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    #1

    Editorial: Approaching parity: The cost of everything



    Editorial by James Cullinane

    In recent years the Kiwi dollar has dramatically strengthened against the US. So why are we still paying so much for their games?

    IN AMSTERDAM LAST WEEK, Nintendo revealed its international release schedule for its next generation 3D handheld gaming platform, the Nintendo 3DS, and announced a recommended retail price for America, USD $249.

    Initial delight amongst local consumers at the low recommended price was quickly dashed. USD $249 is approximately NZD $325 - a veritable steal. However, Nintendo's current generation handheld, the DSi, is still being sold here for NZD $329 and it seems unlikely that the new device will come in at the same price point as the old. Nintendo Australia followed the international announcement with a press release saying that regional pricing would be revealed at an invitational event in Sydney on the 8th of February.

    In spite of our geographical proximity to both Japan and the US, New Zealand and Australia will be considered a part of the European region for both 3DS hardware and software. To that end, a solid estimate as to what we can expect to pay for the highly anticipated handheld is better divined from looking at pricing in the UK.
    Read the rest of this article at Gameplanet.co.nz

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    #2
    There is an easy fix for the high prices in NZ. Just don't pay them. Buy online from sources like Play Asia (http://www.play-asia.com/) and Oz Gameshop (http://www.ozgameshop.com/). Even Amazon.com. Though when buying from Amazon you have to be sure ahead of time that the game you're buying is not region locked. When the Australian dollar hit parity I bought a bunch of games from the US (labeled as NTSC versions but they all work find in my PAL console). I saved a bunch of cash doing that.

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    #3
    Why are we still paying so much for anything???

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    #4
    Many look at that deficit and proffer it as a defence of software piracy: Games are not worth gambling NZD $120 on. Software piracy, they reason, will ultimately force game publishers to reach a compromise.
    Who is seriously suggesting that NZ gamers pay more than the US to cover losses on piracy and the increasing cost of development?

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    #5
    miguelwrang wrote:
    Who is seriously suggesting that NZ gamers pay more than the US to cover losses on piracy and the increasing cost of development?
    No one?

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    #6
    My bad, parsed that bit incorrectly last night .

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    #7
    this is why i almost never buy games when new. however looking at the sites provided by orj, i mite just use that in the future

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    #8
    orj wrote:
    There is an easy fix for the high prices in NZ. Just don't pay them. Buy online from sources like Play Asia (http://www.play-asia.com/) and Oz Gameshop (http://www.ozgameshop.com/). Even Amazon.com. Though when buying from Amazon you have to be sure ahead of time that the game you're buying is not region locked. When the Australian dollar hit parity I bought a bunch of games from the US (labeled as NTSC versions but they all work find in my PAL console). I saved a bunch of cash doing that.
    This was fine with the old DS, but I was under the impression that the 3ds was region locked?

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    #9
    Murakami wrote:
    This was fine with the old DS, but I was under the impression that the 3ds was region locked?
    Yup, and some X360 titles (particularly MS-published ones) are as well.

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    #10
    I've taken to importing games from the aforementioned websites (as well as http://www.cdwow.co.nz/) more often recently, though doing so does have a downside. Due to imported games not passing through a New Zealand distributer, they don't come with a New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification label, without which it's actually illegal to then on-sell the game once you're finished with it.

    Acquiring said labels for imported games is a lengthy and costly process, so it limits the titles I'm willing to import to ones that are either tied to an online account, (such as Steam or EA) and cannot be on-sold anyway, or games with high replay value or an emphasis on online multiplayer that I know I'll still be playing six months to a year later.

    That said, these days its common to save almost 50% of the NZ RRP by importing a game, which is also roughly the price at which you can sell a used game for on a place like TradeMe. Which would mean that even if you don't or can't on-sell an imported game, your loss is still roughly equal to that incurred if you buy, play then on-sell a full-priced NZOFLC rated title.

    Or, you can simply wait six months and buy the game when it inevitably goes on sale for half price.

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    #11
    Murakami wrote:
    This was fine with the old DS, but I was under the impression that the 3ds was region locked?
    Ozgameshop sells from the UK, so is the same region as us (and inexplicably, so much cheaper). Play-Asia carries multiple regions, so just make sure you get the right one.

    --

    I often wait for sales, but one of the problems for me is that first party Nintendo games never drop to half price, and it's the same case for a lot of other desirable games. I'm used to high prices, and for most things I'm used to them staying high until the games disappear off the shelves. That's why importing seems like such a good deal to me (even though that price range is probably "normal" for other, more popular countries).

    New Zealand games just cost more for some reason. A good example at the moment is Mighty Ape's Pokemon Black/White US Import versus the NZ region Pokemon Black/White. The US version is $69.99 and the NZ version is $84.99. Same retailer, same game, different region. Where does this price difference come from?

    Another perhaps weirder thing is that I am able to import games as a single customer for much cheaper than our retail shops seem to be able to get imports. Nearly every DS game I've bought from Mighty Ape is an import, and I could have bought them all for cheaper by importing them myself (even taking shipping from overseas into account). If I, as a single buyer, buying a single copy of a game, can import it at a cheaper end user price than actual retailers can get it (in bulk, presumably), then something fishy is going on. I realise there will be some profit margin in there for Mighty Ape, but surely as a bulk buying retailer they can get it heaps cheaper than me? Perhaps not...

