Why Kmart, Target And Big W Are Getting Out Of Video Games

Why Kmart, Target And Big W Are Getting Out Of Video Games

Australia’s shock gaming news of the week was first Target and then Kmart deciding to stop selling Grand Theft Auto V down under in response to online petitions. But the biggest surprise isn’t really that this happened: it’s that those big chain stores are still selling games at all. The smart money, and their own announced strategies, suggest that they won’t be doing that in a few years’ time.

Mark Serrels has already offered a detailed analysis of the complex issues involved in the Grand Theft Auto decisions as they relate to the games community. I’ve taken a more corporate view.

What struck me when I heard the news was how relatively easy that decision would have been for managers at Kmart and Target — and indeed how easily it could happen at Big W, the other “discount department store” on the Australian scene. Having spent some time looking at their annual reports and strategic plans, it’s evident that selling games is not part of their long-term focus in any way.

That’s not because of any major moral panic; it’s just not an effective way for them to make money. Selling one less title really won’t make a big difference to the bottom line in businesses that are pegging their future survival on a constantly changing range of cheap fashions, not brand-name goods.

In considering this from a business perspective, it’s first worth remembering that Kmart, Target and Big W are not independent retail entities charting their own destinies. Kmart and Target are owned by Wesfarmers, which also owns Coles and Bunnings and various liquor chains. Big W is owned by Woolworths, which also owns Dan Murphy’s and Masters. Woolworths used to own Dick Smith Electronics until it sold it off in November 2012, arguing that electronics weren’t profitable within its business structure — a telling point in itself when it comes to games.

Why that matters is that a single product category in a single store is only a drop in the conglomerate ocean for these chains. If the stores can’t make money from that category — either directly, or by using the product to attract shoppers to buy other, more profitable products — then it will disappear. And the evidence suggests that games fall increasingly into that bucket.

This is what the Wesfarmers annual report, issued in August, had to say about Kmart and games:

Strong sales growth performance was achieved across the apparel and home categories, partially offset by declines in video games and DVDs in the entertainment category.

Things haven’t improved since then. According to Wesfarmer’s first-quarter sales figures, Kmart’s overall store sales are growing, but entertainment sales continue to decline. Games, therefore, matter less and less. It’s about clothes and cheap merchandise.

Target was singled out as the biggest problem child for Wesfarmers in the annual report. Target’s official strategy is now described as “first price, right price”. What that means is that it doesn’t want to get involved in endless price matching — it figures it can do better by stocking the right items (mainly in clothes), aiming to ensure they’re not widely replicated in other stores (through exclusive brand partnerships), and selling them at a cheap but profitable price.

Games retailing is not like that. It’s a market where the chains have traditionally competed by offering discounts or bundles, because the products are always going to be available elsewhere. For Target, it’s already a distraction when it is having trouble making money at the rate demanded by its corporate overlords. Add a controversy, and it’s easier to walk away (regardless of the merits of the argument over the title itself).

Target has already reduced the number of stock keeping units (SKUs) in its stores by 22 per cent this year, and plans to cut them by 40 per cent by the end of 2016. Put simply: it wants to sell a smaller range of products. Inevitably, that means it will sell fewer game titles.

That would have happened even without the Grand Theft Auto issue flaring up this week — but when that happened, choosing to dump it would have been a ridiculously easy decision. If you’re facing the prospect of trimming your range anyway, a controversial product is not going to survive for long. You might not think that ethical, but big business rarely is.

As I write this, Big W hasn’t joined the GTA exodus, but its enthusiasm for gaming is just as lukewarm. It describes entertainment as a “non-core category” and will be “rationalising space” in that area. In other words — less space and fewer titles, again. (The floor space will be used for more shoes, apparently.)


If you grew up in an era where Big W or Kmart or Target happened to be one of the stores you purchased games (perhaps after shopping around for a good deal), this may seem disturbing. But retail changes, and in the era of Internet competition, it changes faster than ever. It’s hard to offer a bargain price when you’re paying a bricks-and-mortar retail overhead.

The future of gaming retail in Australia is very mixed, and the lurching won’t stop for a while. On PC, it’s already largely a digital universe, complete with the gigantic patches and hyper-discounted Steam sales that entails. Consoles are also painfully moving in that direction, but for A-list titles on consoles, physical release is still important. But the chances that many of those titles will end up in any physical stores in Australia other than EB Games and JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman seem slimmer than ever.

