Australia might soon be seeing a price drop for games
The House of Representatives Infrastructure and Communications Committee today released a 150-page report, the end result of an extensive inquiry into the cost of IT in Australia. Anyone who's paid a modicum of attention to the games industry knows the story down there - because of the increased cost of business, games, and tech both cost more than they would anywhere else in the world.
As it turns out, many organizations have been abusing this fact to gouge consumers.
Where gaming is concerned, the report found that physical products are, on average, anywhere from 40-90% more expensive than their American counterparts. It gets worse instead of better when you add digital content to the equation; products on Steam were found to cost anywhere from 200-300% more: enough that purchasing a product overseas and shipping it to one's home would be a cheaper alternative. All of this is done in the name of recouping the higher cost of doing business in the small, relatively isolated market.
"In many instances," concluded the House, "these higher costs cannot, even cumulatively, explain the price differences consumers experience in relation to many IT products, especially those delivered via the Internet."
The committee has, as a result, put forward a number of recommendations, including relaxations on parallel import restrictions, amendments to the Copyright Act 1968, and a closer examination of consumer rights related to region locking.
"While companies should remain free to set their own prices, the committee took the view that there are a number of ways in which Australia can act to increase competition in IT markets, which should reduce prices over time," explained committee chair Nick Champion MP.
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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