The Worst Things About Playing Video Games In Australia

Living in Australia, for the most part, is amazing. I say this as someone who has spent a sustained amount of time living in the UK, the US and Japan. Now that I’ve spent the better part of eight years here — sunning myself on beaches, eating great food, living with friendly Aussies — I couldn’t live anywhere else.

But there is a toll to pay, a bitter pill to swallow. Living in Australia has been an overwhelmingly positive experience, but playing video games in Australia? That’s been a little less positive.

So allow this whinging pom to do what he does best: whinge. At a later date I’ll no doubt write a follow up to this titled ‘The Best Things About Playing Video Games In Australia’ but, for now, allow me to indulge in describing the things that flat out suck.


The Price Of Games

Thankfully this situation has slowly managed to improve itself during the time I’ve been in this country, but when I first arrived in Australia? It was one of those moments.

You know what I’m talking about. You’re shopping for clothes. You see something you like. You pick up the item. You look at the price tag. It’s expensive, so expensive in fact that you actually let out a legitimate laugh at how expensive it is.

That was basically my first reaction when I saw a full-priced video game in EB Games here in Australia: laughter.

My second reaction: shock.

My third reaction: disbelief. People actually pay this much for video games here in Australia? How… why do they put up with it.

Oh... because they have no choice.

My fourth reaction: tears. Because I knew these were the prices I’d be paying for as long as I lived in this country.

Things are better now. Competitive pricing at retail has driven prices down (maybe a short term solution, because retail is hurting right now) and Steam, for the most part, has really allowed local Australian gamers to build up great digital collections.

But Steam isn’t all great, which takes me to my next point…


Pricing Disparities On Digital Services

This may be even more frustrating than the general price of games at retail.

With retail there are a number of factors that justify the higher pricing of video games. Some would call them ‘excuses’, but a fair few are legitimate.

Australia is difficult to ship physical products to. This is a real issue. Australia has a small population spread out across an incredibly large land mass. Again, fair enough. Australians, in general, have a high cost of living: our minimum wage is actually incredibly high, store rent is high, the cost of running a business – in general – is higher. Maybe we should expect to pay a little more. Maybe.

But digital pricing? There’s no real excuse here. Absolutely no excuse.

Perhaps the most frustrating is the digital price hikes on Steam. Time after time we’ve seen publishers artificially inflate the US price of a game on Steam to match the retail price. On some occasions we’ve actually watched the price change take place in front of our very eyes. A game will be $59.95US one minute, then $89.95 the next.

Almost as if publishers aren’t even afraid of openly rorting Australians.

It’s inexcusable. Plain and simple. These are digital products. There’s no additional shipping cost, no high Australian wages or store rent to deal with. This is simply a protectionist policy designed to satiate local retailers and it’s anti-consumer. Period.

But it’s better than not getting the games at all, which takes me to my next point…


Games Not Releasing In Australia At All

Would you rather pay more for video games, or have them not be released at all?

Tough question.

Remember Rock Band? I’ll never forget.

It took an entire year for one of EA’s most successful franchises to reach Australia. I had to travel halfway across the world to get my copy of the game — carting it back through customs after a trip to the US – and when Rock Band finally released here locally, it was 12 months too late, and about $100 too expensive. A complete and utter disgrace.

On a smaller scale, digital releases tend to really struggle when it comes to timely releases in Australia, and when enforced geo-blocking stops us from downloading from US stores, this can be a real issue. Nintendo’s online stores tend to suffer most from this and this is mostly due to the high cost of classifying games in this country.

When you combine the high cost of classification with a smaller market base, quite often it simply isn’t worth the cost of classifying a video game for sale in Australia.

Which, again, takes me to my next point…


The Australian System Of Classification

I want to start this mega-whinge with a caveat: the Australian Classification Board is tasked with a difficult job: it must classify a colossal amount of video games and it must classify them using an out of date system and a vague set of guidelines. This is a difficult thankless task and a root and branch change is required sooner rather than later to make this system more manageable in the long term.

