Why Australian game prices will not drop

We speak to industry insiders to find out why the future of the Australian video game industry depends on video game prices staying where they are.

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The reasons for Australia's high game prices have been well-documented in the past. Local video game publishers insist that Australia's very small population is spread out over a large area, making it more expensive to distribute and move stock around than in territories like North America, Japan, or Europe, where the number of people per square kilometre is higher.

But now, local game industry insiders are pointing to another reason why Australian consumers regularly pay between $80-$110 dollars for new-release titles that average around the US$50-$60 mark in North America. According to industry sources, Australian game publishers and retailers would face certain extinction in the local market should new-release titles drop below a recommended retail price of $80.

This, the sources insist, is why game prices in Australia will continue to remain high.

So who--or what--is to blame? And can the Australian market survive without local game publishers?

***

Video game prices across the world are dropping. Spurred by the onset of new distribution models, online retail, and the creation of a more direct relationship between gamemakers and consumers, publishers are being forced to find new ways to speak to an increasingly apathetic market struggling with an uncommonly long console cycle and reports of an industry-wide creative slump.

"The current console cycle is long in the tooth," EEDAR's Jesse Divnich told GameSpot. "We've never gone seven-plus years before without a refresh in home hardware, and we are beginning to see the negative impact of what occurs. Without new technologies/features to work with, innovation is stifled, which creates an apathetic consumer market."

Australia is certainly not exempt from this trend, even if the impact on local pricing has not been as significant as in other territories.

According to EB Games, Australia's largest physical video game retailer, video game prices in Australia have dropped on average about 20 percent in the last year. While Australian game publishers are choosing to stay silent on any official drops in standard recommended retail price (RRP) across new-release titles (all major publishers declined to comment on the issue when contacted by GameSpot), the evidence seems to indicate that game prices in Australia are dropping, albeit slowly. Triple-A new-release titles such as Assassin's Creed III, Halo 4, Dishonored, and Far Cry 3 all launched in the last 12 months with an RRP of $89.95 (for consoles). Retailers also offer discounts on new-release titles, lowering prices even further: for example, at the time of writing, JB Hi-Fi is offering Far Cry 3 for $69.

However, the general feeling among consumers is that game publishers could be doing more to bridge the gap even further.

Earlier this year, the Australian government announced a parliamentary inquiry into high product prices in the Australian IT and technology sector, including video games. In its submission to the inquiry, Australian consumer group CHOICE conducted research to show the differences between Australian and US tech prices, reporting that:

"Australians are paying on average 34 percent more for software, 51 percent more for iTunes music, 88 percent more for Wii games, and 41 percent more for computer hardware than US consumers."

At a subsequent public hearing into the issue, Australian Industry Information Association--which represents hardware, software and digital media vendors--cited retail rental costs, research and development costs, labour costs and warranty obligations as major reasons why Australians are forced to pay more for technology hardware and software.

Speaking at the hearing, former EB Games employee Damien Holley said he had continuously asked local game publishers why games were more expensive in Australia during his time working for the retailer.

"Several explanations came over the years," Holley told the hearing. "The first was [that] the [Australian] dollar was too low against the US dollar. Later, when we got parity, it was claimed that different advertising took up the cost. When informed that the same ads in the US were playing here, the excuse changed to import taxes and the general cost of importing the games."

Later, Holley told the hearing that he believes publishers were prepared to adjust game prices to "what they believed the market would pay".

While this sounds like greed on the part of game publishers, some sources say the lowering of game prices in Australia any further could prove fatal for game publishers based in the region.

GameSpot spoke to several sources working for a number of different Australian game publishers who agreed that game prices in Australia can only go so low: publishers, just like retailers, have their own cost structure to maintain. Expenses like payroll, rent, and dealing with the high costs of distributing stock around the country means local publishers want to hold on to what little profit they can still make.

And even that is reportedly under threat.

One source working for a game publisher in Australia who wishes to remain anonymous says the idea that game publishers in Australia are "greedy" because they are not lowering game prices in the region is a misconception.

