Surprise! Microsoft hikes Xbox One Aussie price



blog From the department of completely expected price hikes comes the news that Microsoft has opted to charge Australians substantially more to buy its upcoming Xbox One gaming console when it launches in November this year. In the US, Microsoft announced overnight, the console’s first introductory package (which contains the console itself — including the Kinect sensor — a wireless controller and a two week trial of Xbox Live Gold for new members) will go for US$499.99. However, Australians will pay AU$599 for the same unit, Kotaku reports this morning:

“We Have An Australian Price For The Xbox One. And that price is … $599 Australian. That’s the RRP according to a representative from Microsoft Australia.”

I can’t say that I’m at all surprised by this annoying move by Microsoft, just as I wasn’t surprised by the news that Microsoft has not yet been able to get the full TV functionality of the Xbox across the line for Australia. So, in short, if you take those two announcements together, what you get is the fact that Australians will be paying substantially more than US residents for an Xbox One console that will offer substantially less features than US residents will be able to offer. Quelle surprise. Seriously, Microsoft. How much more attractive can you make this console?

Oh, wait. That’s right: Microsoft has also set very stringent limits on the use of second-hand games with the Xbox One, requires that the console check-in online every 24 hours (even if you’re playing completely offline), and also requires that its Kinect sensor be on all the time, dovetailing nicely with the NSA’s back-door into its US-based servers. Nice one. Frankly, I don’t think the company has created much incentive for Australians to purchase this console yet. It’s almost as though Microsoft believes we’ll buy pretty much anything it labels an “Xbox”, even if it breaks decades of gaming convention. The sad thing is, many people will. But I get the distinct feeling there’s a lot of us thinking PlayStation at this point. I know I certainly am.

Image credit: Microsoft


  1. Guys, c’mon, think this through. $499US even at parity + 10% GST => $550. Considering the $499 US price is EXCLUDING their local tax, the US price is closer to $550 anyway. So the MS ‘markup’ is $50, which I think isn’t exorbitant. So…I think it’s a little excessive to be angry about this. It’s nothing like their markup on Visual Studio and the like…

    • Less than $50 difference, considering we’re below parity and are likely to stay there for a while. Pretty sure that’s still loss-leading, considering the local prices they’ll be paying for PR.

      • That marketing cost argument is bogus, always has been. Unless you’re going to say marketing is free in the US.

        • I didn’t say it was free in the US, just that it’s more expensive here, and local support staff here are also more expensive. That’s all irrelevant, tho’. Compared to the average/median wage in the US vs AU, $50 more expensive is still cheaper here.

    • So it’s only a small price hike? So what? Why should we be content with that? Why can’t Microsoft achieve price ubiquity across countries such as the US and Australia? It’s not like we’re very far from the manufacturing geographies or have an immature retail sector.

      • I agree that any price disparity is sub-optimal, but considering how we continue to be subjected to abuse across many platforms, including game prices, I think the actual console price is remarkably fair.

        Note: The XBox One is a no-buy for me atm. That connect-once-a-day requirement basically means that, for no legitimate reason, people can’t play any games on their XBox if they have any kind of internet outage or are moving. Minor inconvenience perhaps, but an unnecessary inconvenience with absolutely zero customer benefit = too much.

      • This isn’t a downloadable software title, where we’re paying more to download from the same server as someone in another country.

        Is there anything to show that the small extra costs are unwarranted in this case, in getting a physical console shipped here?

          • I get paid double what I would if I worked in the same industry in the same rough capacity in the US (outside of certain high cost-of-living big cities; in those, I’d still be earning more, just not double).

          • I get paid double what I would if I worked in the same industry in the same rough capacity in the US (outside of certain high cost-of-living big cities; in those, I’d still be earning more, just not double).

            How’s that comparison of cost of living that you’re working on?

            Horses for courses.

  2. Didn’t know Renai could get worked up over consoles this much =P

    Either way… the always online requirements has pretty much put this on a “no sale” box for me. Anything that needs an “always online” component to function for anything other than always online game is just a disaster waiting to happen…

    …but perhaps SimCity, D3 and UPlay were all just freak accidents right? And it would *never* happen to XBone… never ever ever… right? xD

    • Actually if you pay attention to the policies they have set you’ll understand that the phone home requirement is only for downloaded games. If you buy retail boxed copies with a physical disk you will not be faced with this requirement.

      Further, a check in every 24 hours isn’t as server hardware intensive as “always-on” meaning I doubt that the issues that happened with SimCity, D3, etc will be as… widespread on the Xbox One.

      What’s harder, connecting at least once every eighty six thousand four hundred seconds to issue a validation challenge response, or managing a constant data connection around twenty kilobits/second constantly?

      • Ooh, I didn’t realise that restriction was for disk games. That does make it slightly better… Still, I expect most of my future games to be digital. Currently hoarding unplayed xbox 360 games. >_>

        • I suspect you’re correct, no reason for Console gaming not to go the “Way of Steam” as the primary way of distribution.

          It’s worth noting that Steam’s Offline mode has a longer timelimit than a day through, so maybe Microsoft will end up compromising on the “phone home” duration if put under pressure. Sources I’ve read indicate around 2 weeks, through I’m not sure.

          I mean, hypothetrically if one moves house you can’t reasonably be expected to have Internet in the new premise for at least a week, so maybe 2 weeks would be a reasonable compremise?

          • I think if it was a monthly check that’d be fine. Note: obviously if you are trying to auth on a different console or for a new game or for anything that could reasonably require a phone-home requirement, then that’s an acceptable cost. But if you’ve auth’d your purchased game, they NEVER need to reauthenticate that. The only time you could ‘haxor’ your rights is when you tried to play that game on a different console, which would require a new authentication. Seems obvious to me.

