Hard Sell

Why are Australians paying so much for video games? GameSpot AU checks out this vexing issue in this in-depth feature.

by

When it comes to buying local, it's become very easy for angry gamers to turn their backs on the Australian market. Ask any Aussie gamer whether they think they're paying more for titles compared to other countries (particularly the US) and the answer will most probably be yes. The comparatively high prices of video games and delayed release dates in Australia has even started to push an increasing number of gamers to start importing their games from overseas. But sadly, concrete reasons as to why Australians are treated differently to the rest of the gaming world are pretty hard to come by, with game publishers and developers--for the most part--keeping quiet on the issue.

Despite the gap in solid information, the facts continue to speak for themselves: the recommended retail price (RRP) of video games in Australia continue to be significantly higher in comparison to the US and Japan, and slightly more than in Europe. A copy of Too Human on the Xbox 360-when all prices are converted to Australian dollars--is A$99.95 in Australia, compared to A$68.40 in the US, A$96.24 in the UK and A$65.71 in Japan; Fallout 3 Collector's Edition for the PlayStation 3 is A$129.95 in Australia, but only A$91.27 in the US, and A$106.92 in the UK; Saints Row 2 on the PlayStation 3 is A$109.95 in Australia, A$68.44 in the US, and A$106.92 in the UK; and finally, a copy of Super Smash Brothers Brawl for the Nintendo Wii comes to A$99.95 in Australia, while consumers are only paying A$57.02 in the US, A$85.48 in the UK, and A$71.26 in Japan.

With no other avenues left open, consumers have become restless. On one side there are the basic economic facts to consider: the high cost of doing business in Australia, profit margins, fluctuating exchange rate and our geographical isolation. The other side is less objective and more succinct: gamers are getting ripped off. In light of this, the question still remains: why are Australians paying so much for video games?

One man and a clipboard

One gamer who was determined to find an answer to this question was 34-year-old Melbournian James Dominguez. Fuelled by dissatisfaction and confusion over so many discrepancies, Dominguez decided to conduct his own research to find out what is the best way to buy games in Australia.

James Dominguez did his own price comparison of games down under.

"I wasn't aware of how wide the price difference was until I visited the US in 2003," Dominguez says. "I bought some PC games to take home. They were brand new, but were the price of Platinum titles back in Australia."

However, it wasn't until the new generation of consoles hit the market, with A$100+ RRP games, that Dominguez began to notice just how unfair the pricing model had become.

"That's when I started to investigate and collect figures. I thought it was important to do something practical, to cut through the stonewalling and platitudes from corporate marketing. I wanted the real numbers from the places that real gamers make their purchases, and the only way I was going to get those numbers was to collect them myself."

Dominguez spent a month and a half researching and collecting data, comparing prices on the top games on each of the five current-generation consoles (Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, PSP and the Xbox 360). He recorded prices from local retail stores (JB Hi-Fi, EBGames, Harvey Norman and independent Dungeon Crawl), Australian online retail (GamesWarehouse, Aussie Gamer and Chaos), Hong Kong-based online retail (Play-Asia, Yes Asia and SuperUFO), and eBay. Regular pricing, not sale pricing, was recorded for consistency and Dominguez used the cheapest postage available when calculating online prices using automatic currency exchange. "At first I was worried the shop staff might find it weird that I was wandering around jotting down prices on a sheet of paper, but I was never approached or questioned about it. Once that was done I compiled them in a spreadsheet and calculated the best and worst prices overall."

The results are baffling. On every item surveyed, Hong Kong-based online stores had the best and second-best prices, with some items at more than half the price of those in local retail shops. For example, BioShock for the Xbox 360 was, at the time the survey was compiled, A$109.95 from EBGames and just A$48.57 from Play-Asia. On average, local and online retailers had the highest prices for all consoles, with some online outlets actually more expensive than local retailers.

"We've known for a long time how poorly treated Australian gamers are in comparison to the US and Asia, and now we have the figures to prove it," Dominguez says. "I think it is empowering for disgruntled gamers to be able to say confidently that Australian RRP in many cases is double what we can pay when importing ourselves."

Australia's sparse population is one reason for higher cost for goods.

Dominguez doesn't argue the fact that, given the high cost of distribution in Australia, video games should cost more here. It is how much more that's the problem.

"The distributors state that their prices fairly reflect such factors as Australia's geographical remoteness, shipping costs, the smaller Australian market and currency exchange. But when any person with a web browser can undercut local retailers by as much as 50 per cent by shopping online, carrying the financial burden of currency exchange and international shipping themselves, all of these excuses seem to be inadequate. Somewhere along the line, someone is making a killing, and Australian shoppers are expected to pay the price."

