Region Coding Guide

Author: Christian   Date Posted:25 February 2016 

A guide to Region coding and Region locking This guide covers the basic questions to the Video Game region codes, and how to avoid being stung by a Region locked title!

 

 

Region coding is a form digital rights management (DRM) technique used by publishers to control aspects of a video game, including content, release dates and price. We carry a mix of imported stock so this guide has been put together to help you make the right purchasing decision for your games. It’s important to have a clear understanding on how region coding and region locking works with Video Games, as it will prevent you from purchasing a title that you cannot play/use with your hardware.

 

The Region Codes

 

There are three primary region codes for video games. They are:

 

Region

Region Code

Region Number

Australia, Europe, New Zealand

PAL

2 (UK/EU) / 4 (AUS/NZ)

North America, Latin America

NTSC / NTSC-U / ALL

1

Japan and Asia

NTSC-J

3

 

In almost all cases, buying a game that matches the region of your console/pc means the game will run without any issues. As an example: consoles purchased in Australia should be able to play any PAL region game.

 

PAL

 

This region covers Australia, New Zealand and Europe. You will find most Video Game importers stock UK games, as they are almost identical to the Australian versions. Digital content purchased from UK stores will be compatible with Australian games and vice versa. If you are looking at an imported copy of a game, and have an Australian console, this is your safest bet. (You may even have a UK import in your collection already!)

At Dungeon Crawl, we primarily deal with PAL stock however we may carry imported copies depending on pricing and/or stock availability. If a title is not a PAL copy, it will be clearly stated in the product listing description.


NTSC/NTSC-J

 

In terms of the game content, they are almost the same as their PAL counterpart. However there may be some minor differences due to localisation issues eg: Different spelling in subtitles, Voice Acting, censored content. NTSC content may occasionally include Spanish or French as Subtitle/Voice options or have bilingual manuals and cover art. This is a similar story for NTSC-J which may contain Chinese/Japanese & English options - both in content and in cover art.

If you are an Australian Nintendo Wii/WII U/3DS user avoid this region at all costs - none of the NTSC coded software will work on your Australian PAL device. Sony and Microsoft users should always double check if a title is region locked before purchasing an imported copy - while Sony and Microsoft have not region locked their consoles, they do allow Publisher to region lock at their discretion.

Sony has region locked most DLC codes and content, which means NTSC/NTSC-J codes cannot be redeemed on PAL PSN accounts and PAL disks will not read NTSC/NTSC-J digital add ons (and Vice Versa). It’s important to make sure that when buying DLC for you game, that you buy if from a digital store of the same region. (We have a guide on how to do this here (link))

Confirming the region of your game

There are a few quick and easy ways to determine the region of your game:

 

  • On the spine of your game - some games may state either PAL, NTSC or NTSC-J near the bottom of the spine

  • The rating advice - this is usually printed on the front of the game, in the bottom left corner. Each region has their unique consumer advice sticker:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Locating the Region Code symbol on the back of the game cover.The region symbols look similar to this:

 


 

Our listings will also advise as to the region of titles that are not PAL.


 

REGION LOCKING

 

Regional lockout occurs when a piece of hardware or software is designed to not run on consoles/devices of a different region. This is a DRM technique implemented to primarily cut down on importing games from different (and cheaper) regions of the globe.

It’s becoming less common nowadays to do this, but some publishers may choose to proceed with Region Locking as a method of regulating content. Disks and/or hardware are the most commonly region locked devices, however Downloadable Content (DLC) and even Save Files can also be region locked.

Here is a general rule of thumb as to which platforms enforce region locking restrictions:


 

Platform

Disk Locked?

DLC locked?

Save File Locked?

Notes

PS4

NO

YES*

YES

*DLC can still be purchased from a region specific PSN account.

Xbox One

NO

NO

NO

 

PC

NO*

NO*

NO*

*Some CD Keys from Eastern Europe and/or China may be Region Locked.

WII U

YES

YES

YES

Completely Region Locked. Stick to software that matches your console region

3DS

YES

YES

YES

Completely Region Locked. Stick to software that matches your console region

PS Vita

NO

YES

YES

 

PS3

NO

YES

YES

*DLC can still be purchased from a region specific PSN account.

Xbox 360

MAYBE*

NO

NO

*Some Xbox 360 titles have been region locked by Publishers.

WII

YES

YES

YES

Completely Region Locked. Stick to software that matches your console region

Nintendo DS

NO*

YES*

NO

*Some DSi titles have region locking in place, although very rare.

PSP

NO

YES*

NO

*Some PS Store purchased and DLC codes are region locked

PS2

YES

YES

YES

Completely Region Locked. Stick to software that matches your console region

 

At Dungeon Crawl, we only stock games that will play on Australian consoles or PC (unless stated otherwise in the product description).

 

DLC & Save Files (PlayStation titles only)

 

While Sony does not region lock their disks, they do Region Lock save files and Downloadable content. This means that your DLC and Save file NEED to be the same region as your game disk - otherwise your disk will not load the content.

The save file region lock is especially important for games that offer the ability to import old save files and gamers need need to mindful of this when purchasing video game sequels in which your save can be carried over.  Example: Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Dynasty Warriors.In scenarios like this, always check the region of your current game as well as the region of the new game you wish to purchase.

There are ways to still purchase DLC for imported NTSC & NTSC-J titles - we actually have a guide here (link to guide) that will explain how to do this. Read our walkthrough carefully before making a purchase on an imported title - if the process required for purchasing DLC isn’t something you wish to commit to, then you are best sticking with a PAL version of the title.

 

PC Activation Keys & Region Locking

 

Rarely, a PC title will have it’s activation key Region Locked - this means authentication platforms like Steam, uPlay and Origin will not accept a Product Key from another region. This is usually only from regions that undercut foreign markets through email exports eg: Eastern Europe, China, Brazil. Dungeon Crawl does not stock these Region Locked titles, however if you are looking at importing a PC key or game yourself, it’s best to double check the region requirements before parting with your cash.

 

We trust this guide has answered the basics in regards to Region Coding and Locking. If you need any further help with this, please just contact us - we’re always here to help!

 

This information was correct at the time of writing, however the gaming industry operates at a super fast pace and some of this info could be made redundant with a simple patch or update. If you spot any incorrect or outdated information, we would love for you to tell us - simply let us know via email and we’ll fix any inaccuracies straight away!


 


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