Gerry Harvey: ‘We’ve Got To Start Somewhere And Games Is A Good Place To Start’

Gerry Harvey: ‘We’ve Got To Start Somewhere And Games Is A Good Place To Start’

Gerry Harvey has just announced that Harvey Norman is starting up a new website which will sell import European copies of video games at vastly reduced prices. The site is officially opening at 6pm this evening and will continue forthwith. According to Gerry himself, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

“Harvey Norman is very pleased to announce, from six pm tonight, Harvey Norman will be utilising its global network, selling games direct to the consumers at fantastic global prices GST free,” said Harvey Norman spokesperson Ben Mackintosh. “Consumers will be directly importing from Europe at the best prices available.

“The Australian gaming customer has been paying far too much for console games,” he continued. “Retailers and suppliers have been keeping the prices far too high. We’re utilising our network to bring better prices to the consumer. We strongly recommend that you do not buy a game until you’ve seen our website. We will save you money on games.

“We stand by this as a great new feature in the Australian market and we’re going to rip up the prices of Australian market.”

Gerry Harvey: ‘We’ve Got To Start Somewhere And Games Is A Good Place To Start’

Some of you may have been able to get an early look at the site, which has currently been taken down, but starting for 6pm tonight, Australian consumers will be able to order games directly, paying $3.95 delivery per game. PC games are currently missing from the list, but will appear in the future.

“If you can’t beat them join them,” said Gerry Harvey. “The number of retailers that are suffering at the moment is higher than it’s been in 20 years. Why should an off shore retailer be able to evade duty to evade GST and all the other costs that retailers have? These people don’t have any of these cost and at the moment neither does this new company.

“We’re not doing this with a great joy,” he added. “We’ve held off but we can’t hold off any more.”

Harvey expects that he will see a reduction in consumers buying games directly from Harvey Norman stores, because they’re “miles cheaper” online, but sees this as a necessary step if his company is to compete.

“We’re not one of the big players in games,” he said. “It’s always been a category in our store, but not as big as television or others. We’re a medium player in the games category. But now everyone that buys a game should buy it from Harvey Norman at this price.”

According to Harvey Norman spokesperson Ben Mackintosh, the reaction of local publishers to the news is of secondary importance.

“We get thousands of emails and phonecalls complaining about the price of our games,” he said. “If consumers demand something we have to respond.”

Mark Langford who, as Managing Director of Gametraders, has imported stock of games in order to compete locally, claimed he was extremely surprised by the news.

“I’m absolutely amazed,” he said. “I don’t think it’s good for publicity, I think most people will see it as a strange move, but I totally understand it. If you want to compete, you have to make these kinds of moves.”

The Managing Director of GAME Paul Yardley stated that, to a certain extent, the GST issue was a “red herring” and claimed that “direct import isn’t new in this country.” He did add, however, that GAME would be watching this peculiar experiment with interest.

Gerry Harvey believes that, if this move is successful, he fully expected that Harvey Norman Direct Import would sell more than just games.

“We got to start somewhere,” he said. “But gaming is a big category and it’s a great place to start.”


  • Yeah – well after tomorrow Ozgameshops consumer base will be further solidified and HN will be even more of a joke.

    Trust me..

    BIG things in store for you guys. BIG THINGS!

    • also consumers have every right to complain when you charge prices similar to EB games.

      Why have harvey norman never adapted the policies of K-Mart, Big W, and JB HIFi and charge less for games which is offset by the profits from other sales

      • Kmart and BigW only seem to charge less for new releases, shop for any older game and you’ll find EB tends to be cheaper (at least whenever there’s a sale)

        Havig said that OzGameShop puts them all to shame, I’ve seen Deus Ex on special at no less than six stores this Xmas and none of them came close to the OzGameShop price

        • OGS has Deux Ex *LIMITED ED* listed in the 2 for $40 sale, which is pretty insane since it’s what… 3 or 4 months old? Pity the PS3 version is out of stock. OGS is definitely the way to go though, fuck greedy Australian retailers and suppliers.

          I think the only reason they get away with it is because most people don’t know any better. People see a game in every shop for $89-$109 and think that’s what it’s worth.

        • as a former HN employee i can confirm that YES they do infact sell below cost price on games. Markup in the games industry does not exist.

