The disappointments for those looking forward to purchasing a 3DS keep coming. Last week we found out the battery life of the 3DS while playing 3DS-specific games may be as short as 3 hours. Now it turns out Nintendo has decided to region lock the new handheld.Although console owners have been suffering region locking for decades, until recently Nintendo had decided against such a lock on its portable hardware. What it meant was if a game got released in Japan, but there were no signs of a Western release, you could use a site like Play-Asia and import it. The game would play on your Western handheld without any issues.With the advent of the DSi and DSi XL Nintendo started using region locking, and that now looks set to continue. If you want to play a Japanese 3DS game on a U.S. 3DS–you can’t unless some workaround becomes apparent. The only alternative is to buy a Japanese 3DS. The same is true if you own a European 3DS and want to play a U.S. or Japanese cart.Read more at Eurogamer.net and NeoGAFMatthew’s OpinionAs a gamer I hate region locking. It’s been less of an issue on the most recent round of consoles due to simultaneous releases, but it used to be the case that a lot of games just didn’t make it to Western markets, or they did a year later than they should have (especially in Europe). Lots of gamers ended up buying other-region consoles just to be able to play specific games. Importing a game cost more, but allowed you to play games sooner, and that was kind of special.Nintendo’s handhelds were different, and importing games for those platforms was an established market. Why Nintendo chose to block it I don’t know, but it probably comes down to wanting to control the markets and maximize the prices paid per region for the same game.Ultimately this will just push hackers to bypass the 3DS’ security as quickly as possible and make it region free. This decision will backfire and Nintendo will end up fighting more battles with keeping firmware up-to-date where as they could have been profiting from sales of games in one region being shipped to another.It’s also worth pointing out that region locking on the DSi didn’t cause a major uproar because it only applied to DSi-only games of which there aren’t many. For the 3DS it will be all 3DS games so will have a much greater impact.