Harmonix's Rob Kay has responded to criticisms over the European price point for Rock Band, telling Eurogamer: "We're not trying to rip anybody off."
As announced earlier today, Rock Band will launch in Europe on May 23rd for Xbox 360, with PS2, PS3 and Wii versions to follow in the summer. The total cost for the game, drum kit, microphone and guitar will come to GBP 180 / EUR 240 - compared to USD 169 (GBP 85 / EUR 107) in the States.
Speaking to Eurogamer today Kay, who is lead designer on the game, conceded, "The combined price, if you add all that up and decide you want that full experience, is quite high. It's not something that is normal in videogames.
"But Rock Band isn't normal in videogames," he continued. "This is an entirely new thing. What other game comes with three peripherals that are all different? It just makes sense for the experience we're trying to deliver."
When asked why the game will be so much more expensive in the UK than it is in the US, Kay cited VAT and the higher price of consumer electronics generally. "These are definitely not excuses so much as contributing reasons," he stated.
"I can't talk to the explicit pricing - how it gets split down between retailers and distributors and the whole chain - because I don't actually know that much about it."
Kay went on to say he can see why consumers might be "a bit put off" by the price of Rock Band, but observed there is an option to buy just one instrument or a microphone separately. He added, "I firmly believe that if people do [buy it] they'll have an amazing experience they couldn't get anywhere else."
Check back later this week for more from Kay - including what he said when we put some Eurogamer readers' comments to him.