Games consoles can often live and die by the exclusive games available for them, and while Rock Band 2 is set to be released on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation 2 and Wii before year’s end, the Microsoft machine has managed to secure timed exclusivity which will means months between the release on the Xbox 360 and the other consoles.
The first Rock Band has been a huge success, and the newly announced sequel which has been unveiled by MTV Games and Harmonix looks set to repeat, and build upon that success. The game is also set to compete with Guitar Hero World Tour, the next instalment in the Guitar Hero franchise that was announced in May.
So what is different in the new game? Most of the juicy details are being saved until the E3 conference in a few weeks time, but what was announced today basically amounts to ‘more of the same, only bigger and better’.
According to the MTV Games press release, the new game will be fully compatible with everything from the original. That means all of the instruments will work, and more importantly, all of the downloaded content. There have so far been over 200 songs released in addition to the music already on the retail disc, and with 15 million downloads already, it is a good move to make them compatible rather than forcing loyal gamers to download or buy for a second time.
MTV Games also promise more music, more online modes, and more features, which are all pretty much standard for a sequel of this kind. There will also be new designs of both the guitar and drum peripherals, though I suspect most people will be happy to use the instruments from the first game.
All that is left to talk about is the timed exclusivity for the Xbox 360, which must be pretty galling for all PS3 Rock Band freaks out there. The game will be out on the Xbox 360 in September, with PS3, Wii, and PS2 versions said to be following a few months afterwards.
This should really have been expected as the precedent had already been set with the original Rock Band in Europe. As we discussed in April, Harmonix and MTV decided to screw European gamers over royally, by first delaying the release of Rock Band for several months after the US got hold of the game, and then rubbing salt in the wound by declaring the game to be a timed exclusive on the Xbox 360.
The game has been out for the Microsoft console in Europe since May 23rd, but still is nowhere to be seen on the Playstation 3, or any of the other consoles it was promised for. Which is ludicrous.
None of the companies involved, EA, MTV Games, Harmonix and Microsoft, have yet discussed the deal which has taken place, or the sum of money paid by the latter to ensure the timed exclusivity deals, but its likely to be a huge figure. When looked at in combination with the rumoured price cut for the Xbox 360, this could certainly help shift a few Xbox 360 consoles.