To clarify that, the specific DSi cartridges can only be played on a DSi hand-held of the same region. If you have an American DSi (which probably won't be released until next year) it won't play any DSi cartridges that you bought in Australia. You can still play any normal DS game on any DSi hand-held, it is just the specific (market dividing) DSi games that are restricted.
A Nintendo spokesman explained to CVG:
"DSi is region locked because DSi embeds net communication functionality within itself and we are intending to provide net services specifically tailored for each region. Also because we are including parental control functionality for Nintendo DSi and each region has its unique age limit made by different independent."Dear Nintendo,
I will not be buying a DSi whenever you get around to releasing it where I happen to live when you deem it worth to sell outside of Japan. That is unless you are going to have a representative at every international airport that will exchange my DSi cartridges for ones of the region of the country where I have just landed.
Seriously, this is bullshit. There is no reason their excuses above can't be built into the system. It is nothing more than an attempt to block importing games from one region to the next. Once again it is me, the normal consumer who is going to be hurt just because I travel a lot. I think the DS being region free is one of the reasons it is so successful. Its a hand-held system that you TAKE WITH YOU WHEN YOU TRAVEL!
All of this is also going to hurt the smaller developer. It just sucks all round.