Aussie Gamers Are Still Being Ripped Off At The Checkout: CHOICE

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
Watch_Dogs $79.00 $71.82 $59.99 $65.93 9%
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%
Destiny* $88.00 $80.00 $59.99 $61.57 30%
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.

See also: Dealhacker: Best Australian Prices For Xbox One And PlayStation 4 | Why I'm Choosing PlayStation 4 Over Xbox One



    nuff said

      While I frequently use ozgameshop to buy games for the lower prices, the detriment to doing so is you're going to have to wait on average 2 weeks for the game arrive from the UK. So in that regard it's understandable if someone just wants to pop in to their local game/department store to buy and play said game on the same day. It's certainly more convenient for the consumer in some cases.

      I used to use ozgameshop but they no longer offer the big saving as they used to, when I price check most PS4 games are only $10 or so cheaper at release. I would rather pay $10 more and get it locally when the savings are so small

    I paid $64 for watchdogs from Target a day after release

      I paid $34 from VideoEzy in November of last year....However the game is still in transit at the moment. I'm happy to pay a reasonable price and wait a little after the initial launch.

        I dont think $34 is a reasonable price for such a big budget game , that will discourage such effort in development in the future.
        If we are close to the US price I think it's a good outcome

    Dicksmith is the only store that has been offering good pricing for games in Australia. When Watch Dogs came out they started a price fight that got Target also dropping the price to $64 (further $10 discount if you had a coupon).

    Some JB Hi-fi stores went as far as not price match Target or DS prices.

    Thats the main reason I picked an PS4. I can just buy a digital version of the game from Amazon and download it overnight. You also snatch really good deals if you are patient paid US$29.99 for Tomb Rider and US$39.99 for Assassin's Creed IV.

    I guess the situation is even worst when you try to purchase digital versions in Australia. Where there are no store overheads.

    I almost never buy retail here because I don't think there's any justification whatsoever for the massive price differences, particularly for digital downloads (which is primarily how we buy our games). Makes me cranky. Thankfully most of the time there are ways to get a game cheaper if you're willing to do the legwork/research. Green Man Gaming often has great specials and coupons, or the various key sites out there (as long as you use a reputable one) will usually have cheap copies. As a very last resort for us, we have some trusted friends in the US that are happy to gift us a copy in exchange for a Paypal transaction.

    These seem like bargains. I remember not too long ago, new release games were going for 100-120? Given that's back when the Aussie dollar wasn't doing so well but being able to pick up a big name new release title like Watch Dogs for $69 seems pretty sweet.

      Back when games came in large elaborate boxes with instruction manuals and the like?
      I miss those days :(

        Even the disc cases arent what they used to be, with the big holes cut out of them.

        Makes them a little too flimsy imo

    but our minimum wage is higher or something other bullshit excuse.

    until maybe the last month it has indeed been as terrible as always, even now its not great but at least stores like DSE and target have been offering up some 'decent' day one prices for early birds, DSE even offered the matching US price in $AU on wolfenstien and watch_dogs if you preordered if thats a sign of the future it'll be great sadly its very much the exception and not the rule

    also they should do this chart using the digital prices buying direct on sony/ms' stores the difference would be almost the US games price

    The table looks a bit weird. I would have expected rows with the same value in the "US price" column to also have the same price in the same price in the "US price in $AU" column.

    However, some of the US$59.99 titles are listed as AU$65.93 and others as AU$61.57. What's going on there?

    Green man Gaming had Watch Dogs for AU $40 (with a 15% discount coupon code). That's about the most I'm prepared to pay for a new game these days; the era of $100 games is over.

    ... Until next year and all those awesome looking PS4 exclusive games come out and the pressure to get a PS4 to play them becomes uncontrollable. Maybe.

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