Australian Parliament Subpoenas Microsoft, Apple on Price Hikes

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The price disparity was justifiable at one point. But the factors that use to cause it, in particular the relative strengths of the AUD and the USD, have either disappeared, or diminished significantly. If paying $110AU for a game was equivalent to $70-80USD, that would be a tolerable markup. But when paying $110AU is equivalent to paying $115US, you're looking at blatant price gouging, especially for digital distribution.

I'd also like to mention the increased costs of digital sales as well. Buying 1 month of WoW gametime from Blizzard is still $23 AUD compared to actually being $15 USD, or at least it is according to my credit card statement.

Then there is Steam, while I appreciate that the prices are much cheaper than they are here for physical products (most of the time), when you hear about pricing in the US there is still a lot of difference. I first noticed during the steam sale, when someone had posted a picture of their sales page, despite the discounts appearing the same the comparative value was waaay off, like 25%-50% more on average, but it went as high as some games being double the price.

I'd taken to getting a private retailer to import games from overseas, in general they buy from overseas and just ship it over themselves. They do them en mass because they know they will be able to own the Australian market and even make a tidy profit in between. Hence why shady little privately owned gaming businesses can still compete with larger chain outlets.

Knife-28:

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.

I agree that digital downloads should not be priced the same as retail. None of the usual manufacturing has to be done, including the aforementioned shipping, for digital games which is why I never pay full price for digital games.

GOOOOOOOOOO Australia!
YEAH GO GET THEM!!
FINALLY I"M SO HAPPY ^_^!!!
image

Raioken18:
I'd taken to getting a private retailer to import games from overseas, in general they buy from overseas and just ship it over themselves. They do them en mass because they know they will be able to own the Australian market and even make a tidy profit in between. Hence why shady little privately owned gaming businesses can still compete with larger chain outlets.

That's known as gray importing and it isn't shady. It's perfectly legal and is in fact encouraged by the Australian government to promote competition.

This is fucking awesome. Cannot wait to see how this turns out.

Steven Bogos:

Raioken18:
I'd taken to getting a private retailer to import games from overseas, in general they buy from overseas and just ship it over themselves. They do them en mass because they know they will be able to own the Australian market and even make a tidy profit in between. Hence why shady little privately owned gaming businesses can still compete with larger chain outlets.

That's known as gray importing and it isn't shady. It's perfectly legal and is in fact encouraged by the Australian government to promote competition.

It's called grey because the publishers do not want to sell to those companies. It is perfectly legal in the country of sale but there might be a civil case in the country of purchase.

It is the PUBLISHERS who set regional pricing. Steam, for example, has no say in how games in Australia cost more. They are told to keep the prices as they are by the publishers so the publishers can not be accused by local Australian retailers of trying to run them out of business... which actually is price fixing which IS illegal.

Therumancer:

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.

1. Stop using your local area as arguments; we are talking about the US average here and why we are being charged more than the US/UK/EURO (other regions like Singapore, Russia, or China it is understandable, but we're one of the few markets charged more than the average), not just 'Connecticut' (which I have no idea where it is or why it applies to a whole country's situation).

2. "I've heard, I've heard" that's nice, but what you just typed out is not applicable to us. At all.

3. Steam don't set the prices, publishers do. Sometimes publishers have licencing agreements with retailers, but the majority of the time they do not (especially outside of games). GMG even sells 2K Games games to break-even by giving us a permanent 30% discount due to the fact they wanted our prices inflated (at risk of losing their business altogether GMG met everyone halfway). Steam allow publishers to screw us over though, yes, by allowing regional pricing to occur for AU/NZ in the first place.

4. What the hell does the 2nd last paragraph have to do with anything?

5. Cut your posts down as they are just inane and you really have no idea what things are like down here; on the other hand, we get a healthy dose of American media every day (due to the fact that on sites like the escapist, reddit, they assume that 100% of their audience are from the USA). We can even name your President, know what your ISPs are like and name the major ones like Comcast, Verizon, and Google Fibre (in regards to charging for speeds), and know what the culture is like in the USA, but can you even name our Prime Minister or one ISP outside of Telstra?

