Stormynature Mar 31, 2013 @ 6:37pm
International Price fixing with regard Steam Games.
I had just run a game design challenge over at gamedev.net which amongst other things offered a steam prize to the value of x amount. When it came time to the winner choosing his game he selected Skyrim at $39.99(US) in North America - Yet purchasing the game in Australia to send as a gift to the winner cost $59.99(US). Timing was basically simultaneous.

I have been aware for some while that Itunes charge higher costs for people in Australia to download their songs, but the question really does beg to be asked.

Why...In the age of digital distribution is Australia still getting sliced for more?

I can understand Australia paying more for physical goods (i.e. logistics) but this just seems cheap. Does anyone have any insight into this?
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Satoru Mar 31, 2013 @ 7:30pm 
Please repeat after me

PUBLISHERS

SET

PRICING

And in case you want to dispute that

http://games.on.net/2012/12/green-man-gaming-blames-price-hike-for-bl2-and-xcom-on-2k-games/
Last edited by Satoru; Mar 31, 2013 @ 7:31pm
helm123 Mar 31, 2013 @ 7:43pm 
All comes down to local retailers in AZ knowing that no one will buy from them if they can get it lower in steam or another digital distributor. So they pressure the game publishers to increase prices to be one par with their brick and mortar stores.
Last edited by helm123; Mar 31, 2013 @ 7:43pm
Stormynature Mar 31, 2013 @ 8:43pm 
Originally posted by Satoru:
Please repeat after me

PUBLISHERS

SET

PRICING

You will note that I did not specify in anyway that Steam set the prices.

What I was observing was that such price differentials existed on this platform as well making a reference to Itunes for having a similar situation. My slant refers to the argument of why a digital distribution is price-pointed to charge certain regions more when the costs are fixed regardless of region i.e. the practice of increased costs associated with the logistics of handling physical copies to different regions resulting in an increased sale price should not be a valid argument to the format of digital distribution.

An argument can be made that by pricing the digital version inline with the physical version of the specific region would be fair as per Helm123's point...yet it also goes against the grain of market competition. Is it a valid argument - that we should support Brick and Mortar establishments when it is already being seen that these types of establishment are starting to shutdown as well similar situations with regard the video rental industry and others due to digital distribution? I don't think so.

My opinion is that this is more about having established that a market is willing to pay more, they are willing to charge more and given that the costs of such products via digital distribution are substantially less than that of a physical distribution are thus netting more profit to the publisher. So to update my initial question...Does anyone have any insights into how pressure might be bought to bear to create a more equal environment?
APerfectCircle Mar 31, 2013 @ 9:26pm 
I'm in New Zealand.
When Skyrim came out I waited a few weeks bceause I couldn't afford to buy it, but then a friend of a friend in America bought me and my boyfriend a copy and gifted it to us and we paid him, 70USD, I can't remember how much we saved, probably not that much but it still made a difference between me having the game or not having.
Mrawri (SkylarKitty) Apr 1, 2013 @ 2:41am 
There are a lot of games in the Aussie market that are like this. The typical price for a new AAA game here is $100, in America it's $60. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is still %90 in the Aus Market store despite it being $20 everywhere else. If you're looking for a reason there's only one. Price Gouging. Everybody does it so they do it as well is the general consensus. It's not right and it shouldn't happen but corporations are greedy and most just want money. There was an IT Price Enquiry not too long ago to investigate why digital goods cost more here, they questioned some big companies like Apple, Microsoft and Adobe. Hopefully after it's done we will get some regulations set so Publishers can't blatantly rip us off like this anymore.
Satoru Apr 1, 2013 @ 6:15am 
Please read the article noted

GMG increased the price of AU/NZ games because

2K asked

Why did 2K ask them to?

Because AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS DEMANDED IT.

Why are games more expensive in australia.

Ask your local retailer because they're making it that way.
Stormynature Apr 1, 2013 @ 7:48am 
Originally posted by Satoru:
Please read the article noted

GMG increased the price of AU/NZ games because

2K asked

Why did 2K ask them to?

Because AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS DEMANDED IT.

Why are games more expensive in australia.

Ask your local retailer because they're making it that way.

You miss the point.

You are better off looking at the IT Pricing Inquiry for information rather than a publisher buckpassing onto an amorphous group of retailer's feedback as justification which to be honest smells. Try instead looking at this:

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/03/follow-the-australia-tax-inquiry-live-here/

The issue is not the retailers here in Australia....because if it is...then by extension of your argument these retailers control Apple Microsoft Adobe and numerous other companies ability to determine their selling price here in Australia/New Zealand...which is just fanciful thinking.
Tito Shivan Apr 1, 2013 @ 8:22am 
Originally posted by Stormynature:
The issue is not the retailers here in Australia....because if it is...then by extension of your argument these retailers control Apple Microsoft Adobe and numerous other companies ability to determine their selling price here in Australia/New Zealand...which is just fanciful thinking.
Different companies.
Different products.
Different issues.
In regards to game pricing policies, retailers DO play an important role on pricing and release dates. Not only in AU/NZ, but in UK and US themselves. Big publishers have to exclusively rely on them for console title sales. And they are still, specially big stores, a quite important percentage of the total of gaming sales.

Regional pricing is a multi-layered issue which hooks on several places at the same time.
-Taxes and import fees are one of the issues
-Retailers power on the region are another of the issues.
-Publishers piracy concerns on a certain area is another.
...And so on
Stormynature Apr 1, 2013 @ 9:23am 
And yet this is about digital distribution - not bricks and mortar - taxes are sourced at the point you purchase them from not the country you live in (Though this is very much a changing landscape with time but as of yet there are no real international agreements on this issue) -- piracy concerns as a means of deciding different levels of pricing per country is laughable or are you arguing that Aus/NZ are hotbeds of digital piracy (as opposed to say Eastern Europe or China) and thus must pay more. The fact is; there is a consistant higher price point on many digital goods sold to Aust/NZ across a variety of platforms as opposed to markets in Europe or the US. Arguing that we are a smaller market in the face of digital distribution is not viable where the entire market is global. I accept that there are many factors that go into pricing a product but provide a relevant reason or argument that is better than the Brick and Mortar retailers in Aus/NZ controlling the sale price of digital goods...unless of course you can offer substantive evidence to show that this "cabal of shopkeepers" does exist in my country and is using their power to tell the fortune 500's what to do.

Do brick and mortar fear the erosive effects of digital distribution on their bottom line?...Sure I have no problem accepting this. Do they argue that digital goods should be priced at equivalent levels to the boxed goods? Absolutely. But this is a convenient excuse for publishers to price digital goods higher for an increased revenue, it is not a sign of the publisher's caring about the health of the Brick and mortar businesses. The reality brick and mortar game retailers face atm is somewhat akin to what has happened the brick and mortar video/dvd rental market and with the death of 2nd hand games as online DRMs become the rage (I am looking at you next gen x-box) many retailers will drop below a decent revenue stream.

Satoru Apr 1, 2013 @ 10:32am 
Note a few things'

1) it's not 'price fixing'

2) regional pricing is common. Even in the 'digital age'. Regardless of digital distribution there are still several other factors that set what the price a distributor wants to sell something in a particular region. I don't complain that Russia has cheap games because of 'price fixing'.
Hard Core Rikki Apr 3, 2013 @ 2:13am 
Deal with it.
I'd rather Steam align its prices with realworld pricing in more countries (disabling gifting for any regions with low prices should suffice to curb any potential profiteering from middlemen).
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Date Posted: Mar 31, 2013 @ 6:37pm
Posts: 11