Australia’s Productivity Commission Tackles Video Game Prices

August 8, 2011 -

Australia's Productivity Commission, an independent advisory board that focuses on the "economic, social and environmental issues affecting the welfare of Australians," is now setting its sights on video game prices in the country. A new report entitled "Economic Structure and Performance of the Australian Retail Industry" details the sticker shock Australians face when it comes to buying video games. The report details the practice by publishers of artificially increasing the price of games. The Productivity Commission roundly condemns this practice in its report.

The Commission says that it is aware of the "longstanding practice" by international suppliers to set different regional prices. This effectively treats consumers in one region as willing to pay higher prices than those in other countries. Australian consumers are quite aware of this practice because they often see that consumers in other regions are paying significantly less than they are.

Some international suppliers have attempted to defend the practice by saying that it is "due to the cost of supplying a remote and relatively small market like Australia" which has its own unique requirements. These arguments are especially ridiculous in the case of digital downloads such as music, software and videos, where the costs of delivery to the customer are negligible and uniform to what everyone else in the world is paying.

You can read the full report here and an in-depth analysis of it at Kotaku Australia.


Comments

Re: Australia’s Productivity Commission Tackles Video Game ...

It's also due to the fact that the exchange rate is a very poor indicator of the worth of a currency. Its exchange rate worth is not its purchasing power (i.e. real) worth. To get the real worth of a currency we really have to look at what you can buy for that currency (excluding other currencies), but for various reasons a good estimate is given by PPP (purchasing power parity) adjustment.

There's a massive difference between Australia's nominal GDP (which is subject to aberrations of exchange rate) and Australia's PPP-adjusted GDP. In 2010, Australia's nominal GDP per capita was around $56,000 (US), while its PPP-adjusted GDP per capita was only around $40,000.

What this basically means is that in 2010, one Australian dollar was in real terms only worth around 70% of what the exchange rate with the USA made it look like it was worth. As the AUD continues to climb against the USD thanks to Australia's strong economy, the gulf between nominal (exchange rate) value and real (purchasing power) value only grows.

 
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Matthew Wilsonthe issue is when is doesn't work it can screw over millions in new york city's case. more often than not it is better to let the free market run its course without market distortion.04/16/2014 - 9:36am
NeenekoTrue, and overdone stagnation is a problem. It is a tricky balance. It does not help that when it does work, no one notices. Most people here have benifited from rent controls and not even realized it.04/16/2014 - 9:23am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/04/15/riaa_files_civil_suit_against_megaupload04/16/2014 - 8:48am
ZippyDSMleeEither way you get stagnation as people can not afford the prices they set.04/16/2014 - 8:47am
Neenekowell, specifically it helps people already living there and hurts people who want to live there instead. As for 'way more hurt', majorities generally need less legal protection. yes it hurt more people then it helped, it was written for a minority04/16/2014 - 8:30am
MaskedPixelantehttp://torrentfreak.com/square-enix-drm-boosts-profits-and-its-here-to-stay-140415/ Square proves how incredibly out of touch they are by saying that DRM is the way of the future, and is here to stay.04/16/2014 - 8:29am
james_fudgeUnwinnable Weekly Telethon playing Metal Gear http://www.twitch.tv/rainydayletsplay04/16/2014 - 8:06am
ConsterTo be fair, there's so little left of the middle class that those numbers are skewing.04/16/2014 - 7:42am
Matthew Wilsonyes it help a sub section of the poor, but hurt both the middle and upper class. in the end way more people were hurt than helped. also, it hurt most poor people as well.04/16/2014 - 12:13am
SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
NeenekoSo "worked" vs "failed" really comes down to who you think is more important and deserving04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoThough I am also not sure we can say NYC failed. Rent control helped the people it was intended for and is considered a failure by the people it was designed to protect them from.04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoIf they change the rules, demand will plummet. Though yeah, rent control probably would not help much in the SF case. I doubt anything will.04/15/2014 - 1:35pm
TheSmokeyOnline gamer accused of murdering son to keep playing - http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2014/04/15/21604921.html04/15/2014 - 11:50am
Matthew Wilsonyup, but curent city rules do not allow for that.04/15/2014 - 11:00am
ZippyDSMleeIf SF dose not start building upwards then they will price people out of the aera.04/15/2014 - 10:59am
Matthew Wilsonthe issue rent control has it reduces supply, and in SF case they already has a supply problem. rent control ofen puts rent below cost, or below profit of selling it. rent control would not fix this issue.04/15/2014 - 10:56am
NeenekoRent control is useful in moderation, NYC took it way to far and tends to be held up as an example of them not working, but in most cases they are more subtle and positive.04/15/2014 - 10:24am
PHX CorpBeating Cancer with Video Games http://mashable.com/2014/04/14/steven-gonzalez-survivor-games/04/15/2014 - 9:21am
Matthew Wilsonwhat are you saying SF should do rent control, that has never worked every time it has been tried. the issue here is a self inflicted supply problem imposed by stupid laws.04/15/2014 - 8:52am
 

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