I still wouldn't call myself qualified to try and explain something that happens in the USA, yet you think you know enough to judge us and come to any sort of rational conclusion about this issue knowing next to nothing about it? I'm doubting whether you even know about the existence of GST.

We were charged more as our AUD:USD was low (it kept slipping ever since this type of FX was initiated back in IIRC the 80's), so it was understandable paying $125 for a game like Conker's Bad Fur Day on N64. We had to pay comparatively more for products as a result, which was understandable. Then suddenly, we had the mining boom! The AUD climbed up and up; we already were a large exporter, but nothing like this before. Except, greedy corporates (thankfully no AU companies) didn't change their pricing schemes because they could get away with it (imagine the butthurt the vocal minority of Americans on the internet would have if they were being charged more than us!) so we had to buy the PS3 for $1000 (about $850 USD at the time IIRC). Yes, $1000 AUD. Eventually, we reached the situation we're at today where it kept rising to the point of 1 AUD: 1.08 USD as your dollar tanked when you were at the centre of the GFC (even though your currency is used as the common currency we still managed to pull through more or less untouched due to a number of factors).

Some distributors dropped their pricing to compensate (GMG, Amazon if you can pull through $10-30 regular shipping and the many embargoed products, GOG, basic goods like milk/bread etc), but many just left things as they were due to pure greed (Steam, 2K Games, Shippers to retailers (although thankfully Video Sleazy is importing from decent suppliers now and can get games like Hitman: Absolution for $28 pre-ordered)).

The point is, this is essentially a thread to these suppliers: Drop your prices or you can't sell your products here; which is the better alternative for them? Obviously the former, and with the dropped prices hopefully Australians can pump more of their dollars into sectors that matter more.

Therumancer:

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.

They have other means too. Adobe has oppenly admitted they like piracy. it makes the young people learn using thier products, and when they grow up and need, say, a drawing program for work, they will buy Photoshop, because thats the only they know how to work with, since they pirated it and learn on thier own. so then selling a overpriced Photoshop will work, because they will buy that anyway, since otherwise they would have to learn it all over again.
Microsoft is sort of two way here, on one hand they said that piracy in china has allowed them to be dominant in the market, on other hand they are actively fighting it.
Apple however seems to be "your not touching our stuff" type and tries to lock costumers out of everything becasue god knows they may improve it.

Therumancer:

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.

Good. let the physical retailers die. they are obsolete by now. physical copies can be shipped from online stores easily, you give a good example - amazon. and for cheaper too. All retailers do is increase the price by introducing an unnecessary middleman. and you have to pay the middleman.
Yet it seems the retailers are clinging teeeth and nail hellbent on not letting the eletronic sale take over. reminds me of how music industry tried to destroy the internet with their 19th century sale model being theo nly fit to them. they failed. hopefully physical retailers will fail too.
I do agree that digital sales woudl have to pay the same tax rate as physical, its only fair, but forcing their pricing is wrong. thats liek saying "you must sell your car for no less than 50.000 because we want you to pay more tax".

You do make good points and i liekd reading your replies :)

Capcha: om nom nom..... somehow this is very fitting.

that's why I use steam and eBay for games. Fuck spending $90 for a Wii game. I can buy two nice bottles of burboun for that, or 5/6 of a concert ticket

Oh, a simple way to bypass silly regional pricing with digital games is via the gifting system.

Simple as in you need a trustworthy friend in the United States, I guess.

They buy and gift you a game on steam, you pay them via paypal or whatever, maybe even throw in an extra dollar. Congratulations, you didn't have to pay 25% more on your purchase.

Australians: Why?!

Them: We wanted more money and you were willing to pay.

This just in, brilliant poster on escapist discovers reason!

