If You’re Going To Rip Off Australian Gamers, At Least Hide Your Tracks.

If You’re Going To Rip Off Australian Gamers, At Least Hide Your Tracks.

At least do the courtesy of hiding your tracks.

Yes, the Australian Tax. Yes, the cost of living. Yes, the cost of employing people to distribute, market and sell your product. Yes, you have to protect your retail relationship. Sure, we expect a small bump. Sure, we expect to pay more, even for digital products. We don’t like it, but sure. We have a modicum of understanding for the situation. Just a modicum. We still buy your video games, don’t we?

But this whole Steam thing? The whole raising the price at the last minute? This whole offering a video game at the US price and then SURPRISE, a massive increase on price without warning?

That has really, seriously got to stop.

If you’re going to make us pay a whole bunch more for video games in this country, at least do us the courtesy of pretending that it isn’t a random, massive rort. At least do us the courtesy of launching the game from the very beginning at the price point you plan on selling the game for.

In a sense it’s a pulling back of the curtains. These changes give us a very real glimpse of what is actually happening here: we are being charged way more for video games. We know this. But when it happens right before our eyes it’s all the more infuriating. Not only are we being ripped off, but the folks doing the ripping off have the temerity to do it in plain sight. There’s a certain arrogance (or incompetence, it’s difficult to tell which) about the whole situation. Publishers are simply so blatant about the price fixing.

Recently I had an interesting conversation with an ex-Marketing Manager at one of the major publishers in Australia. He told me that during the absolute peak of the Australian dollar — when we had parity and were collectively howling at the moon about pricing disparities — even then Australians, per capita, among the highest percentage of people buying video games on Steam. In spite of the ridiculous prices we were being forced to pay.

What does that tell us? It tells us that no publisher is going to stop charging us more for video games if we keep buying them at inflated prices. Why would anyone turn back free money?

The only way this is going to change — like seriously change — is if the government gets involved or — gasp — we as a community stop buying the video games we want to play. I don’t see either of these things happening any time soon. And even if we decide to protest with our wallets that doesn’t mean the wider public will follow suit. We may just be the vocal minority on this point, whether it’s an injustice or not.

So we’re at an impasse. Therefore I have a request: if you’re going to continue charging us more for digitally distributed video games, and it looks as though you are, please do us the courtesy of hiding your tracks. Please don’t do it right in front of our eyes. Please find a way to be more subtle about you rorting.

Just hide your tracks. That’s all I ask.


        • I do, but only a fraction of what they originally ask for much later than release day – i.e. I wait for a Steam sale or something, where I get it for like 70%+ off.
          Example: I got Civ V for $7.50 from GamersGate a year or two ago, compared to the $70 or $80 it would’ve been on release. Sure, it was quite a while since it’s initial release, but hey, I had plenty of other games that kept me entertained and didn’t really care.

          I used to pre-order games years ago, but now I don’t care if I’m not the first person in the universe to play a game anymore – the financial saving of waiting far outweighs it. And it’s not like I’m losing anything. In fact, by waiting, you can usually benefit by picking up a GOTY / Complete Edition that includes DLC and such that’s been released in the meantime.

          Maybe if us Australians wait for a while for a price drop, publishers will freak out about the lack of sales on release day in this part of the world, finally realise why we’re all so pissed off and actually do something about it. If only there weren’t so many people obsessed with buying it as soon as it hits the shelves.

          • Maybe if us Australians wait for a while for a price drop, publishers will freak out about the lack of sales on release day in this part of the world, finally realise why we’re all so pissed off and actually do something about it.

            Or they’ll just claim that it’s a small market and the costs of doing business needs to be recuperated by raising prices again

          • Except it’s a global market now. 99% of their business is conducted online. They are purely protecting trade relationships with retailers and lining their own pockets in the process

          • Maybe if us Australians wait for a while for a price drop, publishers will freak out about the lack of sales on release day in this part of the world, finally realise why we’re all so pissed off and actually do something about it.

            This myth has been thrown around numerous times regarding fuel prices.

          • The difference with fuel compared to Video Games is that we need fuel, we can’t completely stop buying it. Video Games we can

          • Here’s a good tip. Sign up for Amazon, but use a US address (Pick one, any one. Take the White House for all I care, should be easy enough to find), and then buy the digital product off of them. All they do is generate a Steam key for said product, but you end up paying US prices

          • Unverified, but I’ve seen reports of Amazon starting to refuse Australian CC for US only games.

