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Guitar Hero World Tour Equipment Problems, Subscription Possibilities? 146

Guitar Hero: World Tour's recent launch saw boxes of plastic instruments flying off store shelves, quickly selling out in many areas. Unfortunately, many players reported problems with the bundled drums sets, prompting Activision to release a drum "tuning" application and a free midi-USB cable to connect the instruments to a PC. Otherwise, reviews for the game have been largely positive, and MTV's Multiplayer Blog did an analysis of using Rock Band drums in GH:WT, and vice-versa. Kotaku looked at which set was louder, coming to the conclusion that while they sound different, decibel levels are very similar. The early success in sales for GH:WT caused Activision to say holiday demand may not be met, and that they're examining two methods in particular to develop the franchise: instrument upgrades (hopefully less ludicrous than Logitech's $250 axe) and the possibility of a subscription-based model for user-generated content. "[Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby] Kotick says that there are now 25,000 user generated tunes that have been created for the game, and projected 'up to 100,000 songs' by the end of this year."
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Guitar Hero World Tour Equipment Problems, Subscription Possibilities?

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  • by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @12:12AM (#25671541) Homepage

    a subscription for user-generated content? so Activision wants users to pay them money to share their self-created content?

    why are mainstream game publishers run by such douche bags? it's not enough that users are adding value to their product by donating their time/creativity to create new content for the game, but now the game publisher wants to "monetize" this content by charging users for sharing their own songs with each other.

  • by mattytee ( 1395955 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @12:15AM (#25671563)
    Shouldn't the user generated content be free?

    I mean, it's not costing them to produce, and their own stuff means servers and bandwidth are already necessary, right?

    I'm betting user-generated content will be finding its way onto bittorrent along with a crack for any kind of lock-in to the subscription service.
  • Tuning Kit? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday November 07, 2008 @12:39AM (#25671789) Homepage Journal

    I could really use a USB MIDI adapter. I don't suppose anyone who doesn't need it wants to get one and sell it to me? Or for that matter, someone who only needs it once? It's about $40 shipped to get the M-Audio Midiman Uno, so it would have to be cheaper than that... On the other hand, if I just wait a year they should be all over Gamestop for like ten bucks. Anyway, this is a call to all slashdotters who have the kit and weren't thinking about getting the device: what were you thinking? You know you're going to want one someday.

  • I bought the kit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JimboFBX ( 1097277 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @01:43AM (#25672213)
    I bought the full band kit, and just got off the phone with walmart about returning it. Here's what I've had:

    The drums are a bit better to use in theory, but the sensitivity (out of the box) is too low. I really have to hit things above where I'm comfortable and it isn't forgiving if you had poor aim. I got a blood blister after some extended playing.
    Using star power is random. Sometimes it gives it to you, often times it doesnt.
    I ordered the USB-MIDI adapter to fix my drum kit. It came in 4 business days. My computer detects it but doesn't do anything with it. Its not an option on the drum controller drop-down and none of the MIDI options are substitutes. Restarting didn't help nor did disabling the other audio devices. It shows up under the device manager though and has a green light when connected. So... I can't fix it.
    My guitar's strum broke today and has about a 5% chance of registering a downward strum now. The tap bar was always iffy with it, and the star power button used for muting was flat out inconsistent.
    I broke part of the things used for holding the drum sticks by playing with them up. Don't do that.
    Freak on a Leash is fun to play, a lot of the songs aren't though. They're long and repetitive. Whoever put Dinosaur Jr. in there should be shot.

    Red Octane makes you pay to ship your defective device to them, with a copy of the receipt (mind you this game hasn't been out for 90 days). Its hard to find their warranty returns on their website. Here's a link:

    http://www.redoctanegames.com/Warranty/USA/ [redoctanegames.com]

    That is why I'm returning the kit to wal-mart, I dont feel like I should pay 12 dollars and take extra time out of my work day to drop off a package, then wait 3 weeks to get another potentially defective device.
  • by terbo ( 307578 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @01:46AM (#25672239) Journal

    >>> Why are mainstream game publishers run by such douche bags?
    >> You haven't seen anything yet.
    > Yeah.

    Almost similar. Except that you don't have to pay to participate.
    You get an edge by paying.. now for GH I'm not even sure how they
    distribute user tracks, but if the company made a way for it to
    work in game and seamlessly (I saw people burning discs to play
    customs ....) then it would definitally be cool - but paying for
    *all* access would be lame. Paying to get some tracks earlier
    would add privilege. But maybe that segment is used to paying
    for .. every .. little .. thing when it comes to online content.

    The way he said it though. It just sounded matter of factly, kind
    of disgusting.

  • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @02:34AM (#25672471)

    their own stuff means servers and bandwidth are already necessary, right?