    • Ozgameshop already wins in my book, they have good customer service (especially over twitter), cheap prices, no shipping, decent enough shipping times.

    • If i import it will be through OGS purely as Nobchops has delayed until they have no choice but to join them importing or stop selling games, deciding on trying to break into a market he has insulted himself in the past.

    • Tax free I wonder how the ATO will like that since Harvey Norman is an Australian based company. Is Gerry using one of his over seas Harvey norman’s to front this, thus avoiding paying tax here in Australia?

      I wouldn’t mind knowing what the deal is and how he gets away with not paying GST. I understand how some companies like OzGameShop do because they’re entirely based in the UK.. But Harvey Norman, a company who is registered to trade in Australia not paying GST, I dunno sounds a little suss to me.

      • MistyXoXo Posted on Thanks for the post, Clarice. My doctor first espsucted that I might have arthritis, but the hand x-rays came back normal and that’s when he considered Lupus. I hope you get through the winter without too much pain!

  • “”According to Harvey Norman spokesperson Ben Mackintosh, the reaction of local publishers to the news is of secondary importance.””

    Shots fired.

  • Gerry is a two-faced tosser. His attitude alone has guaranteed I never shop at Hardly Normal, unless I’m sure what I’m purchasing is going to lost them money (i.e. only buy loss-leaders).

    I will happily pay GST on my import games, and they’d still be less then 2/3 the price of buying retail.

    OzGameShop has always done right by me as a customer, beyond the required levels of customer service. (I do wish they had an option for faster shipping though :S )

      • A few Kotaku people contacted them a while ago about introducing faster shipping, they did say they were considering it but the cost would be pretty high.

        Then again, with those prices I wouldn’t mind paying a bit more for shipping anyway…

        • I’m happy with it – I ordered on that “Last day to arrive before Xmas” a few weeks back and both games arrived on Tuesday so they’ve done well.

    • “I do wish they had an option for faster shipping though”
      ^ THIS
      Ultimately no matter how much of a loser Harvey is, when i buy a game I want the lowest price and easiest/fastest delivery. Again it remains to be seen what the price difference is from HN and OzGS but I’ll happily pay $4 for postage to get the game in a day or 2.
      Customer service is of secondary importance to me, although I have had only good experiences with OzGS customer service.

      • Most of the prices are similar on face value, but add $4 and harvey norman is more expensive. And postage will take the same length of time. There was link to the FAQ’s, but that’s been taken offline, it said delivery within 7-12 working days.

    • I find it’s not so much the speed as the inconsistency of the speed. I’ve had packages arrive within a week and I’ve had them take as many as four.

      • Yeah i’ve found that too. if the prices are comparable and shipping will still be long and/or unreliable I’ll stick with OzGS too

  • +1 for ozgameshop – HN site currently shows prices similar but often slightly higher than ozgameshop, and then they add $3.95 PER GAME for delivery, which is quoted to take the same amount of time. Ozgameshop has always been exceptional in my dealings with them.

  • I love OzGameShop, purchased from them before and nop doubt will again, the ONLY problem i have with em is the fact we have to wait 2 weeks to get our games. Minor gripe I know but if Harvey Norman can offer the same price and faster delivery well then….i may have to consider

    But considering this is Gerry “Tax online purchases” Norman we are talking about I doubt it

    • of course they are not going to offer similar prices…. its harvey norman we are talking about….

  • Ok ive just been on the site, ignore my last statement, Battlefield 3 360 is a whole 20$ more then on OGS, not to mention almost everythings Sold out!

  • I think he should have factored shipping in the price and called “Free Shipping”. That’s always an eye catcher.

    I will buy from whoever offers it cheaper. Today is OzGameShop, but I’ll buy from whoever offers the best price. Let’s see what he brings.

  • I don’t care that it is Harvey Norman behind this and I doubt I will ever buy from them but I do think this could be the arse kick local publishers have needed for a long time.

    • Not likely they are more interested in pushing for a online gst…. They think 10% will matter for online prices….. No we get screwed way more then 10% i can tell you that

  • Isn’t this a shot at the government? Basically I think Harvey Norman is saying to the government, fix this broken situation or else we’ll make a big profile deal out of it. I fully suspect this to be the start of a bigger issue. Especially given the comment “These people don’t have any of these cost and AT THE MOMENT neither does this new company.”