      • I don’t. Not if the game is priced ridiculously and much more than overseas.
        There are means of getting around the inflated australian price.

        ill either purchase through a vpn or an online cd key/game store.

        The whole issue was summed up in the article with: “We still buy your video games, don’t we?”
        Thats the issue. If everyone still buys the games, why would they sell it for less? They sell it at such prices because they can, because we let them.

        • doesn’t really matter if you go through VPN or buy from the US store or whatever. the publisher is still getting your money. there’s no change as far as they’re concerned. they set the price to be X in one country & X+50 in another. they still get their base profit from all sales.

          • It does affect the bottom line of the Australian *distributor*, potentially anyway.

            If they see that the high prices impact those sales seen as coming from Australia, it at least gives them SOME incentive to consider reducing pricing.

            On the whole I’ll have to agree though – the best way to vote for lower pricing is to refuse to buy at the higher price, and if possible notify the publisher that you are doing so.

            I wonder if a letter of complaint to Firaxis would help at all?

            BTW this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the price on Steam come in low then jump after a while. It happened to Fallout 3: Las Vegas as I recall, to Borderlands 2, and it’s almost a regular occurrence for the CoD games.

          • A quick chat to Firaxis may help but 2k Games in this case is the culprit you really need to talk to.

      • CJs keys ftw, it’s not up yet, but I’m assuming it will be near/shortly after launch. They will have it listed for $50 or less.

      • I buy games through TF2 key trading a lot of the time. AC4 brand new was the equivalent of $35. No dodgy CDkey sites required, just the know-how.

        • I get friends to ship from overseas for a hard copy, or gift it to me for others. 9/10 works out a lot cheaper than getting it myself

      • No I don’t, I even got rid of my Steam account because DRM is still DRM no matter how many fan boys defend it. I just buy games from GOG, the occasional console title and some interesting indie games. The mainstream gaming industry has largely lost me.

    • Well when something is run like a monopoly and it’s your only choice of course people are going to pay. That’s why people hate Timewarner crap becoming a monopoly. Once the competition is dead then they can charge whatever they want.

      • I go to G2Play for steam keys and picked up XCOM for 8 bucks the other day while it was 49 on the AU steam store. It really in deplorable, for now tho I am happy buying keys from other countries to keep the cost down, if i couldn’t do that I probably wouldn’t use steam anymore.

        • dear thumpist, as someone who has been eyeing off grabbing xcom for a while, I thank you wholeheartedly for this information. You are a god among men.

          • That’s awesome, I’ll have to remember to check out there when I’m looking at a game on Steam!

        • G2Play had it in stock, AUD$45. Cheaper than the US rate.

          You should advertise G2Play or CDKeyPrices.com in these articles directly, that’ll force the publishers to act, or continue losing money (or region lock the keys………please don’t region lock the keys…)

  • Just hide your tracks. That’s all I ask.

    I’ve got a slightly different request :
    especially for digital distribution, give me one valid reason for doing so, or just stop fucking gouging us you greedy shits.

    • While EB games is in business, publishers will continue to gouge on digital because they won’t undercut the brick and mortar stores because they bring them a lot of cash. It’s just unfortunate that PC games aren’t a big market at B&M stores, but the same applies to digital console games. I’d love to buy Destiny as a digital download, but the current price on PSN is $99. In the US it’s $60 and I can get it from Dick Smith physically for $60.

      • EB Games is not going to stop stocking games just because they are cheaper on Steam. It works in a companies favor to have more people buying games from steam because they can charge more accurate prices and cut out a lot of cost involved.

        • “EB Games is not going to stop stocking games just because they are cheaper literally everywhere else you can buy games”.


        • They might not, but that doesn’t stop them from threatening to. One publisher does not a games store make, and when a significant market share of games sales comes from brick-and-mortar, the LAST thing a publisher is going to do is chop that revenue out of their budget for the sake of not over-charging on digital products for parity. Especially when all of that digital overcharge goes directly into their pockets anyway.

