Hey Lifehacker, Why are some games almost triple the price in Australia compared to the US? You can pick up New Super Mario Bros DS (hardly a new release) for $25 in the US, but it’s still $70 over here. The same applies to lots of other titles.
I know Adobe and Microsoft claimed they had higher prices due to local technical support but that makes less sense with Nintendo. It really bugs me since the games are mostly used by kids who often damage the cartridges or disks, and you can’t really run off a copy to be used while the original is safe in a box. On region-locked devices, is there any alternative way to find cheaper games? Thanks, Game Overpriced
The short and sad answer to “Why are they more expensive?” is “because they can be”. Selling games is a business, and businesses will charge whatever they think the consumer will be willing to cough up. And since we do keep shelling out the money, nothing becomes any cheaper.
Australia is a much smaller market than the US, so there’s arguably less incentive for retailers to offer bargain-priced or loss-leader games. Because most consoles are region-locked, you can’t simply import cheaper overseas titles.
This whole issue was the subject of the Australian IT pricing inquiry, but unfortunately (if predictably) that particular investigation hasn’t made any difference. And it’s quite tricky to argue that games are an essential service and need a higher level of regulation.
What can you do? Shop around carefully online (check our list of bargain comparison sites for some leads). Consider second-hand copies, either through eBay or retail stores. Or try weaning your kids onto playing games on a cheap tablet or mobile phone — there are a lot more bargain-priced choices available there.
Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our [contact text=”contact form”].