Oz Industry Insights: Game Prices

In August, 2008 GameSpot AU asked why Aussies pay more for games. Three years on, local gamers are still asking the same question.

In August, 2008 GameSpot AU asked why Aussies pay more for games. Three years on, local gamers are still asking the same question. Despite the well-positioned Australian dollar, video game prices Down Under continue to remain high compared to other countries, leading more and more consumers to import games from overseas online distributors. With Nintendo’s 3DS about to launch in Australia--and with it an influx of new software--the time has come to re-visit the issue of game prices and find out why nothing has been done to bring the Australian market on par with the rest of the world.

With the Australian dollar sitting somewhere between 90 to 100 US cents for the past few years, a A$100 price tag for a video game is hard to swallow, particularly when compared to other countries. At the time of writing (14/02/11) the Australian dollar is 1:1 with the US dollar, 62 cents with the British pound, and 83.4 Japanese Yen. Conducting a quick comparison of game prices across the three regions in Australian dollars is enough evidence to show Aussie gamers are being hard done by: a pre-order for Rockstar’s LA Noire for the PlayStation 3 is A$108 on Aussie retailer EB’s online store, A$60 at US retailer GameStop’s online store, A$64 at UK retailer GAME’s online store, and A$65 from Asian online retailer Play-Asia (all conversions match the correlating markets on the day of writing, 14/02/110). The trend continues: Call of Duty: Blacks Ops is $A108 in Australia, A$50 in the US, A$64 in the UK, and A$50 on Play-Asia; Halo: Reach is A$118 in Australia, A$60 in the US, A$56 in the UK, and A$58 on Play-Asia. Handheld console software doesn’t fare any better Down Under: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, one of the 3DS’s launch titles, is available for pre-order for A$78 in Australia, A$40 in the US, A$56 in the UK, and A$60 on Play-Asia.

Changes in both the Australian games development industry and the local consumer market indicate that Australian game sales are slipping. With the impact of the global financial crisis (GFC) still being felt across the games industry worldwide, what will this mean for the future of the local market? Are high game prices a cause for concern, or simply a by-product of living Down Under?

LA Noire costs just under 50 percent more in the US than in Australia.

In February 2011, the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) released its annual report into the Australian game industry consumer market, aided by research group GfK Retail and Technology Australia. The figures show the Australian games industry fell by 16 percent in 2010, recording total revenue of approximately A$1.7 billion. Console games were also down by 13 percent, with 16.9 million units sold in 2010 compared to 19.3 million units sold in 2009. (The research data included hardware, gaming peripherals, and boxed software sales registered through retail outlets, but it did not include revenue from online retail sales, downloadable content, online games subscriptions, or mobile games.)

While it is impossible to draw a definitive link between the dip in local game sales and high game prices, some Aussie gamers remain convinced that the loss of revenue in 2010 can be attributed to consumers looking overseas for better bargains (see the comments section of this story). However, iGEA CEO Ron Curry is adamant that the Aussie industry fared better than overseas gaming markets in 2010.

“Compared to the most other international territories, our local interactive entertainment market has done considerably well to weather the global economic crisis, which affected a broad range of entertainment industries and what we are seeing now is a leveling or righting of the market," Curry said. “Anecdotally, sales of interactive entertainment products are continuing their healthy growth; however, the ways these products are being consumed and engaged with is expanding and changing dramatically, as is the industry itself. Digital downloads, online subscriptions, micro and mobile games, and alike are expanding consumer spend into areas that we are unable to measure in the traditional manner.”

Every year, the Australian arm of global professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers publishes its Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook report, looking at current and future trends in the industry. The latest report looks at the industry from 2010-2014, and forecasts that Aussie game sales will bounce back to approximately A$2.5 billion by the year 2014. However, it is worthwhile noting that while the Australian games industry did see a 7.7 increase in 2009 from 2008, this number pales in comparison to previous years, with 26.4 percent and 41.3 percent rises in revenue in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Add to this the fact that industry actually fell in 2010, and the trend is clear: people are spending less on games in Australia.

