Sony Respond To DC Universe Online Price Disparity

Sony Respond To DC Universe Online Price Disparity

Earlier today we reported that Australian DC Universe Online users were experiencing a price disparity between the US and Australia. While most MMOs simply charge users the US amount, based on the current exchange rate, DC Universe Online has been charging its users a flat rate – of $19.95 per month. Meaning that, based on today’s exchange rates, Australians were being charged an $4-5 a month extra to play on the same servers.

We asked Sony to respond, and they’ve just gotten back to us with a response, which you can read below.

DC Universe Online product went on sale in Australia and New Zealand yesterday. DC Universe Online is an online multiplayer game and requires a valid subscription to play. A 30 day subscription is included in the purchase of the game. Additional recurring fees automatically apply thereafter, and an internet connection is also required.

On the front of the DC Universe retail pack made available to consumers in Australia and New Zealand it is stated that on the console version “Recurring subscription charges apply automatically thereafter” and on the PC version “Additional subscription fees apply” and also that “Internet connection required”.

Additional information in regard to the Australian Dollar pricing schedule was also made available to retailers to help assist with any consumer inquiries at the point of purchase in regard to ongoing subscription prices in Australia.

After receiving feedback today from our community today, we are also in the process of requesting an update to the global game website to reflect Australia and New Zealand currencies and apologise for any inconvenience.

The major issue for most users was the lack of information regarding the extra cost – most consumers bought the game expecting to pay $15US per month, and were surprised to find they had to pay extra to play. It looks like Sony are attempting to remedy that situation, by making sure customers are aware of the cost, but time will tell if they make any changes to the subscription fees.

Comments

  • You’re right on the money there (excuse the pun) instead of giving a reason for the increased cost or anything about dropping the price, but they will make it easier to inform Australian customers how much they are going to get screwed.

  • Can we please change the title of the article to “Sony Dodge The Question About DC Universe Price Disparity”.

    All they’ve said is that they’ll change the website to indicate the different Australian price. They haven’t responded at all to the question about WHY the price is higher.

  • Sorry we didn’t inform you that you were being screwed. We will now make sure that our Australian users are aware that they are being Screwed.

    Well done Sony

  • Why is it when I played star wars galaxies online afew years ago I just paid the us price exchange rate? but now soe decide to f**k us over? I will be using a proxy now.

    • because a couple years ago when our currency wasn’t at parity you’d have been paying around $20AU after conversion, now that it is they’re under some false impression that people will happily continue paying that amount since apparently we’re not smart enough to realise our cash is worth more than it was in the past enabling them to line their pockets. Which really shows they haven’t been paying attention since stores are having a hissy over the fact that australians are turning to online purchases/importing and away from physical stores with pretty much everything but food since it’s cheaper.

  • Thanks for covering this and getting a reply out of Sony. At least there’s a chance now for Aus/NZ players to know what they’re getting into.

  • This is BS Serrels!

    We already had to pay a 50% mark up for the disc itself.

    Could someone please comment on whether the PC version is $20 a month also? I’m curious to know.

  • The real pity about this is I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this game to my mate’s ,it really is a good game but sony is doing what they normally do with good games and screw it up.

  • It is like every single publisher wants to make Australia as mad as possible. Is our dollar poisonous or something?

    I guess I will just have to continue importing things

  • “we are also in the process of requesting an update to the global game website to reflect Australia and New Zealand currencies”

    So it won’t happen right away, if at all.

  • “A 30 day subscription is included in the purchase of the game.”
    They fail to mention that you NEED to enter a credit card details to pay for the next month before they actually give you the 30 days.

    I bought the game expecting to be able to use this trial until my master card arrives. I hoped to get decent service but unfortunately, I got the opposite, I can’t play the game that I bought, and there are no Pre-Paid cards available in Australia.

    Whats the point in advertising 30 free days when you actually have to pay to access them? At least Blizzard actually let you try the game before taking your credit card details.

  • au gamer: “why does this game subscription cost more than what the us pays for?”

    sony: “yes, and you’re welcome.”

  • Mark, thanks for drawing attention to this issue as it affects all players in the AU/NZ region.

