On the 29th of July, the House of Representatives Infrastructure and Communications Committee in Australia released a report that is suggesting that Australian Game Consumers are being over-charged for Video Games. The finding actually comes as a part of a larger investigation into the prices of IT related Products in Australia.
According to a particular section of the report, the committee sent out a consumer watchdog to review and compare the prices of twenty new-release games sold via the EB Games website. (EB Games is our version of GameStop). As expected, things were not right, and there was only one game that was on par with it’s US equivalent, with most games being 40-90% more expensive.
What’s even more surprising is the fact that digital games were far from an exception, with some games on Steam coming in at 200%, and in some cases even 300% more expensive. In fact, in many cases it actually worked out cheaper for consumers to go out and purchase physical media rather than digital. That just does not make any sense. I love you Australia, but somethings not right here.
Of course, the committee did take the time acknowledge all of the typical reasons (or excuses, if you prefer) as to why physical IT products could be justified as more expensive in Australia. However, the following was also stated in the report, “in many instances these higher costs cannot, even cumulatively, explain the price differences consumers experience in relation to many IT products, and especially those delivered via the internet.” Agreed!
This is a can of worms just waiting to be opened, but without clear evidence, it’s really just finger pointing at this stage, and we would prefer not to make any official statement about the source of the problem. However, it goes without saying that something is very wrong with our digital marketplace in particular. How could it possibly be so ridiculously uncompetitive, not only with international prices, but with our localized physical counter offering as well? Honestly, I don’t think it’s difficult to put all of the pieces together and gather a guess as to whom or what is likely the source of the issue. To put it very bluntly, I personally believe that a certain entity has the Australian games market by the balls, and they’e not keen to let go.
Luckily, It’s not all bad news as the committee has officially put forward recommendations to deal with the issue, which include relaxing parallel import restrictions and amending the Copyright Act 1968. This is a great first step.
If you’re keen to check out the official report, Click Here.