While the Australian video game industry statistics show that consumers are still loyal to the local retailers, Dominguez thinks it won't be long before more and more gamers turn to importing if nothing is done to make prices fairer. "It disappoints me that I have to send my retail dollars overseas, but I feel forced into it," he says.

"My hope is that Aussies turning in greater numbers to imports and digital distribution will start to bite into the distributors' bottom lines, and maybe then we will finally get some results."

The money game

Getting results may be easier said than done, more so when considering the economics of distribution in the Australian market. It's no secret that some things are more expensive in Australia than in other markets, especially in the case of overseas imports. This is due to a wide range of influencing factors--namely Australia's geographical location, size and population number.

Australia has a very small population spread out over a very large area, which means it is more expensive to move a product around in comparison to the US, Japan or Europe, where the number of consumers per square kilometre is higher; it's cheaper to move more units within a smaller space than fewer units within a bigger space. In the process of distribution and sale, the price of the product in consideration increases in relation to factors such as the current exchange rate, inflation, sales tax, and the domestic costs of distributing in Australia.

The same problems apply to the release date of a product in Australia. The distribution of one product across the whole country within one day is a huge feat. It's an unfortunate fact, but there are simply not enough people in Australia to warrant the same kind of immediacy that is granted to other countries with more consumers. It's a disparity that happens across the board, with all imported goods, from cars to jeans to electronics.

Credit analyst Michael Cowley says this is common. "We may start to see other items such as furniture, white goods and other electrical [appliances] increase even further," he says. "The rising inflation rate in Asia is starting to impact their local businesses and they will start to pass that strain on. Given Australia imports such a large amount of goods from that region we may see an increase in the price at the stores very soon. The rising Australian dollar can't shield us forever unfortunately."

The Australian dollar may be growing stronger compared to other global currencies, but that hasn't pushed prices downwards.

Yet it's the Australian dollar's recent near-parity with the US dollar that's caused gamers to feel most cheated. With next-gen games selling for around the US$50 mark in the US, most Australian gamers have been waiting for video game prices to drop down to an equivalent price here. This hasn't happened. Consumers are still paying up and over A$100 for a video game in the Australian market. Cowley, an avid gamer himself, is not surprised. "If we pull back a few years, the current pricing seems about right. From the late 1990s to the early part of this decade the Australian dollar floated around 0.50-0.65 of the US dollar range."

With the current state of the Australian dollar, consumers are expecting the price of video games and other goods to reflect the shifts in the exchange rate. This is not happening, so that leaves the question: where is all the extra money going?

"The logical answer is that it's going to the bottom line profits of the company that's importing," Cowley says. "They need to make the decision to pass the savings on or boost their bottom lines. If you stop and look at Australia's own economic situation it's clear to see that the savings they're making can very easily be offset by the rising costs of doing business in Australia--rising fuel costs, rising energy costs, rising inflation and rising interest rates."

Click on the Next Page link to see the rest of the feature!

It's undeniable that basic economic factors also apply to the distribution of video games. If game publishers were to follow the fluctuating exchange rate, they'd be lowering their video game prices and increasing them back every time a new shift occurred. This would undoubtedly reflect badly with consumers.

"Doing something like this could very well jeopardise the Australian gaming market, which appears strong at the moment despite high game prices. I think there are so many other factors at play though. In the US, video games pass through fewer hands getting to store shelves compared to Australia. Everyone needs a piece of the pie and that is why we always have a higher price to begin with," says Cowley.

Other factors that influence the prices of video games in Australia are consumer habits and industry competition. For example, sport titles may increase in price during the season of that particular sport (Madden AFL, FIFA games, etc) and then lose value after the season has ended, meaning their price will go down. Games that rate poorly with consumers will have their prices cut almost immediately as an incentive for consumers to buy them.

The game trade-in system in place at some video game outlets is also doing its part to keep prices high. When a new game is bought, a percentage of money goes to publishers and a percentage goes to the store. When the same game is bought back for re-sale as a second-hand item, all the profits from the second sale go to the store (none to the publishers). Therefore, to account for these losses, publishers put a higher price on disc-based games.

Prices in different countries are dependent on local rules and regulations.

Anders Tychsen, a former Macquarie University researcher who now works at the Center for Computer Game Research at the IT University of Copenhagen in Denmark, thinks there is little variation in video game prices across the world, in spite of the organisational challenges of shipping worldwide. "The reasons why video games are sold at different times and to different prices in different regions are related to marketing issues and the laws and regulations of local countries," Tychsen says.

