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."

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."


    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.

    For an old guy, mr Harvey can pull a mean backflip!
    I give that one an 8.2

    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.

      You think GAME has 5 stores? They still have A LOT of stores across Australia.

    It's a Trap :D

    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 :P

    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...

    Just checked their prices, more than zavvi/ozgamesshop/ebay, move along people nothing to see here.

    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?

    steam please try and match??

    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.

    If it wasn't for OGS I wouldn't buy games anymore. It's just stupid the prices in Australia.

    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.

    At least the guy now understands the phrase "adapt or perish".

    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.

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