The high cost of doing business in Australia

Getting game publishers to comment directly on the disparity between game prices here and overseas is a near-impossible task, with all the companies GameSpot AU approached for comment on this issue declining to participate. In 2008, GameSpot AU spoke to credit analyst Michael Cowley and former Macquarie University researcher Anders Tychsen about the economic factors that impact business transactions in Australia. Although the Australian dollar may have changed since the last time we looked at this issue, the factors that affect the economics of distribution in the Australian market have not. According to Cowley and Tychsen, three things contribute to the high prices of overseas imports (including games): Australia’s geographical isolation, the size of the country, and the relatively low population.

"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 said. “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."

Super Street Fighter IV for Nintendo's upcoming 3DS is available for pre-order for A$78 in Australia, A$40 in the US, A$56 in the UK, and A$60 on Play-Asia.

Australia’s very small population is spread out over a very large area, meaning it is more expensive to distribute and move something around than territories like the US, Japan or Europe, where the number of people per square kilometre is higher. The same problem applies to game release dates Down Under--distributing products across the whole country within one day is a huge feat, and 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 and jeans to electronics and games.

"I think there are so many other factors at play. 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," Cowley said.

With the Australian dollar reaching near-parity on average with the US dollar for over two years now, Aussie gamers may well expect the A$100+ price tag of new release games to drop to around the US$50 mark that US consumers are paying. However, according to Cowley, one reason that this has not happened to date, and may never happen, is that it simply wouldn’t make good business sense for local publishers to constantly adjust Aussie game prices according to the exchange rate. Given the fragile nature of the market, and its tendency to constantly shift up and down, this reasoning makes sense. Although the Aussie dollar has remained strong against the US dollar for the past two years, anything could affect market values at any time. Click on the Next Page link to see the rest of the feature!

The publishers' perspective

Despite what the 2010 figures show, local publishers are celebrating rising sales numbers. Although Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony declined to comment on local game prices, all three publishers’ latest sales figures for Australia indicate that there is no cause for concern on their part.

In February 2010, Microsoft revealed that the Xbox 360 experienced its biggest year to date in 2010, with a 20 percent increase in total sales over 2009 (although it declined to offer any Australian-specific hardware details or numbers). Nintendo also revealed a profitable year, with the Wii in number one place as the highest-selling console of 2010, selling more than 420,000 units. Nintendo software (including both first party and third party published software) also accounted for 47 per cent of console game sales in 2010, and in November last year the publiser announced it reached 2 million Wii units Down Under. Finally, Sony reached 1.1 million PS3 consoles in Australia in 2010, making up 26.5 percent of all console sales in the region.

Managing director of Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, Michael Ephraim, said both the PS3 console and PS3 games were doing well despite the downturn experience by the local industry.

“PlayStation 3 as a platform continues to outperform and outgrow, even during the double-digit industry-wide downturn last year,” Ephraim says. “Our consumers are responding to the increased entertainment content offering, from both our company and our network of partners, enjoying the benefits derived from our ongoing technical innovation, and also the more connected network experiences we continue to offer.”

When GameSpot AU interviewed Ephraim for our last game prices feature in 2008, SCEA’s managing director said a big segment of the market still chooses to buy games locally for things like ease and return policies, something that is unlikely to change in the future.

"Compared to the European market, prices in Australia are quite reasonable for our games," Ephraim said in 2008. "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."

The Wii was the highest-selling console in Australia in 2010.

The retailers’ perspective

Aussie game retailers also remain unconvinced that slipping sales are a cause of concern. Two of Australia’s largest game retailers, EB and GAME, are adamant that price is only one among many concerns that Aussie consumers have when it comes to buying video games. Debra McGrath, EB’s national brand and marketing manager, says competition between retail and online stores has always been fierce.

“There are so many factors that contribute to the rise and fall of sales that there is no way of pinpointing exactly what percentage of that relates directly to online sales and the strong Aussie dollar,” McGrath says. “As such, [EB] has not seen a direct impact on sales. However, price is only one element of being a successful and trusted retail business. We have seen exciting growth in our [online] store by offering customers a safe, quality and reliable service experience that integrates seamlessly with our physical EB Games stores.”

Paul Yardley, managing director of GAME Australia, agrees. He says his store’s online business has doubled year-on-year, something that signifies that while more people are buying online, they’re still buying local.

