Importing video games has just gotten a little bit easier, with Amazon Japan now shipping select games (and systems!) to international buyers. The online retailer has sold products internationally for a while now, but video games have always been locked down to local buyers. Now though, that’s changed – and you won’t have to pay too much for the privilege.
It’s not a free-for-all, with some games and hardware options still restricted. Some games are available for pre-order using international shipping, while some are not (to the point where some 3DS bundles are ok, while others are firmly JP-only). For the best chances of success, you’ll have to make sure you find products that use AmazonGlobal International Shipping, and those sold directly from Amazon.co.jp (not third-party retailers). Happily, the site is fairly straightforward when rejecting your order: “Sorry, we can’t deliver this item to your area.”
Once you find something you like, buying it is a relatively simple procedure – although you might need to sign up for a new Amazon.co.jp account regardless of whether you are an Amazon member in another country. You don’t even need to know Japanese to get through it all (but it does help) – information about creating an account, setting up and storing a credit card, navigating the store and going through the check-out process is also available in English, accessible through a toggle on the website’s menu.
Obviously, if you’re in the market for Japanese games, you’ll need to be aware of which ones are region-locked, because even if you have the disc in your hand, it might not play on your console. Internationally, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Vita can all play imports quite happily, while you’ll need to invest in Japanese hardware if you want to play 3DS or Wii U games.