For those outside of Australia, it’s very expensive to buy video games within Australia. The Australian Consumer’s Association has presented a submission to a parliamentary enquiry about that difference in cost.
For those in the US: right now I can buy L.A. Noire for AU$108 off EBGames.com.au. (It’s AU$110 in stores when I checked last week.)
At the current exchange rate (AU$1 = US$1.0720), that’s US$116. In the US, it is US$60 from GameStop.
Lots of reasons are given for this difference and I accept some of them – it is more expensive to ship physical copies to Australia, for instance. However, I can’t help but think that the prices haven’t adjusted to the exchange rate nearly as much as they should. Or at all.
Thinking about games I bought I day 1, I picked up Enter the Matrix at launch in 2003.
Stop judging me. And I liked it. So there.
Anyway, I can’t find the price that it cost to buy EtM at launch, but the Wayback Machine did locate an Australian online distributor selling Xbox games for about AU$99 at around the same time. This was when the exchange rate was heavily in the US$’s favour – it was AU$1 = US$0.6152. At that point Australian games cost the equivalent of US$61. This was probably at a time when US console titles cost US$50 at most. (Someone correct me if I’m wrong.)
So despite incredible growth in the strength of the AU$ compared to the US$, we are still paying about the same amount in local currency, and maybe a little bit more.
There may just be a reason why so many Australian gamers buy games from overseas online distributors.