... O:3

Therumancer, your parochialism is so shocking that it's almost endearing. What exactly does Australian telecomms infrastructure have to do with the costs of digital distribution? Steam aren't running servers in Australia, their content is all mirrored by Australian ISPs. The costs of digital distribution in Australia are precisely the same costs as those of digital distribution everywhere else: a big fat capital cost to set up the content servers in the first place, followed by virtually zip in the way of marginal costs.

But hey, keep on trying to persuade us that you know anything at all about our country - it's good spectator sport, if nothing else.

OT: Obviously this isn't actually going to change anything, because the tech giants will all be able to argue/dissemble/flat-out bribe their way out of having to change their business practices, but it's still nice seeing it acknowledged by the legislature, even if it is happening about six years after the fact. Figures that it would take the growth of online shopping (and the consequent exposure of baby boomers to digital price gaps) for this to finally boil over.

It's kind of insane that an official inquiry had to be conducted at all when everyone knows it's just been greedy assholes being greedy assholes and getting away with it all this time. The only reason no one bothered to check until now is because our government hasn't cared about this until now for whatever reason. A big part of why the aus economy is suffering isn't just the global market, its the simple fact we're being fucked HARD on prices. Why should I pay $120 for Bioshock Infinite when I can literally (and plan to soon) buy a steam code from a website for a mere $40. Can't even pay that price on Steam itself.

I have purchased maybe 3 or 5 games over the last 5 years at Aus retail stores and they were all pre-owned or discounted.

And I thought nobody cared. T_T

The price mark-ups are remnants of a bygone age where shipping was actually really expensive (due to us being often across a large ocean and generally not on the way to anywhere) and that was reason enough for more expensive Australian products. That hasn't been the case for decades, but we just roll with it because it's all we know. It's even more despicable now with digital content distribution, which has absolutely no reason, at all, to be more expensive than in any other country, but still is in most cases. At any rate, doubters of the truth of cheap shipping claims should ask themselves why other coverseas ountries don't also have the ridiculous prices we do.

The cost of shipping is still a factor, and there's very likely an issue with pricing digital distribution in that the agreement with retail channels won't allow them to undercut retail sales by going any percentage cheaper through digital sales, else they risk losing their retail distribution entirely. For digital only products this shouldn't be an issue, but they may argue that some products are still affected by retail agreements and cost of shipping, and they have to maintain the relative value of those products by using the same screwed up pricing scheme for everything. The most valid challenge here is that the currency exchange rate has changed, but the prices haven't.

Steven Bogos:

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.

[/b]

This really says it all. The threat of explaining causes dramatic price cuts to bring in line with other countries. I think that is a pretty blatant admission of guilt, without admitting anything. Surely if there was a justifiable reason, attending the hearing and explaining ones self wouldn't be a tough thing to do.

Steven Bogos:

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.

And other countries still get shafted. Places like Europe still expected to pay more than Europe because "uh, why not?". Release dates are an even bigger farce where you get delays of when a game in the US is released and when a game in Europe is released, despite it being on a digital setting.

http://www.neowin.net/news/its-cheaper-to-fly-to-the-usa-than-buy-adobe-cs6-in-australia
Great article I saw on Reddit about the same sort of issue :D

Little Gray:

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.

So because I'm Australian that makes it alright to charge me more? Just because I'm richer then you? So if a guy walks into a store looking like a bum and buys a cheeseburger, then a guy in an expensive suit walks in and buys a cheeseburger it would be fine to double the price just because the suit has more money?

Therumancer:

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.

On behalf of most Aussies on here I'm going to ask that you stop posting about something that you have no actual facts about. First off, almost everything you say is based on what you're been told second or third hand from the aussies and kiwis in your guild, hardly a representitive sample. Secondly you don't actually contribute anything factual about the motivations behind pricing, every time you mention it its always "I believe" or "I've heard" or "My guess" or words to that effect, I have nothing against you having an opinion but an opinion based on nothing is really not an arguement its just an idea without substance.

