Australian Parliament Subpoenas Microsoft, Apple on Price Hikes

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Australian Parliament Subpoenas Microsoft, Apple on Price Hikes

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The move ends months of stalling by the software giants, forcing them to appear before an official inquiry into price hikes in Australia.

Australia's federal parliament has compelled three of the biggest American IT firms, Apple, Microsoft and Adobe, to appear before its inquiry into price hikes via a formal subpoena. The move finally puts an end to the software giants' unwillingness to discuss their pricing policies in public. "These firms should have cooperated and been prepared to be more open and transparent about their pricing approaches. In what's probably the first time anywhere in the world, these IT firms are now being called by the Australian Parliament to explain why they price their products so much higher in Australia compared to the US," Labor backbencher Ed Husic, who issued the inquiry last May, said regarding the subpoena.

The price of technology has always been high in Australia. The PS3, which cost up to $599 in the US on launch, cost up to a mind-boggling $1000 AUD in Australia. New release videogames, which cost $40-$60 US in America, average around $90-$120 AUD on the other side of the Pacific. A long time ago, when America's economy was stronger that it is today, and one Australian dollar bought around 80 US cents, the price hikes were justified, especially considering the costs of shipping to Australia. Now, the Australian and American dollar are almost one-to-one, and the increasing popularity of digital distribution methods such as Apple's App store and Microsoft's Xbox Live eliminates any legitimate reasons for companies to hike up prices for Aussies. Yet, it still happens.

Well, Australians have had enough, and last May an inquiry was issued into the pricing of technology and services in Australia. The results revealed a strong outcry of public anger regarding ongoing markups on technology goods and services sold in Australia. The complaints focused on the fact that online stores such as Apple's iTunes and App store, Valve's Steam, Microsoft's Xbox Live, Sony's PlayStation Network, Amazon's Kindle store and Adobe's software store charged Australians higher prices for the exact same software and content than residents of other countries.

"Adobe, Apple and Microsoft are just a few firms that have continually defied the public's call for answers and refused to appear before the IT Pricing Inquiry. While television and computer prices fell 14 per cent according the to the latest Consumer Price Index Figures, there's still a long way to go - with some estimates suggesting that Australian prices are up to 60 per cent higher than the US." - Ed Husic

These three companies in particular have all run campaigns to mark up prices in the last few years. In April 2012, Adobe said it would continue a long-running tradition of marking up its prices for the Australian market, revealing that the company would charge Australians up to $1,400 more for the exact same software that is sold worldwide. Apple recently released the AC/DC complete collection over iTunes (an Australian band, mind you), for 54%, or $80, more than what it costs people in other countries. 3000 Microsoft points in the US works out to about $37, yet in Australia the RRP is $59.99 AUD.

So what does this mean for Australian consumers? Well, nothing much, at least not yet. The three companies in question have merely been asked to formally explain themselves, after which policy may or may not be put into place to force them to equalize price disparities.

"Gray importing," the act of sidestepping regular distribution channels by importing goods from overseas markets, is not only legal in Australia, but encouraged. Retailers that follow official distribution channels, such as GAME, which recently went into administration, have been feeling the sting of customers who are willing to gray import their games for cheaper, whether via retailers such as GameTraders or online over websites such as Play-Asia.

Source: Delimiter

Update: Shortly after being summoned to appear before the inquiry, Adobe announced that it will slash the price of some of its products in the Australian market. Photoshop and Creative Cloud will both have their prices lowered for individual licences, bringing them in-line with what people in the US and other markets around the world pay. Business licences of these products remain unaffected.

Source: Australian Financial Review

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Good for Australlia. Nice to see at least one country's government isn't bending over with cheeks spread for the tech and entertainment industry and that the consumers are finding ways to circumvent being exploited.

US gamers happily smile and say "Thank you Sir, may I have another?" When they drop $60 on a half-made game with 1/3 of the content sold separately as DLC. Imagine dropping $100 on that kind of crap. Well, if Microsoft, Sony, and the major publishers get their way and find a way to eliminate used games, we'll find out soon enough.

Yeah, this is pretty awesome, If not for the giant spiders and other fearsome creatures, I would move there.

Took you guys long enough, I wonder how many people they'll have to fire to "recuperate lost profits".

Was actually refreshing to hear something was finally being done about this.

However these three are only part of the problem. Needs to be a full investigation into the links between local distributors, local brick and mortar stores as there has been evidence leaked out recently to suggest they are just as much to blame as the publishers.

Was a report made by a consumer advocacy group/watchdog not long ago I believe that saw us paying upwards of 200%-300% more on digital software and games which is just disgusting.

EDIT:

Side note, thank goodness for ozgameshop and green man gaming.

YAH! Yahtzee will no longer have to pay more to get his games if this goes anywhere.

Are they trying to make us Convicts by making sure we pirate everything under the sun, or is it simply as Yahtzee said; best beaches tax.

It's prices like these that make me cackle like an idiot when I hear/read comments about "dropping 60 bucks on a new game, aww no way man", in the words Chopper Reid; "Harden the Fuck up". Thank (nonexistent) God for cheaper imports.

Australians aren't the only one suffering from higher prices on games and consoles and such. Look to their neighbour, New Zealand... who probably end up paying more than Aussies do in some cases, depending on how exchange rates go.

This is like watching a slow motion train wreck to be honest. The stupdity of American goverment and guys like Obama boggles me until I watch some other goverments in action. Given the censorship garbage, and their general lack of a grasp on technology and trade I think the Australian goverment should refrain on trying to make desicians on anything involving technology more advanced than a sharp stick.... I know some will be apaled by an outsider saying this, but I've heard other Aussies say the same thing on related subjects over the years.

The basic gist of the situation is this. I'm sympathetic to people who want cheaper luxuries, especially things I also enjoy like video games. A lot of the people in my WoW raiding guild were Aussies or Kiwis, from whom I grabbed a lot of my insights into the situation fro a number of angles. But to be brutally honest the "Continent Down Under" is still fairly isolated globally (there is no magical cure for geography until we have matter transporters), and a lot of the region's charm and what people want to preserve are the anti-thesis of technological development and a lot of the things that would make arguements like the one the goverment is going to raise meaningfully.

The bottom line is this, when it comes to physical products being shipped to Australia, you still need to load them onto a boat or a plane and bring them there. There is more to it than a simple question of the relative value of currency. The price of fuel, wages for crewmen, etc... all contribute, and like it or not with shipping companies (plane and boat) having problems, the rising cost of fuel, etc... combined with the weakened US economy and shifts in priorities makes bringing goods to The Land Down Under even more of a pain, and more expensive, than ever before. On some levels Australians are getting foreign goods incredibly cheaply due to positive global relations, given the
expense involved in physical trade.