According to some sources connected with several different Australian game publishers, it is common for publishers in Australia to spend roughly $30-$40 producing a single copy of a new-release game, which is then sold to retailers for around $50-$70. Retailers then sell this to consumers for $89-$105. (However, one source connected to an Australian game retailer disagrees on the first number, saying game publishers in Australia spend less than $10 on a single copy of a new-release game.)

While both scenarios appear to be profitable for game publishers and retailers and unfair for consumers, the reality is reportedly very different. Most sources who spoke to GameSpot agreed that if game prices in Australia were to fall below $79.95, both retailers and publishers would stop turning a profit, meaning the end of physical video game retail in the region.

"It's true that publishers in Australia have begun to lower their RRPs to somewhere below $99, but anything lower than $80 is not possible," one source told GameSpot. "If publishers were to go below this RRP price, it would mean an automatic lowering of cost prices to retailers, which in turn would force publishers to start cutting costs by letting staff go, closing down branches, and so on. This would eventually lead to the closure of smaller Australian-based publishers, companies like THQ and Namco Bandai."

A shrinking physical game sales market means this has already started to happen.

Earlier this year, publisher THQ shut down its Australian operations, moving from a direct sales model to a distributor model and in the process, letting go all 18 remaining employees. The closure followed a previous restructure earlier this year, in which an undisclosed number of employees were laid off across THQ's global administration and publishing wings, including an undisclosed number in the Australian office after the publisher outlined a new corporate strategy of moving away from affiliate label programs to focus on wholly-owned IP. (THQ had previously shut down both of its Australian-based development studios, Blue Tongue and THQ Australia, in August last year.)

Also this year, Sega announced a worldwide restructure, which saw the closure of offices in France, Germany, Spain, Benelux, and Australia. (The restructure came after Sega announced it would be halving its expected revenue while predicting company losses of US$86.4 million, cancelling several unnamed titles in the process.)

Speaking to GameSpot under the condition of anonymity, one source connected to both Sega and THQ in Australia said the fate of both publishers in the region is a sign that smaller publishers will have to fight hard to survive in Australia in the future.

"Global price drops of physical game software, the rise of digital distribution, increased grey-importing practices in Australian game retailers, and fluctuating currencies are all spelling a slow death for the remaining mid-to-small range game publishers based in Australia," the source said.

A former employee of an international game publisher based in Australia points to another threat: mass-market retail chains like Kmart and Target. Typically, stores like Kmart, Target and Big W sell video games at a loss (i.e. for less money than the retailer paid to buy the games), meaning on average, video games cost less in these mass-market chain stores than in specialist video game retailers like EB Games.

The reason for this is that mass-market retailers often use video games to entice customers to purchase higher-margin products sold in their stores: things like furniture, clothing, etc. By positioning video games and other entertainment media at the back of the store, retailers like Kmart and Target lure consumers in and past a variety of other products which, in the long run, proves more profitable and makes up for the sale of lower-margin items like video games at a loss.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, the source says this measure puts pressure on game publishers and video game retailers to continually lower the prices of video games sold in Australia.

"The lowering of game prices in Australia is a reaction to things like this," the source said. "But it's not a viable business practice. Game publishers in Australia will not last long if they have to compete with this, and with online."

This raises the question of whether or not the Australian video game market could survive without the presence of local video game publishers.

"Technically everything can be done at a global level now," the source said. "Publishers don't really need a local presence in a market like Australia."

However, the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA), which represents Australia's video game publishers and distributors, believes a local game publisher presence has real value for consumers in the local market. For example, if a local publisher is not on hand to sell a game to a local retailer, it can mean no localised special editions, no visiting developers, no local community events or support.

"The revenues generated locally support not only local employment, but fund marketing, in-store displays, advertising, classification obligations, etc," iGEA CEO Ron Curry told GameSpot in May. "Without this local level of support, retailers in Australia will see a direct impact on their business, as will consumers and other local businesses who survive by supporting the Australian video game industry."

***

The fast-growing list of threats to traditional business practices in the physical video game market is also the reason for inconsistent digital game pricing on platforms like Steam and Origin, according to several sources in the Australian video game industry.

