The European release date & pricing for Rock Band was announced today. I took one look at the words/figures 'May 23rd - £180' and came to the conclusion that Rock Band will not be getting many European sales. There are 2 big factors in why Rock Band won't sell in Europe: the delay and the price. A third smaller factor is the availability on the consoles. I apologise that this editorial will mostly be based around the UK, but I know more about the thoughts and opinions from this area than anywhere else.
1. The Delay
Rock Band was released on 20th November 2007 in the US, then several XBL packs were announced for people to download, then they announced they were making a Wii version...all while we Europeans sat and waited, and waited just for news that we would get a version of it at all. They have finally announced that Rock Band will be released in Europe on May 23rd 2008. This is over 6 months later than the US release. When I first heard about Rock Band, I thought it was great and I couldn't wait to play it, but as time as gone on the hype around it has really died down, and I've become bored of waiting and my attention and excitement for new releases has been turned to other things. The GS UK forum is of very much the same opinion.
- 'Yeah i was pretty bummed-out by this, it's not like it's a month delay which i could accept, this may take up to half a year to get to us and that is unforgivable.' - fishdalf
- 'Way too late for me, they've missed the boat and I don't think I'll bother getting it now. They release it later here, and we will be charged more for the game and extra songs. Sorry but thanks but no thanks.' - jk80
- '[quoting jk80] I have this feeling too.' - PhoenixMDK
- 'I'm leaning towards not getting it.' - Dark_Dude_98
- 'This game is almost dead to me.' - macacd
I'm afraid that EA & Harmonix have simply 'missed the boat'.
2. The Price
Along with the release date, the costing has also been announced. £180. One hundred and eighty fine British pounds. Let's have a look at what else you could buy with this amount of money:
- A Nintendo Wii
- An Xbox 360 Premium (for £20 extra)
- A PSP (with approx. £50 left)
- A Nintendo DS (with approx. £70 left)
- 6 GameBoy Advances
- 7 GameCubes
- 2 Playstation 2s (for £10 extra)
- 3 Xboxes
Why should we pay this extortion amount, when we could buy a whole new console, or several, with that money? This seems espcially unfair when you convert the price at which the US version costs ($169.99) into GBP...£85. This means that we are paying over double what it costs over there. (For American readers: our version at £180 would cost you $355.70). Guitar Hero was just about affordable if you split it with your friends, or got your parents to buy you it for Christmas, but I really can't see mum and dad shelling out this much money on one present, or you and 3 other mates paying £45 each for a game you would have to share between 4 people, you could buy a normal 360 game each for that price. I highly doubt that the cliche 'casual gamers' will be willing to spend that much either...Rock Band is running out of prospective consumers.
Here are some more quotes off the GS UK board to further prove my point:
- 'I'm not paying that much. I was really looking forward to it as well :(' - TepicPlug
- 'I might still get it, we'll see how much it costs' - Dark_Dude_98
- 'I doubt the average consumer will see that over the price tag.' - PhoenixMDK
- 'the most I would have paid is around £100.' - jk80
- 'I would expect to pay about £130 for the game and peripherals together, but this just seems far too much. I wan't this game, but not this much' - readingfc_1
- '£180 :O Thats a complete rip off I really doubt I'm going to get it if we have to pay more for the game than an actual 360 costs :evil: ' - tamsj04
- 'wow, 180 is just too much. I've been anxiously waiting for this game for 5 months but knowing the price....i think i may pass on this (or import it)' - HellsAngel2c
- 'I'll stick with GH thanks.' - clyde46
- '£180 for a 5 month old game and 9 new songs? no thanks', 'i'm fed up of being ripped off so i doubt i'll bother' - Jedi_Shearstone
- 'Its a disgusting price...i couldnt believe it... they should be able to make it cheaper than that...right?' - Tom1243
- 'The game won't sell much so will get price drops until people start buying it. I'd rather buy a Wii than this 1 game if it stays at £180. Even if there is more taxes to pay in good ol' Blighty no way does it justify the price doubling' - arfy2
- 'wtf £180!! no thanks' - fenwickhotmail
- 'If EA think people are going to be buying their games, they can get lost. Because of this I refuse to buy a single EA game and of course rock band until they sort this mess out.' - Dark_Dude_98
- 'That is insane! That is more than half the price of a PS3 for crying out loud! I don't want to pay that, I might look into getting a drum kit from the US shipped over' - Caddy06_88
(There are many quotes just like this, take a look at this thread and you'll see what I mean, I just can't list them all as it would make this blog too long!)
As you can see, the massive RRP of this game has put a lot of people off. Let's hope theres some major, MAJOR price drops for this game.
3. Availability on other consoles.
The announced release date and prices are only for the Xbox 360, what about other consoles? Do they simply not matter, like how the European games market simply didn't matter when they were planning to make this game? This is ridiculous, first they exclude an entire continent, now they are excluding another huge portion of the games market? I think EA & Harmonix are finally realising the full extent of the backlash and are rushing to get this game out and just get it out on one console to 'shut us up'. Well, they should have thought about that before.
I'm not saying it won't sell any copies, of course there are still some people who are hyped for it and will buy it no matter what, but I think these will be dropping like flies now the price has been announced. There are those with more money than sense who will buy it. But what about gamers on a budget, gamers without a 360, young gamers who would have to save up pocket money for about 2 years to afford £180, 'casual' gamers, gamers without anyone who wants to split the cost, gamers who don't appreciate being charged double and waiting over 6 months for a game, gamers who thought they'd like the game but would 'wait and see' for a price announcement? I don't think they'll be buying it somehow.
[EDIT]: I was sent a link to a petition trying to get the price of Rock Band lowered, so I thought I'd post it for anyone who wants to sign it: http://www.petitiononline.com/RockBand/petition.html