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Purchasing imported games for the Nintendo Switch

photo courtesy of Nintendo
The Nintendo Switch has a lot of games, available in multiple languages, that any gamer can get very easily in digital or physical form. There are also games one can get from other countries, since the Switch has no regional locking, that may not be available in your native region. However, this is not an effortless process, it requires a bit of extra work to make your imports run on your home console.

1. First, you must have the following:

A.) A Nintendo Switch, so long as the game you wish to import can support the type of mode you wish to play it on, like handheld mode if applicable.

B.) A valid US credit card. Mastercard or Visa will work.

C.) At least one Switch account set for the region you intend to purchase games from. For the example I will be using, it will be the Hong Kong "Asian English" release of Super Robot Wars T, meaning I need to have a Switch account, on my Switch and with Nintendo's website, synced to this region prior. Games will work out of the box or when downloaded, but any DLC requires a specific region to acquire.

NOTE: Asian English means Japanese audio with Japanese, Chinese and English text options.

D.) A web browser with a translator plugin of some sort, you will require this to navigate foreign websites if you don't understand their language.

E.) Knowledge of exchange rates. Any website, there are several easily brought up in any search engine, that can show how much USD (United States Dollars) are equivalent to a foreign currency like HKD (Hong Kong Dollars) would be quite useful. The HK Nintendo e-Shop will honor a US credit card, and it will automatically deduct the exchange rate equivalent of US currency when you make a purchase, so being able to know how much you'll be spending is a very wise decision.

NOTE: If getting a game from any other country, follow the same instructions per whatever the exchange rate for that country's money to it's US equivalent.

2. For my example, I would recommend Play-Asia as the default store of choice for the item you wish to purchase:

Now, a few pointers. This is a Asian English release for the Hong Kong region, meaning it will support a native English translation for your Switch if your system language is set to English. You will also want to be very sure you are NOT buying the Japan specific release, that will only have Japanese.

The purchase link above goes to the physical release version. It typically takes from a week to two weeks to arrive if you use the cheapest delivery options. All payment on Play-Asia for this item can be done with US currency, we haven't gotten to the part where we need to worry about foreign languages and exchange rates yet.

You can also purchase the game digitally, along with the DLC, but I prefer the physical copy with the English cover. If you intend to purchase everything digitally, there are digital options available via the Nintendo HK e-Shop if you want to buy the game and DLC together.

3. Once you have acquired the game, assuming you have followed the instructions above, I would boot the game up at least once. Get to the opening menu, then close back out, just to make sure it's registered to your Switch on an account set to the Hong Kong region and is synced to an account made on Nintendo's website also set for that region.

You shouldn't start the game yet, assuming you wish to get the DLC, for this game there is a LOT, as they are enabled as you start a new game. You'll want all the DLC enabled off the bat since some are available at the very beginning of the game.

4. Now, you need to go here, having followed the steps I mentioned about setting up the HK account prior and logging in with that account that is synced with your Switch HK region account.

This is the Hong Kong e-Shop on the web. It's possible now to shop on your Switch for that region, but unless you understand Chinese, you will be LOST. This guide assumes you don't and are using Google Translate or something similar. Turn off ad blockers/script blockers, or anything else that might mess up viewing this page too, it tends to load slow at times and this just makes it even harder to use..

Since we already know the game we are looking for, here's the page to buy all the DLC.

There is a long list of items you can purchase in HKD here, and since it's much cheaper to buy packages of items instead of buying many small ones, here are the three package deal DLC Bundles.

This would be the Stage DLC collection of extra stages for this game, I would definitely purchase this for sure.

This is the 'Expansion Pack" DLC, which adds a post-main game campaign that is much harder, raises the level cap, and if you played Super Robot Wars V and X, reunites you with some heroes and villains from those games. It resolves some dangling plot threads from the main game.

This is optional. It's a bunch of bonus items that is basically a "pay to win DLC" collection that starts you off with quite a bit of resources like money and special equipment. This is pretty easy game, but this is worth a purchase if you want.

Now comes the hard part: Buying the items.

Once you get the item and add it to your cart, it will take you to a checkout screen where you will have to confirm your purchase and choose your registered credit card or whatever form of alternate payment you can use. If you have logged into an account set to a different region, this won't work, so you MUST make sure you logged in with your account set to the HK region.

If you did this correctly and entered your payment information correctly, it will process and the next screen will tell you the purchase was completely successfully and added to your account, where it should be downloading on your Switch in very short order. Check with your bank account to see how much was deducted, it should match with whatever the current exchange rate between HKD and USD, also minus whatever taxes are applicable.

You should soon, within a day or two at most, get a confirmation email of your purchase at the email set for your HK account. Obviously, this must be a different email from your US account.

Some final tips and information:

There are some other places like Amazon where these items (at least the games) can be purchased, and some alternative stores like the below may be useful:

Whatsmall is an alternative for purchasing import products and does have DLC for some import games, but only use this option if the official Nintendo Store does not work for any reason. You will have to use a translator app if viewing the non-English content on this site as well.

Do NOT trust any shady "Switch Game/DLC key generator" site, these are all scams, only purchase from the links provided above.