Just How Crazy Are Those Xbox 360 Games On Demand Prices?

You've heard about how some of the Xbox 360 Games On Demand launch titles seemed a little overpriced in the recent Xbox Live preview. Now that everyone's dashboard has been updated, let's find out the truth.

Below I've listed all 11 games available day one for download via Games On Demand. Under each I've listed the Games On Demand price in Aussie dollars, plus the currently listed prices one the websites of the three major specialist games retailers (EB, GAME and JB) plus one online retailer plucked at random (Games Warehouse).

Where a full price version was available, I have listed its price. If only a preowned version was available, I have listed that price (and noted its preowned status). I've also noted where a price was currently marked as discounted or where the game is part of a bundle or limited edition. Other costs such as postage for online orders, bandwidth for the Live downloads, petrol for your car to get to the store and that cappuccino your girlfriend bought while she waited for you... haven't been factored in.

OK, let's take a look.

What's interesting is that only EB says it carries all 11 titles. JB has eight, Games Warehouse seven and GAME has a mere six listed in their systems, and even some of them are marked "not in stock". Sure, many of the older games are only available as preowned copies at EB. But outside of the Xbox Live service, EB is the only place you could actually still buy all these games. That's one of the benefits of a digital distribution channel: it's no hassle to maintain stock. As Microsoft told us yesterday, it's about "24x7 convenience." And, hey, it's true.

Moving on to price comparisons now. Microsoft also told us yesterday that "no one retailer has the lowest pricing for every product." And, hey, that's true too!

In not one instance is the Games On Demand price the cheapest, yet in six cases it was clearly the most expensive. Although, in most of those cases it's by virtue of being one of just two or three outlets actually selling the game.

Finally, let's look at the two outlets where all 11 games are on sale: Games On Demand and EB Games. If you bought all 11 over Xbox Live you'd pay $559.45. If you bought them all at EB you'd pay $332.50. Admittedly you'd have a few preowned discs there, but on the flipside you could trade in all 11 once you're done and get maybe half your cash back.

BioShock Games On Demand: $49.95 EB Games: $79.95 or $59.95 w/ Oblivion GAME: $59.95 w/ Oblivion Games Warehouse: $54.95 w/ Oblivion JB Hi-Fi: $38.98

Call of Duty 2 Games On Demand: $49.95 EB Games: $22.95 preowned only GAME: n/a Games Warehouse: n/a JB Hi-Fi: n/a

Kameo Games On Demand: $29.95 EB Games: $14.95 preowned only GAME: n/a Games Warehouse: n/a JB Hi-Fi: n/a

Mass Effect Games On Demand: $99.95 EB Games: $79.95 GAME: $69.95 or $29.00 online only Games Warehouse: $44.95 JB Hi-Fi: $89.98

Oblivion Games On Demand: $49.95 EB Games: $59.95 w/ BioShock or $69.95 GOTY Edition GAME: $59.95 w/ BioShock Games Warehouse: $54.95 w/ BioShock or $63.95 GOTY Edition JB Hi-Fi: $45.98

Perfect Dark Zero Games On Demand: $29.95 EB Games: $14.95 preowned only GAME: n/a Games Warehouse: $29.95 JB Hi-Fi: $44.98

Prey Games On Demand: $29.95 EB Games: $14.95 preowned only GAME: $39.95 or $34.00 online only Games Warehouse: $59.95 Limited Edition only JB Hi-Fi: n/a

Rockstar Table Tennis Games On Demand: $69.95 EB Games: $19.95 preowned only GAME: n/a Games Warehouse: n/a JB Hi-Fi: $45.98

SEGA Rally Games On Demand: $49.95 EB Games: $39.95 GAME: n/a Games Warehouse: n/a JB Hi-Fi: $38.98

Viva Pinata Games On Demand: $29.95 EB Games: $9.95 preowned only GAME: $39.95 or $19.00 online only Games Warehouse: $29.95 JB Hi-Fi: $26.98

Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise Games On Demand: $69.95 EB Games: $54.95 GAME: $59.95 or $29.00 online only Games Warehouse: $34.95 JB Hi-Fi: $62.98

So there you have it. Who's up for some Games On Demand?



    total rip off

    That points out the most annoying aspect of the whole situation, the "official price". We know almost nobody sells at it (I paid $15 for Perfect Dark Zero at JB (yes, I was stupid enough to buy it)), but it still exists, so microsoft can still use it to justify their prices..

    Good little check, David. I was curious to see how everything stacked up to stores I buy from (but was too slack to look into it myself). This, to me, solidifies Microsoft's lack of enthusiasm/interest in the Australian market.

    I'll keep paying LESS for MORE, personally. Call me crazy, but it seems like a better deal.

    Why did you choose Games Warhouse out of all the major online retailers?

      As I said, just plucked at random.

        Games Warehouse has some of the better prices around, so I can see why you would choose it

    Still no go Microsoft...

    I can get all of those games way way cheaper from ebay, game sites or the local cashies.
    Plus a patient gamer can get them all on sale at several points in the year...

    Plus 4 hours to download a game isn't what i call convenient.

    So is the listed price on Xbox Live in Australian Dollars? I just never can tell unless they exclusively qualify it.

      Yes, Games On Demand titles are listed in AUD rather than Microsoft Points.

