Sony and Microsoft have unveiled the prices of their new games consoles, and as usual British gamers will have to cough up more for the identical pieces of kit. Why is this?
Sony announced the price of its new Playstation 4 console in Los Angeles to rapturous applause. At $399 it is significantly cheaper than Microsoft's Xbox One, priced at $499.
But British gamers have less to cheer about, however. As usual, they will pay much more than their American cousins for the same machines - £349 ($546) for the Playstation and £429 ($671) for the Xbox.
The huge disparity has come to be expected by customers on this side of the Atlantic, but how do the companies explain the difference?
"There are many factors that influence the final price of consumer electronics in different markets," a spokesman for Microsoft says. "This includes, but is not limited to tax, tariff and exchange rates."
Tax is certainly a major factor. In the US, sales tax varies from state to state and is added to the headline price at the checkout. In the UK, the 20% VAT charge is included in the price you see.
Even accounting for tax, though, the consoles are more expensive in the UK - around £36 more for the Playstation, and £39 for the Xbox.
Import tariffs do not come into play here. The UK does levy charges on certain items, but consumer electronics are usually exempt. Laptops, mobile phones and video games consoles are duty free, so Customs Duty does not affect the final price.
In terms of exchange rates, it seems reasonable for the companies to protect themselves against a fall in foreign currencies. That may partially explain the higher price charged in the UK by US based Microsoft. Sony is headquartered in Japan, though, which doesn't explain a difference between prices in the US and the UK.
Continued here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22868787