One source connected to a video game publisher in Australia says it's understandable for consumers in Australia to feel like they're being taken for a ride when it comes to digital pricing of games in the region.

"Other than minor tax differences (e.g. Australia has 10 percent GST; UK has 20 percent VAT; the US has sales tax which varies by state), I see no reason why digital content should be different prices in different markets," the source told GameSpot under the condition of anonymity.

"It's simply not credible since all the arguments publishers and retailers use for higher prices in a region like Australia (i.e. higher labour costs, rent, smaller market, and so on)--these just don't apply to digital."

The source suspects the reason digital game prices don't match up from region to region is because game publishers have to maintain a good relationship with game retailers in their territory.

"If publishers applied price parity for digital content across territories, you would significantly harm games retail stores in a country like Australia almost overnight. Why would consumers buy a $79-$89 box when they could get it online for $39-$49?"

Another source says that if publishers in Australia were to begin matching digital prices with other regions, game retailers in Australia would "become upset". This is of particular concern in a market as small as Australia's, where--as explained above--retailers form a big part of game publishers' business.

But what would happen if game publishers simply packed up and moved out? Can the Australian game industry survive without a local publisher presence?

"Everything can be, and often is, done on a global scale now," a source within the Australian video game industry told GameSpot under the condition of anonymity. "All issues can be solved this way. Everything that's happened--lower game prices, the growth of digital distribution, even grey-importing--it's all sign that consumers are ready to embrace a new business model."

If consumers are the ones who hold the power to effect change (not publishers or manufacturers), why do video game prices continue to remain disproportionally high in some territories compared to others? Are consumers failing to act on their words?

A source with a number of years experience working for an international game publisher in Australia says video game prices in any territory depend on changes in the market, which in turn are dictated by consumer behaviour. If video game prices are starting to drop, it's because consumers want it that way. If prices haven't dropped far enough, it's because consumers keep buying games.

"Video game prices are set by market and consumer demand," the source told GameSpot under the condition of anonymity. "There's no shadowy conspiracy going on here to make games more expensive in Australia. It's all about what the consumer is willing to pay, both for physical games and for digital copies."

"People complain so much [about game prices in Australia] but they still go out and buy the games. It's a lot of noise but very little action. If consumers got fed up with paying so much for games in this country, they'd stop buying them altogether, both at retail and digitally. But that hasn't happened on a mass scale yet."

The source says the slight dip in video game prices that Australia has experienced is a by-product of game retailers' grey-importing measures and an increasing number of consumers buying games from online distributors, a trend that's sparked a worldwide industry debate about the ongoing relevance of physical game software.

Melbourne entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan, founder and CEO of online-only consumer electronics store Kogan, believes video game retailers will become obsolete in small consumer territories like Australia once more publishers make the switch to digital distribution.

"Ultimately, the way the industry is headed, no one is going to buy physical games," Kogan told GameSpot. "It's all going to be digital downloads, from the publisher direct to the consumer via their console or device. There'll be no need to go to stores anymore."

Kogan (the man) has used his own online business to demonstrate what a market without physical retailers might look like. Kogan (the site) operates on a manufacturer-to-consumer model that sees the store's consumer electronic products--which includes both Kogan-manufactured products and third-party products such as cameras, mobile phones, tablets and video games--bypass traditional importers, wholesalers and retailers altogether.

Since launching in 2006, the company has grown 400 times its original size, now selling more products in one day than in its first year. With projected revenues of over $150 million by the end of the 2012 financial period, Kogan says consumer electronics companies and game publishers alike are performing under an outdated business model that results in high product prices and an over-reliance on physical retailers.

"They're too scared to admit the business model they are running is not efficient," he said. "They've rested on their laurels too long and now they can't compete with businesses who are doing things a different way."

Kogan points to the fact that Australia's geographic positioning should make consumer electronics and video games cheaper, not more expensive, than in territories like the US or Europe.

"All consumer electronic products are manufactured in places like China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Japan. To send containers from any of those places to Australia takes about 13 days compared to 25 days to the UK or the US. We're half the distance away--we should be able to sell these products cheaper and more efficiently than in those other territories."