When it comes to issues like digital good and the like, understand that it's not magic, all of that takes technology. You need a telecommunications infrastructure to upload, download, and distribute files. By many accounts Austrlia's internet sucks balls to put it bluntly, which makes it a pain for people doing telecommunications stuff to deal with. The goverment has little interest in improving it apparently, and given the desire to leave large parts of Austrlia with it's rustic, undevleoped charm, it means that it's a pain for private carriers to build and maintain things like wireless towers. If I've heard correctly the conditions in the major cities are far differant from the majority of the country and how it functions technologically when it comes to things like the functionality of internet and wireless services.

All of this means that people have to work harder, and spend more money and effort, to bring these kinds of goods and services to Australia. A goverment that (again if I heard correctly) that has no desire to prioritize investing in it's telecommunications and internet, has no business complaining to IT companies when their own pain in the arse policies lead to high prices.

When it comes to games and such there is also a flip side to this as well. Aussies, like people from Europe and such, seem to like to go off about their general lack of anti-piracy enforcement and the insanity of the idea of people going to jail for "stealing" a video game or whatever. I don't know how this works in actual legal terms, but I'm guessing there is some actually on-the-books precedent or protections here that lead to such confidence. Needless to say game producers probably aren't lining up to make their products and IPS availible in a country that pretty much gives free reign to steal what they bring over. That kind of thing probably does influance even digital prices, and if you were on the business side of things you'd probably think the same way.

The end result here is that I'll be very surprised if this ends well. People would like to view this as a powerful goverment calling a bunch of naughty, corperate, children to task and forcing them to change their behavior and be more generous. Sadly I think there is enough legitimacy here (even going by the aussies I've talked to, and their criticisms of goverment policy and electronic infrastructure) that there is no good way it's going to end. The big IT companies are not going to lower their prices under the current situation, and I can't see Australia actually investing in the kinds of infrastructure australian gamers and tech users have wanted for a long time, nor is Australia going to offer to pick up part of the tab as far as transport costs for the physical goods. Given what a pain it all is, if Australia puts it's foot down too hard it might just render itself too much of a pain for any potential profits that could be reaped. I see more potential for these companies to say "F@ck it, your not worth the trouble" and just refuse to do business under these circumstances, than any kind of massive lowering of prices on their good without major compromises from Australia. The most LIKELY actual outcome of this is going to be Australia making a big scene, nothing of note changing, but there being some bad blood that will come back to haunt everyone because at the end of the day big IT companies don't like being brought in for show trials, and being pissed off might very well come out in some "subtle" ways in their future trade.

I could be wrong, but that's my analysis of it. As I said, my initial impression is that like in most technology related issues, Australia's goverment(s) seems pretty bloody dumb and out of touch.

If Australia wants to do better here it needs to become more inviting. Pump up it's internet even to the rural regions, install far more cell and wireless towers to increase coverage along with the infrastructure to make maitnence less of a chore. Pass laws to protect foreign IPs and copyrights (even if it makes it so people go to jail), and perhaps cut some kind of a deal to cover part of shipping expenses for foreign trade. With the rising cost of fuel, filling up those planes and cargo boats is becoming even more expensive, is the Aussie goverment agreed to pay say half the fuel bill or whatever on incoming goods, it could then make a valid claim for those goods to be cheaper.

Therumancer:
One massive snip

Therumancer - your posts always seem well thought out and well written, but you have missed some key things here.

Australia is currently investing in the installation of a fiber-optic telecommunications network. Slow rollout but happening.

Basic economics - When our dollar was worth shit, it made sense for the massive disparity in pricing. Shipping is relatively cheap really (From the transport industry here) And our freight network in this country is fantastic; Shipping, even globally, may make for a 10% increase in cost of physical copies.. if that. Mind you shipping isn't even a sliding scale based on % of cost, but a fixed amount, so that is being generous. Now that our dollar is quite often valued higher than the US dollar, the base unit price being higher than that of the US (discounting shipping) Makes no sense at all (excluding transport costs) There is no reason a new software product, sold in it's physical form in a shop should cost any more than 15% more in australia. That's adding an extra 5% on for the higher cost of running a retail store here, which i think is a fair guess.

a $60 game in the US costing $69 here would be fine. Acceptable. Understandable. Welcomed.

a $60 game costing us $110 there is NO FUCKING REASON BUT GOUGING. Plain and simple lol And Adobe products that cost $2000 overseas can fetch upwards of $6000 here. Tell me that "shipping" can equate to that much...i don't buy it.

I do understand that our phone network isn't as good as other countries, our net is slower yada yada. However, the only way this could effect the price of a purchase is if the company has set up distribution servers in this country. Very few have/will. But they will still charge us like they do.

Somehow, new games on steam sometimes cost more than retail in australia.. go figure that one out. Apart from setting up software to be location specific and to regionalise pricing (which is done for every country), there is no reason for it. Except gouging.

Just my 2 cents.

Edit: And your subtle racism about us wanting to preserver our "rustic" way of life can go suck 13 cocks down it's own throat. We aren't backwards fucking hicks.

Therumancer:
snip for massive wall of text

You have absolutely no clue what you're talking about. The Australian government has just invested a crapton of money into upgrading the fibre optics around the country, I live in one of the first areas to get it switched on. People most definitely do not get 'free reign' to steal software; what's more, the government is currently considering forcing ISPs to keep all data about consumer use for two years, which would allow them to nail any and all torrenters. As for that long winded bullcrap about shipping expenses, the Australian retail sector is currently experiencing downturn because with the rise of online shopping, it is MUCH cheaper to buy a product from the US. By the time you factor in the shipping costs, you still save a truckload. If the consumer, who doesn't have the advantage of bulk shippings available to larger corporations, can get a better deal by shipping it from the US, that tells you something is completely wrong.

No offense, but 'I totally know about Australia, I played WoW with Australians' wasn't a good way to signpost the depth of your insight.

Therumancer:
snipped for your normal Therumancer wall text length, not that I'm complaining. I wish more people would think out what they post as much you did.

My only issue with what you say is you are basically saying that they have it that way and it's tough. No one is saying that these companies should eat the cost of shipping or delivery. The article acknowledges that shipping goods to Australia is hard and expensive. The issue they are fighting is not this.

The issue is that these companies are arbitrarily raising the prices far beyond what everyone else pays simply because they can. Goods sold in Australia have historically been more expensive, but when a good does not need to be more expensive (ie. cost of shipping, distribution, tax revenues, tariffs are not present), they are simply raising the prices to ridiculous extremes because they can then get more money out of the people that way. The issue is that these practices become extremely prohibitive to the Australian people as a whole. And in the situation (though I don't agree with it, personally) where the increased pricing is due to some sort of import tariffs or taxation, then the government is to blame.

You can't blame infrastructure in the case of digital distribution because the companies are not responsible for delivery. If someone is Australia buys the Adobe Creation Suite digitally, it's not on the company to see delivery, it's on the part of the consumer to retrieve it from their servers. In other words, the cost of retrieval is not payed for by the company, it's paid for the consumer when they get internet service. There is no reason for something to cost an additional $1400 more(in some cases this is apparently the cost). Furthermore, both FedEx and UPS ship to Australia. A cost that once again falls on the consumer, and not the companies. And I guarantee you that if you order the physical copy of Adobe Creation Suite, shipping through either FedEx or UPS does not cost you $1400.

