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FreeStyle Games' upcoming music-rhythm game Guitar Hero Live has a lot riding on it. It's either going to really help catapult music games back into mainstream or it's going to send them back into the dark ages. One element that could determine the success of the game is how FreeStyle Games handles the DLC.
In a lengthy blog post over on the FreeStyle Games website the creative director, Jamie Jackson, explains how they plan to implement some of the new features into the upcoming Guitar Hero Live such as GHTV as well as the game's new DLC model, which will be similar to Spotify or NetFlix.
According to Jackson...
In GHTV, you no longer buy a song in the old DLC way – you don’t have to buy a song to sample or play it. You can play any channel for as long as you want. As you play in the channels, you earn in-game currency which quickly adds up, so you can get tokens to play any song from the GHTV library on-demand. And we’re going to load you up with a bunch of play tokens the first time you play and as you rank up. The more you play, the more you earn.
This is an identical method that Capcom will be using for the DLC in Street Fighter V, where gamers will be able to use the fighter bucks to purchase new content for the game, including new characters.
In the case of Guitar Hero Live the game will come packaged with a new recreational mode called GHTV. This will be a completely new experience for the Guitar Hero franchise. Instead of simply picking a song and playing it, you can use the GHTV mode to surf through various channels with curated songs fitting a specific theme. It's a little like what MTV should be.
Each channel will allow players to rock out to various popular and indie tunes. The GHTV mode will require players to go online, however, so it will constantly grow and expand similar to dedicated music channels. As mentioned in the quote above, players will be able to get their hands on individual songs streamed through the channel using the pay-per-demand service.
It's an interesting time and I'm at least glad that they're doing something different compared to what they did with all the previous Guitar Hero and DJ Hero games where Activision had new DLC packs releasing every other week for each entry in the game. It was not only expensive but was a slap in the face to some gamers who purchased the sequels but would then have to pay for separate DLC packs to get some of the same songs for previous entries in the series. It was a mess.
Using the new on-demand service could be a way to alleviate the DLC problem where there are too many packages to keep track of or certain people who only want certain songs having to pay to get a bunch of songs they don't want.
I like an example they use in the blog post where Jackson explains that in the old method of DLC gamers felt they had to repeatedly play the DLC songs until they got tired of it in order to feel as if it was worth the price of entry. In this new instance people are paying for access to the music as opposed to content packages, so I'm curious to see how this will change engagement rates and whether or not Guitar Hero Live will have a long tail-end.
The music-rhythm revival is set for release on the Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, mobile devices and the Wii U starting October 20th.