Nintendo cited obvious language differences, as well as regional age ratings, parental controls and "local laws" as factors in the manufacturing of (subtly) different hardware models. Additionally, the variations of the handheld are designed to provide "network services" that are compatible with regional technology. Like the DSi Shop before it, the 3DS's digital distribution channel is likely to be only stocked with region-locked content.
As for physical products, Nintendo assured that "guidance" would appear on all 3DS hardware and software packaging. (NTSC-coded Wii game boxes, for example, include the note: "For sale, rental and use only in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Latin America.") "If you are in doubt," the statement concluded, "Nintendo recommends that you only purchase Nintendo 3DS software in the region where [you] purchased your Nintendo 3DS system."
Tomorrow, you'll find out how to purchase that system in your region of choice -- and for how much.