Pictures: Getty Images


  • They have to focus more on selling clothing made out of sweatshops in Bangladesh instead….

    • Super Disturbing? Really? It’s just a retailer. JB, EB and online retailers aren’t going anywhere. And unless you’re a middle-aged mother, you’re not the target demographic for those stores anyway.

      This whole thing is a storm in a tea cup.

      • I find it disturbing that we could be removing needed competition in an already over priced games market.

        • Which is something that needs to be addressed with the distributor who sells the product to; Target, Kmart, Big W, DSE, EB, JB etc.. Kmart, Big W, Target & DSE are (according to my old boss) more than happy to sell new release games at a loss, which they make up for in other departments, with Kmart & Target it’s their cheaply made & below average quality clothes from across Asia..

          Not that i’ve ever really seen the Kmart, Target, Big W or DSE near me sell new release games, or even current last 3 month stuff. I saw the original WoW Battle Chest in Kmart a few months ago they wanted 60 dollars for it, something that is $18 at EB Games.. Yeah, i’m not upset that they’re getting out of something they never really cared about to put real effort into.

          • Yep. They have bad pricing. Sometimes they’re uncompetitive. Sometimes things are silly cheap. Sometimes it’s like their living in an alternative dimension.

            There’s no consistency in regards to pricing, and stock, so it’s not a very enticing place to shop.

            At least with EB you know what you’re walking into. EB do make buying games enticing. I guess that’s the only thing they do well.

          • Agreed Mr.Drastic.

            My issue is that I live in a small town and we only have Target and BigW around here to keep EB honest. Hardly Normal stopped selling games here long ago and if the other two weren’t competing we’d get robbed by EB (well not actually, I’d just cease to price match there and buy online only)

        • The story is saying that the game sales weren’t justifying the floor space it took up. In recent years they’ve tried to drive sales through discounts, but it sounds like this hasn’t resulted in a sustainable business.

          • think that’s because instead of buying there people just price match them at the usual place they shop for games.

          • The writer is missing the point of why people are upset over this. The fact that Target removed the game is not a problem, the fact that Target did so seemingly in order to pander to a vocal minority is extremely disturbing. To say, they would have done it anyway is misleading, because if so then why didn’t they do it of their own accord instead of trying to gain some PR points in the process?

          • Agreed. Even my mother thinks it is a PR stunt and rolled her eyes at it. She is 63 years old for perspective sake.

          • Sometimes it’s easier to remove a poorly selling product from the shelves to keep the vocal minority happy and quiet than it is to fight them.

            You launch a petition against their top selling product and watch them tell you to shut up and get over it in polite PR speak.

            If this petition took on EB/JB they’d both ignore it and justify their range as a choice. Because they would annoy their target Demographic (Us) and lose a hot selling product for themselves.

            I see the future of department store game retail as Skylanders/Infinity/Amiibos, not GTA 6 and COD 58. G or PG with a lot of extra things to purchase. That’s the gaming model I expect the Big W, K-Mart & Target to follow.

        • Over priced games market? Really?
          Turok on the N64, released 17 years ago, was $120.
          Games back then were around $100.
          Game prices have not increased at all. If anything they have gone down over the years and now slowly creeping back up.

          • I still remember a copy of Conker’s Bad Fur Day (N64) in my local toy store that never got sold.

        • Overpriced? Underpricing is half the reason the department stores are getting out of games. Every copy of GTA sold for $69 at Target would have made them a loss of about $2-3. Everyone here seems to feel so ripped off paying more than $70 for a game without considering that they’re just causing the retailers to price themselves out of the market until we eventually only have EB to shop at…

      • It’s just several retailers, the ones who happen to most frequently supply games for the cheapest prices plus often serve to provide variety in selection. I mentioned in another article already, but so many times I find copies of a game at one of these three places that just don’t show up in JB or EB. Currently I’m in an area where it’s not too difficult to get to (off the top of my head) around 7 EBs, 4 JBs, 5 Targets, 8 Kmarts and 7 Big Ws. To have the total number of shops available to me reduced from 31 to 11 isn’t great. Both in terms of having fewer places (and variety of places) to check out as well as just competing with other people living in the area for stock.

