Okay, look, I’m still not over the Steam ripoff thing. (Although, with a cousin in London, I did find a way around it for long enough to buy L4D2.) In addition to Civ 5 (50 USD vs 80 USD) there have been a series of sales this week for EA titles which have (ignoring the ridiculousness of additional publisher-based DRM in a Steam title) been spectacularly offensive.
Take Sunday’s sale of Dragon Age: Origins. The 40% off “discount” price in Australia is 40% off the frankly absurd 70 USD so it’s 46.89 USD. Hardly a bargain. The standard, non-sale US price is 39.99 USD, so our “40% off” price is still significantly more than the US standard price – let alone the UK sale price of 13.39 pounds, which works out at 19.82 USD, somewhat less than HALF the Australian “discount” price.
For a digital download that is in all respects identical.
I get that publishers have to add GST to games sold in Australia, but the 10% GST is 10% – considerably less than 110%, being ten percent and not one hundred and ten percent. It’s not much of an excuse for the markups they’re imposing, is my point.
And that’s not even the worst example – according to the steamprices.com top ripoffs page, Steam charges USD 20 for Red Faction Guerilla in the US, but to those stuck behind an Australian IP it charges USD… prepare yourself… are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I will continue… USD 70. (That probably needs to be in a bigger font.) Yup, a markup of 350%. I mean, you’ve almost got to admire the sheer gall of THQ, don’t you? That kind of ripoff is a thing of such spectacular shamelessness that it’s almost thrilling. I’m not going to buy their game, but I might come back and admire its monstrous pricing structure next time I need an emotional shock.
Also, unbelievable regional pricing aside, there’s the issue of the ever more stupid delays in game releases here, highlighted by – who else – Nintendo Australia’s treatment of its flagship titles. Like Super Mario Galaxy 2, which won’t be out here till July. Despite having been released overseas a month ago.
My question is: what the hell is the point of Australian distributors, and why wouldn’t we all be better off if they just disappeared and the big retailers imported directly from overseas?
Feel free to share the examples of us being ripped off and screwed over that have really gotten your metaphorical goat.