Australian Govt. calls for public submissions into tech pricing gap

Inquiry into price differentiation in tech and games market in Australia is now calling for public submissions.

The Australian government inquiry into high game and tech prices in Australia is now calling for public submissions.

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

The inquiry was announced last month by Australian Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy. It 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.

The inquiry will be conducted by the House of Representatives' Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications and will be chaired by Nick Champion.

"Australians are often forced to pay more for IT hardware and software than consumers in overseas markets," Champion said in a statement today. "The Committee's inquiry aims to determine the extent of these IT price differences and examine the possibility of limiting their impact on Australian consumers, businesses and governments."

The Committee will look into the cost of IT hardware and software, including games and consoles, downloaded music, e-books, and professional software to determine whether a difference in prices exists between products sold in Australia, over the Internet, or in retail outlets, as compared to markets in the US, UK, and Asia-Pacific.

The inquiry will seek to establish what those differences are, why they exist, the impact on Australian businesses and consumers, and actions to help address the differences that disadvantage Australian consumers.

"The fact that video games are mentioned in the terms of reference indicates that the Australian government has listened to concerns from the Australian public, regarding the high cost of games in this market," Labor MP and federal member for Chifley Ed Husic told GameSpot AU.

Husic was responsible for bringing the issue to parliament, writing a letter to Conroy, in March this year, to ask for a parliamentary inquiry into high game and tech prices in Australia.

Any interested individuals or businesses are invited to submit to the committee, addressing one or more of these concerns. The deadline for submissions is Friday, July 6, 2012.

Details and submission guidelines can be found here.

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Discussion

87 comments
blutosan
blutosan

I wonder why an inquiry is needed.  The reason for high prices is probably obvious to most people in the distribution chain.  Just do a quick survey of that group and you'll get your answer.  

famekiller
famekiller

ABOUT TIME!!  Most new releases in Australia cost us gamers between $80-$110.  I personally think we are getting ripped off big time and I don't support the local market anymore. I import all my games from the UK. Most new releases cost me $40 and older games $20. A huge difference. Why should i line someone else's pockets full of hard earned cash. Drop your prices over-charging games stores and i 'll support you. If not, FU!

ghoward79
ghoward79

they should be more concerned with their bloated expensive labor unions - oh and their severe attacks on freedom of expression in that country.

ghoward79
ghoward79

less regulation, more competition will help with the prices lowering

ghoward79
ghoward79

let the free market decide prices, demand / supply are much fairer than anything the government can devise.

Hector_01
Hector_01

Its good to see that something may be done in terms of prices for this kind of stuff.  Australian prices are crazy compared to overseas.  Serioulsy guys, anyone in Australia who is into games, go on ebay.  Simple as that.  You WILL save heaps on games especially pc games.  On average i can get the same game for half the price you would pay in a retail store in Australia.  One amazing example i have is when Bioshock 2 first came out.  I ordered it from a ebay game store for pc which was located in England.  First day it came out i purchased it for 50 bucks.  Yes i had to wait a week and a half but big deal.  My mate purchased it from a certain retail in Australia and paid 90 bucks.  Then i told him and i could tell he wasnt happy lol. Anyway my point of this little rant lol is buy games on ebay cause you will save lots of money.  Its just crazy how cheap it is. Hope this helps guys cause gaming rocks lol.

Getbacktogaming
Getbacktogaming

...and here I was thinking 60 $ was a lot of money to pay for a videogame...

2x4b96123
2x4b96123

To anyone saying 'shipping'

1. Consumers can ship individual products themselves and STILL often have products for as little as half (or less) the price they would have gotten in Australia

2. Australia has its own disc-copy production facilities anyway (for games).

3. With the strength of our dollar, these products that ARE imported should be cheaper than ever. They are not. Well, unless you import them yourself.

 

price changes have been reflected in other imported commodities. Why not consumer electronics/software?

gsmull
gsmull

On the serious side, this reeks of retailers using metrics to establish price points. The core concept to understand here is WTP or willingness to pay. The main variable the effects this calculation is an estimate of the wealth of the buyer(s). Evidently the retailers all made the same calculations, which is the concerning part or should be for the government. This smells like there may be a trust between the retailers of this market that needs busting or this is an amazing coincidence.  Perhaps all of them hired the same firm to crunch their numbers, or maybe there is only one accountant in Australia capable of crunching them and they had no choice.   

gsmull
gsmull

Could it be that the cost of shipping raises the prices?

nyran125
nyran125

its true, we are charged STUPID prices. Liek the avg wage in NZ is like $400-$600P/W, games cost like $100-$120 thats a massive chunk of someones wages in that week. Considering rent is about $150-$400p/w too lol. Its insane

Sythion
Sythion

Australians and New Zealanders have to pay more due to their proximity to Mordor.

ps2fatboy
ps2fatboy

ebay is my friend and ausgamez which is uk based way cheaper to buy overseas

TBoneTony
TBoneTony

Here is my solution.

