If there’s one thing that truly gets my goat as a gamer, is that the treatment of the Australian market is absolutely appauling. Ever since the creation of the PAL standard, and this countries subsequent lumping into it, we’ve been destined to the backwater of the western gaming economy. Not for any lack of trying though, I’ll tell you.
Australia is one of the most successful video game markets in the world. Over $9BILLION was spent on games and consoles last year, more per capita then any other country, including Japan. Yet, companies still treat us as an offshoot of Europe, purely because 15 years ago our TVs and their TVs displayed the same signals. Why is this? What’s the excuse now?
PAL and NTSC have been tossed away in the new age of digital television. Consoles output a digital resolution, not an analog signal. There is no longer any harden reason for Australians having to sit in the same market as the UK. As we are not part of Europe, we don’t need to wait for language conversion. We don’t need to get a PEGI rating. We don’t need to wade through the same regulations and other region based garbage.
In fact, games could be shipped directly from the US to Australia, and there would be no problems with this. But that doesn’t seem to cover the problem in any case, since developers still refused to consider this countries substantial contribution to the industry as worth an effort. That said, things have changed quite significantly in the past few years and the plane is starting to shift.
Sony has only just recently started to bump up its local presence from a room of admin workers to an actual region based centre. Microsoft, to its credit, provides and has for a while, significant support locally, as does Nintendo, and titles are gradually starting to get “Australian” release dates instead of “PAL” ones.
But then you have issues like Rock Band, where it wasn’t released here for over a YEAR after it was in the US. RPG titles get a similar bashing, as the demand is completely underestimated and too few copies release, if they do at all. Tales Of Vesperia released last year in the US but has not gotten anything then a faint possibly of a release “sometime” this year. Unacceptable.
The focus now is on companies to get consistant. We need release dates that are close, if not at the same time, as American ones. The cross-territory release excuses BS has gone, and the onus is now on developers to start treating this market seriously.