    • They’re trying to force the GST issue for online purchases. Not because they think the 10% will make a difference but because the inconvenience caused by it will allow for their outdated business model to continue without competition from better business models.

      It’s a dick move and I hope the government isn’t dumb enough to fall for it.

    • God i think you may be right… I just don’t get why governments have to keep making laws upon laws…. We are really losing our freedoms and i can see the internet/online shopping will be the next thing to be hit.

  • I see this as being the tipping point. Either prices are going to have to drop locally or Game and JB will follow suit. Both Game and EB are already set up to be able to do this since they have UK operations already.

    • You know i haven’t been into a JB store in ages and went last week and i was shocked on how expensive they are… Like really shocked. No wonder why their shares are up to shit. They used to be cheap ffs.

      • I noticed that when I had a console. JB were next to EB and I would go in and check the bargain bins n such and JB were worse than EB.

    • Maybe its because my local one is right next door to big W but my jbhifi is slightly cheaper than big wuzza in most higher profile things

  • Isn’t there some law against Australian companies setting up offshore businesses in an attempt to avoid paying local tax? I’m sure this was mentioned by the tax office earlier in the year when the whole online shopping / GST debate first blew up…

    • In this case, I think it’s a company based entirely in Ireland. Notice the website address isn’t Australian.

      Myer have done something similar with a clothing and homewares business based out of China, so I don’t think it’s illegal…

      (and they’d have lawyers all over it, no way they’d ever put money towards anything that had the possibility of being illegal)

  • Look, I’ll be the black sheep… Gerry may be a very unlikable sort of bloke but at least he’s attempting (and most likely failing miserably) to solve an issue that’s been going on for far too long. Personally I <3 OGS mainly because I'm a student and have a very small income. I will keep buying from OGS but at the same time I thank Gerry for having a crack.

  • I doubt I’ll be buying from them, but I hope it’s a bit of a wakeup call to the distributors who seem to be making all the money off games…

  • How does he get away with not paying GST? Or does he just bear that cost himself?

    Too late to the party Gerry methinks

  • Gerry Harvey has been a joke for ages, he’s just trying to push the GST so that he can keep selling his shitty 3 year old TVs for a ridiculously high price. I’m just going to keep buying through the RU, it’s way cheaper even though you have to play around with your ip.

  • God, what a friggin hypocrite.

    “Don’t buy imports online! Buy from our store! Think of Australia!”
    “Screw Australia, buy from our online import store!”

    “Harvey Norman is very pleased to announce,”
    ““We’re not doing this with a great joy,”

  • So this bozo were all up in arms, poster boy for the online GST et al. and now he’s trying to buy favour back? Ugh Gerry, you’re a bit late buddy… I buy based on principle and in this case Gerry have yet to earn zip from me so it will be a while yet until I would actually use anything HN :/

  • OzGameShop is a good, no doubt but give a go too. Removing the VAT (UK tax) will often see them have the best prices on the market.

    Also agree with the Zavvi comment, Terrible service.

  • Also what’s the go with HN not catering to the PC gaming market? Can’t they compete with Steams remarkable in ways service & sometimes pricing (I know that’s it’s not Valve held responsible for pricing, but the publishers) especially at the moment with the Christmas sales.

    • “I know that’s it’s not Valve held responsible for pricing, but the publishers”

      I don’t know where this mindset keeps coming from. Yes, the publishers pick the price, but Valve have every opportunity to say “no, that price is ridiculous. Piss off, we’re not going to sell it unless you make it cheaper and fairer.”
      But they don’t do that, because that would lose them more money, whether in losing the game or having the lower price. Valve are just as responsible for our price fixing as the publishers.

  • I’m more than willing to stop using Ozgameshop if another online retailer can offer me roughly similar prices with faster delivery (less than a week ideally, OGS usually takes 2-3 weeks to get to me). If Gerry can offer this, then I will set aside my differences with him. If not, oh well.

  • is it illigal if i order an RC game and they import it and sell it to me? funny that theres a few titles that are and have been RC

    • That sounds like a rather grey area. I know it’s not illegal to posses RC material. But it would be illegal for say EB Games to sell Manhunt or the US version of L4D2 to us via their online store.

      But it’s perfectly fine for say OzGameShop to sell those to us because they’re not an Australian registered company & they’re based in the UK.

