Is The Google Play Store Birthday Sale Worth Celebrating?


Sales are great when they’ve got genuine bargains that you can snap up, especially in the digital domain where the costs of replication are essentially nothing. But what happens if you have a sale with bargains of dubious value?

There’s an article over at CNET UK relating to the current Google Play sale that derides it on the basis that while having the appearance of a sale, it’s actually not very good value at all.

I don’t doubt the figures that are quoted at all, but it got me thinking about the Australian app and movie market, because the services and pricing are different. Yes, you can always import if it’s a DVD, or possibly fudge IP to get access to streaming services, but it’s not as though Google Play is legitimately going head to head with those kinds of options. So what is the value of Google Play’s current deal like for Australians?

I would use all of the same examples as CNET UK, except that it talks about Google Play Music, and we don’t have that in Australia as yet. Or in other words, Boo, Google. Boo.

On the movie side, Google Play locally is offering up a range of movie rentals at 99c each and sales at $3.99 each. They’re entirely older catalog titles, which is a little annoying. Still, if you’re keen, you could watch Fast and Furious for 99c or own The Bourne Ultimatum or E.T. for $3.99. If you’re masochistic, you could watch Crossroads for 99c, but that’s arguably overpriced at any price.

By comparison, though, the Australian iTunes store has The Bourne Ultimatum for rental at $4.99, and buying it would cost you $17.99, although both are HD options. Crossroads isn’t available on the Australian iTunes store as far as I can see — and I’m not going to pretend that isn’t a good thing in my books. Fast And Furious is only available to purchase, again in HD, but for $24.99. Google Play’s sale is a bit of a bargain in that instance, although by way of physical comparison, JB Hi-Fi will sell you Fast And Furious on Blu-Ray for $15.98.

What about on the apps side? Here it’s distinctly less impressive, especially considering that Google has had far more generous sale events under its own steam in the past, offering things like 10c apps and the like, and this particular sale doesn’t go anywhere near that. Indeed, there’s a smattering of EA apps at half price, and while everybody absolutely should have Plants Vs Zombies, it’s not as though EA doesn’t offer specials on its apps on a stunningly regular basis in any case.

It still comes down to a regular bit of advice when it comes to sales. It doesn’t matter how many flashy percentage-off sale signs are, if it’s something you weren’t planning on spending money on in any case, you’re not actually saving money.
Google Play Birthday Sale [Google Play]

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  • I picked up a couple of the movies yesterday – City of Ember for $2.50, for example. I’ve come to the conclusion that HD content on a mobile device (even a Retina one, or Android equivalent) is a waste (feel free to correct me, though), so the SD versions are fine with me. And an obligation-free rental is a cheap no matter what the comparison. And as you noted, the offer to Australia seems to be an apology for the Australia tax (the numbers are the same as the UK, but the currency isn’t).

    As for Crossroads, hey, look, if you’re at home, it’s late, you’re all alone and lonely, and can’t make the payment for some of Foxtel’s more … exotic … channels, well, I’m not going to pass judgement. Hell, one of the movies I bought was … bah, I forget what it’s called, but it was $2.50 worth of Eliza Dushku. Bargain.

  • “fudge IP” – er.. I think you would have a hard time “fudging” your IP (either protocol or address) and still have functional internet access.. I think you mean something more like “load through an intermediary source” aka a proxy of one variety or another.

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