        Which begs the obvious question: why can't DLC be purchased directly in AUD with a credit card?

        Quick answer: because there's a lot of money to be made in advertising a game at token-money prices of 800MSP, yet actually selling people 1000MSP's worth of tokens.

    No thanks M$.

    So why is Mass Effect so expensive?

    I wonder if it's becuase Mass Effect 2 is coming out, as well as ME2 has the option of using saved profiles from the first one.

    i know for a fact that my local GAME have most of the games listed as N/A in stock pre-owned.
    I picked up a copy of Kameo for $4.95 just a few weeks ago.
    maybe try calling an actual store to check stock rather than just looking online since GAME doesn't list pre-owned product online.

    huh all the games are 29.99 NS 19.99? NOT THOSE prices?

      I don't understand this comment. Can you explain?

    David, did you call these stores or go in to these stores? Curious how you got the data.

    More because I wish there was some sort of boozle type website for my game shopping. >.>

      I just updated the post to say these prices were obtained from each retailer's website.

    Yeah I work in a GAME store and I can tell you for fact we have every one of those 11 games in stock, thanks.

      Please update your website then, thanks.

    Call me old fashion, but I rather have the physical media. Specially if I'm not allowed to make backups.

      I'm with you; I like to own a physical copy of the title. I like to actually have a library of titles which I can display on a shelf, even if it means I have to physically get up and put in the disk to play it.

      As for backups, isn't that an argument _for_ digital distribution? Can't you redownload the game if your hard drive goes kaput? That makes the publisher the ultimate backup medium.

    Just had a quick look at the US marketplace and Rockstar Table Tennis is US$29.99 which works out to be $36.12 of our Australian dollars. It's the Steam geographic price differences all over again.

    Hey I too work for GAME and we have all those games instore as either new or P/O. The main arguement for buying instore or online via mail is that you can indeed "Trade-In" your copies once your done. At GAME "We Won't Be Beaten on Trade-ins" is our moto. So no matter where you get your hard copy you will always get the best value on trade-in at GAME. I know I sound like an advert but doesn't it make sense to buy a hard copy if your looking for Value and not "convenience"?

    Hey David,

    You should also point out that if you buy all 11 games, you're almost likely to need a bigger hard drive. Since most people don't have the 120GB HDD's.

    And we all know how cheap they are.

    Of course the advantage with the download game is you don't have to put the damn disc in the system each time, downside - you can't lend the games to your friends.
    But seriously, the download version shouldn't cost more than the physical versions.
    I guess MS can't go cheaper than retail though or they'd piss-off the game retailers.

    Just to add to the I work at GAME people....

    Kameo $9.95 Preowned
    Call of Duty 2 $19.95 Preowned
    Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise $39.00 in store special
    Sega Rally $29.95 Preowned
    Mass Effect $39.00 in store special

    Personally, I prefer to buy my games at retail as I like to add them to my collection (a bit of staff discount also helps) :)

    What a disappointment. Updated the dash last night only to find an anaemic list of 'on demand' games with price tags that make the avatar marketplace items seem like excellent value for money.

    The word convenience just doesn't apply here. Ridiculous pricing coupled with waiting for the download, plus the dent it'll put in your monthly Internet access (unless you're on iinet) AND potentially weeks of waiting to see if any games you actually want will be available for purchase?

    Tis no convenience sir. Tis a farce.

    It's Steam + Call of Duty 4 all over again.


    Wow, all of those games are ridiculous. SEGA Rally can be easily found at any store for < $30 new OR pre-owned there's copies of that everywhere

    CoD 2 for $49.95 is an absolute joke.

      Amen. Launch title games at RRP?

      While I can see some things as a bargain when compared against US prices (which are even a ripoff when compared to amazon and other US online stores), it's disgusting!

      $50 bucks for a game no one has played in years? Seriously.

      I could understand if they priced them the same as the previous Xbox 1 games, and started with launch titles. This is just idiodic.

      Stand by for the article in 2 weeks where MS PR sez "Australian XBL Users are just not taking up these fantastic opportunities we are offering them, why not guys?!"

    You forgot to include GST in the on demand prices, fail.

      Huh? ..they do already you moron.

      The On Demand prices include tax, fool.

    Microsoft's argument leaves out a few key points:

    - the "convenience" factor is sorely tested by the fact that you have to download gigabytes worth of data to the Xbox, and that you cannot lend that game to friends or play it on any other Xbox. So if you want to pop around to your mates place and play, say, Left 4 Dead together, you can't. Where's the convenience?

    - nobody (except morons with too much money) shop at only the one store. Everyone looks around for the best price, picking and choosing where to buy a specific game based on who has the lowest price. With Games-on-Demand, you can't do that, so you end up paying the price that Microsoft dictates.

    I just bought Mass Effect at game.com.au for $29. It'll probably take a couple of days to deliver.

    XBL Price: $99. I could have bought 3 copies of the game for hte price MS wants. So much for "convenience".

    This pricing is clearly aimed at cashed-up retards; the same target audience as those who buy Avatar props.

    The xbox HDD space is far too expensive to waste precious blocks on these downloads. If you need to make space and delete games, you'll probably want them back at some time. It's quicker to install from DVD than to download again, plus you can play directly from DVD.

    David, now what you should do is list the games on demand prices of the US version IN AUD... it gets even more horrible

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