I'm not disagreeing that things are more expensive in Australia as a whole or that a great many things that are have decidedly Australian governmental reasons (ie. high minimum wage, high taxation, import tariffs, etc) for being that way. But the subpoena covers things that have arbitrarily raised prices, just because they decided Australian's should pay more. What that does is prevent Australia from being a larger player in the world market and can artificially prevent their economy from improving. It's the equivalent of a trade embargo. And I know the chief concern around here is videogames. As a luxury, I like them but we can all live without them. My concern are the things that are not games. Things that drive industry in some capacity. They are using games as an example, but all MS, Sony, Adobe and others sale items have artificially inflated prices.

Shamanic Rhythm:

Therumancer:
snip for massive wall of text

You have absolutely no clue what you're talking about. The Australian government has just invested a crapton of money into upgrading the fibre optics around the country, I live in one of the first areas to get it switched on. People most definitely do not get 'free reign' to steal software; what's more, the government is currently considering forcing ISPs to keep all data about consumer use for two years, which would allow them to nail any and all torrenters. As for that long winded bullcrap about shipping expenses, the Australian retail sector is currently experiencing downturn because with the rise of online shopping, it is MUCH cheaper to buy a product from the US. By the time you factor in the shipping costs, you still save a truckload. If the consumer, who doesn't have the advantage of bulk shippings available to larger corporations, can get a better deal by shipping it from the US, that tells you something is completely wrong.

No offense, but 'I totally know about Australia, I played WoW with Australians' wasn't a good way to signpost the depth of your insight.

I'm going to single this out as a troll post again, and an example of exactly the kind of thing I won't even be acknowleging at all. I'm mostly pointing it out because out of 3 posts I've received, I get two acknowleging my points and being right on a lot of aspects of it, while making some polite and well thought out counterpoints about the situation, and this...

Not so much a response to Shamanic Rhythm, but more of a general point, since I've gotten some attention for the way I've responded to this kind of post recently, and this one stands out due to the counterpoint of other responses I received at the same time. Trolls of course never want to just say "I'm a Troll" but it seems to kind of stand out here given this rather inflammatory response, starting with the comments on the "snip".

Baresark:

Therumancer:
snipped for your normal Therumancer wall text length, not that I'm complaining. I wish more people would think out what they post as much you did.

My only issue with what you say is you are basically saying that they have it that way and it's tough. No one is saying that these companies should eat the cost of shipping or delivery. The article acknowledges that shipping goods to Australia is hard and expensive. The issue they are fighting is not this.

The issue is that these companies are arbitrarily raising the prices far beyond what everyone else pays simply because they can. Goods sold in Australia have historically been more expensive, but when a good does not need to be more expensive (ie. cost of shipping, distribution, tax revenues, tariffs are not present), they are simply raising the prices to ridiculous extremes because they can then get more money out of the people that way. The issue is that these practices become extremely prohibitive to the Australian people as a whole. And in the situation (though I don't agree with it, personally) where the increased pricing is due to some sort of import tariffs or taxation, then the government is to blame.

You can't blame infrastructure in the case of digital distribution because the companies are not responsible for delivery. If someone is Australia buys the Adobe Creation Suite digitally, it's not on the company to see delivery, it's on the part of the consumer to retrieve it from their servers. In other words, the cost of retrieval is not payed for by the company, it's paid for the consumer when they get internet service. There is no reason for something to cost an additional $1400 more(in some cases this is apparently the cost). Furthermore, both FedEx and UPS ship to Australia. A cost that once again falls on the consumer, and not the companies. And I guarantee you that if you order the physical copy of Adobe Creation Suite, shipping through either FedEx or UPS does not cost you $1400.

I'm not disagreeing that things are more expensive in Australia as a whole or that a great many things that are have decidedly Australian governmental reasons (ie. high minimum wage, high taxation, import tariffs, etc) for being that way. But the subpoena covers things that have arbitrarily raised prices, just because they decided Australian's should pay more. What that does is prevent Australia from being a larger player in the world market and can artificially prevent their economy from improving. It's the equivalent of a trade embargo. And I know the chief concern around here is videogames. As a luxury, I like them but we can all live without them. My concern are the things that are not games. Things that drive industry in some capacity. They are using games as an example, but all MS, Sony, Adobe and others sale items have artificially inflated prices.

The problem I have with these arguements and the issue, is that I don't for a second believe, that for some arcane and indecipherable reason the greed of these major corperations falls on Australia almost exclusively to an insane degree. At the end of the day these companies want to make money, and they aren't going to basically limit an entire market by raising prices like this for no paticularly good reason. Judging the prices the US gets with some of it's deals and the way it works as the central of global finance (for the moment) isn't exactly fair, since we come out ahead of just about everyone due to our position when it comes to these kinds of things (again, for the moment). I do agree that Australia seems to be getting charged more than other markets in a general sense, but I doubt it's because Australia is being picked on. At it's core I think there are going to be some very legitimate reasons there. I do not know enough about Australia to make any more educated guesses than I already have as to what those reasons may be, but I'm pretty confident the bottom line comes down to an array of factors that inflate the prices this much, which probably
include demand and sales volume among them.

I'm a big critic of big business, and go off on the gaming industry and other technology related businesses all the time (Sony, Microsoft, etc...) but the accusations here don't seem to be paticularly likely, and it seems there are so many X factors attached to this that I can easily see the prices getting crazy inflated, far more than the $10 more that your talking about.

If I seem dismissive of Australia and to be just saying "tough cookies" understand I'm not anti-Australian. Far from it, I'm pretty militant, and tend to keep an eye on who my nation's friends are, and I tend not to forget that the first Australian ship to fire a shot in anger in decades did it for the US as part of "The War On Terror" (global criticisms aside), I personally don't begrudge you guys trade, support, etc... in any way shape or form. It's simply because I've heard enough Aussies go off about their own goverment over the years and it's policies, and all the messed up things throughout Australian society that I can't help but think it's the result of a lot of that crap compounding to totally bork aspects of yout trade. It's sort of like when it comes to UK politics, I can spend weeks or months listening to people QQ about policy down there and how messed up it is, but then when someone has a serious complaint about how things are turning out or something they want (which may or may not involve the US) they tend to forget all of the other crap they had been saying that seems to have contributed to the situation.

To be honest at the end of the day companies like Microsoft and Adobe work by being insidious and trying to get their products onto as many machines as possible and make themselves indispensible. If they felt they could say halve their price, and make the same product by reaching twice as many people and getting their fingers into those machines, they probably would just for the market penetration. What's being described is uncharacteristic for them, as their greed and marketing strategy tends to work a little differantly than what we're seeing here, and at the end of the day there has to be a reason for that.