"Pricing is related to many factors. For a US-based company, shipping a game to Afghanistan will cost more than shipping it to Canada. If games are printed and packed in Japan, this may be the opposite. Similarly, different countries have different taxation systems."

In Denmark for example, all imported luxury goods are taxed heavily by the Danish government, which means video games are more expensive in Denmark compared to a country like Poland. There is also the average wage to consider. It is normal for a Dane or an Australian to pay more for a video game than an Afghani, whose average wage is significantly lower.

The view from the top

Talk of change is futile without the cooperation of the publishers responsible for setting video game prices. However, it may be difficult to convince them when they all seem to agree on one thing: Aussie business is booming. The Interactive Entertainment Association o Australia (IEAA) released figures compiled by independent market research group GfK Australia in July this year to show that the industry recorded sales of A$1.57 billion over the last financial year--not exactly a sinking ship. These figures are a 52.9 per cent increase on sales of video game software, consoles, peripherals and PC games from the previous year; a 55 per cent increase on sales of games software; and a 74 per cent increase in game console sales. Clearly, no matter how high video game prices have become, consumers are still paying up.

It's probably fair to say that no one will be more pleased about these figures than the Australian arms of the major publishers and distributors like Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCEA). From previous interviews given to the press, both Nintendo and Microsoft have let on that they are more than satisfied with the state of their current sales figures--unfortunately, both publishers declined to comment when approached by GameSpot AU in regards to this article. Sadly, this was also true of all the Australian publishers we contacted.

Not even the IEAA--the national body that represents all major publishers, developers and distributors of video games, software and hardware in Australia--could give an answer. Charged with looking after issues that affect the whole industry, from copyright and intellectual property to providing an interface between the members, the industry and the government, the IEAA is the intermediary between the industry and its consumers. However, the IEAA is restricted by law under the Australian Trade Practices Act, and is not allowed to discuss the pricing habits of its members.

Sony was the only publisher that rose to the challenge. We spoke to the head of SCEA, Michael Ephraim, who says that despite the rising retail costs of games, business locally is still booming.

SCEA's Michael Ephraim.

"It's hard to work out how high prices impact on sales figures, but we haven't noticed a negative change," Ephraim says. "You have to look at the overall picture--some products are cheaper in Australia, others aren't. I can only guess that hardcore gamers do probably choose to import, but this hasn't had any impact at all on our sales figures. A big segment of the market still chooses to buy games in shops for things like ease and return policies.''

One of the biggest mistakes consumers are making is comparing the Australian market to the US market, when it's not the case that all publishers are tied to the latter. For example, the SCEA is tied to the European market, meaning its transactional currency is the Euro, not the US dollar. This makes any talk of an unfair US dollar to Australian dollar comparison irrelevant when discussing the cost of video games.

"Compared to the European market, prices in Australia are quite reasonable for our games," Ephraim says. "In Australia we have to consider things like the GST, different retailer margins, freight issues, geographical location, and volume of customers when setting the prices of our games. Plus there is no consistency with the exchange rate--it's always fluctuating. Who knows, by 2009 things could have done a complete turnaround."

When it comes to games, a better price comparison would be with European markets, says SCEA head Michael Ephraim.

According to Ephraim, the real question consumers should be asking themselves is whether they're getting what they're paying for--according to the figures that's a no-brainer.

"I've watched the Australian industry grow from being worth A$55 million 15 years ago to a whopping A$1.5 billion today. It's now bigger than the music industry. So we must be doing something right here in Australia.

"All the major companies are now here in Australia, with their own branches. Looking at the big picture, I'd say Australia has been served very well."

The same can be said for release schedules. SCEA's schedules are linked to Europe's, and Ephraim says that most video game titles are released in Australia within a few days of their European counterparts.

"If a game is US developed it may come out in the US first, then it has to go to Europe, get translated, and then back to Australia. For these reasons, sometimes it may take longer for these games."

Tangled web

Despite the figures, it still seems counterintuitive to assume that more and more gamers are not jumping online to buy games when the price difference is as much as half the RRP, especially with the rise in popularity of online stores such as Play-Asia, known for its product variety and low prices. But a host of factors are making the online space as complicated and undesirable to consumers as any store, from the rigid laws that are keeping regional restrictions in place, to licensing and distribution rights.

When CNET.com.au published an article about Valve software's online gaming distribution system, Steam, in April this year, to try and find out why Steam users outside North America are faced with such high prices, Valve's response was that it was up to the game publishers to determine availability and pricing.

