Just how much is EA ripping people off?

2 min read


There is no doubt, people love to hate EA. They have one of the worst images of all the gaming companies around, even though they’re trying to change that. Yet, with news like this coming out, it’s still a long time until anyone will trust them.

It starts, as many things do, on twitter:

This is a difference of $42 just for being on the "wrong" side of the Atlantic Ocean. No wonder our consoles and games are so much more expensive if we’re paying prices similar to that of the UK. In this particular instance, EA can’t even claim VAT, shipping or other taxes – this is via digital distribution.

Over on the official EA site, I found the game to be listed for a slightly more reasonable £54.99, which works out to $89. That’s still a difference of $30. On our local PSN, it’s R799 for the current gen version. Or you could order the game from Takealot and pay R689. These are some serious price differences between retail and digital, as well as where you choose to get your digital purchase.

Read  The Critical Hit Games of the Year: Our best games of 2017

Why is EA doing this? Is it just an arbitrary price level to adjust for exchange rates that they need to re-evaluate, or are they just so used to ripping people off that they thought no one would notice. It’s all well and good to come up with excuses when retail prices differ, but those some reasons ring hollow when applied to digital distribution, and even more so when a retail copy is cheaper than a digital version.

Don’t forget Gavin’s warnings about how digital distribution will end things for local mainstream gaming. Are these just the beginning signs of what is to come?

Last Updated: November 25, 2013

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    It’s daylight robbery. That’s what that is.

    • Sageville

      Agreed, I have been shafted by the “Digital vs Retail” versions. GW2 was liked R150 more expensive as a digital game than as a Retail game.

      Maths isn’t my strong suite but I’d imagine, no shipping, no paying store clerks, no showrooms, no physical game, surely that equates to Digital being cheaper….. apparently not.

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        well not always. There’s things to consider such as online storage space and hosting, bandwidth to let you download from those servers (They have to pay for their data usage too after all.) etc etc etc;

        The daylight robbery part is where the game can cost up to $40 more between certain regions when the region the game is in has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of hosting.

        If it’s digital it should be one price across the world because if selling the game at $60 is enough to cover the cost of your hosting and bandwidth, then $60 is enough no matter the region as the data price and hosting costs don’t go up because someone is accessing your hosted services from outside the country.

        • Sageville

          Maybe….Alot of what you stated is based on infrastructure, most of these big gaming publishers have all that in-place already (GW2 is probably a bad example).

          In my head the math just doesn’t add up.

        • Johan du Preez

          They provide the content from the same servers, theres no reason to charge more seeming hosting in the US and in the UK works out roughly the same.

          The ISP’s in the UK and US have free peering between them as well. I see where you getting at but unfortunately it doesn’t explain the pricing difference.

          Besides EA has their own data centres in the UK and US so it actually costs them nothing extra seeming peering will be for free between EA data centres as it travels over a private EA owned pipe.

          They didnt put this data centres up for only 1 game either they will be running it regardless. Putting the data costs into the equation doesn’t make sense in this instance.

  • Rags

    Interesting, thought Tax may apply?

  • Admiral Chief Duke

    They are not even offering this

    • Hammersteyn

      Screw worst company of the year. Worst company EVER!

      • #blankspace

        i think telkom has that title

        • John’s (JJ’s) finest excuse

          Not anymore

      • John’s (JJ’s) finest excuse

        I agree. I actually haven’t bought an EA game in a very long time.

    • Lourens Jordaan

      Bite the pillow, EA’s going in dry.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        The pillow is preorder DLC.

        • TiMsTeR1033


        • That Tall Twit


        • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire


      • TiMsTeR1033

        Gonna be a painful experience for so many out there.

    • ElNicko

      Didn’t you know , that’s DLC right there.

  • Ultimo_Cleric N7

    Electronic Assholes.
    Way rip rip off the consumer further……AND THATS BEFORE DAY ONE DLC…..

  • Hammersteyn

    BT Games all the way!

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Don’t like what EA does, don’t buy their games. Simple. If you have to have your shiny shinys then suck it up.

    • ProtestTheMossel

      Also, STEAM FTW!!

      • Admiral Chief Duke


      • John’s (JJ’s) finest excuse


      • Abyss

        Not always. Assasins Creed 4 on Steam = R602.13. Whilst you get the boxed version from Takealot = R 479.00. So its cheaper if i get the box and the dvd with the game, compered to just downloading it.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          That’s why I always used to check prices before buying. I bought Dark Souls & something else at the same time, DS was cheaper on Steam, the other was cheaper from takealot. Now it’s easy for me, don’t buy early & just wait for a sale.

        • No Longer SIR Twakkus

          Steam releases are ALWAYS more expensive than retail. But after a couple of months they even out and after a year you can buy it dirt cheap. It pays to be patient 😉

          • ProtestTheMossel

            What you said.

    • John’s (JJ’s) finest excuse

      Not buying. Screw ’em.

    • Ultimo_Cleric N7

      This isnt about their releases, this about thier business policies. And they are taking advantage. Remember this is digital distribution we are talking about.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        I know. If you don’t like their practices then don’t support them. I think it’s a bit silly for people to complain bitterly about it then immediately turn around & buy their games as soon as another one is released. A game isn’t a necessity.

