JB Hi-Fi Comments On Its Decision To Sell Imported Games In-Store

Recently JB Hi-Fi has decided to bypass local distributors and sell a selected range of imported video games in-store at reduced prices. We spoke to Scott Browning, Marketing Director at JB about the decision, who confirmed that JB Hi-Fi has gone down the parallel imports route, and explained some of the reasons why.

"I can confirm that JB Hi-Fi has recently began to source some titles directly from overseas import wholesalers instead of the traditional local distributors," he said.

"In some cases consumers could purchase titles cheaper from overseas than we could locally via the licensed distributor. We have decided to act in accordance with our cheapest prices promise and source selected popular titles directly from overseas wholesalers in order to provide these prices to our customers.

We asked why JB Hi-Fi was so explicit about its decision to sell parallel imports, considering the fact many other specialist retailers have done the same, but showed a more 'discretion' whilst doing so.

"Our policy is to be transparent and pass these savings directly on to our customers by observing global pricing realities," said Scott Browning.

"For JB Hi-Fi it is a critical matter of maintaining trust with our customers that we are prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve a globally competitive retail offer.

"We remain very positive about the outlook for retail gaming in Australia."


    HOLY CRAP you mean there's a company in Australia that realises that Australia is but one country on the planet? This is quite a revelation.

      JB has always know that. its just its only know where they have been able to take advantige of it. XD

      I'm all for cheap games, but do we know how this effects us when it comes to DLC? I got burnt a while back when Gametraders sold me a Euro version of heavy rain and MGS4 - I downloaded DLC for both titles on the local PSN, only to find out that both were incompatible due to region. The games are region-free, but DLC can be region locked, making your game somewhat useless if you plan to use multiplayer or future DLC. I made them giive me local versions as they didn't advertise they were imports.

        All you need to do is make a new PsN acct under a diff region, easily done.

          Yes but you need to keep in mind Metal Gear Solid on PS3 only allowed you to play in that region so if you had US version that is the server you had to play on even though you are located in Australia.

          With X360 it's easy most games are region free (EA typically aren't) and to download any DLC just go to the market place as usual and buy it simple, you will be able to play worldwide with anyone.
          Any US redeem codes just set up a Silver US account, download it, switch back to your account and play.

          How would the legal aspect of this play out all games have to be rated before sale?
          I gues JB HiFi is alot like myself I don't care for anyone telling me what I can or can not play.

        Most DLC if from a EU game will work on the AU PSN because it is under EU. And all you need to do is make sure the code on the spine of your game matches the code the DLC says in the description.

          they have a sticker on it warning the DLC may not be available for this title which was the first time i had read it was a potential issue but i am on 360. picked up dead island for $32 a couple of weeks ago. peeled of the MA15 sticker and it has an 18 rating.

      All companies have realised this already. EB Games has been selling imported copies as new, Game has been selling imported copies as preowned (which is probably a better idea, considering the DLC issue mentioned above me) and Harvey Norman (is still in business!?) has been grey importing for a long time on their online store.

    Some great sounding comments there. It's all looking pretty positive. I'll be stopping into a JB soon to check it all out and maybe buy a game at retail for the first time in a few years.

    I think this is actually quite a deal more important to retail video games in Australia than most people would initially assume.

    Is this legal? (I figure if JB are doing it this openly it almost certainly is, but I'm curious as to why no-one's done it sooner.)

      People have been doing it already, just not advertising it as so.

        It's very legal. Almost encouraged.

          Please explain "Almost encouraged"

          Thanks Mark :-)

            Buy at local distributor $80
            Buy from importing distributer $60
            = encouragement

              is it legal is in the games are not rated by the aus classification bord but a foreign gov classification bord

                If the game has been classified in Aus, then you can just stick Aus classification stickers over the Europe/US classification.

                  Over the years I've got heaps of games like this. Many companies have been importing games from overseas and selling them like this when convenient for years.

                  Yeah as a former Gametraders employee we used did this on a regular basis, it just worked so well for both parties in the end.

      Plenty of other retailers have imported games and sold them but not openly stated it because for starters if they make it look too easy that's what people will do, and also their profit margins are bigger on imported games - if they're honest about that they'll be pressured to lower their prices and damage their margins.

