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EA and Sony's Video Game/Music Convergence

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the making-it-funky dept.

Music 33

WebGangsta writes "Yahoo! News is reporting that Electronic Arts and Sony are collaborating on cross-promoting music and videogames. The just released EA title NFL Street 'will feature an original score from Sony artists X-ecutioners and tracks from Sony musicians including Korn, Fuel, Killer Mike and Three 6 Mafia. Two songs from the soundtrack will be turned into music videos featuring gameplay footage and will be released as singles for radio. To promote the game, EA said certain Sony Music releases would come with a bonus disc featuring a demo of NFL Street, and the production of the game and involvement of Sony artists will be featured in an MTV special.' This is just the beginning and an ideal way for Sony to cross-promote their artists with gamers (Amplitude, SSX3, DDR, etc)."

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33 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998532)

fp

Crap (3, Interesting)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998585)

I'm sorry, CowboyNeal, but adding Korn to NFL Street is not "making it funky." It's "making it shitty." Now I have to deal with 5-string bass garbage if I ever want to play NFL Street. Hey, how about we add some Linkin Park to NBA Street? Or I know, how about we put "Sk8er Boi" on the Tony Hawk 5 soundtrack? These songs, besides being the bottom of the pop music barrel, don't even fit in these games.

--Stephen

Re:Crap (2, Informative)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998720)

"Now I have to deal with 5-string bass garbage if I ever want to play NFL Street."
By "deal", you mean turning the music off, right? In fact, you may want to note that in EA's most recent sports game, there's control settings that allow you to turn off individual songs so you never hear them. Obviously this doesn't help if you dislike every single song and every single band on the game's soundtrack but, in that case, just turn the music off.

I don't think this story was meant to highlight a great addition to the NFL Street game but was more about how corporate synergy can create interesting marketing strategies. More of a non-story and I wasn't planning on commenting in it.

Re:Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8000462)

the above is a troll? that's funny.

slashdot moderation system: does it work? all signs point to no when you've got 15 year old kids holding personal grudges and using all their mod points on a single account.

go ahead fuckwit, i've got karma to burn and you don't have enough mod points to put me down.

Re:Crap (1)

milkman_matt (593465) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999659)

Now I have to deal with 5-string bass garbage if I ever want to play NFL Street.

Or you could always go to the playlist editor that's become so popular in these games which allow you to select which songs should be played... I mean, I can't say whether or not this game will have it, but damned near every other game out there does these days. Guess they're not forcing you to deal with anything huh?

Personally I dig the XBox games which allow you to play your own music off of the HDD.

-matt

Music Industry Shovelware, or Creative Comingling? (4, Insightful)

2Flower (216318) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998711)

The problem with this announcement is that it's basically nothing new, nothing interesting, nothing that hasn't been done before. Any schmuck can take a handful of premade music tracks across a bunch of marketable genres and shoehorn them into a game. Tony Hawk's been doing it for years; when THPS3 hit, it stopped being about 'skate culture music' and started being a commercial.

If they really want to integrate and crosspromote effectively, then they have to do one of two things...

1. Actually pick a genre or artist that makes sense for the game and be consistent about it! DDR works great because it uses dance music for a dancing game -- go figure. Same goes with the Wipeout series, which presented a techno style from the soundtrack right on down to the visuals. Wipeout wouldn't have been as good if you got Fluke and the Chemical Brothers next to Sum 41, Linkin Park, Snoop Dogg and Enya...

2. Create NEW MUSIC just for the game, specifically for the game. Sign an artist and have them work the soundtrack for you. NIN's collaboration with id for Quake produced an amazing ambient score -- more projects like that, where the music is completely tied into the concept, would sell both the game AND a soundtrack full of this never-before-sold material. This doesn't just mean get them to record any old original song, it has to integrate perfectly into the game to justify the process.

Of course, the easiest and cheapest solution is to just use the game as a dumping ground for bands the label wants to promote. And the end result is a completely forgettable, bloated, schizophrenic game soundtrack -- which looks groovy on the back of the box and sells the thing, which is all that matters. And hey, if they just care about making money (which is reasonable & proper in a capitalistic society), that's fine... but it's empty, too. Very empty.

Re:Music Industry Shovelware, or Creative Comingli (3, Interesting)

ziggles (246540) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999382)

They did create new music.