“The games market falling isn’t just a local issue,” Yardley says. “It’s happened in other markets around the world, and it’s no surprise here really. We’ve kept an eye out for any impact but from what I can see [GAME] sales have not been impacted at all. Sure, more people are buying online and I can understand why some gamers may look elsewhere for the best deals given current game prices in Australia. But it’s only a narrow part of the customer base that will go and look for the very best price and go to overseas retailers to get it. I know a lot of customers who would never do that. I was recently talking to a couple of mothers who came in to the store, and they said they’d never ever shop online from an overseas retailer because they are worried about things like giving out their credit card details, and returning the product if something is wrong with it.”

Yardley says the unfair game pricing in Australia doesn’t apply for all games. He lists LittleBigPlanet 2 as an example, saying the title’s Australian price is much more favourable than its current UK price. [However, at the time of writing, the GAME Australia online store price for LittleBigPlanet 2 is A$64, while the GAME UK online store price is A$56, and the US price is A$60.]

“Of course some people are really good at finding deals, and that’s what they will always want to do. But it’s not just about the price. Look at the reasons people have loyalty cards--you can only use them in stores. There’s also the problem of availability--you can only get a day one release if you buy it from a store. Yes, some Aussie consumers are prepared to wait and get a better price, but we have to ask ourselves how big that niche is. I think if the local games industry looked at that niche it would discover it’s not a big problem at all.”

Most Aussie gamers would disagree. But how easy is it to compare Aussie prices with other territories to find the best gaming deals? How easy is it to factor in things like shipping costs, release dates, region coding and delivery times?

The consumer perspective

These questions led Aussie gamer Andrew Kudilczak to start GameCafé, Australia’s first games price search engine. The project began in 2007 as a hobby for Kudilczak and a friend; they both recall wasting hours on Google (instead of playing games) looking for the best deal for newly released titles and wondering why there wasn’t simply a website that listed all the game stores, both online and traditional retailers, along with handy information about prices, shipping info and delivery times. Initially, GameCafé was hosted from Kudilczak’s back shed on a single machine; now, the site runs on hosted dedicated servers, and includes full-time, dedicated staff. Although the site initially included price comparisons within the Australian, UK and US markets (with over 120 stores listed), this amount of information overwhelmed consumers, leading Kudilczak to strip the site back to serve just the Australian market.

Although the need to find cheaper games is what led Kudilczak to start GameCafé, he understands why Aussies sometimes have to pay more.

“Gamers in Australia enjoy a quality of service from Australian retailers that perhaps warrants the extra cost,” Kudilczak says. “The GST is one obvious contributing factor to the high prices, but most gamers in Australia are simply not willing to wait one to two weeks for the latest game to hit their mailbox from an overseas retailer, when they can simply order online within Australia, or round up a copy at their favourite brick-and-mortar store. The prices simply reflect the market forces at play. In some cases, region code restrictions force Aussies to buy locally anyway.”

“I think even though the Aussie dollar is high, the prices of games in Australia reflect the market demand. Should this demand drop, the price of games will drop too. I believe that the large demand for locally-sourced products remains the primary reason for prices remaining relatively high compared to shifts in the currency. I believe the Australian gamer wants the assurance that the game they buy won’t be region locked, and will arrive in a short time. They also see value, and are far more comfortable dealing with local distributors.”

If you want to know where to get the cheapest copy of Halo: Reach, check out GameCafé.

GameCafé’s data is obtained through a combination of data feeds from merchants as well as directly from game retailers’ websites. The price data is then collated and forwarded to a centralised database which gamers can search via the GameCafé website. All this processing is done autonomously, without human intervention. Kudilczak believes that while there has been a big shift towards buying online through distributors such as Steam, he doesn’t think this has had a large impact on overall game sales in Australia.

“The immediate access [of a service like Steam] appeals to the cutting edge/new release gamer, who simply can’t wait to get stuck into it! I believe that more and more services like Steam will begin to appear, especially as network bandwidth costs fall, and network speeds increase. The era of physical gaming media is starting to decline. Many game companies are looking to distribute online. Having said all that, the Aussie gamer can expect to make significant savings from shopping around--some games listed on our site could return a saving of 75 percent or more for the economical gamer. Within Australia, it is nearly always cheaper to buy from online retailers (local or overseas) compared to brick-and-mortar stores with savings in the order of 10-25 percent on a typical game.”

