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.