Guide to buying import games
Game versions and compatibilities
Game version, language, Region Free, PAL, NTSC ... many terms that apply to games, but with a single purpose: to know if we can play with a video game purchased anywhere on our console without problems.
So we are going to review all these terms in a simple way so that they are perfectly understood and thus lose fear when buying video games abroad.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the consoles purchased in Spain, whether they are PlayStation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox One, or XBOX360, use the European PAL system.
The games are basically sold in 2 versions, PAL and NTSC, which in turn are divided into NTSC-USA and NTSC-ASIA. As for the PAL version, although there is only one version, it is usually referred to by the country of origin as PAL / ES for games distributed in Spain, PAL / UK for games distributed from the United Kingdom, etc., but all are completely fully compatible with each other.
Therefore, the only issue to study is whether Spanish consoles are capable of playing NTSC games. Well, there are differences between PS3, PS4, Wii, Vita, PSP, and Xbox that we are going to see next.
Games PlayStation 3, Playstation4, PSP and PS Vita
With the arrival of the BluRay-Disc to the PS3 and PS4, the region restriction has disappeared, so we can play English, American, Asian, and even Japanese games without problems. The same is true for the PSP and PS Vita, which do not have any type of region protection.
In other words, neither the PlayStation 3/4 consoles nor the PSP nor the PS Vita has region protection. This means that we can run any game purchased anywhere on any console.
Therefore, what we should pay attention to is the languages that the games bring, since not all the games by region bring the same languages. Therefore, in Yambalú we show you the information that we have been able to obtain through various websites about the languages that the games contain.
Thus, a game bought abroad that includes the Spanish language will be identical to one bought in Spain, except for the cover (which may vary from one version to another, in addition to the text that is printed on the disc or on the cover).
For games purchased in the USA, sometimes you have to have an account in the Australian game Store to be able to download the DLC you carry or activate through Online Pass
Games XBOX360 and Xbox One
This time, there are differences between the two consoles. While the Xbox 360 SI has a regional lock, this has disappeared in the Xbox One
That is, not all the games that we can import from abroad for Xbox 360 can work on our console. The important thing is to know that:
The games purchased in the United Kingdom (PAL-UK version) are all compatible with our Spanish PAL consoles, as already mentioned
The games purchased in America, Canada, Hong Kong, etc. (NTSC versions) only if they are Region Free they can be played on our consoles
For this reason, at Yambalú we obtain this information from different sources (the stores' own websites sometimes offer this information, contact with the distributor, other online forums) and we offer it to you in the game file. Although it can be said that, a priori, a vast majority of the catalog is Region Free.
Therefore, once we know if the game will work on our XBOX360, it remains for us to know if the game brings the Spanish language or not. We will also offer you this information in the game file.
For Xbox One, everything is simpler, since by not having a region lock, all games will work on our console and we only have to worry about the languages that the game carries.
All PC games can be enjoyed on any computer, as long as it meets the minimum requirements for the game. Therefore, once again, the only doubt about it is the language that the game can bring. From Yambalú, we will also do everything possible to obtain it and we will offer it to you in the game file.
In addition, there are different websites that offer patches that, applied to our games, translate it into Spanish, thus having a game exactly the same as the one that would be bought in the US shop store.
In games that are activated or that the client can download via the web (through Steam, Battle.net, etc.) there is usually no problem downloading the client in the desired language.
Nintendo games ( DS, 3DS, Wii and Wii U )
In the case of Nintendo consoles, we find a bit of everything:
Nintendo DS / DS Lite is region free
Nintendo 3DS / DSi / DSi XL is NOT region free, there are 3 regions for their games: American, Japanese, and European-Australian. Therefore, only European games will run on our Spanish consoles (or English, if we prefer to buy the console in the UK)
Nintendo Wii / Wii U are not region free either
Blurays versions and compatibilities
There are 3 different regions in Blurays, not all discs being compatible for all regions. These regions are:
Region A for the United States, Canada and Asian countries such as Japan, Korea or Hong Kong
Region B for Europe, Australia, and New Zealand
Region C for Russia and India.