While Kogan recently expanded his company's product-line to include video games, he is wary to push it further than a handful of the most popular titles (at the moment Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, and FIFA 12) due to the shift he predicts will happen in the next two to three years in the global games market.

"We all know what's going to happen to physical games," he says. "That's exactly why we're only selling them as a temporary thing."

Paul Yardley, the former managing director of GAME Australia, believes there's still time to turn things around. For the moment, the growing mainstream sector of the gaming audience is tethered to the physical retail experience, something he doesn't see changing for at least the next 20 years.

"In the short-term, both publishers and consumers will still find a need for physical game retailers," Yardley told GameSpot. "In the long-term, 20 years from now, I think retailers will finally become obsolete. The gaming industry will be all about services."

Yardley believes both retailers and publishers could be doing more to help both themselves and consumers in a market where games will likely always be more expensive compared to other territories.

"Game retailers need to engage with digital products in a bigger way," he says. "They need to start finding ways to sell digital content in-store and turn that into a new revenue stream. Meanwhile, publishers should think carefully about cutting back the number of titles they publish each year and instead concentrate on putting out quality content. The average consumer can only buy four or five games a year: publishers should make these games count."

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Discussion

1 comments
strothers101
strothers101

Well it doesnt matter to me how they try to justify it we are still being royally ripped off over here.

MadGamerNanango
MadGamerNanango

This is a great article and I found it a real eye opener to what is going on in the industry.

As someone who owns a gaming store, it is hard to compete with "Grey Imports" and buy locally.  A lot of you keep saying that we should import but there is a difference between your average joe purchasing a game from overseas and a business.  For one, we have to pay an import tax on products from overseas which adds more to the cost and sometimes can make it almost on par with what we would have paid in Australia.  The second thing is delivery time.  If I buy locally I can get the stock the next day, quick turn around on product whereas from say UK can be up to 14 days.  That's 14 days of dead stock and money.  Some of the pricing in the article is a little inaccurate for a game that retails for $109.95 we generally pay $85-$90 from distributors in Australia but the lower you go on a retail price the tighter the margin gets eg a game that retails at $29.95 generally costs $23-$25 to come into stock.

People should check out independent stores more, you will find that sometimes you get more personalised service and we can try to offer you the best deal we can get.  I know personally that we offer decent trade value and for second hand games we only charge 1/2 of what they are worth brand new so $80 brand new $40 pre owned.  I think that it is a rort if you are paying close to brand new price for a second hand game, (especially if it it something like Battlefield, C.O.D where you may need to purchase an online pass on top).

xGarrettThiefX
xGarrettThiefX

I love paying to top dollar in Australia ! (...and then being faced with day one DLC)

jimmkd84
jimmkd84

meh i hardly ever buy retail anymore. I buy everything off ebay old and new and import when i can. Save a lot more money sick of being ripped off by our retailers

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

If you can't stay in business without ripping off consumers in Australia then you're doomed anyways and might as well just close up shop now because digital distribution is going to punch you in the crotch and you cannot escape it.

jchip
jchip

As a consumer, I'm not here to prop up unsustainable business models. Why should I pay $100 a game when the same game can be bought online and imported to Australia for at most $60, including shipping?

 

Game retailers and publishers (and the retail sector in general) in the Australian market are price-gouging the customer...plain and simple. Blaming currency rates, marketing, distribution, staffing, storefront  etc costs and supporting local developers (who predominately work in iOS development and make a killing at it) means nothing to me when I can pay significantly less to import a game from overseas. Those expenses are the retailers cost of doing business, not mine. As a consumer I'm only prepared to pay what the item is worth in equivalent EU and US markets, nothing more.

 

Those who buy packaged goods have already embraced online distribution on a global scale. It's up to the local video game industry to meet the explosive demand for cheaper online goods or perish.

Ground_Zero
Ground_Zero

Well that's ok. I just won't stop buying overseas.

Aiun
Aiun

US digital prices are inflated to be the same price as US physical prices, to protect publisher relationships with the horse-and-cart salesmen.  So when you buy digital distribution in Australia, which costs virtually ZERO to distribute over the US-priced version, you're paying an extra forty or fifty bucks to preserve publisher relationships with retailers who are tacking on the costs for things completely unrelated to your digital purchase.  It's like... triple-dipping.