So we have our R18+ classification and that was a massive victory for common sense, but now bigger problems must be solved. We currently have a system that requires that all video games released in this country must be classified by the Classification Board and this is an expensive process. As mentioned above, it’s often expensive to the point where it simply isn’t worth it for major companies like Nintendo to release video games here in Australia – classification costs have legitimately sunk the release of games here! That’s incredible. Absolutely incredible.

The sooner the Australian Government follows up on the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission the better. We are classifying games based on a piece of legislation that passed through parliament in 1995. That was almost 20 years ago.

It makes sense for classification of video games to be undertaken by industry, at least with video games rated M and below. This would allow for a cheaper process, and more time for the Australian Classification Board to deal with borderline cases at the MA15+ and R18+ level. This is in the best interests of everyone: consumers, parents, the games industry… everyone.


Playing Online Is… Not Great

I’ll never forget the first time I went home to Scotland on holiday after spending a significant amount of time in Australia.

It was 2006, I turned on Halo 2 on my brother’s Xbox for a quick couple of matches. Something weird was happening.

Almost overnight I had gone from a mediocre player, someone who could generally hold their own, to someone who was completely dominating every single match he played in. Back then I had a limited knowledge of how this all worked, but eventually it clicked. I hadn’t magically developed improved reaction times overnight, my connection had improved. There was less latency, I was finding more matches with local players. I was – for the first time since I left the UK – on a level playing field with other players.

Again, much like pricing disparities, this area has seen some improvement since I first arrived. Games on Xbox LIVE, for example, are far more efficient at finding matches and connections that work well for Australians. On some rare occasions, we actually have local servers. Titanfall and Diablo III are both local examples of games that have done the right thing by their Australian audience and set up local servers.


And I think that’s important to note; it’s important to finish on that point of optimism. Things aren’t great, but they’ve been way worse, and there have been improvements. The situation of local gamers today, compared to when I first arrived in Australia, is radically improved.

Things may be bad, but they could be a lot worse.

What do you think are some of the more challenging aspects of being a gamers here in Australia? Let us know in the comments below.


Comments

    Connection settings haven't really improved. It's only when the developers give a damn. Titanfall works because they actually managed to get servers. Battlefield 3 worked because it had local servers. Bad Company 2 didn't because it didn't have servers. Gears of War 3 works because of servers. Gears of War 1 and 2 didn't.

    Not counting servers even the ability to search locally is a big deal. Halo: Reach can still be played today due to this setting. Halo 4 died in 3 months.

    Hell, I picked up Blur 2 years after it came out. It has a local only search option for multiplayer, and I managed to play online without lag.

      Halo 4 died because its multiplayer was just... Jesus. It was just an unmitigated disaster that ripped everything that was good about Halo multiplayer out and replaced it with fashionable garbage.

        Halo 4 was not Halo, and Reach (in the early days before 343 Industries ruined it) was the last positive multipalyer experience I had until Titanfall came out.

        Halo is dead. Love live Destiny.

          Agree 100%. I still had a lot of time for Reach. Loved the DMR, just needed to be tweaked a *little* for balance.

          Oh man, I still remember people pre-praising the TU for Reach as the newcoming of Jesus, like 343i was going to finally fix the game by creating a TU for the people who didn't play Reach over the people who did.

          Little do they know that the TU actually caused the first true population hit for the game and it never really recovered to that point again. They just blamed it on Bungie like they've been doing since Halo 3.

          Can someone please explain to me what was so bad about Halo 4?

          I never could get into the bungie games at all, I bought Halo 4 on sale and had a blast. My GF even got into the multiplayer with me. To me it seemed like a grittier, more realized version of the universe. The bungie games had a cartoony feel to them that I cant quite explain, maybe it was the sound design or...i donno.

          Not trying to put shit on the games, they were all really well done but Halo 4 is what actually got me interested in the series.