Now I'm an aussie working in IT, with businesses of various sizes and I will state categorically that your understanding of how the internet is priced and delivered in Australia is so limited that to actually use it as a justification for anything is laughable. I suggest you verify your facts before you allow insinuation to determine your understanding. For the record... In Australia residential consumers in most cases buy the internet at the maximum speed of the technology that is available (eg ADSL 2+ upto 20Mbps) and a certain data limit, once they hit this limit either they are charged a premium for any excess usage or they are speed limited for the rest of the month. Data limits range from as low as 50MB upto unlimited (TPG here offers unlimited internet for approx $70 so unlimited isn't excessively expensive either) Business connections have even more flexibility with technologies like EFM of various speeds, and fibre (in most captial cities) delivering speeds of upto 100/100. So the technology is available for consumers to download any digital purchases and for Digital retails to setup local Servers to allow for local up/downloads

Now after that explanation I still fail to see how the delivery of the digital purchase is the retailers problem. As long as the consumer is able to get to the website to make the purchase then its just a matter of time at the purchasers expense before the program is downloaded.

As a side note Australia is at about 6,000 Miles closer to China then the US is so shipping anything from most physical IT manufacturers (like Apple, Dell or Microsoft) to... well anywhere in Australia would be cheaper then shipping to the US (6,000 roughly 1/3 of the distance)

Therumancer:
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.

Except that physical copies of games are usually significantly cheaper to buy in Australia than their digitally delivered counterparts.

It's pretty insane, actually. You can go to the local discount chain and buy a game for around $66 to $88 on Blu-Ray disc, that would cost $90 to $120 to buy online via download (and you can lend or re-sell the physical copy, unlike the downloaded version). So, physical shipping doesn't appear to be the issue - especially as the copy bought in the store involves more middle-men, what with the retailer needing to make a profit and pay for bricks-and-mortar, while the more expensive downloadable version has fewer middle-men, and fewer delivery costs.

Although the title of the article does kind of bug me when it mentions "price hikes" - which implies a sudden increase in price. This is not the case. If anything, games in Australia have gotten cheaper in recent years. Yes, there is a disparity in price compared to the US, but that's always been the case. It isn't a "hike" - it's just the way it's always been.

Evil Smurf:
that's why I use steam and eBay for games. Fuck spending $90 for a Wii game. I can buy two nice bottles of burboun for that, or 5/6 of a concert ticket

$45 for a decent bottle of bourbon? You obviously don't live in Australia. A good bottle of spirits is going to cost you at least $60. A great bottle of spirits is going to cost around $90 to $150+. The game will give you many more hours of entertainment, too.

Therumancer:

I believe

Yeah, there is your problem, I'll give you credit, you've got at least a rudimentary idea of economics, geopolitics and corporate law but lack and real defined knowledge of them, you're babbling on and demeaning anyone that points out that your arguments are based on hearsay and opinion, not to mention an incredibly rightist view of economics.

I'm not trying to personally attack you hear, I'm just trying to say that maybe pretending to be well versed in foreign affairs based on out dated information from guild mates isn't a winning hand.

In my personal opinion, you sound rather intelligent, if very off base and if it weren't for the rest of your posts being quite reasonable, I'd assume you were trolling with your walls of text and nearly perfect filtered intake of criticism.

OT: It's about damn time we got some recognition for getting to where we are economically.

Umm... there is one aspect no one seems to be considering.

While the AUD and USD are nearly on par with each other, the earnings of them are not.

The US federal minimum wage (although states can enforce higher ones) is $7.25 an hour. Compare that to Australia where it is $15.96. That means that they make more than double what the Americans make. And going after MS, Apple and such isn't fair when everything in their market is more expensive than in the US.

Having said that, I can see the need for lower prices as people are going elsewhere to get their entertainment so it would be better for the economy to keep the consumers local. But it is not an issue of poverty and being over-charged as most would have you believe.

