JB Hi-Fi Is Now Selling Digital Video Games At Retail

Last month JB Hi-Fi stated that video games, specifically with the release of new consoles, had helped the group move back towards growth. Boxed software was a large part of that growth story, but now JB Hi-Fi has announced it will be selling digital versions of video games at their retail stores.

A new deal with Microsoft means that JB Hi-Fi will sell digital codes for games like Minecraft. Forza Horizon 2’s ‘Car Pass’, NBA 2K15’s ‘Virtual Currency’, and Grand Theft Auto Online’s ‘Shark Cards’ are also going to be available in store. More titles from Microsoft and third party publishers are apparently on the way.

"Xbox Live has always been at the forefront of digital experiences in Australia and around the world," said Jeremy Hinton, a Business Group Lead at Microsoft in Australia. "By giving consumers access to our finest digital content at retail, it’s just another way in which we can offer amazing choice, and allow them to access our services in the way that best suits them. It also gives our retail partners like JB Hi-Fi the exciting opportunity to provide our ever expanding digital product range to their customers in-store."

It's an interesting decision. For both Microsoft and JB Hi-Fi. The company line here appears to be the concept of "choice", allowing consumers to buy certain products in different ways, but it also serves to placate local retailers who are perhaps worried about the slow move towards digital content.

That being said, I don't see digital stores being that much of a threat to stores like JB Hi-Fi and EB Games in the next few years at least. The majority of console games are still bought in stores, and that's unlikely to change until prices drop accordingly. A quick search around Australian retailers, for example, will net you a copy of Grand Theft Auto V for under $70 while the digital version on the PlayStation Store is $99.95. We're talking about a $30 disparity for a game you then have to download, and at 50 GB, that's a hefty hit on your internet cap.

Which makes the decision to sell digital codes at retail all the stranger. Consumers will still have to go back home and download the game they just bought. I guess this works for titles like Minecraft or services like Forza Horizon 2's 'Car Pass', but it might not be so appealing for other titles.

Interesting nonetheless.


    A quick search around Australian retailers, for example, will net you a copy of Grand Theft Auto V for under $70 while the digital version on the PlayStation Store is $99.95. We’re talking about a $30 disparity for a game you then have to download

    I think the question here is how much are JB charging for the download? If they're selling the code for $69 (same price as they charge for a physical copy) then I'd be very interested in taking up that option rather than buying it on disc. It'd be the best of both worlds - the convenience of digital without the ludicrous price gouging that goes on on XBL and PSN.

    Last edited 20/11/14 2:10 pm

      Are they actually selling full digital games? From the article It sounds more like they are just selling digital packs like DLC/currencies. The heading says otherwise though.

        I thought that at first too, but:

        ...JB Hi-Fi will sell digital codes for games like Minecraft... More titles from Microsoft and third party publishers are apparently on the way.

          So something EB Games have been doing for a few years now.

            No virus Eb don't do that they sell fcking prepaid points it's not even close to being the same thing

            GAME UK sell digital game codes for hell cheap, honestly for digital Xbox one stuff get the stuff off the US or HK store it's cheaper ($60USD for GTAV, Halo MCC etc) oh and you can preload digital stuff hahahaha

              Dude, calm down. Former manager at EB here, we at least used to do the same thing. We've had third party psn games for ps3 and vita at retail and some xbox ones as well like Gears 3 and Skyrim.

              Don't be an ignorant asshole. If someone doesn't say anything offensive, why do you reply in such a childish fashion? Are you able to like, not do that?

      it should be cheaper than a physical copy. If they are the same price you may as well get the physical copy, that way you don't have to go home and download it (which takes a while as well as using up large amounts of HDD space). As well as this publishers are saving large amounts of money by not having to get the game printed on disc and saving on shipping costs.

      This is exactly what I was after. With GTA V, Far Cry 4 and Master Chief Collection all being $69/$79 at JB and all are $99.95 on the Xbone store. I would go to the store to pay the "disc" price to then download it. But until that happens no one is getting my money as I don't want the disc version and I am not paying $100.

    I'm all for it, especially if they start emailing the codes directly from their online store. May also lead to a little competition for the prices in the official stores (ha!).

    What's the point? The disc version will be cheaper, will have re-sale value and saves you the download.

    Buying on Xbox Store gives you the advantage of preloading and being able to buy from US or Hong Kong store for $60.

    There's literally no point in selling digital codes for games at retail.

      People will buy them. That's the point.

      Also, production of a cardboard card with a number on it is cheaper than a disc and case. Also, it can be destroyed and the code made invalid with almost no value lost unlike the physical game which can sit in stores for years whilst depreciating in value.

