Simcity Price Gouging

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#51 Edited by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

@thabigred said:

Yeah but how much of your population would fall under "tradesperson or builder". Usually the size of your that in relation to your population is governed directly by your GDP output. Australia and the US have very comparable GDP output and people that would fall under "tradesperson or builder" here make up well below 1% of the population.

Australia does indeed have an income tax that's progressive, but you also have to look at why games cost as much as they do. Your country is taxing imported goods to promote domestic consumption. When you look back at your labourers making an average of 70k USD then you have your reason why. A very small amount of the population is using their political clout to impose a regressive tax on goods to prop themselves up.

That tax chart is a joke. If you're paying a 30% markup on goods imported into australia, the 0-18,200 range of income is paying a lot more than it would seem. Maybe these are just labeled luxury items and that's why they're being taxed like this but I'm always hesitant when I see industries that make up such a small amount of the workforce have disproportionately higher income than in other countries. There has to be inefficiencies going on.

I wouldn't call qualified builders, laborers. The games are 50% more expensive but the minimum wage is 100% more than United States, so I don't see your point. The OP is just complaining because he is paying what you would in stores, alot of publishers on Steam charge American prices, for example $50USD for XCOM Enemy Unknown, where as in a store it would probably be $90-100AUS.

#52 Edited by daedelus (92 posts) -

Looking at exchange rates a US dollar is close to an Australian dollar so I don't get the price increase. Economics major here. Minimum wage is not relevant. Good question by the OP, why is there a $20 premium?

#53 Posted by peritus (1025 posts) -

@starfoxa said:

Isn't Australia's minimum wage something like $15/hr?

Edit: Just looked it up. $15.96/hr is minimum wage. Seems like those prices are fair, considering minimum wage in the states is something like $7.50 right now (depends on the state, $7.79 here in Florida).

That's a really good point, i never even thought about that.

#54 Posted by Phantom (182 posts) -

@daedelus: it's not that the minimum wage is completely irrelevant, as that relates to price levels. I think a better example is that it's just a situation where Purchasing power Parity is not holding.

Anyway, I live in Australia and have ordered the game from a CD-key website, so I get an Origin key sent to me on the launch day for AU$51, so no complaints here (assuming I don't get impatient as the servers crash while everyone who bought digitally is downloading).

#55 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1801 posts) -

@daedelus said:

Looking at exchange rates a US dollar is close to an Australian dollar so I don't get the price increase. Economics major here. Minimum wage is not relevant. Good question by the OP, why is there a $20 premium?

Are you seriously an economics major who can't figure this out?

Just off the top of my head I have A) different values of luxury taxes, B) regional price control methods, & C) overhead for regional operations. Could be any combination of those, plus any number of other factors.

#56 Posted by Gruebacca (521 posts) -

You guys are all talking about taxes, but when I look at a world map Australia is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by ocean and developing countries that are unfortunately unable to experience the awesomeness of gaming at our level. I bet it costs a bunch of money just to ship something there.

I don't live there, so I don't know everything, but when your country's on the other side of the world and has to import most of its video games, prices have to be high, right?

#57 Edited by mandude (2669 posts) -

Origin have been gouging everywhere else in the world, too. Our prices are now closer to those of Australia, and Australia's prices are now closer to those of Hell.

#58 Posted by Phantom (182 posts) -

You guys are all talking about taxes, but when I look at a world map Australia is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by ocean and developing countries that are unfortunately unable to experience the awesomeness of gaming at our level. I bet it costs a bunch of money just to ship something there.

I don't live there, so I don't know everything, but when your country's on the other side of the world and has to import most of its video games, prices have to be high, right?

I think the main problem is that downloadable titles are significantly more expensive than in the US even when adjusting for exchange rates. For example, some Steam pricing is localised (I believe), so it's AU$90 for the newest Call of Duty or whatever, which is >US$90 at present exchange rates. That's my main issue with it anyway, as the cost of serving a customer is only bandwidth (which understandably is more expensive in such as having to have local servers, but that alone can't account for the price difference).

#59 Edited by daedelus (92 posts) -

@phantom:

Exactly, looking at how much it costs do just download the game should remove any local influence on the price or cost to get a box there. It should be equal to the US price because of the exchange rate. My guess is the number of digital copies is limited, restricting supply.

