Citing a need to "reflect local and regional market conditions" Blizzard has announced that it will be increasing Australian prices in the Heroes of the Storm in-game shop.
These increases will be effective starting May 13.
In a post detailing the changes, Blizzard Community Manager Arcagnion blamed "currency shifts".
We regularly review our global pricing, and occasionally make adjustments as needed to reflect local and regional market conditions. We wanted to give everyone in Australia a heads-up that as a result of recent regional currency shifts, we will soon be increasing AUD prices in the Heroes of the Storm in-game Shop, starting May 13, 2015. All purchases made prior to this date will be at the current values listed through the in-game Shop. Note that because New Zealand pricing is in US Dollars, no changes will be made.
Note: Heroes of the Storm is free-to-play and makes its money through the micro-transaction model. Heroes of the Storm rotates its free characters, but players can add certain characters to their permanent roster for a fee. It's these fees that are being increased in response to "market conditions". Also of note: New Zealand players will not be affected as their pricing is tied the US dollar.
The timing is interesting. The Aussie dollar has been in decline since April 2013, but hit a peak of $1.10 against the US dollar in 2011. At time of writing the Aussie dollar is starting to rally at almost 80 cents after hitting an all-time low of 76 cents as recent as March 30.
The Australian dollar is struggling, no doubt, but I don't seem to remember anyone — except Apple — making adjustments when the Australian dollar was strong.
However, the reality is the Australian dollar is weak. Australian users on the Heroes of the Storm are currently paying less than their US counterparts. As a user on the Blizzard forums points out Brightwing — on-sale this week — is $5.49 on the Australian store and $4.99 on the US store. If we were paying US prices, Brightwing would cost Australians $6.26 at the current exchange rate. Point being: Australians still might be paying less than US users for micro-transactions in Heroes of the Storm after the adjustments.
That hasn't stopped people getting angry. On the Blizzard forums, where the changes were announced, most seem upset at the changes as you might expect. No-one wants to pay more money for the same product. However, it might be worth waiting to see what the adjustments look like. We've asked Blizzard to confirm how much Australians will be paying after the prices change. We'll update as soon as we have details.