      JB realises that we're getting wise to this and importing anyway, so they're heading off the potential exodus of brick and mortar consumers - granted, Harvey Norman KIND OF did this first, in a direct challenge to ozgameshop, but JB are being more forthright, and they've got enough goodwill banked that we're more likely to walk into a JB to buy an import than we are to import ourselves.

      Yes, completely legal. Grey imports were classed as legal many years ago over CD and book pricing.
      CD prices were expected to drop, they kind of did.
      Why don't more do this, because it is short sighted. As you can see they are only bringing in a few, so they must get the rest from local distributors that they have now pissed off, and will end up spending less with. As such they may get a different pricing policy applied. It hurts relationships, it hurts all local business.
      Also, it simply says, we got these from overseas because it was cheaper, and if price is all that matters to you and not your local economy, then do the smart thing and don't bother buying these imports from us, just import them yourself and save even more.

        So, you're saying we should worry about our economy with these matters even though we're being blatantly ripped off from local distributors? No sir. Not today.

        The *only* reason not to sell imports is that pisses off the distributors - but what are they going to do, raise their already-punitive prices even higher? Then they'll just lose the rest of their business too. If a middle-man can't add value, only costs, they're out of a job.

        I like my local economy, just not when it's trying to gouge me, wether it's the retailer or the company that receives the games and sends them to the stores. If JB's found a company that offers competitive rates but the games just happen to be ones from outside the country, then the Aus wholesalers better get competitive. There is no reason for them to charge as much as they do, to the point that there's a parlamentart enquiry into where all the extra money is going.

      It's definitely legal.

      The real reason most don't do it is because the local distributors threaten to stop dealing with them.

      Which is an issue when it comes to things like the 360 and Wii which have region locking on them. Meaning that getting the PC and PS3 version from overseas could put them on the bottom of the priority list when it comes to getting stock in from the local retailers.

      it's highly legal but for many companies isnt an option due to distributors generally having a strangle hold and willing to group together to enforce it. You source one product from overseas not via traditional channels and those channels may dry out for products you can get in the required quantities for other things.

    What a great way to ruin the economy

      If you think this will ruin the economy, then you have greatly overestimated retail games contribution to it.

      Sorry Joey, it is not a great way to ruin the economy. You are paying an Australian retail whom stocks are held in Australia.

      The importers are possibly making the biggest rip off by not passing on reduce pricing when they import the product, then forcing the retailers to sell at the higher price.

      It is a win/win and just a loss for the importer!

      How? The game discs are all made in China. The price premium was unreasonable when they are all made in the same place. Now we just wait until they start importing consoles so I don't have to.

        Think you will find most AU versions of games are manufactured in Australia (incl. discs) exception maybe being Nintendo games.

          Wrong, most are discs from the PAL region, I doubt any are made in Australia.

            Sony makes blu-ray discs and PS3 games in Australia.

            Other than all the PS3 ones at least that have "manufactured in Australia" written on em, yeah.

      And not buying from local retails because the prices are too high is a great way to save the economy? No.

      Also, that's the worst name I've ever heard.

        HAHAHAHAH nice!

      Lemme shed a tear over the failure of companies that rip me off.

      Oh wait, those are tears of joy.

      We're supporting retail jobs and local profits, aren't we?

      Dont worry Joey, we have an awesome government that will do that for us.

      Free money anyone?

        Worst part of the free money thing. Is that if the money is to help with schools then it should be going towards the school, not the parents. As if in july any parent needs to buy school clothes or textbooks. They bought them at the start of the year. so that $800 is going to go towards a TV or some other crap.

          thats because they are changing the school tax refund ya noob ,normally you claim the money via your tax return and use the receipts from start of year when you buy the books and uniform.
          they are just skipping that step ,you would know if you had kids in school .
          so i can spend it how i like as its not even close to half the amount i spent on school crap

            And for those that just don't spend the money towards school things in the first place?
            I agree with alinos. I work at a primary school and something like 40% of parents haven't paid school fees. Are they suddenly going to pay now they have the money? Nope. Those that couldn't because of financial struggles have had payment plans sorted with the schools. It's just people who don't want to pay (because for some stupid reason it's mandatory to send kids to school, but not mandatory to pay for it)

              Its not stupid to not force the parents to pay. You can't take a childs education from them just because they have shitty parents.

                your right people dont want to pay for something they dont have too , the fact that the schools then treat children whose parents dont pay like crap and let the kids education suffer is worse in my eyes .
                we all know it to be true so dont deny it

      How so. If JB is still making the same margin off these titles there workers are being paid the same.

