Play-Asia's report on Wii's region lockout


20 Year Member
Apr 19, 2001
This is pulled from an Email... it's probably on their site somewhere.

Edit: linkie

Region encoding - Freeloader/Action Replay compatibility

To make it short, Nintendo Wii™ consoles and software are region encoded. We have tested a large variety of games from different publishers on our systems and are confident to confirm that a full region lockout exists. This applies to Nintendo Wii™ as well as Gamecube™ software alike.

Partially good news though for users that wish to play back import Gamecube™ games on their Wii™ system. Datel's Action Replay has been tested and allows playback of US/JPN Gamecube™ games on a foreign Wii™ system. Though we have read reports about older Freeloader versions to be running as well, the current version (1.06B) has been tested by us and is not working. An updated version of the Freeloader is likely to appear but we will post an update as soon as it happens.

Compatibility/Language Overview
Japanese Wii™
Wii™ Software NTSC/J only (Japan/Asia)
GameCube™ Software NTSC/J only (Japan/Asia)
Language Option Japanese only
US Wii™
Wii™ Software NTSC/U/C only (USA/Canada)
GameCube™ Software NTSC/U/C only (USA/Canada)
Language Option English, French, Spanish

Video Download: Action Replay works on Wii™ (0:53min)
Video Download: Japanese Wii™ doesn't like US games (0:12min)
Video Download: US Wii™ doesn't like Japanese games (0:12min)

Accessories compatibility

As likely for video game consoles, there's no region protection on accessories among different release versions. We have tested US version controllers on our Japanese system (and vice versa) and have not encountered any problems so far. Please be reminded however that you have to press the connect button on the system and the controller when assigning a new Wii™ Remote to your system.

For the first time since release of the Super Famicom™, the Nintendo Wii™ uses a different Multi AV cable standard. In other words, your Gamecube™, Nintendo64™ or even SNES/SFC cables won't work anymore.

Also note that the Japanese Wii™ point cards are only suitable for the Japanese Wii™ network (check out next topic for more details).

Virtual Console - Wii™ Points compatibility

As a disclaimer, the Japanese Wii™ network is not yet accessible, so we haven't fully been able to test all functions on the Japanese Wii™ system yet. However from the information we have been able to gather so far, it appears that you can only access the specific network that your Wii™ console has been designed for.

We have also tested Japanese version Wii™ Point Cards and can confirm that Japanese cards cannot be redeemed on a US Wii™ network.

Video Download: No Japanese Wii™ codes on US network (0:08min)


Unlike the PlayStation3™ - which is region free for PS3™ games, supports multilingual onscreen text and allows you to connect to any regional PlayStation™ network (providing you have a valid residential address in the selected territory), the Nintendo Wii™ is fully region encoded in terms of Wii™/Gamecube™/Virtual Console playback and does not support multilingual onscreen text.

In other words, if you are considering purchasing a Japanese Wii™ system as substitution for a domestic system, recommends you to reconsider carefully as you will not be able to play domestic software releases. However if you are looking for a way to play unique Japanese Wii™ games (such as this week's released Odoru Made in Wario and Ennichi no Tatsujin or the upcoming Bleach: Wii Shiraha Kirameku Rinbukyoku) and want to take advantage of the Japanese Wii™ virtual console lineup, then a Japanese system will be the only way to go at the moment.
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