"will feature an original score from Sony artists X-ecutioners"

I've never heard of them, but it is an original score. The music changes depending on what's happening in the game. And I think the rap/hip-hop sound fits with football. I'm not sure how the regular songs fit in with the score though.

In extreme sports games (like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater), I think a soundtrack that's just singles from bands is the best idea. You can play those games forever, you're going to get sick of a soundtrack that all has the same musical theme more quickly than you will a list of 30 or so individual songs by individual bands. And unlike most other genres, you're never going to associate certain music with certain times you played the game. It's all pretty similar, it'll just blur together in your head.

But for most other genres I definitely agree an original score is always a better idea (if it's done right).

The X-Ecutioners (1)

May Kasahara (606310) | more than 10 years ago | (#8003973)

The X-Ecutioners [x-ecutioners.net] (formerly known as the X-Men) are a world-famous group of NYC DJs. They remix tracks as well as creating original works, so I'm guessing that the Korn, et al. tracks on NFL Street will be remixes, along with whatever original tracks the X-Ecutioners come up with.

Though I've heavily disliked the rock/rap collaborations the X-Ecutioners have been doing these past few years ('specially the Linkin Park one-- ugh!), I'd love to hear what they did for NFL Street.

Creative Shoveling and cornchips (3, Interesting)

August_zero (654282) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999657)

You have some good ideas here, and i more or less agree with you on all your points.

However, I really don't see the "original music" thing happeneing all that much. Instead I think we are headed for a similar situation to that of the cinema. Yes, some bands will attach a unique/new piece of music to an upcoming game but for the most part I think that the soundtrack practice is going to stay focused as a "product placement" type approach.

You hear Korn playing on Street, and maybe some people go "wow Korn is pretty cool I should buy/ download their album" Korn in essence becomes like "Doritos" or "mountain dew" only louder, and with fewer artifical perservatives.

Enya doing a game soundtrack? How about Halo 2?

Re:Music Industry Shovelware, or Creative Comingli (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8000959)

Not everybody's favorite flavor of music, but Midway Games has done this for NBA Ballers [musicbrainz.org] . Look at tracks 13 and 15 from MC Supernatural and Jurassic 5 -- both very well-known names. Many of the other track names look like they might be made just for this game.

How come Midway isn't making press releases too?

This oughta be interesting (2, Funny)

ArmenTanzarian (210418) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998725)

Just wait until congress realizes that rap music and video games are teaming up! Considering the only rap they've ever heard probably mentioned killing a cop and the only video game they've ever heard of is Vice City. It's really just a matter of time before their knees start jerking towards some moronic legislation that'll never pass.

Re:This oughta be interesting (1)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999822)

Just wait until congress realizes that rap music and video games are teaming up!

You haven't played True Crime:Streets of LA yet then...

The soundtrack [xboxhardcore.com] features a number of licensed songs from various artists, and a number of original songs from artists such as:
Snoop Dogg
Warren G.
Westside Connection (Ice Cube, Mack 10 & WC)
E-40
Coolio
Damizza
RBX and Mr. Tan
South Central Cartel
etc...

In fact, there's a hidden 'Snoop Dogg' mission, which is unlocked if you pick up 100 dog bones scattered throughout the city...

Are You Ready? (1)

blacksong5 (739815) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998736)

I am sorry but you rip on KoRn but not Fuel? Whats up with that. KoRn is a rock band that has some heavy exciting music that has a good place in games such as NFL street. I for one am glad that someone I have at least heard of is on the soundtrack...Madden 2004s soundtack was horrible i mean, a bunch of crappy garage band garbage and some no name rappers, come on giime a breack

Re:Are You Ready? (1)

blacksong5 (739815) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998773)

damn I meant to reply to the Crap thread phooey.

Re:Are You Ready? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998836)

Opinions are like assholes. And you're an asshole.

Re:Are You Ready? (0, Offtopic)

blacksong5 (739815) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999052)

ohhh well thank you very much. my day is made so much better when an anonymous person gives me there heartfelt opinion on the general state of my being. Warms the heart that someone I dont even know cares enough to tell me how they feel. Man I love the internet.

Sony or EA? Who really wins out? (1)

rogabean (741411) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998981)

While this has been going on for a while (game companies striking deals with record labels for music - i.e. Tony Hawk, BMX XXX, etc), this does mark the first time I've seen it as an exclusive deal.