The price change doesn't surprise me, in Alaska goods typically cost 50% more. They do this because we are generally seen as wealthier and its costs a bit to ship.

If you look at Australia's debt to GDP ratio in comparison with the US you'll likely notice that Australia in that view is much wealthier (if you factor in the entitlements it's a frightening shift).

rapidoud:
whole country's situation).

2. "I've heard, I've heard" that's nice, but what you just typed out is not applicable to us. At all.

.

The media talking about global issues, wrong... Australian citizens and New Zealanders who say differantly... wrong too. All bad sources. Business news? Wrong, bad source.

See, one of the reasons why I'm such a bastard on these forums a lot of the time is that every time I try and be nice, or partiall concede a point I get these kinds of responses, which seep so much ignorance it's not funny, and are phrased insultingly.

Basically what your saying here is "any source that disagrees with me, is by definition wrong" that means there is no reason to even have a discussion. The bottom line is you want cheaper goods, you do not know or care about why the situation might be justified, or why what you want might not even be possible to the extent that you want it. Anything that disagrees with you has to be wrong because your righteousness is self evident. That's pretty much the extent of your arguement as pretty much explained by point 2.

We're pretty much done.

Aardvaarkman:

Therumancer:
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.

Except that physical copies of games are usually significantly cheaper to buy in Australia than their digitally delivered counterparts.

It's pretty insane, actually. You can go to the local discount chain and buy a game for around $66 to $88 on Blu-Ray disc, that would cost $90 to $120 to buy online via download (and you can lend or re-sell the physical copy, unlike the downloaded version). So, physical shipping doesn't appear to be the issue - especially as the copy bought in the store involves more middle-men, what with the retailer needing to make a profit and pay for bricks-and-mortar, while the more expensive downloadable version has fewer middle-men, and fewer delivery costs.

Although the title of the article does kind of bug me when it mentions "price hikes" - which implies a sudden increase in price. This is not the case. If anything, games in Australia have gotten cheaper in recent years. Yes, there is a disparity in price compared to the US, but that's always been the case. It isn't a "hike" - it's just the way it's always been.

The question of course comes down to how many of those physical, boxed, games are actually real. More of a side point than anything, but bootlegging is another whole issue here, and Australia is a big market for bootlegged asian goods. A lot of the counterfeits look almost exactly like the real article and can even in many cases get online to networks at least for a while, which is half the problem (game companies complaining about stress on their servers coming from products they never actually sold, especially if they wound up having a keygen hacked so a foreign manufacturer can make access numbers).

To put it into perspective I one bought a DS copy of Grand Theft Auto "Chinatown Wars" online. It looks absolutly authentic, right down to the box... except for one laughable detail... it has "rated E" on the front. Kind of funny when the first thing you see upon loading it is a bunch of bags of coke being turned into cash, and the first character trait I remember from our hero is him proclaiming his love of kung-fu movies and exotic pornography. ;)

The point being that this is half the reason why people complain about China. They happen to be closer to some markets like Australia and knock off everything from games to garmets (like Jeans) and pass them off as the genuine article, for which they can pass casual inspection and last a while before the quality deteriates as a knockoff. It's another factor that doubtlessly effects the market down there. I didn't mention it before because it's something that is likely to cause an arguement... but yeah, whether legally accepted trade or not, it's a bit more plausible/easier for Asian and other third world sweatshops to ship goods to Australia than it is for western manufacturers to do so.

MagunBFP:
[

On behalf of most Aussies on here I'm going to ask that you stop posting about something that you have no actual facts about. First off, almost everything you say is based on what you're been told second or third hand from the aussies and kiwis in your guild, hardly a representitive sample. Secondly you don't actually contribute anything factual about the motivations behind pricing, every time you mention it its always "I believe" or "I've heard" or "My guess" or words to that effect, I have nothing against you having an opinion but an opinion based on nothing is really not an arguement its just an idea without substance.