While it seems that some Aussie gamers continue to remain dissatisfied with high game prices Down Under, the percentage of the consumer market moving away from buying local and towards overseas imports is not large enough to hurt the local industry, or to become a cause for concern for local publishers and retailers. When factored in with things like market fluctuations, global economic instability and Australia’s geographic location and size, what this indicates is that Aussie gamers are unlikely to be paying fair prices for games for a long time to come. Are high game prices in Australia a concern for you? Let us know by leaving your comments below!

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Discussion

64 comments
malfreds
malfreds

Wow! That's very expensive. In Mexico, a normal $60 dlls game is around $74 dlls. No close to $100 dlls like Australia!

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

Just buy PC games from Steam. I bought Super Meat Boy for $2.50 and many other games on sale by a lot. Steam Sales are the best part of any holiday.

wadejenkins
wadejenkins

@Juicy-Boy it should search for matches with best connection (so it will look within aus), so dont worry if its a US copy and keep importing!

Pommii
Pommii

The price of new games in Australia is a joke and there is no reason for it

Pommii
Pommii

The price of new games in Australia is a joke and there is no reason for it

wbezuidenhout
wbezuidenhout

Yes, it definitely won't make good business sense not to overcharge for Aussie games. You can keep charging your ridiculous prices and later moan about how sales have dropped because gamers are importing their games for half the price. Makes much more sense... /sarcasm Newsflash - Any economy is inherently volatile. The US dollar can take a dive at any time, but that doesn't stop them from charging 'normal' prices now does it? Should Aussies be paid salaries equal to double the market rate because they could lose their jobs at any time? That's just a moronic excuse for exploiting (Or, attempting to exploit) your consumers.

sgotskillz
sgotskillz

Preorder Dragon Age 2 from GameConsultant on ebay for $52.88 (Free Shipping) or Preorder from EB Games for $108 Geez what a tough decision. I should also conclude the whole R +18 debate makes absolutely no impact on me cause I will continue to buy overseas.

Juicy-Boy
Juicy-Boy

the reason companies don't want to talk about it is because they are ripping us off.....I can buy a single game from overseas with an almost 50% discount compared to buying a game here.....this is with standard shipping which fyi is more expensive than bulk shipping...perhaps in the good ol' days there was a reason to have high prices (ie. weak aussie dollar +shipping) but today the simple reason is that the companies CAN sell a game here for double the price, from their perspective they want to make as much profit as possible so they can expand and keep shareholders happy....however this is probably a matter for the ACCC...until it is sorted I guess I will have to import....I want to support the Aussie economy and all but if they can't get their act together then its their own fault....if this all was not just one big rip-off then the game publishers would comment and give a reason...companies hate looking like the bad guys but sometimes they are...if there was a real reason for high prices we would have heard it rather than speculation btw I bought mafia 2 for \\$20(incl. shipping) from play asia (during a sale)....first game I've imported ever....was about \\$90-100 in both EB and JB at the time....in all seriousness GTFO Aussie retailers EDIT 1 quick question...if I buy an international ps3 game could I play online normally here? ie. if I bought brink from the USA would it make any difference online (would I still play against Aussies or would it match me with Americans)....because atm the only games I would buy in stores are multiplayer ones because I don't wanna play with overseas'ers who lagg the games

Sablicious
Sablicious

lol @ paying full RRP for games! xD JB Hi-Fi > EB price match > if game sucks/played it through within a week > get a refund -or- wait 2-3 months and get the same game for less than half price! Games depreciate like they suffer from colon cancer, so unless you're some must-have-latest-FPS-generica-shovelware-turd-before-the-Jones'-do fantoddler, there's no need to lather in this avaricious industry's yoke. Failing all that, pirate! :D The reason AU pays more (for everything -- look at fuel) because it's a NICHE MARKET; as such, it has no sway in the world market and to bother releasing stuff here the seller needs a bigger return to make it worth their time (in their opinion). Until Australia's population exceeds 100mil, don't hold your breath for reasonable games prices, or anything else for that matter. (NB: This article does not consider GPD, inflation, relative salaries and cost-of-living in the repsective countries. AU$100 is actually LESS than US$60 when you take all the factors into account... not to mention you can return games here for a full refund at many specialty games stores, unlike the US; sometimes up to 2 weeks after purchase!)

