According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian parliament has decided that an enquiry is necessary to investigate the "imbalance in pricing" for online content and services in the country compared to other global territories.
The enquiry has been signed off by Stephen Conroy, the minister for communications. The primary focus of the enquiry will be the price of content from online game, music, film and entertainment services. Among those being targeted are Apple, Microsoft and other unnamed companies, who will be asked to explain their pricing strategies as they pertain to Australia. The enquiry will happen later this year.
"There is evidence to suggest that the innovative use of technology is not always matched with innovative new business models in the case of products and services distributed online," Conroy wrote in a letter to fellow MP Ed Husic.
"I agree that Australian businesses and households should have access to IT software and hardware that is fairly priced relative to other jurisdictions ... the global digital economy is likely to make it increasingly difficult to sustain business models that are based on a geographic carve-up of markets."
Husic will be on the House of Representatives standing committee due to lead the enquiry. He has been vocal about this issue in the past.
Recently he told the Herald: "People here scratch their heads trying to work out why they get fleeced on software downloads. Small to medium-sized businesses might pay over $10,000 more on software compared to overseas counterparts."
And on a related note, the Herald Sun offers an amusing report on the soon-to-be-released Sniper Elite V2, in which anti-game crusader Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby calls it "sick" and says that it should have been banned from Australia. The game allows players to take out high profile targets using long range weapons during World War II. Additional downloadable content will even allow players to kill Hitler.
"It’s sick … we should be doing everything we can to ensure that the level of explicit violence isn’t allowed to increase at a time when games are becoming more sophisticated, interactive and real," Wallace told the publication.
Of course, the game will be published later this week in Australia and other regions of the world despite objections from people like Wallace...