When it comes to talking about the discrepancies in the price of games across regions, there’s an unjust bias towards talking about the differences between the US and the EU. But it’s Australia where the most outrageous contrast lies, with games regularly costing almost double what they would in America.
Hopefully that’s all going to change in the near future, as the House of Representative Infrastructure and Communications Committee (trying saying that all at once) has released a report that has decided that the prices that Australians are forced to pay for videogames can’t be justified by the cost of trading stating that “in many instances these higher costs cannot, even cumulatively, explain the price differences consumers experience in relations to many IT products, and especially those delivered via the internet.” As such, we should hopefully see a reduction ‘over time’, although that’s a nebulous ultimatum at best.
More helpfully, the committee purported that “High IT prices can have significant impacts given the critical role IT plays in many areas of Australian Life”, which seems to be a pretty damning indictment of the regular practice of bumping up the prices of games, even if it is more generally placed under the IT banner.
The slight focus on digital goods, which in the videogame space would be looking squarely at the likes of Steam, is especially condemning, as there should theoretically be no justification for a difference in price when it’s just information being pumped through broadband and cable lines. Although the question of whether such a committee can actually bring about change, rather than just condemning the current state of things, has yet to be seen.