Sony Worldwide Studios Europe Vice President Michael Denny told European and Australian press at E3 that the Playstation Vita, Sony’s newest handheld will be region free. However, he appended “to the best of my knowledge” to that particular bit of information, so it’s not quite set in stone, but it is encouraging, given the 3DS’s being region locked.
The Playstation 3 and the Vita’s soon to be predecessor, PSP, are also region free, though UMD movies on the PSP are region locked. The Nintendo 3DS is also region locked, as is the Wii and all other Nintendo consoles before that, though all of Nintendo’s handhelds prior to the 3DS were region free.
Analysis: This is good news for importers, especially since the 3DS is region locked, much to the chagrin of those who enjoyed importing games on the DS, particularly those that never made it outside of Japan (I’m looking at you, Fire Emblem: Shin Monshou no Nazo Hikari to Kage no Eiyuu – whew, that’s a long title). The phrase “to the best of my knowledge” does throw a bit of doubt as to whether this will actually come to pass, but I’m holding onto some optimism, as the fact that Denny gave even this much away could be an indication Sony is strongly considering it if they haven’t already made it official. If it does come to pass, that would put the Vita high up on my list, as well as the list of those miffed by the 3DS’s region locks. However, it remains to be seen how this would work for PSN games, given that the PSN is separated by region.