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What does EU version region-free mean?

In simple terms, EU version region-free means that any Nintendo Switch console or game released in the European Union will work anywhere in the world without regional restrictions. Keep reading to learn more!

Region Locking on Nintendo Consoles

Historically, Nintendo utilized region locking to control pricing and localize game content across various markets. Consoles and game cards were encoded to only work in their intended region – Japan, North America, Europe, etc.

For example, a game purchased in Japan would likely not run on a European Nintendo console. This frustrated consumers and also limited second-hand sales and trading of games globally.

According to 2021 sales data, over 80 million Nintendo Switch consoles have been sold worldwide since launch. Out of these, approximately 26 million units were sold across Europe. That‘s almost a third of total sales for the platform.

What Changed with the Nintendo Switch?

With the release of the Nintendo Switch in 2017, Nintendo made their consoles region-free for the first time ever. This was a bold move that consumers welcomed globally.

This means any Switch console can play physical game cards from any region out of the box. You can also access Nintendo‘s eShop digital storefronts across all regions using a single console. Regional locking is a thing of the past.

The Benefits of Region-Free

Switch owners are no longer limited by their geographical location. You can shop for game deals across regions or import special editions from Japan, the US, Europe, etc.

Game developers are free to distribute their titles worldwide. This opens up greater revenue opportunities. It‘s a win-win for both consumers and game makers!

According to data from the European Consumer Organization (BEUC), region-free consoles drive competition that leads to reduced game pricing by 19-24% on average.

Understanding EU vs Non-EU Versions

While the Nintendo Switch is region-free, you still have to choose between the EU or Non-EU version when buying the console. What does this mean?

EU Version Explained

The Switch consoles manufactured for sale in Europe are referred to as the EU version. The only difference compared to non-EU units is they come bundled with a power adapter that has the appropriate plug shape and voltage to work across European Union countries.

EU power adapters are 220-240v as per the EU standards. The plug shape also fits EU wall outlets.

Non-EU Version Explained

Non-EU version refers to Switches manufactured for other major markets like North America, Japan, and Australia. They usually include power adapters built for use in those regions.

For example, the North American Switch adapter output is 110-120v and uses the standard 2 pin North American plug shape.

Is There Any Difference Besides the Adapter?

Nope! Both EU and non-EU Switch consoles have the exact same hardware on the inside. They can play the same games from any region.

The only difference is the power adapter. So you should opt for the version that best matches where you will use your Switch the majority of the time.

Can You Use an EU Adapter in North America or Asia?

Absolutely! Since the EU adapter supports 220-240v output, you just need a simple plug adapter to connect it properly to North American, Japanese, or other wall outlets.

The Switch itself uses a universal USB-C connector for charging. A EU charger will work perfectly fine; you just may charge a bit slower.

Choosing Your Initial Region

When setting up a new Switch, you will be prompted to select your country/region from a list. This helps the console provide appropriate game content and options for your area.

For North America, choose United States or Canada. For Europe, choose your specific country. You can always change the region later if you want to access different eShops.

Over 5.8 million Switch consoles have been sold across various European countries like Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Can You Change Regions Easily Later?

Yes! The Switch allows you to change your console‘s region easily at any time without any banning or downsides. This gives you flexibility if you want to access different region eShop stores later on. The steps are simple:

  1. Go to System Settings -> System -> Region
  2. Select your new region
  3. Confirm on the warning prompt

Your console will restart into the new region. Then you can purchase and play games available in that region!

Key Takeaways

  • EU Switches are identical to non-EU but come with EU plug power adapter
  • EU power adapters work worldwide with a basic plug converter
  • All Switch consoles are region-free – play any games from any region
  • Select your real location when first setting up the console
  • You can easily change Switch region later without any risk

The EU version of the Nintendo Switch ultimately provides the exact same benefits as non-EU ones – complete flexibility and no regional restrictions! Pick the version that fits your location best.