Vooks has just gotten word that EB is set to begin selling official Australian copies of Ocarina of Time early, in response to Gametraders selling grey imported copies of the game a week early. The question is – do they have Nintendo’s permission?
Technically, it’s a street date break, but considering the fact that Gametraders are already selling the game at retail, this appears to be an attempt to nullify the impact of the move by Gametraders.
“It’s not technically illegal,” said a Nintendo representative, when we asked, “so there’s not much we can do.”
The Managing Director of Gametraders has posted in Kotaku this week, explaining his reasons for selling imported copies of the game early.
“Generally we don’t break street dates unless a competitor has a deal (normally provided by the publishers) that gives them a competitive advantage,” he posted. “For the record our competitors have broken street dates plenty of times.
“The big department stores in particular pay about a 1/4 of the rent than we do and they mostly don’t provide the same staffing levels.
“Our franchise owners work extremely hard and have put everything on the line so we will do whatever it takes to compete.”
The official statement from Nintendo themselves is typically vague and non-committal.
“The official release date is still June 30,” we were told.
This is an interesting move. Clearly there’s nothing that Nintendo can technically do to prevent Gametraders from selling the game in stores, but it can nullify the impact of the move by allowing others to sell early.
It’s probably worth noting that there would have been absolutely no issue to begin with if Nintendo had committed to the same release date as other territories overseas.
The question now is – will other retailers also break Street Date as a result?