How to Check a PS3's Region Code
By Seth Amery
Updated September 22, 2017
Sony offers region-free gaming for the PlayStation 3 console, though that doesn't always mean it'll work perfectly. Playing online with a game from a different region can present problems in some cases. In addition, though games aren't restricted, movies do follow regional guidelines.
Checking the Region Code
On a video game, you'll find a box on the bottom of the spine with a number -- either a 1 or a 2 -- indicating where the disc was made. When a game displays a boxed number 1 on the back, this indicates it's from region 1. Companies who produce region 1 games design them to work on North American consoles. Europe and Japan, on the other hand, develop region 2 games, as shown by the boxed number 2 on the spine of a PS3 game. If you don't have the case, you can check the disc to see whether it's labeled by a small NTSC (North America), PAL (Europe) or NTSC-J (Japan).
Downloadable Content Considerations
Though the PS3 doesn't lock out gaming regions, your account's credit card and billing address dictate which store you can access; accounts with a credit card that bills to a North American address can only use the North American store, for example. That means if you want to play a Japanese-only game on your North American console while you're in North America, you can enjoy it but won't be able to purchase any of its downloadable content without creating an account using a valid Japanese credit card and billing address. Game content purchases are tied to your account, so you can redownload them on other consoles as long as you use the same account.
Even though the PS3 doesn't force regional restrictions, developers have the ability to restrict their own games. This has only happened twice during the console's prime time: "Joysound Dive," only available in Japan, locks to Japanese consoles, and "Persona 4 Arena," available in both regions, works only in the region marked by the spine; that means North American copies only work with North American consoles, but Japanese console players can enjoy the Japanese copy.
Unlike games, DVDs and Blu-rays use regional restrictions. The spine or back of a DVD cover displays a circular globe icon with a number printed over it: 1 refers to North America, 2 refers to Europe and Japan, and 3 to Southeast Asia, excepting China, which is 6. You may also see a 0 printed, which indicates there is no regional lockout for the DVD; these can play on any PS3 or DVD player. Blu-ray discs, on the other hand, use letters for their regions: A (North America and Japan), B (Europe) and C (Asia).
Seth Amery is a long-time writer whose specialties extend to all areas of video games, having written thousands of tutorials, fully-featured strategy guides and reviews across all platforms. His experience also includes one-on-one relationships with major gaming publishers to write previews on upcoming games, establish interviews with game designers and hold early game giveaways.