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Red Octane has no intention of playing nicely with Rock Band

For fans of rock music rhythm games, the last quarter of 2007 is exceptional thanks to release of Rock Band and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Not so exceptional, however, is the situation surrounding the inter-compatibility of similar accessory hardware.

Despite Rock Band and Guitar Hero guitars both having the same characteristics of five colored fret buttons, a strum bar and whammy bar, compatibility of the hardware across games is rather spotty. The Guitar Hero III Les Paul accessory for the Xbox 360 works with Rock Band, but the Les Paul for the PlayStation 3 version of the game does not interface with Rock Band.

Rock Band developer Harmonix responded to this issue on its official forums, saying only, “Many of you have contacted us about the PS3 edition of Rock Band -- from issues with guitar compatibility to frustration that stand-alone guitars and drums for Rock Band have not yet hit stores,” but offering no other resolution except, “We promise to keep you updated and, in the meantime, we thank you for your patience.”

On the flip side, the Stratocaster guitar accessory that ships with Rock Band bundles does not work with either platform’s Guitar Hero III game. While Harmonix may be looking into ways of introducing the Guitar Hero III PS3 hardware into the Rock Band game, Red Octane has publicly expressed little interest in supporting Rock Band’s hardware in Guitar Hero III.

“I don't think we're too interested in having their guitars work on our game, because they're having a lot of issues with their guitars,” said Red Octane's co-founder and VP of business development, Charles Huang, to 1UP. “From our standpoint, to be quite honest, if you know a competitor's product has issues, there's not a whole lot of motivation to make these problematic controllers work with your game. Why would you want to cause yourself the headache?”

Huang’s comments reference the widespread reports of faulty Stratocaster strum bars that shipped in the initial shipment of Rock Band. Both Harmonix and EA have shown commitment to replacing hardware for all those affected, in addition to throwing in a free EA game.

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The main reason....
By daftrok on 12/8/2007 3:40:35 AM , Rating: 2
The Rock Band guitar SUCKS compared to the Guitar Hero guitar. But frankly I find this ridiculous that they at least won't have SOME form of compatibility. That's like making a steering wheel for a racing game that doesn't work with any other racing game but one. Come on, Rock Band. People are already spending 150 bucks for your game, you might as well make it work with other games.

RE: The main reason....
By DangerIsGo on 12/8/2007 4:04:12 AM , Rating: 2
People are already spending 150 bucks for your game, you might as well make it work with other games.

No. Not at all. They are competitors. Why should either side have to play nice? We're lucky that the xbox's les paul works on Rock Band in the first place. Obviously, its somewhat of a disappointment, but Red Octane doesn't HAVE to do anything about it. And the whole BS that Huang said about the Rock Band guitars having problems which is why they wont support it in GH III is just a cover for "we're competitors and we don't want to support their guitars".

RE: The main reason....
By BladeVenom on 12/8/2007 9:11:47 AM , Rating: 4
The console makers should demand compatibility from the game developers.

RE: The main reason....
By Silverel on 12/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: The main reason....
By BladeVenom on 12/8/2007 11:59:36 AM , Rating: 2
That's what I mean. I didn't mean cross console compatibility, although that would be nice. If a company is licensed by Microsoft to make a controller and game then that controller should work with any Xbox game that could use it.

RE: The main reason....
By therealnickdanger on 12/10/2007 8:57:09 AM , Rating: 2
Ever tried using the DDR pad to play Halo? It's hilarious.

Aren't there a couple different features in RB that the GH2/3 controllers don't have buttons for?

RE: The main reason....
By jtemplin on 12/8/2007 2:52:41 PM , Rating: 2
Just because there is direct competition you think there is no room for standards? What about the atx standard for computer cases? Should every company have a proprietary standard? Obviously they are under no obligation to, which is basically your point...but

I think standards are a good thing and in most cases they HELP competition, because then there is an even playing field.

RE: The main reason....
By Bremen7000 on 12/8/2007 7:11:50 PM , Rating: 2
Companies aren't interested in competition, so why would they be interested in standards that help it?

RE: The main reason....
By orochi on 12/8/2007 2:09:49 PM , Rating: 3
It's not Rock Band who's not making it compatible. It's GH's side of the game. Red Octane has been trying to shut out competitor's guitars ever since GH2 on the PS2. TAC had to release a passthru port just so their older guitars, that work just fine playing GH1, to work in GH2. If it's Rock Band's fault, the Les Paul/Xplorer wouldn't work at all in Rock Band. Harmonix has come out and said that they're for a open standard on these controllers.

RE: The main reason....
By Ryanman on 12/9/2007 5:43:52 PM , Rating: 1
This is all RO and GH3, in my opinion. Harmonix has done everything that a good company should do, in order of compatibility and support. The second the franchise sold out to Neversoft, I knew stuff like this would happen

RE: The main reason....
By Spartan Niner on 12/8/2007 5:14:15 PM , Rating: 2
Real-life skills people, real-life skills... ;)

Just get a real gun...
By jmunjr on 12/9/2007 11:00:57 AM , Rating: 4
Maybe all these FPS gamers need to get some real assault rifles.. Those FPS game are for posers...

