Sony makes SingStar free to rejuvenate sales

The next game in the SingStar series launches this week – and it’s free (sort of).

The SingStar client will be available to download to the PS3 Cross Media Bar at no cost, consumers will just need to fork out for an ‘audio-input device’ and the songs.

Short demo versions of songs will be available for new customers to try out. And any current SingStar owner can use their song library. All songs can be downloaded via the SingStore, which boasts over 3,000 tracks.

The PlayStation Eye – as well as the SingStar microphones – can be used for the game.

It follows years of decline for Sony’s eight year-old karaoke title. The platform holder now hopes to attract former fans, plus a new audience, by making the product free-to-play.

Senior producer Chris Bruce told MCV: It will be interesting, to be honest. It is a bit of an unknown. Obviously we on SingStar haven’t done this kind of thing before. We are very, very excited about it, making it available to everyone in Europe. it is about broadening the audience and getting as many people singing and playing and having fun as we possible can.”

Despite the game being a downloadable one, Bruce says retail has a role to play. The audio devices will still be sold via the channel, while tracks packs are also available. And Bruce hasn’t ruled out the possibility of launching future SingStar disc.

There is still a role at retail,” he said.

A few years ago we released the SingStar Party Pack, which featured two microphones and a voucher for 20 songs from the store. So we have already been doing things at retail and testing things out in the market.

We are always looking at new opportunities, disc and stuff, to bring better content to our users in the most appropriate form.”

As well as being a major potential move for SingStar, it also marks Sony’s continued plans for the free-to-play space, which also includes CCP’s free-to-play MMO, Dust 514.

We wanted to push the boundaries. It has always been there with SingStar, you sell the tracks from the licensors, and it is a very simple thing to do. And it’s easy for players to get their heads around. Everyone is trying different things, what with tablets and smartphones. But I think in terms of consoles, you will see more and more of this stuff happening.”

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