Thai people love video games, especially PC online games! Therefore it is difficult, even almost impossible to find officially ones. Indeed console systems such as PS3 are not officially distributed and illegal games copies are widely spread.
Why can’t you find official Playstation consoles in Thailand?
The answer to that question is quite easy: Thailand, even though is a growing country, represents a small market for video games. Indeed, it is almost limited to only Bangkok. So Playstation decided not to enter this market which created opportunities for piracy. Now, everyone in Thailand is playing with unlock consoles and games copies which will make it even more complicated for Playstation to enter the thai market in the future.
As well, after spending some time in Pantip Plaza and MBK malls, I noticed that I haven’t seen any Xbox consoles and games sold. Therefore, I couldn’t find any information on that so please let me know if you have some.
Where to shop and play video games?
At Pantip Plaza, a entire mall dedicated to IT (can you believe that?!), every shops offer copies, mostly Japanese and US versions as well as the famous MBK mall. Prices there range between 200 and 500 Bahts respectively for a DVD or a Blueray game. The same applies to portable system such as PSP or DS. Memory cards with pre-installed games are available at 500 Bahts. Chinatown also has a small district dedicated to it.
Arcade game exists, but I have only seen few ones (and small) at Pantip Plaza, Siam Paragorn and MBK malls. Even though they are small, they offer the latest games such as Mario Kart Arcade 2 and PES for 10 Baths.
Where to buy rare video games?
There are two great shops in Bangkok offering great collections: True Life Thonglor in Thonglor Soi 10 and O’corner in MBK shopping mall on the 6th floor at the Paco zone 44-45. I had the opportunity to visit the last one and I can say that before being a shop, it is a real collection with rare games and consoles. But get there only for looking as prices are really high, unless you are looking for something special.
As well, the following website gives information about official PS3 games: where you can find it and at what price.
So should you buy video games in Thailand?
Well the answer is no for me! If you don’t have an unlock console, just forget about it as you won’t be able to play the games you just bought. And even if you have one, remember that this is illegal and you can get troubles at the customs in your home country. Finally, official games can be found but probably at a higher price that you would pay in your home country. So sorry, but Thailand is not (yet) the country for gamers! Next time, plan your trip to Japan or South Korea!
Finally some anecdotes
In 2008, a teenager killed a taxi driver in Bangkok. He wanted to see if it was “as easy as in GTA”. All the famous GTA video games are now forbidden in Thailand.
Recently, in November 2012, a 24 years old man died playing after a marathon online PC session because of dehydration and non-nutrition.
Article written by Benjamin Dilphy