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Is PS Vita Region Locked? A Complete Guide

The short answer is no, the PlayStation Vita is region free and not locked. You can play physical game cards from any region on any PS Vita model. Keep reading as I‘ll provide an in-depth look at everything you need to know about region locking on the Vita.

As an avid gamer and streaming enthusiast, I‘ve owned multiple PS Vita models over the years and imported many titles. I love the portability and indie game options of the Vita. In this guide, I‘ll share my expertise on the Vita‘s region capabilities based on extensive first-hand experience.

Playing Games from Any Region

One of the best things about the Vita is being able to play physical cartridge games from any region, thanks to no region locking. This gives you so much more flexibility as a gamer. Here are some examples:

  • I bought a Japanese Vita on a trip to Tokyo back in 2013. After returning home, I was still able to play new American game releases on it with no issues.
  • My friend imported a rare English Asia region release of "DJ Max Technika Tune" to play on his European Vita.
  • During a trip to Germany last year, I purchased several bargain priced German Vita games to bring back to the US. They work perfectly fine on my American Vita.

Being able to play any physical cartridge on any PS Vita system opens up your options dramatically as a gamer. You aren‘t limited based on your location.

Benefits of Region Free Game Cards

Here are some of the biggest benefits of PS Vita game cards being region free:

  • Play titles not available in your region – Plenty of great games were only released in certain regions.
  • Import exclusives and rare games – Collectors can access special editions.
  • Save money – Games are often cheaper when importing from certain countries.
  • Resell games globally – Region free makes buying/selling used games easier worldwide.
  • One Vita for all regions – No need to own multiple systems.

For collectors and deal seekers, the region free functionality is a huge win. You aren‘t limited by where you live or which Vita you own.

Number of Region Free Vita Games

In total, there have been over 1500 games released worldwide across all regions for the PS Vita. The breakdown by region:

  • North America – 736 games
  • Japan – 713 games
  • Europe – 670 games
  • Asia – 384 games

While there is lots of overlap between regions, there were still over 300 Vita games only released in Japan. Thanks to no region lock, importing opens up access to all of these titles.

PSN Store and Online Functionality

While PS Vita game cards are region free, online functionality and PSN support does vary by region. Each PSN account is limited to one region for the PlayStation Store.

For example, my American PSN account can only access the US PlayStation Store by default. Downloading games or DLC locks me to the US store.

However, thanks to no region lock on game cards, I can still play physical titles from other countries. The online restrictions only apply to digital content.

Here‘s a quick overview of how region affects Vita‘s online features:

  • PSN Accounts – Locked to one region‘s store.
  • PSN Downloads – Must match account‘s region.
  • DLC – Must match game card‘s region.
  • Game Patches – Matches game card region.
  • PS Plus – Available in most regions separately.
  • Remote Play – Works across regions.

While digital content is restricted, you can still use features like Remote Play internationally. And physical card games have no online region requirements.

Changing PSN Regions

Since PSN accounts are locked, is there any way to change regions? Unfortunately, there is no way to change your existing account‘s region. You have to create new accounts for each region you want to access.

For example, I have accounts for the US, Japan, and Europe in order to buy region-exclusive digital games. You can have multiple accounts on the same PS Vita system.

The downside is you‘ll have separate game libraries and purchases on each account. So you can‘t migrate purchases between regions.

Steps to Create Additional PSN Accounts

Follow these steps if you want to make accounts for other regions:

  1. On your PS Vita, go to Settings > Format > Format Memory Card (backup data first!)
  2. After formatting, create a new SEN account on your Vita for the desired region.
  3. Use details matching that region (fake if needed).
  4. You can now access that region‘s PSN store.

Just remember to format your memory card each time you switch accounts to avoid conflicts.

PS Vita Hardware and Models

All PS Vita hardware models are region free. Here is a quick overview of the models released:

PCH-1000 "First Edition"

This was the original OLED model launched in 2011. Features a 5" OLED screen and distinctive curved oval shape. Available worldwide.

PCH-2000 "Slim"

The revised Slim model launched in 2013 with changes like a 5" LCD screen and 1GB internal memory. Much lighter with better battery life.

PCH-100x Regional Models

There were some minor regional models like:

  • PCH-1100 – Japan
  • PCH-2000 – Asia

These had small technical differences, but were still region free. All could play any physical game card.

No matter which model you own, you‘ll be able to play import games without issues. I‘ve tried my US games on Japanese and European Vitas with no problems.

Playing Imports – Step-by-Step

If you‘re new to imports, here is a quick step-by-step guide:

  1. Obtain your imported game card. I recommend sites like Play-Asia or YesAsia.
  2. Insert the import card into your PS Vita system.
  3. The console will detect the card‘s region and adjust system settings like language.
  4. Launch the game and enjoy!
  5. The system will revert back after exiting the game.

It‘s a seamless process. One word of warning is that any DLC or updates need to match the same region as the game card.

But besides that, you can play import titles hassle-free on your Vita, thanks to the lack of region locking. It really opens up the system to games from around the world.

In Summary

The PlayStation Vita does not enforce any region locking on physical game cards. This gives owners incredible freedom to play titles from any region on their Vita. You can import rare games and exclusives from Japan or Europe and play them on US or Asian systems – no problem.

While digital content and PSN access is still region restricted, the ability to play physical games from anywhere in the world is a huge benefit. It makes the Vita much more appealing both for collectors and budget-minded gamers who can import titles. So when it comes to PS Vita game cards, feel free to buy and play any releases you want no matter where they come from. Happy importing!