Parlimentary Inquiry into Why Australian Gamers Pay More

Long have Australian gamers lamented the inflation in price of the games and technology in this country. Not only do Australians often pay double the price of other countries for the same physical items, but also for digital purchases which cannot hide behind the excuse of shipping across the seas. But finally the anguish of gamers has been heard, and the Australian government will be taking to task major technology companies Microsoft and Apple, with a federal parliamentary inquiry being scheduled for later this year on the issue.

As reported by The Age, the details of the inquiry are still being finalised by the Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, and will be conducted at the House of Representatives standing committee on infrastructure and communications. The current focus is upon the price difference of software and other IT material, as well as digital content such as music and games.

Big software companies, including the likes of Apple and Microsoft, have been invited to appear at the inquiry. Sydney MP Ed Husic believes that this is the first time such companies have been called to explain their pricing systems before a parlimentary inquiry.

”People here scratch their heads trying to work out why they get fleeced on software downloads,” Mr Husic said. ”When the Productivity Commission asked IT companies why they charge so much for downloads, even they found the answers were not persuasive.”

Last year a Productivity Commision report into retail indicated the rise in Australian’s use of online shopping was strongly influenced by the difference in prices for products in Australia compared to those overseas. The report also noted that the common excuses for these price differences such as local taxes and duties, the cost of support setup, and an overall smaller market; were not significant enough to justify the difference;

“In most cases [these reasons] are not persuasive, especially in the case of downloaded music, software and videos where the”costs of delivery … are practically zero and uniform around the world”