Expands U.S. Market for Import Japanese Video Games

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For various reasons, many video games are never sold outside of Japan. But that isn't stopping U.S. gamers from playing them, thanks to ( The site, which officially launched this week, retails import Japanese video games for PSP(TM), Nintendo DS(TM), GameCube(TM), Game Boy(R) and PlayStation 2(TM) systems from within the U.S.

It is a little-tapped market in North America, but that is precisely what convinced founder Jeromy Stroh to go into business. Stroh, who had been importing video games from Japan for his own use, knew how interested gamers were in playing new titles like "Bleach: Heat the Soul," a PSP game based on the popular "Bleach" anime series by Kubo Tite, or the so-cute-it-hurts simulation series "Nintendogs," which allows Nintendo DS players to care for virtual puppies.

"There just aren't many stores that compete in this niche," Stroh

explained. "Demand for import Japanese video games is growing, however, primarily because PSP and Nintendo DS systems require no modification to play Japanese games, and very little effort is required to be able to play PS2 and GameCube games from Japan."

There is also the draw of being able to play the latest video games long before their English versions are available in this country: Many games are released in Japan months before they hit the U.S. It is perfectly legal to import them, but is one of the few companies doing so.

As a result, the site's sales are already brisk - and growing with ever new release. Pre-orders scheduled for this month include "Coded Arms," a wireless PSP multiplayer fighting game that simulates virtual reality; "Bomberman: Panic Bomber," a four-player PSP WiFi action puzzle game; "Adventure Player" for PSP, where players make their own adventures; and "Trauma Center: Under the Knife," a Nintendo DS game where players must make use of the stylus and voice recognition system to operate on patients with a myriad of ailments.

Part of the allure of import video games, said Stroh, stems from the fact that games from Japan won't play on U.S. PlayStation 2, GameCube or GameBoy systems without a modified chip - which can void a system's warranty - or an adaptor, so not just anyone can play. will soon offer the adaptors.

In choosing to carve out a niche market, and other importers could be changing the face of gaming in America. As more U.S. gamers are able to purchase import Japanese video games, a larger American fan base is created for games that manufacturers have thus far released only in Japan. A larger fan base translates to increased sales - and that, in turn, could convince manufacturers to bring more games to the U.S. market. might just be on the brink of something big.


Jeromy Stroh Import Video Games


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