While Nintendo's new 3DS will be region-locked, the company may reconsider its stance for the future.
Replying to a question about removing the region restrictions, Iwata explained why region restrictions have existed.
"The game business has a history of taking a very long time with localization among other things, such as having to deal with various issues of marketing in each particular country, or games that have made use of licensed content that did not apply globally, and had all kinds of circumstances, so to say, that region-locking has existed due to circumstances on the sellers' side rather than for the sake of the customers," Iwata said, according to Zelda Informer's translation.
"As for what should be done going forward," Iwata continued, "if unlocked for the benefit for the customers, there may also be a benefit for us. Conversely, unlocking would require various problems to be solved, so while I can't say today whether or not we intend to unlock, we realize that it is one thing that we must considering looking to the future."
The Nintendo 3DS and Wii U are both region-locked, which means the systems will only play games from the same region. For example, a Japanese copy of a game will not work on a North American Wii U. Nintendo's New 3DS will also be region-locked, Nintendo confirmed in September. Comparatively, the PS4, and Xbox One are both region-free; however, companies may choose to region-lock individual games.
While Nintendo hasn't firmly decided to remove region-locking, the issue is something the company at least acknowledges is important for consumers.