Wii U GamePads Are Region Locked
Nintendo’s Wii U, as it seems, is heading for some fresh criticism once again. Per reports, Wii U GamePads are area specific devices, and are accordingly region locked.
It has been stated that Wii U GamePads across different territories are not working in other regions. Japanese blogs that are linked in the report at Nintendo Everything are also reporting that the GamePads bought from other regions (Europe, Australia, North America, etc.) are not working in Japan, and seemingly vice versa.
Wii U consoles are region locked, and similar is the story with its games. It seems Nintendo went that extra mile to region lock a controller which, by far, has happened for the first time in history of gaming consoles. If a user purchases a GamePad controller in Japan (sold separately at around $180), and try to connect it to the other Wii U in the United States, it will not respond.
As of now, Nintendo only sells the GamePad separately in Japan, but will start retailing them individually in North America and Europe next year. Moreover, there are currently no games that support two GamePads, alongside the fact that there aren’t any games that have been announced to support two GamePads.
It should also be noted that all GamePads contain region codes in the model number, and if those are taken into account then these codes might as well be the key to determine if a controller will work in a certain territory or not.
For most of the Nintendo fans and users this seems to be quite a strange move on the part of the company, let alone being a totally non-essential one. As making a software region locked (like Nintendo previously did) seems strange and extraneous, locking an entire controller is quite uncanny.
“Giving Wii U as a gift? Pro-tip: Perform system updates before wrapping so it's good to go as soon as it's opened," read the message on Nintendo of America's Twitter.”