It’s September 9, 2009: do you know where Paul is? If you’re like untold thousands of Beatles fans, the answer may be on your Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Nintendo Wii: The Beatles: Rock Band video game is now available worldwide, and the title is expected to be a top-seller throughout the remainder of 2009.
The Beatles: Rock Band marks the first time the Fab Four have licensed their music for digital distribution: the Beatles have famously shunned iTunes and other music services. But The Beatles: Rock Band isn’t just cuts from Beatles CDs set to the regular Rock Band video game: Harmonix has gone all out, offering remastered versions of some 45 Beatles classics ranging from early tunes like “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Twist and Shout” through tracks off Sgt. Pepper’s and the White Album, including “With a Little Help from My Friends,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Come Together.”
The game lets players track the Beatles as they advance from a struggling club band to a full-fledged psychdelic culture-changing phenomenon; while the game play is highly reminiscence of Guitar Hero and Rock Band titles, the game offers new twists, like the ability to sing three-part harmonies. The game also offers Beatles-themed hardware, including controllers based off instruments used by the Beatles—although the game can be played with most third party controllers and mics, including those from Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and titles like SingStar and Lips.
Beatles: Rock Band is expected to be a top seller this year, with industry estimates having the title pushing more than 5 million copies by the end of $2009: at almost $300 apiece, the game might represent over $1.5 billion in revenue all by itself. However, the question remains how much translating the Beatles to a video game will appeal to a younger generation raised on gaming and digital music: while the price tag may not be incredibly daunting to the Beatles’ ever-aging fan base, are kids really going to wander through strawberry fields forever…with their parents? Or grandparents?