JB Hi-Fi Is Selling An Xbox One Bundle Called 'Race Wars'

Image: Kotaku

Kotaku Australia has learned that JB Hi-Fi stores from around Australia will begin advertising a special Xbox bundle from tomorrow, termed "Race Wars".

The advertisement is due to appear in catalogues from tomorrow, with the bundle containing a console, Halo Wars 2 and Forza Horizon 3. The bone of contention is the name for the bundle, although in a note to staff JB Hi-Fi's management suggests that people remind customers of the origins of the reference.

"We have been advised that some store staff who have seen the catalogue have interpreted the title in a more political context," the internal memo reads. "Please note that it is intended purely as a reference from the Fast and the Furious franchise ... please share with your teams to ensure they have the background if consumers come at this from a political angle."

Microsoft confirmed with Kotaku Australia that they were not responsible for the bundle's creation, or its promotion. A similar bundle has been selling at EB Games, featuring an Xbox One S 1TB console, the two games, and a three month subscription to Stan, but EB hasn't assigned a nickname or moniker for the offering. Kotaku Australia has also seen a picture of the catalogue in question that will be advertised from tomorrow.

JB Hi-Fi was contacted for comment but had not replied by the time of writing.

Update: You can see the term as printed in JB Hi-Fi's gaming catalogue in our follow-up below.

JB Hi-Fi, Then And Now

Last night we reported that JB Hi-Fi would be advertising an Xbox One bundle from this week with the nickname "Race Wars". You can get the bundle in-store today, although JB has moved rather quickly to pull most - but not all - mentions of the nickname.

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Comments

    Kotaku Australia understands that the bundle is not a official promotion on the part of Microsoft. A similar bundle has been selling at EB Games, featuring an Xbox One S 1TB console, the two games, and a three month subscription to Stan, but EB hasn't assigned a nickname or moniker for the offering.

    See, this is all I ever wanted. For Nintendo's gear.

    But noooooooo, we have to watch Australian games retail go this angle with the other console that's not selling PS4 numbers. I see how it is.

    Yes I'm up in arms. But for special reasons.

      Hey, relax guy. I read the comment, then knew it was you without needing scroll up. You seem to take this "anti Nintendo" attitude quite personally. I'm pretty sure it's not. Though it *would* be pretty funny if the JB and EB execs were sitting around saying "we were going to do a Wii U bundle, but let's go for Xbox one instead, that'll totally piss off leigh".

      Also, even though it's not "official", I imagine Microsoft are offering the retailers some sweet wholesale prices that enable these bundles, while Nintendo are not. I know of a couple of families who would happily buy Mario kart and BotW bundles of they were $200-300, but at this stage Nintendo could surely make this happen if they wanted to figure in the bundle market.

      Peace!

        I can't but read that in the South Park Saddam Hussein voice. I was being a little bit facetious, hence the (silly) way I worded that.

        And I totally accept all of that :D

    The stupidity is strong here.

      The stupidity of those that put it in the catalogue, or the stupidity of those that actually think this is a big deal or care or don't immediately understand what they mean?

    If you need to explain the reference like that, it isn't clear enough for the general public. Especially if you already anticipate the angle people may take.

      What I'd like to know is: When did society get to the point where a bundle like this could even be interpreted politically?

      Don't get me wrong - I'm not discounting the fact that these issues exist, but what sane person jumps on the racism/racial challenges card before "It's a games bundle, maybe there's some car destruction in there or something"

      Well, they don't explicitly state whether the note was sent out before or after the it became an issue, so it may've been an honest (although pretty dumb) mistake.

      EDIT: Actually, in the follow-up article, they did say it was after-the-fact"

      "The bundle's moniker had raised eyebrows internally, however. In a response, JB management circled around a memo telling staff to remind concerned customers that the reference was derived from the Fast and the Furious movies."

      Last edited 01/06/17 1:00 pm

    "Drive Wars" and "Car Wars". That second one even gets you rhyming power with the most notable franchise ever.

    Where's my money?

      Can't associate it with Star Wars, however, as the Nazi's made the Jewish people wear a yellow Star of David during WWII.

      The whole "Star Wars" franchise leaves a bad taste in my mouth fro this reason.

    Oooh I wish I worked at JB and had someone try and angle it politically on me.

    I would almost consider a return to retail for the length of the sale.....almost.

      Honestly, the first thing most of the general public will think when they see "Race Wars" will be political. This is so fucking dumb and unnecessary.

        I'm the general public, I didn't see anything political, just the usual twits trying to make everything political.

        I find the easy outrage to be dumb and unnecessary.

          Who said anything about outrage?

            Im not referring to you, but the situation.

            We have a non political event, being railroaded by people who are only interested in pressing their own political agenda.
            That weapon of choice is what I call easy outrage.

    Lucky that Far Cry 5 wasn't part of the bundle.

    Oh because words can't have more than one meaning... We're so "progressive" these days...

    Has someone told the various sporting associations that they can't use the word "race" anymore because of it might hurt the "progressive" feels?

