Tag Archives: videogames

The Price of Performance

“Keep me searching for a pot of gold/And I’m growing old”—with apologies to Neil Young

For the past several months, climate activists in London have been staging protests at the British Museum. They want the institution to stop taking sponsorship money from bp. bp (formerly British Petroleum) is, of course, an oil and gas company. There is probably a bp station close by to where you are right now. The company says, “Our purpose is reimagining energy for people and our planet. We want to help the world reach net zero and improve people’s lives.” I don’t know what “reimagining energy” means. Probably some clever copywriter came up with that term. It is hard to imagine (to say nothing of reimagine) precisely how a company that is primarily predicated on drilling holes to pump out fossil fuels that are then processed so that they can be combusted in various things like motor vehicles is going to get to net zero, even by 2050 because as long as these carbon-based fuels are burned, the consequences are, well, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration: “the substances produced when gasoline is burned (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and unburned hydrocarbons) contribute to air pollution. Burning gasoline also produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.”

Just how the elimination of the sponsorship by bp for the 990,000-square-foot history museum—which, by the way, has free admission—is going to have an effect on the chemistry of combustion or on the use of petrol there or gasoline here is difficult to suss, but there is something to be said for the pluck of those stalwart Brits who are gluing themselves to things like paintings to prove their dedication to the mission. (What, I wonder, do they do when they have to go to the loo? Bust out the nail polish remover and make a quick break?).

Whether it is a museum or a band, the importance of sponsorship—a.k.a., funding—is absolutely important.

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Sales: Beatles Rock Band

The Beatles: Rock BandSo it looks like 583,000 people bought the Beatles: Rock Band video game in its first month of sales. Seems impressive to me… But apparently not, at least according to a report from CNBC:

That’s fine on the surface, but analysts were expecting the appeal of the Fab Four to move more than 1 million copies of the game last month. Instead, it sold just 583,000, according to numbers from the NPD Group.

The downloadable content seems to be moving pretty well: “Harmonix reports that over 100,000 people downloaded the song [“All You Need is Love” for $2 a pop] in September.”

One interesting thing is that the hardcore gamers have complained that Beatles: Rock Band is too similar to previous Rock Band versions to justify a “a stand alone game ($60) purchase.” The only differences I’ve noticed are the ability to sing harmonies and the option to play in “no fail mode” on easy. Plus, of course, all the Beatles-specific timeline and graphics stuff. But had they just released the 45 songs as individual downloable content, that would’ve cost gamers $90, so I’m not sure what they’re whining about. Seems like we got a deal. (As long as you didn’t get suckered into forking over the extra dough for the awesome but overpriced Hofner, Gretsch, and Rickenbacker.)

Oh, and while we’re talking about the Beatles (again), might as well mention that the Mono Box is back in stock at Amazon.

The Beatles: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, Beatles: Rock Band.

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Video of Kurt Cobain in Guitar Hero

In case anyone’s confused about why Dave Grohl, Krist Noveselic, and now reportedly Courtney Love (who approved the deal) would care about the use of Kurt Cobain‘s likeness in Guitar Hero need look no further than this video:

Video: Kurt Cobain in Guitar Hero 5

Love has threatened to sue Activision for allowing Cobain to be used in Guitar Hero 5 to sing songs by other artists, which baffles Guitar Hero CEO Dan Rosensweig who told the NME that Cobain’s estate (controlled by Courtney Love) was fully aware of the terms of the contract to license Cobain’s likeness and that she “cashed the check.”

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Beatles Rock Band Downloadable Content Details

Octopus's Garden

Billboard has some details on The Beatles Rock Band. Although the game ships with 45 songs, additional albums will be trickled out over the next several months, starting with Abbey Road on October 20 and followed by Sgt. Pepper in November and Rubber Soul in December:

Each downloadable Beatles album will cost $17, with individual songs going for $2. MTV typically keeps about 70% of the price of downloadable content purchased through “Rock Band.” Although the Beatles are believed to have received a better deal, this is still a very profitable business.