      When it comes to the local retailers. Considering the majority of there games are printed overseas in the first place. The only people who are threatened by this situation are those few local distributors. Who are simply taking a cut because they are acting as an unnecesary middleman. Most likely getting their stock from the same overseas distributor that JB is currently sourcing from.

      Much like when Namco started demanding the Witcher 2 be price hiked on the internet for Australians. They bought the rights to sell the game in the oceanic region and when customers tried to cut them out in order to save themselves some money. They got all pissy.

      Fact is currently all my money goes straight out of the economy because i refuse to pay 1.5-2 times more for a game. If JB can get those prices down more i'd be more willing to go and give them my money than ever before. Sure i can probably save another 5-10 dollars by downloading/importing myself. But i get the game instantly with no data costs.

      Cause its in such good shape as is. High house prices, high rent, high food prices...................

      this is fixing it somewhat by forcing the issue to the mainstream. aust retail has to change or die and it starts at the supplier. they will soon change their ways just as the CD industry did, for them though, it was too late.
      JB have chosen the right path, good on 'em

    I'd like to know how they are getting around the 'not for resale' dilemma. Even if these games are imported, surely the shithouse classification system in this country will prevent the release of most games.

      They are purchasing from overseas 'wholesalers'. They're not buying from overseas gameshops as we would.

        As long as they clearly show the rating on a sticker they're all good. If the game hasn't been classified in AU they can't sell it.

    Doesn't this violate Classification rating stuff? I know Madman (anime & film distributor) weren't allowed to just slap stickers onto their products, they had to print it on the box etc which was a huge pain.

    Also, does it mean they'll accept imported stuff for trade-ins? Most of my games are Zavvi imports and I'll need to get rid of a bunch of them sooner or later...

      Don't know about the Madman situation, but my perusal of the Classification (Marking for Films and Computer Games) Determination 2007 and it's references to the Act appear to neither reference or preclude the use of stickers. It does require placement in certain locations however.


      It may be that the imports Madman wanted to use would have meant that their re-stickering would either be in an unapproved location in order to cover the international classification or if placed in the approved location (typically lower left corner of boxes) then the consumer would be seeing two different classification markings.

      while I can't answer your question, I have bought (preowned) games for EB that had the AUS rating stick stuck on top of the UK one.

      Wouldn't the issue with Madman be that they are not a actual physical store but work in distribution to Australian companies which i'm sure would deem it necessary to have licenses and authorship rules to follow?

    Excellent! Now I get Club Nintendo points that don't work or forced to play in a region that differs to aus! :D

      I want club nintendo points!!
      Golden nun chuck ftw!

      ... or if it's that big a problem, just buy PAL region games.

        I guess my point was the general populous isn't gonna know the differences between local and imported stock, and JB prob isnt telling them that there is (apart from CHEAPAR!). Then you get into a quirky grey area when it comes to not getting what you expected

          True, that's a good point. JB have been pretty good with warnings in the past though. In the used games section they have signs stating that used games may require online passes be purchased to play them, so i'd say if these issues are problem that they'll get onto it. But who knows.

            they have a sticker at the top right of the front warning about DLC

        they are only selling PAL region games

          Whilst Wii games from the UK/Europe will play, the points arent compatible with the Australian Club Nintendo, so there are technically diffferences

    Looks like they're trying to put the pressure on distributors and publishers to level the playing field. Good on them.

    Hopefully this will lead to less ridiculous regional price differences online as well.

      Always maintained that online pricing differences were due to the pricing structure we have at retail. If the average price at retail falls the prices online will fall too (who is going to pay $20 more for a game online for instance).

      In short - yea, we should see some changes soon if this takes off

      This is what I was thinking. I'm hopefully the distributors/publishers will think twice about overcharging Australian gamers. It's good that the gov is looking into it, but that's going to take a while.
      It's about time that retailers put the pressure on the distributors and publishers to lower their prices.
      I'm not expecting prices to match US pricing or whatever exactly, but more reasonable pricing. Like I've said before, a new release game should have a max RRP of $79 here in Aus, not $99-$109.