        • Are you honestly saying you find more games at Target and K-Mart than EB and JB? That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard today.
          Every K-Mart I’ve looked for games in has been a joke; 3 shelves of individually stacked boxes all full price, 9+ months after release. And you didn’t even mention online retailers, where the real savings are…

          • I never said more. I said different. Although a whole lot of the Big Ws I’ve been to do in fact have more games than EB to sift through.

            I don’t like to use online retailers, half the time you can’t tell if they’re going to give you EU or AU stock. Plus there’s the waiting period while it gets delivered, and not being able to inspect the stock before you buy it, being a pain in the arse to deal with any returns that might be needed… no thanks. Plus for all this raving about “real savings”, I’m yet to see any substantial difference in what I pay for at retail versus what the online stores are offering. Even moreso now that the dollar is dropping back down.

          • Most of my mates that still buy physical discs go to Target and find out their price, usually <$70 for a new AAA then go into EB and get them to price match. Now, they/we will have to get them to price match JB, which is usually around the $80 mark.

          • Perhaps the fact you didn’t actually buy the game at Target when you found it had the cheapest price is part of the reason they are scaling back game sales?

          • I think I got Titanfall for x1 there on release day. $70ish… I know Halo MCC and GTA V were both less than $70 bucks at Target.

            I’ve been buying my games digitally for a while now though, sharing with the missus’ x1 through making her x1 my “home” x1, giving her access to all my digital licenses and xbox live. Works out cheaper than buying 2 physical copies.

          • What a stupid argument. “I haven’t seen it so it don’t happen” went out of fashion, dude. Accept a differing, far more mature perspective.

    • Yeah dude, usually can get a new AAA game for like $65-70 from Big W or Target. As opposed to a minimum of $80 at Jb and EB.

      Now if only Dan Murphy’s sold games too…

      • This. Amiibo were just released, picked one up from Target for $14, still $17 everywhere else (ozgameshop is even charging $24 for them). Same with Wii U Smash Bros, $70-80 most places, Target had it for $54.

        • Ozgameshop are terrible for NFC statues, they are far bulkier and more expensive to ship than a DVD case. Also we get marked up on games but these physical NFC toys seem to be about the same price everywhere. We actually seem to be cheaper on them than most other places which was a shock to me too. Knowing I can buy a Transformer Voyager (Big) size on Amazon for the price of a Deluxe (Medium) here.

        • And the New 3DS (and XL) are selling for $20 cheaper in my local Target than in my EBGames. And why don’t the older models have a price cut yet?

      • Absolutely. Target/K-Mart/Big W/Dick Smith have been by far the most competitive in terms of new-release games. I have barely paid anything over $60 (DA:Inquisition/Wolfenstein/Destiny/Smash Bros/Mario Kart, etc) for new release games in the past year (Except for special edition versions). Where JB used to be competitive, they have dropped off a little, but are still reasonable. Where as EB are still a complete joke. If it’s for older games, these pricier stores may be your only choice, otherwise head online.

        It would be quite a shame if these retailers stopped competing in the gaming market. It wouldn’t be anything other than a loss for the gaming community.

      • That’s the last thing i’d want to have to sell & deal with at Dan Murphy’s is video games. I’m not sure what is worse a disgruntled customer in the alcohol or video games area of retail… I guess I didn’t have to deal with drunk or drugged out customers working in video games retail, I guess so that was a plus lol.

        • Usually it isn’t that bad. Most local drunks realize that if they cause a scene they won’t be served next time and means one less place to get booze from.

          The rest, Police will respond to any dangerous situation within 5 mins which usually is enough time to get some place safe and/or minimize personal harm. Luckily in most places this situation is rare. I have only ever had that happen once in my working in alcohol and within contact with the police, 6 squad cars full of armoured cops responded quickly.

          Casual theft usually will take a while for them to respond, annoying but understandable if it isn’t a threatening situation.

  • You kidding Angus? This latest PR stunt has basically sealed the deal for all those bored Facebook mums who buy games for their kids t Target/Kmart. They’ll see it as a safe environment to purchase things that won’t affect their kids. They’re wrong, but that’s their thinking…

  • Wait…. so in future I’m not going to have anything to keep me busy when I get dragged into these horrible places. 🙁

        • I remember heading with mum to a toy store to pick up this toy from a cartoon where 3 guys each had a colour suit that connected to car and motorcycle parts (the name!!) We got there and they were all sold out. That was the first time I remember feeling heartache. I remember my mum not dealing too well with my disappoint face too haha

          • This kinda bothers me, they restrict the sale of GTA as it grooms kids to be abusers and killers, but more than happy to sell nerf guns that are kid friendly.