I see the Propaghanda Machine hard at work.

And in the end I think it will only help EA, not Sony. Someone buying a CD might actually play the demo and decide to buy the game later. What I can not realistically see is someone buying a game, hearing a song in the game then going out to buy the CD of that artist.

Re:Sony or EA? Who really wins out? (2, Interesting)

dstyle5 (702493) | more than 10 years ago | (#8001908)

"What I can not realistically see is someone buying a game, hearing a song in the game then going out to buy the CD of that artist."

I'm not so sure that is the case. I've played a lot of NHL 2003 and I have heard some songs that I hadn't heard anywhere else that are pretty good. It's piqued my interest in some of the artists and though I haven't bought a CD from any of these artists I can't say I won't do so in the future. I also have SSX 3 and found there are some pretty good tunes in there as well.

This has been going on for years... (4, Interesting)

Torgo's Pizza (547926) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999090)

Looks like the mainstream press finally got a ticket for the clue train. Music and games have been pals for quite a while. Sure at first it was novelty songs like Pac-Man fever, but it slowly escalated. Musicians have been contributing to soundtracks for PC games for over twenty years without being noticed.

The Playstation was the first console to really take advantage of the CD medium and use it for energizing music tracks. The ball really got rolling with the Playstation release of Wipeout XL. Sony also released a soundtrack CD that featured Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, Oribital and several other groups. From there it's just expanded slowly into other games.

EA Big has been using the soundtrack concept for several years to it's advantage. SSX Tricky really stands out in my mind. In fact, EA Big increased their budget for the soundtrack licensing for SSX 3 at the expense of the voice acting budget! (Dang, and I liked having Billy Zane as the voice of Psymon.)

Well, mainstream press. I for one, welcome you to the present day. I trust you'll find our new soundtrack overlords accomodating.

Putting music where it doesnt belong. (3, Insightful)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999536)

Maybe the music belongs in NFL Street, but I'd much rather have traditional game music (ie an original soundtrack, with just music, no singing/rapping). I like rap music and I thought Madden 2004 was just obnoxious when I first played it. I don't want to here Bon Jovi's "it's my life" either. Rap/Rock music isn't what should be in a football game, themes like the NFL on FOX, ESPN NFL prime time etc make me think football.

This Panda Agrees Whole_heartedly (1)

Ultra_Panda_Bear (741863) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999687)

I agree. The recent sports games that I have played have had too much vocal in the songs. Normally I just turn the music and commentary off after a few games and turn my stereo on if I absolutely feel like I need to have music.

One enjoyable way to play that I have found is using ESPN NBA Basketball, turn off all sound except for the game action itself. Then it's all shoes squeaking, rims rattling, and the occassional ref's whistle. It's much more peaceful a game to play without the commentary noting every move and without the crowd being so noisy and excited. Basically, it reverts back to being a gentleman's game instead of this new-fangled business with the yelling.

Re:This Panda Agrees Whole_heartedly (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999953)

One enjoyable way to play that I have found is using ESPN NBA Basketball, turn off all sound except for the game action itself.

I actually do the same thing with Unreal Tournament, even though I love the music for that game, I find it easier to hear what is going on around me with the music off which is a nice advantage to have in multiplayer. :)

Re:Putting music where it doesnt belong. (1)

*weasel (174362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000879)

this is just another reason why I like my xbox so much. most games let you turn off their music, and listen to the music off the harddrive.

nothing quite like playing Grand Theft Auto to the musical stylings of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.

granted, not all games do, but it makes playable some of games that have annoying music. and it makes decent games much more fun.

feature == more games i have fun with == good feature.

oh, and if you haven't seen the previews: Rock/Rap is certainly thematically in line with this game.

