SAN JOSE, California — If Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent can do it, why can't T.I.?
An industry panel at San Jose's Game Developers Conference exploring the future collaborations between the music and cell-phone industries brought news Monday that T.I. will be the latest hip-hop star with a mobile game of his very own.
"T.I. Street Racing" will feature the rapper and his PSC crew burning street races through Atlanta. The game's current prototype includes six brand-new T.I. songs. "Right now we have exclusive tracks, but the label might want to do other things with them," Paul Rehrig, Warner Music Group's head of mobile product innovation, told MTV News.
Rehrig said T.I. racked up 3 million ringtone downloads last year, and there's no question that Warner expects the game to be popular. "Most artists will probably never have enough brand power and creative muscle to have a mobile game," Rehrig explained.
Another act hoping to make that cut are Gorillaz, whose upcoming April game from Real Networks was demonstrated to the panel audience. The game skipped out on featuring the band's music and instead established its Gorillaz-ness by emphasizing the bandmembers' cartoon nature. Each is featured in one of the game's four arcade-style challenges, which are drawn in the band's trademark visual style. The game featuring wild bassist Murdoc borrowed from the old-school classic "Breakout" by placing rows of breakable blocks on the top of the screen that could be broken by bouncing a ball off of an object moving across the bottom of the screen. While the original "Breakout" used a maneuverable paddle for that lower action, the Gorillaz mobile game uses Murdoc's codpiece as the bassist glides across the screen and thrusts at the bouncing ball.
The music and mobile panel featured executives from Warner, EMI, Real Networks and Vodafone discussing topics ranging from the prospect of giving more stars their own games to making voice or text chat with your favorite musician a reward for getting the global high score in a cell-phone game. That latter idea was only theoretical, but happily endorsed by panel members.
Praise was given to some music-based mobile games not driven by stars, including a "Name That Tune" cell-phone title that puts the old game-show concept to work with ringtones, incorporating artists who may not be able to carry their own game.