Super Mario 3D Land is now fully available in most specialist retailers in Australia, ahead of its official release date this Thursday — a direct result of Gametraders' decision to grey import European copies of the game. Yesterday Mark Langford, the Managing Director of Gametraders claimed that decision was made after stores were unable to purchase Limited Editions of the upcoming Nintendo title The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Today, Nintendo sent us a response to those claims.
While Mark Langford stopped short of accusing Nintendo of deliberately stopping local distributors from selling stock to Gametraders, he did claim that his inability to buy copies of Skyward Sword's Limited Edition led him to grey import stock from overseas.
“If Nintendo would just do the right thing,” he says, “we wouldn’t break street date.
“We want a good relationship with our local distributors and our local publishers. We don’t always grey import — it’s only Nintendo titles, because of the way they’ve treated us.”
Mark Langford claimed that lack of local stock led him overseas.
“The game was available, but then it wasn’t,” said Mark. “And bear in mind this is the first time this has ever happened.
“They could argue that it was the result of a limited supply of games, but Nintendo needs to be really careful here, this is the sort of thing that the ACCC are very hard on.”
Nintendo has a right to sell stock directly to any retailer it chooses, and it also has the ability to not sell to retailers under the Trade Practices Act. However, colluding with independent distributors in Australia to hold back stock from retailers is illegal. While Mark Langford stopped short of directly accusing Nintendo of doing this, there was a suggestion that Gametraders was receiving poor treatment compared to other larger retailers.
Nintendo denied this outright, claiming it encourages all retailers — including Gametraders — to buy from local distributors.
"It is simply incorrect to say that Gametraders have been denied the opportunity to buy Nintendo products locally and stock them in store," claimed a statement from Nintendo. "All companies are free to purchase Nintendo products from our distributors such as AID and AFA and are encouraged to do so. We strongly support local supply where revenue feeds the local Australian market.
"Our company position is that we can only trade directly with companies that meet our financial credit criteria. Gametraders have sought direct supply from Nintendo however they have been unsuccessful on more than one occasion."
This is the first time that Nintendo has publically responded to Gametraders on this issue. It'll be interesting to see if Gametraders pursue this further, or simply continue to grey import stock from overseas. Regardless, Nintendo seem to be paying close attention to this situation.