Regional pricing for video games has always been a hot topic in Australia. Some online retailers have tried to go against the trend, usually without success, lest they tempt blacklisting by publishers. Digital distributor GOG has fought the good fight for years, mostly because of its focus on hard-to-find games, but with its shifting focus to indies and AAA titles, it too has had to make concessions.
It's not immediately apparent from the title of the news post on GOG's website that regional pricing would be a subject of discussion. Yet, if you hit up the second paragraph the announcement is there, in all its wordiness:
If you've been a member of the site for a long time, you may recall that when we launched sales of The Witcher 2 on GOG.com, we had to add in regional pricing. The game cost different amounts in in the US, the UK, the European Union, and Australia. We're doing something like that once again in order to bring you new titles from fantastic bigger studios. Since we don't accept currencies other than USD on GOG.com right now, we'll be charging the equivalent of the local price in USD for these titles.
We wish that we could offer these games at flat prices everywhere in the world, but the decision on pricing is always in our partners' hands, and regional pricing is becoming the standard around the globe. We're doing this because we believe that there's no better way to accomplish our overall goals for DRM-Free gaming and GOG.com. We need more games, devs, and publishers on board to make DRM-Free gaming something that's standard for all of the gaming world!
It's dressed up nicely, to be sure, and Australian gamers have long understood that it's up to the publisher or developer to set pricing, but it looks like we're in for higher prices for certain forthcoming titles from GOG, compared to the rest of the world. To be fair, it's not mentioned that the games will be more expensive, but I find it unlikely we'd be getting them cheaper.
There is some good news though. As partial compensation, GOG will be offering free games to those who end up paying more — at least for now. From GOG "marketer guy" TheEnigmaticT:
Well, for these initial games we're talking about we have a plan to offer free games from a selected list. Beyond that, it's going to be on a case-by-case basis for a while I imagine. We certainly intend to try and offer something for every game that we sell we regional pricing. We know that 1 euro isn't 1 dollar, and we want to try to offset that.