We'll see if I'm right or wrong in time, I expect this to backfire on the Australian goverment, but if it doesn't, more power to you.

Also starting the constuction of a better telecommunications infrastructure isn't the same as having it. Especially seeing as goverment projects tend to wither and die, going uncompleted all the time. There is a HUGE differance between "we're working on this" and "we have good internet throughout the nation".

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Oh and I'm jumping around from point to point, but I'd also point out that digital distribution oftentimes has it's prices set to not totally undermine retailers, sometimes by goverments (it depends on where you are). Predatory pricing is a big deal, and has become an issue again even in the US. The basic arguement being that if online businesses drive all of the real businesses out of business it's not good for the areas that rely on those physical locations. Thus effort is made to ensure that the online businesses do not entirely undercut real ones for the same products and services. For a long time in the US for example we've had issues with online services like Amazon not charging sales tax, which real businesses have to do, this ultimatly wound up making products cheaper online since not only do you save the gas/trip you save a buck or two on taxes. That alone can be a HUGE deal, and in states like mine (Connecticut) forcing the issue on E-businesses recently, a lot of points have been made about what we're seeing globally. There have been some rumblings mentioning STEAM in paticular, it's sales have been one of the things totally dominating PC game sales for a long time. With gamestops and other major chains that have done a big business in PC Software (PC used to be the dominant platform) closing tons of locations, states and towns losing those businesses and the tax monies have taken notice and there has been some rumbling about springboarding legislation, perhaps on a by-state level, making it so online services have to sell for the same price as physical locations, including tax, and hopefully bringing some of these bsuinesses back selling PC games... it has no real chance of success for so many reasons I won't mention, but international policies and how other countries have dealt with the problem is occasionally mentioned. It makes me wonder if perhaps the retail cost of your goods influances the digital cost due to goverment mandate, does the Australian goverment tell STEAM it can't undercut retailers if it want's to operate in Australia? I have no idea but it's something you might look into. I know there have been some hints the US might be going there soon (or trying to) as I explained.

DVS BSTrD:
Took you guys long enough, I wonder how many people they'll have to fire to "recuperate lost profits".

Well as stated in the article, 'gray imports' have been legal and it was assumed they would adjust to compete, since they have proven they won't the gov is now acting.

Therumancer:
*snip*

I don't think you know what your talking about. people can buy games from the US or UK and ship them here cheaper, and that's for single items. Bulk shipments would cost less per item. its an artificial inflation, one that may be in breach of Australian laws. Secondly, you have no idea what your talking about regarding our internet, currently we have the NBN network rolling out which will have fibre connected to a majority of Australians, however regardless of that, charging MORE on steam for a game than the retail copy cannot be justified by that. Steam isn't our ISP, their just an online store, and discrimination pricing is immoral if not illegal.

Edit: After reading your above post its clear your not being a troll, just ignorant of the situation. Simply put, they charge such high prices because they can, its greed pure and simple. That's why the inquiry is in place, in Australia there are laws against price guaging, the gov has to investigate. Just a heads up, your first post came across as putting Australians and our country down in the first paragraph based on incorrect information. We don't have censorship and the government is updating the networks, sounds like your wow friends were complaining when in an annoyed mood, or don't know what their talking about.

Btw fun fact, the reason Australian net got this bad was that liberals decided to copy the US and privatise the networks, assuming that prices would drop with competition. instead they raise prices and neglect the network. Corporations only care about money and will charge an arm and a leg if they can. You hear Australians complain so much because were not the US and were use to getting a fair deal not ripped off. This the NBN starts, and it will finish. This isn't the first time they've had to do this.

WWmelb:

Therumancer:
One massive snip

Therumancer - your posts always seem well thought out and well written, but you have missed some key things here.

Australia is currently investing in the installation of a fiber-optic telecommunications network. Slow rollout but happening.

Basic economics - When our dollar was worth shit, it made sense for the massive disparity in pricing. Shipping is relatively cheap really (From the transport industry here) And our freight network in this country is fantastic; Shipping, even globally, may make for a 10% increase in cost of physical copies.. if that. Mind you shipping isn't even a sliding scale based on % of cost, but a fixed amount, so that is being generous. Now that our dollar is quite often valued higher than the US dollar, the base unit price being higher than that of the US (discounting shipping) Makes no sense at all (excluding transport costs) There is no reason a new software product, sold in it's physical form in a shop should cost any more than 15% more in australia. That's adding an extra 5% on for the higher cost of running a retail store here, which i think is a fair guess.

a $60 game in the US costing $69 here would be fine. Acceptable. Understandable. Welcomed.

a $60 game costing us $110 there is NO FUCKING REASON BUT GOUGING. Plain and simple lol And Adobe products that cost $2000 overseas can fetch upwards of $6000 here. Tell me that "shipping" can equate to that much...i don't buy it.

I do understand that our phone network isn't as good as other countries, our net is slower yada yada. However, the only way this could effect the price of a purchase is if the company has set up distribution servers in this country. Very few have/will. But they will still charge us like they do.

Somehow, new games on steam sometimes cost more than retail in australia.. go figure that one out. Apart from setting up software to be location specific and to regionalise pricing (which is done for every country), there is no reason for it. Except gouging.

Just my 2 cents.

Edit: And your subtle racism about us wanting to preserver our "rustic" way of life can go suck 13 cocks down it's own throat. We aren't backwards fucking hicks.

Well there is no racism involved, if anything it would be cultural bigotry, we're largely the same "race", and this is about lifestyle not genetics. :)

I almost didn't respond to this post because of the last insult, but I figured I might as well explain the point. It's not a subtle jibe as "Crocodile Dundee" being a modern representation of mainstream Australia or something. It's because when I've talked to Aussies and Kiwis online I've gotten numerous jibes about "Oh, I forget how horseback riding isn't a common skill in some places" this in relation to someone talking about how they got a job as an Extra (riding horses) in the Lord Of The Rings movies. Not to mention numerous articles and comments about resistance to urbanization, and articles about the damage being unleashed by floods, and Aboriginals deciding to ignore warnings and start ceremonial bonfires leading to huge brushfires spreading accross huge swathes of the countryside and making the global news.

This doesn't make you a bunch of hicks or anything, and I *DID* mention things being differant in the cities and such. However I've definatly gotten the impression that there are elements in Australia that are incredibly resistant to wanting to run obvious power lines, set up cell towers, and other things through a lot of that territory. I've even heard Aussies refer to politicians as being borderline luddies and imply that guys like Rudd has supporters who thought exactly like that and how he represented kneejerk reactions from that kind of demographich which manages to traditionally make a fight out of pretty much anything progressive.