Sablicious
Sablicious

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

davedrastic
davedrastic

@gavin 78 Check PSN pricing. I'm pretty sure you'll find the prices of full retail games horrendous. Assassins Creed $49.95. GT Prologue $49.95. Rainbow Vegas 2 - $49.95. I haven't double checked these prices so there may be some inaccuracies but essentially the games are charged at the equivalent of full retail, when you can pick these titles up as a disk based game for approx half those prices, and below a third of those prices if you go the pre-owned or import route. Pre-owned is another factor of this discussion (which hasn't been discussed). I'd say that the pre-owned market supports high retail cost. $110 for a game isn't so bad if I'll be able to trade it in for $80 after completion. One notable expection to this is Fifa 10, which presumably due to the lack of continued multiplayer, fell hugely in value even before Fifa 11 was released. You can pick it up new for $20. Why is this? It can't be because it's an unpopular, or bad game, as it is clearly neither. I'm surprised that the games retailers haven't buckled under the pressure of lower cost games via ebay and importing, somehow they keep managing on selling games at increasingly higher prices. I only started buying from ebay a few weeks ago and i've already bought 30 titles. Someone stop me please. Blur for $15 - how can I resist.

gavin78
gavin78

In a few short years, all games on all consoles will be digitally distributed. This will destroy every argument for higher prices in oz, e.g. distribution costs, packaging, etc. If I was an exec at EB Games, I'd be preparing for this eventuality right now. They were a good store, but the future exists to screw us all! Change takes no prisoners.

shaunn191
shaunn191

I've owned roughly 30 odd PS3 games since owning my ps3 and out of those only 3 of them I have bought in Australia (through trade in deals). It's just a rip off, EB games is the biggest crap hole in the world. Latest purchase NBA Jam ebay from UK =$40 shipped, EB games =$78. lol

wenisman
wenisman

well there is one more reason to buy games over seas and that is that they are rated properly and not altered to suit our out dated classification system. for too long aussie retailers used protectionist schemes to rake in unjustified profits and now they hide behind often flimsy arguments like freight costs which we all know is a lie. But it does lead to question of why doesnt EB, GAME , JB etc all offer games for \\\$70-\\\$80 with free shipping? it would easy enough as they already have the supply chain of games from their supplier/warehouse and a web presence. to cut a long rant short, there is no reason to buy games in australia any more. shop on line where the prices are better, the range is better, the service is better and you get treated like an adult and can buy properly classified and unmodified games. power is now with the consumer so make your stance...

davedrastic
davedrastic

Isn't 3 years on from August 2008, August 2011? Wouldn't that still be a point of time in the future? I'm pretty sure it would be. I'm no statistician, but i'd say that it would be a bit unfair, a knee jerk reaction perhaps, to claim that the trend is that the amount spent on games within Australia is falling when there have been significant increases in 3 of the last 4 years. Could there perhaps be any stats showing the amount of games purchased at full retail price, and those purchased at discounted rates. At the present moment in time it seems that the Australian retailers (EB, GAME, JB, BigW, K-Mart) are not having too many sales, and the number of games at bargain prices seem to be reducing. There's hardly any $20 games out there now, whereas a year ago there were plenty. I think one question to ask is how and why some retailers are able to sell highly anticipaed top titles at prices significantly lower than RRP - e.g. DSE selling Killzone 3, and Bulletstorm for $69.95. Perhaps "loss leader" is the simple answer, but I think that the whole question of pricing disparity within Australia should be looked at. Why is JB selling Wolfenstein for $108 when EB are selling it for $28. I feel sorry for the poor mum and dads that just get robbed blind due to a lack of savvyness. Freight is used as a reason - yet GAME and JB can afford to send items with free freight. How do they do this - GAME in particular. Selling a $4 item with free freight - nuts.