        Sure it's cheaper to manufacture but that doesn't mean the savings will go to the customer. Unless the download version is going to be cheaper than the disc version by at least $10 (which I highly doubt it) I don't see anyone buying it.

          I meant cheaper production, not necessarily price for the consumer. And depending on how they produce the codes they could also cite the old chestnut of "being environmentally conscious"

          And people will buy them as some people prefer to not have a disc. People have already stated in these comments that they would purchase them.

      Well in theory they can sell a code in store well before the game is released. Giving you pre-loading as well as any store specific pre-order bonuses.

      Because some people want to purchase a digital code, or at the very least competition amongst the first party store and retailers is a good thing.
      There is literally plenty of point.

        edit: double post

        Last edited 20/11/14 1:25 pm

      If we can get them for the cost of disc copies then I don't have to buy from HK or US.
      No VPN or workarounds needed.

      My ISP has unmetered Xbox Live data so the download doesn't worry me. I want a digital games jukebox - like Microsofts initial plan for the XB1.

      I currently region swap to the US to pay the same as JB and EB sell physical games for digital. I pre load before the game is out so I can play immediately, can launch by voice, and ANY game invite in my library I can instantly accept.

      I have never sold a game I've owned in my life, I still have all my NES games.

      If I could buy GTA digital at retail for $69, I wouldn't of region swapped to the USA to buy it there for US $59. For $99 on the Xbox Australia store they can EAD.

      Also I had an AC Unity digital code form a bundle before it was released, I entered the code in my Xbox, it pre loaded, and was ready to go on launch. No different to buying online.

        Also I had an AC Unity digital code form a bundle before it was released, I entered the code in my Xbox, it pre loaded, and was ready to go on launch. No different to buying online.

        So it does that automatically? That's pretty sweet. I wasn't sure if there would be some conflict between buying the full digital version and buying the pre-order digital version.

          I wasn't sure either, and the ebay seller warned me the game wasn't out yet incase it didn't work, but it preloaded fine. I think they just have different SKU's in the store for the final game and the pre order because every pre order I've seen has come with some kind of bonus, even if it's just a small DLC pack.

          Oh and the other thing, digital codes are REGION FREE. Bought a US card, redeemed on my AU account on AU region, pre loaded.

          Last edited 20/11/14 2:20 pm

            That's pretty handy to know. Seems like the logical way to work but the way the store has like five entries per game I figured it'd be needlessly complicatd.

        Keep in mind that Microsoft have made it even more difficult to switch and buy from a US account now, even with a US account + VPN + PrePaid Cards and/or PayPal with US address. I had to full-on use a US proxy to get GTA 5, and apparently Microsoft are 'tracking down' Australian- (and UK-)based consumers of the US store and flagging their accounts.

        If you live in Australia and want to buy digitally, it's just easier to keep a full bottle of lubricant next to the keyboard and brace yourself for a proper shafting.

          Don't need a VPN at all. What they've done is made it so you can only fund a purchase in the regions currency. So a US MS points card still works. People having trouble over the last 48 hours was due to the Azure outage.

          AUD to USD conversion gets your purchase auto rejected with the error everyone is seeing.

            Really? Maybe I was caught up in the Azure FUBAR then, lotsa Twitter rage on it. Cheers for info.

              Apparently those load and go AMEX you can buy from Auspost you can set the home currency too, so if the home currency is set as USD to a comgateway address or similar, you're good to go.

      Depending on the specifics of the terms on the card this may present an interesting piece for refunds on digital purchases. Currently the Xbox Store has a very clear "No Refunds" in their agreements and purchases.
      However as Australians our laws apply to our purchases (as noted in Steam being in hot water with ACCC recently)
      I believe, and could be totally wrong, that if you buy a product from a retailer, that retailer has the obligation to assist you in your refund if the product fails to perform as advertised. What often fails to perform as advertised? Online Video Games.

      I pre-loaded the MCC and was furious that at launch I had to re-download the entire thing, then upon trying to boot up it crashed over 12 times on the menu! The last time I tried I still couldn't find an online match. I'm not even going to bother trying to get a refund from Microsoft since I know they aren't going to do anything and I don't have the time to argue with them.

      If I had bought this from JB I may be entitled to a refund as the game does not perform at all, let alone as advertised. JB would then be obligated to refund this to me. However, there is the technicality that the code would have worked since I could download MCC.

      Regardless it may present more accountability for online stores, via retailers, in this country and allow us to get something for our Australia Tax. Probably not though.

        You get one free refund a year on the Xbox store, no questions, after that it needs to be within a week or purchase and you need to be able to justify it. The more you do it, the less chance they'll refund you.

        Problem is game fixing patches usually don't come out until week 2, so you either wait and risk it, or refund and then find out it was fixed.