    Not quite. If the user generated content were free and being pulled from their servers, it's entirely possible (even likely imo) that the free content would be downloaded 2 to 3 times as much as the paid for content. In addition, they may be required by the distribution networks (xbox live, psn) to charge for additional content. Overall, offering user generated content for free risks that content's costs bleeding the profits dry.

    Of course, the huge amount of free content would also be a driver for increased sales of their ridiculously priced peripherals, but to an executive it would probably seem like an easy decision.

  • by TookyCat ( 43469 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @02:37AM (#25672497)
    I have posted a detailed How To Guide for fixing the Guitar Hero World Tour Drum Kit sensitivity problems [powertuneplus.com]. For example my Red Pad took a very hard hit to register consistently, and my Orange cymbal was similar.

    My guide features high quality photos and videos demonstrating before and after response of the drums.

    The official solution is to do a support request and get the USB MIDI cable shipped to you. But my fix will have you drumming TODAY.
  • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @02:40AM (#25672505)
    There's a lot of music that's hit the public domain. All classical music, for example. Mozart made some very famous alterations to a nursery rhyme [wikipedia.org], and I see no reason that someone couldn't make a name for themselves making variations on public music. I played "Maple Leaf" in World Tour today and realized that it was a song I'd played when learning piano way back in the day.

    I'd also be willing to bet large amounts of money that the pattern the notes make as they come down will be the main focus of some user generated content. Remember how much fun some people had making their scantron sheets look like a dog? Same thing.
  • by ion.simon.c ( 1183967 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:24AM (#25672657)

    : (

    The quote from the exec and the sentiment from Ars Technica don't quite line up. You can have a "property" that provides income and development potential for a decade or more. You can develop that "property" without beating it into the ground.
    *points to Half-Life* : D

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @05:54AM (#25673215) Journal

    The majority of people don't have musical talent. Hoping to get a random group together to learn instruments and play recognizable songs late at night after a night out partying is a pipe dream.

    You think I'd put together a band because I have talent!?!? MUhahahahahahhahaha. I play badly, and I can't read sheet music, but I'm not trying to earn a living or make it big so who cares. Playing an instrument reasonably in tune gives you a huge sense of accomplishment when you get it right. Even moreso if you and your buddies make sound that isn't unbearable. The idea that you need talent to play music only applies if you're trying to be a pro.

  • Defective Guitars (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 07, 2008 @08:16AM (#25674043)

    My buddy bought the guitar set from Wal-Mart on the day of release. We hooked it up, but both World Tour and Rock Band 2 saw it as vocals. We tried a bunch of different things to see if we could get it to work, but ultimately, he returned it to Wal-Mart. His replacement guitar was accurately seen as a guitar, but the tilt sensor for star power is screwed up where star power triggers as soon as you have some built up. That's 2 defective guitars from the same place.

  • by jasenj1 ( 575309 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @10:23AM (#25675017)

    Here's a different idea:
    Try turning the GH Tunes store into iTunes for Guitar Hero.
    And turn the Guitar Hero engine and tools into the Unreal Engine of rhythm games.

    Let third party developers produce full-quality songs and let them sell them on GH Tunes. (For a price of course.)

    Activision can then focus on making the Guitar Hero engine and instruments better, and release first party titles - like Aerosmith, AC/DC, & Metallica - but also benefit from others making less blockbuster games - see Guitar Praise http://www.guitarpraise.com/ [guitarpraise.com]. That would solidify Activision's peripherals as the industry standard, their tools and environment as standard, and allow them to reap profits from selling the tools and licensing fees from third-party games.

    Sounds like win-win all around to me.

    - Jasen.

  • by rtechie ( 244489 ) * on Friday November 07, 2008 @05:37PM (#25681495)

    I've used and played every single controller for Guitar Mania, Beat Mania, Guitar Hero, and Rock Band. I've used almost all the 3rd-party controllers for the PS2 and XBOX 360. I've played all the Bemani games in the arcade. I've even played the drum kit for Rock Revolution briefly.

    In my opinion, World Tour has the best equipment currently available. The strum bar on their guitar is the best of any bemani-guitar, hands down. The World Tour drum kit, when properly tuned, is way better than the Rock Band or Rock Revolution drum sets. The ION Rocket drum set is probably better, but it's $300. The Logitech guitar might be good too (it isn't out yet) but it's $250 and only works on the PS2 and PS3.

    This isn't just my opinion. My girlfriend is a pro drummer and guitar player and she agrees that the World Tour instruments are best.

    Now as to the game itself, Rock Band 2 is better hands down for any number of reasons.

    My advice? Buy the World Tour band kit and Rock Band 2 w/o the instruments. That's what I'm doing.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.