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Nintendo explains DSi software region locking

by Steven Williamson on 4 March 2009, 14:38

Tags: Nintendo (TYO:7974), DSi

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Nintendo has said that its decision to region-lock software for its upgraded version of the Nintendo DS, the DSi, was due to the variation in videogame age ratings across the different territories.

Nintendo's UK General Manager, David Yarnton, told The Times that "there are many different age requirements with games around the world. I’ve been involved with the industry body, and we’ve just had the Byron review, so it’s quite topical."

"As an industry, we are trying to take a responsible stance in that area, to make sure that we have people aware of what content they get, and that there is a certain amount of protection.”

Isn't that nice of Nintendo? So it's thinking of us by region-locking the games, eh? Pull the other one. It's believed by many, including us, that the real reason Nintendo has region-locked the DSi software is to prevent the same piracy issues that have plagued the Nintendo DS. Other anti-piracy measures for the DSi include making the much-publicized R4 chip inoperable.

Unfortunately, region-locking has an adverse effect on legit gamers, who will no longer be able to pick up games when travelling between regions, or import games that are out in other regions months before their own, or get hold of great games that for one reason or another never see the light of day in their territory.

The DSi hardware itself, however, isn't region-locked, so gamers will at least still be able to play DS games from any region on the hand-held.

The DSi will be available in both white and black versions and will include two cameras, a bigger screen, a DS-specific download service, an SD card slot, and music playback functions.

The new DSi screen will be 3.25 inches diagonal width, 0.25 inches bigger than that of the DS Lite. It will also be thinner than the DS Lite, measuring 137 millimeters x 74.9mm x 18.9mm, in comparison to 133mm x 73.9mm x 21.5m and will also be 4 grams lighter.

Hardware improvements include a better battery recharge time, on-board memory and an SD card slot.

Users will also be able to use a new online download service featuring DSi points, similar to Wii ware, that will allow us to download full games.