Gerry Harvey: 'We've Got To Start Somewhere And Games Is A Good Place To Start'

Gerry Harvey has just announced that Harvey Norman is starting up a new website which will sell import European copies of video games at vastly reduced prices. The site is officially opening at 6pm this evening and will continue forthwith. According to Gerry himself, "if you can't beat them, join them."

"Harvey Norman is very pleased to announce, from six pm tonight, Harvey Norman will be utilising its global network, selling games direct to the consumers at fantastic global prices GST free," said Harvey Norman spokesperson Ben Mackintosh. "Consumers will be directly importing from Europe at the best prices available.

The website is called Harvey Norman Direct Import.

"The Australian gaming customer has been paying far too much for console games," he continued. "Retailers and suppliers have been keeping the prices far too high. We’re utilising our network to bring better prices to the consumer. We strongly recommend that you do not buy a game until you’ve seen our website. We will save you money on games.

"We stand by this as a great new feature in the Australian market and we’re going to rip up the prices of Australian market."

Some of you may have been able to get an early look at the site, which has currently been taken down, but starting for 6pm tonight, Australian consumers will be able to order games directly, paying $3.95 delivery per game. PC games are currently missing from the list, but will appear in the future.

"If you can’t beat them join them," said Gerry Harvey. "The number of retailers that are suffering at the moment is higher than it’s been in 20 years. Why should an off shore retailer be able to evade duty to evade GST and all the other costs that retailers have? These people don’t have any of these cost and at the moment neither does this new company.

"We’re not doing this with a great joy," he added. "We’ve held off but we can’t hold off any more."

Harvey expects that he will see a reduction in consumers buying games directly from Harvey Norman stores, because they're "miles cheaper" online, but sees this as a necessary step if his company is to compete.

"We’re not one of the big players in games," he said. "It’s always been a category in our store, but not as big as television or others. We’re a medium player in the games category. But now everyone that buys a game should buy it from Harvey Norman at this price."

According to Harvey Norman spokesperson Ben Mackintosh, the reaction of local publishers to the news is of secondary importance.

"We get thousands of emails and phonecalls complaining about the price of our games," he said. "If consumers demand something we have to respond."

Mark Langford who, as Managing Director of Gametraders, has imported stock of games in order to compete locally, claimed he was extremely surprised by the news.

"I'm absolutely amazed," he said. "I don't think it's good for publicity, I think most people will see it as a strange move, but I totally understand it. If you want to compete, you have to make these kinds of moves."

The Managing Director of GAME Paul Yardley stated that, to a certain extent, the GST issue was a "red herring" and claimed that "direct import isn’t new in this country." He did add, however, that GAME would be watching this experiment with interest.

Gerry Harvey believes that, if this move is successful, he fully expected that Harvey Norman Direct Import would sell more than just games.

"We got to start somewhere," he said. "But gaming is a big category and it’s a great place to start."

WATCH MORE: Gaming News


    You know what - you can still say that he's just doing it for money or he's still evil and whatnot. But I applaud this move. And that's strange, because it's Gerry.

    Steam! Steam doesn't solve anything

    I'm with DarthDVD.

    This is better than steam because?

      Isn't it irrelevant if it's better or worse than Steam, if they're not catering to PC gamers at this moment in time?

      Shouldn't we compare it to say OzGameShop or Play-Asia for console games?

      In response to JD and DarthDVD, Steam charges differently based on region, so for example Skyrim over Steam in Australia is $90AUD whilst it is only $60USD in USA. For just about any big publisher on Steam, the prices are marked up to match the Australian market.

    Can someone please tell this baboon that people import as the price is quite a lot lower than what GST adds on.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this were a tactical move to spark the Government to slap GST on imports - which is what Gerry has always wanted, yet would make bugger all of a difference!

    So how does region coding on imported games work? Will imported Wii and Xbox games work on Aussie consoles and what about online play? Don't some games have region servers too?

      Major games are rarely region coded. Usually the big issue is format (PAL/NTSC) when importing games.

        PAL/NTSC is not really an issue anymore. You can play an NTSC game on a PAL system, and vise vera. Its more to do with region lock and theres still quite a lot of games on xbox and wii that are locked. Its mainly the games that have a worldwide release that isn't so it stops people from importing games before the release in their country.

