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Business - Written by on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 8:34 - 3 Comments

For those still pretending to rock…I hope you don’t own a Wii

Inspired partially by Mike’s Guitar Hero posts (1)(2) and endorsements, I had been searching for a Guitar Hero III for my Wii for weeks, when finally last week, I was able to find one at an Electronics Boutique in downtown Toronto. 

I resisted playing the game for a couple of days as I knew I would get pulled in, but once I cracked, boy did I have fun.  While I’ve only played for a cumulative three or 4 hours, I have had a blast doing so.  Being the ”hero” I knew I would be (sarcasm noted), after defeating Lou, the boss on Easy, I was ready to move on to the next bigger and better challenge, which I my case was Rock Band

rock-band.jpg 

I had played the popular Harmonix game at a friend’s house on PS3 and was blown away when mid-way through a song, a friend suggested they wanted to hear an Oasis song, and lo and behold, to my astonishment, the owner of the game grabbed the PS controller, went online and purchased “The Oasis Pack” and within minutes, we were butchering the popular cover Wonderwall.

I was blown away by the level of interaction and immediate customization that Harmonix had built into the game (which has lead to six-times platinum sales from songs sold through the game since its release in November) and I couldn’t wait to go through the same madness of waiting weeks to finally get my hands on a Wii version of Rock Band, which had yet to be released.

That was until today – when Harmonix revealed that they would be releasing Rock Band for Wii on June 22nd, without it’s greatest feature – the ability to download your own tracks to deepen and customize your gaming experience.

I echo the statements of many on the blogosphere today in saying that as geeky as it sounds, my excitement to wait in line for Rock Band has been crushed by the breaking news.  Forums on the press release on the game’s site have been closed for comment, but the deluge of feedback ensues on numerous other sites. . .and much of it seems to point to the feeling that Harmonix has just taken a huge step in the wrong direction, back to static-content video games 1.0.

Any aspiring “heroes” out there with an opinion?

This story also carries two important side notes:

1. I am very impressed by the ability for games like GH to bridge the generational gap and make games a family experience, as I witnessed both parents (who would definitely otherwise never play video games) and their children, my mom and I included, playing GH together this weekend and having a blast.

2. I find it harder and harder to sympathize with an industry that is “in decline” while now selling millions of songs through previously unheard of and impossible revenue streams.  Bravo to the innovators of these games who have unlocked an entirely new market!



3 Comments

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Martin Cleaver
Mar 25, 2008 17:18

It’s deep customization that addresses the long tail of customer interests. Whilst many think that the PS3 is massively overpowered for today’s needs, I suspect it is this investment (relative to the Wii) gives it the breathing room for the “choose a track” feature.

The gaming world shows us glimpses of the augmented reality world into which society is destined. Holographic projections of a member of your family playing from across the world? That’ll be just the start.

I’ll not be a gamer until I can find a way to make it generate revenue for my company, but I do own both a Wii and PS3. The Wii gives that full body immersion experience. The PS3 sheer computing power.

This is just the start.

Ben L
Apr 1, 2008 0:51

This underscores the current and past mistakes that Nintendo has made with online gaming. Along with Rock Band, there is no downloadable content for any Wii game. In the Wii’s current form, it is not designed to handle something like downloadable content. However, Nintendo does have plans in place for downloadable content in the future. Through a system of “Wii points” users will be able to download new content for their games. Nevertheless, I see a few problems. In addition to its current online structure, there is the issue of storage. The Wii storage system is based on flash storage that stores 300 – 512 MB of data. Compare this to the PS3 and the XBOX 360 have massive 30GB or 80GB hard drives and excellent online systems in place already.

While Nintendo has truly created an innovative console that reaches across generations, casual and hardcore gamers alike, they always seem to be behind in the online game. I personally see the industry eventually shifting to having all games being downloaded at home instead of purchased at your local retailer. Companies like Blizzard are already doing this for World of Warcraft. They don’t even have to pay for their bandwidth as they use a torrent system to distribute their files. The cost savings on manufacturing, distribution and retailers should increase the profits of the industry astronomically.

Wikinomics» Blog Archive » Aerosmith makes more money on Guitar Hero game than any individual album.
Mar 2, 2009 9:49

[...] posted before about Guitar Hero; see here, here and [...]

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