Today, GAME, an Australian video game retailer has announced it will join its UK brother in going into administration. While I’m not quite sure what this will mean for the company and the industry in Australia, I am very confident that this might be a turning point in the Australian retail place, IF gamers choose to take advantage of it.
For too long the video game retail scene has been dominated by developers and retailers pushing forward reasons to charge a ridiculous amount of money for a video game. Whether their reasoning be because Australians make more money, the Australian dollar is low or that the customer base here is small, I think we can agree that in 2012 they are doing it simply because they can. If you are unaware the average recommended retail price of ONE video game is normally around $109 Australian Dollars ( as of May 14 this equals around $108USD) down from a few years ago where it was ten dollars more.
This high pricing has made Australians move to importing games online and using digital distribution such as Steam. This act is being quoted as part of the reason as to why GAME is in the state it is. I, personally do not believe this to be the case, although you could argue it’s a contributing factor but ever so small. You would think as more people move to importing goods that the domestic marketplace would adapt and at least try and compete with imports. Instead, business have appealed the government to tax imported goods to save companies and jobs. While I don’t deny that importing has a chance of taking away jobs and businesses, I think it’s a necessary evil to get fairness in the video game stores. “But they’re a business! Why should they adapt?” Because with a $109 RRP there is plenty of room for negotiation.
So, you might be asking with cheap games online, why do so many Australians still buy locally? I believe that Australians are mostly ignorant to shopping online. I don’t know if they think it’s scam or they seriously think having the game in hand when buying it or “customer service” is truly worth double the price. I encourage you to look around online whether it be EBay, Ozgameshop, Game-Lane or other online stores and give them a try. Of all the places online I have bought from every copy as worked and has come within the estimated deliviery time.
After talking with many Australian gamers the reason they choose not to purchase online is the customer service you get from stores. I must ask, is this really worth literally a 50% markup from our American, European and Asian friends? No. Of course not. These regions get the same customer service from the employees as us, so why do we accept essentially paying for it? I am also tired of seeing people defend high price points. It makes no sense. Like I stated, all the other regions get the same services, why are we forced to pay extra?
Why have I harped on about online sales so much? Because I see this as the only way to tell the EB Games and the other retailers that we don’t want to pay double what we should and we won’t as we can get it easily online. These companies loosing money on imports should encourage them to change their practices and compete, not to legally destroy imports. With GAME going into administration two things can happen. You can all go and spend double the money at EB Games (the only major retailer) or go online and make a point. Hit them in their wallets, because that’s where it hurts.