It Turns Out The Nintendo Switch eShop Is Region Free, Too

hands holding Switch joycon controllers

While a few of Nintendo's decisions involving the recently launched Switch still have us scratching our heads, they're at least making some great decisions in areas such as region locking. For instance, it doesn't exist on the new console, for either physical games or eShop titles.

Region locking has always been something of a bummer. We understand why it exists, but it can still be frustrating when it becomes clear that a game you really wanted to play is never coming to your territory and, because of region locking, you have no way to ever experience it.

That won't be the case on the Switch, as it has now been revealed that region locking will be a thing of the past for Nintendo's console/portable hybrid. They haven't offered an explanation for the change of heart, but we figure it's best not to question a good thing.

Earlier this year, we learned that the Switch would not region lock its physical games. In other words, if you really wanted to play the Japanese version of Breath of the Wild or 1-2 Switch, you could import the games and have them work on your U.S. hardware. While that doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense for those particular games, we imagine you'd be singing a different tune if said Japanese game wasn't available outside of the region.

Over on Gamespot, they're reporting that the free and open market approach will also be applied to the eShop, meaning players will be able to pay for and download titles from other regions if they're willing to go through some extra effort. Unlike the standard physical games, though, it sounds like there may be a few hidden hooks with the eShop games.

Much like with other platforms, you can actually set up accounts in different regions with the Switch. We'd recommend becoming familiar with your own region's eShop and menus first, though, as there's likely to be a bit of a language barrier to overcome.

As the original report points out, the Japanese eShop has many more games than other regions, including Puyo Puyo Tetris and even a demo for that game. But while you can download the demos, you can't buy the games with your local currency. In other words, if you want to purchase games on the Japanese eShop, you either need a Japanese credit card or eShop cards from that country. It's actually a pretty simple process and one I used several years back on the PS3. Various websites sell eShop cards from Japan, for instance. You pay a bit of a premium for them, but then they send you the number that can then be plugged into your account for the desired amount. For a Japanese game I had always wanted and never had access to, it was totally worth it.

If any of our readers decide to give it a go on the Switch, let us know how it turns out in the comments below.

Ryan Winslett

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.