Lack Of Space In Stores Threatening Proliferation Of Instrument-Shaped Controllers

When XS Games decided to make “PopStar Guitar” for Wii, they intended to make a full-fledged guitar peripheral for it, a PR rep told me during a demo last week.

But retail pushed back. They weren’t willing to stock yet another large plastic instrument.

XS Games went another route and produced a small add-on easily grafted onto the already existing Wiimote.

When XS Games sat down to demo “PopStar Guitar” to Wal-Mart, for example, one of the executives spent ten minutes explaining the problem of every single publisher coming out with a new, big controller. He let out a sigh of satisfaction when the Wiimote add-on was then shown. (A GameStop rep addressed the same issue of instrument-controller clutter with Multiplayer last month.)

With Activision Blizzard having jumped into the world of full-band music games with “Guitar Hero World Tour,” are we about to see the death of new music game peripherals? There are already indicators this is happening — Konami didn’t make a guitar for “Rock Revolution.” Or, perhaps, it will simply be limited to the guaranteed moneymakers like “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band.”

Competition is good. But the sheer size of music game controllers could mean we’re about to see some stagnation in variety. Are you okay with that?

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