            Last time I checked only one of these items was classified for adults.

            Full disclosure: I have lots of nerf guns at home and play around with my partner with them regularly even though we are well into adulthood. Just thought it was a bit contradictory, thats all…

        • They became unpopular, we used to be with it, and then they changed what it was, and now we find it confusing and scary.

    • OMG … you’ve made me come to the same realisation. Going to these places is only made slightly bearable by visiting the ‘tech’ section (specifically for games) and then swinging past the LEGO … you know … for the kids.

      If I’m now going to spend ALL my time wandering through the toys then I’m going to become ‘that guy’. I don’t wanna be ‘that guy.’ 🙁

      • I do love checking out the toys and bagging most of them out for being shit compared to the REAL toys we had ‘in my day’. I mean, some of the crap you get these days, it breaks just like that!

    • Words cannot express the actual physical discomfort I feel when standing inside a Best and Less.

  • If they do get out of the video game business it will be a shame imo, as I’ve gotten some fantastic deals from them, Big W especially.

    Having said that, I guess its not that big of a deal these days however with every other retailer going grey imports for games, EB excluded of course.

    • All digital media will be online only within a few years.

      I personally can’t wait, as long as they open up the market so that I can access games from a price-competitive store (ie. I’m not spending $30-40 more to buy a game off Xbox Live on launch day than a physical copy costs me at JB). I’ve been buying by Xbone games on the sly from the US store over 50% of the time and I think it’s pretty great.

      It really makes very little sense for these stores to fill up 10% of their storage space selling things that people can have sent directly to their devices for a comparative cost. They should stick to selling things that can be shipped to them in bulk and which consumers save a significant amount in postage by purchasing from a retail store.

      I’m aware that downloading isn’t an ideal situation for everyone right now but that situation will only get better and stores like JB, EB, Dick Smith ect will continue to stock physical copies for the foreseeable future if that’s what you want.

      EDIT: Also I want to point out how good it will be to get games like GTA out of retail stores and into a global online market that’s hidden behind the extremely thin wall of technology that morons like the people who signed this partition won’t ever see behind. Take GTA out of the Target catalogue (where it’s smartly sitting next to the barbies and other children’s toys) and the people who would never have actually played it will never know it exists. It’s not like Microsoft or Sony are going to pull a game that sells 40 million copies from their online store no matter how many people write grumpy letters.

      • Digital distribution is indeed the future and without getting into the whole internet speeds/download quota argument, I don’t think its gonna be all that great… on consoles at least.

        Take a look at our current consoles digital stores and imagine that was the only place you could get what is on there, welcome to the never ending price gouge.

        Nearly all the latest major releases have been around the $99 mark digitally, where I can find the physical copy for like $60 – $70 if not less in under 5 minutes on Google.

        Now having said that, I’ve also gotten some fantastic deals on older titles on PSN during their sales, which they seem to have alot more of than XBL.

        So I guess what I’m saying is, new release prices are REALLY gonna suck when we all go digital lol.

        • Digital prices are higher only to appease the retailers. The Gamestops and EBs and Wal-Marts of the world basically have the publishers over a barrel.

          That will change. One day Sony and MS will decide to risk disrupting their relationships with retailers and offer sensible pricing. They’re just waiting for digital distribution to become more normal.

          I’d give it 3 years.

          • Agreed.

            As far as I know publishers make essentially the same profit wether their game is sold online or off.
            Selling games at ludicrously marked up prices might appease retailers but ultimately publishers are going to get the shits when digital becomes standards and people stop buying their products because MS and Sony put a $40+ markup on them.

            If you can get around the obnoxious “Australia tax” then digital prices are fine on the Xbone at least.
            I got Shadows of Mordor off the XBL store for about $35 AU last weekend…. Can’t complain about that!

          • Not to mention the tax will likely begin to disappear when they realise they don’t have to compete with EB shipping in physical stock anymore.

          • That is highly unlikely to happen unless everyone collectively votes with their wallet to not buy the marked up games, the publishers will charge what the market is willing to pay.

