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Nintendo "optimistic" on ending region locks, starting with NX

But no change for 3DS and Wii U, Iwata suggests.

Nintendo has signalled it will abandon region-locking for its consoles, beginning with the upcoming NX.

Company president Satoru Iwata said he was "optimistic" region-locking would be dropped - but it will have to wait for Nintendo's next machine.

"Removing region-locking from current game machines presents various issues, so we don't consider that to be very realistic," Iwata explained during a recent investor Q&A (translated by NeoGAF).

"However, regarding NX, given the customer feedback and proposals from the market, while nothing has been decided yet, we're currently investigating internally what problems there would be in realising it. You can think of that as the current situation. I understand your desire, so I'd like to look at it optimistically going forward."

It's not the first time that Iwata has addressed the topic in recent months. In November 2014, he suggested unlocking a console's regions would have benefits both for Nintendo's customers and the company itself.

Nintendo has always used region locks for its home consoles to limit the importing of software from different regions.

Handheld devices from the DSi onwards have also implemented region-locking, although physical games for the Game Boy and DS families were region-free.

In the meantime, 3DS users have been developing unofficial methods for circumventing the handheld's region lock.

The Wii U is the only current-gen console with a region lock on physical games. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are region free.

Nintendo is set to reveal details about NX at some point in 2016. There's no word yet on when it will be released.