Opinion: Kiwis are paying a third more for video games and that's not OK anymore

New Zealand is getting ripped off when it goes to video games, with Kiwis paying almost a third more for the same digital content.

For example - Sea of Thieves from publishers Rare (owned by Microsoft) is out today worldwide, but there's a considerable disparity in price depending on where you buy it, and New Zealand is at the bottom of the heap.

Sea of Thieves is a highly-anticipated open world game where you take control of a plundering buccaneer while teaming up with your friends to sail the seven seas.

A price comparison of Sea of Thieves from international Microsoft online stores
A price comparison of Sea of Thieves from international Microsoft online stores. Source: Microsoft/Screenshot/1 NEWS graphic

It looks like a lot of fun - but at a price of NZ$109.90 from the New Zealand Microsoft online store, it is 32 per cent more expensive than the very same digital content from the US store, at US$59.99 (NZ$82.82).

Prices at the UK and Australian versions of the site are also lower than New Zealand's, at GB£49.99 (NZ$96.96) and AU$99.95 (NZ$106.32).

Why? The simple answer is: Because they can.

The pricing might have been OK and acceptable ten or 20 years ago - New Zealand is far from many other countries and of course there were distribution costs - but in the age of broadband and undersea cables, how is this still the norm?

Things have changed, New Zealand is just as connected as the rest of the world to digital content and there is no longer any legitimate reason we should pay more for it than other countries.

It's worth mentioning that Microsoft's annual profit is astronomical - they had net income of US$21.20 billion last year. Just saying.

So my message for you, Microsoft, is that we're not in Antarctica.

We have the internet here and we can see what you're doing - isn't it time to stop and give the loyal Kiwi gaming market a fair go?

I reached out to the Sea of Thieves and Microsoft accounts on Twitter, but they were, predictably, quiet.

Luke Appleby is on Twitter - @lukeappleby

A Sea of Thieves promotional image.
A Sea of Thieves promotional image. Source: Rare