European gamers could argue that they have had more than their fair share of misery when it comes to Harmonix and EA's much-heralded Rock Band franchise. Xbox 360 owners had to wait until six months after the US release of the multi-instrument rhythm game for its European launch, while those PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and Wii owners who want to channel their inner rock star are still twiddling their drumsticks.
That wait now seems to be over, with EA confirming today that not only will Rock Band be coming to PS3, PS2, and Wii across Europe in the coming weeks, it will also be cheaper. All versions of Rock Band will now have a recommended retail price of £109.99--€139.99 in the Euro zone--for the new Instrument edition. This compares to the previous price of £179.98 in the UK for the instruments and game on the Xbox 360.
This cut brings it roughly in line with American pricing, once local sales taxes are taken into account. According to EA, the game will be available across the new platforms "in the UK the week of September 8th, in France the week of September 15th, in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, and Luxembourg the week of September 22nd, and in Spain the week commencing September 29th."
While the September release was later than promised by EA originally, it does still give Rock Band an early-mover advantage in the region over Guitar Hero World Tour, which will go head-to-head with Rock Band 2 for rockers' hearts in the US later this year. The Red Octane and Activision game, the first multi-instrument installment in the long-running Guitar Hero franchise, is set for US release on October 26 and will be released in the UK on November 7.
EA had not responded to requests for comment as of press time as to why there was a delay of several months between the American and EU releases of Rock Band or why the price cut was now economically viable given Harmonix's previous robust defence of the increased costs in Europe at the time of the Xbox 360 release. Answers were also not forthcoming on the questions of whether Rock Band 2 was coming to Europe, how Rock Band 2 downloadable tracks released for the American market would integrate with European copies of Rock Band, or if new DLC would follow for the original Rock Band after the sequel's release in the US.