Choice Review Claims Aussie Gamers Are 'Under Attack' With Price Discrepancies

A new review by consumer advocacy magazine Choice has compared the upcoming prices of 10 PS4 games and 13 Xbox One games, including Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Destiny, to find a 37% price discrepancy, on average, between here and the United States.

This comes one day after the federal governement's IT Pricing Enquiry which claimed that game publishers hadn't even tried to justify their higher prices for digitally downloaded games in this region.

In Choice's submission to the enquiry, they quoted some findings of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association:

The Australian video gaming industry generated $1.161 billion in the year to December 2012 with the top 10 titles accounting for 46 per cent of all sales

Choice's Director of Campaigns and Communications, Matt Levey, goes on to say:

“Our analysis of the available game prices has shown that Australians will pay an average of 33% more for PS4 games and 29% more for Xbox One games. This is after excluding Australia’s 10% GST.”

According to Choice, over 200 products were surveyed and it was "found that Australians were paying around 50% more for software, computers, iTunes and (of course) games."

Again, things we already know. Will this latest wave attention lead to lower prices? The short answer is no - lower sales will, though. Until people vote with their wallets, not much will change.


    This is a mute point, as i recall both next gen's will be region free. Those who are price conscious will buy OS.

      It might be a moot point but not a mute one :P

      But seriously, it's a minority that would actually import. Just because you can (& probably will), doesn't mean the majority of people will who walk by EB in the shopping centre.

        The majority can't be bothered finding games for cheaper price. They are more willing to pay extra money then spend extra time researching this stuff.

        Some people's time is worth more to them then researching about 'silly' games.

          Some people don't even know it's something that needs to be researched.

        I wish we had some hard figures about importing. I would be interesting to see how local and imported rates compare.

        Well you can't live and die by what the majority are doing. Unless you start writing articles for the courier male or something, they're just gonna do what they're going to do.

        For the initiated however, ie us, I'd like to think most of us know where the deals are. And it's very rarely at EB. Although some of their sales are pretty good.

        Oh shiiii. I apologise for my poor grammar it was written between customers at work. But if import takes off then we can effect a change in prices. I know its a long shot. But mo one has more power than a customer base.

        There's also the problem that importing takes time. Most people don't want to wait 2+ weeks for a game they can finish in a weekend, especially a popular game like CoD or B4. Personally I'm interested in neither, but if you're a hardcore CoD or Battlefield multiplayer, those few weeks of being behind everyone in level wouldn't be worth the twenty-or-so dollars that you save.

        And I'm glad the majority of people still buy retail in Australia, because (a) it means that it supports Australian jobs and the economy, and (b) it means that there is less likely to by GST levied on imports under a certain value (which means I can still import from the UK GST-free). It's a win-win situation and the only people hurt are those that are too ignorant/lazy/patriotic to import games.

      I think you might mean moot. Edit: Ninja'd

      Last edited 30/07/13 4:49 pm

      I've been doing that for years. It's the only way if you want something approaching a decent price.

      I've been doing this for years. It's the only way if you want a semi-decent price.

    What about the hardware and software released in the past three years (as most 'current gen' stuff is heavily discounted by now/skewed by mountains of pre-owned stock)?

    Sorry Junglist but piss off stop posting crap, We already have Luke Plunkett and Patricia Hernandez that do that already. We dont need 2 Luke's HA

      How is this crap? it's AU-specific material that's useful to know

        Really? is this news? posting sumthing every ozzy knows about again and AGAIN!, is it going to change NO! well geez thx for the update pfft

          If every Australian consumer knew just how much they were getting ripped off, retail in this country would be dead (or close to it). As @junglist pointed out above, this is clearly not the case, and while posting information about the issue on Kotaku is preaching to the converted, the post was actually saying that this issue is now getting wider media attention as a result of the price inquiry. This brings it to the attention of those who might not frequent gaming or tech sites, and raises public awareness of the issue, which is a huge step forward from the state of tech price discrepancies (and awareness thereof) 12 months ago.

          So you prefer to read Luke's reddit reposts of cat GIF and bashcraft's porn articles instead of real news?

          Go back to reddit if this is too much for your kid brain to handle.

          I wasn't aware that Choice had that article. Was I aware of the problem to begin with? Sure. Do I want to know it's getting more mainstream attention? You bet your ignorant ass I do.

          That EVERY *Australian knows about? I'm curious - do you have this fact documented with evidence? or did you just walk around getting all the adults to scribble on a piece of crumpled paper?

      Wtf? Please don't group Junglist with Luke and Patricia. This article provided information while Luke and Patricia's are plain Twitter/Reddit copy paste and sexist posts.

      Don't forget Tina as well for being another Luke.

      you are an ass clown. there is NO comparison. plunkett and hernandez are just plain crap, whereas Junglist is an actual games journalist. if you're not interested, don't click.

      Dickhat posters like yourself are a bigger problem on Kotaku AU than all of Kotaku US combined.

    Yeah I've noticed the markup in Aus where as oversea's seems to be wanting to drive down the prices of games to around $60 Aus remains the same outrageous $100+, thankfully there's Ozgameshop which I'll be ordering atleast 95% of my PS4 games from ;)

      Really? I only looked at PC, but they seemed to be the same as jb etc. Perhaps I've been spoilt by steam prices.

    At least these things are now getting more media time.. not that much will happen for a long time.. but the issue is now public beyond just the people who knew already..

    now the question is, what is going to be done?

      Sadly nothing will ever be done. It's an infinite loop of how high our market has been set like 20 years ago compared to the rest of the world. Because we're already forced to pay higher prices, no one will lower theirs.

