New York-based casual games startup OMGPop launched a new game today called “Hit Machine.”
The startup calls it an “online music rhythm game,” but really it’s yet another Guitar Hero ripoff.
Except instead of jamming with the Beatles on plastic guitars, players press the A S D J K L keys along with a bunch of punk, christian rock, and Bollywood musicians.
It’s easy to see why OMGPOP would want to get in the music game craze: Games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have generated hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for the game companies and plenty for labels, too.
But the timing is odd, given that such games are so 2007. After crossing the $1 billion sales mark in 2008, Guitar Hero sales are down 34% y/y as of July.
What’s more, there are already several free Guitar Hero clones available online. Frets on Fire is one. iPhone app Tap Tap Revenge is another. Here’s a video where you can learn how to build your own.
OMGPop CEO Dan Porter knows the timing is odd, too.
Which is probably why, when he emailed us to announce the game’s launch, Dan came prepared with such an intricate argument for Hit Machine’s relevancy.
We’ve pasted his email below. See if it doesn’t convince you:
I know you guys love to hate on the music game genre so I present to you….
Today we released Hit Machine, our online music rhythm game. So why is this news you ask?
1) I know how lots of folks like to write that the music video game genre is toast. Maybe paying $50 for a console game and plastic controls over and over again is toast but I think presented free to play the way we are, it will have some legs and be counter to the gamestop trends. It’s part of the trend from console packaged games to free to play.
2) Beatles Rock Band. Sure the classic rock behemoth might crush us but lots of kids (unlike boomers) don’t care. We went out of our way to put indie rock, christian rock, techno and even bollywood and latin songs in the game. Kids like a wide variety of music, not just the legacy classics and we built our song list for the game directly from their recommendations. The only way to compete with a giant is to creep around the edges which is what we and our little 13 person company have done.
3) Multi player. When kids from all over the world can compete and play with each other live, online, it adds a huge dimension to this game that the others will never have. Rock Band is a great party game. But if you’re a kid in his bedroom we are the only way to play live against others.
4) Artist friendly. We chose to use the real video from the artist, to help give flavour to the game and make it a music discovery tool as much as rehashing the classics. It costs us more to serve but we think it adds a little something more real.
5) Ad supported music. So far it has failed for many reasons. But we will run video ads, in the lobby while people are waiting for the next match and share the revenues with the artists. This isn’t about big upfronts but instead about working with some visionary labels and bands who see the monetization potential.
We are in talks with several major labels to release paid tracks into the game as well!
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