    In short, prices are a farce in NZ. I'm not sure where all the exaggeration comes from, but I'll continue to hunt for the best deal, usually through importing, until the gap closes to an acceptable level.

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    #12
    Buy kiwi and we've got it made.

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    #13
    s0cks wrote:
    Buy kiwi and we've got it made.
    If I bought Kiwi I'd be so far in debt it wouldn't be funny.

    Plus I'm pretty sure that slogan refers to stuff that is actually made here. Games are all imports AFAIK, even if they're NZ region.

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    #14
    We get ****ed in pricing.

    What's new?

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    #15
    Regional pricing is a joke, but Japan and the US are the core markets the rest of the world only exists as a secondary revenue stream it seems for almost all the publishers.

    I import whenever I can (another advantage of PC games is no region locking). I only buy during Steam sales, and never pay retail ay any brick and mortar store (I have NEVER paid more than $85 for a standard edition PC game in the last 10 years).

    $80 seems about fair for a game these days assuming at least 10 hours of gameplay then that means $8 per hour. Thats fine with me. .
    I play mainly RPGs and they clock in over 40 hrs (I paid $97 for Coll Ed FO:NV and played 72 hrs in my first playthrough so thats about $1.35 per hour. Excellent Value for money if you ask me).

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    #16
    The game developers/publishers are already making extra $$ from add ons. You can easily spendup on extras for games like Mod Nation Racers and WWE 2011 on the PS Network as we have discovered recently. Not really a big deal unless they strip the main game down too much, but the add-on's can become an expensive habit.

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    #17
    Yeah it's pretty rough when we compare ourselves to the US. But in absolute terms our game prices aren't bad at all. I used to buy $100 games all the time back in the 90s. I don't know what an equivalent amount is today but I'd guess $200+ going by the price of everything else...
    lumpy custard
    Guest

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    #18
    The arguement for economies of scale is rubbish. If that really were the case most analysts would say that the bigger markets would clearly offset any "losses" (I dont actually believe the local distribution costs are as high as they claim they HAVE to be) and protect markets in NZ and AUS going to other production studios for different entertainment.

    These days the price difference amounts to price fixing, which is obviously illegal.

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    #19
    I do like the look of nintendos handhold the 3DS. I haven't been interested in anything nintendo for a super long time. But the ONE thing I really hate bout nintendo is they don't like pricecuts.

    The Wii has barely had any pricecuts, the price people pay for one of these in NZ is stupid. I don't know how people bought them when 360 was only a little bit extra.

    Now we have the 3DS coming out and for all that new tech in the handhold, we should be paying around $350 and knowing nintendo they'll be making a profit straight away but still we're paying $330 for a DSi which nintendo also making a hell lot of money off as its probably cheap as dirt to make now... So the new handhold will come out at like $400 and the DSi price drop down to $300 and nintendo makes even more money...

    I'll skip on the 3DS and buy a NGP as I know Sony will lose money on the handhold if they HAD to

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    #20
    I'm a steam convert. The sales they run have meant that I've been able to buy loads of top retail games in the last year. I've also bought from other digital download sites as it's just so much cheaper and I don't have to worry about storing growing numbers of disks. When you pay the likes of $20us for left 4 dead 1 and 2, you can't complain.

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    #21
    Yay for PC games being region free ~ buy some on holiday!!!
    Otherwise I wait for the epic steam sale

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    #22
    Secular wrote:
    The arguement for economies of scale is rubbish. If that really were the case most analysts would say that the bigger markets would clearly offset any "losses"
    The bigger markets may well offset any losses, but why make a loss at all when you can make a small profit instead?

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    #23
    orj wrote:
    There is an easy fix for the high prices in NZ. Just don't pay them. Buy online from sources like Play Asia (http://www.play-asia.com/) and Oz Gameshop (http://www.ozgameshop.com/). Even Amazon.com. Though when buying from Amazon you have to be sure ahead of time that the game you're buying is not region locked. When the Australian dollar hit parity I bought a bunch of games from the US (labeled as NTSC versions but they all work find in my PAL console). I saved a bunch of cash doing that.
    Same here...no surprise NZ Retailer Association is lobbying the government to lower the GST-free threshold on imports so we bend over and pay their prices.

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    #24
    Gamings possibly getting cheaper if you can ignore the new game hype. Wait a couple of months after release and you can get many games $30 or more cheaper the release date

    Considering how many games come out these days, I;m fairly comfortable with waiting before I buy games.

    Also pre-ordering games and getting collectors editions is a joke, half the time you don't even get whats promised (or it's utter sh1te)

    look at the Batarang for the collectors edition of Arkham Asylum

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    #25
    ...The Wii has barely had any pricecuts, the price people pay for one of these in NZ is stupid...
    HA! i laugh at your post. You think the price is bad here Hahahahahah... open your eyes!

    I was recently in Brazil, and the price for anything imported had a gov tax of over %60 of the retail price!

    My Dslr was $6200nz in Brazil, and i imported one here for just under $2000...

    I remember seeing Wii's for the equivilant of around $1000nz,.. and thats only 3 months ago, let alone at launch.

    games cost well over $150nz and upwords..

    Playstation3 and 360 were all the same..

    Its easy to see why piracy is almost a way of life in South America, .. anything imported costs ya your lefty.. :/