Aussie retailer Harvey Norman to open video game import website

Longtime gray market opponent Harvey Norman opens online store that will ship games to Australia.

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A strong Aussie dollar and the significant savings on offer from buying offshore have meant that more consumers are now turning online for their retail fix. This trend is especially prevalent among gamers, where local prices of new releases are often almost twice those of overseas markets. Retail figurehead and Harvey Norman director Gerry Harvey has been a long-time opponent of foreign retailers shipping products to Australia, using the tactic to avoiding paying local Goods and Services Tax. Today he backflipped on the issue, announcing a new game import website, that will do exactly what he has long despised.

Dubbed Harvey Norman Direct Import, the online store will operate out of the Republic of Ireland and ship games to Australia. At launch, the website will only stock interactive entertainment, but in a conference call, Gerry Harvey hinted that video games are just the beginning, with plans to expand into other goods. He said, "We have to start somewhere, and it's a nice place to start."

An excerpt from the Harvey Norman Direct Import &.

The Australian retailer blamed consumer demand for cheaper products as the reason for its change of heart, citing the high wholesale price of local games as forcing its hand to compete with overseas sellers.

In response to a question asked regarding Harvey Norman Direct Import's ability to compete with existing online game retailers, Harvey Norman spokesperson Ben Mackintosh said that the site plans to "bring legitimacy to [gray import]."

The company conceded that Harvey Norman has not traditionally been a strong player in the Australian video games category but hopes to change its place by offering cheap overseas stock. "We should in theory get 100 percent market share," said Harvey.

Harvey Norman Direct Import went live briefly this afternoon but was taken down shortly after and is expected to go live properly this evening. You can look at the Harvey Norman Direct Import site from 6:00 p.m. tonight.

Discussion

35 comments
Davo-C
Davo-C

@so_hai it is indeed.

Filipino_Rambo
Filipino_Rambo

I bet they'll still charge $110 for new release games! The Shmuck!

selbie
selbie

This douchebag was complaining about JB undermining HN's sales because of the online retail boom. Time to taste the sweet bitterness of your own damn humble pie Gerry! Don't expect any money from me >___>

MurderMode
MurderMode

It's because of people like Gerry Harvey and his scam of a franchise that people turned to the online market to begin with. Now that the jerk is getting cut out of the game he thinks I'm going to turn around and buy from him? Fat chance... uh oh I just killed your 100% theory right there

grim76
grim76

This is just typical of ppl like Gerry Harvey and like his buddy Alan Joyce he will force the issue to a head and the result will be the government having to act and charge GST on all imports as more companies like his try to remain competitive in an environment that they created by trying to continually rip us off, they wanted global marketplaces and they have it, but they say now its not fair because we can save money by cutting them out of the loop, KISS MY A#@ Gerry i will never give u my money, go ozgameshop.com

greasemonkey42
greasemonkey42

For 100% market share, you would need to be cheaper than every competitor across the board (which is isn't), have every game ever (which it doesn't, no where close), and have copies of new games arrive on release day (which is pretty much impossible in this import market). Even though Mass Effect 3 is cheaper online, I'm going down to the store and buying that baby on release date and shell out the extra 20-30 bucks - screw waiting 2 weeks or more. If you could somehow do all those things, then in theory, sure, you could have 100% market share...what a dope. Overall though, interesting development...not sure how I feel, I would rather not have mega-retailers like these drawing attention the incredibly cheap games I'm getting from ozgameshop. The last thing we need is the government to get involved and do something crazy to stop it. Or this could go the other way, if the other retailers follow suit and all of the sudden this import market becomes much more competitive, which should mean the consumers win. But, they're not going to get there with these current prices; ozgameshop still undercut most of their listed prices, especially when all games cost $3.95 additionally to post, whereas postage is free from ozgameshop. Although $24 for LA Noire is pretty crazy! .

Banefire76
Banefire76

@ WaterMeinKidd Haha did i upset you? :) then let me respond like this. I say tryhard because of these reasons 1. Harvey Norman has completely backflipped on thier stance of the "gray Market" Since they now see just how many people are now using and have been using this method for some time already in order to not be ripped off by the current neanderthal australian market. So you could rightly say they are "children" since they have been foolishly against it but now that they finally give in and see that its financially beneficial they want "all" in on the profits : quote "100 percent market share" yeah whatever! 2. Childish arrogance - quote Ben Mackintosh "bring legitimacy to [gray import]" What arrogance! So they are telling the informed/ proactive consumers of these products that every purchase we have made overseas is "bad" or illegal if we organise the purchase ourselves, but now that this almighty company has stepped in to do the very same thing (but with a nice cut for themselves) that's perfectly ok and now legal and good???.... Whatever kid! They are behind the times and are really pushing it. They think they will get 100% market share? Screw them, im gonna buy online like i always have or if i do buy it from a store it will be through Gametraders who have been doing this already for a long time. (BTW all the references eg. "kid" and "tryhard" are directed at Harvey Norman, not you WaterMeinKid....unless of course you work for Harvey in which case feel free to take it personally :) )

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

100% market share? They do realize that there are already other Online Stores that cater to the Australian market. ozgameshop.com is one of them, and their products are a lot cheaper with FREE DELIVERY.

