Is Downloadable Content the Best Way for the Future for Rock Band?

So, I just bought and downloaded Bulls On Parade by Rage Against The Machine as DLC for Rock Band 2.  This got me thinking:  Is releasing songs through downloadable content the future of music games?  Is it better than releasing a new game on disk with 80 songs or so every year or 2?

The advantage of downloadable content is the user gets to pay for only the songs they want.  They don’t have to download songs from The Pixies if they don’t want to (no offense to The Pixies).  But there are disadvantages.  If you want to play online with friends (up to 3 friends plus you), then each friend has to have downloaded and paid for the same song you did if you want to play it online with them.  Also, in World Tour, downloadable songs are limited to Make a Setlist and Mystery Setlists.  They can possibly show up in the Challenges too or in Battle of the Bands setlists.  They do not show up in Endless Setlists or as single songs in venues in World Tour.

The advantage to releasing new games (on disk) with songs is your friends who are into Rock Band (or Guitar Hero) will buy the game anyway if they want to play online with you.  You don’t have to worry about them downloading the same song(s) as you did and as your other online friends.  If they bought the game, they get those new songs that came on the disk.

I find it rare that the songs I download are downloaded by the friends I play Rock Band with online.  Usually those downloaded songs are limited to being played only in local multiplayer at home.

Maybe I’m overthinking this or overlooking a piece to this discussion.  What do you think?  Sound off below in the comments section.

Things That Would Rock in Rock Band 3

We appreciate the improvements Rock Band 2 had over Rock Band 1, better drums, wireless instruments, getting rid of the band leader requirement, including drum trainer, and the improved sorting abilities (which Rock Band’s store has had).  With rumors of Rock Band 3 being in the works, we’ve compiled a list of things that would “rock” in Rock Band 3.

  1. More Sorting Features:  Sort by purchase/download date would be one awesome addition for sorting, especially for downloaded songs.  And with the ever-increasing amount of songs in Rock Band’s Store, this feature is becoming a must.
  2. Personal Rating System:  Having the ability to personally rate each song in the setlist and sorting by that rating would be very cool for “Rock Band parties.”
  3. User-Created Family Safe Mode:  The Rock Band franchise can be easily made family-friendly by allowing users to rate songs as family-friendly or not family-friendly.  Don’t be mistaken, LEGO Rock Band IS much-more family friendly than Rock Band 1 & 2, but what one family considers appropriate is not necessarily the same as another family’s opinion.  Allow the user to decide.
  4. SAVED User-Created Setlists/Playlists:  In Quick Play or for Make Your Own Setlists in Tour, we should have the option to save the setlist.  Saved User-Created Setlists/Playlists would be a nice feature to help impress your friends and make chosing the right song(s) quicker at Rock Band parties.
  5. Ability to Easily Change Instruments Without Logging Out and Logging Back In:  Why haven’t Guitar Hero and Rock Band done this already?  If more than one profile is logged in, having a profile change instruments is a pain.  There needs to be a way to change instruments in an easier manner.
  6. A (Balanced) Veto System For Mystery Setlists and Possibly Also Cities:  Ever get into a mystery setlist and come up against a song that was impossible to beat on the difficulty setting you chose?  A 1-song-veto option per mystery setlist would be much appreciated.  Again, you only get to veto 1 song per mystery setlist.  The same idea could be implemented for a city.  You get to veto one song per city and swap it out with a song of equal difficulty of your choice.  This was songs like “Visions” can be avoided by those of us who despise playing it.
  7. Replace the Failing System With Something Else That Makes More Sense:  “Failing” out of a song is so “last-gen”.  Something else that makes sense should be used.  Failing out doesn’t make sense anyway for playing a gig… If one can only beat a song with 2 stars, so be it, but they should LOSE fans and be docked in pay because of it.  That is just one idea that could make sense.  If a user does very poorly on x number of songs in a venue, they could be banned from it, but with a way to earn access back into that venue (maybe by doing better at another… just a thought).
  8. Allow the Ability of a One User to Control What Songs Are Chosen:  Ever play with someone who can’t help but to wail on the drums when you’re helplessly trying to choose what songs you’re going to play in a setlist?  How annoying.  If there was a way to only have one user’s input control what songs are being chosen, then that crazy wailing drummer could whack their drums as much as they want.
  9. Make Sure Easy Mode Isn’t Too Hard:  While most of us who have played Rock Band for quite some time are likely used to playing on Hard or Expert, making sure Easy mode isn’t too hard for beginners is a must, especially for drums.  We don’t think people playing on Easy will ever complain that it’s too easy, because when they start to feel that way, they move to Medium.
  10. Adaptive Difficulty Mode:  Here’s an idea… allow for an adaptive difficulty mode to be turned on/off.  The user chooses the difficulty level to start with and then as the song progresses, the difficulty level gets easier or harder depending on how well the person does in the song.

 Love or hate any of these ideas?  Sound off in the comments section below.