    In response to SOE’s ‘statement’:

    Since when is it the responsibility of retailers to go out of their way to inform customers of the exact subscription pricing schedule on behalf of SOE/DCUO? What SOE are saying above is that ‘we gave information to AU retailers to answer any questions on AU pricing – but only if you ask them’? I’d like to see a copy of this additional information as well as the date when this was issued to retailers. Is anyone aware of this at their local EBGames/GAME store? This should have been included IN or WITH the product, in advance of purchase. It wasn’t.

    Also, Digital Distribution is a valid form of purchase for AU/NZ players (there is nothing saying it is only for EU/US consumers). Were Direct2Drive, Steam and SOE’s own online store advising us of the separate subscription fees in advance? They weren’t.

    All they are doing here is now choosing to advertise the separate subscription fees – which they should have done from the beginning – not nearly 2 weeks after having *already misled* consumers.

    Formal complaints have already been lodged with the ACCC and are currently in progress, with more to follow.

    SOE, with all this in the pipeline, you may be doing more than apologising to us before this is all over. Instead of being obstinate and accepting no accountability or responsibility, perhaps you’d instead like to be proactive and resolve the issue appropriately before you are forced to further embarrass yourselves.

    • I work at one of the above mentioned retailers and I don’t believe that any of my fellow employees received any information on the subscription costs of DCUO.

  • Is $5 extra per month THAT much to worry about? Honestly?

    Sure we’re not even with the US pricing.. but neither is Europe. I know this doesn’t justify the extra $$$ but it’s $5. Five dollars.

    If it were $30 per month, then yeah, I could see the complaint. But whining over a $5 premium? That’s a little bit silly.

    • @ That Guy

      Is $5 that much to worry about? Perhaps. Perhaps not, but multiply an additional $5 per “x” number of AU/NZ players – and ask yourself, why are we lining SOE’s pockets and letting them abuse us in the process? What makes them so deserving that we should willingly and blithely fork over additional cash for no justifiable reason/benefit?

      The other big point here is the false/deceptive/misleading advertising. I have a right to know how much the subscription fees are *before* I purchase/activate the game.

      SOE advertised the US and EU subscription fees – there was never a separate AU subscription fee advertised anywhere and AU/NZ players only discovered there was *after* purchasing and activating the game.

    • I like throwing 45$ a year away too. It’s fun you know, sometimes I just burn it and rub it in hobos faces.

    • It’s the principle not the money. Currently DCUO downtime is during Aussie peak hours, many ps3 players can’t even play and they also charge us more for Stationcash, http://www.soe.com/en/stationcash/faq.vm (at the bottom). Australian gamers are being treated very poorly and I for one am grateful that people are not just saying “Oh well” and taking it.

      I’m not trying to be offensive, but if you want to pay more for interrupted game time, lag, bugs and poor customer service go ahead. I personally won’t support a company that clearly cares nothing for its customers, not that it comes as any real surprise it is SOE we’re talking about.

    • It is about the companies setting pricing trends that can only worsen, Such is the case with the new DOW:II expansion coming out. $29.99 in the US(Including tax I believe) but it is $60 within Australia(EB Games & Steam prices). That is the issue at hand.

      Get away with it once and they will continue to do it. Call them out on it and continually give them bad press and negative feedback, They “may” learn the error of their ways…

    • Let’s assume that someone is willing to play this for at least 12 months.

      $5 x 12 months = $60

      Or maybe even 24 months?

      $5 x 24 months = $120.

      Get where I’m coming at? In the short run it sounds cheap, but these additional costs per month will just keep adding.

    • ‘Tis the principle of the matter.

      Sure, we could rationalise it away but that’ll just encourage them to keep doing it.

    • “Sure we’re not even with the US pricing.. but neither is Europe.”

      Europe have their own servers (little ping) that aren’t down for several hours everyday during their peak playtimes.

    • That’s $5 each and every month. $60 a year. For the “privilege” of playing the exact same game only connecting to the servers over a greater distance. I don’t know if you live at home and mum and dad pay for everything, or simply haven’t learned to appreciate money, but that $5 premium each month doesn’t hold any extra value and so should be in my pocket each month.

    • when you look at it that way, if you were to play the game for 5yrs, that comes to an extra $300, an extra $300 for the exact same service as the U.S gamers….it doesnt really look all that silly now, right?

  • I’m constantly surprised by the gaming community and their willingness to give SOE yet another chance.

    They’ve failed so many times in regards to pricing and quality.. and yet people still buy their products on release, “just in case”.

