JB Hi-Fi Selling A Lot Of Game Consoles, But Maybe Not So Many Games

Is it a sign of the times? JB Hi-Fi's half year results were released today. It was a reasonable second quarter for the tech retail giant, bolstered by hardware sales, but software sales are clearly on the decline.

According to the results, JB Hi-Fi's hardware sales were up 4.7% in the quarter, with the result specifically naming console sales — alongside fitness gear and appliances — as the reason for that growth. Software sales, however, were down a massive 10.8%.

But given the majority of JB's sales are centred around hardware, it added up to an overall 1.4% growth in sales for JB. CEO Richard Murray was pleased with the results.

"[T]his was a pleasing result for the half year given the combined headwinds of a challenging first quarter sales result and the the cycling of both digital switchover in visual and the launch of new gaming consoles in the second quarter last financial year," he said.

But the rapid decline of software sales is a clear warning sign. Are consumers buying hardware in stores and then buying the games themselves online? Or is mobile gaming part of the problem? It's difficult to say, but stores like JB Hi-Fi have traditionally used video games as a loss leader for other products and a sales decline in software might be the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Games retail is an interesting business. Traditionally stores like EB Games and JB Hi-Fi will sell consoles at low margins, the idea being that those same consumers will come back to buy video games. Will the story remain the same when people are less likely to buy video games at brick and mortar stores? That's the question. Other retailers like Target, Kmart and Big W have already threatened to reduced its stock of games in stores, maybe we'll start to see JB Hi-Fi follow suit.


Comments

    I've bought 2 ps4 games from Jb in the last couple of months. Normally I wait until I see a good discount and then go for it. I dislike having digital copies of games because I like seeing a stack of game boxes next to my ps4. My only digital games are from ps+.

    Personally I prefer disc based games, and I regularly get games from JB or make EB price match.
    I find that launch day titles are cheaper at JB then most places
    Take Dragon Age on launch day
    $79 - JB
    $99.95 - EB
    $99.95 - PSN
    Same with Assassin Creed. Plus I have found if you look closely sometimes they mess up alittle and will stick a PS3 price on a PS4 game (I got Far Cry for $69 at JB launch day) it was just one with the $69 price tag all the others had $79

    But then the smaller games and Vita games PSN is the way to go, Walked dead games are $20-25 on PSN compared with $49 for a disc
    Same goes for alot of the RPG games on vita

    Another reason for disc based is that I always have it there, one day Sony with decommission the servers for PS3 - PSN access (not in the near future but it will happen in maybe 10 years)
    how will you access your gems then? (I still whip out my N64)
    I dont want to pay money to play something I own (PS Now), plus no NBN it will be hard to fully stream a game

    It's worth noting that JB usually post software sales as including dvds and music so it might not necessarily mean that games software is down.

      That's a good point to make. Should clarify that in the article.

    I thought this was an article about a big console sale at JB Hi-Fi...I'm pretty disappointed.

    The pre owned market probably has a lot of movement due to lower quality games that are also quick to finish.

    I look in from time to time (PS3 still) but it's seldom worth buying anything there. The cheap games tend to be the ones everyone has - Assassin's Creed series, Battlefield etc - and most other games are still $49.

    I think there's two things - first, now that they're an establish player in the games market, they're not doing the aggressive pricing that they used to when they entered it. Secondly, they're probably getting pounded by the falling dollar and the publishers being US/European based.

    Also, last year wasn't a great year for console games - and PC games haven't been a store purchase for a long time.

    The main reason I'm buying 90% of my console games digitally is the home sharing I can do with my gfs x1, just by setting her x1 as my "home" x1. She gets all my live privileges and access to all my games even when I'm playing them at the same time online on my own x1. Buying 1 digital copy is still cheaper than buying 2 physical copies.

    I only ever buy games on disc I know she wont have any interest in playing eg Dying Light. The rest are all digital.

