Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
16 July 2007
Rock Band, PS3...same thing
I just read yet another gush about EA's upcoming Rock Band:
You thought Guitar Hero was a breakout hit? This thing is going to be like Brain Age in Japan. Rock Band is a watershed for the games industry. It'll be a watershed for the music industry, too.
Let me put it out there: I think Rock Band will fail miserably.

I'll be happy to say I'm wrong when the time comes, but I just don't see it. A few points:
  • Millions of people have dropped $80+ on Guitar Hero and its products since November 2005. That brand recognition and familiarity presents a significant barrier to entry for EA's product, even if it's comparable.

  • While Guitar Hero controllers will apparently work with Rock Band, that can't make EA happy one bit. You just know they want you to buy their controllers. I'm surprised they're even offering the game separately, to be honest. (Maybe they expect to make the real profits by offering track downloads after the initial sale -- that'd certainly make up for people buying just the game.)

  • Regardless, people simply aren't going to drop $100-$200 on a game and these crazy controllers. Not in droves, and certainly not enough to warrant the kind of gushing that's going on in the press. Not when they can have a brand new Wii for $250 (provided they can find one).
It certainly isn't going to be like Brain Age in the sense that every system owner will have to buy a copy. That outrageous analogy simply floors me.

Look, Guitar Hero and its sequel(s) got out first, have brand recognition, and cost less (for existing and returning customers). Rock Band is going to come out with more-more-more at an accordingly higher price. To me, it's a lot like the Xbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3 situation. The Xbox 360 offers a lot of value for $400. While the PS3 gives you more hardware out of the box (decent sized hard drive, wireless, and the Blu-Ray player, for example), the price puts it out of mass-market contention.

Won't Rock Band be essentially the same thing?

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--Matt Matthews at 01:19
Comment [ 6 ]

Comments on this post:

My guess is that, oh, approximately 100% of the target market for Rock Band already has at least one compatible controller. So controller cost isn't that much of an issue - either they won't have to buy one to do either the guitar or bass parts, and they've already shown a willingness to buy controllers, for the drums.

Me personally? I WANT the drum controller. I just have nowhere in my apartment to reasonably set one up. It's the same reason I don't have a wireless wheel for the 360 racing games. Cost isn't the issue - space is.

By Blogger Skip, at 16 July, 2007 13:01  

Guitar Hero worked because a guitar is embalamtic. Moreover, the cost being at $80 was just about worth it to achieved your "rock dream". On the other hand those drums in Rock Band Just might strike a...err cord...with people too. It hard to say, people said Guitar Hero was a long shot as well.

I think Rock Band will sell about 1/3 as well, but even at those numbers it will be a big hit.

Me? I'm waiting for Bagpipe Hero.

By Blogger MonkeyKing1969, at 16 July, 2007 14:25  

Rock Band is being made by Harmonix.
Guitar Hero was made by Harmonix.

That is why they look similar.

Harmonix sees Rock Band as the next step in their music game line. It combines Guitar Hero with Karaoke Revolution (also a Harmonix product) and adds drum playing as well (and there are successful drum playing arcade games.)

You can pick your favorite instrument. If you've got two guitars, drums, and the microphone, then you can get together with up to three friends and play together. If you don't, you can play online. And lead guitar, vocal, and drums have their own solo story modes as well, for when you aren't being social.

As for the entry cost, it is targetting Guitar Hero players. Those people have guitars already. If they have money to burn, they can choose to buy the new guitar (with new features,) or instead indulge in the drum set (and people like to play drums) or microphone. Or everything. (At least they are kind in making one guitar double as the controller for lead and bass.)

By Blogger Baines, at 17 July, 2007 03:09  

Personally, I'm just envious of anyone with enough mates interested in games of Rock Band. I mean, in my world, on the off chance me and some buddies decide to play something, we'll all be bored of it within two days and onto the next thing. That's why the Microsoft points I spent on TMNT were a waste, let alone the hosquillion dollars this little ensemble would set me back.

I know there's Xbox Live play, but still. That doesn't count.

By Blogger Martin, at 17 July, 2007 03:35  

Actually -

I think the biggest mistake Harmonix is making is not making this game for the PS2. If they made it for PS2 and made it compatible with the GH controllers - they would probably get all the folks who have GH controllers buying it because it'd be an after market sequel. Just like pretty much everyone who has a GH controller has bought GH2, and will be buying GH80s and GH3.

Additionally - the PS2 has online play - and with a multitap could accomodate other controllers as well.

It's a built in market and by not making a PS2 version they're pretty much blowing it off.

I know I'd buy it even if I could only do a guitar mode only.


By Blogger Rob, at 20 July, 2007 13:25  

I agree with you... Rock Band will face a lot of slack for its costs.

My question is, where is the background singer mic, and keyboardist for the 80s/90s edition?

I want to rock to "How Do You Talk To An Angel?"


Rock Band will rock because its the next best thing... even if sales are burdened by costs... people will buy what components they can.

- Cid,

By Blogger Cid, at 05 August, 2007 04:10  

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