The official details pertaining to Fender's Stratocaster guitar for Rock Band 3's pro mode have finally been released. The guitar/controller combination is going to be released at the somewhat daunting price of $279.99. Also, unfortunately for holiday shoppers, the guitar won't be releasing until March of 2011, thought you can preorder beginning January first. It's also worth noting that this price likely doesn't include the price of a midi controller, which runs for around $40.For comparisons sake the Mad Catz Fender Mustang pro guitar, which has 102 buttons across 17 frets, will cost $150 and land in early or late November depending on your source. The typical Rock Band plastic guitar peripheral is around $60 new.
The pro guitar gameplay looks amazing in motion, and just the thought that playing Rock Band 3 may translate into real guitar playing skills is mind-boggling. It doesn't hurt that the game is an amazing stand-alone experience either. Combined with the professional keyboard mode, Rock Band 3 is without a doubt the best music game experience available.
Unfortunately, there's still a huge barrier of entry: the price. Likely one of the biggest reasons for Guitar Hero and Rock Band's success was that it was a cheaper method of having the music playing experience. Just about anyone could pick up a guitar peripheral and a game and jam with their friends. Now that the option of playing a real guitar in Rock Band is here, how how Harmonix lowered the barrier of entry? The guitar will cost just as much, if not more than comparable beginner guitars, but there's also the price of the midi controller and actual game box as well. That's almost $400 for the Rock Band 3 pro guitar experience.
Considering the price issue, the availability of a Mad Cats pro guitar alternative, and the fact that the Fender Stratocaster won't land until next March (almost five months after Rock Band 3's release), it's worth wondering what Harmonix' intentions were. Is the Stratocaster meant to be niche? Is the entire pro guitar addition just an experiment?
What do you think, Ranters? Are you picking up Rock Band 3? What do you think of the pro guitar mode, and are you interested in picking up either the Mustang or the Stratocaster? Do you believe it will be a hit?
Rock Band 3 is available now for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and DS. The Fender Stratocaster will be released March 2011 for the price of $279.99.