Australian Consumer Group Demands Lower Game Prices

May 30, 2011 -

Forget about the "rent is too damned high" party, gamers down under are getting robbed by retailers, according to a consumer group. Australian consumer rights publication CHOICE has submitted a document to the government's Productivity Commission last week demanding retailers lower the price of games.

The group called on "importers, distributors and retailers to pass some of the savings they are enjoying thanks to the strong Aussie dollar on to Australian consumers." As an example, CHOICE claims that Australian consumers can save about 90 percent on the price of Portal 2 if they purchase it abroad instead of at home.

The Australian dollar is worth about as much as the US dollar, CHOICE says, but the price of video games has not come down in the country.

"Who can blame them," CHOICE notes in its statement, "when Xbox and PlayStation 3 games cost 91% more from a major Australian online retailer than from an overseas online website based in Asia?"

They have a point. CHOICE's director of campaigns and communications Christopher Zinn adds that Australian retailers are becoming complacent.

"The pressure from overseas online competition is a much needed wake up for Australian retailers to be more competitive," he wrote.

CHOICE also challenges the retail industry's claim that the GST-free threshold for products under $1000 is the cause of higher prices.

"Adding 10% to the cost of a product that is 91% cheaper is not an effective deterrent," CHOICE writes. "This is a distraction from the real issue of excessive mark-ups and challenges the industry to offer realistic explanations on why prices are so high or - better yet - begin offering better deals for Australian consumers. The imposition of a GST on overseas purchases will not make the threat of far better deals overseas go away."

We'll follow up on this story as it develops.

Source: CHOICE


Comments

Re: Australian Consumer Group Demands Lower Game Prices

It's about the same in New Zealand, which isn't surprising when you consider that some of our games come from Australia anyway.

Games here range from $90 to $120 NZD ($74 to $99 USD).

As an example: L.A. Noire is $119.99 NZD ($99.03 USD) at EB Games NZ, whereas it's only $72.70 NZD ($59.99 USD) in GameStop US. Noting that console games cost roughly $20-30 NZD ($16.50-24.76 USD) more than PC games. To preorder Duke Nukem Forever for the PC, it'd cost me $99.99 NZD ($82.50 USD).

Generally speaking, Australian and New Zealand games will usually find themselves paying twice as much for a game than our North American and British counterparts. Even with shipping it is generally cheaper to import a game as opposed to buying it here.

As I live in New Zealand, I can't comment too much on the GST-free thing. I don't believe we get that, so we have to pay an extra 13% (that's our GST) on top of every purchase. Even if they did remove GST on certain items, it wouldn't make much of a difference, seeing that we'd still be paying around 30-50% more than US or UK consumers regardless.

-- Randi Tastix

Re: Australian Consumer Group Demands Lower Game Prices

Had a look at Game's Australian site, LA Noire is $82, Brink is $88 and an Aussie Rules Football game is $98. And they're on sale with between $11 and $21 off the regular price.

 

TL:DR About 100 Australian Dollars. By contrast the number on the pricetags in the UK (not sure about exchange rate value) is about half the AU price.

Re: Australian Consumer Group Demands Lower Game Prices

Is there a standard price for a new game in Australia?  What is it?

Re: Australian Consumer Group Demands Lower Game Prices

I have heard that new releases go for about $100 over there. I would never pay that price for a game, I am surprised they sell ANY.


Re: Australian Consumer Group Demands Lower Game Prices

It's true, I work at a Gamestop and had a vacationing family pop in and buy up nearly every major title.

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