Salmonday's Scuttlebutt #2: Project Red / U2's Guitar Game
By Salmonday 01-10-2009 10:23 AM
Salmonday’s Scuttlebutt #2
The economy blows. And when the economy blows, charity often tanks – people give less, or stop giving altogether. People also cut back on buying brand names, accepting less flamboyant designs or labels. So what happens when you have a brand name that is also a charity, and the economy blows? Well, then you have to get creative.
Now we CAGs were fortunate enough to participate in a fundraiser in which we both met out goals (with a late surge) of $30K in donations to Child’s Play, which in turn eclipsed their goals. Gamers, it seems, are still capable of shelling out when they are motivated to. And I’m not the only one who has noticed this.
I am yet again blessed with access to my previously mentioned unusual source, in whose good graces I hope to remain, and through whom I am led to start talking about Project Red, also known as (RED), with a specific font and color that I can’t really reproduce here.
Project Red is the brainchild, primarily, of Bono (of U2 fame – duh!) and his attempt to create a global fund to combat AIDS throughout the world, specifically targeting Africa, and specifically targeting women and children in Africa, who are often infected with the AIDS virus through methods that are both beyond their control and yet preventable with adequate levels of education and medical assistance from sources like Project Red.
Affiliated products (such as shoes by Converse, clothes by Armani, and iPods from Apple) that are designed using the Project Red specific shade of red share their profits with the Project Red global fund, which goes to fight the AIDS pandemic. Yet while the need for these funds is as great as ever, the flow of funds has waned over the last year in the face of the slowing economy. Still there are a number of things that have survived the economic collapse admirably, and Bono wants to combine them.
Some of these things are: U2 albums, iTunes music purchases, and Guitar Hero/Rock Band games.
Here’s the idea (note that I haven’t said plan, as you’ll learn about later): Bono wants to brand a U2-themed guitar game whose profits go to help support Project Red. The game would come bundled with a Project Red colored Gibson Explorer (guitarist The Edge’s trademark axe) and comes jam-packed with an array of U2’s greatest hits, including exclusive songs recorded for this project, and would stage digitized concerts in multiple worldwide venues including a special fundraiser concert in the U.S. (a la USA for Africa), Ireland, and Africa itself.
Along with the bundle, customers would receive a discount coupon that would knock a significant chunk of change off of a re-released version of the U2 “digital box set” on iTunes, which previously had been released to coincide with the Project Red/U2 iPod, and is presently unavailable from iTunes. The new digital box set would include the newly-composed songs appearing in the game, which would also be available for purchase a la carte for people who already own the previous version. A share of the profits from the box set purchase will also go to Project Red.
There would also be either a coupon code or a set of free downloads to expand the game’s track list beyond the original retail version, in part because the U2 discology is immense, and in part because the periodic availability of new track packs for PS3 or Xbox 360 download will further support the cause.
Buy the game, save the world. It’s a nice concept. So what’s the holdup? The problem seems to be that U2 either wants to make the game a stand-alone product compatible with BOTH the Rock Band and the Guitar Hero franchises, or to make an identical product for both games. That would require a degree of cooperation between Activision (Activision Blizzard now) and Harmonix that is the musical equivalent of staging peace accords with Israel and Palestine. These are companies that have been at deep odds and competition with each other, and the desire to share a license, as well as possibly technology just isn't there. Not to mention the joint studio and motion capture settings involved. At the moment, both the Rock Band and Guitar Hero incarnations of what is essentially the same game are content to take a pass on this idea for now and continue to mine their own exclusive band licenses (presently Metallica for Guitar Hero and a Beatles-themed game for Rock Band).
Were it not for the patents and copyrights that are deterring Bono from pursuing the development of an indie title that works with existing instruments, the idea of a completely new game has not been completely ruled out. But that would be a shame, and likely not a very strong title compared to the refined gameplay that the existing titles currently possess. Hopefully, Activision and Harmonix can give peace a chance and find a way to get on board to make this “philanthrockin’!” game.
|Comments (Total Comments: 1)|
|sublime90 - 01-10-2009, 05:54 PM|
|Recent Blog Entries by Salmonday|