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Major Nelson Says Microsoft Are Trying to Mitigate ‘Australia Tax’; Admits It’s ‘Brutal’

Xbox One Australia

Microsoft are attempting to ‘mitigate’ the premium Australian consumers pay for video games by adding value in other ways, according to Xbox Live chief Major Nelson.

Opening up PAX Australia 2016 with a keynote and question-and-answer session, Nelson – real name Larry Hryb – was asked by an audience member why Australian gamers are being charged significantly more than their North American counterparts for games – not only in stores, but digitally, as well.

Hryb responded by admitting that this ‘Australia tax’ is “brutal”, adding:

“This is a very complicated area; I am in no way an expert on the laws and governances in all of the different countries. But what we’re trying to do is find ways that we can make [Xbox] as affordable as possible for as many people as possible.

“Certainly there are cost savings with digital, from an operator’s standpoint, and we’re also trying to add value in other ways. You’ve seen this in our last couple of first-party releases where you get to play Gears of War 4 ten days before it comes out; things like that.

“So we’re trying to find the right ways to add value; we’re trying to figure out how to mitigate the issue until we can solve that larger, long-term problem of why are games so goddamn expensive in Australia.”

Power Up Gaming is live in attendance at PAX Australia 2016, and we will continue to bring you coverage throughout the event.

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  • Rafoca

    You should see the prices here in Brazil… =/

  • Dennis

    Though I don’t think there’s any possible way to have it be great, maybe this would be the point to ‘stream’ games…unsure…there has to be some loop hole or something to give the bird to the Aussie Gov’t on the massive taxes…

  • JPH

    “long-term problem of why are games so goddamn expensive in Australia”
    Games are expensive because that’s what you set the price at.

    It’s quite simple – there are no extra costs besides GST, and that’s 10%.

    Distribution costs are insignificant, especially with so many systems using bittorrent for distribution.

    It’s pure profit, and traditional in that Aussies ‘earn’ more $$$ so we pay more for everything.

  • Mugiwaras

    Games are mostly around $80.00 AUD now at places like like JB Hi-Fi, it’s only digital games that are expensive now.

    One thing a lot of people seem to forget is this:

    Australian minimum wage = $17.70 AUD

    US minimum wage = $7.25 USD

    Hours an Australian working for minimum wage has to work to afford a $80.00 AUD game = 4.5 hours

    Hours an American working for minimum wage has to work to afford a $60.00 USD game = 8.2 hours

    • Mac

      Then you seem to forget every single household item, bills, food, petrol, rent, etc. costs far more.

      • Mike

        How is that relevant to the price per hours worked? Microsoft can’t make food and rent cheaper.

        • Tim Shandler

          wow mike, congrats on completely ignoring how economics work. it’s about the spending money you have after living expenses. how much you make an hour is irrelevant if you’re paying twice as much just to live.

    • failhammer

      https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=Australia&country2=United+States

      Indices Difference
      Consumer Prices in United States are 9.18% lower than in Australia
      Consumer Prices Including Rent in United States are 8.71% lower than in Australia
      Rent Prices in United States are 7.77% lower than in Australia
      Restaurant Prices in United States are 13.55% lower than in Australia
      Groceries Prices in United States are 3.99% lower than in Australia
      Local Purchasing Power in United States is 9.21% higher than in Australia

    • DEVILTAZ35 .

      $69 seems to be an average price for most new releases now in australian retail if you shop around.

  • Kyle

    Microsoft is a singular company. Even though may people work there, it is still “Microsoft Is Trying to Mitigate…”

    • Chris Mawson

      Treating a collective noun as either a plural or singular is acceptable in British English. Thanks.

  • It should be about the games

    There’s no justification in charging more for games that are bought digitally. Why am I being asked to pay £50 for an invisible download and £35 for a physical copy I can actually see and hold? The only conclusion I can come to is pure greed by all involved. £50 is a lot for a game in any form but for one that doesn’t even really exist is way too much.

  • Nathan Hand

    It’s not a “complicated area” at all. Games publishers charge what the market will pay. That’s basic economics. Australian haven’t stopped buying games even with stupidly inflated prices, so publishers keep charging a premium price.

    The only solution is a consumer revolt. Don’t buy from Australian distributors. Let them know $140 for a console game is ridiculous.