It's essentially an updated NFL Blitz, played in alleyways and such. It's about as much 'football' as NBA Jam was basketball.

which isn't to say it isn't fun. I liked Blitz, and will probably rent this thing. Provided of course I can stream my own music :)

Stay away from music games (1)

sanchny (692285) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999979)

I'd hate to see this in games where the music is the main feature (DDR, Amplitude, etc.). In DDR, 99% of the music they pick is actually really well suited for it. Thankfully not that much licensed American music has made it in.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said about Amplitude. I was pretty disappointed by the licensed crap that made it in compared to Frequency. Songs by bands like Slipknot, Blink 182, Pink, Papa Roach, and others make the Amplitude songlist really weak.
Maybe they'll take a hint when sales go downhill. Or would they go up because of the recognizable music that the mainstream will gobble up?

hmm... (2, Interesting)

h0mer (181006) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000038)

Everyone seems to be against having singles show up in games, the main reason being the music is no good. I've got news for you: NFL Street/Madden/SSX/etc. are "mainstream" games. That means a lot of casual gamers will play these games and casual gamers are more likely to dig the music. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is. It's better than generic menu music, and if it bothers you so much then turn it off.

EA has done a decent job so far of using licensed music in a good way. The in-game music for NFL/NBA Street goes along with the gameplay quite well. If you don't like hip-hop/turntablism then it's not going to be appealing.

Microsoft has done the best job of using licensed music so far in Project Gotham Racing 2. You race through multiple cities all over the world, and the radio stations are real stations in those cities with the real DJs. I was impressed that WPGC 95.5 in Washington DC even had a couple go-go (club/party reggae-ish music that's huge in DC) tracks in its playlist. Plus the actual music was decent and turned me on to some new bands.

Would I have been happy if Viewtiful Joe had music from a bunch of nu-metal bands? Hell no! But if sports/racing/dance games want to use licensed music, it's a whole lot better than some generic techno the sound guy threw together.

(That statement excludes Daytona USA... DAY-TON-AHHHHHH! Let's go away!)

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8000444)

I actually like some of the J-Pop on the Yokahama track as well. It kind of brings back memories of the time I spent in Japan.

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8006354)

The Daytona USA 2001 remake is much better. Long live WaveMaster.

The EA Model (Mainstream) v. the MS Model (Indie) (1)

superultra (670002) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000085)

I'm going to sound like a rabid fanboy here, so apologies all around. I'm not, but I think that in this case Microsoft's approach is far more - dare I say - altruistic? Perhaps I'm saying this because I've already bought three albums based on the music I heard in Project Gotham Racing 1 & 2. I would've bought more if I didn't already own them (...Trail of the Dead, for example). I think that at least in terms of enjoying the game, I like having this vast library of songs that, in PGR's case, are organized by styles by way of radio stations. In the same right, I despise Korn, and if it's played even half as often as Offspring in Crazy Taxi I'll never buy any game with them in it.

I use the word altruistic carefully, since because much of the music Microsoft uses in PGR and Amped is largely "unknown" (comparetively speaking to EA's "selections") they are obviously able to procure much more of it. Moreover, it helps the artist much more than it would PGR. Who's going to go buy Project Gotham Racing because American Hi-Fi has a song in it? On the other hand, it's quite possible that American Hi-Fi will receive more penetration than they would've without PGR2. Additionally, the consumer hears music they like rather than having a single song or set songs drilled into their head with a Cross-Promotional hammer.

And, if that doesn't suit you, you can use your own music with custom soundtracks. How can you beat that?

This sounds to me more like EA and Sony having some kind of promotional screwfest that consumers received an invitation to watch than it does an attempt to make the game "better" by adding character as the music does, however, in the case of PGR and Amped. If I've heard an artist on the radio, on the Ford commercial, on the hold line to my bank's customer service, AND finally on NFL Street, it does nothing for me. There is no connection. But if the only time I've ever heard Majestic 12 not in my CD player is on PGR2, a characteristical (is that a word?) connection is made between the two. EA's mainstream approach is generic and faceless; MS's indie approach is far preferable on every single side of the equation, be it consumer, publisher, or artist.

Of course, I had heard when Amped first came out that Microsoft had not paid the artists correctly, but am unable to find anything on the net supporting that. If that were the case, everything I'd said is wrong. Whoops.

