Amazon Australia Has Become The Destination For Cheap Video Games

Here at Lifehacker HQ, we've been pretty hard on Amazon Australia during its first six months in business. We've slammed them and we've studied them. We've complained and we've applauded. Truly, they're coming good and prices are lining up with what many had expected pre-launch.

One category where they're really beginning to dominate is video games.

More importantly, they're becoming reactive. Prices might dip elsewhere and Amazon are on top of them. For example, EB Games recently slashed the price of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle for the Nintendo Switch down to $44.97. Amazon Australia weren't far behind with their own discount. It's probably enough for the megalith to just set and forget their prices, but actively updating them so they remain Best In Class shows they're at least looking to outperform those traditional retailers and start hoovering up pieces of the pie.

We had a look at some of the highest-rated games on Metacritic for 2018 and 2017 to see how they stacked up at major retailers across Australia - and at Amazon. We looked at the base price - not factoring in shipping which usually comes in at around $3.50 at EB, JB fluctuates based on location between $1.50 and $5 and Big W will send you stuff out for $5.

Amazon Australia will not charge you a delivery fee on any product shipped from their warehouse that is over $49. The reason we haven't included shipping is because you can physically walk into these stores and get this price if you desire, so we were giving them a slight advantage out of the gate.

Last note: We also looked only at next-gen consoles, your PS4s, Xbox Ones and Switchs. PC was not included here.

The tables are below:

Game

EB

JB

Big W

Amazon

God Of War $99.95 $79 $79 $75
Bayonetta 2 $89.95 $69 $79 $69
Shadow Of The Colossus $54.95 $49 $49 $40.50
Monster Hunter World $77 $69 $69 $58.99
Dragonball FighterZ $77 $89 $79 $77

Games Released In 2017

Game

EB

JB

Big W

Amazon

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild $89.95 $89 $79 $78
Super Mario Odyssey $79.95 $79 $69 $67
Persona 5 $68 $79 N/A $48.99
Horizon: Zero Dawn $47 $54 $49 $42.95
NieR: Automata $47 $49 N/A N/A ($49.50 by Mighty Ape)

In all cases, Amazon Australia had the best price (or equal-best price). Notably, the one game that didn't qualify for free shipping, Shadow of the Colossus, would still be a couple of dollars cheaper than the next cheapest available price. It's interesting, this holds up for most recently-released titles, the big AAA blockbusters down to the remakes and remasters. I'd focused here on the 2018 and 2017 period so far and across the board, the average price for a New Release on Amazon Australia was $5 to $6 cheaper than EB, JB or Big W.

Against traditional bricks-n-mortar retail, it seems that Amazon Australia is really clamping down hard and pushing their prices as low as reasonably possible. This is something that has certainly been seen in the US store - and has even been a big plus since their Australian launch - but when it's rendered so clearly, across multiple titles, it shows a clear difference.

I was also interested in how they'd fare with more hard-to-come-by, older titles, so I went back a measly four years and struggled to find video games that were actually still in stock across the retailers we were examining. So things did start to get a bit murkier the further back in time I went — revealing that Amazon still puts decent prices on the board, if they're stocking the older titles.

We took a look at only next-gen consoles again, but this time included the WiiU instead of the unreleased Switch.

Here's the 2014 comparison:

Games Released In 2014

Game

EB

JB

Big W

Amazon

Grand Theft Auto V $39.97 $79 $69 $39.97
The Last Of Us Remastered $54.95 $54 $45 $36.50
Super Smash Bros. (WiiU) $47 $69 N/A N/A ($36.95 by The Gamesmen)
Mario Kart 8 (WiiU) $47 $69 $59 N/A
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare $24.97 $29 N/A $26-28

It gets a little harder to start drawing direct comparisons here with Amazon seemingly not stocking WiiU titles themselves (though Smash Bros. can be obtained via Amazon via The Gamesmen). However, the big title — and one that somehow still sells incredibly well — Grand Theft Auto V is perhaps the most telling. EB Games are, as I write this article, running a sale on GTA V. Their usual price? $79.95, similar to both JB and Big W. It seems here Amazon are being reactive, with their price matched to EB's current sale prices.