Valve's hardliner view was seen in November last year, when it exercised its territorial control over a few disgruntled US consumers who purchased Orange Box product keys from a Thai online retailer. The publisher had the copies of the game deactivated, defending its move by saying that its job was to make sure products authorised for use in certain territories were not distributed and used outside of those regions. So despite the innovation of online distribution, there seems to be a lot of factors that continue to prove the industry is still in its infancy, especially when dealing with the complications of a global economy.

Is the future of game distribution online?

Nic Watt, founder of Australian game developer Nnooo based in Sydney, says it will be a long time before consumers will be affected enough by high game prices to turn to the web.

"It will happen eventually. Right now, the majority of consumers don't seem to be affected. Most people simply walk into a shop and buy a game as an impulse. It's only the hardcore gamers like me that do the research to see where the prices are cheaper and are eventually appalled by the difference they see."

Former UK EA staffer Watt moved to Australia in 2006 to start Nnooo, which manufactures games for digital distribution, and has had previous success with Pop, a downloadable game for WiiWare.

"I like dealing in digital distribution because it means we can react to the exchange rate a lot better than some of the big publishers," Watt says. "It makes sense that people want to import games at a time when you can pay US$50 online instead of US$100 in a shop. When I first arrived in Australia the exchange rate wasn't as good as it is now, so games were cheaper here than in the UK. Now, they're more expensive. Publishers of course love this because they're making more money out here."

If a publisher knows that people are prepared to pay A$120 for a game--which, as we've already seen, they are--then there simply isn't any incentive to lower the price. Even in spite of the threat that comes from more and more games turning to importing, Watt says the online space isn't yet big enough to affect prices in shops. However, he's optimistic.

"The future is online, there's no doubt about it; maybe not in the short term, but definitely somewhere in the near future."

Discussion

77 comments
wazzawazza18
wazzawazza18

i only buy games online these days anyway

danieldrentin
danieldrentin

well good article GamespotAU, very interesting :) although I find it very, very hard to believe the reasons given by the companies why games are the price they are... :\ In my opinion, many Australian's are used to not arguing with tagged prices, unlike Asia, we don't haggle and argue over prices and many I think just look at 1 shop and then decide to buy it from it without actually researching the item or shopping around. Also, alot of people don't wanna stuff around, they're stressed and tired and they just want the game now and get the whole ordeal over with and thus pay premiums for the stuff. I feel it's this mentality which is why people still buy games at any price in Australia. Just my opinion though, coming from my life's experiences :) And also, it's not impossible to find great bargains in Australia, you've just got to search around (like me XD). Here are some examples; Star Ocean: Till the End of Time for PS2 from EB Games in Jan08 new year sales = $9 Daxter for PSP from EB Games in Jan08 new year sales = $20 Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II Remakes on PSP from Dick Smith in end-of-financial year sales 08 = $20 each Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII for PSP from EB Games on the release date using WebMail 15% off voucher and sweet talking the sales assistant ;D = $50 It is possible to find good priced games in Australia but you've just gotta be willing to shop around for them but I'm still with everyone else, game prices here are crazy and thus I haven't payed full RRP for a game in Aust for years. I either import them or when the publishers don't even bother releasing the games in Australia, be evil and... :|

wally2nv
wally2nv

can gamespot remake this topic or something because i want every Australian gamer to read this

wally2nv
wally2nv

ARE YOU GUYS THAT STUPID STOP PAYING FOR THESE GAMES use play aisa or ebay JUST DONT BUY GAMES FROM STORES man people are dumb these days. well im gonna convince everyone i know to stop buying from EB games and jb hi fi that way they will have to lower the prices selfish bastards

tawagivercetti
tawagivercetti

ABORT RETAIL, PRICE IS HIGH BECAUSE SUCKERS PAY THESE PRICES AND DON'T COMPLAIN. EB, GAME its all the same. GAME is the most dissapointing because they are the new comers and could of set an example price-wise. Greedy poms. To make it worse they employ people who know nothing and care little about the real gamers. Its no wonder people turn to piracy and modding in Australia.

wally2nv
wally2nv

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

wally2nv
wally2nv

wait a minute the reason the prices are so high is because we are paying for them.........LOL ps: this has been hapening for ages why is gamespot doing this artical now have they just found out? because if they did GS has a lot to learn

Jolly_Lama
Jolly_Lama

I can't really see how the vast population of Australia would increase the prices that much.. I mean yeah you'd expect it to go up because of transportation and what not but Australia's popultion is concentrated mainly to cities on the coast.

