The first band to get to get its very own version of MTV's video game "Rock Band" will be AC/DC. The hard-rock icons will be featured in "AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack," an expansion to the popular music game that will be sold exclusively at Wal-Mart for PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii.
The 18-song Track Pack will contain songs from AC/DC's "Live at Donington" DVD (recorded in 1991) and is scheduled to ship in November for $40; it will be released in Europe, Australia and New Zealand in December. Despite the game's designation as a Track Pack, the Wal-Mart Web site indicates that it is a "stand-alone" effort, not requiring ownership of either "Rock Band" or "Rock Band 2" (it requires instruments, of course).
Until now, AC/DC's music has rarely been featured in today's music games, appearing only once in "Rock Band 2" and not at all in "Guitar Hero." AC/DC's "Rock Band" treatment balances the move last summer by Activision that made Aerosmith the first band to get its own version of "Guitar Hero."
While Activision indicated in an address to investors that Metallica will be getting its own "Guitar Hero" as well, "Rock Band"'s special-treatment strategy had previously seemed to focus not on bands but on albums; classic Judas Priest and Pixies albums have already been released as downloadable content for the MTV game. In August, Entertainment Weekly reported that several more albums, including the Foo Fighters' The Colour and the Shape and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik, are coming to "Rock Band." In an apparent move to counter that strategy, Activision secured a deal with Metallica to release the band's new Death Magnetic album as downloadable content for "Guitar Hero."
The AC/DC pack won't be sold in game stores or any retailers other than Wal-Mart. What's a consumer in Wal-Mart-less New York or Los Angeles to do? MTV and Wal-Mart are considering opening up "temporary shops" in those cities to help sell the game. The game will also be sold on Wal-Mart's Web site and at its affiliate Sam's Club.
The Wal-Mart Web site indicates that the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the Track Pack will come with a code that allows the songs on its disc to be digitally imported into "Rock Band" or "Rock Band 2," eliminating the need to swap discs for gamers who want to play songs both from this AC/DC spin-off and the core "Rock Band" games.
The "Rock Band" arrangement with Wal-Mart comes on the heels of the retailer securing an exclusive deal to sell AC/DC's new album Black Ice, which will be available only through the chain in late October.
Full track list for "AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack," according to Wal-Mart.com; all songs are from the "Live at Donington" DVD:
"Shoot to Thrill"
"Back in Black"
"Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be"
"Fire Your Guns"
"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"
"Whole Lotta Rosie"
"You Shook Me All Night Long"
"Let There Be Rock"
"Highway to Hell"
"For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)"