)

Not quite. As I said to another responder. The bottom line here is that you want cheaper goods, and really don't care much about the facts involved, or that the costs might be justified, or at least more justified than you want to believe. It's also a case where you want want Aussies QQ about in other cases to be overlooked when it comes to a case where those complaints don't serve your current self-interest.

In argueing with me your basically argueing with both your own people, most of the time (and no, I'm not going to stop using what people say, I'm dealing with a fairly large sampling actually, since we get political QQ about some of these subjects on forums like this as well, I've just discussed it in more detail with people in my former guild), and also international business, news, and finance sources.

The big thing is that this is an internet debate, not me bringing a case before a congressional committee, a court of law, or even a collegiate debate club. Like most of my posts I'm confident enough of what I speak where I know if YOU do the research you'll find out I'm right, but I'm not going to do your research for you, because frankly it's more effort than an internet debate is worth, not to mention it usually amounts to providing the moon really isn't made of green cheese, and frankly no matter what I do isn't going to convince someone who really believes that and only listens to sources that tells them what they want to believe. When I sit down and read say "Newsweek" or watch the TV news I don't sit there and record everything or file clippings and keep stacks of papers next to my computer just so I can engage in the futile exercise of convincing some guy on the internet that he's wrong.

The bottom line is we're pretty much done here. You want what you want. I do not think the situation is anywhere near as clear cut as you like to make it out to be. Time will tell if what you want is even possible. In your favor though it does seem that Adobe at least conceded.

Therumancer:

In argueing with me your basically argueing with both your own people, most of the time (and no, I'm not going to stop using what people say, I'm dealing with a fairly large sampling actually, since we get political QQ about some of these subjects on forums like this as well, I've just discussed it in more detail with people in my former guild), and also international business, news, and finance sources.

The big thing is that this is an internet debate, not me bringing a case before a congressional committee, a court of law, or even a collegiate debate club. Like most of my posts I'm confident enough of what I speak where I know if YOU do the research you'll find out I'm right, but I'm not going to do your research for you, because frankly it's more effort than an internet debate is worth, not to mention it usually amounts to providing the moon really isn't made of green cheese, and frankly no matter what I do isn't going to convince someone who really believes that and only listens to sources that tells them what they want to believe. When I sit down and read say "Newsweek" or watch the TV news I don't sit there and record everything or file clippings and keep stacks of papers next to my computer just so I can engage in the futile exercise of convincing some guy on the internet that he's wrong.

It's actually taken me a few tries to come up with a reasonable response to this. I kind of feel like I need to respond, even though I'm not the person you were talking to, just based purely on the frankly unbelievable content of your post. I guess I'm just going to try to go through it in paragraph-list form this time.

The first thing I note, is the general feeling that since it's an internet debate you don't have to try. This is wrong for a few reasons, but I suppose the biggest one is that it basically communicates that you never actually came here for a discussion. Instead, you came here to lecture, for what reasons I can't be sure. You seem to have started with the idea that you are right ["...it usually amounts to proving the moon really isn't made of green cheese..."], the best informed [no one else watches TV news or reads a paper apparently], the least biased (we'll get to that one in paragraph two) out of everyone in the thread and just rolled with it from there. Someone dare to imply that your knowledge is less complete than you think it is? The words you used were "We're pretty much done"/"We're done here", sprinkled with a bit of "you disagree with me because you're biased". You haven't even bothered to respond to the fact that two or three people have explained in detail how internet service works in Australia and why it should not affect prices, despite the fact that you were apparently plainly mistaken.

Over to bias. Ignoring the statement you made with regards to laws existing to keep digital distribution from undercutting retail outlets (presumably you at least did a cursory read through of the legislation you refer to, so there is no need to question a matter of legal fact), everything you cited has its own built in bias. "Newsweek", TV news and your friends are not unbiased distributors of information. That you are able to ignore the bias and dig down to the facts of the matter is demonstrated by your interpretation of that evidence, something we could easily confirm had you bothered to provide any.