But you found it for $51AUS?! Link your fellow Australians.

@viking_funeral:

A. Video games are not a luxury good. Rich people don't buy more video games than middle or lower income. B. "regional price control" could be a solution to this problem if the government wanted to regulate game prices. C. Again, why are many digital downloads expensive too.

I found an article on Kotaku where they interviewed an economist about this:

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/11/why-do-videogames-cost-so-much/

It is kind of wishy-washy on a conclusion but what I got out of it is that there are restrictions to imports that reduce the supply of video games in Australia. Then it is a small market to begin with (demand is less compared to other countries)so that explains some but not all of the price increase.

#60 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

Oh, you guys pay as much as we do here in Sweden.

#61 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1801 posts) -

@daedelus: My take away from that article is that local regulation may be a major contributing factor, along with overhead for local operations. Yes, the digital copies could be downloaded from a server in another land for ostensibly no additional mark up, but that doesn't mean that purchases in Australia would suddenly be free of local regulation. Digital goods are regulated just like anything else, and even then they can be competitively prices as to not overly compete with local box stores. There are many, many potential reasons why goods may attain these prices, and despite it being a comfortable and easily grasped conclusion, it is probably not because there is some conspiracy to screw over Australian gamers.

You should see what it is like in Switzerland.

Also, a luxury good is not necessarily something exclusively bought by the rich. Many countries consider items like chocolate and bottled water to be luxury item, and can be taxed accordingly. Cigarettes are a popular example of something often individually taxed with an additional luxury tax. This may not be the case in Australia, but that would make Australia fairly unique in this regard.

#62 Posted by KaosAngel (13765 posts) -

Don't buy it?

Shit, it's not that hard. Look what happened to DmC, even Capcom baited fans to not buy it. They didn't buy it. Capitalism works.

#63 Posted by mtcantor (948 posts) -

So don't buy it Aussie.

#64 Posted by Jams (2961 posts) -

@azteck said:

Oh, you guys pay as much as we do here in Sweden.

From what I understand, you guys don't pay anything for video games. If you did then you'd be in the minority.

#65 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

@jams said:

@azteck said:

Oh, you guys pay as much as we do here in Sweden.

From what I understand, you guys don't pay anything for video games. If you did then you'd be in the minority.

What are you implying?

#66 Posted by mandude (2669 posts) -

@azteck said:

What are you implying?

That you have an eyepatch and a pegleg.

#67 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

@mandude said:

@azteck said:

What are you implying?

That you have an eyepatch and a pegleg.

Obviously. Why, though? Because of thepiratebay? Because that makes sense.

#68 Posted by Jams (2961 posts) -

@azteck said:

@mandude said:

@azteck said:

What are you implying?

That you have an eyepatch and a pegleg.

Obviously. Why, though? Because of thepiratebay? Because that makes sense.

I thought this guy bought all your games for you?

#69 Posted by Tyashki (213 posts) -

You guys are all talking about taxes, but when I look at a world map Australia is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by ocean and developing countries that are unfortunately unable to experience the awesomeness of gaming at our level. I bet it costs a bunch of money just to ship something there.

I don't live there, so I don't know everything, but when your country's on the other side of the world and has to import most of its video games, prices have to be high, right?

We can import games for cheaper than buying them in stores. Also, we're closer to Japan than the US is. We get this treatment with Japanese games too. XD

#70 Posted by Levio (1784 posts) -

If you think the Australian dollar is worth more than the U.S. dollar, it's because you do not understand Purchasing Power Parity.

http://www.vectorgrader.com/indicators/purchasing-power-parity

#71 Posted by chrissedoff (2116 posts) -

@levio: It is worth more. If I want to buy US dollars with Australian dollars I can buy more than $1 USD with $1 AUD. The fact that our friend's country's dollars buy less even with the favorable exchange rate is exactly what he's complaining about. So yeah, he understands the concept just fine, but you didn't try very hard to understand him very well.

#72 Edited by Chibithor (574 posts) -

Deluxe ed. is 80€ for me on Origin. Found the physical collector's ed. for 60€ at a retailer. They sure are careful about not undercutting absolutely anyone asking money for games.

