This week’s announcement of Lego Rock Band’s track listings and the option of exporting it out into older versions of Rock Band reinforced my faith in human nature; there are publishers developers out there who aren’t just trying to extract every possible penny from your wallet for minimal effort. Compared to Guitar Hero’s dozen or so releases in the last three years, each major Rock Band release has seen Harmonix jump through technical hoops in order to keep their brand as a platform rather than a batch of stand alone releases.
In a world where certain companies are willing to sell you unlock codes for items that used to be available through a simple button combination, or extra money in games you’re too lazy to earn it, it’s a refreshing gesture. Naturally there is a fee involved but considering when exporting Rock Band 1’s tracks to Rock Band 2 it cost less than a fiver for 60 songs it can well be considered one of the best value transactions in this digital age.
I gave up on Guitar Hero after, for the second game in a row, they wouldn’t let me import my old DLC into the newer game. It hardly makes for a fun social event swapping discs after each track, nor does paying for content that becomes defunct so quickly. Guitar Hero do seem to be sensing the error of their ways and are making efforts to amend the lack of song sharing, but it seems quite laboured by comparison.
Rock Band, Sing Star and even Hasbro Game Night are the direction social gaming should be going. Give me lots of releases, keep the content flowing, but also allow me to access it all from a single hub. Games that do so may suffer a hit from not featuring in retailer’s New Release section so frequently but as distribution turns more and more towards digital downloads that should become less of an issue.