Bringing me to the final point, and the most heinous action on your part in my opinion, here: "but I'm not going to do your research for you". You aren't doing our research for us. You are presenting the research that you have allegedly done to us, so we can judge its merits and interpret its results. Doing the research is not our job. Even if it was our job, your statement ["...someone who really believes that and only listens to sources that tells them what they want to believe" SIC] effectively communicates to me that if I were to do the research and found a source that disagreed with your arguments, you would simply dismiss it because you think we would only produce biased evidence in our favour and ignore all else.

If you can't be bothered to make a real effort in a discussion, then do not bother posting.

Therumancer:
The question of course comes down to how many of those physical, boxed, games are actually real. More of a side point than anything, but bootlegging is another whole issue here, and Australia is a big market for bootlegged asian goods.

No, that isn't the question. I'm talking about authentic product sold by long-established retail chains (Target, Big W, K-Mart, etc). They aren't fake at all, they have proper warranty, etc. Yet they are cheaper than the non-physical versions.

You really seem out of your depth here. Australia actually isn't a big market for bootlegged physical products. Anybody who wants to pirate stuff knows to download it via Bittorrent or whatever, they generally don't buy their pirated material on a burnt disc from some street-seller. If you knew anything about Australia, you'd understand that we generally don't have those kind of markets. It's a highly gentrified country, with most of the commerce being run by large companies who have to adhere to much stricter laws and regulations than most countries. Somebody selling bootlegged game discs on the street would be arrested by the police quicker than you could say "Crikey, mate."

EvilRoy:
[

If you can't be bothered to make a real effort in a discussion, then do not bother posting.

Not quite, the point is that everything is out there, it's not like I'm bringing up some kind of obscure information from a secret website hidden behind 12 firewalls run by The Australian Illuminati or anything. It's all mainstream news, general information type stuff, combined with things that people have been saying continuously for years before it becomes inconveinent.

The bottom line here is quite simply that, people in Australia, don't want to pay the prices they are currently getting on goods, and for all intents and purposes do not care whether there might be reasons for the prices they pay, just that they feel they are being screwed and should get lower prices, and to hell with any other point of view. They might be right, but I think there is more to it than that. I'm mostly getting flak for people hearing things they don't want to hear, not because I'm actually wrong in any real sense, especially seeing as in absolute terms for me to be wrong, the people I'm argueing with would likely also be wrong in having provided a lot of the basic information that contributes to this. People seem to forget that while I mention having dealt with some Aussies I played MMOs with, I've also mentioned very specifically the general range of complaints and comments made before an issue like this comes up.

See, if it was down to having gotten information from just one or two people I played an MMO with, in most cases I wouldn't bother to mention it. This is more than that, being the analysis of trends and a lot of claims over a period of time, combined with very basic common knowlege stuff.

At the end of the day the bottom line is nobody wants to accept that there is a lot of truth in what I'm saying, and might even be predicting the outcome correctly (though with Adobe backing down it seems unlikely), as a result nobody wants to see the facts involved, and isn't going to bother to do the research. As a result it really doesn't matter if I was to take the time and load up hundreds of referances, because people would STILL argue with me and deny it because it isn't what they want to hear.

Case in point, you more or less conceded the sources, but in order to argue with me your pretty much saying that the entire breadty of news information I could probably have when it comes to business in Austalia is wrong and biased simply because it contridicts what you want right now. I mean think about exactly what your premptively dismissing on a subject like this and exactly how that makes you sound. "well yeah, a ton of published experts probably agree with you, and not many with me, but that just makes them biased". If it was a more politically charged issue like gay rights or something that kind of arguement might actually hold weight since it enters into an entirely differant arena, but business news and comments on markets and such tend to be pretty striaghtforward.

