Screwed: Australian PS4, Xbox One lack basic functionality



blog Are you one of those Australians who lined up at midnight to buy some of the first next-generation video game consoles to go on sale? Have you spent some time exploring your new PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? Then you would be aware that when it comes to Australian support for their new consoles, both Sony and Microsoft appear to have screwed Australians pretty badly. A lengthy investigation of both consoles published by IGN has found some pretty damning reports about just what the two consoles can do in Australia — and what they can’t. The site reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“As you can see, both consoles lack nearly all of the online video capabilities that are available elsewhere … We reached out to both Sony and Microsoft to ask them about the reasoning behind these decisions, as well as to find out when we can expect to see any of these services debut down under, but sadly our numerous emails weren’t answered. It’s a busy time, certainly, but the lack of a response suggests that the strategy for launching additional features and services hasn’t been nailed down yet.”

I can’t say this analysis should come as a surprise to anyone, given that Australian video game sites have been warning of this situation for some time. But it is disturbing. We’re talking about two of the world’s largest technology and entertainment companies here; companies which have had years to plan for this launch and both of which have large Australian user bases as well as an extensive local presence and relationships with partners. I’m sure both consoles’ functionality will gradually improve, but it is a little bit of a joke how little on both devices actually works in Australia, compared with the US. Your writer, who owns an Xbox 360 as well as a PlayStation 3 (but hasn’t bought either of the new consoles yet) can only describe the situation as disappointing. Video game consoles are about much more than video games in 2013 … or, at least they are in the US.

It’s also a bit of a shocker that neither Sony or Microsoft will comment on this issue to IGN. IGN isn’t precisely a small media outlet … along with Gamespot, it’s one of the top two — the equivalent of the Financial Review newspaper or the ABC’s 7:30 for the video gaming industry. If Sony and Microsoft aren’t commenting on this issue to IGN … you can bet they don’t want to talk about it at all, and aren’t discussing the issue with anyone. Great.

Image credit: Microsoft


  1. The xbox one is soooo much better when you set the region to USA it’s not even funny. Dead simple to do as well

    • Two questions. Why should you need to, and what happens if/when the funcionality comes online and you want to change your region back to Australia?

      In this day and age, to have such high profile features disabled at release is inexcusable. If there are technical reasons for it, why does it work in the US? If there are commercial/political reasons for it, why was it released?

      This only smells like a cash grab in the leadup to Christmas, and a hope that nobody will react. Disappointing from these companies.

      • Your right that we shouldn’t have to, what what choice do we have?

        All you need to do is go into setting and change region to USA(or wherever you want) and then the xbox will reset itself and your now in that region, changing back is just as easy. No need to do anything else

        • Does that affect region locked content? With previous generations of hardware if you buy an Australian version you’re locked out of US or UK content and services, and vice versa – quite annoying when US consoles have frequently been much cheaper than Australian bought versions.

          • The followup question now is ‘why is there region locking at all then?’…

            Its clear its happening, or this story wouldnt be reported, but if its so easy to get around, whats the point? It just screams amateur or condescending to the market.

          • The region lock (or Geo-locked) function is more so for the applications you can access. Even if you change your region you cannot access US content due to the region detector on the server. You’ll have to reroute your VPN to an American IP via your router or CPU in order to make these applications accessible.

  2. Not really surprising if you’ve ever kept up w/ consoles.

    Australia always gets shafted when it comes to features. Whats actually more disappointing is even basic catch-up tv like ABC iView, SBS on Demand and Yahoo7 aren’t even available at launch from either/both consoles.

    That being said…. calling IGN as the “Financial Review” for gaming may be stretching it a bit there Renai =P Seeing as a majority of articles on IGN can only be politely called “fluff” pieces and/or paid adverts. Maybe a Daily Telegraph would be more appropriate. =P

    • More accurate to say that it’s not surprising if you know anything about Australia and the way tech companies view us.

  3. And this is why I do not buy consoles, for every generation of consoles MS and SONY mess with their user base in some way, be it suing jailbreakers, removing functionality or the most hated trick, region locking.

    Also, there’s the simple fact that until very recently, game makers have been targeting consoles and then porting their games back to the PC afterwards, resulting in lower quality graphics and the often awkward “windows live” MS encrusted crap that they tack on for cheap online functionality.