          Last edited 16/04/14 1:34 pm

            First off, I gotta say that Halo 4 became cartoony again after Reach, which managed to do grit a whole lot better (one of the helmets is a unicorn).

            Second, following posts on Kotaku you would find out that lag and latency was a HUGE problem for the game. To the point it became unplayable (especially Spartan Ops).

            Third point, while I don't fully agree with these viewpoints, a lot of people were annoyed about Loadouts because you could spawn with a Boltshot (just below the line of a Shotgun) and a Plasma Pistol (makes vehicles useless) instead of searching for those weapons like previous Halo games. Ordnance Drops did the same thing, giving you a power weapon instead of working at map control to use it (personally I think this old system needs to be re-worked). Even a bad player would eventually get a Sniper Rifle and start killing people without needing to really move much around the map.

            Other points beyond these are more up to individual opinions. I thought the story was weak and unexplained, the campaign focusing too much on events and scenarios from previous Halo games and reusing them, the artstyle was too alien, the backgrounds too gray, etc. Also found Spartan Ops to not only be dreadfully boring but a complete waste of time.

            If somebody has never played a Halo game before, Halo 4 can appear great. But if you have you're just repeating those games again.

              Oh ok, that makes sense.

              Do you think 343 will do a good job with the series tho? seems like they are talented and maybe with all the feedback they can appeal to newcomers like me and series veterans as well.

                They have the Halo story bible in their possession so theoretically they can continue a story people will want to see, but their approach to gameplay needs work. Their settings were just so drab and uninteresting and the pacing of the game was extremely poor with no big moments. I thought the first level was ok, but after that the game was kind of a drag. The antagonists just kind of there with no apparent motivation and I just felt like the whole conflict I'd entered into was pointless. The final straw for me was a late level where you had to travel to three identical towers to grind my way through three identical firefights to press a button or something, knowing I'd also have to grind my way back and the real sin was it all happened inside a giant grey room on giant grey platforms while I shot at giant grey enemies then when I get outside I get to fly around in a giant grey sky. And not the cool kind of grey in something like Gears of War, but a dead grey like the pages of a children's colouring book that they lost interest in after their crayons all broke and they drew a brown penis on Elmo's face.

                I will probably give Halo 5 a try, but I don't have high expectations.

              Best campaign I find I to date, Halo: CE and Reach Those are the follow through that's needed for the newer games.. A few tips for Current Halo developer 343
              - Servers in Australia
              - More explained purposes in campaign scenarios flowing smoothly
              - Focus on the Master Chief, not Spartan Lock
              As Cortana has said they are playing dress up.

              Expectations needs to be met as Bungie always has gone beyond...Shoes aren't filled yet for 343.

            The thing with Halo 4 (to me) is that unlike the other games (in the Campaign) which just felt balanced and well thought out, Halo 4 kind of seemed to place story at the forefront over gameplay (and I think it's kinda shown in having Spartan Ops over Firefight), and I disliked the story and telling of it anyway.

            The other thing is to me the covenant have always been a reliable "challenge" one way or another. Then along came the Prometheans. The trouble is I really do think they failed at making a satisfying enemy. They're not necessarily a "difficult" enemy, just frustrating and cowardly. Those knights and their teleporting was seriously the most annoying part of combat. The frequency at which they teleport (even after having recently already teleported) was just annoying. In most games if you had an enemy like that you wouldn't give them higher resiliency too! Hell it would've worked better to have the dog-things make quick teleport instead! Add that to the other enemy types (e.g. the huge amounts of little four-legged critters more or less pinning you down with suppressive fire and sheer numbers) and you've got much slower drawn out gameplay.

            The other thing (a smaller thing) is that 343 seemed to take a step backward with a lot of things. I thought they would have learnt their lesson with Reach - people wanted more options or catering for older features in multiplayer gameplay customization etc, but instead we got less. Personally I was all the more annoyed that they didn't bother to include campaign scoring (nor in Anniversary for that matter). That was my favourite thing about Halo 3/Reach campaign!

