Although it felt like the rhythm game fad might have died out over the last few years, both Harmonix and Activision are back at it with their plastic instrument games. In the consumer showdown of Rock Band 4 versus Guitar Hero Live, every extra feature will count come late 2015. Due to the instrumental accessories, both franchises have a history of expensive games, so anything that reduces the price for holiday shoppers should help give each game a better chance of selling well and reviving their respective franchise. As many current-gen console owners were hoping, Rock Band 4 is ensuring that the transition from PS3 or Xbox 360 doesn’t have to be a financial burden.
Rock Band 4 will offer a bundle that includes the new and improved instruments for Xbox One and PS4 players, but Harmonix has now confirmed that there will also be the option to use the last-gen instruments on the new consoles. In an interview with IGN, the company explained that going from PS3 to PS4 will require little more than plugging in a dongle. Similarly, the transition from Xbox 360 to Xbox One will require a low-cost adapter made by Harmonix.
The Harmonix rep did not provide the exact price of the low-cost adapter, but did explain that cross-generation compatibility is a key feature of the upcoming game. This will likely come as bad news to the Guitar Hero Live team, whose game requires players purchase the brand-new guitar. The Guitar Hero Live instrument features new buttons and a new layout, so there was no chance that the old plastic axes were going to be compatible.
Early hands-on reviews of the new Rock Band instruments have indicated that the updated gear has the same feel as the original guitars and drum kit, with just a few minor aesthetic changes. Assuming that the price point of the adapter is as low as Harmonix is suggesting, than it seems like veteran players won’t have much motivation to shell out the $60 or so to pick up a new kit.
As interest in the rhythm game genre continues to fade, it definitely seems like a good idea for Harmonix to make it as easy for gamers to pick this one up as possible. A lot of the profit can come down the road thanks to frequent DLC packs full of new songs, so making a money grab by forcing new instruments on consumers seems like a recipe for disaster. We are interested to see how many shoppers Guitar Hero Live is able to convince to buy a new plastic instrument and throw out the old ones.
Are you excited that the old instruments will be compatible? Does this news make you more likely to buy Rock Band 4? Let us know in the comments.
Rock Band 4 is out this fall for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.