Fractured Soul has been a passionate project years in the making for Endgame Studios, as they told us in our interview last year. It arrived in North America on 13th September 2012, and is due in this week's update in PAL regions now that the rating and approval processes are complete. We certainly felt that the wait had been worth it, especially for gamers who like a challenge, as we awarded 8/10 in our Fractured Soul review.
What's perhaps most interesting, however, is that the title is arriving in PAL territories at a cheaper price than the $11.99 cost in the U.S. It's confirmed that it'll be AUD $9.99 and €7.99 in Europe — we anticipate this to be £7.19 in the UK. This isn't a reaction to the delay bringing the game to these territories, but actually a stand against what the developer feels are particularly high prices for games in Australia. We'll let the team's own words explain further.
It’s no secret that Aussie gamers get ripped off. When purchasing a game here, we’re asked to pay anywhere from 50% to 100% more than our American friends. In days gone by, publishers/distributors/retailers claimed that it was the tyranny of distance and poor Aussie exchange rate that forced up the costs. Given how far we are from anywhere, and that the Aussie dollar used to be at about 60-70c against the US dollar, this was a vaguely believable argument 5 or 10 years ago.
But now we’re in the digital era. There are no goods to transport. And now the Aussie dollar is actually stronger than the US dollar. There’s no legitimate reason to charge higher prices in Australia and NZ, and yet these exorbitant prices continue. It’s nothing short of outrageous.
We released Fractured Soul for 3DS on the Nintendo eShop in North America for USD $11.99. It surprised us to hear gamers in Australia saying they guessed the game would come out for $15+ when released here, but I suppose I would have thought the same thing. As much as we’d love to charge these crazy prices from a financial point of view, it’s just not right. As gamers ourselves, can we expect the price gouging to stop if we’re part of the problem too?
It's a refreshing outlook on digital pricing on a Nintendo system, which seems to take an entirely reasonable stance on why download games shouldn't carry the same hidden overhead costs of boxed equivalents. While acknowledging that the impact will be small, the developer hopes that it's "proof to gamers here in Australia that high game prices are unnecessary and unacceptable."
It raises the old issue of prices for digital games on Nintendo systems, as well as the common complaint that gamers in Australia and New Zealand pay more than most to enjoy their hobby; we'd love to read your thoughts on this announcement and the broader topic below.