It would appear that Nintendo has region-locked the 3DS. That’s lame, yes, but outside of importing the rare game here or there—perhaps you want the latest Pokemon without having to wait several months for the localized version—it’s probably not a huge deal for the majority of Nintendo fans. An email sent from Nintendo of Japan to a perspective 3DS buyer says that both the system and its games are region-locked. Meaning, you can’t buy a Japanese 3DS and play your American games on it, or vice-versa.
Again, we’ll all agree that it’s a lame move, but it’s not exactly surprising given that the DSi and DSi XL were region-locked, too. (The DS and DS Lite weren’t region-locked.)
What else is there to say? I can’t imagine there’s too many people out there who will now refuse to get a 3DS. It’s probably just another step Nintendo feels it has to take to put a stop (or at least slow down) DS-related piracy.