      So unless this new HN store is an Australia registered business, I guess it’s legal for them to sell RC content to us.

      But I think it’s dodgy if Gerry’s going through one of his overseas HN’s to be able to give us content that is GST free. Since HN is registered to trade here.

      • Not illegal in some states, think it’s illegal in WA at least. Has there been a Kotaku article on this, might be an opportunity.

  • “What is the cost of Delivery?

    A delivery fee is applicable to each individual game. This delivery fee is $3.95 per game regardless of how many you order. For example, if you order three games the delivery fee is 3 x $3.95 = $11.85.

    How long will my game take to be delivered?

    Games will usually be delivered to metropolitan city address at any time between 7 to 14 working days from date of dispatch. This timeframe may be affected during any peak postal times during the year (i.e., Christmas/Easter) or during British/Australian public holidays, our games are at fantastic prices and will be well worth the wait.

    Country locations and remote areas may take between 10 – 21 working days from date of dispatch.”

    Don’t even bother, guys.

  • Everyone is mentioning Ozgameshop, but everyones forgotten about Dungeon Crawl! Online and a retail store in Melbourne with excellent customer service and almost as cheap as OZgameshop.

  • This just makes a mockery of physical retail, and Harvey should be ashamed for that. Despite what the news tells you, retail is doing shit.

    • They’re a business. It’s either survive somehow, or don’t.

      In the industry I work in we have LOADS of people asking us for jobs all the time. Should we just take them on, even though we don’t have the cash to pay their wages and remain profitable? No. We’re a business, not some sort of charity.

      Same thing here. Why should Harvey Norman, or indeed any other retailer, try to prop up an entire industry? You’ve gotta make your money somehow and, clearly, store retail for games just wasn’t doing it for HN.

  • Just on a side note Mark, why do you bother going to GAME for comment?

    They have like 5 stores now, they have all but pulled out of the Australian market – they’re virtually irrellevant to most consumers.

    It’s a pity because they still have the occassional good sale and you have to travel halfway across your metropolitan area to get to them, meanwhile EB are in every second suburb.

  • It’s a Trap 😀

    While it’s random companies overseas no one can really complain

    But when all the other companies complain businesses here in Australia are skirting GST and undercutting their prices the Govt will do something rash

    It’s an elaborate ploy by Harvey 😛

    Or maybe I’m just paranoid

  • I am not if it has been asked before, but why now like 2 days before Christmas? I know how strong sales are after Christmas but what is the point of this timing? There is no politician around in Canberra and everyone slightly interested in buying games online shops somewhere else…

  • Im suprised at everyones response. I think its a great idea. How can another online game shop do anything but help us get cheaper or at least on par prices.

    I don’t like harvey either, but i love shopping at his stores (bought so many discounted games over the years) I hate Steve Jobs (Scum of the earth) but i still bought an iPod – although ill never make a purchase through itunes.

  • The 4 titels I bothered checking BF3,Uncarteded 3,BatmanAC, and Dues Ex HR for an oldy, were each $20 more exspensive than UK importers such as Ozgameshop/Zavvi/The Hutt, exept for dues ex thst was only about $10 more but it’s only $15-28 anway.This was before I added the rip-off $4 postage from HN.So a complete waste of time, keep trying Gerry.

  • Hang on, so they’re slightly more than ozgameshop, comparable delivery times and they also charge postage, is that right?

    Am I the only one thinking that they’re just getting them from ozgameshop like the rest of us and then posting them on?

    • No not slightly more exspensive, more like 30-40%, hell give me $66 and 3 weeks and I’ll get battlefield 3 delivered to your door stop.

  • Hardly surprising that hardly normal’s pricing with delivery is worse than every other online business you can import from with the same delivery time frame. Why would anyone bother, especially in view of Gerry’s horrible track record with customer service?

  • Blatantly bragging about avoiding tax, having a weirdly dated set of titles and STILL managing to charge more than competitors who don’t need to import. Terrible retailer offline, terrible retailer online.

  • I don’t see why you guys are all hating, I mean ozgameshop and playasia are great but why do you have to complain when the first step in what could potentially be a huge change to the aussie games industry takes place? All these comments saying “it’s not cheap enough” or “what a tosser, how dare he try to compete with online businesses” are pretty fucking pathetic.