For a disc in one region to be played on a player in another region, the disc must be Region Free. For this reason, in the detail of the movies, we indicate if a Bluray can be viewed in a Spanish player (Region B) or not.
It will be possible to visualize all the Blu-rays of Region B and those discs of Region A or C that are Region Free.
In addition, we can consult the region of the Blu-rays in the following list: http://bluray.liesinc.net/
Return of orders
We remind everyone that orders do not open once received, you can be returned to the store over a period of time.
We provide links to the order return policies in some of our stores.
ATTENTION: it is important to know the customs policy and possible consequences when we import games outside the European Union. That is, this affects games that are purchased in the USA, Canada, or Asia, for example. In no case to games purchased in the UK.
On this subject, you can find a lot of information (and discussion topics) on the net. We have mainly obtained our information from this thread on ElOtroLado.
On March 1, 2010, a new European regulation has entered into force that reduces the value of objects imported from outside the EU that remain outside customs control. In other words, previously, if they sent us a package of less than € 150, we did not have to pay anything at customs, now this value has decreased to € 22.
The changes can be seen in the following table:
Low-Value Imports Application
Between 0 EUR and up to 22 EUR Tax exempt in VAT
More than 22 EUR and up to 150 EUR You must pay VAT but not taxes
More than 150 EUR You must pay taxes and VAT
Link to regulations
The most immediate is that if customs inspects our package, and its value is higher than € 22, we will have to pay VAT and customs management costs. Obviously, far from all the packages that are sent from outside the EU are stopped by customs, generally, they are the most voluminous or of greater value. But you know, it is a Russian roulette ... and it can touch you.
Customs control and the application of these taxes and VAT are managed by a private company that works for the government. Its name is SpeedTrans SL
Update 07 / April / 2020: customs control has passed back into the hands of Correos, which will once again manage all customs procedures, so what is explained at this point may change.
When a package is stopped at customs, two things can happen:
a) That they contact you by registered letter (normally what usually happens when we choose non-private transport). The user must make the arrangements.
b) That the transport company (for example FedEx or UPS) contact you and carry out the arrangements for you.
You must go to the office of the company that is in charge of customs management and pay tariffs plus VAT (tariffs change depending on the country of origin and the product that is: clothing, electronics, etc.), for this you must present the internet purchase invoice. Apparently, if the price does not fit them (even if it comes as a GIFT) they can open the package and see what it is (with which they could locate the invoice and contact information of the company)
How can I prevent my package from being stopped at customs?
First of all, indicate that legally our package, in any case, can be stopped by customs if they deem it appropriate. In addition, here we do not indicate how to illegally skip this process, since this would be to defraud the Treasury ... each one to draw their own conclusions.
It cannot be 100% safely avoided that the package is stopped. What do exist are a series of steps that greatly decrease this probability. Some of them are:
That the package has a declared value lower than the € 23 threshold. In this way, it would be exempt. This statement is usually on the outside of the package and is easily visible. The sender should be asked to indicate this value ... even so, customs may not trust the declared value and also intercept the package and demand justification of its cost. It can also be indicated as a gift, although you can also ask us to justify the cost.
Choose ordinary mail (Correos) whenever possible and not a courier company (UPS, FedEx ...). The latter they manage the customs issue and they charge you for the procedures, so they are usually tougher on the issue (they make a profit). The volume of the Post Office is so large that they cannot handle all cases, so only the most striking cases (very large packages, a lot of declared value) and other random cases go through customs.
And how much does it cost to get my parcel stopped at customs?
VAT of both the package and the shipping
Tariff corresponding to the article, I think the highest is the clothing tariff, the lowest the computer (which I think is 0)
They can charge you a cost for keeping the package for a certain number of days and for the registered letter they send you
Finally, if you do not carry out the procedures directly, but rather a company does it for you (either SpeedTrans if it goes through the Post Office or the courier company itself, UPS, FedEx, etc.) they will charge you some management fees