            After all, what for profit company (outside of the ones that already do) is going to give up that extra revenue?

          • Yeah.

            The cost of sale items on PSN is typically pretty good.

            Black Flag was $20 recently. I got Driver San Fran Cisco for under $6. I bought the last Crysis, Army of 2 and Medal of Honour for $10 or $12 each. Dishonored too.

            Not to mention the free PS+ games. Not to mention the 3 free EA games this weekend.

            Does PSN value match Steam value? No. But the gap is closing. Or rather, it has narrowed.

            Yeah $35 for a new AAA game is awesome, and if that becomes the norm I’d be far happier to spend my money there. But when it’s $60, $70. $80 for a new release buying them (retail or digital) is just silly. I hope that lower pricing works for the developers.

          • I disagree, The Publisher controls the RRP that EB/JB sell it for, the wholesale cost EB/JB buy it for and the price they list it in the Australian PSN/XBL networks. Yes, Microsoft and Sony get a cut of every game sold on their system, the same cut if it’s retail or digital.

            Ubisoft could decide to list their games for $80 RRP and Digital price. But everybody else is charging $100 so they do as well. Ubisoft are now putting Microtransactions or premium currencies into every game they make. But we keep buying the games, and I know people who are paying $50 on day 1 for the top tier of premium currency.

            And they tell you that they’d love to lower the prices but the other guy won’t let them. The truth is there is no other guy, it’s the same guy, he just puts on a pair of Groucho Glasses half the time.

          • Sony can sell digital games for $100, but realistically how many will spend that amount?

            I have no real idea, but I can’t imagine that it would be much at all.

            Sony would make more money if they were to sell the item at a competitive price on day one, simply because much more people would buy it.

            From this, Sony would want to sell at a competitive price, but can’t because then they would get the retail backlash.

            Retail is massively important to MS and Sony, but it’s becoming increasingly less so directly in line with the adoption of digital distribution.

          • I don’t think you understand my point. Sony’s Distribution arm sells the game to the Retail store for X amount of money. They add a very small profit margin and sell it to us. The RRP of a game is $99.95, the amount they sell it for on the digital store.

            They could change the RRP to $69.95, EB wouldn’t care if they still got the same profit from a game. It is cheaper to buy games from Ozgameshop than it is for retailers in this country to get them wholesale.

            The problem is not with the stores it is with the distributors who publish the games.

            Ubisoft, EA, Rockstar, 2K, Sony, Microsoft. All big publishers who choose to sell games in this country for a RRP of $99.95. If one of them dropped the price by $20 within a few months to a week you would see them all do it. But they basically have an agreement to sell all games for $99.95 everywhere in this country.

  • It’s especially easy to put GTAV on the chopping block. It doesn’t really hurt them, the game has been out for over a year on PS3/X360 and now for a few weeks on PS4/Xbone. The amount of money they can still squeeze out of the product would be small compared to the potential backlash from keeping it on the shelves.

  • If they’re going to drop certain merchandise because of the increase in digital sales then that means they’ll stop selling all DVDs and books right?

    • The market for physical copies of books is much bigger. The demographic is broader and covers a larger number of people who don’t want to read on a digital device.
      Also the shipping cost for a book is greater so it makes more sense to save money on shipping ansd sell them in bulk from a local retailer.

      I’d imagine they’d drop games, then music, then DVDs/ Blu Rays and then finally books in that order.

  • Wesfarmers, which also owns … various liquor chains

    I’m glad they’re thinking of the children though…

    EDIT: To clarify, whenever I add ellipses to my sentences, it means I’m being a sarcastic prick.

  • I’d be disappointed if the department stores stopped selling games altogether. They seem to be the main reason we get discounts on new releases these days.

    • They’re very useful for putting downward pressure on price. For most people, the only thing the differentiates the products at one retailer from another is the price. Stores like Target and Big W will deliberately underprice some products (DVDs and games normally) to get people into the store in the hopes that they buy some underwear while they’re there.

      It works out well for us because we get cheaper games. It probably doesn’t work out that well for them because the people who are more likely to walk through the door in search of cheap DVDs is less likely to buy other, more profitable, items.

      • I don’t know about that. They just have to put their licenced goods, like Star Wars or Marvel shirts, in a reasonable vicinity…
        Oh. And $25 for a pair of shoes is always excellent.