      That's a stupid argument and you know it. No one but your believe straw man liberals take issue with 'race,' but 'race wars' is loaded with baggage, just like 'race crime.' I've seen the first FnF movie, but most of the public has not, and more likely to associate it with ethnic conflict, which isn't itself taboo, but not something you want to associate your product with. Exactly which part of this don't you understand?

        The only "baggage" attached is your own. It's what happens when you let identity politics run every aspect of your life.

        The fact that you assume people would naturally assume people "RACE WARS" would be related to "ethnic conflict" DESPITE being right next to a Xbox console with a "RACING" game and a "HALO WARS" is just wrong.

        Majority of people are smart enough to see XBOX + RACING GAME + PLUS WAR GAME =/= ETHNIC CONFLICT

        The only people who would see otherwise would be your usual perpetually offended Kotaku reader... Which is fine because it's hilarious.

    It appears i was the only naive one that saw the article title and the picture and thought 'sweet, a racing bundle!' :(

      Cool! Race wars! Like in Fast & the Furious! Trust the nihilistic attitudes of the politically correct to insert their negativism into absolutely everything, It's a video game bundle about racing, Why would you overthink it?

      Oh many did, but the fear some idiot somewhere will not understand means it's literally the worst thing to have ever happened in a catalogue anywhere.

    You can just tell that this is going to go well for all concerned.

    Gotta say though, its the funniest name for a console bundle in a very long time.

    It obvious that there is no malicious intent here, so why do people never give companies like this the benefit of the doubt? Why would anyone assume that JB is trying to make an offensive political statement?

      Because it's a silly mistake that could have been easily avoided by using common sense.

      I agree that it's obvious that there's no malicious intent and any anger this might result in is misplaced.

      Because it's a loaded phrase and any sensible person or company should bloody well know better.
      It's an inexplicably stupid thing to do.

        How is it a loaded phrase? For starters it's clearly a reference to TF&TF. Secondly, it isn't even slightly offensive. Anyone immediately concluding that it is needs to give themselves an uppercut.

        It's not like it's called the "Ethnic Cleansing XBox Bundle".

          For starters it's clearly a reference to TF&TF.
          Most people don't know this, I didn't. The term isn't offensive at all, it's just really dumb.

            Well its a bundle with a racing game and a game about war..... So you automatically decided it was offensive to ethnic minorities....

        Unless they want to advertise it for free on kotaku....

      There are two problems here.

      1 - Obviously, the name. The insistence by management that "Race Wars" shouldn't be interpreted as anything but a pop culture reference when this bundle has nothing to do with the F&F franchise. Would it be more, less or equally acceptable to name the bundle "Gas Chamber" as a celebration of NO2 turbo canisters?

      2 - The management telling the ground floor staff to defend this horrible idea. Customers who would have every right to complain are expected to be dealt with at store level because the staff there "have the background if consumers come at this from a political angle". Its a shitty position to put these people in.

        You say customers have every right to complain, but complain about what? That's what people are struggling with. This is white Power Ranger type stuff. An unfortunate combination of words but not really any sort of offensive statement or oversight.

          "Complain about what?"... read point 1 that I made. I'm assuming you've never worked retail, not only will there be people who will be genuinely offended but there will also be people who will feign offense for their own gain. It happens.

          It's not an SJW stand being made. Its common sense. The overarching point to be made here is why call it that above EVERY other option? You're right, it is an unfortunate combination of words, but what's more pervasive throughout human history: racial tension or the F&F movies? In a multicultural society it's foolish to hedge your bets that this is an okay thing to do.

            All that's in 1 is that Gas Chamber, an actually offensive reference to specific events, is bad and that people won't know what race wars is a reference to. I'm not suggesting people won't complain, obviously that started happening last night, and they should change it, but what specific complaint can be made? Other than 'oooo, you said a bad word'. It's not even like they had some dumb 'start a race war this weekend with...' line.
            From your perspective who is offended and why?

              Who: any person if any colour that has experienced racial bias either in their lifetime or the lifetimes of anyone in the ancestry.

              Why: because this trivializes actual human shittiness.

    Got to admit the first thing I thought of when I read the title was Cronulla Riots but then I saw the car box art and thought 'oh, right.' Still, it is going to blow up. I'm just going to sit back and watch.
    Personally as a coloured person I'm not triggered by it but I am finding it funny that people will be. I'm allowed to call myself coloured right? I might go ask a feminist to see if I'm allowed.

    soon you wont be able to say the word black without offending anyone...

    I might be the only one who thought it was an attempt to take the console war to a new level a la World War Blue or Hyperdimension Neptunia.

    have interpreted the title in a more political context ... if consumers come at this from a political angle

    Not sure what sounds more tone-deaf... the "Race Wars" moniker or the fact the management think racism is just a political issue.

    Isn't the premise behind Halo inherently racist anyway?

    Relax kids, that's a joke.

    Weak. Sorry guys, but you can see where the name came from, and it wasn't trying to be problematic at all. I know in today's climate there's a competition, especially among online types, to see who can be the more politically correct (or PC... look, there's something else with two meanings, too), but this was, as I said at the start, weak. Clickbait, at best.

    Hold up!
    Can I as a PC gamer still identify as "The Master Race", even though the term has its roots with Hitler and Nazis?

    ...If not, I hate 2017...

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