    Maybe JB should look into setting up a deal with MS and/or Sony, they could sell game codes, not just sony and ms bucks.

      Digital games are still full price mostly on console digital stores?

        Yes for the most part. Although, they get decent discounts eventually. In the countdown to new year sales I got Titanfall Deluxe Edition for $15AU, should be able to get close to that for my disc.

      Same for me but I have 2 PS4s in the house so i can play MP with my kids. The only issue is when they want to play each other, one has to use my profile.
      Digital is still more expensive but its still generally cheaper than buying the game twice. Wish i didnt have to download them twice though. 2x10 GB is ok but some are more than that.

        Yeah, that's bummer about having to download twice. I just copy the game to an external and then to the other x1.

    It's not rocket science, its math; you can get games cheaper elsewhere.

    I've bought a PS4 about a month ago and have played it twice. I'm not enjoying Killzone at all.

    I'm in no massive rush the try Plants vs Zombies, which I got for free.

    I'm in no massive rush to try Injustice, or First Light that I've gotten free via PS+.

    I'd like someone to hurry up and buy my copies of Drive Club and LBP 3 that I got free with the console.

    I have way too many PS3 games and I've started to see the negative side of PS+ subscription, when a year ago I was a massive supporter of it.

    I won't buy a PS4 game at anything other than a very low cost as I made that mistake with the PS3. I have a dozen PS3 racing games that I bought for $20 to $60 that are barely touched - I just won't allow myself to do the same with the PS4 - especially when the games are effectively the same + improved graphics. It's just not worth it.

    On top of that, we're handed Steam sales and Humble Bundles every 5 minutes so even if my notebook can't effectively handle the AAA titles, my next notebook will for sure.

      You really don't seem like the kind of person who would have ever enjoyed owning a PS4. So I am totally confused as to why you even bothered to purchase one.

      I've had my PS4 since launch and loved every minute of it since.

        That's a fair albeit not totally accurate comment.

        I was pretty confident that I wouldn't buy a PS4 for a while - but of course I had the itch. I've been a gamer for the last 30 years or more so there most definitely is a desire. I bought the PS4 when the priced dropped through a DSE deal ($409 including 3 games) - and at that price point it made too much sense to buy it.

        To a degree I do regret buying the console - not because I think it's bad in anyway, although the lack of media features does annoy me, but because I don't really have the time to justify a new console, and don't utilize PS+ to the extent that would justify the costs.

        I was just giving my reasoning as to why I don't think i'll be buying many retail based games this generation - and it boils down to not wanting to spend money on items that will reduce in value before I have available time to spend on the games.

        To put this in perspective, for the PS3 I bought around 200 retail based games, this gen I will try to be around 10 to 20 percent of that.

        Last edited 02/02/15 2:16 pm

        I've used my ps4 FAR less than my xbox one. But if I only had a ps4 I would have used it a lot more as there's some great multi plats that are already out.

    No, mobile gaming has nothing to do with it. Seriously, you think people are spending 10+ hours a week playing Candy Crush during their free time?

    I play mobile games to fill in time gaps of 10 minutes or so, sometimes not even that. Like when I'm taking a dump. Mobile gaming will never replace good ol' fashioned playing a game on a sweet TV screen. Never.

      Firstly, 10 minute sessions can easily become 30 minute sessions. And a habit of playing a casual game once a week can easily become a once or twice a day habit. My point being that for many it's quite easy to go from 10 minutes a week to 10 hours a week playing a simple casual game.

      Secondly, some people do (at times) prefer playing casual games. Casual games are typically, in my experience, less demanding than AAA titles.

      If I play Battlefield 1943 I have to concentrate or I'll get killed. If I play Age of Booty my level of concentration is far lower. And due to the relative simplicity, I'm quite sure that i'll win the game and get the mental reward for doing so.

      For sure Battlefield is the superior game in terms of graphics, sophistication, excitement, variety - but quite often gamers just want to relax and have fun as opposed to take on a stressful challenge.

