Atari Head: Future of Music Games is Online


Former Sony executive Phil Harrison believes “the future of music and games is obviously online” as content creation and sharing continues to improve.

“I think music and videogames have always been very closely related, just not in the same product. Music has always been in the soundtrack of games,” started Harrison in a recent VentureBeat interview about the burgeoning music gaming genre. “Even during the early days of gaming before soundtracks existed players would put on a record or tape and listen to music while playing a game. Now with technology being able to mash up different genres and experiences more seamlessly, music, interactivity and graphics are really made for each other.”

Atari, where Harrison has been engineering a turnaround with strategic acquisitions of MMOG developer Cryptic Studios, is focusing heavily on the online space with digital distribution services similar to those used by the two popular music franchises, Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

“The future of music and games is obviously online, where you can bring music, music performance, interactive and community, specifically the ability to generate content and download content,” explained Harrison. “I think a whole new art form can be created, but don’t get me started because I can talk about that for hours.”

Despite being impressed by Guitar Hero: World Tour‘s music mixer and online sharing, the feature “is still defined by the functionality of the instruments that you are connected with. If you could start to use community and video uploads and performance uploads, that self-expression and sharing with friends and others around the world is a powerful force.”

Connectivity will reach beyond music and online games, taking over traditional experiences. Harrison predicted, “I don’t think the games industry is going to be making too many single-player epic stories any more. I think consumers are demanding that games be embedded with multiplayer, community and expandable options moving forward. Those are the games resonating most with our audience and single-player games are becoming less relevant as time goes on.”

About the author