Is the Xbox Series X Region-Locked?

Region locking involves making sure that a product only works in the region it was purchased in — for example, a DVD purchased in Japan won’t be able to work in the USA. This provides major benefits to the company releasing it, including being able to protect their intellectual property and control releases, though there are undeniable drawbacks for the consumer. But is the Xbox Series X region-locked?

No, Microsoft has made the Xbox consoles region-free for many console generations, including the Xbox Series X. However, it would be impossible to guarantee that every game will work on it, as some game developers may choose to region-lock their content. DVDs and Blu-rays are also region-locked. 

Let’s take a deeper dive into the concept of region locking. We’ll discuss how you can tell if a game or DVD isn’t going to work on your Xbox Series X. Plus, we’ll go over exactly what the benefits and drawbacks of a region lock are.

What Does It Mean When Something is Region-Locked?

Region locking or region coding refers to the practice of making sure a product, like a DVD or gaming console, can only work in the region that it was bought in. The manufacturer usually does this so they can stay on top of the production and distribution of the product, as well as ensure that their products abide by local licensing laws.

A region-locked device, therefore, may not work in other countries. If a game or DVD has been region-locked, it won’t work in consoles or players that weren’t manufactured in the same region.

Did Microsoft Region-Lock the Xbox Series X?


No, Microsoft did not region-lock the Xbox Series X. Microsoft has a reputation for not placing region locks on their consoles, allowing users to play games from any region on their devices. It doesn’t matter where they live or bought the console, it will be playable wherever they are.

Can You Play Any Game on an Xbox Series X?

For the most part, you can play any game on an Xbox Series X, as they are all region-lock free. However, it’s important to note that game developers still retain the choice to region-lock their games. For example, Atlus made this decision when publishing Persona 4 Arena for the Playstation 3.

Developers may wish to control the sale of their game around the world and choose to lock it despite the fact that it’s not typical for Xbox Series X games to be locked.

What About Blu-ray and DVDs?

Region locking is slightly different with movies. The Xbox Series X will not play DVDs and Blu-rays from other countries, as these are region-locked. You should be careful before buying one. Just because the Xbox Series X is region-free doesn’t mean that any disc you put in it will be. 

However, any region-free DVD or Blu-ray can be played on the console.

What Are the Different Regions for DVDs and Games?

There are four main categories used to region-code DVDs and games:

  • Region 1: U.S., Canada, and Bermuda
  • Region 2: Japan, Europe, South Africa, Egypt, and the Middle East
  • Region 3: Southeast Asia, East Asia including Hong Kong
  • Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean

This is standard across the world, and individual manufacturers can’t change these regions. For example, a single company can’t choose to group Central and South America with the USA.

It’s important to keep region coding in mind when making a purchase, as some regions might not follow in the pattern you expect. Note that Japan is grouped with Europe in region 2 rather than with Southeast and East Asia in region 3.

How Can You Tell If an Xbox Game or Movie is Region-Locked?

The quickest way to tell if an Xbox game or movie is region-locked is to insert it into the console and give it a whirl. Inserting it into the console won’t break anything, but you will see a message letting you know that the console is unable to play the media.

You can also check the region on the case, as it should state which region it’s from. You’ll then need to check it against the Xbox Series X if it’s a DVD or Blu-ray. This is important if you want to know before you make the purchase, whether it’s online or from a store.

It’s safe to assume all movies are region-locked.

Why Would a Company Region-Lock a Game or DVD?

Region locking can benefit the publisher or manufacturer in several ways.

Licensing Control

Region-locking allows publishers to control the distribution of their products and to comply with regional licensing agreements. 

This means that they can release their products in different regions at different times, or release different versions of their products in different regions. This is handy for publishers who may wish to release a game later — for example, some games may come out in Japan and Europe before America. 

Region-locking helps prevent the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material and protects investments. This essentially stops games and movies from being pirated and costing the company money that would otherwise have gone into those purchases. 

Marketing and Localization

Xbox controller

Region locking allows publishers to tailor their products to specific regions. They can also take into account cultural differences and make edits to the experience accordingly, or comply with different local laws. This can help increase sales and improve the overall experience for the user, or even ensure the game is legal where it’s been published.

Although there are many benefits for the company when it comes to region-locking, there are undeniable drawbacks for the user, including potentially higher prices and compatibility issues.

If a user moves from one region to another and has to buy a new console or DVD player (or purchase movies and games for their old ones), they will undoubtedly run into those compatibility issues.

However, the Xbox Series X is not region-locked and you’re unlikely to run into a problem playing any game on it. Any problems will most likely stem from DVDs and Blu-rays, which typically are region-locked. Again, just because the Xbox Series X is region-free doesn’t mean it can override those specifications on the disc itself.