          “Raise your prices, knowing that people will pay them, or I will devastate your income.” Oh my. What ever are we to do? Giving in to these corporate terrorists will be unethical, but our hands are forced… *mug for the camera*

      • You can create a US PSN account on your console, charge it up with US credit by buying a PSN gift card from Amazon and then buy Destiny at the US price. When you log back over to your Australian PSN account, it’ll still be accessible and playable. This is what I’ve been doing, because yeah, the price of games on PSN (and XBox Live for that matter) are just ridiculous.

        $99 for a digital download copy of a game? Yeah, no thanks.

    • @soulblade64 I actually bought my first Xbox One digital game from the AU store this last week when Diablo 3 was priced reasonably. Unfortunately it wasn’t a sign of things to come, it was a mistake, and they raised the price also.

      So back to the US store I go. Why the crap should we be happy to pay MORE for digital products than physical, just so they can protect their retail relationships?

    • Or give us a warning when it’s going to happen. I looked at this on Friday thinking “I’ll get this later”. If I knew they were going to raise the price, I would have got it then and there.

  • I played Dishonored over the weekend for free, it was a game I’d been intrigued by for a while but refused to purchase out of principle… Bethesda are insisting that Australian’s should pay a 125% surcharge for the game. Yes $11.24 is a good price, but that’s not the price I’d actually be paying… Because despite being a 125% surcharge, it’s still in USD. So with the conversion to AUD and the credit card surcharge it’s even closer to $15 for the game.

    2K is also notorious for the Australia Tax, the new Borderlands title jumped from $60 to $70 over the weekend as well… But you know what, if this were in AUD I’d be fine with it. If you add the 10% tax (which is applicable when purchased in taxation states in the US) and converted to AUD (or even converted then added 10%), a $70 price tag would actually be pretty much spot on.

    • %10 is Ok if you ask me – that’s a difference one would expect or not really worry about it. But %100 surcharge is just a smack in the face… with a chair… attached to a wrecking ball… swung by the Hulk.

      • And this is the most ridiculous thing about the problem… Why charge this stupid inflated retail price when it’s so incredibly simple to find a cheap digital price with minimal effort.

        • Possibly because minimal effort is still more difficult than no effort.

          Worst case scenario: Everyone in Australia shops around cleverly and pays International prices. Ohnoes! Teh budgets! People are paying for our games and feeling clever about it!

          Best case scenario: Only the tech-savvy neckbeards pay regular prices, everyone else plays damn near double, all of which is profit.

          I’m not seeing any downsides for publishers here. That’s why they’re doing it. ‘Because they can’. It’s shitty, but ethics don’t please shareholders.

    • Here’s a good tip. Sign up for Amazon, but use a US address (Pick one, any one. Take the White House for all I care, should be easy enough to find), and then buy the digital product off of them. All they do is generate a Steam key for said product, but you end up paying US prices

      (For anyone reading through the comments, yes I’m just copypasting this, but… come on! Cheaper games! Let me spread the word)

      • Already do this quite regularly, but apparently 2K games are forcing Amazon to refuse sales of digital games even with a US address. It’s only a matter of time before more publishers follow.

  • It’s this kind of shit that makes me want to pirate it, to say “I see your ‘fuck you’ with doubling the price, and I raise you a ‘fuck you’ by not paying anything for it at all, after release.”

    Unfortunately, it’s that mentality that spawned draconian DRM and ‘always online’ requirements. So the best I can do without breaking the law is to say “fuck this, I’m getting it from another, cheaper, source (assuming there is one) or buying it when it’s on sale for a significant markdown.”

    I REALLY want to play this too, but I’m not going to play their bullshit price gouging game to do it.

    • Yeah it really sucks that there’s no viable means to protesting this kind blatantly obvious price gouging by publishers aside from not buying the game.

      • You mean like downloading and playing the game for free… at home… *GASP* Piracy couldn’t possibly be a method of protest could it? Speaking of which: Fuck you games industry. I’ll pay $1000+ for Star Citizen, but the rest of you assholes are ripping us off with $100 games.

        • While I did engage in piracy way back when I was youthful and unemployed I can’t justify it anymore =\ I don’t want to be hurting the industry I care about, I will however abstain from buying games I believe are over-priced when coming from a digital platform.

        • In regards to the star citizen thing, it’s all about percieved value.

          The issue isn’t the cost itself but the cost disparity.
          If a fighter in SC cost $100USD to someone in the US, but $210USD here, then shit would hit the fan.

          It’s not the pricing itself but the blatant regional bias that is pissing people off.

