3DS is one of Nintendo's handheld gaming consoles. Despite the fact that Nintendo's previous handheld system, the DS, did not enable region restrictions on its games and software, Nintendo has implemented a region lock on all 3DS models. This means that in order to explore the vast library of European exclusive 3DS games, you will need to invest in a 3DS console region coded to the European market.

Which regions are identified by the 3DS?

Nintendo has identified four major regions to which the 3DS is region keyed. While you may notice that some titles exist across regions, attempting to play software keyed to one region, on a console keyed to another will result only in a failure of the software to launch.

These regions include:

  • Europe, New Zealand and Australia (PAL region)
  • North America and South America (NTSC-U)
  • Japan and Asia (NTSC-J)
  • China (NTSC-C)
Is there another way to play a PAL 3DS software?

There are no official ways to run a PAL Nintendo 3DS game on your United States or Japanese handheld. Although there are numerous software patches and overrides that claim to be able to override the software region lock implemented by Nintendo, the use of such software or exploits may permanently damage your system and void your warranty on your handheld. Additionally, if you are able to successully launch PAL software on your United States console, hardware differences between varying Nintendo 3DS models may prevent your United States Nintendo 3DS console from properly playing Nintendo software from another region.

Why did Nintendo region lock its 3DS consoles?

There are numerous reasons explaining why Nintendo chose to region lock the Nintendo 3DS to specific countries, with the primary reason being that different models of the Nintendo 3DS had to be created in order to account for varying hardware specifications to account for different languages, consumer ratings, and parental controls across regions.

What if you insert the wrong software type?

There are two things that can happen should you try to run PAL software on a United States Nintendo 3DS console. The first situation is that your Nintendo console will simply not recognize the game. The second scenario will only occur if you have inserted a PAL game into your United States console. In this situation, the Nintendo 3DS will simply present an error message instructing you to power off the system and remove your game cartridge.

Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Nintendo.
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