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JB Hi-Fi now operating on the grey market

About three weeks ago, JB Hi-Fi started openly selling parallel import games in-store.

About three weeks ago, JB Hi-Fi started openly selling parallel import games in-store.

(Credit: Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

The titles, all brand new, sport prices only dreamed of by Australian shoppers — none of the titles we saw were over AU$50.

Parallel imports — that is, imports that bypass the official local distribution channels — are legal in Australia (except for books, because an informed populace is an unruly populace), but large chain stores usually shy away from open admission of the practice.

The games being sold by JB Hi-Fi will work on Australian consoles, although DLC may be unavailable. "Obviously, we won't be able to get all games," a JB Hi-Fi manager told CNET Australia. But the selection available, though small, is respectable, including Super Mario 3D Land (AU$19.98), Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (AU$19.98), the Orange Box (AU$24.98) and others, all bearing a sticker reading "JB Hi-Fi special import".

JB Hi-Fi couldn't tell us where the titles are being imported from, or whether the store intends to expand beyond games, but the small stand has been very popular since its arrival.

JB Hi-Fi follows in the footsteps of Harvey Norman, which, in December last year, announced the Harvey Norman Direct Import website; however, JB Hi-Fi's pricing is lower than Harvey Norman's, which lists Call of Duty 4 at AU$23 and Super Mario 3D Land at AU$44. Harvey Norman also adds a postage charge of AU$3.95.

How far it will go will be interesting to watch — JB Hi-Fi is one of the biggest electronics chains in Australia, if not the biggest, so we imagine local distributors will be wary of withdrawing their presence in JB Hi-Fi stores in retaliation.

Via Kotaku Australia.