      I believe they've stopped you from buying from other countries stores. Apparently they quietly region locked that aspect. I think its true because I tried to buy AC: Unity and it said it the transaction couldn't be completed.

      Major bummer, because I liked buying games for $60US

    Yeah all the online/hardcopy pricing is just insane in Australia. Was looking at prices of Farcry 4 on PC. Jbhifi $69 Steam $75 Uplay $79. Ended up buying it on steam.

    I would buy every game online for Xboxone if I could but at $99 for pretty much every title compared to $65-69 in Jbhifi it's just to expensive

      Yeah pricing is nuts; although have to be aware of promos especially on pc, 20% off JB (with music voucher) puts it at $55, and it's $42 from GMG online with Uplay edition.

    I know that the article is only saying that what amounts to DLC would be available but I've thought since Microsoft stuffed up with their policies at announcement that they should have just had the option to purchase the game via a card for digital download or physical copy at retail. Surely that would placate the retail distribution channels and allowed gamers to choose between a physical copy they could share or the convenience of a digital only experience. Amazon sell PSN game codes don't they?

    It also gives our retail partners like JB Hi-Fi the exciting opportunity to provide our ever expanding digital product range to their customers in-store.

    That sure is "exciting"! I'm sure it was a pee your pants experience Mr Suit man.... Excited!

      Laughed so hard the tears ran down your leg? :P

      Last edited 20/11/14 3:18 pm

    And next week, JBHifi will sell phone apps over the counter. Pay $1.99 at JBHifi and instantly download it onto your phone by going to appstore and entering your password. Wait what?

    I for one hate discs. Digital download all the way please. All for cheaper competition of digital versions.

    Have been doing this for years with PC games! Go purchase a game, log into Steam and add game to Steam - done! I think this is a good way to reach more customers. I know a lot of people who wont purchase digital games because the internet is scary and may eat their credit card (blah blah blah) but want to have access to them digitally rather than keep a disc around.

    I don't understand why you would want to go to a shop for a digital download when you can just do it at home.

      Because the shop might sell it cheaper than buying directly from XBL / PSN.

      I like the convenience of digital downloads where it's just there on my hard drive without needing to put the disc in each time I want to play it. But I'm not paying an extra $30 for the privilege.

      If it's the same price then yeah, it's pretty pointless.

      Last edited 20/11/14 4:45 pm

    I'm just getting sick of changing disks in my Xbox One.
    If MS had stuck to their original plan I could not have been happier but due to the changes I now find myself buying a lot more from the store.
    Now that external storage is enabled I plan to buy a lot more.
    I don't really care about the price.
    I just convince myself I am paying extra for the luxury of being able to pop in and out of any game I like, anytime I want, without having to get off the couch.
    Also the size of some patches are getting crazy. These are all downloaded and installed automatically, where with disk games they are pre-downloaded and install only when disk is launched.

    There's really no logical reason why anyone would buy digital in many parts of Australia. Internet is horribly crippled in parts, overpriced for the standard and sometimes damn near impossible to even get an broadband line established in the first place. For me personally I get roughly 1.5Mb/s at peak but frequently slower. And of course being a connected household with multiple PC's, laptops and consoles the connection struggles even more so when we're all connected. At this point downloads are impossible without crippling everyone's connection.

    Not to mention the limited install space on the consoles. I am a PC gamer primarily but I am already filling up the PS4 & XBO drives rather quickly with only a few games each.

    I expect things to improve (for a price), but having the almost limitless storage on PC really does make you cringe at the thought of having to re-install or download a game just because I decided to play another.

    There is more and more reliance on the internet for console gaming today. A big part of which isn't even the benefits of the related features and/ or online multiplayer, but the ability to patch a broken game and actually be able to play it.

      I dont know about PS4 but you can attach external HD to your XB1,I already have two extra external drive in my household.

    The only way this can work is if the redeemable codes for full games (read not dlc or currency etc) is the same as the disc retail price or cheaper.

    I totally welcome the sale of digital codes in retail stores for two reasons;

    1) price parity with retail discs. It has always completely perplexed me as to how an online retailer can justify selling their software at RRP when so many middle costs are removed AND that the physical discs are being sold for less

    2) I LOVE the convenience of being able to switch games on my xbox one instantly using a voice command. Yeah it's lazy, I know, but the convenience is brilliant. Knowing that it's all there on the console makes it so easy for me to have a quick FIFA match just before I settle into a multiplayer destiny match with mates.

    Unfortunately it's not the consumers who aren't ready for the move to discless gaming... In my case, it's Microsoft. Removing the ability to replace my internal HD is complete bullshit. One year in and my console HD is maxed out.

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