            Overall, 343 just seemed to miss the mark on the things that matter to people (something which despite peoples complaints - Reach did a better job of catering to people IMO) and got some of the "balancing" wrong. Granted that Reach copped a lot of criticisms from other people but that's a whole different post...

            I disagree I think it's the exact opposite, halo 4 killed halo because 343 moved away from the fantasy space element of the game. Although the graphics were great the attempt to make it feel real by adding light ruined pretty much every map. I looks as if while creating the game they had some premature problems and left a stain over the screen.ive always loved halo but halo 4 just felt like tonny abbot being pm they say tell us what you want and then they do the opposite. As for halo reach the only real problem I had/have is connection. Like everyone knows the addition of the armour abilities was stupid; in conjunction with a bad connection meant more and more potential for lag related situations. I know for myself if someone is sprinting anywhere near an object I'll get a blood shot. I know when fighting someone who goes into armour lock they will regain all of their shield and health. However active Camo and jet pack had little addition to a laggy problem. If halo was to ever come back they need to take out armour abilities, make it no bloom and make it look beautiful and colourful.

          I actually see Reach as the downfall of Halo's multiplayer. I mean, it was fine enough on its own, but it was no Halo. The last good Halo multiplayer experience for me was Halo 3.

            I definitely liked Halo 3 better but I still enjoyed Reach.

            Reach was still Halo. Some would even say it's more Halo then 2 and 3.

            Last edited 16/04/14 8:09 pm

              Loadouts, armour modes, missing game modes and less focus on vehicles; It wasn't very Haloey at all.

          Just out of curiosity, but in your opinion how did 343 'ruin' Halo Reach's multiplayer?

            Making games that does not work and not supporting efforts to create more servers in conjunction with Microsoft.

        I'm not going to argue whether it was good or bad, but I still believe that the lack of a local only search option is what killed the game. I didn't really play it beyond the first day and I have no idea what the multiplayer was like. People complained about Boltshot camping, or Ordnance Drops, but I have no idea what they were like as I refused to play the game with American hosts.

        I still remember the last thing that happened in multiplayer for me. I stepped on a Mancannon, flew through the sky, rubberbanded back 3 times, hit the ground and committed suicide.

        Are you going to be reliving the glory days on Halo 2 Anniversary... (if that has the rumoured return of Halo 2 multiplayer)?

    I thought the article was just going to say "Latency" and then that would be that.

    Totally agree about all the rip off stuff though. Buy from key sites and import whenever you can. Screw those guys!

    Getting shafted on digital pricing when I'm paying US dollars on my credit card to download files from a US server but the prices being jacked by 40-90% for no apparent reason is high on my list of annoyances.

    I think another big issue for me is that some services that consoles are designed to be integrated into the consoles (such as Netflix and Hulu on Xbox) aren't supported here because the services don't exist locally. What do we get instead? Foxtel? Well whoop-de-doo and no thank you.

    I'd love to live in the US if for no other reason than all the stuff that's supposed to be on my Xbox will be on my Xbox. I want my toy to work as intended, and I feel that as long as I'm using it outside the US I'm getting an incomplete experience.

      Yeah, that's such a major pain in the arse. It actually stops the Xbox One from being the console it could be.

        Excellent summary. It's simply not the console it could be. I'm loyal to the brand and have no buyer's remorse (I like the console and enjoy using it), but if I were a more cautious consumer living outside the US I'd tell myself there's no point moving on from my 360 yet.

        The PS4 doesn't seem to be suffering from this same cautiousness, I suppose because it's delivering everything it's supposed to and doing it well.

          Grab yourself a DNS spoofer account like Unotelly or Unblock-Us, region switch to install the missing apps, then enjoy the proper experience. That's what I've done. Hulu and Netflix are my most used apps on my Xbox One. I also region switch to buy AAA title games for roughly $67, instead of $80 retail here, or $100 digitally.

          Considering the only difference between a digital purchase and physical is having to put the disc in for a licence check, and not being able to launch by voice from anywhere, physical games are terrible for the X1 experience compared to digital, but I'm not paying more for less (download from America, no disc).

