A couple of bits of bad news for Australian's looking forward to The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings today, as we've learned that not only has the game been slightly altered to pass under the MA15+ classification bar for Australian sale, but online retailer GOG.com has also had to adjust it's pricing to align closer to Australian brick-and-mortar distribution.
It's not all bad as it sounds however, as according to CD Project lead Adam Badowski, the "two small content changes" are trivial and "unlikely to significantly affect the overall play experience"
From the time we started developing The Witcher 2, our goal was to create a single international version. So, we are happy the game will be available almost everywhere exactly as we envisioned it. At the same time, we are disappointed that because Australia’s rating system for computer games does not go above MA 15+, we had to make two small content changes in order for our game to be distributed there at all. I would like to assure our Australian customers that we aware of the situation in their market, and will do everything we can to support them
According to fellow Australian game blog Gamepron
, Australian distributor Namco Bandai Partners also had this to say:
In the original version your character Geralt was given the choice of accepting sex ‘as a reward’ for successfully completing this particular side quest. The Australian Classification Board originally refused classification as they deemed the inclusion of ‘sex as a reward’ as not suitable for an MA15+ classification.
The change is only minor, in that the character choice is now made automatically for him. The character and the side quest are still in the game but presented in a slightly different context. No other changes have been made and this change has no impact on gameplay, storyline or character development.
As for the GOG.com pricing adjustment, that's not all bad news either. A press release
explains that they were regrettably required to adjust their pricing for Australian customers due to their licensing agreement and that the price will now be $69,99 AUD, where it had previously been $44.99 USD ($42.30 AUD at today's exchange rate).
However being European (and subject to similar game pricing disparities as us) they clearly sympathise with our plight and so their "Fair Price Package" offer extends to all Australian customers.
GOG.com will still offer their ‘Fair Price Package’, like they do for customers paying in Euros, to match the price in USD. This means all Australian gamers who buy The Witcher 2 at GOG.com will get $26 USD store credit to spend on Good Old Games’ 300+ games catalog.
All preorders by Australian gamers that are made before Friday, May 6 at 3:00 p.m. GMT, will be charged at the original price of $44,99 USD, and will receive the Australian version.
3pm May 6 GMT is 1am tomorrow morning (Saturday May 7th 2011) in AEST (Sydney time), so any Australian's still wanting to nab this one at the original US dollar price have until the end of today to jump on that
. The price for Australian customers on Steam has already been adjusted
No specific mention was made of whether the GOG.com Australian version will be DRM (copy protection) free, however as GOG have a DRM-free policy, it's safe to assume that would be the case. Nevertheless, we've contacted them for clarification on that one.
Update: GOG let us know that the Australian-specific version will still be -- like the rest of their catalogue -- free of any DRM. They also made a point of reminding us how quickly the community release modifications to remove the censorship from the original Witcher.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is due worldwide on May 17 2011, exclusively for PC.
Posted 10:17am 06/5/11
Posted 11:07am 06/5/11
Posted 11:12am 06/5/11
dont tell me im going to have to import it now ffs
Posted 11:21am 06/5/11
Posted 11:31am 06/5/11
Posted 11:56am 06/5/11
Posted 12:11pm 06/5/11
It's clearly the publisher and not the developer responsible in this case. Don't punish the developer because of it.
GOG is a sister company of the Polish developer CD Projekt Red, it seems pretty obvious that they've only found out about this recently and have reluctantly had to fall in line to preserve their licensing agreement for worldwide retail distribution.
And as I pointed out in the OP. If you want the original good price, you still have until midnight tonight to pre-order at that from GOG (whereas Steam have already re-adjusted their price without any notice).
What it comes down to again, is just the brick-and-mortar distributor (in this case Atari and Namco Bandai Partners) setting a price that the market is willing to pay for a game in Australia. You can hardly blame a business for doing that.
If we want things to change, all we can do is encourage avenues that circumvent this pricing. More people need to start importing games, or just waiting a few months after release for sales etc. Boycotting any one publisher isn't going to do s***, because they all do it, almost without exception.
Obviously Valve just had a better distribution deal with EA than CD Projeckt do with Atari, because Valve was able to set the Portal 2 Steam price the same across all regions.