    Respect for JB HiFi + 9000

    As long as the game has already been classified in Australia, all JB need do is put a sticker on the game with the correct Aus rating.

    That's great. But now let's hope that we won't have to constantly juggle with figuring out whether DLC can be purchased for the games we get in store or not: recently I got burned by the fact that I had bought Enslaved from Ozgameshop, so UK disc version. No problem I thought, PSN Uk and Australia always use the same disc (BLES) versions. So here I go, buying the DLC from PSN Australia... only to find out that there were bloody DIFFERENT BLES versions between... UK and continental Europe... and the Australian PSN version was different from the UK one. I talked to Sony, Namco Bandai... none of them cared, told me to get on with my loss. Nice!

    So just so you know... UK import versions can pose problems.

      I think if this import pricing does take off, we'll be seeing a lot more of region locked DLC.

        Indeed, that's what worries me: local publishers might simply retaliate against the retailers by doing exactly that. And who will get hurt in the crossfire? Us, as usual, there to take the flak with zero protection.

      US games + US PSN account is basically the only way to guarantee you're going to get game and DLC on PS3. For most games UK releases are fine, stuff like Enslaved is a rare exception.

      Which is easy to deal with by buying a UK PSN card and buying your DLC that way.

        But if you get it wrong (anyone can be caught with a moment of inattention), you'll find yourself purchasing yourself DLC for the wrong version - then don't count on Sony, they offer zero assistance for that kind of problem, which is really a cheap attitude (ie to upset your customer over a small DLC problem rather than help them, I've been generally put off DLC seeing how Sony handles customer service)

    And this is why we love JB HiFi

    Good. I love JB already but this just gives more reasons to love them!

    I'm wondering though if we're going to start to see other things being more regionally restrictive such as DLC to combat this.

      i.e an Australian Region copy that only works with Australian Region DLC...

    This is great. JB have been the only major retailer to be on the ball regarding this stuff. They were offering online purchases and free delivery while people like Harvey just pissed and moaned. They're one of the only game retailers I can see surviving what's been going on.

    Why are you surprised they are up front about it. They were selling grey import cameras a while back, being up front about it do they have just applied this to games. If they do it up front it might poor pressure

    Anyone know how warranty/exchange will work on these imported games?

      the retailer needs to provide exchange under Consumer Legislation (at least in NSW) it is there responsibility to chase up the distributor who then chases up the manufacturer.

      generally the retailer will write it off as a loss.

    any idea which stores and what games?

    jail bait hifi uve done it again

    So just to recap. Australian consumers buying overseas = will destroy the future of Australian retail. Australia companies sourcing products from overseas wholesalers = ingenious business model set to increase profits and boost the economy.

      It will do wonders for consumer confidence.

      Well... yeah. When you buy it from overseas, you pay your money to someone in another country. When you buy it from JB, your money supports the company, which in Australia must employ thousands of people, who then get paid - partially with your money - and then spend it on local stores, who pay their employees, and so on. The products always come from another country, the difference is who gets paid to sell them to you.

        You don't see a double standard here? When consumers save money they're demonized. When companies save costs they're congratulated. JB are doing exactly what consumers buying overseas are doing, they're bypassing their local distributor. So I'm guessing they'll be left with less money to support their staff. It's a smart business move but consumers are not afforded the same consideration. Since when did keeping businesses afloat become our job? They exist to provide us a service not the other way round.

    Finally someone noticed OzGameShop. Let's hope that after JB and Harvey do this, everyone will be forced to lower retail prices.

      Been buying from ozgameshop since 2009, never found a better price for new games. I will still be loyal to them, but I'll also start going to JB as well now.

    I spotted the imported games at jb when picking up Max Payne 3 last thursday. I thought it was great, Dead Island on 360 for $35 new. Cant go wrong!

    Great news, I feel much less dirty shopping at JB than I do at EB, might visit them a bit more often if they expand their range.

    On the note of DLC, I'm not sure why people seem to be worried, over half my video game collection are imported games, mainly from the US and Europe, with a few Japanese games, it's not a hard or difficult process to just set up a secondary account in whichever region to access the DLC as, at least on the PS3, DLC and downloads work for all the accounts on the system.

      Good point. I'll remember this.

    For those stressing about DLC access, here's how to go about it:



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