... and for the record we have exactly that kind of crap in the US as well, especially down here in New England where zoning laws and everything can be insane. They want to make everything look rustic even when it's not to the point where it can cost a bloody fortune. There have been fights with companies like Mcdonalds not being able to use their Red and Yellow plastic signs and iconic resteraunt arcetecture, they had one down here that had to be re-done in green and brown wood. Not to mention fights about where someone could build a cell tower or relay, and whether it would be visible or not, and all kinds of garbage. Wanting to preserve a rusting apperance is not something I'd imply is unique to Australia, simply that it can be a massive pain in the arse, and in some places nothing will get the old fogeys on a warpath quicker than the suggestion they might have to see a satellite dish on someone's roof or whatever, never mind a relay tower on top of a hill in the distance when they drive down the street.

-

That lengthy explanation aside (which I probably shouldn't have written), I covered almost everything in the last post I wrote to another responder. However I'd point out (again) that the companies your talking about succeed due to technological proliferation, they want to penetrate the markets as deeply as possible and get people dependant on them, which is when they really sink their teeth in. No, their products are not cheap, but their style of greed and exploitation is not generally on a per-item bases, relying on single, large sales. These are companies that will drop their prices greatly to sell in bulk if they can get entire companies dependant on their stuff. If Adobe for example is charging three times the going rate for a piece of software there are going to be reasons for it. I've made some educated guesses as to what those reasons might be, but there could be others, for all I know it's simply a matter that there isn't enough demand in Australia where sending anything like this there becomes a big deal. At the end of the day, I'm very critical of big business, but this has generally not been the MO of the guys involved here, we'll see what happens, but I still think not much is going to come of this goverment inquiry.

As far as shipping goes, I don't know all the deals involved between Fed Ex, UPS, or whomever else delivers this stuff, and the companies. What I do know is that simply getting a crate/pallet/container on a ship or plane is not cheap. If demand is low, and say there are only half a dozen people ordering say an Adobe package in Australia in a give week, this might involve sending an order to a warehouse, having the warehouse ship the product to two other warehouses on it's way to a pier or airport where they wind up having to rent a standardized container just for those tiny handfull of products, have that loaded on the vehicle, which then needs to be fueled up and fly massive intercontinental distances stopping and being refueled and inspected multiple times by differant countries, and probably having tariffs paid on it at all stops, before finally going to Australia. That could easily double or triple the price of a product being sold in low quantities. As another respondee pointed out the shipping companies don't charge you much money comparitively speaking, but I'd imagine there is probably something between the shippers and the company built into the price to
cover the likely cost of transport. It's a little less obnoxious to say like $6000 +$5 to Fex Ex, than to say $2000 + $4005 Shipping and Handling. :)

Now don't get me wrong here, that in of itself probably isn't it, but I doubt it's just pure greed (or greed manifested this way) at work here.

As for how other countries avoid it, well I'd imagine a lot of it comes down to them having either manufacturing plants for a lot of the physical products due to the high demand in that area. Pre-existing trade arrangements, or a huge demand. See if there is a low demand the price goes up for special shipping, with a high demand item it becomes more cost effective, there is a huge differance when you pay by container (oftentimes it's by container or weight, whichever is more depending on the situation) if you've say got 6 items going accross the world, as opposed to a stuffed container with like 6000 items that have been pre-sold.

At any rate, I've made my guess as to how it will turn out, you've made yours ( and your closer to the problem so are more likely to be right in all honesty) we'll see how it plays out. Who knows, maybe we, the peons in the public, will actually get to hear arguements about this and more of the details. Of course I half expect despite this getting our attention that we won't ever hear anything. :)

Therumancer:

WWmelb:

Therumancer:
One massive snip

Therumancer - your posts always seem well thought out and well written, but you have missed some key things here.

Australia is currently investing in the installation of a fiber-optic telecommunications network. Slow rollout but happening.

Basic economics - When our dollar was worth shit, it made sense for the massive disparity in pricing. Shipping is relatively cheap really (From the transport industry here) And our freight network in this country is fantastic; Shipping, even globally, may make for a 10% increase in cost of physical copies.. if that. Mind you shipping isn't even a sliding scale based on % of cost, but a fixed amount, so that is being generous. Now that our dollar is quite often valued higher than the US dollar, the base unit price being higher than that of the US (discounting shipping) Makes no sense at all (excluding transport costs) There is no reason a new software product, sold in it's physical form in a shop should cost any more than 15% more in australia. That's adding an extra 5% on for the higher cost of running a retail store here, which i think is a fair guess.

a $60 game in the US costing $69 here would be fine. Acceptable. Understandable. Welcomed.

a $60 game costing us $110 there is NO FUCKING REASON BUT GOUGING. Plain and simple lol And Adobe products that cost $2000 overseas can fetch upwards of $6000 here. Tell me that "shipping" can equate to that much...i don't buy it.

I do understand that our phone network isn't as good as other countries, our net is slower yada yada. However, the only way this could effect the price of a purchase is if the company has set up distribution servers in this country. Very few have/will. But they will still charge us like they do.

Somehow, new games on steam sometimes cost more than retail in australia.. go figure that one out. Apart from setting up software to be location specific and to regionalise pricing (which is done for every country), there is no reason for it. Except gouging.

Just my 2 cents.

Edit: And your subtle racism about us wanting to preserver our "rustic" way of life can go suck 13 cocks down it's own throat. We aren't backwards fucking hicks.

Well there is no racism involved, if anything it would be cultural bigotry, we're largely the same "race", and this is about lifestyle not genetics. :)

I almost didn't respond to this post because of the last insult, but I figured I might as well explain the point. It's not a subtle jibe as "Crocodile Dundee" being a modern representation of mainstream Australia or something. It's because when I've talked to Aussies and Kiwis online I've gotten numerous jibes about "Oh, I forget how horseback riding isn't a common skill in some places" this in relation to someone talking about how they got a job as an Extra (riding horses) in the Lord Of The Rings movies. Not to mention numerous articles and comments about resistance to urbanization, and articles about the damage being unleashed by floods, and Aboriginals deciding to ignore warnings and start ceremonial bonfires leading to huge brushfires spreading accross huge swathes of the countryside and making the global news.

This doesn't make you a bunch of hicks or anything, and I *DID* mention things being differant in the cities and such. However I've definatly gotten the impression that there are elements in Australia that are incredibly resistant to wanting to run obvious power lines, set up cell towers, and other things through a lot of that territory. I've even heard Aussies refer to politicians as being borderline luddies and imply that guys like Rudd has supporters who thought exactly like that and how he represented kneejerk reactions from that kind of demographich which manages to traditionally make a fight out of pretty much anything progressive.

... and for the record we have exactly that kind of crap in the US as well, especially down here in New England where zoning laws and everything can be insane. They want to make everything look rustic even when it's not to the point where it can cost a bloody fortune. There have been fights with companies like Mcdonalds not being able to use their Red and Yellow plastic signs and iconic resteraunt arcetecture, they had one down here that had to be re-done in green and brown wood. Not to mention fights about where someone could build a cell tower or relay, and whether it would be visible or not, and all kinds of garbage. Wanting to preserve a rusting apperance is not something I'd imply is unique to Australia, simply that it can be a massive pain in the arse, and in some places nothing will get the old fogeys on a warpath quicker than the suggestion they might have to see a satellite dish on someone's roof or whatever, never mind a relay tower on top of a hill in the distance when they drive down the street.