 

You would think that given the number of Oz digital sales, we would get better treatment from publishers.  But instead, we have to wait an extra 24-48hrs for the privilege of paying double what the US does at zero extra cost to the publisher.

 

People cry, "Ohnoes, but teh jobz0rz!" but honestly?  I buy everything on Steam; what retail staff are doing has zero impact on me.  So basically, I'm paying an extra forty fucking dollars for someone to sit in a store making fart noises with their armpits, all because I have the wrong IP address.

 

Physical media and its purveyors cannot die fast enough.  The list of 'benefits' we lose from not having local publishers, I would cheerfully throw under a bus for the sake of not paying double what I should be.

Aletunda
Aletunda

high priced games are what made me join steam, now eb will never get my hard earned gold!!!

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

Daemoroth your pretty much on the money (no pun). have worked in retailers who sell games and I know 2 things to be true. Firstly the margin between wholesle and retail is next to nothing. A game you are "required" to retail at $99 is usually around $75 wholesale. It was rare for us to make more than $20 on a full price game. Secondly as Daemoroth rightly points out, retailers are crap at making the most of this market. Look at "Game" they open stores in major malls right across from EB and expect to compete, totally moronical. Then Harvey Norman, the solution t import competition, go into the media and call online shoppers un-Australian, more genius. I very rarely buy in Australia and price is only one factor. So keep the prices high and keep sending the business overseas, thats sure to help the Australian industry. Id call it self abuse.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

What a load of crap, if the retailers don't adapt and refuse to compete with online offerings, THAT will kill the local publishers. And besides, you may try to excuse infrastructure cost, but then why are even digital products more expensive in Australia? That doesn't even take ANY infrastructure and the customer bears the delivery cost (Downloading bandwidth).

 

How is it possible that I can order something from Amazon, in the US, pay for shipping and it's still cheaper than buying a local copy (And yeah, OzGameshop has free shipping, but sometimes I want it a bit quicker though. :P)?

 

Local retailers should just ditch the local publishers and get their stock from international suppliers, force the local publishers to adapt or die.

 

Till then it's OzGameshop and Amazon for me.

yanni1
yanni1

haha thats fine, I will continue to import. umad?

adders99
adders99

with out GAME, I now do all my game shopping at jb hifi... EB generally have the highest prices, and I picked up Far Cry 3 for $58 from JB the other day! :)

Lawto13
Lawto13

This is why I shop on Ozgameshop, games are around the 50-60 dollar mark with free shipping and you earn points with each purchase that go toward discounts. I do not shop at EB or JB anymore also last time I checked this week games were more expensive at Big W and Kmart compared to JB Hi Fi and EB games. Just preordered Bioshock Infinite(360) on Ozgameshop for $59.99...

barronator
barronator

"One source working for a game publisher in Australia who wishes to remain anonymous says the idea that game publishers in Australia are "greedy" because they are not lowering game prices in the region is a misconception." My ass they are greedy, the price of everything in australia is more expensive in the USA and our dollar is worth what 4-5 cents more, and the entire "Import/export" cost is another crock of... i can import a game for what $2 thats just postage free you can import a big bloody box for an apropriate price. But you don't even have to look at games to know they are greedy we pay more for EVERYTHING hell in perth they're getting electricity price cranked up by like another %40 a 20c cheezeburger in the usa is $2 and we probably grow everything in that thing myself. The only explination is increased worker's wages and thats only going up because everything is so damn expensive.

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

www.OzGameShop.com

That's all I can say.

Wrathesoul
Wrathesoul

The question is " Why Australian game prices will not drop" Answer is because Australia loves to lose money from sales to overseas game sellers like ozgame shop who sell for far far less then here.

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

Elevated pricing of physical copies I can understand to an extent - shipping, lack of scale in our market (relative to the NA market) and other such things are built into the price of the copy that ends up on the shelf in EB or JB or whatever. Having said that, if I want to buy a physical copy of a game, I'll just keep importing for a fraction of the price.

