The PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 are popular all over the world, but not every game is available in every country at the same time. There are plenty of games that never leave Japan, or that release in the UK or Europe before the U.S. (or vice-versa). Some countries, like Australia and Germany, have strict content laws, so many of the games that get the “M for Mature” stamp in North America are outright banned—but there are ways around the blockades.
While you could import a physical copy of region-bound games and play the disc on your console, the easier option is to grab a digital copy through another country’s PlayStation Store directly on your PS4 or PS5. You’ll need to create a new PSN account linked to the country whose online PSN store you’re trying to access, which takes a little time to set up—and you may need to use extra apps like Google Translate to help you along the way—but it’s way easier (and often much cheaper and quicker) than importing games from overseas.
There are some restrictions, of course: You can only access paid DLC with the account that purchased it, and some online features require accounts with the proper location settings. Oh, and unless the game shipped with an English option, you might not be able to understand what’s going on in the story or read the in-game menus (though translation guides and walkthroughs may be available if a game is popular enough). But outside of those limits, you’re free to play the full games, demos, or even use the system themes you buy from the Japanese or European PlayStation stores with your U.S. account.
Create a regional PSN account
We recommend doing this part on a desktop with Google Chrome since the browser can automatically translate web pages, which will make the process much easier if you’re trying to create an account for a country that speaks a different language. However, this can also be done directly on your PS4 or PS5, or on your smartphone.
- If you’re signing up on desktop or mobile: go to https://id.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com/signin/#/signin?entry=%2Fsignin and click “Create account.” If you’re signing up on PS4 or PS5: create a new account from the login screen when you boot up the console.
- Fill out the sign-up form. When you get to the page asking for your country/region, select your desired country from the drop-down box. For example, if you’re trying to access the Japanese PSN Store, select “Japan.”
- The page will reload to the proper form for the selected country. The page’s language may also change. If you’re using Google Chrome on desktop, the browser will ask if you want to translate the page (or, depending on your settings, it may automatically translate the text). You can also right-click anywhere on the page, then select “Translate to English.” If your browser can’t translate it for you or you’re signing up on your console, try using Google Translate on your phone since the app can translate text through your phone’s camera.
- Depending on which country you’re trying to creating an account for, you may also be asked to provide a state, prefecture, or similar location. You can select any from the dropdown lists, just make sure you remember it since it will need to match information we’ll be adding later on.
- Continue filling out the sign-up form. When asked to provide an email address, make sure to use one that isn’t associated with other PSN accounts.
- The next steps require you to solve a CAPTCHA code and verify your email address. Google Translate will come in handy for this step.
- The last form will ask you to add personal information. Make sure to provide answers for all required fields. This may include an address of residence, postal code, or similar information. It needs to be a real address in the state/prefecture you picked in Step 5—so if you’re making a Japanese PSN account and set your preferred location to Tokyo, then the address you write in should be located in Tokyo as well.
- One of the final steps is to set up payment information, but unless you have a bank card that works for international purchases (and you’re willing to pay possible currency conversion fees), it’s best to skip this step and add funds to your account later using pre-paid PlayStation Store gift cards.
- Continue on with the last steps—this usually includes accepting the terms of service agreements (required), setting your contact preferences (you can pick whatever you want), and/or subscribing to PSN (entirely optional). And if you didn’t verify your email in Step 6, make sure you do so now so you can access the PSN Store.
Accessing the PlayStation Store
Once your new PSN account is set up and your email address is verified, you can access the PlayStation Store for your account’s region. This can be done in multiple ways:
- On PC or mobile: You can sign in with your new PSN account on the PlayStation Store website. The store will automatically load with the account’s region/language preferences, and you can use your browser’s translation function if you need to interpret the text. (Note you will need to log in with your PSN account on your PS4/PS5 and verify the device before you can play games.)
- On PS4/PS5: If you made the account on your PS4 or PS5, just select it from the user list when you turn on the console, then open the PlayStation Store app. If it’s not the correct region, tab over and select the “…” icon, then “Shop Region,” and select the proper country from the list.
Whatever way you log in, each region’s PlayStation Store is laid out the same way, so browsing shouldn’t be too difficult. And as long as you’re downloading free content, you won’t have to mess with payment info.
However, if you’re looking to buy a game, DLC, or other items, you will need to add your payment info.
As we mentioned in Step 8 above, we recommend using PlayStation Store gift card codes, which are available in numerous currencies through Play Asia. You can try using your own bank account or credit cards, but only some payment methods are accepted internationally, and most charge a conversion fee.
Playing the games
Good news is, once you’ve downloaded your games to your console, you can play them. In most cases, you can play them using your primary PSN profile even if the account is registered to a different country than where you bought the game.
The PS4 and PS5 aren’t the only consoles you can use your international PSN accounts on, either. It also works on the PS3 and PS Vita, and can be used to access their respective digital storefronts.
And if you own a Nintendo Switch, you can create a Japanese or European eShop account to buy and play games that aren’t normally available in the U.S.