Mad Catz to Make Wireless and Wired Rock Band Instruments

By: Sharudin Rahmat

Mad Catz will be manufacturing and distributing both wired and wireless peripherals for EA and Harmonix's Rock Band music game. The company has an agreement with MTV Games to make guitars, microphones, and drums in both wired and wireless flavors. The new instrument controllers should arrive sometime before June.

Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz, said, "This agreement with MTV Games represents a natural opportunity for Mad Catz to combine our core competencies of producing and distributing high-quality accessories with the entertaining experience of Rock Band's interactive controllers. The addition of the Rock Band license is consistent with Mad Catz' stated goal to align ourselves with the most attractive brands and highly anticipated software releases while seeking additional accessory opportunities to further diversify and grow our revenue base."

Mad Catz' instrument controllers will be produced for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PS2. Four players can play together simultaneously in Rock Band using two guitar controllers, a drum kit and a microphone. MTV Networks and its development studio Harmonix have run into problems with Rock Band controllers since the game's US release in November 2007.

According to Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopoulos, Rock Band "takes the core promise of Guitar Hero and expands it tenfold." Because there's some financial clout behind this little venture, you'll get the real deal: no more cover bands. Rigopoulos says, "We'll be covering a great breadth, from metal to classic rock to Southern rock to everything in between.

Rock Band has been described as "a new platform for music fans and gamers to interact with music, challenging users to master the lead/bass guitar, drums and vocals as solo artists or cooperatively as part of their own band."

According to Major Nelson's blog, new tracks were released for Rock Band early in January. This is in addition to the budget-priced releases that also hit the PlayStation store. The new songs include:

1) Gimme Three Steps by Lynyrd Skynrd
2) Hard to Handle as made famous by the Black Crowes
3) Limelight as made famous by Rush

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