-

That lengthy explanation aside (which I probably shouldn't have written), I covered almost everything in the last post I wrote to another responder. However I'd point out (again) that the companies your talking about succeed due to technological proliferation, they want to penetrate the markets as deeply as possible and get people dependant on them, which is when they really sink their teeth in. No, their products are not cheap, but their style of greed and exploitation is not generally on a per-item bases, relying on single, large sales. These are companies that will drop their prices greatly to sell in bulk if they can get entire companies dependant on their stuff. If Adobe for example is charging three times the going rate for a piece of software there are going to be reasons for it. I've made some educated guesses as to what those reasons might be, but there could be others, for all I know it's simply a matter that there isn't enough demand in Australia where sending anything like this there becomes a big deal. At the end of the day, I'm very critical of big business, but this has generally not been the MO of the guys involved here, we'll see what happens, but I still think not much is going to come of this goverment inquiry.

As far as shipping goes, I don't know all the deals involved between Fed Ex, UPS, or whomever else delivers this stuff, and the companies. What I do know is that simply getting a crate/pallet/container on a ship or plane is not cheap. If demand is low, and say there are only half a dozen people ordering say an Adobe package in Australia in a give week, this might involve sending an order to a warehouse, having the warehouse ship the product to two other warehouses on it's way to a pier or airport where they wind up having to rent a standardized container just for those tiny handfull of products, have that loaded on the vehicle, which then needs to be fueled up and fly massive intercontinental distances stopping and being refueled and inspected multiple times by differant countries, and probably having tariffs paid on it at all stops, before finally going to Australia. That could easily double or triple the price of a product being sold in low quantities. As another respondee pointed out the shipping companies don't charge you much money comparitively speaking, but I'd imagine there is probably something between the shippers and the company built into the price to
cover the likely cost of transport. It's a little less obnoxious to say like $6000 +$5 to Fex Ex, than to say $2000 + $4005 Shipping and Handling. :)

Now don't get me wrong here, that in of itself probably isn't it, but I doubt it's just pure greed (or greed manifested this way) at work here.

As for how other countries avoid it, well I'd imagine a lot of it comes down to them having either manufacturing plants for a lot of the physical products due to the high demand in that area. Pre-existing trade arrangements, or a huge demand. See if there is a low demand the price goes up for special shipping, with a high demand item it becomes more cost effective, there is a huge differance when you pay by container (oftentimes it's by container or weight, whichever is more depending on the situation) if you've say got 6 items going accross the world, as opposed to a stuffed container with like 6000 items that have been pre-sold.

At any rate, I've made my guess as to how it will turn out, you've made yours ( and your closer to the problem so are more likely to be right in all honesty) we'll see how it plays out. Who knows, maybe we, the peons in the public, will actually get to hear arguements about this and more of the details. Of course I half expect despite this getting our attention that we won't ever hear anything. :)

Your mentioning of trade deals reminded me that we have a free trade deal between our nation's, thus there's even less reason for the high prices. I see what your saying, but its a case that the companies see it as they can charge Australians more so they do. I look forward to the inquiry reminding them that its not good enough.

Steven Bogos:
Australian Parliament Subpoenas Microsoft, Apple on Price Hikes
especially considering the costs of shipping to Australia.

Ummm.. You know this is hilarious right?

The Cost of shipping a DVD case or game across the Pacific or Atlanitic is about 1-3 US cents per game/movie (possibly less as the industry is in recession at the moment). These figures may be slightly out but the price hike of $10-20 is just a joke.

Sorry my Uncle works in the industry and often 'reminds' me (or explains) the costs of frieght.

But OT

About time. The appeal of games like planetside 2 and Dwarf Fortress show themselves to a poor Uni student is quite large as I have to pay so much for most games.

So most of my games are a couple of years old. Or are free to play

Edit removed image from quote

Therumancer:

WWmelb:

Therumancer:
One massive snip

snippity

fuckin super snip

I apologise for kneejerk reaction. Shouldn't post upon just waking up lol

After reading your explanation behind your comments, yes that makes sense, and i can agree with that. Trust me though, the majority of Australians are clamouring for the improved infrastructure and technical benefits that come with it, even if it means some more towers somewhere. Power lines though? We were stupid for building an above ground network to begin with when in the 50's and 60's (the last major continental upgrade) underground electricity cabling was definitely available and affordable. Just another comment

Overall though, this enquiry is a good thing. And if there is something i've overlooked in the pricing, i hope it comes out and is explained well. Otherwise, i hope they are hanged for their greed and we start seeing some fair trade here.

Thanks for the reply, and sorry for the antagonism.

Cheers bud.

WWmelb:

Therumancer:

WWmelb:

snippity

fuckin super snip

I apologise for kneejerk reaction. Shouldn't post upon just waking up lol

After reading your explanation behind your comments, yes that makes sense, and i can agree with that. Trust me though, the majority of Australians are clamouring for the improved infrastructure and technical benefits that come with it, even if it means some more towers somewhere. Power lines though? We were stupid for building an above ground network to begin with when in the 50's and 60's (the last major continental upgrade) underground electricity cabling was definitely available and affordable. Just another comment

Overall though, this enquiry is a good thing. And if there is something i've overlooked in the pricing, i hope it comes out and is explained well. Otherwise, i hope they are hanged for their greed and we start seeing some fair trade here.

Thanks for the reply, and sorry for the antagonism.

Cheers bud.

I know the morning feeling, I'm only on my second coffie of the day -_-
We shal see what happens, something isn't right that's for sure.

wow at the update... hope they don't let them slip...

captcha: foul play... indeed.

CounterAttack:
Australians aren't the only one suffering from higher prices on games and consoles and such. Look to their neighbour, New Zealand... who probably end up paying more than Aussies do in some cases, depending on how exchange rates go.

Agreed. As a New Zealander this excites me. One reason that commonly gets brought up about this is that Australians earn more than Americans so they can afford it. Even playing devil's advocate and assuming that is a fair argument, why does New Zealand still suffer the same prices compared to our much weaker economy? And as many people have said here, shipping costs are negligible (or non-existant on the internet) yet we have to pay the equivalent of 150% the US prices.

Holy crap... Looks like Adobe saw the summons and thought "Oh [REDACTED], we had better do something so we don't have to explain stuff!"

