Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The past, the future, and the going-nowhere-fast

Too many interesting news bits already this week to stay on top of them all. Here are a few links.

Arstechnica ran a two-page feature on Tuesday titled "Roots of rhythm: a brief history of the music game genre," and a handy guide it is too. Nice quote from Masaya Matsuura, the Japanese musician, game designer and co-creator of the seminal PaRappa the Rapper:

It pleases me from the bottom of my heart to see the current success enjoyed by titles like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The dream I envisaged 15 years ago, of music games gaining mass appeal, has to a degree become a reality... To me "Rhythm Action" can be viewed as nothing more than a gateway to the endless possibilities that music games hold. We truly hope that our fellow developers can help to unlock the potential of this blooming genre."

In "Game Music Goes Indie," Wired Blog GeekDad extrapolates from the emerging opportunities for independent gamemakers offered by XBox Live Arcade, Nintendo's WiiWare Channel, and the Playstation and iPhone App stores, to point out that this is also great news for musicians and sound designers. The author gives a shout-out to the self-described "unofficial game music arrangement community" OverClocked ReMix, which worked with games publisher Capcom to produce and then release as MP3s the "Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Official Soundtrack."

And yes, there is now a semi-official "stalemate" between Warner Music Group and MTV Games over licensing any part of its catalog to the Rock Band download store. Billboard calls it a stalemate anyway, taking issue with Wired's description of a "boycott" of WMG content by MTV Games. It's all rather convoluted and a bit petty. Ultimately Warner is setting itself up for a fall if it keeps up this kind of intransigence in the face of promising new revenue opportunities.

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