AceBalls
AceBalls

It's abundantly clear that every gamer in Australia must buy their games online one way or another. Unless of course you love paying double the price for your new releases..

rickster34
rickster34

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

Mitchell_1797
Mitchell_1797

lets see i can buy 9 new games or a car hmmm

Daddio93
Daddio93

Cowley's reasoning is stupid. Sure it is fragile and does constantly shift, but not $40. They could at least bring Aussie game prices down to around $75-$80, that way there is room to compensate for the constant shift in the market. Even with his reasoning there's no way to justify a $40 and sometimes $50 higher price on Australian games.

srfrrrr
srfrrrr

be like me im aussie buy games from Ebay like black ops for only 35$AUS from a UK dude

ColdGen
ColdGen

I've spent several hundred dollars with OzGameShop.com for what would easily be $1000+ in the "banana republic" dollar. Am going to use the rest of my credit with GAME and EB and then never buy locally again. eg: Exclusive $5 off when you spend $50 - $-5.00 Grand Theft Auto GTA Episodes From Liberty City Game Xbox 36 - $24.49 Forza 3 Ultimate Edition Game Xbox 360 - $24.99 Call Of Duty 5 World At War Game (Classics) Xbox 360 - $27.99 With FREE POSTAGE (all NEW not 2nd hand) - $72.47 from OzGameShop.com GAME: Call of Duty: World at War - $69 for the PC version (expensive for such an old PC game which is $39.99 on STEAM) - no listing for 360 GTA IV - Episodes from Liberty City - $39 for the PC version (expensive for such an old PC game which is $39.99 on STEAM) - again no listing for 360 Forza 3 Ultimate Edition - FFS TBC on pre-order. I bought my bro a copy months ago and he already has it from the UK! EB Games: Call of Duty: World at War - $68 GTA IV - Episodes from Liberty City - $37 Forza 3 Ultimate Edition - $49.95 So....

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

Kudilczak is so blatantly wrong it's insulting. Demand doesn't equal higher prices - in fact quite the opposite. You look at any new product that launches at huge prices (remember \$10,000 plasma TVs?) until demand goes up (along with supply), and then prices come down. And gaming is NOT a "niche" - it generates more money per year than movies, and has done so for about eight years. Compare this to back in the early 90s and earlier when gaming WAS a niche, demand was low and games were ridiculously expensive...not cheaper. So low demand does not equal low prices...poor-selling titles that live unwanted in bargain-bins are not the same as low demand. So you might argue that we have it good, since now that we only pay a small fee of \$120 for our games when we paid almost double that 20 years ago...but gaming is far bigger now than it was even five years ago with the casual gamer explosion, more people are buying and playing, the AUD is far stronger, but prices have not come down at all in that same time.

benboz
benboz

What I usually do is look at cheap prices from retail stores like JB Hi Fi and EB etc and try to see which is cheaper. I can't buy online because of my parents but one day I will.

Karnya
Karnya

@AceBalls Pretty sure its not just freight but like the person picking it out of the box and putting it on the shelf that contributes to the high prices. Australian retail cant compete with a warehouse that has cheap rent and gets customers to pay for postage in some foriegn country.

baggins_oz
baggins_oz

I'm a small business owner and it is true that business costs are higher here in Australia. Wages, super, workcover, taxes, rent, all add up to increased prices. (Minimum wage in the US is ~$7.50-$8.00 per hour...while here in Oz +$15 per hour, add casual rates and that jumps to +$22 ph.) I'm not defending the rip-off prices, but there is some justification for higher prices. I do believe that we are all being ripped off, mostly by those who do the importation and distribution. Believe me, most retailers are doing it tough right now, squeezed between high costs and pressure for lower prices. I do object to paying such high prices for digital distribution - the costs of which are negligible.

AceBalls
AceBalls

Buying online is awesome. Even if you include the shipping costs, a new release standard US\$59.95 game ends up costing a maximum of AUD\$65 when it get's thrown at your front door. In many cases, downloading from Steam is even better. What I can't understand in this article is how they are talking about expensive freight charges?? How much do they charge?? If EB and JB are doing games for \$89, then what the FK are they paying for freight? I can understand a few bucks profit for their troubles of opening the box and sticking it on the shelf but is the freight charged at \$20+ per game or something??? It doesn't make sense. The only thing that makes sense is that there is a bunch of middlemen in there sticking their sausages into the sauce - and us Aussies just end up sucking on it unless we shop online!!

