updated 12:30 pm EDT, Thu October 30, 2008
Beatles Rock Band in 2009
The Beatles today confirmed that the first computer-focused release of their music will come through a deal with Rock Band maker Harmonix as well as its partner MTV. The unnamed title, now said to be separate from the Rock Band series in contrast to earlier claims by others, will be devoted solely to the Beatles and should represent a progression through their music. Both of the surviving Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, have contributed input to the project along with widows Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono Lennon.
The game is due late in 2009 and "broadens the appeal" of the Beatles to include a more modern audience who can get involved with it first hand, McCartney says.
Official word of the deal represents a major landmark in the British band's catalog, which has been available in digital form on CD but has never been offered online or in an interactive form. McCartney and others directly or closely involved with the Beatles have settled previous disputes with Apple Inc. and said they hoped for an online store release as soon as 2008, but the news of a 2009 release for the Harmonix game now suggests a similar schedule for releases on iTunes or any other online store are more likely in the new year.
The deal also represents heated competition for music tie-ins with gaming, which have increasingly seen groups release singles or whole albums as playable songs along with regular releases: Metallica's Death Magnetic was released as a downloadable item for Guitar Hero III simultaneously with the stand-alone album's release in stores, while other bands have followed suit with smaller-scale releases.