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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