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

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 “24×7 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.

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

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

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

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?



  • 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.

  • 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.

      • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. >.>

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?!”

  • 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.

  • Disclaimer: I don’t work for GAME.

    Bizarre pricing. Really bizarre pricing. I paid less than $99 for Mass Effect on launch day. I’d happily pay full whack for a game in the launch window, but not for one from the console’s launch window.

    In other news, does anyone know if MS Points from the UK can be used in Australia. As the pound has gone down the toilet, getting points from Blighty is quite attractive at the mo.

  • the two JB HI FI’s nearest me sell all those old games brand new.

    mind you they are in those hideous platinum boxes.

  • I just updated and Mass Effect for $100 is ridiculous.

    Almost as insane as $70 for f**king Rockstar Table Tennis.


  • Not to mention the fact that you have to pay for the cost of a download as well, probably buy a new hard drive for $150 (my 60GB hard drive doesn’t have much on it and its full).

    Plus the INconveniance of a lengthy multi gig download using Australias crappy services which is time you can’t play games over Live.

    Not to mention the fact you can’t trade games with your mates anymore, which is a practise MS are probably trying to curb. What they don’t seem to realise though is that people trade games with each other because they can’t afford to buy them all. Preventing them from doing so isn’t going to magically increase game sales.

    Even before they announced these shamelessly gouging prices I thought MS must have been smoking buckets of crack to have thought this service was a good idea.

  • “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.”

    Well, there is the GST you need to add, which brings the AUD price up to $40. But yeah, this is just bullcrap from Microsoft.

    Still, it’s not like any of us can be surprised. And a BIG THANKYOU to all the people out there who ever BOUGHT THEMES from XBL Marketplace. Thank you very much for telling Microsoft that you were willing to pay for worthless digital items with your hard earned money, on TOP of the Gold subscription.

  • The only outrageous price I see there is for Mass Effect, which has been on sale for $50 so consistently that the market regards that as the correct price for it now.

    That said, all the other games are ones I could pick up at local department stores for AU$20 or thereabouts, and that’s new. Believe it or not, you can still buy Kameo new. It’s helpful to me that I’m on the Sunshine Coast where retail is impossibly sluggish, but that has to be taken in comparison with the whole of the country, which I’d rate in degrees of slugs anyway.

    Comparing the prices to those at actual specialist gaming retailers is going to be the most favourable to Games On Demand, because specialist games retailers charge stupidly high prices as it is. If that list comprised Target, Kmart, Big W et al it might be a different story.

  • Who’s up for Games On Demand… newbie suckers with no clue, and no respect for value or their own hard-earned?

    This is typical of M$’s contempt towards Aussie gamers. Until they get the numbers of active Live gamers their dreaming of down under, they don’t give a flying f**k about improving the experience for those that currently pay…

    Clearly if you purchase GoD games, you have no clue whatsoever.. and you deserve the exorbitant price dent i your wallet.

    Love to see the stats on Games on Demand shoud M$ choose to disclose.. how many suckers they duped.

  • I’m betting this’ll get phased out quite quickly because “users just aren’t taking up the service” ala Xbox Originals.

    Every single thing on that list is a rip-off, some more than others. Absolutely ridiculous.

  • Well, actually, I’ve seen plenty of brand new copies of Kameo in stock at the JB I work at (both in the green case and the Classic case). Can’t think of the price on the top of my head, though.

    We also stock pre-owned copies of Kameo, and I reckon I’ve also seen copies of Prey, both new and used.

  • I really think they are going to screw the pooch on this one. It would be much better if they actually priced these games competitively to go with the 24/7 easy access that they provid. Better to sell more (ANY AT ALL) games cheaper then a few (NONE) at inflated prices.

    As it stands I will not be touching any of these games and I usually go for digital distribution as Im busy, lazy and have pleanty of income, but this goes to far.

    oh well, their loss.

  • when i turned on my xbox today i was also astounded at the prices of the on-demand games. i work at video ezy and we definitely have at least 3/4 of those games in stock for cheaper than they are availiable ‘on demand’. and we arent even a specialist game store! microsoft you are ridiculous!

  • This is an interesting move. Could this mark the beginning of the end of physical media? First there was cassette tapes, then cartridges, then cds, then dvds. Will the next generation of consoles include drive-less machines? It would potentially bring down manufacturing costs and machine size and make it harder to damage.

    Is this a move to counter the trading of secondhand games. A practice that is unlikely to dissapear anytime soon unless pawn shops are prevented from selling games.

    Benefits of no scratched discs, no lost discs or discs eaten by the dog. And perhaps a nice solid proof of purchase 20 years from now when your 10 core quantum computer is running a retro xbox360 emulator.

    And presumably microsoft won’t reach into your hard disk and delete a game.

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