Recently, while I was helping a friend of mine who is moving to a new country pack, they asked me if they should take their Xbox Series X with them.
My answer was, of course, why not? The console is brand new!
They told me the console could be region-locked, so it would be a waste to carry it around the world.
A region-locked console can only play video games from a specific region.
For example, a Nintendo 3DS from Japan only plays games from the Asia region, and an American 3DS Nintendo is only compatible with 3DS games for its region. So, if you travel with your American Nintendo 3DS to Japan, it won’t work because it can’t play Japanese 3DS games.
I knew the Xbox Series X is not region-locked, so this is what I told my friend…
Is the Xbox Series X region-locked? The Xbox Series X is region-free. That means an Xbox Series X console from any region can play physical and digital Xbox Series X games from any region. So, you don’t have to worry that your Xbox Series X won’t work if you move or travel with it to another country or region.
Now that you know that the Xbox Series X is not region-locked, read on to find out why this is a good thing, and if Xbox Series X games are region-locked.
What are the benefits of the Xbox Series X being region-free?
Since the Xbox One, Microsoft has not had region locks on their consoles.
The Xbox 360 and the original Xbox were region-locked, which limited which countries you could buy games from.
I remember one time getting an Xbox 360 game while on a trip to Europe, only for the game to refuse to work on my American locked console when I got back home.
So, the Xbox Series X being sold without a region lock has some advantages. Here are a few of them:
In the past, if you wanted to play region-specific games, you had to ensure you bought a console for that region. For example, if you wanted to play American Xbox 360 games, you had to purchase an American Xbox 360.
Now, when shopping for an Xbox Series X, you don’t have to be concerned about this because regardless of where the console is from, it can play games from any region. Therefore, your major focus when buying the Xbox Series X should be where you can get the best deal for it.
At times, Xbox games are released sooner in other countries or regions. Now with the Xbox Series X being region-free, you don’t have to wait for weeks or months for a game you want to get your hands on to be released in your country. Once it’s out in a particular region, you can immediately order and import it.
Also, some games are never translated or made available for the American or English market, for example, Japanese-only games. Because they will play on your American Xbox Series X, you can also import these games.
Are Xbox Series X games region-locked?
As you have read above, the Xbox Series X isn’t region-locked, but what about the console’s games?
Some video game companies use regional locking on their games as a form of rights management.
This prevents the games from working outside a particular region.
For example, Persona 4: Arena for the Xbox 360 was region locked. Atlus, the company that developed the game, did so because they sold it at different prices around the world, and they didn’t want people buying the game from where it was cheapest.
If you have a library of video games, this can be a big deal, because if you move to another country or region, you might not be able to play any of the games in your collection.
Fortunately, Xbox Series X games are region-free, which means no matter where you go in the world, you can continue playing them until you’re bored.
While regional locking does not limit your physical Xbox Series X games, this is not the case with DVDs and Blu-rays.
Movie Studios and not Microsoft determine if a DVD or Blu- ray movie will be region-locked, and most of them are.
A Blu-ray disc will only play on your Xbox Series X if it is from the same region as your console.
So when buying a Blue-ray disc always check the region code at the back of its case to ensure it matches that of your Xbox Series X or you’ll not be able to watch the over 11 hours Lord of the Rings Blu-ray disc your pick up while touring Europe.
The different region codes are:
- Region A: South and North America, the US, areas of Southeast Asia, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.
- Region B: Africa, Europe, New Zealand, Middle East, and Australia.
- Region C: The Asian continent excluding Taiwan, Japan, areas of Southeast Asia, and Korea.
You don’t have to bother with the region code if you’re purchasing an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc.
These discs are region-free so they’ll play on any Xbox Series X.
Some Xbox Series X products, services and features are not available in certain countries
If you don’t have money to do a one-off payment for the Xbox Series X, you could take advantage of Xbox All Access.
With Xbox All Access you can get the next-gen console and 24 months access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for less than $25 per month.
That sounds like a good deal if your budget is tight, right?
Unfortunately, Xbox All Access is only available to Xbox customers in slightly over 10 countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Korea, and France.
Services like Netflix US, Hulu, digital assistants, such as Alexa and Google Assistant, that allow you to use voice controls with your Xbox Series X, may not work with the Series X in certain regions.
For a detailed list of the Xbox Series X supported services and features in different regions, visit the Xbox website.