 

What really gets on my nerves, is when online retailers geo-fence you into an Australian store that is significantly more expensive than the US (or Euro) store. EA does this with Origin. The mark up on BF3 compared to the US was/is huge (close to 40% for pre-orders from memory). Steam isn't much better for AAA titles at launch but at least you can get a friend in the US to buy it and gift it to you. There's no excuse for this - it doesn't cost publishers any more to 'ship' the digital download to Australia. It's just regional price gouging, plain and simple.

SwiftusMaximus
SwiftusMaximus

That's fine , I will keep importing, no skin off my nose.

Maybe fellow gamers should think about doing the same, instead of being, ripped off.

devildemondruid
devildemondruid

by the way new black ops 2 hardened edition first came out full price less then one month later eb has it at $108 and jb at $89 the exact same game $19 difference and both dropped least $30 since a month ago? and they arent ripping consumers off? lies all lies

 

let greed destroy the game world with capcom and their "pay for content already on the disc" and "modes being taken out to be paid for later" and subscriptions. i love the old days you buy a game there it is whole game, any new content you wait for the sequel, done dusted.

devildemondruid
devildemondruid

"it is common for publishers in Australia to spend roughly $30-$40 producing a single copy of a new-release game"

 

absolute BS how can it cost $30-$40? you acquire the original copy of a game, you get a disc, burn the contents, press the disc and package it. discs cost nothing how could it possibly cost so much? If i a lone person can download a game online, burn it to disc, press a pretty cover on it, grab a 20 cent dvd cover, print another cover all for less then $3 how can they a business with advanced  industrial grade materials cost that much? that is an utter lie and the reason why gaming is slowly going under.

 

im a collector and thats why i only buy games physical unless its only released online (mostly xbla) why? because games disappear off all these online services and what it the services go through administration or stop? oh well no more online collection. the biggest reason why online games hasnt completely swallowed retail? you cant transfer your copy to someone legally, i cant sell my 35 xbox live arcade games to someone else at a smaller price its "oh well you paid your stuck with it" and why retail is slowly dying? in a global economy which is what it is why does it cost so much to do stuff in oz? why cant wages ever go down with demand? if other countries can do it cheaper why cant we truly compete instead of whinging?

 

there is inflation and deflation but it appears in business theres wage inflation and....thats it wages never go down THAT is the root of why people are mass importing.

Salt_AU
Salt_AU

I haven't bought a game for over two years from EB or any other Australian store.  I just buy them online and imported, I dont get the game right on release obviously but the money I save is worth it.  Assassins Creed 3 cost me $48 (inc shipping) v $100-$110 from EB Games.  Its not even close to being comparable.  

Generally I wait until the price drops and get the game with its DLC for half the price of its original value, my back catalog of games is pretty high so waiting doesnt bother me at all, I've always got something good to play. 

planetslayer
planetslayer

So, they're basically saying that since the $80-$120 price range has been around for as long as it has, they can't function without it.

 

 They were ripping us off in the first place and are now giving us a big 'f*ck you' by saying if we don't keep ripping you off we'll die.

 

THEN I SAY: F*cking. DIE! Charge us $40-$50 for now and at least go without 'some' honour, it's inevitable. Just like one of the few sources who actually has the balls to say his name said (My thumbs up to you Kogan):

 

"They're too scared to admit the business model they are running is not efficient," he said. "They've rested on their laurels too long and now they can't compete with businesses who are doing things a different way."

 

F*cking greedy pigs. It's excuse after excuse, I can't wait until this is debunked just like the rest of their f*cking lies.

 

The only people who buy from these stores are people who want games quick, e.g. limited edition, people who don't know any better (than to support this horrible business practice), relatives and etc.

 

If there was a legitimate, easy and accessible way for relatives and people who don't know any better to give gaming related gifts in an online store, EB games and the rest of these greedy f*cking a**holes would be out of business quicker than I can say "ripoffs".