  • The biggest problem for gamers if/when this happens will be a marked increase in price. The last couple of years have seen new release games plummet in price due aggressive competition between these stores. Smash Bros for $58! COD for $64! Will be a shame to go back to the days of $80-$100+ as standard.

      • Retail stores have that magic in them. There’s nothing like going up to a store and buying a real physical copy with your hard-earned cash, then playing it the whole weekend. You can’t get that with online purchases.

    • I don’t think EB Games ever felt much competition from the likes of Target or Kmart. If anything, the tension between them and JB, as well as the continuing threat from online traders like OzGameShop will keep prices looking more and more reasonable in the future. Thats the hope anyway.

      • Yeh, there is an EB games here, literally at the front door of BigW, and they never bothered to do anything with prices, even though you can stroll straight into BigW and get the games $20-$30 cheaper. I don’t understand how that works, but they are still in business.

        • Because prices are pre determined by how much they buy the media for and where they have to sell it for a reasonable profit margin to keep the store running and then show a profit on top of that.. I mean how dare they want to stay in business by making money on the only thing they sell, video games, where as Big W are not a video games retailer so they can set the price below what it cost them.

          EB don’t make profit (not that anyone does) on any hardware (in this case consoles, can’t comment for mice, keyboards, controllers & headsets I was never told about them) unless it is pre-owned. Their main revenue from new product comes from games & whatever merchandise they sell relating to video games. That’s why you always get asked if you want game guarantees, pre-orders, play & charge kits, extra controllers & even more games when buying a damn console & a game.. Plus KPI’s as well I guess..

          • EB actually pay through the nose for their games as a general condition of being offered first choice and consultation on pre-order deals. I remember a few years ago there was one game with an $89 cost at wholesale and we sold it for something like $99 when it was $79 elsewhere and you price match, money is actively lost. That being said, still appears pretty shitty to the customer, i wouldn’t blame someone for specifically NOT shopping at EB.

          • Yeah, it’s good but also bad thing for them, since everyone wants the cheapest price possible. My manager was telling me the way Kmart etc price their games on release a lot of publishers stopped offering them special editions etc because of they were devaluing the brand, which I thought was fair enough.

    • Don’t forget the period of 2-3 years of near-parity between USD and AUD meaning more people were buying games from overseas retailers. The dollar is back to the 85c mark these days, so it’s almost natural we’ll see less pressure on local retailers from overseas/online stores, thus game prices will naturally rise once more. The only thing keeping them down these days (that I can see) is the likes of Target et al who are taking a hit on them to attract customers.

  • Westfarmers were somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard place – but ultimately their decision made the best business sense. Here’s why:

    On one hand if they don’t appease the people who signed this petition, the subsequent negative backlash could be problematic. Lots of negative press (40,000 misinformed people already signed the petition, the very same people are capable of spreading any nonsense they choose on Twitter and other social media) and as a result ultimately a potential loss of customers. Especially the important customers: i.e. their target market.

    On the other hand, if they decide to not sell the game any more, in light of this article, what are they really losing? The game has been out for a few weeks now. Price is only beginning to drop, hence their margins will too. Worst case scenario, they’ve lost a few sales and potentially a few customers that now refuse to take their business to them.

    Given that they’re probably wanting to get out of the gaming space it made the most business sense to go ahead and stop selling the game.

    They don’t give a shit about ‘family values’ or the children. As a big business, it’s all about the bottom line. If something makes business sense, they’ll do it.

    It’s just a shitty precedence that it sets. Mostly because of the misinformed and highly biased reasons as to why the petition was started in the first place.

  • I disagree. Big W, Kmart and Target all use electronics, games etc as “loss leaders” to get traffic through their doors. The idea being that when you go in to buy the latest Game or Movie you will see all the clothes and appliances you need to walk past and purchase other things on impulse. That is why the “Entertainment” area is at the rear of all their stores. If they remove Games/Movies etc they will be losing a lot of foot traffic.

    The other reason for them stocking them at low prices is so that their competitors that match prices will need to sell at the same price with no way to recoup the loss like the big department stores can.

    The main demographic for these stores are families, so even if the games/movies don’t get purchased there by gamers, the parents and grandparents who do not have a reason to go to EB Games etc will still buy from these stores along with other items they need.