Therumancer:

When it comes to issues like digital good and the like, understand that it's not magic, all of that takes technology. You need a telecommunications infrastructure to upload, download, and distribute files. By many accounts Austrlia's internet sucks balls to put it bluntly, which makes it a pain for people doing telecommunications stuff to deal with. The goverment has little interest in improving it apparently, and given the desire to leave large parts of Austrlia with it's rustic, undevleoped charm, it means that it's a pain for private carriers to build and maintain things like wireless towers. If I've heard correctly the conditions in the major cities are far differant from the majority of the country and how it functions technologically when it comes to things like the functionality of internet and wireless services.

What does Steam or Origin charging higher prices have to do with Australia's internet capabilities?
At most it should mean a slower download, which for steam/origin/whoever should mean dick all.

Steam in particular is known for having pricing disparities between US, UK and EU Markets.

I'm sorry but that explanation holds no water.

I'm glad that it appears that something is being done but am a little surprised not to see EB games (maybe JB Hifi and a few other retailers) who not only charge $90+ (that's for PC games, console games start at $100 usually) for each game but force the publishers to keep that insane price with online platforms when I can log onto the US version of steam and see that $100 game drop to $40.

Glad to see adobe dropping the price of a few of their products. I am tired of deciding between importing from the UK, digital distribution (which is mostly fine for PC games but not for consoles) or pay a ridiculous price which any university student would have a hard time at affording.

Akalabeth:

Therumancer:

When it comes to issues like digital good and the like, understand that it's not magic, all of that takes technology. You need a telecommunications infrastructure to upload, download, and distribute files. By many accounts Austrlia's internet sucks balls to put it bluntly, which makes it a pain for people doing telecommunications stuff to deal with. The goverment has little interest in improving it apparently, and given the desire to leave large parts of Austrlia with it's rustic, undevleoped charm, it means that it's a pain for private carriers to build and maintain things like wireless towers. If I've heard correctly the conditions in the major cities are far differant from the majority of the country and how it functions technologically when it comes to things like the functionality of internet and wireless services.

What does Steam or Origin charging higher prices have to do with Australia's internet capabilities?
At most it should mean a slower download, which for steam/origin/whoever should mean dick all.

Steam in particular is known for having pricing disparities between US, UK and EU Markets.

I'm sorry but that explanation holds no water.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the distributor for starters; the undersea cable is getting upgraded anyway but allocation of that to ISPs and the likes is the job of the government.

Therumancer really has no idea what they're talking about, and this is coming from an Australian accountant. There's no point responding to most of your points as they're just hearsay with no factual basis in reality besides 'I came to this conclusion somehow'.

"This doesn't make you a bunch of hicks or anything, and I *DID* mention things being differant in the cities and such. However I've definatly gotten the impression that there are elements in Australia that are incredibly resistant to wanting to run obvious power lines, set up cell towers, and other things through a lot of that territory. I've even heard Aussies refer to politicians as being borderline luddies and imply that guys like Rudd has supporters who thought exactly like that and how he represented kneejerk reactions from that kind of demographich which manages to traditionally make a fight out of pretty much anything progressive."

This in particular was outdated; for starters at least use Gillard and not Rudd, and the vast majority of us (more than half the country) live in metropolitan areas, with the rest having wi-fi or satellite access (or at least will by the end of the NBN, 100% country coverage) if they're in the agricultural business anyway.

Even accounting for the FX rate (now that the AUD is higher than the USD), and forgetting the fact you didn't realise that the USD is used as a common currency in all transactions, as well as the median wage, that doesn't justify anymore than a 25% or so increase in price. What about other countries that have a higher median wage than us? Have you looked at Europe lately? They have to have games exported from a sizeable distance too from manufacturers in France and the likes yet still pay almost the same as North America does.

It's not even like they have to pay GST on these products either as they're less than $1,000 in most cases.

triorph:

CounterAttack:
Australians aren't the only one suffering from higher prices on games and consoles and such. Look to their neighbour, New Zealand... who probably end up paying more than Aussies do in some cases, depending on how exchange rates go.

Agreed. As a New Zealander this excites me. One reason that commonly gets brought up about this is that Australians earn more than Americans so they can afford it. Even playing devil's advocate and assuming that is a fair argument, why does New Zealand still suffer the same prices compared to our much weaker economy? And as many people have said here, shipping costs are negligible (or non-existant on the internet) yet we have to pay the equivalent of 150% the US prices.

Unfortunately I can't find the exact post, since it was a few weeks ago, but I was reading a Reddit thread about the same subject. Australians do get paid on average 30% more then Americans, however, we pay between 60% and 100% more for basically everything, including food, housing, entertainment, etc.

On an unrelated subject, you're quite lucky you were one of the first areas to get the NBN. I live in the Liberal heartland suburb of Western Australia, so my area isn't even listed as "coming within 3 years" on the NBN roll-out map >_>; It's almost funny how obvious it is, since they have announced coverage for all the surrounding areas, leaving mine sticking out like a sore thumb. Can't wait to move XD

Sprinal:

Steven Bogos:
Australian Parliament Subpoenas Microsoft, Apple on Price Hikes
especially considering the costs of shipping to Australia.

Ummm.. You know this is hilarious right?

The Cost of shipping a DVD case or game across the Pacific or Atlanitic is about 1-3 US cents per game/movie (possibly less as the industry is in recession at the moment). These figures may be slightly out but the price hike of $10-20 is just a joke.

Canada gets a lot of crap when it comes to shipping. If I want to buy something from the States and have it shipped, I pay twice as much in shipping to Canada. Or in some cases I pay while US residents get shipping free.

Now I can understand paying for shipping to cover the costs it would be in taxes when it reaches customs, but when I'm paying 10 dollars in shipping AND the taxes from customs, there's gotta be some exploitation going on if this 3 cent per DVD/game thing is true.

Edit because some people don't like to read.

triorph:

CounterAttack:
Australians aren't the only one suffering from higher prices on games and consoles and such. Look to their neighbour, New Zealand... who probably end up paying more than Aussies do in some cases, depending on how exchange rates go.

Agreed. As a New Zealander this excites me. One reason that commonly gets brought up about this is that Australians earn more than Americans so they can afford it. Even playing devil's advocate and assuming that is a fair argument, why does New Zealand still suffer the same prices compared to our much weaker economy? And as many people have said here, shipping costs are negligible (or non-existant on the internet) yet we have to pay the equivalent of 150% the US prices.

Exactly. Does this mean the changes will effect New Zealand as well? Because we're getting hit even worse that the Aussies, and this might mean I'll actually get to buy games that aren't double the price. I could buy two games at once now, and I won't feel a niggling sense of guilt if the game isn't as good as I thought it would be.

Many of my international gaming friends wouldn't believe we had it that bad, until I showed them a pre-order deal for the new Tomb Raider with the Collector's Edition - while they would be paying $80 for it, I was going to have to pay $212!

Akalabeth:
[
Steam in particular is known for having pricing disparities between US, UK and EU Markets.

.

