Battlefield 3 Premium pricing; Diablo 3 auction houseGERARD CAMPBELL
Update 3:40pm: EA has got back to me about the pricing issues.
Here's what it had to say:
"We've been happy to hear the enthusiastic Australian and New Zealand Battlefield fan response to the game changing content and services offered in Battlefield 3 Premium, and equally appreciate their constructive feedback on launch pricing in the region.
"After further consideration we will be changing our pricing strategy to bring the Battlefield 3 Premium service for PlayStation3 into closer alignment with local market pricing.
"Starting today, PlayStation 3 fans in Australia will be able to purchase Battlefield 3 Premium for $64.95 and in New Zealand for $79.95.
"For Australian and New Zealand fans who purchased Battlefield 3 Premium at our initial launch pricing: PlayStation will be refunding the difference. Stay tuned for more details."
Gamers in New Zealand and Australia have long complained about the pricing of games compared to rest of the world but is EA's pricing of its Battlefield 3 Premium service the latest case of console gamers in the Australasian region paying too much for their game content?
Game Junkie reader Aaron Fowler emailed last week about the pricing discrepancies for EA's Battlefield E3 Premium service, especially on the PlayStation 3.
Aaron writes that the Battlefield 3 Premium service is "essentially US$50 on Origin, but the same content is NZ$100 on PlayStation 3.But here's the real kicker: There is no option to buy the premium package without the first expansion of Back to Karkand - that most of the likely purchasers will already have. So we are basically being forced to pay for it twice and too much too."
Wanting to get an idea of the pricing and given that Aaron emailed last week (a lot can happen in a week), I checked EA's New Zealand/Australia site to get details about the various pricings. For NZ$59.95 (Origin), New Zealand PC owners can get "all five expansion packs with early access, exclusive in-game items, powerful new features, exclusive online double XP events and insider tactics from DICE". It seems the only way you can access the PSN and Xbox prices is through the respective services.
Reader G00seman77 tells me that as of last night Battlefield 3 Premium is still listed on the PlayStation Network as $89. Xbox 360 users will have to pay 4000 Microsoft Points, which at my quick calculation based on pricings I could find for MS Points online today, equates to close to $70 real money. G00seman77 added that EA Global were apparently "reviewing" the pricing.
While the prices seem to have been adjusted a little since Aaron's email, I've contacted EA's PR in Australia about the situation but hadn't heard back by the time this was posted.
I'd be interested to hear from Battlefield 3 players on what they think about the pricing of the Premium content, PS3 owners especially: are you happy with it or are you raging about it? (Non-console owning readers, please don't turn into a "Dumb console gamers/They should have bought it on PC/Consoles sux" thread.)
Also, one of my Auckland friends, Aylon133, tells me this morning that he's heard that the real-money auction house of Diablo 3 is already causing issues in the in-game economy. I haven't played D3 since Monday. Anyone have thoughts on that also?
Stuff you might also find interesting: Game Junkie is on Twitter and you can email him here. He'll even answer your emails, not get some smart robot to do it. He also has another gaming blog here. It's updated at least once a week.
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