    They don't sell as much games because they aren't the cheapest anymore. It used to be them but now it's Target and Big W for new release AAA titles. Sometimes they are too stingy to price match and give you a bullsh!t excuse. For hardware sometimes they have great sales but I find the other stores like Harvey Norman and Dicksmith have better deals if you look out for them. Especially Dicksmith. JB HiFi have lost that competitive edge where they were always the go-to place for deals but now they are too profit driven like all the companies that get really big.

    Last edited 02/02/15 1:54 pm

    I've bought a lot of console games over the years. I would never pay over $69AU for a new game unless I have a couple of others to trade in at the same time.

    I used to like the "Free if you trade in 3 games" offer at JB-HiFi. You used to be able to buy semi-recent games for $39-$49, play through them and then use them for this deal. You would then take that new game and trade it in a month or so later with a couple of other $39 games towards the next round of new games.

    I find this cycle has gone now. The games on the trade-in list have considerably shrunk over the years. You really have to buy a new game in the first week or so to get the best price-matched offering such as $69 for COD:AW. The games don't seem to reduce much under $59 especially for PS4 and when they do you can usually get them cheaper online.

    JB never seems to have many sales either. EBGames are horrific for retail prices but at least do have a lot of sales throughout the year. I picked up The Last of Us Remastered, Alien Isolation and Drive Club all digital in the Sony sales. Nothing physical from JB HiFi for six months at least.

      Yeah I was addicted to the 3 for 1 deal, and it allowed me to play a lot of PS3 games that I otherwise wouldn't have bought at full price. But at the end of the day it's not suitable for me anymore. Really because you have to find the time to finish the game quickly and also prior to the game being patched in many cases. I played Crisis 2 on day one, but have since learned that the A.I. improved dramatically following a patch several months after launch. I would have been better off if I had bought the game once it had dropped in value to $20 and then sold it on ebay for a few dollars less. I also got disappointed by the trade in prices of some racing games - they plummet even with the first couple of weeks of release.

        Yip, it did make you shoot through the games quickly so you can trade them in whilst they retained some value. Sometimes I ended up buying games cheap just because they were on the 3 for 1 trade in list, and not even playing them.

        A lot of churn and burn. Those days seem to have gone now.

    I still like the discs because I can re-sell them when I'm not playing it anymore in ebay or gumtree or worst case in-store trade-in.

    The problem with digital game ownership is the lending and a trade-in value.
    You can't lend it to your friend for a certain amount of time or sell your owned digital games.
    When you have a console upgrade, you pretty much lost all the previous generation games, especially with current next gen consoles are not last-gen compatible.

    Digital store makes sense for PC because it doesn't have compatibility issue.

    The only gripe about having discs to play is the loading time because some current gen consoles play the disc's content instead of copying the whole disc into the HDD.

    Someone might have touched on it in the comments (can't read them all!) but its frequently now Dick Smith, Big W and Target offering cheaper prices on the big AAA games when they get released - I picked up Call of Duty from Target for $65 for the Day One edition whereas JB was at least $80 if I remember correctly. I won't even bother to mention EB Games, I can't believe they're still in business. They all rotate their sales, I did pick up NBA 2K15 for $59 the other day from JB. It's very easy these days to work out which retailer has the best price for a game, takes 10 seconds of web research. In the past it was waiting for the catalogues or having to physically go into the store to find the price. PlayStation Store has good sales, but $99 dollars for a digital game is a joke and there's no competition unless Sony allow Amazon or others to offer digital codes in Australia so there will always be a need for physical copies and physical bricks and mortor stores at this stage.

    I still buy physical games for my Xbox One, mainly from JB. The appeal of digital is there, but JB are just cheaper then the digital store.

    The only retail game I've bought digitally on console so far was Halo MCC so yeah never again.

    I'm really waiting for retail to fucking collapse and die so that we're not seeing digital game prices being jacked up to match retail. ESPECIALLY 'direct from publisher' downloads.

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