    So while games, movies etc may not be part of their long reaching strategies they are there as a catalyst to ensuring their profitable strategies are.

  • What’s your evidence that Big W are getting out of video games? They continue to stock the newest hardware and games for all platforms and at competitive prices.

    • Agreed – While Kmart’s electronics section looks like its straight out of 1999 Big W has actually surpassed my expectations since the release of the newest consoles.

      Selling brand new PS4/Xbone games at $64 or less with constant sales is actually fantastic to see from an Australian Retailer and somehow Big W of all companies is LEADING the way instead of going backwards like Kmart – I have stopped buying games from JB/EB in order to support Big W.. its weird.. Because I don’t support “pricematching” – its lazy management – I support the lowest common priced product in the first place.

  • If the K-Mart near me is anything to go by, they’re pretty much already out of the game and movie business anyway. That section shrunk to about a quarter of its previous size – the game, movie and book sections all got kind of compressed into half of 1 aisle.

    No reason to visit that store at all any more unless you really need a new gas cylinder for your SodaStream.

  • You forgot to mention Dick Smith as a existing and future game retailer. I’ve purchased many a game from Dick in recent times.

    • Yeah, whenever I think of playing games like Call of Duty online, I always think of my Dick 🙂

    • Lucky you could do that, the DSE that was at my local shopping centre until last week, just about stopped stocking games, I think the last new release they actually sold & had on release was The Last of Us Remastered.. But now they’ve made the decision to leave that shopping centre and team up with their other DSE 5 mins down the road in a shopping centre that gets very little foot traffic near it, can’t wait to see them pack it in now they’ve done that!

    • 3 Preorders at DSE, 3 times being told the game isn’t in stock and they can’t get it.

      That $10 down, $10 off at purchase was tempting but.

  • Big W still continue to provide end cap space to new games, GTA V was one of them, if anything Big W will focus on new release titles only and not have so many of the older titles in stock

  • I want to know what K-Mart and Targhey will be doing with the money they’ve earned from selling the title. I mean, if the game is suddenly abhorrent to them for the reasons they’ve outlined, wouldn’t that them mean they’ve been profiting from a product that incites violence and negativity towards women? If that’s what they believe the game is, will they donate any of this money towards women’s support services, like domestic violence shelters, etc? If not, does this mean they’re okay with making money from an allegedly misogynistic product? I’m curious to know what their response to that would be. I mean, both removing the game from sales and the money they’ve earned form selling said game are both intrinsically linked issues…

    • i agree. They have profited for over a year off this game. ALL profits, not some, earnt from the sale of GTAV over all consoles since the games release should be donated to a domestic violence prevention charity.

      its fine to make a stand, but when it hurts the bottom line……….

  • I have gotten some good games & card packs from there as it offers more diverse competing prices & where to get a good deal, plus it offers a good haven for people who have been dragged along by family members who are fashionitas

  • The fact that Target and KMart stopped selling GTA V & IV was never really the problem in my eyes. Their major market is not the MA15+ – R18+ gamer and this is a logical step. It was the fact that a bunch of people were trying to rationalise it using personal agenda related reasons that weren’t “We are not stocking this because R18+ games are not something that our customers are largely interested in and is generally inappropriate for them.”

    That’s all they had to say and no one would bat an eyelid. It’s only making news because someone decided to exemplify it as all that is wrong with the world, regardless of how correct the statement is or not.

  • In terms of “discount department stores” getting out of gaming, they were never serious about the department to begin with and kind of shot themselves I the foot in the first place for most of the time selling the product for less than what they bought it for.
    We all know there very little to no money in gaming for the retailer, but these “discount department stores” will feature/advertise prices of items at $20 less than what they paid for it just to get customer through the door. Problem is they won’t get in enough stock because they would lose too much money each time they sell one.
    If they were serious enough about the games to advertise in their catalogues, they should have appropriate stock levels to begin with, and if they were being honest, they should at the very least offer rainchecks

  • It’s a shame really but it will encourage people to embrace the digital future. I think a move like this would affect Nintendo the most since they are considered the family friendly console and I would presume a majority of their sales come from those stores over digital sales. It will also affect people like my brother who refuse to go digital for some reason i don’t understand.

    • Mario games are the most violent video games of all time. You use a plumber and start stomping on every single living thing you can see and break brick walls by knocking it with your hand (yes he uses his hand, not head). Not only that, he constantly bashes Bowser’s relatives and giving them bruises all over.