        Edit: Which doesn’t mean we can’t point out things we’re unhappy with of course.

    • Johan du Preez

      EA = Pirate pile

    • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

      Is it okay if I pirate their games? And only their games? 😛

  • John’s (JJ’s) finest excuse

    On a scale of 1 to 10. EA is at 726

    • Admiral Chief Duke

      On the good / bad scale, if on good scale then like minus 9k

      • That Tall Twit

        Would that be phrased as (under) over 9000!?

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Not 666?

      • John’s (JJ’s) finest excuse

        They’re past evil.
        I think the devil probably pays them rent.

        • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad


  • TiMsTeR1033

    Need I say more??

    • Sageville


      Always to the point (except when not)

  • John’s (JJ’s) finest excuse

    I actually opened my origin this weekend. Then closed it again and returned to Steam.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      You went further than I did. I updated software this weekend & paused to look at Origin and thought, “Nah.”

  • Galbedir

    When I bought my Xbox 360, I wanted Final Fantasy 13. Went down to the store, R699…After I changed my newly soiled underwear. I mentioned it to a friend over in the UK. In the end it cost me a total of R320 including shipping fee’s for him to buy it and send it over here from the UK via mail.

  • RyseandRepeat

    it is bloody disgusting. When this was happening with the Kindle the big boys like Amazon/Kalahari/iTunes were NAILED for millions for working together in collusion. The same should happen with EA. Digital is more expensive than a bricks and mortar game? Get lost. I know people use the ‘oh it’s because of international licencing’ but that is crap.

  • oVg

    It should be $5 for the yearly roster update.


    • SaintsRowNigri

      Comment of the week

  • Pieter Kruger

    So EA games are £8 cheaper on Xbox Live than on PSN?? Sony adding that £8 or EA just crazy??

  • Abi Cottrill

    EA are expensive and their customer relations are awful. A petition demanding they improve has just been released. https://www.change.org/petitions/electronic-arts-please-start-acting-like-you-give-a-damn Feel free to sign and SHARE

    • Rags

      lol. EA does not win that award because it is the worst. It won that award because of ignorant and self serving voters.

      • Sageville

        So Easy to call peeps ignorant….

        The Golden Poo is based on people’s perception as far as I know, which is neither right or wrong.

      • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

        It would be the same reason BP would win it. Because people are ignorant and self serving. Bloody plebs…

        • Rags

          Its about trying to be objective. Without objectivity such an award is meaningless. And it is bizarre that EA even takes it serious.

          • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

            Bad PR hurts the bottom line. Simple as. Having a bad image means fewer sales. Which means less profit. Any company would take this seriously. It would be disastrous not to.

            People aren’t objective. They’re full of emotions. They rage. They rail against structures they perceive to be set against them. Especially when they feel they’ve suffered injustice. That is what this award is about. People. They vote. And next time it might not be an award they give to EA. Next time they might not buy their games.

          • Rags

            Doubtful. Like it or not EA have fantastic games. And again that proves my point that this award is meaningless. Almost any award that has an online poll is meaningless. See ‘pharyngulated’. Had it been done by a panel of respected journalists and industry experts who put their credibility on the line it could be taken seriously. But instead it is done by raging gamers on an obscure internet poll that can’t really give a flying fuck about the worst companies as long as they get their laughs in at voting against EA.

          • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

            Wow. What a way to generalise about very human people with very human concerns (and very real outrage at the business practice of EA). What a way to undermine the concerns of customers and to ridicule all of these individuals as naught more than “raging gamers”. The award isn’t meaningless, because EA has taken it seriously. Somewhere, someone in that company has realised how dangerous this is. Someone who knows the industry better than you or I. Someone who understands how this could hurt (or maximize) their profit depending on the stance they take.

            If it was meaningless, they wouldn’t give a toss about the award. But their actions and press releases have clearly (and repeatedly) indicated otherwise. See new CEO Andrew Wilson’s comments on the issue. I’m sure he knows more about what EA needs than you do.

            We all implicitly KNOW that EA isn’t the worst company in America. That much is obvious and not the subject of any debate.

            Also, way to legitimize the golden age of respecting only the already respect. Of supporting only elite views, while ignoring real gamers. The Ivory Tower of gaming transcends all logic. Gaming critics are always right. Players are just whining children.

          • Rags

            I just have to continue to be consistent in my argument. When you say “We all implicitly KNOW that EA isn’t the worst company in America. That much is obvious and not the subject of any debate.” That is exactly what this debate is about. You’re moving the goal posts.

            And I thought since you brought emotion into the equation all I needed to do was underline it. Because who else would vote for EA knowing Pete down the street lost his job, his house and family because a company either destroyed the ecology and the community livelihood or has bad business practise that costs thousands their jobs. While Nate up the street votes EA because he can’t get Scrabble to work.

            I can sympathise with EA that they are ‘taking it seriously’. Because really all that it is, is having a direct channel to all the raging gamers. And even though all the good stuff EA will do to try and fix it, Nate will still vote for it next year because John on Youtube told him to while Pete and the local community haven’t even heard of the poll.