      Perhaps more positively, major news outlets are reporting on the findings and recommendations from the inquiry into IT pricing.

      The big take-home recommendations being: Australian government to consider legislating to ensure that circumventing geo-blocking is legal and protected, with geo-blocking voiding EULAs, and a public awareness campaign, providing education on how to bypass geo-blocking to shop around.

      If that latter one gets even half the traction it deserves, retailers are going to freak the fuck out about consumer spending going to overseas digital, and will start using their clout to get lower prices. What clout? The clout that sees them (successfully) stifle all attempts to have digital drop price lower than retail. See: Greenmangaming when they had to bump up their prices on Borderlands 2 and XCOM.

    “Our analysis of the available game prices has shown that Australians will pay an average of 33% more for PS4 games and 29% more for Xbox One games. This is after excluding Australia’s 10% GST.”

    It's not "we will pay" it's "we're forced to pay" we don't get a damn choice. I hate this whole "market" crap that EVERYONE pulls on us. Every company around the world says the same crap about "the Australian market pays more" because of old importing and conversion charges THAT DON'T EXIST ANYMORE. It blows my freaking mind that these companies are allowed to get away with extortion.

      Every company around the world says the same crap about "the Australian market pays more" because of old importing and conversion charges THAT DON'T EXIST ANYMORE.

      Oh my! When I read that, I nearly crashed my horse and cart into one of those new thangled telegraph poles!

      Jokes aside, you comment is basically shared by everyone here. As well as claiming non-existent shipping costs, I maintain that most publishers have not looked at a currency conversion chart since the 1970s.

      The other excuse is wages in Australia are high. So is the cost of living but you don't see them acknowledging that either.

      Some just don't even bother to justify their actions because they are so arrogant. A while back a video went about when a guy from Adobe was asked to justify the high cost. He basically went about matter of factly and basically expected those running the inquiry to just accept it.

    When I lived in the UK I would often buy games brand new, and I was happy to do so in order to support the devs, but in the 18 months since I came back to Australia I haven't bought a single game that wasn't second-hand or at least six months old. Until there is some sort of reasonable price drop (20% would be acceptable) then there is no way I'll change my buying habits. I was going to completely ignore the next-gen consoles that were looking like they would block used games because of this.

    Last edited 30/07/13 6:59 pm

      I do not mean to be rude but if you wish to support the developer you need to either:
      * See if the developer has a pay pal account, or
      * Get their address to send them a personal check.

      Buying at retail does *not* support the developer, the lions share goes to the publisher and what is left is mostly a markup by the retailer. The developer gets little, if any at all.

        Good point, I may just do that from time to time. I do like purchasing merch from their online stores, I would already own a pair of Vault 101 sneakers if I wasn't saving for a decent suit.

    Even in the recent Steam sale with heavily reduced prices, they were still charging Australians more for some digital downloads than U.S. customers..

      I don't know if it also happened in the last steam sale but in one of the recent ones, modern warfare 2 was one of the daily deals at 50% off which put the price at just a little bit over what the americans were paying when it wasn't on sale.

      That's how you know you're really being screwed

        I don't know how those games keep their value. COD MW2 on the last sale was $40. I chortled. No way am I paying that much.

          Trouble is, there's obviously plenty who will.

            Why is that trouble? Ppl spend money on silly things. That's always been true. I mean when i think of the money I've wasted on coke and hookers!

      it was true for us here in NZ as well, a friend of mine was trying to get himself a British ipn so he wouldn't have to pay the mark up.

    I think the problem is a throwback to when the Australian dollar was worth alot less than it is now when the conversion actually made sense. Retailers have been hesitant to move their pricing structures for fear the dollar falling to those levels again which is kind of understandable but not entirely consumer friendly. If we were to adopt a more conversion based retail structure here fluctuations in the dollar would mean fluctuations at the register and I don't believe that would work and keep in mind the percentage of your paycheck that you pay for a game (or anything else for that matter) is much less than it would be if you were earning American dollars in the USA. I'm not trying to advocate price gouging and I don't like paying more for things because of where I live but the only way around it would be an international currency and that would be a fucking nightmare NWO scenario.

      We see Russia payinga lot less than us because of piracy. The companies could easily charge us $5 more than US prices and easily cover for fluctuation. Instead they add $40 to the price.

      Another example of trying to do the right thing and being punished while those doing the wrong thing are rewarded.

        true but again, relatively the price we pay is less than in Russia. Like I said, I don't like it but if it came down to it I'd much rather earn minimum wage and be forced to buy my games in Australia than I would in either Russia or the USA, luckily we don't need to be slaves to Australian retail and we can take advantage of a global market. I understand it is different licensing software (ie. photoshop, pro tools etc...) for professional applications but that's an entirely different kettle of fish.

        also, EB seem to be the main culprits as far as gouging goes. there are other retailers where the pricing is closer to what other territories are paying.

    Unfortunately, the whole vote with your wallets side of things isn't going to do much to fix the inflated digital prices. There's more of a choice when it comes to games (we've got sites like GMG who are taking a loss with their ANZ discount code) but for the most part, almost every digital downloads site out there has jumped on the regional price bandwagon. Hard pressed to find any alternative to itunes with fair prices. Back to games, even if we didn't buy games off Steam, Valve has to be raking it in with that. People in Australia buying from other places would barely dent their revenue. Heck we tried voting with our wallets when Steam was first picking up speed and look what happened there - publishers decided to increase their digital prices.

    We're pretty much boned no matter how we look at it unfortunately. The government seems slightly on the powerless side and don't seem too eager to push as hard as they can. It's not exactly an issue average joe citizen would consider an issue worth casting an election vote for.

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