By and large India gets most games that come out globally. Be it AAA shooters like Call of Duty or not so popular strategy games like Company of Heroes, all of it shows up. And more or less, they’re available day one or strikingly close.
However, if you’re looking for something a little more obscure, say the Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F series of rhythm games by Sega or Atlus’ Persona RPGs, your options are rather limited.
Unless you count buying digital as an option (along with the strain it has on your internet connection and device storage), you’re better served importing them.
But importing games isn’t just for the garden variety anime-loving hipster gamers. Far from it. Even certain collector’s editions of fairly popular franchises such as Halo don’t always make it here.
So how do you go about getting your gaming goods? We got you covered with our guide.
Make sure you have the right papers.
Thanks to Amazon’s US and UK divisions being able to ship certain games globally as well as Asian sites such as Playasia and Yesasia, importing your slice of gaming goodness is relatively easy. Though keep in mind that if you end up using a courier service such as Fedex or DHL instead of Indian Post to ship your games, you’ll need to fill in KYC (know your customer) forms that requires details such as your PAN number or upload bank statements. This is not all. You’ll also have to furnish photo ID proof as well (passport, driver’s license, PAN card or in some cases, bank statements). So if you’re going down this route, keep your personal documents at the ready.
Know your tax structure for video games.
Personal documents aren’t the only thing you’d need to bother about when it comes to importing. Our lovely government levies tax on video game imports as well. This is around 28.85% on the assessed value. What this means is while the bill of the game shows a value of $60, if the customs officer assesses it to have a value of $80, you’d be paying 28.85% on $80 instead of $60. Previously you could circumvent this by labelling your purchase as a gift but thanks to overuse of this loophole, the customs department has advised against it to prevent delays in receiving your games. Oh and this is not all, you’ll also have to pay shipping charges, broker fees, cess and service tax if deemed necessary.
There are plenty couriers to choose from.
Between duties and the necessity of KYC documentation, importing might seem like an option only for the truly desperate,those ready and willing to deal with a bureaucratic processes to get what they want. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Couriers like Aramex offer services like Shop and Ship. For a minimal lifetime membership fee (it’s usually $50 but almost, always available for $10 if you email them) you’ll get access to shipping your games to Aramex’s offices in select countries such as the US, Singapore and England. Simply purchase your game and use the courier company’s designated address for delivery. You’ll be notified to send them your bill so that you’re charged a fair amount for customs duty and other charges if any. It’s a painless process if you’re the sort who wants to import regularly. Though do keep in mind that you’re charged $10 per every half kilo and $8 for every subsequent half kilo. There are other services as well such as Borderlinx that uses DHL to handle shipping. Each have their own unique strengths. For example: Shop and Ship has a 13 countries on their roster including Germany and China but if a site doesn’t accept your credit card you’re out of luck. On the other hand, Borderlinx lets you receive items from only 6 countries but has a concierge service that lets you purchase what you need even if your credit card does not work with the site you want to buy from.
Keep an eye out for bargains.
Now that you know what you need aside from a working credit card, it’s important to know where to find the games you want. If you’re looking for bargains on video games, your best bet would be UK sites such as The Hut which tend to discount games very often. Since they do not ship to India directly, you might need to use a third party service like Shop and Ship which could bring the cost up significantly. Another option is Playasia. The site tends to have fantastic weekly deals on games both new and old. Thankfully they ship to India directly and show you prices in INR as well. Amazon US has great bargain offers towards the end of the year with a slew of deals around the Christmas season that make sense even if you do factor in local duties and charges.
Looking for something exclusive?
If you’re hunting down exclusive content that’s earmarked for specific territories such as Driveclub’s fantastic looking steel book, your best bet would be Portuguese sites such as Gamingreplay. Interested in games with an Asian flavour such as the Gundam Breaker series or prefer a disc-based version of the Resident Evil remasters that were Asia exclusive? Playasia and Amiami are your best bets. To have a good idea of which editions of a game are exclusive to which websites and countries, Collectorsedition is the right place to check out what you’d want with the game you’d love to buy.