            Which ultimately why I am annoyed at these gamers that vote for EA, is because if it is to be taken seriously they let the really bad companies get away with it. They must wake after the award thinking ‘ah silly gamers saved us from embarrassment yet again.’ And it paints us as gamers as ignorant, vocal sheep. And sadly, rightly so.

          • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

            Yeah – but you’re asking those people who they think the worst company in America is. Not who IS the worst company in America. No one on Earth will ever put together a panel of professionals to figure out who is the worst company anywhere, ever. Besides, you just don’t have access to the information required to make that call. What you do have is how people feel they’ve been treated by companies. Unfortunately, EA treats consumers like shit (this is well documented). They’re not the worst company in the US. But they have a direct line to people, which some other truly evil companies (like banks) don’t really have. They’re directly engaged with people through their brand.

            I’m not moving goalposts. I agree that EA isn’t the worst company. But I disagree about how important this award is, nonetheless. People still think they’re shit, and that hurts the bottom line. Those very self same people you mention (raging on youtube) will have a knock on effect if they don’t fix it. Because EA is very, very shit at dealing with their customers. Call that raging nerd rage all you want, but not all companies are this reviled. Why is that? Can you take a look at EA practice and honestly say they’re above reproach?

            What is important here (and my main point) is that the award certainly matters. To gamers. To EA. To the industry. Are there worse companies out there? Of course. I think so. You think so. But the people who voted don’t think so. And that has value. That says a lot of things. And it is validated, purely because the people want it to be.

            Rome was the mob. And when the mob talks, you better listen. Yes, it says something is really wrong with the mob that entertainment practices are more important to us than environmental issues. But that isn’t the argument I’m making. The award isn’t meaningless. That is all. See my earlier comments and you’ll see that I’m not disagreeing with you at any point about whether EA deserved the award or not. Only that it needs to be dealt with, etc.

      • Abi Cottrill

        I am sure there was an element of people jumping on the band wagon when it came to the Consumerist Award, but the petition is not about that. It is about the fact that EA have exhibited some of the worst customer service I have ever come across and done so consistently to people contacting them regarding different games, sold on different platforms, from different genres. I work in the customer service industry and any company with a track record like EA’s deserves a kick up the backside.

        • Rags

          I’ve had to deal with EA on a few times(ME dlc problems and serial keys) and my issue was always resolved. Compared to the service I have received from say Telkom for which I pay R1400pm working with EA is pure bliss!

          • Matthew Holliday

            i pretty much agree, their customer service has always been pretty good with me.
            “Fan service” might be more suitable though, its all fanservice at EA, instead of ACTUAL content.

            but ask any South African to vote between EA and Telkom for the worst company, and Telkom would win hands down

  • oVg
  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    EA is heading towards yet another Golden Poo (make it a hat-trick EA) and well-deserved in my book.

  • livelysins96

    The other day is was playing Need For Speed Shift 2, and all of the
    signs on the side of the tracks were real time ads for Battlefield 4…
    This is what they’ve come too.

  • Merle

    EA games is responsible for destroying a perfectly good game of Scrabble on facebook. In the gamehouse version, the dictionary was slightly out-of-date, but compared with the EA version well …. The new game is clumsy, unsocial, garish, child-like, cannot be played in real-time, and takes Scrabble back to Space Invaders level of gaming. Shame on you, EA

  • CrasH

    EA is going to just fuel piracy…
    With all the DRM, Day one Updates, Always Online and now even spot the right price, Its faster and easier to get a cracked copy of most games. And lastly cause people will justify a bad act with the excuse they doing it against a bad company…
    I agree they are money grabbing, blood sucking ignorant robots that just see bottom line, but they are a company and thats what they suppose to do. Secondly, a thing/item is only as worth as your willing to pay for it. You dont want it or pay that price for it, dont get it.
    And Lastly, in SA alone, all our electronics are overpriced by 30% to 200% depending on the item you buy, the cheaper the item the more the markup and the more expensive the less the % and yet with xmas around the corner the shops (with there even more hiked prices) are making a killing, cause its easier than shoppoing around, and thats also why EA gets away with it. Effort, Time, Price and do i really care if i only buy Fifa or Maiden and no other game each year.

  • DBL_ZA

    Funny how EA is asking more for the game on the side of the Atlantic that is the reason people buy the game. Let’s face it, no one buys FIFA to play MLS (American soccer) or the Mexican League…

  • Joseph Smith

    They don’t care it seems it’s not just that game but on every other game too 🙂 I just don’t understand them. They do this stuff even more so on their play for free stuff by placing a one click buy button in areas that people can click by mistake so that they waste Boost Points and that means Money to them when people use real money to buy Boost Points! I’m looking into a major class action lawsuit and we should all get our money back fro them!

  • Josef Strydom

    I just heard that Battlefield 1 got a price hike from 599.99 to 999.99 South African Rand.

Check Also

Far Cry 5 is putting the fun in fundamentalism

I’m here to remind you of that Far Cry 5 content that I slaved away on while y’all were en…