      I haven't got an Xbox One yet (it's on the list though) but could you not achieve that ("US" locale) by using a VPN?

      Last edited 16/04/14 1:27 pm

        I honestly wouldn't have a clue, I suppose it's possible.

        You dont need a VPN at all. I just change my locale to US in the settings options, it restarts the console giving you access all the US prices for games.

        The most I pay for games is 60 dollars Full retail.

          Yup, that's how I got Titanfall. It just took me 10 hours to download.

          *$60US plus taxes.

          $70-75 AUS. Which is still much better than buying locally.

            No tax if you put down a US address where there is no sales tax. It cost me AU$66 for Titanfall all up.

              x2 on this, I put my comGateway address from Oregon as my US account address. No sales tax, and if they post me something, it'll actually get forwarded.

              What about in Canada? I know it's cheaper by a couple of bucks there but which Canadian provinces don't have sales tax?

          Something I've always wondered about this (forgive my ignorance) - do you then just change your console locale back to Aus to play on local servers...? Or are you then committed to playing on US servers with that purchase, and therefore suffer latency issues when playing online...?

      If you lived in america you may be able to get Netflix or Hulu on a console but chances are if you had to get treatment for medical problems you'd be almost literally told to fuck off and die because you're too poor...

      I'll take medicare over streaming videos any day...

        And that's why I haven't ever seriously looked into moving to the US even though I could probably apply for roles there and stay with my current employer.

        I'm waiting for my wife's game development course to land her a job with Bioware or something so we can move to Canada and just hop across the border for all the cool conventions.

        :P

        Last edited 16/04/14 1:52 pm

          Canadians get Geoblocked for American services just as badly as we do, plus their mobile phone contracts are 3 years, with handsets usually delayed months for release in the first place. Plus side is they have a lot of fibre in the ground and universal healthcare.

        You haven't been watching the news lately have you. Medicare is going bye-bye and we'll be charged for all GP and Hospital visits.

    "Almost as if publishers aren’t even afraid of openly rorting Australians. It’s inexcusable. Plain and simple. These are digital products. There’s no additional shipping cost, no high Australian wages or store rent to deal with. This is simply a protectionist policy designed to satiate local retailers and it’s anti-consumer. Period."

    This ought to be illegal. But nope, apparently that might violate free-trade agreements.

    Last edited 16/04/14 1:11 pm

      F**k free trade, I want cheaper video games.
      I think NZ gets it worse then AU when it comes to prices. They are usually the same price as AU, yet the slightly lower dollar plus lower income means less money to spend on games. Though the living cost is a lot lower, so that "might" make up for it.
      Still, internet infrastructure is a lot better in NZ, though latency isn't much better.

    Definitely games without local servers are a pain, especially with most server maintenance happening in our primetimes.

    Prices are really ridiculous here, but I have found with Steam+Greenmangaming vouchers, or importing, or searching for local launch price sales (Got inFamous Second Son for $65 at DSE) I haven't paid full price for a new game in years. Even Dark Souls 2 I have preordered for PC for $40.

      Yeah but we shouldn't have to search like crazy to import products at a lesser price.

    Microsoft were doing a lot better for a while (after they removed MS Points). Games were far more reasonably priced and I had no issues buying things like DLC (which were usually overpriced even by normal standards and I avoided til sales). Til that point, digital prices were my main problem back then (Ozgameshop were a lot better then also compared with now).

    Now we're kinda back to square one with it all. Whereas once I at least tolerated it to an extent with the MS Points, I haven't bothered with anything through Xbox Live in a long time and have no desire to. And the fact that it appears a fair amount of the content (including) Games on Demand games are literally DOUBLE the US price is outright disgusting and outrageous to me (never mind how much they normally are anyway). It's why i'm so utterly against "digital only". We'd be screwed over way more than we are even now.

