Most financial theories are based on the assumption that the market has all the relevant information before them when it makes a decision. That, however, does not seem to apply in real life, as most people don’t know as much about the market as they should when they go about consuming. Case in point: video games’ sales in Australia.
As it happens we are currently interested in buying a PS3 games called Little Big Planet. It’s a nice innocent game with some very interesting features: the game includes tools allowing players to design their own game worlds; these can be posted on the internet, which allows anyone interested to play them. Effectively, with all the user created content out there, what you end up having is a platform for never ending gaming.
Little Big Planet’s biggest treat, though, is that partner Jo really likes it. Together with its multi player facilities, Little Big Planet could be a hit at our casa. Even baby Dylan likes watching and listening to its cartoon like action!
So off I went to try and buy a copy. You can get it at Aussie shops for as low as $90 but nothing less (for example, EB Games sells it for $110 until you tell them you’ve seen it at JB Hi Fi for $90).
Things improve on eBay. It’s still sold there for around the $90 mark, but if you’re patient enough to wait for the occasional lucky auction you can get it for around $70 (postage included).
The real trick that most people are not aware of is to expand the eBay search to include international sellers. The Sony PS3 console does not have any regional coding issues to worry about, so you can source your games from anywhere on the globe; the only thing you need to concern yourself with is the language, as you can get French/German/Spanish/Japanese (and probably Chinese, too) versions for most games. More importantly, by shopping internationally I was able to circumvent the high tariffs artificially imposed on Aussie video game resellers by the gaming companies.
Once expanding the search this way I was able to easily buy myself a brand new copy of Little Big Planet from the UK for $53.55, postage included. Sure, it could take close to a fortnight for the game to arrive, but it will take a week to arrive from an Aussie seller; the difference in price is worthwhile, as it allows me to buy almost two games for the price of one.
All it takes is awareness: awareness to the state of the market in Australia, awareness to the currently low status of the British Pound, and awareness to the ability to shop internationally with the same ease it takes to shop at your own neighborhood.