    If this works then you could, you know, afford to go to the shops to buy a game instead of waiting days for it, could buy a nintendo product without fear of missing out on games, could actually own the physical box of a game rather than the digital copy. You are all acting like spoilt children, grow up and realize how this could cause a shift in attitudes here.

  • Gerry probably thinks that this move/stunt will get the attention of the politicians and force them to alter the import tax law in bricks and mortar retail’s favour?

    Fingers crossed his “new site” is a ghost town.

  • I think some of you should do some research before you shoot off at the mouth. Harvey Norman in Ireland is its own company. The profits do not come back to Australian shores. The games are purchased from the European market. Hence no GST charged. Furthermore, the game australian games classifications do not apply because the games are purchased from Europe. Soo many of you think of the negatives. 1/5 people in Australia are employed through retailers. Online is generally one or two people and mostly from overseas. I understand you may pay more in retail stores but you have the ability to touch, feel and see the product first hand. Internet doesnt do that. Most of you complain about customer service, but how many customers are reasonable to deal with in the first place, I know im not a lot of the time. Our expectations out weigh what we expect for our measly dollar we spend. My thoughts anyways

  • Not a fan of Harvey’s attitude towards this topic during this past year. He sounds like he’s only doing because he *has* to do it, like being told to clean his room because he’ll get ants if he doesn’t, and although he doesn’t want ants, he doesn’t want to clean his room.
    OGS is still keeping my business, and that’s that.

  • Wait I don’t understand whysome people are attacking Harvey. Didn’t people want direct imports to lower the price?

    I personally will still shop at retail stores. I like supporstibg the industry. Harvey Norman has some good deals anyway. Got Uncharted 3 special edition day one for 78.

  • I have no problem with Harvey critizing the import industry. It’s really hurting the Australian retail sector. Is it not? A sector that employs millions of people. Yes Aussies still pay more for games at retail, but that’s because of local publishers.

  • Guys and girls this is good news! If this convinces other retailers to do the same thing then and if it catches on at large with consumers, the publishers will have no choice but to set a prices at a reasonable rate in Australia.

    Australia gets fair prices, and Gerry gets to have people buy from Brick and Mortar stores again. Win. Win.

  • Harvey and Co still don’t get that GST does not account for paying double those in the the US/UK do. The GST isn’t set a 50% tax. Carriage costs? Please.. we’ve got proof here that carriage costs $3.95 per item. So that’s $58.95

    Here’s what I dont like: when the aussie dollar was buying less than 50c US, games were $100.. and fair enough. Aussie dollar buying close to/over parity.. games are still $100. And when anyone asks about it, there’s some vague response from publishers and developers about taxes, shipping costs etc. Because reporters (Kotaku and otherwhere) are so desperate to keep their contacts, they swallow that response. So can someone please explain to me when shipping and importation taxes both jumped to astronomical prices?

  • Aussie prices are way crazy high – being from canada, no game is worth a $30-50 markup. even a ps3 controller runs a minimum $35 more here. WTF. Harvey’s not getting my biz either way, but until retailers here pull their collective heads out of their asses, they aren’t get my biz either. it’s a joke.

  • I smell a paid PR company behind some of these comments.

    Grammer, argument structure and the argument itself are all way too similar – but the usernames are different. I smell a wee bit of astroturfing.

    I have no proof, but my uni degree (Journalism, Media and Communications with First Class Honours) sense is tingling…it’s like spidey-sense, except it doesn’t allow me to climb buildings and it means I’m in debt for the next decade.

  • After comparing HN’s pricing with other popular online stores, they still continue to rip the customer off, even if the pricing was cheaper, i would still boycott this fool. Remember, this is the man who wanted GST on all online purchases under $1000.

  • Since many locations overseas have nothing like the costs associated with doing business in Aus, think things like payroll tax, superannuation, minimum wages, holiday and sick pay then clearly their costs will be lower of anything you buy from them…. Humm – thats got me thinking – we could get a whole group of people of people from China and call them politicians and put them in Canberra – pay them a fraction of what we pay Gillard and Swan and the likes.. Get much better results and save lots of money too.

  • our prices are higher but so is our income. its called parity. their % mark up over there is similar. it just looks cheaper but per capita its not. ie a retail worker in the USA earns bout 22k p/a here in Aus its bout 32-36k.

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