Amorphis2k
Amorphis2k

EB Games will suffer a slow death because consumers aren't as stupid as EB Games think they are. Recently I went in to buy MOH: Warfighter. Pre-owned which is generally cheaper was $20 more than what the game was new. Inconsistencies like this whilst maybe intentional create a trust issue with customers. It took four weeks before I got back a response to why this was so and why they insulted my intelligence by adding "You can buy the used copy for the same price".

CraigNinten
CraigNinten

Very informative article, thank you. 

 

Capitalism yay!

SolemnJedi79
SolemnJedi79

EB Games have higher prices, and inferior product. I know technically it's not considered second-hand, but personally, I consider opening a game case and removing the disc, storing it in a draw, only to put it back in the case and sell it, second-hand. I don't know about everywhere else, but when asked for a sealed copy at my local EB Games they said "We don't sell sealed copies" therefore I buy online, where I get my games NEW and factory sealed, and cheaper. Still physical copies, as even with shipping it's cheaper than EB Games.

DrYnot
DrYnot

If retailers can't evolve and grow out of their base impulse to squeeze the consumer for every dime possible then they SHOULD die out. Good fucking riddance. Extorting publishers to keep digital prices high is obscene and if it isn't against the law it should be.

Scarshi
Scarshi

I see a lot of hot air being blown around, finger pointing and accusations back and forth. Basically no-one really wants to own up.

 

This is why I buy only for PC now as its tech is far superior to the xbox 360 or ps3 and secondly I can buy from steam, gamersgate, greenmangaming for far less than retail. I bought a digital copy of farcry 3 for pc for $29 aus dollars on sale and also borderlands 2 for $34 aus on pre-order.

 

Buying for consoles is a waste of money for retail costs for a plastic box and some cardboard.

Prats1993
Prats1993

Thank god for Torrents and piracy.

eBentl
eBentl

Good points, bit more hate for EB here than I expected, yes they're the most expensive, they're also the only major retailer relying on games to make their profits as pointed out in the article

 

Not to say that you shouldn't buy online, feel free. Personally I like GSAUs community events, I like that EB has enough sway to be able to give us EB Expo and I like that PAX has subsequently seen an Australian expo as a viable option.

 

Without local publishers the industry wouldn't give a f@#k about us. We'd still get our games, Just with zero community, zero exclusives and some very bloated HDDs and download costs. Personally that doesn't sound like much fun to me

:)

Aiun
Aiun

 @Aletunda  Bzzt.

http://www.steamprices.com/au/topripoffs

 

Have a browse.  Publishers negotiate prices with Steam based on region.  We still pay EB prices, but the difference is that the publisher is getting ALL of the money instead of a cut of what you paid EB. 

 

Buy steam keys from sources other than Steam - ozgameshop, Impulse, or 'gifts' from any trusted friends in the US.   Do not let the publishers get away with this gouging bullshit.

davedrastic
davedrastic

 @Wrathesoul Yes, this is a very important aspect of the discussion (which has thus far been overlooked). One major issue is that consumers are paying too much, have done for years, are not being protected by those that should protect us (IGEA, publishers, national retailers that have been in the market for decades). 

 

Another important aspect is that due to the high costs and lack of protection, we are seeking alternatives and that will continue to diminish the sales and profits achieved by Australian businesses in the market. 

 

10 years ago there weren't any alternatives available to the consumer, but now there are, and we're aware of them. They'll get our money, EB won't. 

davedrastic
davedrastic

 @TurambarGS Costs of shipping might well be a real and valid reason for an increase in price, but not to the extent that the prices are increased. If it costs an extra $5 per unit (which it wouldn't) then charge us $5 extra - not whack up the margin by an extra 30%. 

jchip
jchip

 @Salt_AU Ditto. I generally wait until games hit $20-$25 and buy from UK sites like zavvi.com, game.co.uk and ozgameshop.com. It costs at most a couple of bucks to send the entire order, which blows the "shipping and distribution" defense for higher prices out of the water.

 

Local retailers need to realise online stores are the competition, not the shop just up the road. Retail price competitiveness is essential to stop the flow of Aussie gaming dollars out of the country. Nothing else will prevent me from buying overseas.

 

The only advantage local retail offers is immediacy. However, if like me, you're prepared to wait a couple of weeks for shipping, that advantage is lost. All it boils down to is dollars and cents and I'm not paying almost double to keep a local shop's doors open.

