Rumour: Is JB Hi-Fi About to Go Digital For Games?
Here’s one of the more interesting tidbits being whispered about on the old internet this week, apparently JB Hi-Fi is considering selling games digitally though it’s new streaming service JB Hi-Fi NOW.
Originally described as “an integrated experience across a range of digital content including music, movies, games, books and music videos” in their annual report which was released recently, JB Hi-Fi NOW sounded like any other retail jargon system for “buy our stuff online”. After all, if we’re talking about movies, music and books here – these are all freely available from a wide number of online sources already, from iTunes to Amazon.
For games however, the market is a bit more restricted. While a few of the bigger games companies like Blizzard Entertainment might sell their games digitally through their own websites, the majority of titles sold digitally these days are purchased through large distribution systems like Steam and Origin.
Even big games companies like EB Games have shockingly backward purchasing systems, lacking digital game keys entirely and requiring delivery for a large majority of products.
This, in part, is behind the decline in business in the physical games industry as a whole, as well as the shift to online purchasing from other countries in order to avoid the digital price hike which Australia suffers for seemingly no reason (resulting in not only games being overpriced, but even office software like Photoshop ).
Anyway what I’m getting at is that if JB Hi-Fi decides to invest in an online games distribution network, it could be the first sign of games distributers within Australia fighting back against the market shift which has forced multiple retailers out of business already – most famously, GAME going out of business early last year.
Still this is only rumour at the moment so there is no way to know for sure exactly how they are going to play this – I could be getting all excited for them to unveil a few demos or deluxe editions of Spider Solitaire on sale next to the top ten hits of the 90’s.
Still I’d like to think that at least one games retailer here in Australia has the foresight to try and buck the curve of game sales sliding further and further away from home by competing in the digital market – if it worked out, it could revitalise the whole games retail industry here in Australia, which could only result in bigger and better games for the rest of us to enjoy.