damo320
damo320

You can buy region free new release titles at $55 from overseas. Why on Earth would you buy local anymore? If our retailers insist on ripping us off just buy online - send them the message. There are no legitimate excuses for the high prices especially now that our $ is worth the same as the US$. I refuse to buy over priced locally sold games. If I see a retailer selling a game at AUD$55 or less I'd buy for sure. The main reason the prices will never come down is because there are too many people in Australia paying the $110 price tag some retailers are charging. The only way to send a message and get the changes is to boycott games being sold over a certain unjustifiable price tag. I'd say any game being sold for more than $60AUD is a rip off. The transport costs excuse is total BS as they are a multitude of products sold in retail department stores which are transported in identical fashion which aren't a rip off price when compared to the international pricing.

beardrewz
beardrewz

Simple, dont buy local buy overseas.

burtonboy05
burtonboy05

It would be interesting to see what type of profits EB stores turn each year. It would vary hughely no doubt, depending on store loaction of course. The one at my local shopping centre was one of the first in the state and that has been there for about 12 years now. I haven't shopped there for 5+ years with JB's my go to store, but in that time it's had two shop fits which are required as part of the contract with Westfield and It's not a cheap exercise. That said though, westfield are a pack of c*nts and the rental rates for these sites is insane. I have friends and family who currently and previously had stores in westfield locations. They were rouges and have forced many stores to shut down. Hence you see new shops opening and closing all the time in their centres. Back to my first point about EB and profit, despite the high rental costs I'm guessing they're still turning over some serious profits. If it was only equivalent to your average wage, you simply wouldn't bother with the stress of having to deal with the likes of Westfield or staffing issues, stock turns etc. So I'm pretty sure these guys kill it. The savy ones out there shop around, import etc, but EB, Game etc suck in the parents and youngs kids who have no clue. If they cut their prices to match JB's, Big W, Game Traders etc I'd gladly shop there. Sure they'd reduce profit margins but lower prices = increased sales closing the profit gap.

AceBalls
AceBalls

"Everyone needs a piece of the pie and that is why we always have a higher price to begin with" Here's your answer to all of Australia's game price problems. Everything else in the article is meaningless.

Acid_Kenobi
Acid_Kenobi

This might be somewhat leading away from the conversation, but I've had a few bad experiences with importing games/ebay therefore I feel it is a little risky when I know what I'm buying up the street is good, nd if not I can take it back in 5 minutes?? I guess my question is, is Dungeon crawl or any other 100% reliable?? because if so,.. Shove it EB

AceBalls
AceBalls

So I guess the only way we'll see the prices drop is if we had our own manufacturing here....? But judging by the way our government is selling everything off, and using off shore industry to supply Aussies with almost everything, we can bet that this will never happen. What a massive sausage up the cave.

SINISTER_XIII
SINISTER_XIII

Jeez people, stop throwing your money away and start IMPORTING! If you don't wish to import your own games (for whatever reason), buy from a local, on-line retailer (eg: Dungeon Crawl) that sells imported, region-free games...

macca366
macca366

Why do I still pay more for directly online downloadable games then? Does it cost double the amount of bandwidth to let me download the game from their server or something? Sure, the cost of distribution warrants a slight increase in the price. But not DOUBLE the cost. That seems like pure greed, milking a small population as much as possible as opposed to actually being fair and simply evening out the loss in distribution. Of course I can understand how it'd be weird to constantly adjust the price for games according to the shifting strength of the dollar, but still, it has been strong enough against the US dollar to warrant a price drop for years. YEARS. I don't want to boycott or damage the video game industry in Australia, but at the same time I feel like encouraging everyone to buy games from play-asia. I'm torn.

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

@shani_boy101 of course it does, you're absolutely right...the greedy retailers just aren't interested in passing on the savings to the customer. If they did reduce prices, their sales would increase, gamers would be happier with having easier access to new releases and thus generate more interest, and publishers would be happy because the more copies sold, the more DLC they can potentially sell. It's win-win for everyone, but retailers aren't interested in industry strength or consumer satisfaction. When the GFC hit, games like L4D2 and Dragon Age were $110 on the PC...some $20-$30 more than usual...so prices do go up when the dollar goes down.

gawthy
gawthy

If i can buy a game for $67.50 with shipping or pre- order for $150 and buy the game or $110 when it first comes out. Whichdoyou think you would buy

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

The fact of the matter is that my money can buy more overseas compared to here in Australia. And do they honestly expect that "freight/cost of distribution" argument to hold up? Surely an increasing dollar would give the retailers more purchasing power to get more copies for less, and also reduce the freight and delivery costs? Nope, the prices stay the same. That's some great logic there. Higher dollar = Price go DOWN. It's called common sense. I'll only ever consider buying a new game locally if it's below $75, or $100 if it's a special edition.

