Nintendo has confirmed that software specifically created for the DSi will be region-locked, with European, North American and Japanese software only working on consoles designed for their specific regions.
Previous DS and GameBoy hardware has been region-free, allowing users to purchase US or Japanese software and play it on a European handheld.
Nintendo told our sister site Eurogamer.net this afternoon that the 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".
The company added: "Also because we are including parental control functionality for Nintendo DSi and each region has its unique age limit made by different independent bodies."
This only applies to software that is compatible exclusively with the DSi - existing DS software remains region-free. Internet browsing and photo sharing also works globally.
It's worth noting that Nintendo's statement refers to "software" rather than "games". GamesIndustry.biz is seeking further clarification from Nintendo.
A lucrative retail market currently exists catering to early adopters and consumers keen to import Japanese and US titles often released far earlier in those regions than in Europe.