    In short, I have no pity for consoles, the people that make them or the people that are suckered into buying them. By buying a console you’re saying that it’s ok to surrender control of your gaming experience to Microsoft or Sony, who have ideas about gaming that primarily center on monetization and milking things for everything they are worth. Caveat Emptor.

    A Member of the Valve Software Master Race.

    • Enjoy the waiting for downloading, patching and always online DRM my friend! :D Since you find its better to surrender your gaming experience to EA, Ubisoft, Valve and all the various other publishers out there!

      I’ll stick to my tried and tested plug and play via console! :D

      • Fine, enjoy your sub standard graphics and leave the real gaming to the real platform, no sleep lost here…

        • I see umm….

          Having an Xbox one and a PC and using steam I would say both have advantages and disadvantages.

          Ignoring one platform and just being a fanboi in general is silly.

          If you can only buy one then get the one that gives YOU the most bang for your buck what other people think is irrelevant.

          SO stop arguing on here and play a game!!!!!

  4. To be fair, IGN is in no way the video game equivelent to The Financial Review or the 7:30 Report… Try some other sweatshop style of editorial, like…

    As an avid video gamer, who followed Microsoft through this entire year of screw ups leading to their launch, I can tell you that they don’t really care too much about IGN or others like Kotaku. Only once did they give an exclusive interview to IGN this year, and that was after they reversed their used game restrictions for the XBOX One, something that they recognised as an issue after seeing the outcry on Reddit and Twitter. More than a dozen times this year I have seen IGN write “We have reached out to Microsoft but have received no comment”. It’s because they don’t respond to IGN and others directly, in fact they use their twitter personalities like Marc Whitten and Larry Hyrb to send messages to the public, which then make it’s way onto Reddit almost instantly. Then and only then will IGN and others will pick up the story.

    Everything else you’ve written is great and true Renai, I just wouldn’t hold IGN to the regard that you have.

    • It died with the advent of the internet. Free Trade and the concept of selling “licenses”

      • Damn you internet! *shakes fist*
        You can’t stop us from swapping our mega drive cartridges while it’s stil on!

  5. I realise there are a lot of gamers in Australia but really, this is as simple as do not buy. If people want to make a difference they need to resist the temptation to buy anything that has been locked down, or artificially limited. If enough people stop buying, even for one year, I think the big money corporations will stop and listen. The big corporations love money, and that is most evident in countries like Australia which is always being screwed over. Hit it where it hurts the most, do not buy.

    This comes down to people learning what we try to teach children, people need to learn how to use a bit of patience and restraint in order to get the special treat.

  6. My guess is this was due to the distributors, who have pre-existing monopolies on most of the content. That said, given that Sony has entire companies in that industry, you’d think they could have got it working (esp. given the advantage it would give them over Microsoft).

    • +1

      Gotta remember that the XBONE is from the same country that has a world series for baseball without inviting the world.

      I’m not really sure what the option was – targeted advertising for specific countries/regions depending on what online media options are available? Non-worldwide release? But then people would just complain about the grass still being greener

  7. Meantime I’m having a blast on my $7K self specced Scorptec built super pc, Titans and all, and my 30 inch HD screen, and my easy as peasy Steam game downloads… but then anyone with a shred of awareness knows pc is for real gaming, consoles are for kids pretending…

    • nice but not all ppl can afford a” $7K self specced Scorptec built super pc” hence the game console is so popular, i agree thier graphics and performance is below par to a PC but they are all the same (consoles that is) meaning that ppl like you with a “$7K self specced Scorptec built super pc” dont get a performance boost to cover thier lack of gaming nouse in online matches.


  8. To all the PC nuts:

    I have a high-spec gaming PC as well. But it won’t let me play any of the exclusive console games on it. And I’m sorry … but I do also want to play those games ;)

    • Exactly. Console exclusives are the only reason I purchase a console. I thank my PS3 every day for Heavy Rain, God of War, Uncharted and The Last of Us.

      However, if it’s across all platforms then the PC becomes the platform of choice.

      • Actually for me it would depend more on the type of game roughly it would divide up like this First person and RTS on PC Third person Console the only real exception to this is MMO games although with decent voice chat they could work I would like to try this.

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