Consumer watchdog CHOICE has launched a fresh investigation into local video game pricing. In a verdict that will surprise no one, it found that we're still paying artificially high prices compared to the US, with some PS4 titles receiving markups of nearly 50 per cent. Here's a look at some of the worst offenders.
Despite the largely impotent efforts of the IT Pricing Inquiry, the "Australia tax" remains an annoying fixture in the gaming industry. To prove its point, CHOICE analysed the local and US pricing of a selection of new/upcoming Playstation 4 video games and found that Australians pay a whopping 33 per cent more on average.
Here's the comparison table in full (asterisks denote pre-order prices):
|Game||$AU price||$AU price ex-GST||US price||US price in $AU||Difference|
|Bound By Flame||$84.98||$77.25||$49.99||$54.94||41%|
|Wolfenstein: The New Order||$89.00||$80.91||$59.99||$65.93||23%|
|The Elder Scrolls Online||$94.00||$85.45||$59.99||$61.57||39%|
|inFAMOUS Second Son||$79.00||$71.82||$59.99||$61.57||17%|
|Dynasty Warriors 8:Xtreme Legends Complete Edition||$99.00||$90.00||$59.99||$61.57||46%|
|Assassin's Creed Unity*||$99.00||$90.00||$59.99||$61.57||46%|
|The Last of Us Remastered*||$98.00||$89.09||$59.99||$61.57||45%|
|Dragon Age Inquisition*||$89.00||$80.91||$59.99||$61.57||31%|
To be fair, Microsoft and Sony have been doing a reasonable job on the hardware side of things: both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are more or less in line with US pricing, once currency exchange rates and the GST are taken into account. (This is in stark contrast to the previous console generation, where the PS3 cost $400 more than in the US at launch.)
Unfortunately, this clearly hasn't rubbed off on software groups who continue to treat Australian consumers with contempt. As the recent Watch Dogs furor on Steam proved, the rise of low-cost digital distribution models isn't making the problem go away. Tch.
Not unrelatedly, CHOICE is calling on the Federal Government’s Competition Policy Review to ensure that the ‘Australia tax’ is permanently axed via 26 recommendations. You can read its full submission here.
What's the most outrageous video game markup you've ever seen? Share your horror stories in the comments section below.