Re:The EA Model (Mainstream) v. the MS Model (Indi (2, Insightful)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000590)

"And, if that doesn't suit you, you can use your own music with custom soundtracks. How can you beat that?"
First off, you're right. This is a very nice feature. The PS2 doesn't come standard with a hard drive so this isn't really an option on a console other than the Xbox.
"EA's mainstream approach is generic and faceless; MS's indie approach is far preferable on every single side of the equation, be it consumer, publisher, or artist."
Now, I don't listen to much mainstream radio and tend to mainly just listen to older underground stuff, so let's get that out of the way first. From an advertising perspective, you're arguing that limited advertising in a single venue is better than complete cross-market saturation. This is an interesting theory but ultimately I think that you're wrong. First off, with a video game, you've got a limited audience. There are only X number of people that are going to play the game and, of that X, only a percentage will like the music and be inclined to purchase it. Whereas with market saturation, you get Y number of people hearing the music, where Y > X. I think the number of people who dismiss the music completely because they've heard it elsewhere and thus won't buy it is negligible. I mean, there had to be a first time you heard Mainstream_Artist_A just like there was a first time you heard Indie_Artist_A. Maybe you didn't like either of them the first time you heard them but let's suppose both have the potential to grow on you. The artist that's being played everywhere has a much better chance.

As for your idea that the consumer is getting screwed - don't forget that the music EA is using is called mainstream for a reason. The majority of people like the music so I don't think they'd describe themselves as getting screwed.

Final note on an already too long post, EA games are fairly notorious at this point for including an options screen for selecting which songs you want played and which ones you don't. Obviously this comes nowhere near as close to letting you play your own music of a HD but it would allow a game with Korn on the soundtrack to still be playable even if you hate Korn.

Just my two cents.

Re:The EA Model (Mainstream) v. the MS Model (Indi (1)

superultra (670002) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000974)

This is an interesting theory but ultimately I think that you're wrong.

You made some fantastic points, and you're probably right. In my indie idealistic enthusiasm, allow me to a counter point though. I hope I didn't sound like I was going as far to suggest that the consumer was somehow being "screwed," and I am most likely downplaying the fact that mainstream implies that a significant number of people like, say, Korn in NFL Street. Your formula is well thought out, you know, at least as far as music in video game formulas go, but the very mainstream nature of Korn being mainstream means that most people have already heard Korn and have made a decision about whether they'll like it or not whereas this is definitely not the case for a large majority of the music in PGR2 or Amped.

I suppose what I'm suggesting is that one more sale to Korn is worth far less than one more sale to Trail of the Dead. Likewise, exposure through a video game is far less important to a band like Korn whose songs play on half of the dial. But for a more obscure band, a game like PGR is going to allow penetration into homes that barely even know such a music market exists, let alone that the band.

You're right, but I think what I'm trying to say is that this specific example, the EA-Korn (or whomever artist) does far less to help anyone than a like agreement between MS and Simple Plan. I can't imagine anyone buying NFL Street or liking it more because Korn's in it, and even if people buy a Korn CD because they heard it in NFL Street, that sale is far less important to Korn in the long run. On the other hand, attaching a band like Simple Plan to Project Gotham Racing 2 adds specific character to PGR2 (because the player has likely never heard the song anywhere else)an when sales do occur they are more significant to the band itself. I think that the response of people, even people who really like Korn, when playing NFL Street would be a subdued, "Oh, cool. Korn, I like them." Whereas the response of people playing Project Gotham Racing 2 would be, "Who is this, I really like it!" That is to say that I think you'll find far fewer posts on message boards by people asking, "Who are these 'Korn' guys in NFL Street'? They rock!" than you will a similar question about PGR2.

Of course, this is all speculative and in the end you're probably right. Sigh.

already happening (1)

eoyount (689574) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000119)

  • P.O.D.'s latest album came with a one-song version of Amplitude for the PS2.
  • There are several GTA cds that feature music from the games.
  • Lots of other games (SSX Tricky, Shox to name a couple of the top of my head) already tell you what song you're listening to. And some are even integral to the game like Frequency or Amplitude.

But orginal or "new" music makes the game. (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8002024)

Several people have mentioned the fact that on the X-Box you can turn the music off. This kills part of the media that is the game though, in all genres. Nothing beats a game with a kick ass soundtrack of music you never heard before but definatly belongs in a game. Take for example, Final Fantasy 7, Unreal Tournament, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, etc etc.

Sure, I'm pointing to some old, and non-sports games...But look back on super techmo bowl, Joe Montana's football, etc. The sad theme music that would play during an injury or after a loss set the mood for the game. You can't replicate that by popping in your own cd.

Partnerships (1)

Sigga (743496) | more than 10 years ago | (#8029215)

EA is gobbeling up all the competition, arent they the ones that closed westwood studios, and also bought maxis?

I hate EA.

Kris Holland [mailto]

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