It has been revealed that the Wii U console will be region locked, according to Japanese publication Famitsu. This means that any Wii U games bought must come from the same region in order to be played on a console. The news will likely disappoint some gamers who wished to import games from other territories, e.g. Japan. Some modern consoles are not region locked, like the PlayStation 3, allowing gamers to import and play games from other countries and territories.
Nintendo has a history of region locking their consoles. Both the original Wii, the GameCube, and the current 3DS are locked. Console makers lock their console to specific regions in order to block game software that might be cheaper if bought abroad. For example, because of various taxes and fees, new games in Europe cost about $75 — some $15 more than they cost in the US. Without region locking, European gamers would be able to purchase and ship games from the US and save a lot of money (and avoid paying a lot of taxes).
While some might view it as unfortunate that the Wii U will region locked, it’s just one of those things that’s necessary in today’s business.