Life ain’t easy down under. In addition to particularly strict laws regarding violence in gaming, Australians can also expect to pay a pretty penny for their software. For reasons mostly unknown, software tends to be more expensive in Australia than it is in the U.S., sometimes reaching near twice the price of copies licensed to U.S. citizens. While inexplicable, it’s something of a standard practice, as if downloading files in Australia is significantly more resource intensive than downloading them somewhere else. To the relief of Australians everywhere (but mostly those in Australia), the Australian government is now looking into this bizarre trend.
The straw that broke the camel’s back in this case was the release of Adobe’s newest Creative Suite. The new suite, which prides itself on a progressive “subscription” payment plan is a reasonable $49.99 a month in the States, but inexplicably $62.99 a month in Australia. The Australian House of Representatives is now finalizing a draft of an inquiry that will soon go out to companies like Adobe, as well as other giants like Microsoft and Apple, who inflate prices in Australia. One can imagine it will go something along the lines of “Hey, what the hell, mate?”
The inquiry is set to build on findings by the Productivity Commission, who’s report tellingly states that excuses for the price modification tends to be “not persuasive” and is often practically nonexistent. It seems like the trend is something that has just sort of justified itself.
Australian techie Trevor Long put things this way to The Age:
“As time rolls on, every single one of the Australian arms of those global companies will realise that Australian consumers are getting their products elsewhere. People are already setting up, in droves, addresses in the US just so they are able to download a piece of American software at American prices.”
The fact that circumvention of these prices involves something so trivial as pretending to be somewhere else really speaks to the lunacy of the whole situation. And Austraila isn’t alone. While other countries experience price bumps that are a little easier to swallow, the modification of software price based on location seems insane. Hopefully it won’t be long before the whole situation gets straightened out. It hurts me deep in the soul that somewhere, an Australian bought StarCraft II for $70 on sale. No one should have to go through that.
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