AntAstrophY
AntAstrophY

Steam in my opinion has proven to be a worthy substitute to store bought box copies. Although it doesn't make alot of new release titles available us in AUS it does offer alot of other content that offer just as much fun for a fraction of a price.

chris_yz80
chris_yz80

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

chris_yz80
chris_yz80

Shipping is such a joke, my dad owns his own business in rural vic right on the border roughly 3 hours away from melbourne shipping isnt that large of a factor, yes there are costs but there quite reasonable becuase they ship to multiple retailers with the same truck at once. But when you are dealing with such large numbers its should be relatively small. Its just money hungry publishers and retailers undercutting there service and maximising profits.

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Wuflungdung
Wuflungdung

mate its really not, check your facts before making yourself look stupid.

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

Efbee said "The actual game discs for Playstation and Xbox are made here in Sydney! This crap about shipping costs to Australia is bullsh!t Sony games are made at Huntingwood and xbox are now made at Chester Hill (I know because I have been to both factories)." The "freight" excuse is rather amusing I think, considering petrol is actually cheaper per litre here than in the US...but for some reason it costs more to get the games around Australia than America? Excuses, excuses.

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

Did anyone else find Ephraim's comments insulting? He just comes with lame excuses and "well we must be doing something right [because we're making sooo much more money than we used to!]".

Wuflungdung
Wuflungdung

I love how they always chuck in the GST as an excuse, The Fact is its only 10% there is no other tax on the items. You look at Europe the taxes Range from 12% opto 22%. The crap about us being tied to the European market some comparativly we are getting a good deal is bullsh*t. It just shows Europe is being ripped off to. Consider you pay from 50 - 70 euros, which is about $80 - $110 Australian, while the Euro is worth more than the American Dollar, and they have a huge market, just shows how we in the Old Pal region just the short end of the stick like usuall.

jaredrichards3
jaredrichards3

get your games from "play asia" online. I have been sick of being ripped off for years thats why i only buy games on sale or from places like big w when they have a special sale price on a new game. it's just about being a smart shopper. places like EB games are for people that are lazy to shop around.

Spyder25000
Spyder25000

Importing is a good way to go. I went into EBgames and asked for a game, he says they dont have it and wont get it. So i go online and within 10 seconds i find it. I manged to get a price of what it was going to be in EBgames 100.00 and i got it online for 60.00 + 5.00 postage. I plan to import most my game. Importing is better because -You can get banned games -Get uncensored games [gtaiv] -much cheaper Downloading with steam is the worst idea if you computer blows up you cant get it back, you forget your steam password. If you going to buy from a store dont buy EBgames, go to JB its cheaper

Duncan_aus
Duncan_aus

@ anths1717 @ poopiVONpoo Thanks for the replies to my post it does use a lot of your cap so steam is not for everyone as far as having a hard copy you can back up the game files so u don`t have to download them again, patches are a little dicey they do come through and they do work but you can expect to sometimes wait 24 -48 hours you can download the manuals and back all up to dvd disk if u like. its not a perfect solution and i agree with Timedbest Posted Sep 3, 2008 3:48 am GMT "any way that I can get cheaper games I'm going to take." Screw EB I go and browse there i wouldn't buy there until they hit the bargain bin these days

bendall01
bendall01

we should invest in local talent. local game companies....that are good and make great games. Other than cricket/football games *rolls eyes*

punkologist
punkologist

I bought tiger woods 09 for A$79 from jb hi-fi thursday (release date). I just checked and it is A$77 on play-asia before shipping so I did alright there. Seems the EA sports titles are ok priced compared with the US. I did but a dual shock 3 controller a few months back, well before they were available here and that was half the price.

forevernemesis
forevernemesis

Interesting but I already knew we got ripped off. You can't persuade a company to bring down prices, they're only interested in filling their pockets and emptying ours.

forevernemesis
forevernemesis

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

benboz
benboz

I don't like paying full RRP on games here in Australia and I do agree to this article that our games should be sold less like US prices. When games come out, I just wait until they are dropped down in price because it too expensive to pay something like a $100 game which is stupid. I would rather import from other countries.

maxgil2
maxgil2

I will be importing soon also..not only because of the BS price but also for the stupid censoring Aust seems to have.