RE: Just get a real gun...
By UNHchabo on 12/10/2007 2:04:53 AM , Rating: 3
Well, I've certainly been trying, by introducing my friends to shooting.

Guitar Hero doesn't make you a musician, and FPS games don't make you a marksman. That doesn't mean that they're not fun though, and you can learn things about being a good musician, or being a good marksman, from the game.

Playing Counterstrike is not as fun as, but certainly MUCH cheaper than, going to a machine gun shoot though.

Glass houses?
By Aikouka on 12/10/2007 8:40:08 AM , Rating: 2
The wireless GH3 "platar" (plastic guitar) also has a pretty nasty problem with it too, so I don't think Mr. Huang should be off bad-mouthing other companies for faulty hardware. I can't tell you how frustrating it can be to play a song in GH3, know that you hit the note and realize that when you're pushing down on the fret button that nothing's happening because of the flaw in the neck design. I had to fix it by putting a bit of cardboard at the bottom so the neck fits snug inside instead of moving all about.

I've used the RB "platar" and the one I used worked just fine. Although the strum bar was a bit different (and quiet).

By Kromis on 12/8/07, Rating: -1
Just get a real guitar
By gersson on 12/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: Just get a real guitar
By AndreasM on 12/8/2007 11:31:07 AM , Rating: 2
It takes one hour at most to learn to "play" a guitar hero guitar. After that it's entertainment all the way. Sure, playing a real guitar is much cooler, but most people just want to have fun. Spending one year to learn how to play a guitar sounds more like torture to my rhythm-impaired ears. ;)

RE: Just get a real guitar
By BladeVenom on 12/8/2007 12:04:28 PM , Rating: 3
It would be nice if a game came out that worked with a real guitar, for those of us who have one and almost know how to use it.

RE: Just get a real guitar
By darkpaw on 12/8/2007 12:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
With the huge popularity of the GH/Rockstar games and electronics stores actually selling real guitars now, I really wouldn't be so surprised to see something like this.

Could probably just come with a mic or something that picks up the sound as you play it.

RE: Just get a real guitar
By mgambrell on 12/8/2007 3:00:07 PM , Rating: 2
There was one at an indie games convention in Austin last week. Can't remember what it was called. It figured out what notes you played through mic input and basically scrolled tablature past you. Its way too hard to work as a real game, but its worth keeping an eye out for. Can't remember what it was called.

RE: Just get a real guitar
By Justin Case on 12/8/2007 3:35:47 PM , Rating: 2
Any guitar will work, you just need a MIDI pickup, and some MIDI sequencing software. They've existed for over a decade, and it's even possible (adding a synth to the setup) to use a guitar to "play" any other instrument. A musician friend of mine has been doing that since 1996 or so.

Only problem is, a good MIDI pickup costs more than most consoles.

RE: Just get a real guitar
By DangerIsGo on 12/9/2007 1:14:29 AM , Rating: 2
I hate all you people that say 'just get a real guitar'. Most of the good people that play GH ALREADY play guitar! Thats how I was able to pick GH up fast and get good at it. And most of the regular GH people out there know that its just a game. You people that keep saying 'get a real guitar' need to cool it. In other words, we get your point already! I play both and I enjoy playing both. Yes, GH is fun and can be much more competitive than a real guitar (leagues, tournaments, etc..) but it will never replace a real guitar, and its always fun every once in a while to pick one up and play something real. But we know that. So all the people that whine about "people that play GH should pick up a guitar" need quit it.

RE: Just get a real guitar
By DangerIsGo on 12/9/2007 1:19:01 AM , Rating: 2
One more thing to add, even though guitar hero is just a game, it has helped my skills with real guitar. Certain fingers and patters that would have taken me a while to learn on regular guitar, I learned much faster from GH. For example, a standard progression of fingers Index->Middle->Ring->Pinky is hard for most people to do at really fast speeds (from what I've heard...its much easier to do it pinky->index). Most of the solos in GH have one of these progressions and picking it up there has helped me solo better on guitar. Sure its not the EXACT same thing, but it has helped with speed. Same with other fingering patters.

RE: Just get a real guitar
By UNHchabo on 12/10/2007 2:10:04 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's not really so much even skill at guitar that helps with GH though, it's overall musical ability. You'll have a much easier time, even as a non-guitar musician, if you have a solid understanding of rhythm.

RE: Just get a real guitar
By Justin Case on 12/11/2007 2:32:12 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure who you meant to reply to, but I never said "get a real guitar". Just that the technology to do what the GGP sugested has existed for a long time.

RE: Just get a real guitar
By UNHchabo on 12/9/2007 11:15:33 PM , Rating: 3

Read, starting at the second paragraph.

RE: Just get a real guitar
By PlasmaBomb on 12/17/2007 9:24:54 AM , Rating: 2
Well done :)

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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