Aussie government pushing forward with tech/game price inquiry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GameSpot AU will continue to update this story.

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