By Thomas Puha 02/26/2007 While it has yet to take off in the U.S., the SingStar franchise has sold in the excess of three million copies in Europe, making it a runaway success for Sony. With each new version that gets localized for various European countries (complete with popular local songs), sales rise and keep the franchise growing. While SingStar is not something that hardcore gamers are into (or are they?), it's a money-spinner for Sony that will see releases on PS2 until late 2008.
The PlayStation 3 version of SingStar is a major step forward for the franchise. The PS2 versions are basically updates with new songs, but the PS3 version brings a lot of new features to the table.
Besides a completely new look, the biggest feature of the SingStar experience on PlayStation 3 is the game's internet capability. No, you can't playback your downloaded mp3s. Rather, the entire back catalogue of SingStar songs, which is over 350 songs deep, will be available from the SingStar Store for a small fee. The SingStar Store is tied to the PlayStation Store, offering the same method of payment but coming with its own interface. The game will come packed with new songs on a Blu-ray disc with artists like U2 and uh, Britney. After SingStar's launch in June, singles will be downloadable from the SingStar Store around the same time they are available in stores, with new songs promised on a weekly basis.
SCREENS: The SingStore will have its own user interface and allow you to purchase different songs through the PlayStation Store. [Click the image above to check out all SingStar screens.]
Community features are a big part of the new SingStar. By using the forthcoming EyeToy USB-camera, it will be possible to record video and audio, or take photos, which you can share online through My SingStar. Here other users can check out your own profile and add you as a friend. You can share your performances with other SingStar singers and also upload your scores to compare them with other user performances. There is also additional downloadable content such as skins, artist imagery (which can be used as wallpapers), and voice effects.
The new wireless Bluetooth microphone is confirmed to be released post-launch, so one would assume that the current USB-connected SingStar mic is compatible with the PS3 version.
The community features, and the possibility of downloading exactly the kind of songs you want, are big benefits, but the singing experience is essentially the same that you get on the PS2 (and for far cheaper). Still, this is going to be a key title for Sony in expanding the PS3's user demographic. Considering just how crazy folks still are about American Idol and other such programs, it's hard not to see this game becoming a success.