Truthfully, I'm just going to let this drop. I'm not even likely to be a jerk when you or someone else posts a message later reinforcing some of the things your argueing with me about on another issue, which I know is very likely to happen, because as I said, I didn't decide to just start posting here to enjoy the glory of my own text. If I wasn't pretty confident of where I'm coming from, I just never would have responded to the thread, or tried to offer an alternate point of view and informed guess of how it would play out.

Basically it's a giant game of chicken at the moment. Austalia thinks it's position and infrastructure shouldn't cause goods to inflate in price in their market. The companies involve disagree. The big question is whether the companies will deem Australia profitable enough to deal with lowering their pricesin the long run, or abandon the market. Who needs who more. I think Austalia has overestimated it's position and when all is said and done it's going to wind up regretting this for one reason or another. I could be wrong, but we'll see how it plays out. Even if I seem wrong in the short term, I kind of expect in the long term Australian gamers and techies will regret the goverment ever having drawn this line in the sand.

In the end we're not going to resolve it here. We'll see where it stands in a few weeks anyway. As I said, I could be wrong, and that wouldn't be a bad thing. But I still think there is a good chance my analysis of the situation will be pretty close in how it's going to play out.

Therumancer:

Snip because there are several posts where I have factual and practical evidence that you're wrong

Mate, I want to point out a few facts here, so you may want to skip my reply... especially seeing as you're convinced we're done because I disagreed with your opinion.

1. If your sample size of Aussies is less then 5,000 then its a small statistical sampling, and given that they were all gamers with most probably in a similiar socio-economic situation you are likely not getting the whole picture... and to infer the whole picture from say just the edge of the puzzle isn't going to give you much insight

2. The news programs in America aren't exactly know for hiding their bias, I've watch Jon Stewart and Colbert but that doesn't mean I know enough to comment on the idiocy of rejecting Obama Care (ie Mitt Romney swearing to repeal it in his first day in office)... well besides the fact that the US is the only first world country without universal health care, but thats a topic for a different thread. As a curiosity, who did you vote for in your election?

3. The internet debate thing... you're correct this isn't a major debate, no one is forcing you to state facts or references, but that doesn't mean you should know what you're talking about and who the fuck cares about your news clippings or recordings? Google it. I know I do when I want to fact check something. If you prefer not to fact check anything then rejecting facts that people provide (and I mean hard facts, not opinion) on the basis that it must be bias because it doesn't agree with what you've heard or believe unquestionably is stupid, adjust your theory based on the available evidence.

4. You argue that physical distribution of fakes is more prolific in Australia becasue of our proximity to Asia, surely that same proximity would make distribution of legitimate products just as easy to get to us as well. Bootleggers aren't exactly the type to spend more money then they need to get to a good market. Also compare a population of 23 Million to a population of 313 Million, the US maybe further away but you have 15 times the people to sell illegal good to and you do lead the world in minor crime... so perhaps you should look in your own backyard before calling us convicts again which leads me to...

5. You said your opinions weren't racist but if anything would actually cultural bigotry. Well sir you are a bigot, you are racist in your views of Australians and whatever you want to call it it is offensive. I don't judge all Americans by your red necked hicks I kindly ask that you do me the same justice and actually find out something about Australia that isn't just heresay.

WWmelb:

Therumancer:
One massive snip

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.

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.

Excellent post! The price of games on steam makes absolutely no sense given that you get less "stuff" for your dollar, and publishers keep trying to charge ridiculous prices for old games. Look at the MW/MW2 pricing on steam right now.

Also apparently Therumancer has seen Crocodile Dundee recently and thinks that's how we all live here.

Therumancer:
Australia is a big market for bootlegged asian goods. A lot of the counterfeits look almost exactly like the real article and can even in many cases get online to networks at least for a while, which is half the problem (game companies complaining about stress on their servers coming from products they never actually sold, especially if they wound up having a keygen hacked so a foreign manufacturer can make access numbers).

What? I'm sorry, have you ever actually been here?

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