Alistair Darling sets VAT at over 100%

Yesterday I reported about the European price of Rock Band being a trifle high. Indeed, it’s more than double the price our lovely friends over the pond have to pay.

Today Eurogamer ran an interview with Rob Kay, a design director at Harmonix, the creators of Rock Band, and he had a few interesting things to say about the price.

“These are definitely not excuses so much as contributing reasons – the VAT in the UK, 17.5 per cent, is counted in with the price. In the US, tax isn’t added to the price; what you pay at the cash register is more.”

“It’s always annoying you look at the price of consumer electronics in the UK, and you look at the US price, and it’s like the dollar and pound signs have been switched. I definitely feel the frustration with that.”

By my working, adding VAT to the original price of Rock Band in the States ($169.99 or £85 in real money) gives a figure of £99.88 (as opposed to the £180 they’re selling Rock Band for).

I thought I would also look at the prevalence of simply switching around the Dollar and Pound signs, something which Rob Kay seems to assume is standard practice. I searched on both Amazon UK and US, taking the RRP of a few common products, to see if most companies do indeed just switch the Dollar and Pound signs when they sell their goods over here.

Ipod Classic 80GB : $249.00 (more than Rock Band in the US), £149.00 (Less than Rock Band in the UK)

Xbox 360 Arcade: $279.99 (more than Rock Band in the US), £149.99 (Less than Rock Band in the UK)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3K 7.2MP Digital Camera: $299.99 (more than Rock Band in the US), £159.99 (Less than Rock Band in the UK)

And before you suggest I just go and learn a proper instrument, I’ve been trying to learn guitar for ages, but I can still only play Zombie by The Cranberries. Badly.

Leave a Comment