Games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero may have created a whole new class of gaming where, instead of paying $20 to $40 for a game, players now spend twice to four times more for a game and some plastic doo-dads they can jump around with—or hit. And the music industry has fallen in love with the genre, realizing it can turn its deep library of classic rock riffs and leather-clad rockers into a new revenue stream.
Unfortunately, not all music video game players can jam together: the genre has been addled by incompatibilities between controllers and devices. That cool, too-small vague-Les-Paul-shaped bit of plastic that, at least psychologically, helps your Guitar Hero score doesn’t necessarily work with Rock Band…which means those Strat-slinging mofos always play you to shreds.
Now, Sony wants to change all that. In a posting to the official PlayStation blog, SCEA’s director of publisher relations Michael Shorrock says the company has been working with Neversoft, Activision, Konomi, and Harmonix to ensure controllers shipping with PS3 music video games will feature a basic level of compatibility. In theory, this means, say, guitars and drums from Rock Band 2 will work with Guitar Hero: World Tour and Konami’s Rock Revolution. Sony has also been working on support for SingStar microphones in Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour. Using on vendor’s controllers on another vendor’s game may not let player get to all the cool features in a particular game, but at least the basics ought to be supported.
Unfortunately, this news only helps people who plan to buy all-new versions of their favorite video games. However, Sony says it hopes to “have an announcement shortly” about controller compatibility between existing Rock Band and Guitar Hero titles.
[Update 20 Aug 2008: Not to be left out of the party, Microsoft has posted what Xbox 360 users can “consider an official announcement” that controllers for Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero: World Tour, and Rock Revolution will be cross-compatible on the Xbox 360 as well.]