Guide to Finding Cheap Second-hand Consoles And Games In Japan



Attention all gamers: Have you ever visited Japan and had absolutely no idea where to start looking for consoles or games? Or perhaps you plan to do so in the near future and have no idea where to start? Recently I went on a PS4 game hunt, and I learned plenty through the process. I want to share my knowledge with everyone.

In general, Sofmap is a great place to buy both consoles and games. Sofmap can be found in most major cities and they generally have a large selection and availability of second-hand consoles and games; so it’s a great place to start.

<Consoles>

For consoles, second-hand consoles tend to be about 10% to 20% cheaper. Let’s take for example a Playstation 4. A brand-new PS4 retails at 34980 yen + tax. Currently tax goes at 8%, so that’s 37778 yen.

I recently got a second-hand BUT unused PS4 at just 32980, including tax. At almost 5000 yen cheaper, that’s quite a steal! This was at Sofmap Akiba Nigouten (秋葉原 アキバ☆ソフマップ2号店).

This circumstance isn’t actually so common.  Most second-hand consoles are really second-hand. Those with more glaring flaws, most commonly scratches, will sell at a relatively lower price. Flaws are indicated on a sticker on the box. If you don’t understand Japanese, do confirm with a staff what the stickers say.

However, those are flaws apparent from the surface. The actual condition of the console is unknown to you until you buy it, go home and try. For foreign tourists who only get to try out the console after flying back home, that can be a very bad deal.

Conclusion : Best to just fork out a little bit of extra money and buy a brand new console, unless you manage to find a second-hand unused one like me. In that case, don’t even hesitate.

<Games>

Now games are a totally different story. For games, I recommend you to buy only second-hand ones. Here’s why.

Merits :

  • Second-hand games can be REALLY cheap in Japan. It can be as low as ¼ the retail price depending on the game. Bad games sell for way cheaper.
  • Shop staff will show you both the case and the disc upon purchase for you to check their conditions. In most cases any present flaws would be indicated on a sticker, so you can usually expect the goods to be in perfect condition.
  • Any flaws present will cause the price to drop slightly below the standard second-hand price. For example, in A-Too Nipponbashi Main Store, a copy of PS4 game Natural Doctrine with a cracked case was sold at 1380 yen. Other copies sold at 1480 yen.

Demerits :

  • The one and only demerit I can think of in buying a second-hand game is that the product code might have been used by the previous user already. Product codes can unlock extra, usually trivial, content within the game. Some sellers do tell the shop whether they’ve used the code or not, but some of course don’t. This is one risk you have to take  when buying second-hand games.  Do take note that not all games have product codes.

And here’s the important part. The prices! Take note that these are all PS4 games, since I went on a hunt for PS4 games exclusively. The trend is the same for games of all other consoles as well though, so you can take this table as representative of game prices in Japan regardless of consoles.

 A-Too is another big game retailer in Japan. They don’t have as many stores as Sofmap, but they are generally cheaper. I went to the main store in Nipponbashi, a place often called Osaka’s Akihabara. This place had the cheapest price of all the shops I have seen during my hunt. Below is a price comparison table. These are all games that I bought over the last few weeks.        

Game

Price excluding tax (yen)

Retail                         

Sofmap
(Second-hand)              

A-Too Nipponbashi Main Store
(Second-hand)

Star Ocean 5 – Integrity and Faithlessness

7980

2980

1980

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3  Fortune

7800

5480

4980

God Eater 2 : Rage Burst

6640

3580

2480

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

7980

3780

3280

Ikenie To Yuki No Setsuna

4800

2780

2480

Yoru No Nai Kuni

6800

3480

2980

Megadimension Neptunia VII

6980

3580

3280

 

[A quick disclaimer : This is true as of May 2016. Prices may change in the future.]

So as you can see, there is a massive price difference between brand new and second-hand games. Secondly, even among second-hand games there can be quite a big price difference too.

I haven’t had a chance to fully explore Tokyo yet, so I can’t recommend anywhere but Sofmap.  For those visiting Osaka, A-Too is THE place to go. Here’s a map for you. It is very near Nankai-Namba station.

 

For those not visiting Osaka, here’s the shop locator page for all A-Too stores. As I have only visited the one in Osaka, I can’t speak for any of the other stores. The prices should be similar though. Before visiting, do check the store page and see if it sells games or not, as not all A-Too stores sell games.

For those who can’t find an A-Too nearby, here’s the shop locator page for Sofmap.

For the sake of comparison, I have also checked prices on Amazon. Amazon’s second-hand games’ prices are actually very close to A-Too’s prices, which is really good. However, there are shipping costs, plus you don’t get to look at the goods beforehand. Also, if you visit Japan as a tourist, you can simply show your passport and buy games duty-free. This makes it cheaper than Amazon by a fair bit.

Conclusion : Buy second-hand games! All the games I bought here in Japan are in perfect condition. Price-wise they are anywhere from half to a quarter of the retail price, so there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t buy them.

Hope you can get all the games you want at the best prices! If you know any good places I don’t, please feel free to share with me. Happy hunting!