Forget all those songs by old guys with guitars, Activision’s DJ Hero will be skewing for the cool young kids who like the hip-hop and the rapping and the record-scratching.
There’s a lot of talk about how Guitar Hero and Rock Band teach kids about the history of rock music by introducing them to a lot of classic rock. In a way, all the classic songs in these games make them somewhat more palatable for the older crowd. You know, you’re playing “More Than A Feeling” in your room and your dad walks by and starts rocking out like “yeah, I actually know this song!”
That won’t be true for Activision’s upcoming DJ Hero, which we’re assuming will draw its song catalog mostly from hip-hop, which doesn’t really have history going past the late-late 70’s and early 80s. But Activision doesn’t care that your dad won’t be able to get into DJ Hero (unless your dad likes Grandmaster Flash or something), it’s banking on DJ Hero to attract a new crowd to its line-up of music games.
“What [DJ Hero] allows us to do is come up with a very innovative product that allows us to sell a software product plus a hardware product as a bundle so that should be good for our average selling prices,” Activision CFO Thomas Tippl said at the Wedbush Morgan conference today. “But it also allows us to bring in new users to the music genre. Because it is a different kind of music for a different kind of gamer…That’s why we are excited about DJ Hero, it gets us more opportunity for contemporary music, it probably skews younger than rock songs.”
To that end, Activision is in talks with Universal Music Group about the actual songs that’ll be in the game. That could work out pretty nicely, as UMG’s record labels feature many of the biggest names in hip-hop past and present: Kanye West, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Wu-Tang Clan, among many more.
On the gameplay front, the partnership with UMG could allow the inclusion of mash-ups (songs that mix instrumental and vocal tracks from multiple songs) to be a part of the game’s features, according to Kotaku‘s sources.
The only problem I see is that, if what they mean by “younger” is anyone under let’s say, 18, if Activision means “younger” than the Guitar Hero player base, then a lot of those kids will have ears too innocent for some rap’s decidedly adults-only lyrical content. You know, unless you just want to have an entire game full of Will Smith songs. I wouldn’t mind that. “Wild Wild West” is one of my favorite rap songs of the 90s.