      Not to mention the individual called Princess Peach which clearly shows human rights issue by locking her up in different castles. Did I mention she is a female? She is not being treated equally as she dose not get bashed by Mario, feminism issue right there. Don’t forget she is being treated as an item as well, being carried from castle to castle until she is in Bowser’s own castle.

      Don’t forget Yoshi, the deformed horse that is clearly against animal rights. Forcing him to eat flowers and spit out flames.

      • +1 and shame on you person who -1 this.

        The worrisome thing is that this train of thought is the direction we are heading and it also points out; where do we draw the line in video game content.

  • The caving to misinformed whingers is what got me pissy about this fiasco. If you want to pull the game, sure. If it is because you don’t make money from it, go ahead, or because it isn’t suitable for your target demo, then fine by me. If it is because 40k people are having a teary and feeding you out of date, unfounded spin then no, you should not bend over and let a group (albeit large one) of sjw bone you in the ass.

  • I bought (OK, my dad) my Master System from K-Mart, where they would stock 50-70 titles behind the glass counters where I could stare at them for hours wondering what kind of titles they were

    I bought my first Mortal Kombat game at K-Mart

    Will be sad to see that retail channel go

  • If they stop selling video games what am I going to look at when my wife is buying bras or whatever for an hour?? They should but in an arcade or something near the change rooms, that would be good.

  • I don’t think any retailer in Australia has got games right. Maybe JB have.

    EB are lucky that they have an uneducated market to rort.

    The big box stores just make a mess of it. Bad pricing. No stock. Damaging stickers.

    It seems like it’s all too difficult for them. Which is fair enough. It is a good point that there is no exclusivity with game retailers – you can buy the item elsewhere. And we do have digital downloads. And ebay. And pirateing. And importing.

    • EB are lucky that they have an uneducated market to rort.

      Nah, I like customer service, staff who are friendly and educated on the product they’re selling. Something that you don’t have at Big W, Kmart or Target. Even JB where I am change the game department staff up so you don’t always get someone who knows the product.

        • Have to agree.

          I get sick of talking to EB Games staff who appear to have been hired on their image, rather than their knowledge about games.

  • if they stop selling games though I’d never go I’m there and they would never get me buying their other products while I’m in there as a side effect.

  • Too many cheap imported clothes made by slave labour to sell. Much more money in that than high quality software lovingly built by artists and programmers. That’s where their priority is.

  • The people defending EB Games must work there. It’s funny how a store dedicated to gamers offers the most expensive prices release after release.

    Head into Kmart, Target, or Big W and you’re guaranteed to get the latest release for $10 – $20 cheaper. Just the other week I bought both Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire for $44 each, equalling a total of $88 from Big W.

    If I had of bought both of those games from EB Games it would have been $60 for one, or $120 for the both of them. As already mentioned, same deal with amiibo. I bought multiple ones from Target for $14 each, yet EB was charging $18 each on release. What a rip!

    I can’t even bring myself to compliment their pre-owned or supposedly more extensive games catalogue either. I normally find better deals and a better range online.

  • Truth be told, I buy mostly from EB / JB Hifi, but I get them to price match Target’s or Dick Smith’s price if they’re cheaper (and they usually are. EB’s prices are generally ridiculous compared to the others). I prefer to do the actual buying at EB (price matched) because of their returns policy. Two weeks with no questions asked is too valuable.

  • And where is Mark Serrels? His corporate site promote the activity of denouncing games,he’s trying to be a median. but failing, and where is he? Nowhere… I keep hoping he isn’t a hypocrite but honestly he fails too many times to even hope to possess integrity or ethics. Mark if you are out there, you posted a conceited article, which focussed on when a poor chap tried to question you at PAX AUS.

    you claimed he walked away and didn’t discuss nepotism, etc, etc, in games.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. However, if you want pure neutrality from Kotaku US. I will host a conference call at my expense. I’ll pay for it, and I’ll host it anywhere you want. you and I Mark. Over coffees? Whatever, you see the problem is that kotaku lost credibility when they pushed an agenda…. if you hadn’t been so self righteous in declaring gamers dead, maybe they would sign a petition against censorship.

  • These stores will slowly fall with newer generation will turn to online stores etc being so picky rip

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