Acquiring a game that has not yet been released outside of Japan is a notoriously, even legendarily, difficult endeavor. In order to do so, gamers usually need to depend on specialist importers, who may or may not be on the level, and pay significant mark-ups in order to get the title shipped over. However, a group of dedicated gamers at NeoGAF recently discovered that Amazon Japan seems to be allowing the purchase and shipping of both consoles and games not currently available for release outside of Japan.
The discovery was announced in a post on NeoGAF’s forum where a user reported that they had successfully purchased and received a title that was still only accessible within Japan. In order to access these titles, you will need to either already have or create a new Amazon Japan account, even if you have an existing Amazon account. While the Amazon Japan site is, unsurprisingly, entirely in Japanese, turning on the “In English” option at the top of the site will translate most of the pertinent information into English so you can navigate the site with ease.
However, prospective importers still need to be mindful of which systems and titles are region specific and which are not. Some of the bigger names in the game, such as the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita are region-free and can play imported games, but others, such as Nintendo Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS are not, and will not be able to run games that are intended for the Japanese market.
One last caveat to keep in mind – the items purchased must come directly from Amazon.co.jp. Third party sellers, even licensed third party sellers, will not be eligible for Amazon Global International Shipping and cannot be shipped internationally.
While the news came from an unlikely source, it seems pretty solid. In fact, Polygon tested the process by preordering Dark Souls 3 successfully, with an estimated shipping time of three to four days after the game launches in Japan on March 24th.