 

Give the responsibility of game classification to an independant body that has got no political control from the government, therefore the cost of classifying games would not be as high.

 

Then allow the game retailers to float the game prices to the american dollar and be upgraded every 6 to 12 months, so therefore if the Australian Dollar is like 80 US cents, then the game prices for new stock would change accordingly at retail value.

 

ragnar320
ragnar320

well good for australia more power to you guys

jwsoul
jwsoul

Wow never realised quite how bad this is! That guy pointing out the differences in prices regarding an expansion being 12.99 here in the UK compared to almost 50 Quid else where! ..... Bad 

Callista08
Callista08

Perhaps if the Australian rating board and such weren't so picky on things it wouldn't cost as much to bring certain products to that area. I can't think of a country with worse approval processes. I hear more things banned their than anywhere else.

grand17
grand17

In canada, we generally pay more for everything then our american neighbours. Everything from cars to magazines. Surprisingly tho, video games and game systems are the same price to the penny. Uh oh, maybe it was a secret...

PDR60
PDR60

Of course everyone here is correct. When a product is priced for digital download it should be at a set price and then at the exchange rate. So if the Australian market is in parity with the US, the price should be the same. The price gouging needs to stop. Digital is digital  whether its to the US customer or the Foreign customer.   Good luck however, trying to get it fixed properly. The game gougers won't give up the easy money without a fight.

TrueGB
TrueGB

Not really that confusing. Once retailers find a price point customers are willing to pay, they will fight tooth and nail to maintain that price point.

macca366
macca366

Wow! Finally! Most gamers in Australia (And New Zealand, not sure about others) are smart enough to import and find boutique retailers that do good deals now, but I used to be in awe over staring at a shelf of new games at EB Games all $100-120AU, when games in the US are $60US, and our dollar was and is either the same or a little stronger. I'm surprised in a nice way about this

HELL1ZH3RE
HELL1ZH3RE

Here in South Africa we're pretty much behind on every front with our incompetent government but at least games are cheap and file sharing completely ignored. 

ipggi
ipggi

The PC expansion for Civilization Gods of Kings due out in a month has the following recommended pricing.US: $29.99Euro: 29,95€ or about $37.60 USD

UK: £12.99 or about $20.35 USD

AU: $49.95 or about $48 USD

 

Now what I find absurd is why is the product is cheaper in the Euro zone by about 25% where the game needs to be translated and voiced acted into Spanish, French, Italian, German and where there is generally at near 20% Value Added Tax! The boxed product we will receive will be from the same stock as either the UK or the USA but we will be paying 1.5 to 2.5 times as much.

Shad0wst3p
Shad0wst3p

Stop complaining in New Zealand we pay 100-130+ and you don't hear any of us moaning about it so get over yourself Australia you are not the only country in the world.

famekiller
famekiller

 @ghoward79 people are free to speak their mind in Australia. I think you have us confused with Iran or North Korea.

neuroboy
neuroboy

 @ghoward79 I think you find that the opposite usually applies. Well it certainly has in the UK, where (for example) public transport costs have skyrocketed since privatisation and deregulation, even though the private companies running them get more in taxpayer subsidy than the nationalised industries ever did (and that's with inflation adjusted figures). The same has happened with utilities, is happening with the health service and other public services now run by corporations, and will happen with education. Don't believe the fallacy of deregulation - it's a capitalist myth and leads to much abuse - just look at what the banking industry has achieved since deregulation.

famekiller
famekiller

 @gsmull I get all my games from the UK with FREE shipping so that argument is irrelevant. They try to blame shipping all the time.

TeoneSofle
TeoneSofle

 @gsmullNo. Let's say for e.g. a game from Japan is shipped to Australia and the USA. Trade tariffs and trade agreements put Australia and the USA on equal footing in terms of the price that is paid by the retailer in obtaining that game. However, it's where the retailer offloads that game to us (consumers) that has the government concerned. As an economic/business analyst, I'd say it's due to the lack of electronic goods stores. As long as these small number of stores keep the status quo - i.e. keep the prices at a certain amount - they won't have to worry about competing for our dollar. In the US, there's approximately 60-70 different stores, all competing with each other. In Australia, it's probably a single digit number.

