Aussie government pushing forward with tech/game price inquiry

Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy has called a parliamentary inquiry into high-tech product prices in Australia.

by

Australian Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy has announced a parliamentary inquiry into high product prices in the Australian IT and technology sector, including video games.

The Australian government is set to investigate the high game prices issue.

Conroy made the announcement today after being approached by Labor MP and federal member for Chifley Ed Husic.

Husic told parliament last month that companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Canon, and Lenovo have failed to address consumer demands and inquiries about the high cost of both hardware and software in Australia compared to other territories.

The parliamentary inquiry will focus on why Australian consumers are paying more for tech products and video games by seeking public submissions from both consumers and companies, with the aim of providing the government with possible legal options to deal with the issue.

Speaking to GameSpot AU, Husic says he welcomes Conroy's efforts to look into the high cost of tech products in Australia.

"I'm hoping companies will take this opportunity to explain their pricing in Australia," Husic said. "This will also give consumers the chance to talk about how this affects them."

Husic says he hopes companies like Microsoft and Apple will respond to consumer concerns and lower their prices rather than wait to be forced into action by the law.

"The best response to this would be companies recognising that this is what consumers want and adjust their pricing accordingly. If this enquiry finds examples of consumers being ripped off, I imagine the ACCC will become very interested."

Commissioner Ed Willett from the ACCC was questioned on the issue at the Joint Committee on the NBN last week.

"Over time, information technology will mean it will be harder and harder for particular service providers to maintain higher prices for products in Australia compared to overseas," Willett told the committee.

"I think that model that we have seen in the past in a number of services has been exacerbated by the value of the dollar, and that has made those comparisons even more stark. I think those sort of practices will be harder and harder to sustain. But certainly the commission will be pretty keen to ensure that those sort of differences are not supported by contraventions of the act."

GameSpot AU will continue to update this story.

Discussion

22 comments
SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Quick pray to let it be then a striking thought that if this works we won't notice any price reduction any time soon, All talk no action,  yawning now and moving on to more interesting news ( if applicable)

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Quick pray to let it be then a striking thought that if this works we won't notice any price reduction any time soon, all talk no action,  yawning now and moving on to more interesting news ( if applicable)

HAZCHEM88
HAZCHEM88

I'm hoping for it. But I have no confidence in our politicians when it comes to issues like this.

boags24
boags24

@JamesMilligan_5 I know right! Especially when the Australian dollar is HIGHER than the US.

Nega3
Nega3

I SERIOUSLY hope this comes into place. Australia gets the short end of the stick on everything. I buy all of my new games from the UK. I can snatch some great games up for $70 at most including shipping. I am glad we at least have THAT option.

CadillacCowboy
CadillacCowboy

Meh. Stephen Conroy is just another "notch on the post" of Australians who said they'd do something about this... In my 30 years, not one has followed-through. Wake me up when someone actually DOES something...

JamesMilligan_5
JamesMilligan_5

i know in america u can buy new release games for like US$60 and the same game here is AU$110 WHY!!!!!!

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

A majority of the games I buy are purchased though sites like ozgameshop where are can get a comparable product for $60 as oppossed to $100. I would love to buy locally, but would do so only if price competitive.

superbuuman
superbuuman

Yet we still pay a higher price for digital copies...no shop, shipping nada. What's the excuse there?...will be following this.

Lordcrabfood
Lordcrabfood

In terms of video games, if you shop around, you can get decent deals, I picked up Skyrim on the 360 from JB HiFi for $63 on launch day. I do import mainly though as I save up to 50% that way. There was a great article in Game Informer (AUS edition) that went into the prices of video games in Australia. One of the main reasons was massive rents that shops have to pay here in Australia. I think it was like $4000 a week for just a standard shop, that was at Westfield centres I think. Not 100% on the figures as it was a while ago but it was close to that amount.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

It's not just Australians getting ripped off. They're just suffering more. Take online passes for PSN games as an example. PSN's online multi-player is supposed to be free. Why should I have to pay $10 just for buying second hand? Why can't I get free themes, avatars, and soundtracks for games if I buy new instead?

Roger_Smith
Roger_Smith

It's higher price because many games are either banned outright or given an adults rating, which cripples sales. So to make up for it, they raise prices on things that reach mass market. Good on ya.

nate1222
nate1222

Damn. Aussies get pretty jipped by these greedy ass tech companies. At least in the states (I live in Seattle, WA USA -formerly Atlanta) there's the used market. From pawnshops to thrift stores to flea markets. These used hardware and software markets are especially good for older video games and earlier PC tech. I feel that every country should have the used and cheap option. Especially for older, yet still very effecient, tech. Hell, you can build your own rig and install Windows XP or Linux on it for dirt cheap with all the older components laying around. It'll be an older 1GHz CPU with 1GB RAM and an old 128MB GPU...but it's still useful for MOST PC applications and plenty of older PC games. If the crooks in the Gates Mafia (M$) don't like it...screw'em! They should constantly jip people!

TrueGB
TrueGB

We had the same issue in Canada with regards to cellphone rates. We had the highest in the world. Politicians complained and they eventually decided to open up the market to more competition (it was very limited before). Unfortunately, I don't think that solution will work for Australia's video games. You can't just knock-off popular games and sell them at a lower price.

nurnberg
nurnberg

Tremblay343 : Canada was nowhere near as bad as Australia. We used to pay more than Americans for the same stuff, and still do, but the difference is nothing compared to the ridiculous prices in Australia.

Tremblay343
Tremblay343

The same thing was happening in Canada when our dollar was above the us dollar for a bit. It used to be 10-15 cents lower but now they're pretty much equal all the time. Our games were never that expensive, but hardware most certainly was. I used to drive down to Syracuse to buy really expensive electronics or to take part in black friday. Luckily (or maybe unluckily) we've started adopting black friday up here as well. Last year was the first time I heard multiple retailers advertise for it. The one thing is Australia is pretty far away from everything and I can't imagine shipping is very cheap. I could be completely wrong though.

ShaunageAU
ShaunageAU

When I can choose to either buy a new game on the shelf for $109 or import it for $34 including shipping, something is wrong.

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

Aussies get a really raw deal. Bloated game prices AND heavily censored games on a lot of releases. I feel for you my brothers.

TatsuSuou
TatsuSuou

It's about time. US consumers complain about the $60 price point on their games but we're paying over $100 for some releases. How is this even fair when our dollar has reached parity with the US dollar?

Megawizard
Megawizard

"Husic says he hopes companies like Microsoft and Apple will respond to consumer concerns and lower their prices rather than wait to be forced into action by the law. " Oh yea, forcing them to lower their prices will definitely convince them to sell to your market and not totally pull out from it. *Edit: To all the downvoters, I'm not saying there shouldn't be a change of things, but trying to strong-arm a company that doesn't HAVE to deal with you isn't going to go in your favor.