Despite hopes from fans, the New Nintendo 3DS (the N3DS) will follow in its predecessor's footsteps, and remain a region-locked console. This means that games released in Japan, Europe, and North America, will only be playable using hardware purchased from within the respective region. This restricts players from importing games from other regions, without importing hardware for that region as well.
Nintendo is the last of the console creators to uphold region-locking on their consoles, refusing to follow the steps of its competitors Sony and Microsoft, both of whom have pulled region-locking out of their next-gen consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One. Nintendo, set strong in its ways will uphold region-locking on its upgraded 3DS and continues to produce region-locked Wii Us.
This news comes as a sad tiding to fans who, in July of 2013, signed a petition, asking Nintendo to remove region-locks from its Wii U and 3DS systems. At the time of writing this article, the petition has garnered over 32,000 signatures.
The N3DS and N3DS XL, is set to be released in Japan later this year, and some time in 2015 for Europe. There is no confirmation of the console coming to North America from Nintendo North America as of yet.
With this release, comes a 3DS with upgraded external features like a second c-stick next to the four action buttons, and two extra shoulder buttons, as well as some upgraded internal hardware. Included among these are a new processor and built-in NFC technology, allowing the use of Nintendo’s new “amiibo” figurines.