Payback7
Payback7

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Payback7
Payback7

I for one am importing more and more games as I'm sick of paying top dollar for games I can purchase online for half the price - and you don't have to deal with sales people that blatantly lie to you cause they don't know answers to simple questions "Do you have CS Source?" "Oh they stopped making that a while ago" "Really? that doesn't sound right?" "Sorry mate - them the breaks" I go to the store THE NEXT WEEK! and what do they have on the shelf? - CS Source! They also said the same thing about a pink DS I was trying to get for my sis. "Oh they've discontinued that colour" The next week there were pink DSes all around the stores. Anyway, enough WAAA from me. Bad salesmen/women and stupid prices have destroyed my faith in the Australian gaming scene. Imports all the way for me! ROLL ON FALLOUT 3!!

efbee
efbee

Your research is good but lacking. The actual game discs for Playstation and Xbox are made here in Sydney! This crap about shipping costs to Australia is bullsh!t Sony games are made at Huntingwood and xbox are now made at Chester Hill (I know because I have been to both factories). Fair enough we have a small population so less games are made but the price is too steep and has been for a long time, but now that the games are made here in Sydney they should be reduced, but these companies want to keep their huge margins and make big profits off the gamers

forhekset
forhekset

Our prices suck compared to the US because, in case you havn't noticed, the US dollar is in horrible shape. Sure it's good for us to buy from there, for now, but this is quite a recent thing. I remember when it was .60 cents to the dollar. Also we've been paying approximately $100 for games since before even the PlayStation one... so nothing has ever changed! Back when the US dollar was fine our prices would be totally equal, give or take $10. If you're too young to remember that then you should shut up and leave this to the grown ups. I'm not even going to read this article because it's obviously ignorant of these facts.

ratcliffe25
ratcliffe25

This is old news and a pathetic attempt to try and provide reasons for it. Plain and simple we get ripped not just on games, on everything you can imagine. I lived in the US for 8 years and on just about anything you can think of we get screwed. How can australian products be shipped to the US and sold for 4 times less (yes after exchange rates). Must be very expensive to ship to Melbourne or Sydney then as apposed to half way round the world. Electrical, food, clothing, phone plans, games etc etc the difference in price is so ridiculous it goes well beyond population size and all the other bogus reasons they would have people beleive. Harvey Norman has the rights to sell Monster Cables in australia and look what they sell them for, hundreds of dollars more than what you can get in US. Even warranty in australia is a joke. Most of the time you have to pay for the priviledge to have an item checked and then you will be told if it will be replaced and in the mean time you won't be provided with a replacement item. Try that in the US for 5 seconds and see how it flies. How big companies like Sony can provide a level of service for a lower price in one country and then provide virtually no service at a much higher price only makes it worse. It just proves how unethical they are and that australia undeniably gets bent over by companies on everything. And yet people will argue against piracy. When I was in the US I wouldn't even consider it but in Australia you definetly have a good reason to consider. While buying overseas helps my pocket I don't know if it will really change anything here dependent on who exactly is setting the price. Often the last guy in the chain is just passing on costs while the main players still get their money no matter where you buy. A consumer in australia might as well be in a turkish prison, at least that way you probably know why you are being treated that way.

hyperwired
hyperwired

I sent an email to EB about this: I found this article about how a lot of Australian gamers are starting to import their games because it is cheaper, and I think it would be of GREAT interest to your upper management to read through some of the comments: http://au.gamespot.com/features/6196976/index.html?tag=topslot;img;1 I think that you should start to rethink your pricing strategy because the web is becoming more ubiquitous, the gaming market is becoming bigger, but this market is moving closer and closer to a free market situation, which means more potential loss for EB and for its (now lost) customers. Most people tend to agree that they would prefer to buy from local retailers, but the ridiculously high prices force us not to. ---- and here is the response: ---- Thanks for your email however in Australia the base cost price of a product is determined by the Vendor of the product; in almost all cases these Vendors report back to a parent company, usually based in the US, Europe or Japan. Theses parent companies in most cases further set country pricing structures. This is out of EB Games control and in a lot of cases out of the Australian Vendors control as well. EB Games recommends contacting the Australian vendor of the product in question for further clarification.

Timedbest
Timedbest

Blah, any way that I can get cheaper games I'm going to take. I'm not what you might call rich. I use Play Asia regularly and frequent CDwow (Which I still think is an underrated site btw) I use CDwow's UK site (when I'm in Aus) and it's cheaper through the exchange, plus they have free shipping. They ship from HK so there's not much of a wait either. Meh, in any case online is the way to go.

Rover83
Rover83

sw_and_wet I should've clarified. Australia has one of the fastest *consumer* uptake rates of technology in Australia. I know we got the iPhone last out of a lot of countries, but I bet that more people per head of population already own it ahead of China, the States and Britain. Same goes for big screen TVs, computing and electronic entertainment. Once the technology arrives on our shores (usually after everywhere else), we snap it up quicker than most other countries in the world. We buy it newer, we buy it more expensive, and we buy all the accessories too. This extends to the gaming industry, and unfortunately that sort of demand means higher prices. But yes, we definitely get the technology pretty late compared to everywhere else. Don't even get me started on broadband!!! :)

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

Been importing since '07 and lovin' it.

sw_and_wet
sw_and_wet

@Stryker521 True, absolutly agree with you. @TuramberGS That's why i hate EB Games!!!!! Just HATE them!! But I do like to shop around at EB games or JB HI FI, coz I can go in take a look at games that "recently" released in Australia and check out some "sweet deals", then walk out with a delighted mood, thinking: Huh, I've already finished playing that game months ago, and I got a cheaper price too~, Oh wait, have I got all the achievements too?? Sure I did~!"

