How to buy Xbox games abroad incl. FAQ and important hints

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Content

 

Microsoft offers you the possibility to buy games, DLCs and also other digital apps abroad. But of course not without any kind of restrictions and not necessarily officially. Let's say it's a tolerated grey area. The hurdles have become greater in recent years, but it is still possible. In the following you will find instructions on how to proceed exactly and what else exists to consider.

By the way, if you wonder whether there can be a ban or something similar, you might remember a statement by the former Microsoft manager Albert Penello, who said before the release of the Xbox One in 2013 that it will always be possible to buy games abroad, if you either have a suitable payment instrument (meaning a local credit card of the country), or buy prepaid gift cards for that country. The latter we want to explain here. By the way, it is also possible that someone buys a game on disc while on vacation and plays it at home. Since the Xbox is region-free, everything is compatible!

And by the way, no one we know of has ever been banned from buying abroad if you really only use prepaid gift cards. All those who claim otherwise are talking nonsense!

Good to know: Below the instructions you will find a FAQ with the most frequently asked questions and the corresponding answers. So it's also worth reading about it.

Short said: What is possible and what is not?

Possible

  • Buy games in other stores for less money
  • Buy games with prepaid gift cards
  • Buy games with PayPal (not everywhere)
  • Getting game keys "gifted" from someone (e.g. a Gifter)

Not possible

  • Buy games without VPN
  • Buy games from every country without any limits
  • Buy games with local credit card in other countries (mostly not possible)
  • Getting prepaid gift cards for other countries directly from Microsoft

Good to know!

The following tutorial applies also for other types of keys like Game keys from third-party sellers (like MTCGame), Xbox Live Gold, GAME PASS etc.

Preconditions

(other said: What is also important to know)

  • Gift card balance is NOT transferable to other regions. This means that balance for the Turkish store can only be used in the Turkish store! Exceptions are, however, if, for example, Arabic countries or recently Russia have shown the price in US dollars. There you can of course also pay with USD. There are no advantages in the Euro area, because the price is identical everywhere.

  • A VPN for the respective country is always mandatory. It does not matter if you buy something yourself or if you redeem a game code (e.g. from a gifter).
    We have very good experiences with PureVPN and NordVPN, because both have a very large server selection and offer test access.

  • Balance is NOT transferable to other accounts! However, your remaining balance does not expire either. So you can always use the remaining balance for a later purchase!

  • You can no longer buy credit from the Microsoft Store. The payment process fails in the end. So look around for Internet shops that sell credit for different countries.
    Here you can find a nice overview

  • You cannot buy from Egypt and China. These two countries are closed to non-natives.
  • In a few countries (USA, Canada, Colombia, ...) all prices are "net". There are different tax rates depending on the state/region. So you should always keep that in mind! To keep the overview, you can move your mouse over the countries on Xbox-Now and you will see a tooltip with more information about this country.

     

Support Xbox-Now

If you buy a game via the Xbox-Now links, you can support me a lot without any costs for you. I get a small commission for each purchase which helps me to pay the server, the domains etc. This helps me a lot! You have absolutely no disadvantages or any additional costs. Thanks a lot!

Argentina and Turkey Special Handling

Argentina and Turkey are really special these days. Even if you're successful redeeming your gift code you might face problems when the actual purchase takes place. Even if you (you are forced to anyway) use a VPN while trying. So if you get problems during the purchase, the only solution is to wait for at least 72hrs until you try again. It is really important, that you don't try to purchase anything again until the 72hrs are over. Else the block you might got from Microsoft won't be removed! So keep calm, be patient, wait for 72hrs and THEN try again!

Purchase games from other stores using prepaid gift cards

1. Go to Xbox-Now and search your desired game, check the price table in details. Pick one country and go get gift cards for this country. Only gift cards for this particular country will work! It's not interchangeable.
Here is a good gift card store overview

2. After you got the gift cards (we will pick Turkey as an example here) connect the a VPN Server from Turkey. If you're not already using a VPN servie, you can get a trial account from PureVPN or NordVPN or even others. Just be sure they're offering a Turkey server. You should think about getting a full subscription anyway, because you will need it over and over again and it can be used for other things, too. So we assume you're now connected to a Turkey server. You might want to check your external IP also.

3. Now that you are back in your browser, go back to Xbox-Now, follow the button to the Turkey store and it will open the Store in turkish language and locale. This is okay. In case you are not familiar with the following steps, you might want to translate it in the fly using Google Chrome. 

4. Press the buy button when in the Turkish store and follow the well known purchase dialouge. Possibly you'll be asked to login again and to enter a one time pin which will be sent via mail. Anyhow, the translation from Google will help you anyway.

5. In case you already added a payment option before, you might see your credit card here. In this case, press the link on the right to change the payment option. If not, you might be able to redeem the gift card directly. Check the pictures below what you need to see/pick.

  

6. Enter the gift card key, repeat if you have more than one. Now pick the balance as your payment option and proceeed.

7. Probably you will be asked for a billing address now. This is because it's your first purchase in Turkey. Stores are separated. Enter a turkish address. Maybe from our last vacation, from a fast food store or whatever you can think oft. Be sure to use your correct name and that you enter also a turkish phone number while leaving the country code off.

8. The purchase is being made. Usually without hassle. But especially within Turkey or Argentina it may show an error message. If this is the case your only thing to do (and you only option btw) is to wait for at least 72 hours without trying anything again! After that time, repeat the purchase and it should work.

By the way: Usually you were able to use your smartphone with the App to redeem the keys or perform the purchase. This has changed. They removed the possibility. This is why we do not descibe this method here anymore.