Or not. I don't know what sale they're running but Crysis 3 and DS3 both undercut retail.

#73 Posted by Levio (1784 posts) -

@levio: It is worth more. If I want to buy US dollars with Australian dollars I can buy more than $1 USD with $1 AUD. The fact that our friend's country's dollars buy less even with the favorable exchange rate is exactly what he's complaining about. So yeah, he understands the concept just fine, but you didn't try very hard to understand him very well.

If he's really, truly complaining that his games should cost much less for him than everyone else, then this entire thread is a joke.

#74 Posted by chrissedoff (2116 posts) -

@levio: He's not. He doesn't want to pay extra money on top of what Americans pay for the sole fact that he lives in Australia. I thought that was obvious.

#75 Posted by Korwin (2870 posts) -

Stopped paying the Australia Tax on software years ago, the internet offers too many avenues around this problem for me not to take advantage of foreign pricing. Maybe one day publishers will reach Adobe and Autodesk level's of pure evil when it comes to regional software price fixing... but it hasn't happened yet.

Also anyone commenting on the minimum wage in Australia needs to understand the cost of living differences here, a gallon of petrol for instance costs about 6 bucks or more depending on what your drive.

#76 Edited by Phantom (182 posts) -

@daedelus said:

@phantom:

Exactly, looking at how much it costs do just download the game should remove any local influence on the price or cost to get a box there. It should be equal to the US price because of the exchange rate. My guess is the number of digital copies is limited, restricting supply.

But you found it for $51AUS?! Link your fellow Australians.

https://cdkeys.com.au/products/SimCity.html

I have used this website before, as have many of my friends and had no troubles (even with Origin keys), but obviously do so at your own risk etc. etc.

#77 Edited by hapticyo (1 posts) -

Cigarettes are a popular example of something often individually taxed with an additional luxury tax. This may not be the case in Australia, but that would make Australia fairly unique in this regard.
A carton of cigarettes at the cheap range of brands costs as much as simcity (it ranges from around 50 - 75 cents a cigarette) From what I gather it costs like $2 for a pack, then the sellers make about the same, then the australian government makes like 5 billion from a % I can't seem to find right now (Last I read some years ago it was around 800%) I smoke 4 packs a week, costs me $170 a fortnight.
A lot of the comments I read here are about our minimum wage, And we deserve to pay this ludicrous price. The reason our minimum wage is so high is our cost of living, which on the east cost where most of our population resides is extremely high. A 2 bedroom home in a backwater town is around $300,000, a nice 3-4 bedroom in the same town is twice that, if you want to live within 20km of Sydney, welcome to the $1,000,000 range. Back to that backwater joint. I was looking for a place to rent a couple of weeks ago, cheapest I could find was $300 a week (aside from someone renting a granny flat for $220) the $300 place was a 1 bedroom apartment. Fuel is $1.50 - $1.80 a litre ($6 - $7 a US Gallon) beef is $30/kilo (I think is about 2.2 pounds)
Our minimum wage may be twice what yours is, which would be fine is we only paid twice what you do for living.

#78 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1801 posts) -

@hapticyo:

Cigarettes can go as high as $15 a pack in the U.S. Of course, that's in major cities. In smaller cities, it's usually around $8 a pack. Even then, it's better than what I've paid in Europe. Except Russia. For some reason, Russian cigarettes can go for €1-2. Maybe that's changed since 2008.

Cigarettes his $14.50 a pack.

No one "deserves" to pay those prices for video games, and I'll thank you for not putting words in our mouths. It's just simply the reality of goods arriving from a different country, being subject to extra regulations and possibly taxes for importing (even digitally... economies are rarely truly free market, even digitally), and even then are prices to the demands of the market. That sucks, especially for those who have to pay €100 a game (as I did in Switzerland or Germany), but that's the reality of the situation.

It's very tempting to think that people are just trying to screw you over, but usually there are very real reasons goods are prices the way they are.

Oh, and the prices you list for housing is not very far from the reality of the U.S. housing market. I'd site numbers, but I'm already putting more effort than required to help someone posting on a burner account that may or may not just being trying to keep a rage thread alive.

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