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

Yep... so glad I finally discovered Play Asia - saves SO much money - at a tiny increase in time and it's also uncensored (yet another stupid purely Australian issue). It's what I'll be doing for Fallout 3, assuming the versions are compatible. But to be fair, the strength of the Aussie dollar in recent times has meant that the US figures seem ridiculously cheap, when two years ago, it would have worked out about the same cos our currency was very weak. Also, the currency has been gaining against the $US but not against the Euro (the $US has been relatively weak over the past half decade), which also explains that discrepancy. Having said all that, I still believe we're paying too much for games in domestic currency anyway - I don't think EB can possibly justify $120 for a new game when there's a half priced option in Play Asia. I guess at the end of the day, they're there to be a giant "buy from me" type of store with a large store front (so to speak), plenty of advertising, etc., so as to capture the mum and dad buyers, the holidays trade and anyone else who doesn't know to look elsewhere.

Asheroo
Asheroo

I am so pissed off at how much I have to pay for just one game. That is why I made a petition for it at www.gopetition.com.au, feel free to sign it if you want an make a comment. B)

sdauz
sdauz

like we aussie gamers dont know this already, i havent bought a new game in close to a year - hoping to break this drought when GOW2 comes out lol

Stryker521
Stryker521

It's simple sw_and_wet. Profit and market share and tapping population sizes matter more than service to coporations. 1.3 billion > than 20 million anyday if you do the math LOL And us having slow internet is also due to that. Country's the size of America but only 20 mil vs 300 mil population. Population is spread out so thinly and various systems and methods are needed and this bring in the whole rural vs urban argument. And ofcourse, which ever government tool which allowed Telstra to build and own 97% of the country's coms network so they can resort to thuggery and cheating virtually without competition plays a BIG part. Government won't help, people can whine but won't take action the way Americans would. So, ofcourse, nothing will change. If gamers go Cronulla on Canberra I think we might be able to make a headstart lol Even then, again, distance & cost is a huge factor. Lets face it, we're doomed coz we live on this continent, plain and simple. Geographical disadvantage, big time! Add 300 ping to that as well! Also, quite frankly, gaming is viewed rather negatively in the community compared to Europe, America & Japan where it's as much a part of life as a PC or living room entertainment systems are.

rockatanski
rockatanski

Guys, it is really really simple. Stop buying games from EB Games, Games Wizards and JB Hi Fi. We are and allways have been shat on by these businesses. You all know now that Play Asia is the way to go online. Uncensored, cheaper and to your doorstep within a week. Australia is a deathtrap to the games and movie lovers. Don't fall for it because frankly right now, it is phenominally ridicoulos in what we are putting up with.

sw_and_wet
sw_and_wet

I really don't think Australia has one of fastest uptake rates of new technology, for instance: iPhone, as a developed country, Australia is almost the last to get it, even China got it earlier than Australia....and China is still considered as a developing country.... Broadband is another good example, internet speed considered as fast here is only about 512K/s, in Japan, 2Mb/s. in HK? some companies now even provide 10Mb/s despite the price. For a gamer, it simply means you can play online games without lagging like hell, say CoD4, if you join US/China server with a above average internet speed here, you are very likely to get a red dot or sometime yellow if you are lucky. So fastest? I beg to differ. But I do agree with the supply and demand you mentioned, it is crazy that there are still people actually go and pay $100+ to buy a game that can purchase for half price. They are either too rich or simply stupid.

Rover83
Rover83

Here's some theory for you: Supply and Demand. Games cost $100+ because people still buy them at that price. Australia has one of the fastest uptake rates of new technology in the world, and this spreads to electronic entertainment. A business has one objective and one objective only. Make money. If a business can charge that much and still move the product, then they will. Fools and their money are easily parted. Here's how to get around it. Buy online. If enough people buy online to reduce demand at 'local' outlets, then the local ones will have to drop price. And don't feel too bad about sending your money overseas. Places like EB Games are multi-national corporations anyway, so the profit still ends up in the states. Vote with your feet (fingers). Buy online.