Without access to their history, I can't necessarily say just what Amazon would usually retail at or how much better it would be.

You can also see that older games are a little bit of a struggle to grab from Amazon, with EB holding out pretty strong here. Most of their older titles are, to my surprise, best price in Australia. With their longevity, it seems they've been able to keep a lot of the older games in stock for longer and now need to flog 'em off in their huge red tape sales.

However, so far it's all been about traditional retail stores vs an online global multi-limbed-mega-giant-behemoth-monster. Maybe the scales are tipped a little bit too far in Amazon's favour?

So let's take a gander at how Amazon Australia compares to other online games retailers?

A quick survey of my Twitter feed suggested that many people were buying games from Ozgameshop, Mighty Ape or the digital stores that Microsoft, Playstation and Nintendo operate. The latter has no delivery fees attached, whereas Ozgameshop is free over $50 and Mighty Ape charges a flat $5.99. In this case, we added the delivery fee because you can't physically go and buy these titles from Mighty Ape at that price.

Game

Ozgameshop

Mighty Ape

Digital Store

Amazon

God Of War $76.99 $80.99 $99.95 $75
Bayonetta 2 $72.99 N/A $69.95 (no Bayonetta included) $69
Shadow Of The Colossus $46.98 $53.99 $54.95 $46.49
Monster Hunter World $58.99 $73.99 $99.95 $58.99
Dragonball FighterZ $72.99 $83.99 $99.95 $79

Again, Amazon clean house with their pricing, having the best or equal best prices in four of the five recently released games. Versus the digital stores? It's a no-contest. Stop, stop! They're already dead!. No surprises there though - the official digital stores are almost always the most expensive place to grab the game - but I was a little surprised to see that Ozgameshop was so competitive when it came to pricing, even beating out Amazon with the most recent Dragonball title. I guess this shows that, if you're shopping online it does pay to have a quick look around, but Amazon are going to almost always have the best price.

The Caveat

Clearly, we've looked at Amazon Australia's video games output purely from a console angle. When it comes to PC titles, they don't have the range or prices to compete with your Steams, GOGs and Fanaticals — yet — largely because they are selling boxed games to an audience who are downloading titles anyway. In the US, Amazon does list CD keys, rather than physical PC games, so there is a chance that in the future Amazon Australia also gets on board with that strategy. For now, this comparison will have to wait. Our advice is to stick to the Steam sales, GOGs and Fanaticals as much as you can if you're part of the master race PC playing crowd.

The Verdict

If you're still buying physical copies of your video games on any of The Big Three consoles, it's ludicrous to start anywhere but Amazon Australia. They've consistently shown that they will have the best or equal-best pricing in the country. One thing to keep firmly in mind is that you're likely going to struggle to get New Releases on release day, but if you're happy to wait a day or two, then Amazon is where to go.

Interestingly, Amazon Prime is still yet to launch in Australia. When this service becomes available, we suspect that there will be even more incentive to purchase video games from the service - with expedited delivery meaning you get your physical copies within a day for a monthly fee. How will it stack up value-wise in the end? We will have to wait and see.

One final note: Currently, Amazon are running a promotion where new customers that spend $79 or more on Amazon-stocked items can get $20 off at checkout using the code AMAZON20. Most games will fall just under this mark, as you can see above. A good tip? Throw a pack of markers or a keyring on top, bring your total to $79 and then whip the code in. That'll bring a new release game like Detroit: Become Human or Mario Tennis Aces down to $59 - and you'll have a bunch of other stuff, too.

Amazon AU has become the destination for buying console video games. Don't sleep on it.


Comments

    Cheaper still on eBay

    *frown*

    What’s this? Evidence which might cause me to re-think my opinions?

    Well. There’s clearly only one thing to do.
    Burn it and pretend it never existed. Nowait that’s what government would do. I meant, ‘keep an open mind and look them up next time I want to make a purchase.’

    They need digital codes like they have on the US site, then we'll be talking..

    JB Hi-Fi will price match with Amazon if you request it, which means you also wont have to wait for shipping.

    I don’t buy physical games anymore, starting with ps4. Thankfully I don’t line the pockets of EB or Amazon, terrible companies with a track record of treating staff like shit/or engaging in shitty business practices.

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