      Australian Xbox 360 and Wii games share the same region format as european games, so it will all work here. Sames goes for DVD's as well. PS3 games will work anywhere around the world, even if you import a game from Japan or America.

      As for playing online it will depend on the game. Some game discs have the region set to a specific country so you can only play on those servers. And I have imported Black Ops from Hong Kong and I can't download map packs here because my PSN is Australia based, I need the Australian Black Ops version to download content.

        Actuly DVD's are a different region to Europe but blu-ray's are the same.

    Sooooo Ozgameshop is still slightly cheaper and has free delivery. Sorry Harvey Norman you still don't understand how to compete.

    Europe Uses PAL screen formatt.. mainly only the USA (and little Brother Canada) uses NTSC. So that fits with australia.

    Its funny because it just a bit of Karma for Gerry, how many small businesses closed because of him opening a giant store in the same suburb......

    Walk into his store and I bet the games are still stupidly expensive.
    If they can sell a game for $60 online, GST is $6.. $66.. why do they charge $100+ in store? Where does the other $40 go?

    It's a ploy for him to look good and keep making money. Lower it in stores too and then I may applaud, until then I'll keep buying from overseas.

      I dont see him ever offering the deals you'd get on Steam. 50% off top new games like Batman Arkham City...I doubt he'd do that.

        Perhaps you should use this link instead Mike:

        Then you can see why HN still have a market.

      Some of these comments are unreal. You bang on about wanting cheap games. Harvey says ok, heres a website, you can now buy cheap games. And that is still not good enough. I don't get it."

        Because he's not doing it for the gamer, he's doing it so he can still get a cut. This is exactly what he was trying to get taxed and now suddenly he wants in?
        No, I'll continue getting cheap games elsewhere without a cent of my money going to him.

          The complaints are, even when he is dodging everything, there are still websites that do it cheaper, without complaining that online shopping is "hurting" everyone.

      I imagine GST is only part of the issue locally, the other big factor would be publishers/distributers locally. It isn't the GST that is setting the RRP of many games here at $40 or $50 more than elsewhere, nor is it the retailers.

      Unfortunately there is no single cause for our high prices and even better retailers like JB etc are still well above their US counterparts. It's kind of funny in a way, because its possible the game market will look like the book market in a few years where the book industries efforts to keep prices controlled locally has ultimately lead to many major chains shutting down locally, further fueling their own demise.

        Fair comment. Can anyone tell me who makes a profit from games because it sure isn't
        b&m retailers.

    I find it ironic. Gerry Harvey discovers cheap computer games the year my son (a typical teenager) said don't bother this Christmas - he now downloads them all.

    How pathetic - either stick to your principles or stick to your decision. Don't make a half-hearted grudging concession out of fear. It makes you look obsolete *and* gutless.

      If he sticks to the decision he had previously made he will look redundant also. Either way he's going to lose, but at least this move is better for business.

    prices look okay, stop ragging on him when they actually seem to be having a legitimate go.

    Personally I just play pc games, but having looked at the site, there are some decent prices, and being Harvey Norman, he might actually get some media coverage over it and your average consumer might realise they can buy stuff for cheap.

    If the general population starts buying imports like this then the publishers might stop treating us like chumps.

      Im keen to see how they go with pricing compared to the other sites to import from, they have a big enough name for consumer Joe to save money through, but i can see sites like oz games stepping up to the plate with advertising ect.

        Quick look shows ozgameshop as definitely cheaper.
        But given the size of HN and the name they have this could lead to Joe Public buying games on-line.
        If I was Gerry though I would have done this a week or two ago to cash in on Christmas sales.
        However, this is definitely an interesting move and might put some pressure on publishers and distributors to stop ripping us off.

    So, if we buy games off his website we wont be able to get DLC because that is region coded?

      I'd imagine it depends on the game. I've imported many games in the past and never had an issue using or obtaining DLC

        For ps3 at least you can just setup PSN accounts in the region in question. Log into that PSN account, download the DLC for your game and install. Log back into your AUS PSN (if you want to) and your all set. Although most DLC for AUS is grouped under Europe anyway, so its generally not an issue for games coming from the UK.

    Check the games cafe price search website, all the new games on the HN website are $20 more than ozgameshop/zavvi/the hutt etc. Move along people nothing to see here.

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