            Now granted, this high-frequency phone home requirement might thwart pirates, but seriously, who cares about hacked consoles and pirated games… Does anyone seriously bother on consoles these days?

          • It wont thwart pirates.

            As soon as they hack the always on requirement; pirates (which can only exist after they hack the requirement) will never be bothered by it again.

            I will add the caveat that it will take a long while before any useful hacks are found.

            The thing about pirates; is once they start pirating (ie once the hack is found), all of this doesn’t annoy them. All of this becomes a much better experience for them. The pirates get the better gaming experience

          • They do need to recheck each day for DRM, as you can play offline on one console up to 24hrs, even after you move to a 2nd console and login to your original account. Making 2 in-use copies of the game (CD+offline, No-CD+online).
            Would halve sales of single-player games.

  3. Considering the direction of the AU$ at the moment, you aren’t losing much.
    Pricing wise, current exchange rate of $0.94 US, and the 10% GST we slap on too, would make it AU$583.

    When the AU$ drops below $0.9163 US, then we’ll be getting it cheaper then the US. :)
    It’s then you have to watch Microsoft adjust their price point.

    • Not that I need or want to buy the Xbox one. I don’t even have the 360. Complete waste of money and time for me, considering I have a PS3 and a good gaming PC already.

    • You’re right on paper, but US states have different taxation rates etc — AFAIK it’s not a uniform 10 percent tax as it is in Australia. As currently advertised, there’s a small to moderate difference in the pricing — enough to comment on.

      It’s also worth noting that much of the Australian advantage may be due to our recent currency fluctuation. I note that in Europe, Microsoft is charging 499 euros for the Xbox One, which rounds out at about $663 USD. It’s perhaps the case that Microsoft was expecting the recent around parity value of the Australian dollar to continue, which would have resulted in us paying about AU$100 more (not counting US tax) for the console. That’s what we usually see with Microsoft. The recent currently changes has brought the price closer, but I suspect, as others have written above, that we’ll see a price correction eventually if the price gets a fair bit closer.

      Microsoft’s still taking the cream on top here — ideally around 20 percent — as it usually does in most of its products sold in Australia. Given Microsoft’s massive local partner presence, it’s hard to see how this is justified.

  4. With current conversion rates, + GST, it would work out to be $580 AUD – $20 difference isn’t what I’d call a “hike”. I think it’s pretty good considering the aussie dollar is likely to head further south.

    • At this point I think it’s clear Renai is determined to hate on the XBox no matter what. :)

      • *shrugs*

        Crazy second hand game DRM, always on connection with compulsory Kinect watching, and the games demonstrated so far haven’t been great. Very little AU TV support …

        What’s not to hate?

        I will buy the Xbox One for the same reason I’ve always bought any console — if it has games I want. I bought the Xbox 360 for titles like Gears of War and Halo, and stayed with it for multi-platform releases like Dark Souls and Batman, as well as the excellent Xbox Live Arcade library.

        But I also bought a PlayStation 3 about six months ago, and I have to say, it’s better than the Xbox 360 in so many ways it’s not funny. So much more exclusive titles, so much less marketing lock-in crap. Ultimately I will probably eventually buy both platforms, as I think Microsoft will get its shit together in the long-run, but like many gamers right now, I am much more interested in the PS4 than I am interested in the Xbox One.

        • Crazy second hand game DRM, always on connection with compulsory Kinect watching, and the games demonstrated so far haven’t been great.

          I hear what you’re saying but I think the case has been massively overstated by a handful of hardcore gamers/tech nerds who are unrepresentative of the broader market. Remember the faux controversy over Microsoft integrating DRM into Windows with Vista? And remember how it turned out to not really be a thing at all? (Yes Vista had its share of problems but DRM wasn’t one of them). If I were a betting man I’d wager this whole always-on beat-up will play out the same way.

          Not that I’m trying to talk anyone out of buying a PS4. It looks like a good console. If you prefer it over the xbone, go ahead and buy it. :)

          • The “DRM” on the XBone doesn’t impact me at all (and I prefer it if it allows you to play disc-less). However PS4 undercutting on price just knocked the XBone out of the park.

  5. Does the XBone release remind anyone else of Sony’s original PS3 release…..

    It was touted as the centre of the entertainment universe etc.

    I’m just not seeing it. You look at most people’s setups. Tv/Stereo etc. Rarely is there a single box running it all. Oh sure you might have a central control box, but it is just controlling. All the functions are generally separate.

    Well in my experience anyway.. maybe I am out of touch???

    • That certainly is today’s experience, but Microsoft is aiming to change all that. Whether or not they succeed is another matter entirely; many have tried and so far all have failed.

  6. Hmm, at that price I wont be rushing out on day 1 to buy it! I’ll wait till i know it can do the clever things with my australian spec TiVo etc.

  7. Considering the RRP on the previous 360 and PS3 consoles on release I find the price reasonable and have pre-ordered. Let’s not forget the AU dollar is in a downward spiral.

  8. Don’t know why anybody buys these boxes, they are a waste of money.
    A reasonably high end gaming PC can be built for around $1000, that leaves the low end graphics of these boxes in the dust.
    You can also use the PC for everything else, and the dumbass controllers aren’t needed.
    Mental illness is the only excuse for buying junkboxes.

  9. Just in case nobody noticed.. the price increase for the PS4 in Australia was more than the Xbone.

    • Yeah, but the PS4 won’t be reporting your use and everything else back to the NSA on a regular basis.

  10. MS just fell back into line with Sony on DRM and phone home stuff so I’ve pre-ordered myself an XBox One. :-)

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