  • honestly are people really that surprised? Most MMO’s charge $20AUD per month or have customer pay $15USD online, the only difference here is that SONY is making you pay in AUD and the dollar is temporally stronger than usual for a while. In 12 months or so the dollar will probably be ~10-12% weaker and it won’t seem like a rip off, but had SONY started off charging $15 then increased the price to $18 per month im sure the playerbase would of been in an uproar.

  • I was excited for this game but I overlooked the pay to play part. I let it launch without picking it up then I saw these subscriptions for it on PSN and I was like wtf? Oh right its an MMO… Thats still bullshit. I’m one of those people who doesn’t want to pay just to play the thing when I’ve already bought it. One of the reasons why I don’t play WoW. Glad I dodged that bullet!

  • Hi has anyone forgot to mention the failed launch in Australia that has left majority of the consumers left with out an answer as to why they released a game clearly not ready to be released and is sitting in most peoples consoles useless.

  • I got the digital download off steam on the 11th, so it was only released to retail yesterday but many people in aus have been playing well before then, I payed for my entry, but the game just isn’t worth the $20 a month, and yes it’s the same price for PC and PS3.
    Sony and their disproportionate pricing scheme can take a jump, I cancelled my subscription and will play out the 30 days maybe, but not going to go back.

    • I did the same thing, buying the game on the 13th.
      Found that the game was not worth the money I spent cancelled my subscription and don’t even think it is worth wasting the time to play out the free time I have left.

  • $5 is a lot considering the dollar is nearly on par with americas. But whats worse, Americans are paying $60 for games and Aussies are paying $100+ which is much worse, im sick of paying so much more than America does, i mean the games are also published over here so its not like theres a shipping fee or anything. We just get so ripped off.

    The worst thing is that PC users get a lifetime subscription and PS3 users dont, we just get like 6 months for $100, the life time fee was meant to be the equivalent of a 1 years subscription in terms of price.

  • So they still don’t explain why. If the money was going to an Oceanic server, then maybe it would be justified but it isn’t now.

  • I’ve been lurking on the PC & PS3 forums since this was brought up and it’s interesting that SOE closes any thread that has to go with playability problems (Bugs, freezes, downtime, etc) and the big thread about the Australian pricing has been deleted completely.

    Just like Blizzard, SOE is getting a bad rep from customers by ignoring their fan base and treating these problems like they do not exist.

  • I seriously had to go back and re-read that a couple of times to be sure. Did they REALLY just ignore the issue COMPLETELY? I have to admit, that was pretty epic. Whoever wrote that should become a politician.

  • I find this to be the biggest ballsup launch I can remember in my 30 years in gaming. I get my $90 preorder copy after everyone else on earth as I live in Australia where we get treated like arse basically. I then wait 3 hours for the installs etc. I then CANT Play the game due to freezes up 2 mins in like it did in the beta (no change there) I then put a thread on the DCUO official forums asking for Aussies who cant play to log your issues. After 200 entries on that thread I GET BANNED for inciting bad behaviour after catching out the admin staff for BSíng us. Now I find out today that not only are my free 30 days period being wasted (2 days in still havent played the game) but with no timeframe of a fix they want me to pay $5 more than anybody else of even what I pay blizzard each month… Let me think about it….. hmmmmm NO FKING WAY SOE, the game is going back thanks for nothing you screwed the Australian launch bigtime and have lost my patronage.

  • I’m starting to suspect that some time ago companies of the rest of the world caught wind that apparently Australians would happily pony up absurd premiums on electronic goods because “taxes or something, no one is really sure, but they pay anyway.”

    I expect that a minute of silence followed this discovery as the corporate machine processed this information while a thick, noxious ichor drooled down their collective chin. “That means,” they said at unison, voice trembling with perverse lust, “we can just slap additional costs to the same products we sell in our own countries, and the suckers won’t even notice!”

  • Strange how most MMO’s have really shaky launches. It’s a shame what SONY has done with their subscription pricing. Totally unfair and I cannot see any real reason for it, especially when the dollar is nearly at parity.