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

The whole argument is flawed. IF retailers have to sell games so expensive because of the age-old "freight" excuse, then HOW did they ever turn a profit when the Aussie dollar was worth US$0.50-$0.60? Why were we not paying $200 for games? Do not be fooled by this pathetic reasoning - gaming retailers are raking in the money by enjoying what is a special situation where buying their stock has never been so cheap and their potential for making profits has never been greater. From a business standpoint they would be crazy to cut prices, and especially so when so many Australian gamers are all too happy to hand over $110-$130 for a new release that they play for 20 minutes before getting distracted by the next shiny-thing that comes their way. Vote with your wallet - don't reward price-gouging.

Aletunda
Aletunda

this is a real issue, i can accept the fact that yes shipping and such can be more expensive, but that is no excuse to double the price, sales will continue to slow down if they dont reduce prices, drastically

Hexalude
Hexalude

@mull20641 Or, you know, you could persih tragically in a house fire.

afrojim525
afrojim525

@ AcidBlood83 "Stores like Big W always have new release games for A\$10 to A\$30 less than the recommended retail price, and stores like EB and GAME are more than happy to match it, even on release day. They wouldn't do this if there was little / no margin left in it." Once GAME wouldn't match JB-HiFi's $80 because they said that was cost price for them. They were selling it for $85. I have found GAME's online store to have alright prices though.

georgeww
georgeww

i just got a ps3 for \$400 au, bought it in country and the GST alone on it was \$70 and god no's how much it is taxed to the company selling it, its greedy retailers, but even greedier government, bring em all down ! but they really need to hurry up on the national broadband plan, :)

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

More cop-out excuses and crying-poverty by the poor hard-done-by retailers who blatantly rip people off who trade in their games AND extort publishers into keeping games that are digitally-distributed at the same price-gouged rates that the brick-and-mortar stores (by threatening to stop stocking their games if they undercut them too much on Steam and others). The solution is simple - buy the digital versions when the price is sensible (not US$89.99) OR import, and eventually drive these snake-oil merchants out of business for good.

mull20641
mull20641

We could just you know... cut off WA and NT.

smp13
smp13

Never had to pay more than $60 incl shipping for a brand new, new release, game when ordering from overseas. Can't be isolation/small population/fragile market when it's been so consistent. I always thought it was Aussie taxes... How much does our government tax new video games?

wenisman
wenisman

the whole argument of "small population, large land mass" is total nonsense, otherwise it would cost \$60 to post the game from overseas to get it anywhere in australia... and yet it doesnt, not even a fraction of that to post a letter anywhere in australia. whats more disgusting is the gouging that occurs for downloaded digital content as this totally excludes all shipping costs and yet we still pay exorbitantly more. @burtonboy05 - you hit the nail on the head. consumers are more tech savvy now and far more comfortable order goods online, this will be the death of the street retailer... ala borders/a&r so what if i order a game OS and i cant take it back because i dont like it? just put it on ebay and it sells itself (generally at a better rate than i get from EB anyhow). the savings alone mean that i can purchase more games, to the detriment of the local retail scene. unfortunately retailers in australia are too far behind the curve and too unwilling to change their out dated ways. the sad fact is that articles like this demonstrate the disillusionment that they are under. consumers are smarter now, gamers are older and so they are not preaching to children but adults who know how the world works. welcome to a brave new world kids...

BloodyUserNames
BloodyUserNames

OK, so just maybe it makes perfect sense that we have to pay more for games than Europe/Japan/USA. I can live with that for sure. But using the various excuses to justify us paying on average $40 to $50 more per game than overseas is just absurd. THE REAL ISSUE HERE IS NOT THAT WE PAY MORE FOR OUR GAMES IN AUSTRALIA, BUT BY THE RIDICULOUS AMOUNT WHICH WE PAY MORE.

wawasjohn
wawasjohn

i never pay over 90. and thats in store. the retail price should be 80 not 110