    That (given that the Xbox One was and apparently is still be considered to actually remove discs), and given the seemingly bleak future of our NBN are the biggest reasons why I was so against the Xbox One as it was previously. Given what happens at present there's no way in hell i'd trust Microsoft or indeed other companies, would cut us any slack.

    Last edited 16/04/14 1:40 pm

      Only double? Check out the American steam storefront (http://store.steampowered.com/?cc=us) and search for modern warfare 2. Then just for shits & giggles, search for it on our store and see the price difference...

        My point was moreso that the pricing was horrendous before (with MS Points) then it was more bearable for a little while, and now I actually think it's worse than it was even before the MS Points. I think it's at the point now where Microsoft have genuinely settled on "twice the price" being the norm for us Aussie users - all the more troubling since we supposed to be moving toward "no-discs" etc. That's seemingly the last defence we have in regards to console gaming (and even then...).

        I haven't really used steam so wasn't sure what the pricing was like on there. You're right though! That price for Modern Warfare 2 is pure insanity! My uneducated guess is perhaps that they haven't dropped the price down at the same time in the different regions. Either that or it legitimately is intentional (and that's very worrisome indeed). But that's a problem in itself.

        I always found xbox live pricing to be ridiculously maintained. The rate at which most titles dropped in price was horrible (only very select games or content years after they came out). If there's going to be a big push for digital only etc for consoles there needs to be more consideration and incentives in regards to handling of pricing BEFORE we're at that point, not (promising it) after we've arrived there. The current situation with a lot of it is just unacceptable (yet made possible nevertheless).

        Last edited 16/04/14 4:49 pm

      Really? I didn't care about being charged higher prices with MS points, because I could buy MS point cards for a $10-$20 discount easily anyway, saving the difference in price. Now I can see exactly how much the rip off is, and can't buy credit for less, so I region switch instead.

        That's something I never really worked out (in regards to finding cheaper point cards) since AFAIK Ozgameshop didn't sell point cards at the time or if they did they were region specific (I've never really done any of the "region switching" and it was extremely rare that most retailers (e.g. Dicksmith) would have a sale where the point cards were actually that much cheaper so I found I was personally just very selective and patient enough to pretty much only wait for sales etc (unless there was a game I was really looking forward to).

        From what I worked out (not sure about a lot of the original Games on Demand prices since for the most part I was never really stupid enough to buy full price digital games which were generally set at real money values anyway), on average we were paying roughly an extra $3 or so for every 500 MS points (which certainly built up very quickly). In order to get a 1200 point arcade game it would've cost roughly $24 which ends up being an additional over the expected $15.

    What I'm hoping is that the new server cluster thing Microsoft are building & which is currently hosting the titfall servers will also be expanded to allow pretty much any company to run their own servers here in a cost effective manner.

    It could be worse. But it could be a lot better too. There is always a massive smile on my face when I start up Titanfall and see (Australia) on my screen...sure it may be something like 53MS...but its so much better than 153MS

    I agree with this article but I think that latency isnt just a server issue - I think it wouldn't be a problem if the liberals would give up on their idiotic campaign against the Labor NBN and just install Fibre all round, the Connection/match Making etc would be a lot better.

    Last edited 16/04/14 1:51 pm

      I agree completely, it's so bullshit that our elected officials are trying to screw us over with internet. It's like they honestly don't understand how important the internet is in this day and age.

        Well based on some of their logic and past statements, it's apparent they at least "underestimate" the need for efficient internet.

        But the main thing here is costs and a conservative mentality. NBN really is "an investment" for the future and when you've got all this glorification over "Australia's debt" (ugh) and making all these cutbacks (not to mention outright lies over Labours NBN's "initial projected costs"), it's not hard to see that Liberal are certainly half-hearted and have "other" priorities in turn.

        It's what people get for buying into the hype - can't exactly have a government going the distance and delivering on something like this when they're the ones spouting out emergency debt bullshit and other priorities (e.g. also cutting other areas). If people really believe the panic Liberals tried to stir up in the first place then by that logic, NBN is the least of most peoples worries :p.

