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Regional lockout is the programming practice, code, chip, or physical barrier used to prevent the playing of media designed for a device from the country where it is marketed on the version of the same device marketed in another country.
Video games 
In the video game industry, Nintendo was the originator of regional lockout. Regional lockout in video games is when a piece of hardware is designed such that only software for that region is compatible. Most commercially-released console video games have region encoding.
The main regions are:
- Japan and Asia (NTSC-J)
- North America (NTSC-U/C)
- Europe, New Zealand and Australia (PAL region)
- China (NTSC-C)
Games for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) are region-locked. The regions are:
A game's region is recognized by the console using the 10NES chip. If the chip inside the cartridge conflicts with the chip inside the console, the game will not boot. Famicom, which sold in Japan does not contain a 10NES chip, but cartridges for Famicom are different shape than NES ones. However, the redesigned Famicom/NES console released in the 1990s lacks the 10NES chip, and can play any regional cartridges due to a different, top-loading slot design.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) hardware is not region-locked in North America. Removing the plastic tabs at the bottom of the cartridge slot in North American units will allow insertion of the Japanese Super Famicom and PAL SNES identical cartridges and they will run. Box-shaped cartridges sold in North America, are of a different shape than Japanese or PAL ones, and will not fit inside either region's slightly smaller and rounded cartridge slot. Super Famicom cartridges will not run on PAL region SNES consoles, and vice-versa. Regional-locks could be by-passed using special cartridge adapters, but these were unlicensed products.
- NTSC-U (North America, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines)
- PAL (Europe and Oceania)
- NTSC-J (Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan)
- NTSC-K (South Korea)
Regional-locks could be by-passed using special cartridge adapters for the Nintendo 64 and loading discs for the Nintendo GameCube and Wii, but these were unlicensed products. However, in the case of the Wii, its system software's 3.3 firmware update and newer removed the ability for such loading discs to be read. Another method of breaking regional-locks is through physical modding of the consoles themselves.
The entire portable Game Boy line of consoles were never region-locked.
The first model of the Nintendo DS, as well as its lighter variant, are not region-locked. Its redesign, called Nintendo DSi, is region-locked, but only in terms of its downloadable games. Physical Nintendo DS game cards will play on it regardless of region or origin, though DSi-only and DSi-enhanced games are region-locked. In China, the iQue Ltd and Nintendo released iQue DS series which are the Chinese branded versions of Nintendo DS series. The iQue DS system itself has no region locking, but the original iQue DS software cannot be played on the Nintendo DS system.
All Nintendo 3DS hardware and software is region-locked, however original Nintendo DS physical game cards and software, including iQue DS software, is not affected due to console's legacy emulation of the Nintendo DSi hardware.
All PlayStation 3 games except for one are region free. Even though publishers could choose to region-lock specific games based on a mechanism that allows for the game to query the model of the PS3, none did so during the first six years after the launch of PS3. The first game to be region-locked on PS3 is Persona 4 Arena; publisher Atlus declined to reverse its decision despite substantial outcry by some of their fanbase. The decision was made to avoid excessive importing, due to all versions of the game sharing the same features and language support, but differing release dates in each region. There is region locking for backwards compatible PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games, as well as DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies. Additionally, some games separate online players per region, such as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Online. PlayStation Store only contains content for its own country, for example the EU store will not supply usable map packs for an imported US copy of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. In addition, downloadable content for the PlayStation 3 systems is region locked, so you need to buy DLC from US PlayStation Store to use it in a US game. More specifically, the PS3's file system includes region-of-origin, so DLC cannot be shared between different region games much like save files cannot.
PlayStation Portable has no region locking for UMD games, UMD movies are locked by regional. There were several reports stating that the Asian release of the BattleZone UMD game was region-locked. Furthermore, the firmware will disable features based on region. For example, Asian region PSPs will not display the "Extras" option on the XMB despite having been upgraded to the US version of Firmware 6.20, preventing owners of such PSPs from installing the Comic Book Viewer and the TV Streaming applications. Sony's states that the "Extras" function will remain disabled on Asian PSPs until the features are officially launched in the region and gives no reason for the option being disabled aside from that it is not yet launched. Nevertheless, this denies Asian PSP owners from using the above mentioned applications on Asian PSPs, as the applications are installed through a PC and users from the region are not blocked from downloading the application, allowing installation on non-Asian PSPs that have been imported into the region. Recently, it was found that The Metal Gear Rising Revengance demo is region locked, making it the first confirmed region-locked downloadable game to surface on the PSP.
The PlayStation Vita has no region-locked games thus far.
Older Sega Genesis games are region-free, but some new games can be region-locked (for example, Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are region-free, but Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is region-locked).
The original Xbox as well as the Xbox 360 are region-locked, although it is up to the publisher if a game is region-free or not. A number of games are region-free and will play on a unit from any region. Digital content through Xbox Live are also region-locked, such as DLC, movies, and apps.
Amongst PC games, regional lockout is more difficult to enforce because both the game application and the operating system can be easily modified. Subscription-based online games often enforce a regional lock by blocking IP addresses (which can often be circumvented through an open proxy) or by requiring the user to enter a national ID number (which may be impossible to verify). A number of other games using regional lockout are rare but do exist. One of the examples of this is the Windows version of The Orange Box, which uses Steam content delivery service to enforce the regional lockout.
Hewlett-Packard print cartridges have been regionalised since 2004. As such, they do not work in printers with a different region code, unless the user calls technical support for the device to be reassigned to the appropriate region. Canon print cartridges for the Pixma MP 480 will not work in printers of that type with a different region code either (even when listed on the packaging of the Canon printer cartridges in question).
Reasons for regional lockout 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
Some of the reasons for regional lockout are as follows:
Pricing. It is difficult to maintain a single pricing structure that can be applied worldwide[why?]. Region-locking a console means that there is no need for pricing parity across the world; different territories can have different prices for games without people simply shopping "wherever is cheaper".
Sensitive regions. Some games could be regarded as offensive for religious or political reasons, and regional lockout may be required to prevent these games from being distributed in sensitive countries.
Staggered launches. If a console is region-locked, then staggered launches of the games would be easier, as console producers could easily control the huge bow-wave of people wanting a game the moment it is released.
See also 
|Wikivoyage has travel information related to: Regional coding|
- PAL region
- Regional converter
- Fan translation
- Trusted Platform Module
- Parallel import
- Parallel importing in video games
- Nintendo Explains Region Locking
- "Wii U to be region-locked". 2012-09-24. Retrieved 2012-09-24.]
- "Looks like Wii U GamePads are region-locked as well". 2012-12-25. Retrieved 2012-12-25.]
- "Sony Execs Talk PS3". 2006-09-22. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
- "Playstation 3 will be region free". 2006-03-23. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
- PlayStation 3 Secrets
- Persona 4 Arena To Be First Ever Region-Locked PS3 Release | EGMNOW
- "PSP: Region Free Games". 2004-10-27. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
- Frank Caron (2007-10-25). "Valve locking out user accounts for "incorrect territory"". Retrieved 2008-03-15.