Posted 12:07pm 06/5/11
Posted 12:42pm 06/5/11
I'm looking at steam right now and there release date is 18th May
Posted 12:53pm 06/5/11
Sounds like GOG managed to find a loophole in their agreement. Great for the customer, I can't imagine the global retailers would be too happy.
Just shows how ridiculous these agreements are and the sooner bricks & mortar game stores die off the better.
Posted 12:53pm 06/5/11
You can bet your arse it will be similarly AU-taxed, so you'll need to VPN it I guess.
This is decent but still s***. AU tax is one of the few things that makes me rage. Someone is milking us and abusing the exchange rate that is hurting us in other areas. Motherf*****s.
There needs to be some investigative journalism done to find out what distributor / company is enforcing these agreements and most importantly, where all the extra cash is going. Its always "someone else"; f*** that s***, whoever it is needs to stand up and explain themselves.
Posted 12:58pm 06/5/11
I had a version of the original that was censored, it had boobies censored. I proceeded to obtain the uncensored version by other methods.
Posted 01:01pm 06/5/11
Posted 01:01pm 06/5/11
It's not like there's any one single personal responsible, they're simply charging what the market will pay for a game. Until we send them a clear message that we're just not going to pay that any more, they'd be silly to stop it. Until then, the only other reason they would have to stop it is as a PR move to try and earn good will away from their competitors, but I don't see that happening.
Or of course, if the government legislated some kind of consumer protection preventing regional price disparity, but I sure don't see that happening either.
Posted 01:37pm 06/5/11
Well that's what I meant by getting it from the US store. The only way to buy from Steam stores from other regions is through a VPN (as far as I know).
Posted 01:45pm 06/5/11
Posted 01:57pm 06/5/11
Fair go Dan, combined governments are having a tough enough time figuring out whether we should be able to put a little [R18+] sticker on game boxes, let alone dealing with economic complexities.
Posted 03:06pm 06/5/11
Posted 03:24pm 06/5/11
And I can't wait for it!
Posted 09:20pm 06/5/11
Posted 10:24pm 06/5/11
So basically, unless you really like cardboard boxes or you want every single PC game you own attached to your Steam account, GOG should still be any Aussies first port of call if they want to purchase this one. Support DRM-free game sales and don't punish the developer because of our silly classification laws.
Posted 03:32pm 08/5/11
Posted 03:35pm 08/5/11
As the game is allowed to be sold here you can bring it in. I do it all the time. Haven't bought a game here in Oz in a long time.
Posted 04:28pm 08/5/11
Posted 06:10pm 16/5/11
Posted 06:28pm 16/5/11
"here u scumc**** go, have a s*** version of the game for $30 more. muahahhahaha"
Posted 06:33pm 16/5/11
You don't even need to use a VPN, in your user settings you can just change your country to the USA or UK.
Posted 06:39pm 16/5/11
I did this, changed my location to UK and bought it for $44.99US or something. They don't ask for your location after that or anything else when you enter your credit card details in.
Posted 09:45pm 16/5/11
Looking forward to this game :D
Posted 02:40pm 24/5/11
no need for VPN. Just change your account region at gog.com to US or UK, and purchase the proper edition at the proper price.
Looking forward to this game :D
+ 1 now waiting 9GB to DL....enjoy
Posted 02:53pm 24/5/11
I can get it in from the UK for around $50 delivered.
Posted 03:09pm 24/5/11
i could half understand that if a retail store brought a product before our dollar got strong (or the US dollar tanked, which everway it went) it wouldn't want to drop it's prices on that product,
however there should be no way that you should be able to call, say wal-mart, buy something from a retail store, and pay the costs of shipping, pay any taxes and land it on your door cheaper than walking into a brick and mortar store (baring specials from wal-mart)
the big stores here are sure as s*** getting the product at better than before whole price (as in our dollar goes alot further now)
gerry harvey b****ed about people shopping online, but i'm pretty sure the price difference (as a percentage) is far greater in the games arena than ever before,
pretty s*** that we are asked to support an industry by doing the right thing, and buying a game, but have the same industry fail to support us because the gold rush is on