Check out the songs that will come with the game after the jump…

The Beatles: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki.

Continue reading Beatles Rock Band Downloadable Content Details

Meet "The Beatles"

The Beatles: Rock Band Ludwig drum controllerWhen it was announced that Cirque de Soleil was going to do a performance based on the music of The Beatles—modified, remixed versions of the actual songs—there was a considerable bit of consternation among the Beatles’ purists, those who know, inside and out, the definitive versions, know them chapter and verse, and who have not inconsiderable knowledge of the variants (demo versions, live performances, etc.). That Sir George Martin was to be the man sitting at the mixing board (ably assisted by son Giles, which leads you to think that they’ve made something of a cottage industry from the band, assuming, of course, that by “cottage” you mean “castle”) served to mollify them, somewhat. But still. . .These are THE BEATLES! for fucksake. You just don’t go willy-nilly screwing around with works of three-minute acts of genius.

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Get Your Own Songs on Rock Band

You rock!Billboard: MTV To Launch New Track Upload Program For ‘Rock Band’:

“We’ve figured out how to make it so anybody who owns and controls masters and publishing can put music into [“Rock Band”] at their own pace,” says MTV Games senior VP of electronic games and music Paul DeGooyer. “We’re talking about a set of serious professional tools to allow people on the front line of writing and recording songs to completely control their destiny with respect to interactive products and then giving them direct access to the download store.” […]

Songs submitted through this process must then be reviewed by other developers to check for playability, inappropriate lyrics, copyright infringement and so on. Harmonix will post approved tracks to an in-game download store separate from its existing “Rock Band” store where creators can set their own price (50 cents to $3 per song) and receive 30% of any resulting sales. Gamers will also be able to demo 30-second samples of each track.

Rest assured that the GLONO developer community will be coding away furiously in order to allow you to rock out to your favorite Riviera and Quasar Wut-Wut songs as soon as possible…

"The Beatles: Rock Band" Due in September

Apple Corps, Ltd., Harmonix and MTV Games have announced the 9/9/09 worldwide release of The Beatles: Rock Band. The game, an “unprecedented, experiential progression through and celebration of the music and artistry of The Beatles,” will be available simultaneously worldwide for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii.

There will be “a limited number of new hardware offerings modeled after instruments used by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr throughout their career” but it will still be compatible with current music-based video game peripherals.

The game software will retail for $59.99, the standalone guitars for $99.99, and the “Limited Edition Premium Bundle” will be $249.99.

Full press release after the jump…

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Guitar Hero and Rock Band sliding

Guitar Rock Hero BandUh oh, looks like rock and roll videogames might have peaked, at least according to Variety:

Fall’s highly anticipated “Rock Band 2” and “Guitar Hero: World Tour” have sold well below expectations, trailing their 2007 editions by significant margins. Activision’s “World Tour” has thus far sold 1.5 million units domestically, an impressive number compared to most games, but down 55% from “Guitar Hero III,” which launched on the exact same day last year. MTV’s “Rock Band 2” has moved only 809,000 copies. […] Musicgame revenue was down 6% in November despite the growing number of titles, with “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” off a more sizable 12%.

I know of one guy who will undoubtedly find this welcome news. Hater.

On the positive side, downloads are up: “Guitar Hero” players have downloaded 25 million songs online, while “Rock Band” players have purchased 30 million. Plus, “music is still the best-selling vidgame genre, repping a sizable 16% of revenue.”

Via Lefsetz.

Get New Bruce Springsteen MP3 Free – Life Itself

Bruce Springsteen is giving away his new single, “Life Itself,” as a free download via Amazon MP3. Get it while you can!

The Boss will also be giving away “My Lucky Day” and “Born To Run” as free downloads for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii versions of “Guitar Hero: World Tour,” from his new album’s release date (Jan. 27) through Feb. 4.

Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Life Itself”

Via Billboard.