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Opinion

The Missing Use Of Music Games

With music games becoming such a massive genre in gaming, surely there's more that could be done with them.

Harmonix are magicians – seriously, they really are. There I was playing Rock Band 2 with a friend last night, admittedly a little drunk, and suddenly a fiver went missing from my account, just like that. Not only that, but I swear this has happened before, several times. I just don’t know what happens; I’m searching through the music store and I watch as my money disappears as new songs download onto my black beast. How do they do this?

With Rock Band, Guitar Hero and SingStar; Harmonix, Activision and Sony respectively have created a consistent stream of ¬†revenue. Something that will provide a weekly surge of cash for a relatively inexpensive addition; it’s just acquiring the licence, creating and testing the songs and shoving it out onto the network. Okay, maybe not that simple, but if they haven’t set up an easy input method for creating new songs I would be greatly surprised. The point that I am laboriously trying to make is that if it wasn’t profitable for them to churn out the remarkable amount of DLC that they do, then they probably wouldn’t.

So I ask, why is it still so limited? Don’t get me wrong, I love getting the chance to spend my cash on the latest releases and rock out to a bit of Iron Maiden one week before easing back into some Maroon 5, but it does start to eat up a lot of funds over the weeks. Surely a lower priced option would be a perfect route to take with such an established system now. I am going to single out Harmonix here as Rock Band is most suitable and updated store of the three; imagine being able to purchase songs at just 29p or a pack of 4 for a quid, how could they do this? Well, it seems quite obvious to me; use smaller bands. I personally love hearing new music, playing songs on Rock Band that I haven’t heard before and either loving or hating them, why not do more of it? Keep on releasing all of the big named tracks, but get smaller or even unheard of bands and groups on board. Surely it’s a win-win; Harmonix should be able to get the licenses for such songs at a lower rate than the more well-known bands, and it provides huge exposure and publicity for the bands in question.

Tracks at a lower price become impulse buys for customers; Apple have proven that low-cost will often mean big sales with its App-store. The release of the usual weekly DLC could continue to roll out like always, but with another wad of songs as a cheaper alternative of musical talent.

Why stop there though? My brain got thinking and I knew that there would be a better way, a more effective way of doing it, and there is. The big phenomenon at the moment is user-input, allowing users to rate things, favourite things, create things, anything that engages a user into a system. The Rock Band Music Zone, or something along those lines; where local, unsigned and lesser-known bands can have their tracks converted for Rock Band. Users can then purchase songs here, rate them, create playlists of their favourite songs, recommend songs to other users, bands can sign up for their tracks to be considered, there can be weekly charts of best rated and most download, I think you get the picture.

What do you think? Would you use a service like this? What price point would the tracks have to be for you to use it?

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