        • It’s a poor form of protest because (a) it is difficult to distinguish from run of the mill copyright infringement, and (b) you’re not actually giving anything up in your protest

    • I have yet to see a game with a drm that hasn’t been cracked and hadnt had its drm disabled.

    • I have an alternative solution: just don’t play it. My life will not end if I miss out on a single video game. I have a queue of games a MILE long waiting for me to play them already, why the hell do I need Civilization: Beyond Earth again? Hell, I could just go back and play more Civ V which I haven’t finished wringing all the gameplay from yet (I’ve barely scratched the surface of it in fact); actually, fuck that, I could go back and play Civ IV some more and enjoy it perfectly well. It’s time companies realised that we don’t NEED the latest games any more so if they want to gouge us with insanely overinflated launch prices then they can sit their bloated, greedy asses on our collective extended middle digit and swivel until they squeal like pigs.

      • Another alternative is to wait the Xmas sales. Wait 2 months and buy it then. I am sure it will have some 10 – 50% sale.
        Until then, either Amazon or Pirate bay, whoever has the better offer :-p

    • I doubt that any publisher will see their piracy numbers as being a result of pricing, though. Probably the only message you’d be sending is “We won’t buy games, make more free-to-play rubbish.”

  • I very rarely pay more than 20 bucks for a game. Sometimes I have to wait for something to come down in price, but y’know what, that doesn’t actually diminish my enjoyment when I play it.

    • I agree. I realised long ago that there are thousands of games out there relevant to my interests that I’ve never played. I really don’t need to be paying $90 a pop just to play them the week they’re released. I can wait.

      The only real downside is missing out on the social aspects of gaming. You can’t wait for multiplayer games because no-one will be playing when you finally get around to it, and no-one is interested in talking about a single player game they finished over a year ago.

      • Yep. I have almost 200 games on Steam that I haven’t even installed yet, and at least tens more on CD.
        But I don’t get a lot of time to play computer games anymore. Especially multiplayer.

    • The only time this doesn’t work for me is for games that I would buy almost solely to play online.
      Sometimes after the first couple of months the online community has moved on to something newer, making the game nearly unplayable in some circumstances.

      • I tell myself that time is a good way to gauge the quality of a multiplayer game. If no one is playing after a couple of months, it’s probably wasn’t worth full price to begin with.

  • I’ll keep on going through greenmangaming or failing that a digital code off ozgameshop for new releases. There is little justification for it. There’s no brick & mortar stores to pay rent on, most of the time the games are hosted on servers outside of Australia and next to no labour to hire.

    Kickstarter games have been awesome in this regard. There’s one price for everyone (as far as I’m aware). For Wasteland 2, I paid the US price. For Star Citizen it’ll be the same thing. As much as I want to play Beyond Earth, I won’t pay $90 for it, especially considering PC games are traditionally less than console games but I can walk into a high street store and pick up a PS4 game for less than a digital game for my PC. That to me is unacceptable. One of the arguments for PC gaming is that the games are cheaper. In this case that argument has been taken away from us (ignore the fact the game won’t be on consoles but still…)

  • Good opinion piece, I thought the government kept lumping all the hiked game prices into those tech review/ price watch thingymajigs they compile every other quarter? I thought that seemed to be going somewhere for a while, but i’m guessing thats stalled again?

    • Right, we all believe in Santa and the Easter bunny. :-p
      But seriously, that was lodged a year ago, there was even an article about it, about a month or so ago too, and as you said: Not urgent, got put on the “to do” pile. Why rush something that gouges the population? They will pay anyway, we will fix it when it suits us… *cough* never *cough*

  • We need groups like Kotaku AU, Ausgamers, EB games etc to be a voice for the Australian gamers. If you want price hiking it to stop we need someone to get behind. I know i would get behind it.

  • I normally get around these things by getting a discounted key at gmg.

    But even then it’s only 20% off so you’re paying $72US still, so not a mega discount.

  • I thought it was a bit odd that GMG was selling Civ:BE for $89 and Steam was selling it for $49 – very rare that Steam undercuts third parties. Even saw some forum threads about it over the weekend. Less than two days later, Steam ups the price, as predicted in every one of those threads. Europeans are still paying 50 euros, so we’re not the only ones getting screwed over, but an 80% price difference is a little different to their 30% difference.

