Singapore's first parallel importer of video games, CDKeyplus.com, has been launched, offering local gamers steep discounts of up to 70 per cent.
Gamers who have bought games from similar websites in Europe or the United States can now expect to pay in Singapore currency at the new website and get post-sale support from technical staff in the same time zone.
"We are able to sell games cheaply because of overstocking around the world," said Mr Tan Chor Yong, 38, co-founder of the two-month- old website. He got the inspiration to start the parallel importer while working for a local company that distributes PC and console games.
Authorised dealers in every market have to order in bulk. They always end up with excess stock, and some dealers offload them to parallel importers. The practice is frowned upon by the original manufacturers. And it is why consumers may never know which market their products really came from.
Newly released titles on CDKeyplus.com are about 15 per cent to 20 per cent cheaper than elsewhere.
For instance, Fallout 4 is available today at $79 on digital game store Steam. But it costs just $64 on CDKeyplus.com.
Football Manager 2015, released in November last year, is going for $14, or 70 per cent cheaper.
Mr Tan promises the lowest price, or he will refund the difference to consumers. The website does not sell content that is restricted by region because it may not work for local gamers.
CDKeyplus.com delivers the game's product key - colloquially known as CD keys - instantly to the buyer's e-mail account. This string of alphanumeric characters is used to verify the game's authenticity and unlocks the game on digital game platforms such as Steam, Origin and Uplay.
Mr Tan admits that getting buyers' trust is a challenge. In the past, illegally acquired product keys have been sold online.
Mr Tan licensed the design of CDKeyplus.com from US-based CDKeys.com to better target the Asian market, currently underserved by the latter.
The two websites have plans to direct consumer traffic to each other, depending on customers' geographical locations.
Payment is by PayPal, but starting next year, CDKeyplus.com will also accept MOLPoints, a virtual currency which consumers can buy at physical locations such as 7-Eleven convenience stores.
Mr Tan admits that getting buyers' trust is a challenge.
In the past, illegally acquired product keys have been sold online. These keys were later revoked by the game publisher and buyers could no longer play the games that they bought.
"We will provide a full refund if there are any issues related to the game keys," said Mr Tan.
Avid gamer Kevin Koh, 23, recommends that gamers read up user reviews of websites like CDKeyplus. com before making purchases. The student, who owns 1,800 games on Steam and Origin, said: "These sites are an option only if I'm on a budget and don't mind the risk."