        Not that (to be fair) Labour have necessarily been the best with deliverance as is; but as bad as that was, it's nothing compared with the present situation IMO.

    With that picture in the article I thought the author was going to mentions this - Rock Band 2 was never even released here. Harmonix skipped it entirely and went from Rock Band to Rock Band 3.

      I desperate want Bandfuse. But there is NO indication its ever going to be released here and it really hurts me.

    I've never really understood the "high cost of classification" argument.
    Steam has proven that indie devs can get things sold in Australia without being classified, so this really only applies to retail channels, because you can't sell at retail without a classification.

    And the most that you'll pay for a classification (assuming its a single submission, which unless you have some majorly questionable content in there, it most likely will be) is $1210, or $2460 if you have to demonstrate the game to the classification board (which I would guess happens almost never)

    To any publisher that is getting something on sale at retail, $1210 isnt a massive cost at all.

    I can see how it could be prohibitive to small self published devs, but there are so many digital distribution channels that can sell through without being classified that this isnt a major issue.

      Uh, I thought stuff on Steam did have to get classified to be sold here?

      The main thing that comes to mind is the eShop for Nintendo consoles (not sure how the digital stores for other ones fare, I'm unfamiliar), there's loads of games that don't end up getting sold here because they need to be classified to do so but won't see the sales with our small market to recoup and/or justify that cost. I remember reading the Retro Game Rampage guy saying how the AU release of that was a present to fans that actually cost him money overall, or something like that. Meanwhile mobile games get by without having to be classified because mobile phones don't fall under the same category that requires it.

        Most places in the world video games don't need classification, at least not for PC games.
        http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh694080.aspx is the list that I looked at last, so you don't need to classify for everywhere microsoft store exists except brazil, taiwan, south africa, korea and russia, and if you get a PEGI rating then you can get one a lot easier for brazil and russia.

        All it takes is a look at the Steam store to tell that it doesn't need a classification. It only applies to retail games and imported games - downloading is not importing.

          Ah, right. I don't use Steam, the only things that came to mind are PC games I've picked up to look at in stores which all mention Steam activation on the box.

          Also as a side point - I remember during that one law subject I had to do at uni, they had us looking at cases and such where downloading *does* count as importing.

    Another thing that I realised just recently in addition to our network latency is our upload speeds. Most people are on a maximum of a 0.8 mbps upload speed limit because that is all ADSL can handle. This means that streaming just isn't viable for a lot of people unless you want super low resolution streams with poor sound quality.

    The other thing that frustrates me is that we're on the EU release schedule which is often months to years behind the US. While it's not Australia specific, the fact that there is any kind of separation between the US and EU territories now baffles me.

    Last edited 16/04/14 2:43 pm

      Getting your hands on a Annex-M connection helps a little :P

      Streaming video's, from netflix or youtube for example, by far uses more download than upload, from my understanding the upload packets involved while streaming are really only ack signals sent back after each packet to let the provider know 'yes i got that last data packet, please send another'.
      Now if you are talking about video conferencing/chatting then yes that uses a lot of upload as it is sending your video stream back to the person at the other end.
      But streaming high res video (like 1920x1080) for sure would require a fast and stable connection, high res stuff can easily be in the order of requiring to download a gigabyte per 20 mins for example, and yeah some adsl connections are slower than that.
      Last time i was in Aus 6 years ago my adsl was still only 200k per second download, 50k upload, hence why you would have to pick lower quality (320x240 on a 1920x1080 monitor anyone? what's that? you really like big squares? lol)

      Last edited 17/04/14 9:43 am

    Physical games:
    www.ozgameshop.com
    Free shipping from the UK.
    Digital:
    http://uk.gamesplanet.com
    Some you download through their service some you just get a steam key you authorise
    www.gameholds.com
    Just keys.
    Both services work well. Gamesplanet is more reliable though.