    I probably won’t consider any of their products now either, in retaliation. Not that I would consider most anyway- nearly always overpriced and poor quality. Way to go SONY! Knowing you,this game will probably go by the same way like SWG saga…

  • Well I went with the crowd who were all crying that this was a good game but once I got into it I found that it was nothing more than a B-class port of a console game.
    The chat system was added in at the last moment and is cr*p. All you can do is shout out from what I can see.
    Missions are go there, kill X of this, collect Y of that, rinse and repeat.
    Add in that leveling is obscenely easy. A couple hours of playing my first toon and she is already lvl 10. With a max level of 30 it is not going to be long to reach it.
    I will be canceling my subscription before the 30 days is over.
    It just doesn’t have the appeal to get me away from WoW. And by having to pay A$20 per month when the US players are only paying US$15; well that is just sinking the boot when you are down.

  • Seeing as I’ve not choice but to pay $60 more a year in order to play the same game, I’ve decided to install CFW on my PS3 and pirate one new release game each year I play dcuo in order to get my full money’s worth out of sony.

    Only 11 months to go til I make that first download! I do hope there’s something good coming out next xmas.

  • @Killiandros I am totally with you my friend, bloody well said.

    One thing I guess where people are getting mixed up, is they are comparing $15US prices to play on those servers, with $19.95 AUS and calling it the same thing.

    Its like going to Mc Donald’s and having an entire community buy cheeseburgers on the other side of the world, then when there done with it. SOE decides that hey we should package that up from the trash, then send it to those Aussies and charge more for it.

    There is a major difference between clever marketing strategies and clearly hiding the facts for a profitable gain.

    They should be forced to refund any purchases to Australian consumers due to false advertising, and bring our subscription charges in line with the current conversion rates.

    For all other remaining stock left in Australia should be recalled to be repacked,or new packaging should be sent out to Retailers to clearly state the charges, and a credit card is require to activate your 30 days free subscription.

    Once they have done this, any future games released by SOE or any of its sub companies should be under review by the ACCC and approved before it can be accepted here again.

  • Sony, like any transnational in OZ, will charge whatever the market can be induced to pay. If the life-expectancy of a product is likely to be short (very poor service, substandard product etc) pricing will accordingly be set high. This is to squeeze as much as possible out of Oz market before local word-of-mouth tanks the whole thing here. The bigger the buzz overseas, or the more the product is seen as “vital”, and the shorter the life-expectancy the higher the difference.
    A more extreme example – M$ Windows 7 sold online to students; same product, delivered online, costing Australians about twice what Americans pay – allowing for the exchange rate.

  • Apparently they’ve locked the main thread. Seems people got too off-topic after waiting 11 days without a response.

  • Hey Everyone,

    The thread on the SOE forums about this just got locked (due to trolls /sigh) –

    http://forums.station.sony.com/dcuopc/posts/list.m?start=315&topic_id=4956

    I strongly encourage anyone with an account and/or access to the SOE forums to PM Community relations member RADARX with your concerns about Australia being charged $5 more than US/Europe (as per the last post) so that we can ensure Sony at least hear the complaints.

    AussieGrimm

  • Not only did they hide the fact of the extra $5 until Australians had bought the game, but their customer relations have gotten worse:
    Australians requested to know the justification of the extra charge based on nationality.
    Sony replied it was due to Australian tax reasons. This was a lie, and was pointed out. Online goods and services are not taxed in Australia, and even if they were, its 10% GST, not 33% like Sony imply.

    So Sony tried another response – its the currency conversion fee that Global Collect charge us, and we pass it on. Another lie, Global Collect do NOT charge 33% in fees to exchange currencies. The average currency exchange fee is 2.95%.

    Sony then shut down the thread where Australians were complaining and inquiring. They actively deleted posts were people accused them of lying and expressed disgust, yet allowed posts to remain where people laugh at Australians and tell them to QQ more.

    All of these factors combined paint a picture of a company that is very contemptous of its Australian customers, dealing in shonky, misleading and outright deceitful behaviour over and over.

  • With the current exchange rate of $1USD = $1.01AUD this type of thing is pure gouging (first Steam games ripping us off, now this). I had a quick look on the forums, and their reason for it is really pathetic!

    Just about every MMO I have encountered charges $14.99USD per month! Now back when the aussie was 0.75c USD, I could understand getting charged nearly $20AUD (the exchange rate plus the bank’s/CC’s exchange fee).

    But to create special Aussie pricing – my god. And for them to think no one would notice?

    I’m glad I don’t have any current subs with SOE (I did have EQ2 for short time, but got bored quickly). I just don’t like SOE games, and this just turns me off SOE even more (will not consider any future games from them at all now).

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