Long before Guitar Hero rocked the world, soundtracks in the likes of WipEout, FIFA and Tony Hawk’s brought music to a new audience, and were the catalyst for some of the most successful games on the market.
“PlayStation pioneered the use of licensed music to enhance the gaming experience, with the success of WipEout back in 1995,” explains SingStar’s UK product manager Lucy Garnett.
“Gaming and music cultures couldn’t have been further apart back then. But that didn’t stop the development team from pushing the music companies and the marketing department, to help them realise their vision of what would become a benchmark title, widely credited for making the PlayStation brand – and gaming in general – cool.”
Sony was the pioneer of music and game collaborations, helping to boost the popularity of bands such as Iron Maiden, Prodigy and Daft Punk. Sony was also one of the first companies to release a dedicated game soundtrack.
Yet this was only the beginning. It wasn’t long before music became integral to the gameplay experience, with the likes of Dancing Stage and Guitar Hero bringing gaming to the mass market long before Nintendo’s Wii.
“Dancing Stage was the first of its kind, and made people look at how music could be used in games,” says Konami’s UK general manager Pete Stone.
“Instead of just a soundtrack, the licensed and home-grown music featured in the games played an integral part in the gameplay. The faster the music, the harder the game, and the result is a symbiosis between music and gameplay that had never been experienced before. Over the years, this has been expanded massively and with the benefit of easily accessible online gameplay, Dancing Stage has become a social title that is perfect for booting up when a few friends are over or online.”
Disney Interactive Studios’ head of marketing Keely Brenner adds:
“Musical games such as our High School Musical franchise really benefit from people playing together in a fun, social environment. These types of titles broaden gaming’s audience to include everyone from kids to grandparents, bringing family and friends together.”