monkeyd_93
monkeyd_93

i think australia is now seriously behind the rest of the developed world in everything, internet not as flash, games are ridiculous and no R18+ game rating whats next? Sooner or later the whole game market will be about importing so microsoft and nintendo better get rid of region locks otherwise sales will slump. Like EA for example, $120 for rock band game disc, and about $280 for one mic, one guitar and a drum set here in Aus, but you could import a ps3 copy for maybe less than the disc itself. I really think we need to have a consumer watchdog on enterainment, its just out of control now

-CheeseEater-
-CheeseEater-

Te Pricing in the land down under is truly insane. Such inflated prices, for little or no reasoning behind the RRP. I just continue to import, if the Australian Gaming market doesn't appreciate my Australian dollar, then so be it.

jivemaster
jivemaster

Each game sold after you take into account currency conversion should only cost an extra $10 for the greater shipping cost. No more. The manufacture cost, profit and base shipping are already factored into the original US price - they only need to take a little more to pay for the "burden" of shipping things here. If it only costs ~$10 to ship a game here individually in a padded envelope, boxes or shipping crates of them would be half that, due to the bulk shipment discount. None of this remote area bullcrap - they have no excuse. I am lucky I have made use of online stores since a long time ago, and nothing gives me more pleasure than walking into an EB store, touching their things, having the sales person hump your leg for a sale and then leaving empty handed stating "I can get it cheaper from DVDcrave or Play-asia". The only good thing local game retailers are for are the "must have" new releases I must have right now (although I usually get them for $30 cheaper online), or the occasional bargain or clearance sale, and even then it only brings prices down to compare with online/overseas retailers. Australian retailers can kiss my arse. And I'm sorry but you can't say that games are sold at a higher price due to the second-hand market. That is just bullocks. Game companies have gone on about that for years, and the facts are: if you sell your game new to some dude who then decides he's had enough with it and sells it on to the next - it's still *one* sale - one physical disc. And it's a sale they wouldn't have made as people who buy second hand rarely buy new (I know many people like this), and people who buy new and sell their games on consciously think about selling it on when they make the initial purchase, knowing they can make some money back on it.

ptysau
ptysau

Just got back into gaming after a long hiatus and reading the article I think it was due to Pricing! The Xbox 360 has only just come down to a price which I feel is worthy of my hard earned dollars, but even then I was very suspect about pricing... $119.95 for Assassin Creed? Luckily I discovered Play-Asia and have just ordered if for $48.95AU delivered from Hong Kong. Only time will tell if if all works out but I'll continue to buy more games at that price. If my only option was $119.00 I just think I wouldn't bother...

aaronobst
aaronobst

Australian games prices are just a whole load of suck. All the issues with prices, OFLC , banning etc. makes you wonder if the Australian Government doesn't want us to possess the freedom to play games

anths1717
anths1717

@Duncan_aus: Yeah I see what you mean about Steam. It's crazy, COD4 is $88.50 (as of now) on Steam, and it's a soft copy too. You don't get any CD, manual or box for security. Here's some comparison, a la the above article: Non-Game Of The Year (GOTY), PC Editions (unless otherwise stated): EB Games (Online) - $99.95 JB Hi-fi (Online) - $87.99 eBay (Best B.I.N Price inc. ship, new) Australia - $95.90 Play-asia.com - (Non-GOTY, inc. ship, new) - $46.00 (GOTY, inc. ship, new) - $70.00 Crazy? Yes. Affordable? No. And don't even check the PS3/Xbox360 editions from Australia. Add GOTY editions to the previous and you got one expensive game! Just go international I say ...

ddt88
ddt88

We're shafted with everything. From electronics to food. It's getting so bad, that I'm seriously considering a move to another country. You can sugar coat things anyway you like. It's business & there's money to be made. So we have to pay too much for everything. Politicians smoke pole when it comes to protecting the consumer.

bean-with-bacon
bean-with-bacon

It’s this technologically backwards country and the whole perception of games in general, the gaming industry makes a killing, more then the music and movie industry but you hardly even know it’s there, just the occasional add and a small store at the back of the shopping centre, Australians do not know how to make their voices heard, they are used to just sitting back and accepting crap like they always have. The national broadband network is another example, our Internet services are simply disgusting, I only just got off dialup for a barely adequate wireless with a 3gb limit that is constantly cutting out, my only option, so much for digital distribution eh? Add to that a completely incompetent and technologically ignorant government who are content to sit back and watch the rest of the world shoot forward while we remain in a rut that is just going to get deeper and deeper. Sorry for the rant but I’m just sick to death of constantly getting shat on, australians need to get off their asses, stop accepting things because well that’s just the way things are and tell the government we want things to change.