    Hope GMG adds Civ: BE to their 30% off Aussie Tax Compensation coupon sometime before/around release, but even then it’ll only come down to EU levels of price-gouging.

    Update: They have added it to the 30% off coupon, so it’s only $62.90, which is a bit more reasonable. Does mean you can’t use other coupons on it to get a better price, tho, which is kinda annoying.
    Edit 2: minor math fail

    • Ozgameshop have the code by email version of CivBE for $48, that’s where I’m getting it from

      • This is my choice too. I’m happy to pay a fair price for games, but when they’re just ‘matching’ the physical store price (by going “89.95 AUD in a store is equal to 89.95 USD, wait what’s an exchange rate?”) I’m going to go somewhere else.

        They did the same thing with CoD4 back when Steam was just getting popular – for a while we had the US price, but then they jacked it up to $89.95 USD to ‘match’ retail pricing. But our exchange rate was so shit at the time that it came out to $110 AUD – way more expensive than just buying the physical copy, which probably cost them more to package and ship.

      • Might go that route… only ever bought a console game from ozgameshop – four weeks shipping, was not impressed. How’s their digital side? Might go with them if there’s no other option.

        • I bought Borderlands 2 digital code from them a year or so ago. At the time they would send a jpeg of the Steam code during UK business hours iirc.
          Not sure if this is how they still do it or not.
          Either way, it worked.

        • Usually fairly fast & efficient, a hell of a lot faster than waiting for surface shipping from the UK at any rate. They sometimes don’t get the codes out until the UK launch day, they don’t always get them in advance so it’s not always the best option if you want something on the AU launch day but they have cheap covered.

          • Sounds good. Still kinda want to go GMG cos I feel bad for ’em – not their fault the publishers are dicks, after all, adn they’re doing a pretty good job of mitigating the “tax”.
            Is spending $15 more worth supporting a store standing up to publisher douchebaggery? Maybe…
            Does it have the same significance as buying from a UK store specifically oriented toward circumvention of the AU tax? Not sure…
            Is this all philosophical nonsense in the light of the fact I am one lone consumer in the midst of tens of thousands, so my choice doesn’t really matter much at all? Probably…

            I’ll wait and see if things change. It’s not like the next few months are devoid of new games, and ozGs prices have seemed pretty stable in the past… I can wait.

  • As soon as I saw it for $50 on Steam, I bought it. I knew that this was coming, especially since it was already $90 on Greenman Gaming.

    • I’ve noticed 2K have a tendency to have their games released at the US price on the AUS store then adding the Australia Tax in later (a lot more than other publishers) so I did the same thing.

    • same crap happened with Dark Souls 2, 49 bucks one day, 79 the next, i got it from ozgameshop for 45

  • In a weird way I’ve always seen this last minute jacking up of the price as the true pre-order bonus, buy it early and pay a fair price but leave it late and get price gouged

    • Yeah, I’m really not sure if this is some kind of publisher experiment or the fact that we see it is even a little bit of a nudge and a wink to the most devoted fans who are GOING to pre-order, so they can say, “Yeah, look, we know the Australia Tax is fucking bullshit, but we’re backed into a corner on this one by the ****s who run retail, so hey, let’s just say there there was a, uh… ‘mistake’ with the pricing, and those who support us with preorders will probably do pretty well out of that ‘mistake’.”

      • It happens so often it can’t be a mistake, someone somewhere is deciding to let a cheaper price slide for a while

  • Got Firefox or Chrome? Download Enhanced Steam. You’re welcome.

    Don’t remember the last time I paid full price for a new release Steam game.

    • Yes, Enhanced Steam shows the prices of several different zones, but you still cannot purchase games at the lowest price. Do you use a proxy or something?

      • The majority of the time, I find the lowest price listed generally is from a non-region locked shop like GMG, GamersGate, etc.

        The odd occasion when it IS region locked then yes, I just use a proxy or VPN.

  • Holy crap, yeah, they’re not even trying anymore. If a price is good for one market, it should be good for all markets – especially digital content, where there are no significant extra overheads like shipping, etc.

    And the thing is: for most Australians, if the price is reasonable, we’re more than happy to pay for content. I want to play games when they’re new, not months or years down the track when they’ve dropped to the kind of price the rest of the world got to pay when the game was new. I want to pay for content, I want to support media creators. But I can’t justify paying prices like this.

