Harmonix has responded to an uproar over the recently announced pricing of Rock Band for its European release, which will be selling for more than double the U.S. cost.

The Xbox 360 version of the game was confirmed yesterday as being released in Europe on May 23, while the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Wii versions of the game have been targeted for summer 2008 but have not yet been given definite dates. But unlike the U.S. version of the game, the European release will not include all the instruments: The Instrument Edition of the game will sell for €129.99 ($205), according to GamesIndustry, but the game itself will have to be purchased separately for an additional cost of €69.99 ($111). The Rock Band bundle, which includes the game and all instruments, sells for $169.99 (€108) in the U.S.

Responding to the widespread and highly critical reaction, Rock Band lead designer Rob Kay told Eurogamer, “We’re not trying to rip anybody off,” citing the Value Added Tax and generally higher prices of electronics in the U.K. as factors in the cost. “These are definitely not excuses so much as contributing reasons,” he said.

“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,” he said. “But Rock Band isn’t normal in videogames. 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.”

Kay said he couldn’t discuss specific pricing because he’s not aware of those details, but he did point out that gamers have the option to buy the instruments or microphone singly. “I firmly believe that if people do (buy the game) they’ll have an amazing experience they couldn’t get anywhere else.”

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