Fellow destructoids, I haven't posted one of these yet, so let me first explain who I am.
I've been a gamer for life, ever since I was shooting sharks in seaquest on my Atari 7800 (Which had Asteroids built in!) right upto now, where I'm still taking my time killing Yiazmat in Final Fantasy XII and running around in Team Fortress two spamming the chat by saying all my team-mates are spies in the voice of the Heavy.
Now, I'm Australian. Which means two things. I like to drink and make an arse (Yes, we say 'Arse', not 'Ass') of myself in public. Secondly, we're a PAL country, so we're always about 6 months to a year behind you NTSC folk in Japan and the USA when it comes to console games, and even the consoles themselves. Its a huge annoyance, but its something we've come to accept.
At least with PC gaming, the wait times now are almost negligible. And with Valve's 'Steam' program allowing worldwide unlocking at the same time, we're finally on par with you snooty foreigners.
Or are we?
The Australian dollar, right at this very moment is valued at 0.893680 USD (Courtesy of XE.com
. So, when I bought the Orange Box through steam, I only paid about $56 AUD, as it was $49.95 USD. But what about those that don't want to buy through Steam, or use credit cards on the internet? Well, effectively you're screwed. I snuck this picture
while I was at gamestraders today, and the whole orange box pack, is selling at $99.95 AUD as RRP. Not just at GT, but also at EB.
Now, given that purchasing it in a store, you get a case, a physical DVD, and maybe some pieces of paper inside if you're lucky. But should all that cost an extra $50? Shipping for ONE DVD surely cannot be worth $50!
With the Australian dollar so strong against the US dollar right now, why are we paying so much more for games? This has now got me thinking, almost ALL new games released in Australia retail for at least $89.95. Lets take an example.... What's something all the kids are playing now... Crysis! Using EB games as the seller.
EB Games Australia, retailing for $99.95 http://www.ebgames.com.au/PC/product.cfm?ID=7308
EB Games United States, retailing for $49.99 http://www.ebgames.com/product.asp?product%5Fid=B646828A
According to XE again, $49.99 USD = $56.0399 AUD at the current rate. So why are we paying $43 AUD more?
To flip it around on the Americans. If you were paying our price for Crysis, you'd be paying
$89.1802 USD for one game. If that were the case, there'd be an uproar! Rioting in the streets, silicon valley programmers being lynched and gaming executives lined up in the streets in front of firing squads. Well, we can only hope.
How is it considered fair to be charging us Australians so much more for games, when they are now exactly the same as the versions released across the shores? Its made me thankful for ideas like Steam, which means we pay the exact same thing as Americans for the exact same game. Go Valve! Australia supports you!
End of first blog item. Resume your normal lives and be thankful you're not gaming in Australia. :P