    • Totally agree with you. Soon as I saw it on Steam for $50, bought it, as I saw it on GMG for $90 and knew it was coming (or it was a really good deal, either way).

      BTW, dunno if you saw Telstra’s stance on the whole piracy thing going on:

      “Piracy of content is theft,” Mr Thodey said.

      “You can’t justify it (downloading pirated content) because of the price of content. A whole industry exists to create great content.”

      FUCK YOU TELSTRA. It’s no surprise really, their charges are the worst for their internet access.

      Thank god I’m with iiNet.

      • Ha! Company who makes all their dollars on price gouging customers due to their network coverage sticks up for other companies who price gouge. This is my surprised face (it looks a lot like my completely unsurprised face).

        I’m with TPG. They’re good value (but they can’t customer service for shit).

        I think this is is a good reminder that I need to pay more attention to the prices of things when they’re still on preorder for the new stuff I am interested in to make sure if this happens I can get in on the ground floor with actual reasonable prices. I hate feeling like we need some kind of underground phone-tree internet equivalent for cases like this so more people can get games before the Australia tax is applied, though.

        • Yeah that $60 Destiny pre order at Dick Stiffvis looking pretty good right about now…

  • I use companies like g2a and other key stores now rather than going through steam. Only time I buy things off of steam is if they’re on sale.

  • If they are going to charge a ridiculous price for Australian consumers, I’m happy if they are a bit sloppy and have it available at the US price for a few days. I bought it for US$50 on steam before the price changed. Woo. And if its not a game that I want immediately (mostly I don’t pre-order anymore, but I knew my gaming group would want this game immediately), happy to wait for steam sales or buy it from ozgameshop.

    There are mostly enough options around now for circumventing the Australia tax that it is less of a big deal, and sloppily putting the product on steam with the US price for a couple of days is one of them. Sweet.

  • Thanks to almost every media company hiking up their prices in aus since pre wfc, we aussies have gone pirating for the media that overseas companies have been hiking up the the prices up.

  • Is there a way to set steam to buy at the USA price instead of AU but play it on an AU account?

    • Yes. Add cc=US to the end of the URL. need to use US ccard with a relevant address, though.

      • ahh damn i was hoping it would be like Hulu / netflix and only need to set a US postcode and use AU CC.

    • Use a VPN to the US in your browser and buy in the browser, but it might get you banned if Steam finds out, as their Policy does not approve of you bypassing Geoblocking.

  • Or just wait a year and get the GOTY edition for cheap as hell.
    Over the past couple of days I’ve purchased Metro: Last Light Complete for US$4.99 from Steam and Dishonored GOTY for US$7.99 from greenmangaming (includes their 20% voucher).

    I also like what GOG do. If they are forced to add an Australian Tax by the publisher, they make up the difference with store credit/free games.

  • The government as it stands will not do anything. We all know this. Whether it was the previous Labor government or the present Liberal government. If the gamer community could vote for the Pirate Party (www.pirateparty.org.au) then things have a better chance of changing. But somehow I doubt that will happen.

    Right now Steam is not the culprit. The “Australia Tax” only applies for a certain number of games. All you have to do is wait, and not even *that long*, maybe a month or two is enough to send a message. Just buy them when they are on sale, or buy something else similar to keep you going. You know what? In this case, just play through Civ again and buy the new one when you’re finished. Just that time lag alone will have the publishers shit themselves.

    Basically, there are a ton of indie games to tide you over. There are probably a ton of games you have in your list that you haven’t bothered playing yet. Play them! Just promise yourself that you’ll buy that game after you’ve clocked like two others you haven’t started yet. That’s all you have to do.

    And next time, please vote Pirate.

  • I don’t mind the idea of being able to buy it a bit cheaper pre-release and then upping the price on release day (it encourages people to pre-order the game) but double the price is a bit harsh.
    Also what is the reasoning for a digital copy to be more expensive in one country compared to another, they are both coming off the same server.

  • In this age of Free to Play, NO game is worth 90 bucks. Screw Steam and all the other rip-off merchants. If I feel the need to play this, or any other game, I’ll wait until another Steam sale. Until then I’ll keep playing World of Tanks, Minecraft, War Thunder etc, etc, etc.

  • You know the system is broken if you can buy a physical copy in another country, ship it, and pay postage and it is still cheaper than if you bought it online.