An alternative way is to connect your Xbox via VPN and redeem the key there, but as it's way more complicated you should prefer the previsouly shown method.

Use your Microsoft Account to check if you already entered a turkish address or if you have balance left.

Purchase with PayPal

(please be sure to read the previous method completely before you continue because only differences are clarified here)

Very limited it's also possible to purchase directly with PayPal. But not everywhere. Not all stores do offer PayPal. Should work in Hong Kong, Singapore or Mexiko. To make it work you need to connect to VPN again and create a new PayPal account for one of these countries. Add a payment option to PayPal which has not been used for another account yet or transfer money in advance. Else it might not work. Also use an international email service provider like Gmail which is available everywhere.

You also must make sure to add a billing address to the PayPal account which matches the one entered for Xbox in this country, like Turkey above. Microsoft will validate this.

After this has been done, go back to your browser while still connected to the VPN and perform the purchase via Xbox-Now.

Hint! If you are located in Europe, you will be able to purchase with PayPal directly (no new PP account) in countries like Hungary, Czech Rep. or Norway without the need to use a VPN server. Sometimes there are good prices, too. 

Purchase with Credit Card

It's almost impossible these days to purchase directly with credit card. There are too many restrictions and problems. You should better look for gift cards

However, if you are located in Europe, it is possible to directly purchase in countries like Norway, Hungary or Czech Rep. and without the need to use a VPN.

How does Gifting Game Keys work in general?

Actually you have the possibility to get game codes from other people. This means that someone from Turkey, for example, can buy a game as a game code from Microsoft and give or sell it to you. So you don't have to fight with restrictions yourself and can simply negotiate with the "gifter".

We have set up a Discord-Channel for this purpose, where you can talk to gifters and ask them to buy anything for you. The gifter of course wants to have something for his work and usually sets the price higher than indicated on the website, but then the games are usually still cheaper than elsewhere. You can ask for prices without obligation if you want.

FAQ 

In the FAQ you will find a bunch of frequently asked questions and answers, which hopefully will answer your last open questions!

Are there gift cards for every country?

No, gift cards are only offered for certain countries

Can I use gift cards across countries?

No. Gift cards are only valid in the country they were purchased for. This means that balance from/for Turkey is only valid in Turkey.

Do I need a VPN when buying Games with gift cards?

Yes, meanwhile this is almost always and everywhere necessary. It increases your chances of success massively! For example PureVPN and NordVPN.

Can I use my balance to buy Xbox Live, Game Pass, or hardware from the store?

Yes that is possible!

Can I use balance to buy an EA Play subscription?

Yes this is possible by now. It's also part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Where can I buy gift cards at a good price?

We have collected an overview of the shops on Xbox-Now: https://www.xbox-now.com/gift-card-shops

Do I need to create a new account or migrate my existing account to another country to purchase abroad?

You can use your normal account

If I buy a game abroad, is it playable in my language?

That depends on the game. Usually yes, because the download and the license are decoupled. But some games are simply not available in every language or only contain subtitles (some asia ones for example)

When can I start playing pre-ordered and already downloaded games?

That depends on the time zone of the country where you purchased the game. Nothing else matters.
Example: You buy a game with the release date 27.09.2016 in Hong Kong. Each game is always released at 0:01 am per country. Since Hong Kong is +6 hours ahead of Germany (in September Germany is GMT+2, Hong Kong GMT+8) you can play the game as early as 26.09.2016 at 18:01 German time.
This rule does not apply if the game clearly states it is a different time. Some might already have fixed hours like 6pm etc, no matter which country.

Do I have to change my console region if I want to play a game early?

No! At the same time, this means that changing the console region does not have any effect to play earlier.

Can I get the games as UNCUT if they're usually cut (like in Germany)

Yes, just download the game in different region, which is usually uncut (USA). Just change the country of the console and restart.

Do I have to enter a new address in each country?

With every purchase, regardless of the desired payment method, it is always mandatory to enter a billing address for the respective country. If you buy something in Russia, a Russian address is required. Search for hotels etc. Do not use the first found address on Google. Someone else could already use it. Invest a few minutes in a good search and look for an "inconspicuous" location where you could actually be. Telephone numbers of the country are logically also entered without country code prefix!

What about taxes abroad?

Some countries charge taxes exclusively. This means they are not countries that support VAT. Germany has its prices including VAT. This is different in the USA. Every state has its own tax rates. If you move the mouse pointer over the respective country, a tooltip will be shown, which informs about it. For example, if you want to buy a game from the US for 59.99 USD and buy a 60 USD credit card, you should be sure that you have specified a state without taxes (e.g. Oregon). Otherwise the blance will not be sufficient. Information about this in the tooltip.

Can I cancel pre-ordered games?

Yes and no. With gift cards this option is missing. With credit card it would be available. However, it is usually possible to contact the support of the country where the game was purchased in order to have it cancelled before release. Credit card pre-orders are charged around 12 days before release. Be sure to cancel before!

What do I have to consider when giving away (gifted) games?

Basically the same rules apply as for the purchase. For other countries you usually have to use a VPN + credit card or gift card for the "purchase". You can specify the recipient either via e-mail address or gamertag. If the presentee receives the code via e-mail, for example, it will be indicated in the lower section of the mail in which store the code must be redeemed. The code only works in the country store where it was purchased. So if the buyer bought a code in Hong Kong, you have to redeem the code in Hong Kong and for this you'll need a VPN! It will not work in other countries or without VPN.

How can I redeem a game received as a gift code?

You can redeem it either via the Smartphone App or in your browser (both with an active VPN). It works the same way as redeeming gift card codes, which is described above.