Wow, someone whose actually heard of Ultima's precursor. ;)

When it comes to digital prices I believe that a lot of it comes down to digital distributors being forced to be competitive with retail. The bottom line being that when a digital distributor undercuts brick and mortar stores it will oftentimes force them out of business. Closing businesses can have a catastrophic impact on the areas they are in due to unemployment, lost taxes and revenue, etc. Down here in Connecticut there has been a big battle between the state and Amazon (which the state won) to force Amazon.com to collect sales taxes. One big complaint being that not charging taxes (which they arguably should have been) made it impossible for physical businesses to compete, since everything else being equal buying online would not only save a trip (and gas) but also a couple of bucks in taxes. I've also heard it mentioned that Connecticut is considering making online retailers charge Connecticut residents the set retail value for products (the same as a Brick and Mortar store) to level the competitive playing field in order to try and save businesses getting clobbered by online services. This has been applied (in discussion) to games, and other media, given the beating once prosperous chains like Gamestop, Best Buy, and even video rental places have taken. I've heard they are looking to other countries for example of how to limit E-businesses, and protect real world ones.

The bottom line is that my immediate guess would be that Steam is forced to charge whatever the going retail price is in a lot of these regions, as opposed to being allowed to just undercut them. Thus the price varies with whatever the price for the physical product at a game store would be. Which is something that's under discussion for the US as well at least, and it would probably mean the end of things like Steam sales, at least in specific states, if it went through.

-

As far as the bit with telecommunications infrastructure goes as I understand things in Australia you don't nessicarly pay flat fee for unlimited internet usage, in many cases your charged by the amount of data you transfer, getting so much as part of your service plan, and then paying a premium above it. Something that is supposed to be integral to how the whole system was set up, and one of the reasons why there have been demands for changeovers. Apparently businesses have to pay this too, and the goverment gets a cut (taxes) along with the ISPs (though it's been a while so I could have that wrong). Meaning that with Australia's way of running internet and the current infrastructure a digital service basically has to pay for the data they are sending, as does the person receiving it, in addition to the price of the product. As opposed to how in the US you pay like $15-$50 depending on the plan and speed you want and your pretty much set to do whatever you want for an entire month, whether you don't use it at all, or decide to transfer hundreds of terraflops of data. :)

I mean you could be right, it might not make sense, but it's one of the biggest bits of complaining I hear about from Aussies when they talk about gaming and stuff down there, the horrible state of the internet, the cost of using it, and I've definatly heard insinituations it's been affecting the digital businesses.

Waaghpowa:
As people have mentioned, shipping shouldn't cost that much. They do the same crap to Canada. If I want to buy something from the States and have it shipped, I pay twice as much in shipping to Canada. Or in some cases I pay while US residents get shipping free.

Now I can understand paying for shipping to cover the costs it would be in taxes when it reaches customs, but when I'm paying 10 dollars in shipping AND the taxes from customs, there's some serious exploitation going on.

You do realise that is because it costs more to ship something over the border because its more work right? You cant just throw it in the mail like you can when the destination is in the same country. There is no exploitation going on there just you being ignorant of what you are talking about and making yourself look like a fool.

LittleMikey:

triorph:

CounterAttack:
Australians aren't the only one suffering from higher prices on games and consoles and such. Look to their neighbour, New Zealand... who probably end up paying more than Aussies do in some cases, depending on how exchange rates go.

Agreed. As a New Zealander this excites me. One reason that commonly gets brought up about this is that Australians earn more than Americans so they can afford it. Even playing devil's advocate and assuming that is a fair argument, why does New Zealand still suffer the same prices compared to our much weaker economy? And as many people have said here, shipping costs are negligible (or non-existant on the internet) yet we have to pay the equivalent of 150% the US prices.

Unfortunately I can't find the exact post, since it was a few weeks ago, but I was reading a Reddit thread about the same subject. Australians do get paid on average 30% more then Americans, however, we pay between 60% and 100% more for basically everything, including food, housing, entertainment, etc.

The thing is though that information is not really accurate. The average wage in the US is massively skewed because of the 1% in the US. If you eliminate them from both countries you will find that that average skyrockets. Hell your minimum wage is two to three times higher then that of the US. The reason you pay more for goods in Australia is because you make more. Its as simple at that. Its the same reason that a game in China or Russia does not cost the same as in the US. Different countries get different prices based on their situations.

Now if you all could work on releasing stuff within the same decade as the rest of the world, that'd be great.

Therumancer:

I'm going to single this out as a troll post again, and an example of exactly the kind of thing I won't even be acknowleging at all. I'm mostly pointing it out because out of 3 posts I've received, I get two acknowleging my points and being right on a lot of aspects of it, while making some polite and well thought out counterpoints about the situation, and this...

You do realise that, by claiming to not acknowledge something, you are in fact acknowledging it?

Not so much a response to Shamanic Rhythm, but more of a general point, since I've gotten some attention for the way I've responded to this kind of post recently, and this one stands out due to the counterpoint of other responses I received at the same time. Trolls of course never want to just say "I'm a Troll" but it seems to kind of stand out here given this rather inflammatory response, starting with the comments on the "snip".

Hands up everyone in this thread who put the blame for high prices on Australians and/or the Australian government...

Therumancer:

If Australia wants to do better here it needs to become more inviting.

Oh the irony.

Little Gray:

Waaghpowa:
As people have mentioned, shipping shouldn't cost that much. They do the same crap to Canada. If I want to buy something from the States and have it shipped, I pay twice as much in shipping to Canada. Or in some cases I pay while US residents get shipping free.

Now I can understand paying for shipping to cover the costs it would be in taxes when it reaches customs, but when I'm paying 10 dollars in shipping AND the taxes from customs, there's some serious exploitation going on.

You do realise that is because it costs more to ship something over the border because its more work right? You cant just throw it in the mail like you can when the destination is in the same country. There is no exploitation going on there just you being ignorant of what you are talking about and making yourself look like a fool.

You must have missed someones earlier post where he states that shipping DVD/Games across the Atlantic/Pacific is only about 3 cents per. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/jump/7.400827.16492879 . My post is based on the information he had given.

No shit going across the border is more expensive than mail, but I would think that crossing entire oceans would be more. If it only costs 3 cents to cross the Atlantic/Pacific, then what excuse is there for the charges cross border? If the costs he claims are true, then it very much is exploitative. They're charging hundreds, if not thousands, percent more than it actually costs.

So before calling people ignorant and fools, perhaps read other posts. I would also like to know what knowledge you have in shipping beyond general assumptions because at no point did I claim to know much about this.

Waaghpowa:
No shit going across the border is more expensive than mail, but I would think that crossing entire oceans would be more. If it only costs 3 cents to cross the Atlantic/Pacific, then what excuse is there for the charges cross border? If the costs he claims are true, then it very much is exploitative. They're charging hundreds, if not thousands, percent more than it actually costs.

Though I'd imagine that ontop of the 3 cent's to ship a DVD case overseas, it would also cost to take that DVD case over the border and into the country itself, which would be where some of the added cost for Australia games comes from. Some and that doesn't include digital downloads.

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