SolemnJedi79
SolemnJedi79

 @Salt_AU Same. Even a game on release is half the price. I'm not ashamed to say, that because Australia was shafted so badly on 3DS pricing, I have a US version (I paid $249 instead of $349, it was even $399 in some places), and order all my 3DS games (the US versions) online and pay around $40 per game (sometimes less).  There are only a couple of issues, no impulse buying (which is a good thing I guess) and if I want to download from the eShop I need to buy a US points card online.

joju_australia
joju_australia

@planetslayer totally agree! TOTALLY! Thank god for the likes of the online shopping my games always arrive in time without hassles n i pay half of the price in Australia! I think the consumer is now getting the leverage instead of being ripped off by the market. Let the grandparents n computer/internet noobs pay the full price from retailer shops, the rest of us we will keep enjoying the new age of gaming!

Lawto13
Lawto13

 @Amorphis2k My wife recently went to buy Dishonoured for me at our local EB games store. When she noticed that a preowned version was marked $15 more than a new copy she left the store. There is some serious BS going on in that company....

davedrastic
davedrastic

 @SolemnJedi79 Yes I agree with this. I hate unsealed games. Part of the point of buying a game is the cherishing of the item - same as it was with CDs', tapes, LPs'. Having said that, the likes of Target are the worst for new games - not only are the games unsealed, but then they'll be put back together by someone that doesn't even know what a game is - and you just have to hope they give all the correct items, and then they slap a big security sticker on it which will remain on the item for the rest of its days. 

 

And why do we need stickers on manuals of pre-owned games? Thanks for needlessly defacing my item, EB. Effwitts. 

joju_australia
joju_australia

@Scarshi you are as ignorant as they come! Except the bit about cheaper on Steam, u know your s#%*t there! Consoles r ruling the gaming world ! Go n cry on the corner of the room ! PC makes the games , we play them on consoles!

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

 @eBentl Relying on second-hand games perhaps. Don't forget they also sell movies, phones, MP3 players and tablets now. If EB Games wasn't around, publishers would make a lot more money here than they do now so that'd be a bonus for them.

Aiun
Aiun

 @Aletunda  Also, greenmangaming.  And note that not all games and not all publishers do this greedy, underhanded, pond-scum behaviour.  Valve's prices, for example, are the same internationally.  And not all the major offenders (Activision, EA, THQ, Sega) gouge us for all their games.  Only what they can get away with.  The big-ticket, AAA titles, usually.

Salt_AU
Salt_AU

 @halovsmetroid2  @Salt_AU

 Exactly where Alucard mentioned.  ozgameshop ships from the UK with zero shipping costs, great site and have never had a problem in over 20 purchases.  I only use it for console games (xbox for me), PC obviously I buy through Steam like everyone else :)

Amorphis2k
Amorphis2k

@Lawto13 yet they get up on their soapbox and cry poor me. I'm an adult gamer as you are so I know when I'm getting ripped off so I can do something about it. What about all of the kids that EB Games is ripping off blind?

SolemnJedi79
SolemnJedi79

 @davedrastic haha I was actually having a dig at my sisters boyfriend a couple of months ago, he's a gamer, works in Big W, and they do the same thing. Only saving grace was that he said if someone specifically asks for a sealed copy, they do have some available they will give to them, they only open and catalogue/display a certain percentage of their stock.

 

And yes I hate stickers too.. >_<

Lawto13
Lawto13

 @Amorphis2k Yeah not just the kids but the parents that don't really know as well but if people wanted to be frugal with their money they would shop around. except that doesn't really work with kids, hype works with kids.

Scarshi
Scarshi

 @SheDawg  @joju_australia I said nothing about whats more popular gaming, just the prices. Thanks SheDawg. Its annoying how easy it is for people to throw around insults based on incorrect interpretation. I'm a bit old for crying in the corner, dude.

 

BTW, I also own a 360 but don't buy games for it anymore based on its aged technology. Though, I did get a copy of Halo 4 from my wife couple months back as a present and enjoy it very much. :)