Remote Auction House Goes Live (And Rips Off Europe In The Process)

In Japan, the RAH is being charge at 5 billion Yen per month

In Japan, the RAH is being charge at 5 billion Yen per month

How much is a dollar worth? Well if you’re Blizzard about 25% more than the foreign exchange market deems it to be worth. Yep, the Remote Auction House which costs $3 per month in the US is being charged at £2.5 and €3 in Britain and the rest of the Europe respectively, a not insignificant 25% increase over the correct £2 and €2.5 when calculated at the average, stable conversion rate.

I know, you’re probably thinking a price hike from £2.5 to £3 is a petty thing to be squabbling about (and you’re right, it is) but over a course of a year it adds up to the more hefty amount of £6, the equivalent of $9. Or, if we’re using Blizzard’s conversion rate, $11. It’s a good thing they don’t operate a bureau de change.

I’d almost buy into the argument that operating costs and bandwidth are more expensive in Europe if it wasn’t for the fact that Blizzard already pulled this stunt with their in-game pets and the sparkly pony, neither of which require any additional operating overheads. For instance, the Pandaren Monk pet costs 30% more in Europe than it does in the States, even more than our single monthly subscription. It’s ludicrous.

As a European I’m used to price discrepancies, delays and poor service (*cough* GOA *cough*) when it comes to my MMOs and most of the time I take it on the chin and maintain a stiff upper lip throughout it all. Occasionally though my steely British resolve breaks and I get jolly well ticked off until I can’t contain my anger longer. Bad Blizzard, bad, very, very bad!

Ahem.

-Gordon

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14 Comments

  1. A Few Points:

    1) The basic subscription is cheaper in the UK than the US, £8.99 (~$13) vs $14.99, after VAT.

    2) Most EU states probably charge VAT on the subscriptions, AH and otherwise, of at least 17.5%. In the UK the £8.99 is inclusive of VAT, as it is in the £2.50 for the AH. Apply this 17.5% to the current exchange rate and the cost of a $2.99 sub should be £2.42, so the difference is ~10 pence, <4% when the exchange rate is oscillating that much in a 5 days period.

    3) The price markup of hardware is much, much, much greater than this. I shudder at the cost for Apple hardware for instance.

    So yeah, you're kinda making a mountain out of a molehill here ;) .

  2. Ralex says:

    And with the way exchange rates have been moving recently, today’s equivalence is tomorrow’s imbalance one way or the other.

  3. Carson says:

    Look, the Americans have screwed up their own economy, of course they want to get their hands on your hard currency. :-)

  4. amcl says:

    I take it that you’ve subscribed =^)

  5. Stabs says:

    I think Suicidal Zebra is right, this is a minor trial in the history of Americans overcharging us for video games. Also the capitalist in me would argue that the market decides if a price point is correct and if this isn’t correct for our economy they won’t sell. Since we know damn well it will sell like hotcakes and would if it were triple the American cost then 70p is a small amount to quibble over.

    Still I can’t help but think how nice it would be if we had an indigenous games industry. After all we’ve certainly produced some great designers: Richard Bartle and Richard Garriott for instance. And the industry did get a tax break last budget. Will we one day see a British MMO? Hopefully one that overcharges Americans.

  6. boatorious says:

    Ha! The US is thinking about changing tax laws so that US corporate activities overseas are taxed twice — once locally and once by the US. Enjoy your “low” game pricing while you can.

  7. kaozz says:

    Paying extra for this when you already have an active account is really a rip off imo.

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