Gametraders’ Managing Director Comments On ‘Grey Imports’

We’ve spoken to the Managing Director of Gametraders before, in our extensive pre-owned feature, but we were surprised to see him comment yesterday on our Gametraders Selling Ocarina Of Time Early, informing us of his reasons for buying video game stock overseas and selling Ocarina of Time before its scheduled release date.

His first comment was a simple one.

Hi Everyone,

The logic behind selling this game early is that our stores take exception when publishers do exclusive deals with major corporations but they won’t offer the same deal to us, an an Australian owned company.

Mark Langford
Managing Director

Then after some further debate, he went into more detail.

Hi all, me again, I have tried to keep it as brief as possible without writing an essay.

10 years ago when I started GT there were over 150 independent games shops run by people who love the industry, today you can count them on one hand.

Today games are often used by the big department stores as loss leaders, they don’t care about games and they get deals that we cannot get so we import some titles which allow us to complete with them because you can’t pay your rent and wages selling games at cost price or on small margins especially when the rents are over $200,000 pa in some centers.

All games sold in Australia are imported and they all come from the same factories, importing direct allow us to cut out the middleman and allow us to compete. We are fully compliant with Australian law which encourages parallel importing plus we place the rating sticker on every game . It’s a case of adapt or die.

Generally we don’t break street dates unless a competitor has a deal (normally provided by the publishers) that gives them a competitive advantage. 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.

Mark Langford

Some interesting points. At Game-Tech this week, Ed Fong, the Managing Director at Ubisoft discussed the ways in which retailers and publishers should be working together, but does this scenario work for smaller independent stores who can’t afford to buy stock in bulk like the larger retailers?

It’s a difficult question, and it appears as though Mark Langford and Gametraders are simply attempting to find the best way forward for their own business as a whole.

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