The PS3 Rock Band Guitar Debacle
While most people were enjoying turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce, fans of Rock Band were lighting up the official forums. Why the uproar? Well, it turns out that the PS3 version of Rock Band has a slight issue.
You see, if you picked up the PS3 version of Rock Band on Tuesday, you’d have found out an interesting piece of information. The bundle shipped with one guitar, one set of drums, and one microphone. Of course, the game allows for 2 players with guitars, with one playing bass. Imagine the surprise of many PS3 owners when they discovered that none of the available guitar controllers will work with Rock Band on the PS3 except for the one that shipped with the bundle.
If the other PS3 owners were anything like me, I spent some serious time trying out things like the Pelican adapter for my PS2 controllers, the Guitar Hero 3 Les Paul (for PS3 and 360), and even plugging the the GH2 X-Plorer from the 360 version. None of these options elicited anything more than the ability to manipulate a few menu options.
We contacted Harmonix for comment, and received the following statement:
“Harmonix develops and bases all of our games, guitars and other peripherals on open standards established by platform manufacturers such as Microsoft and Sony. Rock Band is no exception and supports an open controller standard. Guitar controllers are like any other standard game controllers–the controller sends a signal back to the game depending on the buttons you push. If a third party game controller is based on open standards, then it should work with Rock Band as well. If certain controllers do not work with Rock Band, questions about those controllers should be directed to the peripheral manufacturer. In addition, we welcome any 3rd party software that wishes to support Rock Band guitars. If a 3rd party guitar / music game does not support the Rock Band guitar controller, questions regarding this should be directed to the game manufacturer.”
My question with this statement is this: What is this ‘open standard’ they speak of? Is it the Sony standard? If it is, why will the Sixaxis controller not work as an instrument? Is this statement their rationale for filling stores from GameStop to Wal-Mart to Best Buy with standalone copies of a game that no one has the guitars to play? The fact that EA pushed millions of copies of the standalone PS3 game out the door to retailers tells me they expect to sell them. But who will buy them if they can’t play the game (unless they have the USB mic from Boogie to make a karaoke game of it)? I understand that there are deadlines, street dates and many other considerations in releasing a game of this magnitude. However, this is a situation that Harmonix or EA should have forseen this coming to pass, and been prepared for the fallout.
What needs to happen is for Harmonix to release a patch that opens up Rock Band to all the available guitar controllers. A Rock Band forum user has posted a response they received from Red Octane (manufacturer of the Guitar Hero III guitars).
Thank you for writing us.
We are aware of the issue at hand and are looking into it. It was not something purposely designed for, but a situation that has arisen since the release of RockBand. Please have patience.
RedOctane Customer Support
Now, a forum post made today from HMXJohnlok (a Harmonix staff member) says:
“Many of you have contacted us about the PS3 edition of Rock Band–from issues with guitar compatibility to frustration that stand-alone guitars and drums for Rock Band have not yet hit stores. Please know that these issues have our full attention. We are listening and we read everything that is posted here on our forums. We are committed to providing the best play experience possible and working hard to ensure that we solve these problems as soon as possible. We promise to keep you updated and, in the meantime, we thank you for your patience.”
While there’s nothing here to get excited about, at least it shows that a resolution may indeed be possible. Since both Harmonix and Red Octane appear to be interested in working on a fix, let’s hope it comes soon. If you want to check out the discussions, you can find the original forum threads here and here, with the newest announcement from Harmonix found here. We’ve contacted Harmonix for further comment, but have yet to receive an answer. If we do, you’ll see it here.