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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Andrew EisenNow, that post on GameFAQs was made four years ago. It appears the ESRB has since moved the appeals process stuff behind the publisher login on its website.05/29/2015 - 3:32am
Andrew EisenOh, third link on the Google search. Okay. That leads to a GameFAQs message board which quotes a section of the ESRB website that includes a description of the appeals process. But when you follow the link, that quote doesn't exist.05/29/2015 - 3:30am
Andrew EisenThird link down from what? Look, I'm not arguing the existance of an appeals process. There obviously is one. I was merely noting that it's odd that it isn't described on the website's ratings process section but it is on the mobile site.05/29/2015 - 3:25am
IronPatriotOK, so use the third link down, which describes the appeals process and is not on the mobile site"Publishers also have the ability to appeal an ESRB rating assignment to an Appeals Board, which is made up of publishers, retailers and other professionals."05/29/2015 - 2:47am
Andrew EisenRight, which links to the ESRB's mobile site. On the website (again, unless I'm overlooking it) the appeals process is locked behind the publisher login.05/29/2015 - 2:37am
IronPatriotHuh? Google "appeals esrb". It is the first link. Click it. No login requested.05/29/2015 - 2:31am
Andrew EisenInteresting. It's on the mobile site but unless I'm overlooking it, I don't see it under the Ratings Process on the web site. It is under the publishers section but you can't access it without a login.05/29/2015 - 2:13am
IronPatriot"Publishers also have the ability to appeal an ESRB rating assignment to an Appeals Board made up of publishers, retailers and other professionals. " Esrb05/29/2015 - 2:01am
IronPatriotZachary, did you look on the esrb site? The esrb appeals process pops up when you search "esrb appeals" http://m.esrb.org/faq_09.php05/29/2015 - 2:00am
Andrew EisenThe humor reminds me a lot of Axe Cop.05/29/2015 - 1:37am
WymorenceOh sweet god, Kung Fury is freaking awesome...05/28/2015 - 10:03pm
E. Zachary KnightWonder, I know you can revise content and resubmit it, but I can't findany information about a formal appeals process.05/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Wonderkarpever wonder if there's an appeals process for AO?05/28/2015 - 6:55pm
Matthew WilsonDanny and Andy play the first couple of levels of the upcoming Hatred http://www.gamespot.com/videos/hatred-gamespot-plays/2300-6425016/ imho it does not look like it should be AO.05/28/2015 - 5:57pm
Andrew EisenHey, remember Kung Fury? That short film that was funded via Kickstarter a few years ago? You can watch it now. I suggest you do. It's fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg05/28/2015 - 5:14pm
Goth_SkunkOriginally, yes. Some content was cut out in order to reduce its ratign from AO down to M, but PC users could work around that an unlock the full content by means of a patch. Which is what I did. :D05/28/2015 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenKarp - Yes, for strong sexual content. Although the recent remaster contains all that content and was rated M.05/28/2015 - 3:54pm
Andrew EisenDepends on if you consider Hatred misrated. I haven't played the game or seen the ESRB's rating summary so I'm undecided.05/28/2015 - 3:53pm
WonderkarpDidnt Fahrenheit have an AO?05/28/2015 - 3:52pm
Matthew Wilson@AE that is why I said it seems more moral panic to me.05/28/2015 - 3:51pm
 

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