Why Are Video Games So Expensive In New Zealand

Patrick Lawrence

This piece will also focus on pricing in New Zealand, what hardware costs, prices and details of preorders and distribution, etc.

A recent thread has been going on for a while on the nzgamer forums where people are explaining what it’s like to purchase new video games in New Zealand.

While people try to explain it as best as possible, it really doesn’t do justice to the amount of taxes you have to pay, especially when the price is out of your reach.

For this guide, I’m going to be focusing on just New Zealand, as I live here and will talk about prices in New Zealand, but even so, you can likely find a few things you might want to import from your country.

I’ll go into the taxation and importation side of things in the following, but hopefully, this will be a good and helpful guide to understanding pricing in New Zealand.

For this guide, you will need to be a resident of New Zealand. If not you can always read my article on how to live here if you are planning on coming here for work.

My own experience

How To Be The Best Gamer In The World

I started by importing some retail games from the US and having them sent to Australia, as that was the cheapest way to get things, as they are easily available from Aussie shops.

This worked very well, but in about 3 months, the shipping rates were as high as $60 to get my games to New Zealand, making it cost around $150 for a game worth NZD 70 (US$48).

I then used a service called Kongregate to import the games. You can either pay them $30 for it and they have your games shipped to you, or buy games from them and ship them directly.

I bought the latter and it worked very well, however it seems they have now changed their business model and charge $40/game.

For another $40/game you get it shipped from China to New Zealand.

This will add anywhere from an extra $15-30 to your game, making it cost you $50/game if you buy games from them.

For me, it wasn’t an issue because I would have paid that price for a game that would only have cost me $70 or so anyway.

Other good online stores to check out are Steam, Green Man Gaming, CDKeys, GamersGate, Origin, Humble, Direct2Drive, Uplay, Amazon, etc.

The best way to deal with taxation is to find a reseller and use them.

There is a lot of information on where you can find a reseller and a lot of people give recommendations on which one to use.

It’s not an easy process, but there are enough resources that I would say it can be done, although you will need a solid understanding of how to deal with it.

What to buy

Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons

The first thing you need to know is that a lot of the consoles are going to cost you a lot of money.

I bought a Nintendo Switch (model 1) that is NZD 399. The Xbox One S is NZD 400, which includes the game, and the PlayStation 4 is going for $400.

You can get the Nintendo Switch with a game and an AC adapter for $460 or you can get a 2TB console and all the games for $650. I’d recommend getting the 2TB model to make the most of it.

Buying hardware is expensive, so it’s worth learning where you can get it at the best price. For example, $600/2TB would get you the Xbox One S, which is what I recommend.

I’d suggest checking the prices on CDKeys.com or GamersGate.

Once you have the hardware you are going to want a nice case and a box for it. Ideally, you want something that is going to protect your system, so the box or case should be plastic.

You don’t want something that will break or be easily scratched. This will be one of the most expensive parts of the whole thing.

If you have a tendency to get bored with games and want a new one, then you can buy games from overseas and have them shipped to you here in New Zealand.

I don’t personally have a problem with this, but I can imagine it’s a bit more complicated than just ordering them online.

If you want to do this make sure you have access to a printer or scanner as there are a few websites that allow you to download games you want to buy from the US and have them sent to you.

If you can find a local reseller, this is also a good way to get your games at the best price.

Once again though you want to make sure that whatever you get has no major glaring faults and is the right size for the console you are getting.

If you don’t want to buy games and don’t want to deal with shipping from overseas then just get a system and use the system you already have.

The basics

Video Game Controller

I have several hours of free time most days, so it’s pretty easy for me to get into the game. I actually have been playing some games for more than a year now.

For new people starting, I’ll give you my list of tips for getting into the games.

Once you’ve gotten your system and games, start by picking up a controller and seeing what it does. There are a lot of tutorials online to help you get familiar with it.

The Switch is compatible with a few games that are available in New Zealand, so don’t worry about that right now.

I’ll let you know when the games are available in New Zealand. If you are coming from the US, then get the controllers for the Xbox One and the Switch, as the joysticks for the Switch are different from the Xbox One controller.

Getting used to using a controller that has no D-Pad on it will be a new challenge, but there is plenty of help online and I’d suggest you go through some tutorials.


You will be surprised how much of a good game it is. I went from having no clue how to play it to actually having my friends and family buy it just to play with me.


This is probably the most widely known way of purchasing games in New Zealand, but there are plenty of options if you have a Steam account elsewhere.

To get games from Steam you will first need to create a new account and fill out the “purchase history”.

Next, it will ask you to log in to your existing Steam account and verify your email address.

Once that is done you will be able to sign in using your new account.

Once you login to your new account, the rest of the purchase history is filled in.

Alternatively, you can use the PC in your house if you are willing to move your Steam games to your non-Steam account.

You will need to be very patient though as I have yet to get any games from Steam through this process.

Once you have your games you will have to download and install them. Make sure to install the games on the internal storage of your device.

You are unlikely to be using the USB drive on the Switch itself as that is pretty full already.

Circa Play