Without any major announcement, Amazon Japan has apparently started to allow customers to ship certain video games and consoles purchased through the website internationally.
The news is a major one for gamers that are fans of certain titles which have not been released outside of Japan. Previously, obtaining these titles required the services of specialist importers that pass on the video games with significant mark-ups and with a long waiting time.
With Amazon Japan now shipping video games directly to international customers, going through such channels will no longer be needed, especially as the prices and shipping rates are competitive.
The process of purchasing video games from Amazon Japan is straightforward and similar to how customers would purchase items from the United States version of Amazon. However, customers might be required to sign up for an account on Amazon Japan, despite already having one.
It should be noted, however, that international shipping for purchases or preorders made for video games on Amazon Japan will only apply to items that are being sold directly by the Japanese arm of the retailer, and not to items that are listed by third-party sellers. The items will also have to qualify for Amazon Global International Shipping, and for items that do not pass these requirements, a message in their product description will say so.
For interested customers, wading through the Japanese text would be a daunting task. Fortunately, clicking on the "In English" option at the top of the website just below the search bar will turn most of the important text into English.
Ordering games through Amazon Japan, however, would require customers to be mindful of which consoles are region-free and which ones are not. The PlayStation 4, the PlayStation Vita and the Xbox One will be able to play imported Japanese games, but the Nintendo Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS will not be able to.
Polygon tried it out and was able to preorder a Japanese version of Dark Souls 3 for the PlayStation 4 on Amazon Japan. The total cost of the game was $61.87, including a shipping fee of $6.65. The order is also said to arrive in three to four days from its release in Japan.
The website will also sell and ship some Nintendo 3DS systems such as the 30th Anniversary Super Mario Bros. 3DS internationally, but this is not possible for all models of the handheld gaming console.