Getbacktogaming
Getbacktogaming

@grand17 True for most things but not XBL points (damn microsoft) we get 1400 MSP for 20 CAD vs 1600 MSP for 20 USD...

TeoneSofle
TeoneSofle

 @Shad0wst3p I think the rest of the world thinks you're part of Australia...hahaha! You & Tasmania can have a fight-off to see who gets to become part of Australia.

famekiller
famekiller

 @Shad0wst3p baaaa baaaaa baaaaa babaaaa.   Hey Shadow, get of the net....your girlfriend is lonely.   

macca366
macca366

 @Shad0wst3p Staying silent about being ripped off or financially abused isn't really something to be proud of

Deathnotefan8
Deathnotefan8

 @Shad0wst3p lol you're only saying that  because you guys are too lazy to complain to make games cheaper, well have fun being ripped off.

xiiraveniix
xiiraveniix

 @Shad0wst3p Maybe you should complain about it because you're getting ripped off. Or better yet, buy from ebay. Much cheaper.

Propagandawar23
Propagandawar23

 @TeoneSofle

 Most of us Americans don't feel that way at all. We tend to think we give the rest of the world to much aid and that we are viewed as evil. Oh and it's safe to say we like American Football more than Nascar. My personal preference is any type of fighting however.

Propagandawar23
Propagandawar23

 @TeoneSofle

 Most of us Americans don't feel that way at all. We tend to think we give the rest of the world to much aid and that we are viewed as evil. Oh and it's safe to say we like American Football more than Nascar.

c0kemusheen
c0kemusheen

 @TeoneSofle What an ignorant and xenophobic generalization. I'm sure you're real proud of yourself, you fvcking fool

c0kemusheen
c0kemusheen

 @TeoneSofle Oh my God gamestop! This xenophobic hateful drivel gets upvoted. Shameful.....

Jake518
Jake518

 @famekiller I think he was referring to the fact that the Australian government bans certain games or has them censored. I don't think he doubts that Australians have the right to protest.

Jake518
Jake518

 @neuroboy You shouldn't knock down capitalism as capitalism is what made the games you enjoy so much.

famekiller
famekiller

 @TeoneSofle I agree and we have a heaps smaller population which probably ads to the bottom line sales as well. 

Andrak_Vol
Andrak_Vol

 @TeoneSofle funny fact:Tasmania is part of Australia.(SUMMARY)Also.. under early Australian Law NZ may join the Australian federation at any-time, but have thus far decided not to for financial reasons.The NZ dollar was weaker last I checked would this account for any price difference? 

Jake518
Jake518

 @TeoneSofle Maybe you should get your hear of your "behind".  Your comments are xenophobic. You don't think xenophobia exists in Australia? The Herd do a pretty good job of exposing that in their lyrics. You're just as ignorant as KKK member.

Propagandawar23
Propagandawar23

 @TeoneSofle

 You really need to come here before you can make that statement beings we are pretty much a nation of color and tolerance. Yes we have to tolerate racial orginizations. Just so happens in America we have them for every "race" has them it's not just the KKK.

Scarab83
Scarab83

 @TeoneSofle You're lumping an entire nation of people together, simply because of a few fringe groups that you've heard about. I'm sure I could do that about every country in the world, but I'm not a bigot.

TeoneSofle
TeoneSofle

 @c0kemusheen Get your head out of your ass! I state my disgust which is aimed at the ignorance many Americans have of the world surrounding them. Don't use the word 'xeno'phobic'...my comments were not of a hatred nature; I was simply stating a point. Americans are by far the most xeno'phobic with your KKK, white supremacy groups & general hatred towards foreigners & your own African American people, which the rest of the world is clearly aware of. You are the capital nation of xeno'phboia.

TeoneSofle
TeoneSofle

 @Andrak_Vol Yes, I'm know Tasmania is part of Australia. Australians - especially stand-up comedians - like to poke fun at Tasmania because it's a cold, damp & boring place, & because it's separated we joke around that it's not really part of Australia. However I didn't know that thing about New Zealand...if they did join us, imagine how good our sporting teams would be AND we'd get the All Blacks!