In Real Life

Yet More Evidence Of How Australians Get Ripped Off With Games Pricing

It’s not news to us that game pricing locally is frequently a rip-off. We’re looking forward to the outcome of the government inquiry into why that is. And the submission by consumer advocate CHOICE to that inquiry highlights just what an iniquitous situation the average Aussie game consumer finds themselves in.

CHOICE’s submission includes an analysis of the pricing for PC games on Steam, and for 20 recent and upcoming games through EB Games in Australia and the US, based on early June exchange rates. Steam was by far the worst offender, with price differences as high as 342 per cent. This table lists the ten worst offenders for Steam pricing as identified by CHOICE:

Title $AU $US $US in $AU Difference
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 $89.99 $19.99 $20.34 342%
Shift 2 Unleashed $79.99 $19.99 $20.34 293%
Lord Of The Rings: War In The North $73.99 $19.99 $20.34 264%
Dark Spore $69.99 $19.99 $20.23 264%
Dead Space 2 $69.99 $19.99 $20.34 244%
Medal Of Honor $69.99 $19.99 $20.34 244%
Rage $89.99 $29.99 $30.52 195%
Soldier Of Fortune $54.99 $19.99 $20.34 170%
Alien Vs Predator $39.99 $14.99 $15.26 162%
Mafia II $79.99 $29.99 $30.52 162%

For PC games sold through EB Games (the US and AU sites respectively), the average difference is lower (51 per cent) but still pronounced. GST theoretically accounts for 10 per cent of this, but that leaves a lot unexplained. (Note that Skyrim is actually cheaper here, albeit only by $1 or so.)

Title $AU $US $US in $AU Difference
Diablo III $88.00 $59.99 $61.05 44%
Guild Wars 2 $88.00 $59.99 $61.05 44%
Max Payne 3 Special Edition $138.00 $99.99 $101.76 36%
Max Payne 3 $88.00 $59.99 $61.05 44%
The Elder Scrolls Online $98.00 $59.99 $61.05 61%
Star Wars: The Old Republic $59.00 $49.99 $50.88 16%
Bioshock Infinite $98.00 $59.99 $61.05 61%
Call Of Duty: Black Ops II $98.00 $59.99 $61.05 61%
World Of Warcraft: Mists Of Pandaria $58.00 $39.99 $40.70 43%
Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Gods & Kings $48.00 $29.99 $30.52 57%
Dishonored $78.00 $59.99 $61.05 28%
XCOM: Enemy Unknown $98.00 $49.99 $50.88 93%
Aliens: Colonial Marines $88.00 $49.99 $50.88 73%
Metro: Last Light $88.00 $49.99 $50.88 73%
Tomb Raider $88.00 $49.99 $50.88 73%
Saints Row The Third: Enter The Dominatrix $48.00 $29.99 $30.52 57%
Company Of Heroes 2 $88.00 $59.99 $61.05 44%
The Secret World $88.00 $49.99 $50.88 73%
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim $59.56 $59.99 $61.05 -2%
Borderlands 2 $88.00 $59.99 $61.05 44%

Not news to any dedicated game shopper, but it’s good to see hard data backing up the need for change.

CHOICE

Image: Mark Nolan/Getty Images