    And it’s not just video games either. Up to half the consumer goods you can buy are cheap enough where this is actually a viable alternative to buying it digitally or in a physical retail store. It’s just absurd.

  • I was actually going to buy it because I saw someone forgot to put the Australia Tax on it, but by the time I was actually able to jump onto Steam and make the purchase it had gone up to this price.

    Civ is a great game, but not $90 great.

  • on a side note, whys this popping up in my head?

    “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden. He drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Conclave Bible

  • I would like to know the kind of person who goes on Steam and goes “Oh, $50US changed to $90AUD…well played sir, you have bested me yet again. $90 it is then, as there is no alternative!”

    They’re likely the type that cross at pedestrian crossings when the green man is blinking in the other direction…they hear the sound and just go. I fear for these people.

  • I’m sick of it and I warez games until GOTY versions come out at decent prices.

    Music Industry happening to games now. Damn the suits; they don’t even play the games

  • I picked up Diablo 3 on PS4 for $69 on Staurday. Looking on PSN last night it was $99.95. Digital downloads are the future, but as long as digital games are ridiculously priced, I’ll keep buying physical copies on principle.

  • I have decided to stop buying games like this on/near release. I’ll just wait for the bundles that have ALL the dlc and are on sale for a reasonable price.

  • I pre-ordered this on Steam on Friday afternoon. I must have only just squeezed in before the price rise.

    Those still keen on the game at a reasonable price, ozgameshop.com currently has it for $52 boxed, $47.50 email code.

  • Serrels, can you please do an article on this topic that provides people with practical alternatives. I personally don’t buy games at Australian prices any more using the following work-arounds:

    1) PC Games: I use this website http://www.dlcompare.com/ to find region-free steam/origin keys. I can get most games for half the Australian price. Civ: Beyond Earth is currently available for roughly $43 AUD
    2) Buying from the US PSN: I buy PSN cards from pcgamesupply.com and then use them on the US PSN. The games download to my PS4 and I am then able to play them on my original, Australian PSN ID so that I can get the trophies, multiplayer etc.
    3) I use EB Games 7 day return policy. If I am keen for something but dont expect I’ll play it a lot I’ll buy it from EB and then return it. I would feel guilty about this if I wasnt being completely ripped off, but I am more than happy to vote with my wallet here in he hope that retailers/publishers will get the message.

    I’m sure there are many other options. Maybe you could do a ‘Tell us Dammit: How do you get around the Australia Tax?’ Maybe keep an page going that is regularly updated. Kotakus is extremely well placed to effect some real change here by showing people alternatives, so I hope you jump on this.

  • i posted this on the 2K forums.

    First up i have to say is that i have no interest in Civilization but i for one do not like being needlessly sodomized over local pricing just for being Australian.

    I understand that it costs money to make a physical product, ship it and sell it, the middle men need to be paid but what about digital distribution? there is no middle man, You send codes to Steam or other websites and people buy and redeem those codes so there is absolutely no justification as to why a digitally distributed game has to be the same price as brick and mortar. Why does steam need to be competitive with EB Games or other brick and mortar stores, if anything steam should be forcing B&M stores to be more competitive with them. I also understand that the Aussie dollar is less than the USD but does justify the huge markup?

    I wouldn’t call it a bait and switch, more a kick in the balls to aussie gamers, the couple of days this game was being sold at $49.99 just proves that it can be sold at the price and there was no reason for such a huge price spike.

    So i throw down a challenge to any 2K moderators or staff reading, tell me why as an Australian i should pay nearly double the amount for a game on steam than Americans, give me a damn good reason why the price rise is justified. I await your reply.

  • You know, if I walked into a physical store and the American in front of me paid $49.95 for the same item I had, and then when I went to pay the shopkeeper said “That’ll be $89.95”, you can bet there’d be a whole kerfuffle about discrimination along with the involvement of the BBB (or whatever our equivalent is). While I know that digital is akin to “importing” goods from overseas and there are still taxes to be paid, it’s still amounting to saying “We’re going to charge you more because you’re not American”.

  • What is 2K Australia’s official statement on this? I’ve seen articles now here and at games.on.net, surely between these 2 sites, you’ve got a good representation of the Australian Video Games journalists, having them ask the same questions should prompt their response, or warrant new article every day on the subject until they do respond.

  • I never buy anything on Steam if it has the $89 price tag. It’s a joke and I won’t pay it. I really want to get this. I would’ve happily paid $50 on launch directly from Steam.

