The hottest music rhythm games makes its way to Wii this summer

Music rhythm games experienced the most growth out of all videogame genres in 2007. Guitar Hero III sat near the top of the sales charts across all platforms, while Rock Band demonstrated what’s possible when things were turned up to eleven.

Rock Band, however, wasn’t initially available on the fastest growing console, the Nintendo Wii. That will change this summer, as Rock Band will launch on the Wii in North America on June 22. Unlike with the launch for Xbox 360 and PS3, Canadian gamers will not have to face a painful additional month-long wait.

Like its release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2, Rock Band will ship for the Wii as a Special Edition set with the game, drums, microphone and a wireless guitar for $169.99. Standalone instruments will also be available for those who want to build their band one instrument at a time or want to play the drum versus drum game mode. Sadly, Guitar Hero III hardware will not work with Rock Band, as per Activision’s stipulations.

“The Wii's success among casual and core gamers of all ages makes it an ideal match for the cross-generational appeal of the music featured in Rock Band,” says Bob Picunko, VP of EA Games and Interactive Products, MTV.

“The social interaction and addictive nature of the Rock Band experience is a perfect fit for the Wii and will undoubtedly be fun for the entire family,” says Steve Singer, licensing VP from Nintendo.

One of Rock Band’s biggest advantages over other music games on the market, besides its support for four players, is its weekly flow of new downloadable songs. Even with the success of more than six million songs sold through Xbox Live and PlayStation Store, it appears that Wii gamers won’t be able to download new tracks – at least not initially.

A Harmonix representative told Kotaku, “Because the Wii's online capabilities and potential have yet to be fully realized, we wanted to wait before we explored online functionality for Rock Band to ensure that players get the high-quality of online performance they've come to expect.”

The lack of mass storage options may also be a limiting factor for the Wii version of Rock Band. Pi Studios, which handled the PS2 port of Rock Band, is also working on the upcoming Wii version. Furthermore, it’s possible that Rock Band for Wii may be similar to the PS2 in that it will be without certain character customization and world tour modes that are on the other current generation platforms.

Harmonix’ Sean Baptiste wrote on the company forums, “The feature-set is a lot closer to the PS2 version of Rock Band which was also developed by Pi Studios. We've decided to focus on getting the core gameplay on to the Wii and focus on making that awesome.”

Baptiste did reveal that the Wii version will have five extra songs on disc which will be announced at a later date.

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