If there’s one real guitar hero out there that shouldn’t be confined to one system it should be Jimi Hendrix. Like him, love him, hate him or whatever, Hendrix captured the imagination of what being a guitar player could mean. He’s an icon for a reason.
However other big name acts (and estates) are battling it out in a different kind of battle of the bands. Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Band 2 are the two main competing franchises and that necessitates an inherent want to sign exclusives. No matter how you feel about some of the big names of rock, there can be no denying the economic impact having a band like Metallica or Guns ‘n’ Roses signed only to your game. According to Rolling Stone, Guitar Hero and Rock Band grossed nearly $1 billion combined in 2007. One Billion Dollars.
Tim Riley, from the Guitar Hero side of the camp pretty much admits the obvious by saying:
There’s a massive list of artists and songs that are available. There’s a smaller list of the ones you really want, and there’s a supershort list of the ones you have to have. So it’s safe to say we’re all kind of going after similar things.
Rock Band 2 has an exclusive G‘n’R track, while Guitar Hero landed Metallica. Metallica is named as the next possible band to have their own edition of Guitar Hero, following in the wake of Aerosmith’s success.
The Hendrix estate has licensed several songs for the upcoming GH:WT, but the possibility remains open for inclusion on Rock Band. With big dollars involved and a limited pool of talent, it looks like well-established rock acts (and their record labels and publishers) are going to be in the middle of some bidding wars.