Recently I purchased both Rock Band and Guitar Hero 3 for my PlayStation3 and was quite surprised that I couldn’t use my guitar from one game to play with the other. For those of you who don’t know what either of these two games are, they’re the latest video games that came out during the last Xmas season which let you play music instruments on your game consoles. It’s almost like karaoke for instruments.
What’s even worse than the guitars not being interchangeable is that the makers Rock Band released a patch to resolve this issue that was approved by Sony (the game console maker) but was blocked by the markers of Guitar Hero 3. That’s extremely frustrating. I can understand their perspective, the guitar from Guitar Hero 3 “feels” better than the guitar from Rock Band, but why not let us use it to play Rock Band (or vice versa)? The word of mouth marketing (for example comments like my last sentence) are worth gold.
But the real reason I want support for both guitars is not to interchange them. That’s not the big issue, at least not enough to write a blog post about. The issue is that I want to be able to play both games in multi-guitar mode. That is with two guitars at the same time on the same console, on both Rock Band and Guitar Hero 3.
The thing to acknowledge is that these games are social games, that is games best played with friends and family. When people come over I want to play either Guitar Hero 3 or Rock Band with both guitars at the same time. I don’t want to have to buy a second guitar to complete my Rock Band and a second guitar to play the multiplayer Guitar Hero 3 games. That’s a total of 4 guitars when I should only need two to give me the best experience possible for both games!
Which brings us back to the true motivation of blocking the already available patch that would solve this issue. It’s not the reason most people initially suspect, it’s because the makers of Guitar Hero 3 want to sell you a second guitar. They basically make a larger margin per game if they can sell you a second guitar. And indeed you can buy a second guitar for Guitar Hero 3 without the game.
But will I buy a second guitar? Will I fork over $60 (times two if I also want to get one for Rock Band) just so I can play with other people when they come over? Right now whenever someone comes to visit we just swap the guitar, that and I’ve learned to play with the joystick to give my guests a chance to play with the guitar. It’s actually at the point where I can play Guitar Hero 3 on the Hard level competitively with the joystick! With Rock Band we just never play with a full band.
How frustrating is it? Very! It’s frustrating enough that I wrote a blog entry about it. Will I buy a second guitar? I highly doubt it. I just don’t have people over enough that will play these games to make it worth the additional costs. Especially not when it’s not a technical reason, it’s just to sell more add-on units at the cost of diminishing the users experience.
I can also tell you that people who bought one and were on the fence for the other aren’t as excited. One of the reasons to get the other is so you can get a second guitar to play socially without the additional cost (this is advantageous for both game makers). The guitars should be interchangeable. They have the same buttons, the same everything.
To the makers of Guitar Hero 3, please stop blocking this patch and let us all play both games with both guitars. It will make both games that much more enjoyable. And most importantly, it will make us all want to buy the next version that much more! Give us the best experience possible with your product, especially when it comes at no additional cost to you.