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 abroad
  • Save money when buying games abroad
  • Buy games with prepaid gift cards
  • Buy games with PayPal (not available in every country)
  • Getting game keys "gifted" from someone (e.g. a Gifter)

Not possible

  • Buy games from every country without any limits
  • Buy games without VPN

  • 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 ibVPN 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!

How to purchase from other countries using prepaid gift cards

We assume in this guide that you have already purchased gift cards for a specific country or remaining balance.
Here is a nice gift card shop overview

You have the best chance of success if you use your smartphone. There you need to download the Xbox app and go to the settings. You can set the region via tabs at the top. Here you simply select the country where you want to buy something. For example Turkey. The language can stay like it is.

  

Then close the app once and connect to a VPN for Turkey on your smartphone. Either via the provider's app or directly in the system settings. As soon as the connection is established, you can check in your browser at (e.g.) www.wieistmeineip.de to see if the IP is correct and the country is recognized correctly. If this is the case, you can open the Xbox app again and redeem the gift card code.

  

Alternatively, you can of course also use the code on the Xbox, but the establishment of the VPN connection with two network adapters is much more complicated!

Now select a game on Xbox-Now, click on the details and prices and find the entry for Turkey. Click on the "Buy" button on the right and you will be redirected to the appropriate store. Here is an example.

You can spend the balance via your browser (on your smartphone, computer etc.) usually without VPN! But if you want to be absolutely sure, stay directly at the smartphone where your VPN connection is still active and buy directly in the browser of the smartphone.

During the purchase you will be asked for a billing address for the respective country - in this case Turkey. Simply find a suitable hotel address or a McDonalds store on the Internet and use this data. When entering the telephone number, please remember that no country code is entered! The name of the billing address should correspond to your name, so don't choose a fantasy name here.

In your Microsoft Account you can check if there is already an address or even remaining balance available!

Buy with PayPal

You can also make limited purchases with PayPal. But not everywhere. It is known so far that it probably works in Hong Kong, Singapore and some others. To make this work, you need to create a new account at PayPal using VPN for one of the suitable countries and either deposit a payment method or transfer money there. You should ideally use an international email service like GMail or similar! If you have a credit card, for example, it must not be stored in any other PayPal account! Otherwise it will not work!

Also, the address on PayPal must match the billing address of the country on Xbox. Microsoft validates this. If the data differs, the purchase will be rejected!

Afterwards you can (it would also be possible without VPN, but is not recommended) purchase the game in your browser and choose PayPal as payment method. Usually there should be no problems!

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 ibVPN 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 Access subscription?

Unfortunately not. EA Access is an exception.

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.