    Now, I’m going to wait until it goes down to $30 on a dodgy Russian cd key website.

  • At this point, game devs and publishers might as well be talking us to go fuck ourselves with this level of arrogance on their pricing.

  • has anyone played yet? i love Civ 5 but dont like the older ones so im hoping its more similar to Civ 5

  • YOu can get it off GMG for $50 if you use Hola to switch to the US website. Then you can apply one of the 20% off vouchers they always have going to bring it down to $40.

    They’ll happily take your Australian credit card.

  • there is no way you can convince me that they would make more money if games were at a $50 price point.

  • And people wonder why Australians are the biggest software pirates in the world!

    It’s simple, I’ll wait until it’s $30 at JB.

  • The problem is, if we don’t pay it- our lack of purchase will likely be notched up to piracy as a cause. These guys never take responsibility for what they do.

    Screw it.
    I say fuck you firaxis.
    Your game might be good but you’ll never get another dime from me and I’ve bought every one of your games since and including civ 1.

    Instead of paying you what the game is worth and then your region tax on top I’ll just keep the money for myself and use it with someone else and at feel satisfied that I haven’t been completely violated.

  • I noticed it was 89 a week or two ago.. Then it dropped to 49 for a couple of days. I snatched it up during this period. Think it might have been due to the 2k sale.

  • It’s even more painful when you consider that Borderlands the pre-sequel is being developed by 2K Australia.
    Developed here, published overseas, price jacked up once it returns. 🙁

    They’re also really obvious about it:

    The Australian tax is more offensive than wind turbines.

  • There really needs to be some sort of initiative to stop people from giving these idiots money. Seriously, it’s not that hard to find an alternative digital store, for Steam especially. I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a AAA title on Steam. Green Man Gaming, GoG, Ozgameshop’s email store just to name a few.

    Seriously people, STOP GIVING THEM YOUR MONEY VIA STEAM. Learn to vote with your friggin wallets.

  • i always check cdkeyprices.com and greenmangaming before buying from steam.
    most times i can get it for half of what steam is asking

  • Pretty much what a lot of other people have said but on the off chance it helps anyone…

    1. check greenmangaming.com for any steam pre-order costing over $50 (i.e. breaking into the gouge zone)
    2. turn on the hola better internet chrome extension and tell it i’m american (not the best vpn lite tool but free is free). Greenmangaming don’t do any additional region checks (location/billing address etc)
    3. ALWAYS check and apply the discount code listed on greenmangaming. currently 20% but was 25% recently. Ended up getting the pre-order for this for $37.50.

    All that being said it gets a bit tiring having to jump through hoops just to do the right thing (i.e. buy the game at a reasonable amount!)

    Edit: Here’s the code for 25% off and it’s still active: GMG250-FFSELE-CTED00

  • I’m trying to get into the habit of tagging games on Steam with this sort of rip-off applied with ‘Australia Tax’. It’s a small thing, but if enough people did it, it’d start appearing in the popular tags listing to at least warn people.

  • Maybe somebody can help me understand… don’t publishers have retail partners in every other country too? Why do they feel like they need to protect their retail partners in Australia but not day in Canada or the US? Second, why are the in store retail prices so high? Is it taxes or related to the notorious anti-gaming censorship/bans down there? Also can’t you but games from GMG in US dollars and often at a discount (Beyond Earth for $38!) Then use the key on steam?

  • I think there may be a serious case for the ACCC. When international distributors adjust their prices to not undercut domestic distribution, it looks a lot like price fixing to me.

  • I bought an xbox in Hong Kong and get all my games for that machine. They’re usually just over half price – even the fanboy collector editions.

  • I think it is great that they give us a chance to buy the game for $50 instead of $90. What other products give early adopters this sort of support.

  • Easily solved. Acquire it freely and send them the same (US) price with Aussie dollar parity. Minus a few bucks for your time to acquire the game indirectly and then blog the hell out of it. Rest assured they will come to the party.

  • On other news, I just totalled 3 games costing $80 USD, which my mates in the states only spent $40 on. Yet, I’ve to pay $110(Australian) for the same 3 games which my mates would’ve only had to spend $56(Australian) on.

    Quite annoying, If you ask me.

  • Thanks to almost every media company hiking up their prices in aus since pre wfc,

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