HollowNinja
HollowNinja

GOG.com also offers Australians the same prices on their games as the US. With their sole exception, The Witcher 2, which they can't mark down for legal reasons, they offer in-store credit to make up for the extra cost.

strothers101
strothers101

This is great news . I went into EB games a few days ago to have a gander at what was on offer and the prices had me running for the hills. I will be keeping a close eye on the development of this medium.

WaterMelnKidd
WaterMelnKidd

Also, to anyone who doesn't already realise this, the shipping period will almost certainly be up to 3 weeks. It often takes me 3 weeks to get games from England.

WaterMelnKidd
WaterMelnKidd

@Banefire76 That's just the most stupid thing I've ever heard. How can a store be "tryhards"? "They"? "Adults"? It's owned by a man, who's definitely older than you, and it's not exactly tryhard, the prices are good. $24 for LA Noire.

Banefire76
Banefire76

Harvey Norman are tryhards, they should leave gaming to the adults and back off.

WaterMelnKidd
WaterMelnKidd

I don't care how bad Harvey Norman has been in the past, this is by far the best thing that's happened to Australian stores ever. I know OzGameShop sells to Australia, but this is a store known to every Australian citizen. As soon as they start getting known by everyone (and they will, once people see the prices) they will easily be the biggest Games Retailer in Australia. By far. $26 for Deus Ex on Xbox 360 shipped is amazing for Australia. It costs me about that to buy it from my home country of England and get it shipped, or maybe even more.

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

I like how Gamespot Australia treated the retailer Harvey Norman like a person, by shortening it into "said Harvey". It's like calling Bing Lee, 'Bing'.

snaggleoooo
snaggleoooo

OZGameshop has been good to me, so that's where I'll be staying. Wow, that's already taken HN to below 100% market share. Bad luck Gerry.

Deano
Deano

I bet harvey norman is still going to keep charging $90-$100 in store though. I checked out some of their prices, they are reasonable though nothing that great. $60 for saints row 3 shipped, well I already have a copy from asia shipped for $40. try again harvey, I wouldn't support them anyway because of their overpriced goods. every gamer needs to boycott retailers that persist in charging these insane prices. I'm starting to see new releases hitting $110 it's insane, we get screwed so bad.

so_hai
so_hai

@Davo-C But isn't ozgameshop actually British?

so_hai
so_hai

@Scorchstar Exactly right. But I'm pretty sure he's doing this before the legislation comes in to tax imports from online purchases (I heard about this a while back though...)

samcrow77
samcrow77

what i find funny is that he owns a chain of stores in ireland anyway so he buys from his overseas stores and and brings them here double dipiing much

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

Are you kidding me? Harvey Norman doesn't even do online delivery!

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

Low Prices = Good Import = Bad ... I dont know if I should be jumping for joy or thinking this is un-Australian ... Ohhh BF3 for $63....

matty_darra
matty_darra

This is crap! Even if he does set up a video game import website, that just means he is the one buying games from the foreign retailers and not us. This means he can charge what ever he wants! So blow me Harvey Norman!

Davo-C
Davo-C

There is absolutely no way I'm going to buy from Harvey Norman, even if they are cheaper (which they are not). He is the greediest C word around. Ozgameshop and other sites are still reasonably cheaper.

benboz
benboz

This sounds good

lilkev85
lilkev85

PC Games are coming soon... as it is indicated on the site. Well I'm happy this has come around. Hopefully we should see some fierce competition from the rivals, JB Hi-Fi are already trying their luck with direct-import cameras and supposedly expanding their range. In the end, the consumers win and the gaming industry is going to get a healthy boot if it catches on.

emerin76
emerin76

holy cow, those prices kick over any aussie retailer! i mean 59 for skyrim...109 in EB (I think)

cheater87
cheater87

He will sell RC games right?

gameking5000
gameking5000

They could name it better instead of 'Direct Import'

sepir
sepir

Had a quick look at the site, should have known it would only be console games. Guess they didn't even want to try competing with Steam.

sepir
sepir

I can see some benefits, if it drives down prices at other places as well. I've often thought EB should be cheaper than it is, especially when it's parent is selling things in USD for US$20 cheaper than EB is selling in AUD (whilst the AUD is at parity or stronger than USD).

biggest_loser
biggest_loser

I think I'll stick with Steam, instead of "Geezers Inc".

aus_pride
aus_pride

FYI the Site is NOT live. Cmon gamespot, dont lose that cool of yours! (it should hopefully be launched around 6pm Aest tonight 22/12)

faelan
faelan

Was going to say something sharply critical of Gerry Harvey's astounding backflip, but I got to the line "We should in theory get 100 per cent market share" and now I can't stop laughing.