    Last edited 16/04/14 2:36 pm

    I have noticed that the price of games have come down on steam over the last year. AAA games used to cost around $90 on steam but now they are quite cheaper, Watch Dogs is going for $59.99 and South Park: The Stick of Truth is going for $55.95 while its $59.99 in the US store.

    But you can save even more from sites like Green Man Gaming or CD key sites.

    The release date difference has been annoying me most lately. I'm currently on holidays and was pumped for Trials Fusion to come out this morning only to find that it isn't available on the Aus PSN Store. However if I switch to a US account (I have one to check out the difference in prices) it has been out all day. I'm assuming the Aus psn will get it tomorrow. I know a day isn't a lot in the big picture, but on my holidays it is.

    You clearly don't understand the real reason behind the latency Mark. In Australia we are breeding an entire population of pro gamers who must develop spider sense in order to be competitive at gaming. When we finally flip "THE BIG RED SWITCH" that will improve our internet we will dominate multiplayer gaming world wide (and take over the world some how).

      Also, in a secret warroom somewhere before last years election a scientist came into a meeting and told them that the spider sense was not fully developed yet. It was at this time that Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott agreed that Kevin would throw the election and force back the NBN improvements for another three years.

        Honestly, it does feel like Australian gamers as a whole are better than European or American gamers. It may be simply the latency, or the fact that there are a lot more people in America or Europe and because of that it's much easier to find the really bad players.

        BUT, when I was in America, and even watching American gamers, I am constantly thinking to myself, "Why did s/he just do that?" or "Why DIDN'T s/he just do that?"

          I've been saying this for years. In my experience with the past 4 Call of Duty games (yeah, I'm that kind of person) Australians are, on average, a step above everyone else.

          Occasionally I'll be paired up with Europeans and Americans and it's hilarious - many of them play as if they've never held a controller before.

    I got Arma 3 so I could play the Breaking Point mod (Arma 3 Day Z). After the 10Gb download for Arma 3 plus 6Gb for Breaking I find that the one Australian server has been down for weeks. Sux, it looks great.

    Australian communities for multiplayer games that aren't MMO's, CoD or Battlefield are always way more smaller than american communities. So way less servers and have to wait for people to get back home from work and have dinner to play on a populated server.

    I think it would be simpler if Australia simply adopted the PEGI ratings for games (which some countries outside the EU already do: Israel uses it for all games, and Canada does for some French-language games). Our own ratings are not really so different from those produced by PEGI that such a change would break expectations about what games should be classified at what level, and our existing categories of G, PG and so on are largely analogous to PEGI's age brackets anyway.

    The main advantage of retaining our system is that the classification grades are the same for movies, so parents who don't know much about games have an easy point of comparison. But the PEGI ratings are pretty well-regarded for their ease of recognition and simplicity, and I don't think parents would have any trouble understanding them. Particularly with the rise of grey importing, many parents are likely familiar with the ratings already.

    It would mean that developers could save money and time, and there wouldn't be a need to resort to unclassified games.

    Halo 4 was dead to me when they made my unicorn emblem from 3/ODST/Reach and made it a Halo 4 360 console exclusive.
    That wasn't actually the final straw, but the multiplayer didn't have the hook that Reach had, and the campaign is in all honesty my lowest rated of the 6.

    Hey mark, here's a hint. Go sign up for Amazon, but enter in an American address (Any address. I dunno, look up Facebook HQ if you want) and you can buy digital steam keys off of Amazon at American prices :D

    That was basically my first reaction when I saw a full-priced video game in EB Games here in Australia: laughter.

    Youre not alone. Everyone has that reaction when they see EB Games prices at any time. Their prices have almost always been terrible for me, with the exception of a few online sales over the years for some select games. Other than that, I purchase online from either Play Asia or The Hut/Zavvi or OzGameShop.

    You forgot how digital downloads (specifically on the Xbox One) cost more than the physical discs you can buy in stores. That is the biggest joke for me at the moment.

    Playing a handheld game online after the first 3 months it has been released. So lonely.

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