Beatles videogame: Yoko Ono speaks, insiders mull band’s digital future

The exciting news and rumors about the Beatles’ hitting the digital video game consoles has dominated this site this past week or so.  It’s been interesting that we’ve heard very little from the members of The Beatles’ camp itself.   is one of the first to comment about the exciting opportunities that the video game format brings for Beatle fans.

Through her art, Yoko is all about immersion and experience for the audience members.  This is a logical extension.  Rock Band allows the fans a new way to take part in the music that is so important.  I also think this game will expedite the digital future for the Fab Four.  I think we will see things speed up towards a future that is ripe with iPods full of remastered Beatle tunes in the near future.

We’ll have to wait and see.  For now, I’m just enjoying the ride.

Here’s what we’ve read.

After 17 months of negotiations and signoffs with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and George Harrison’s widow, Olivia, it was announced last week that the Beatles will star in a videogame that has been authorized for a Christmas 2009 release. It’s the result of a partnership between MTV and Harmonix (the companies behind Rock Band) and the Beatles’ business enterprise, Apple Corps Ltd. And, like anything involving the Fab Four, securing the deal was no small feat. But Ono tells EW exclusively that it makes perfect sense. “All of us are actually pretty hip, so we said yes,” she says. “I’m personally very excited. [The game] lets you participate in a way where you’re really [immersed in] the music. With so many young kids into the Beatles, it’s a start to a beautiful new page in [the band’s] history. Maybe they’ll start to make music and not just listen to it, and really understand what it’s about.”

The players involved are keeping mum on specifics, but rumors are starting to spread about what the game might look like, how many tracks it could include, and whether it will introduce new peripherals. On a conference call to announce the deal, Apple and MTV would only detail that the game will span the band’s entire career, with visuals accompanying each musical turn, as EW previously reported. Since then, there has been talk of 45 songs (that won’t be available for download, according to Billboard), and possibly a keyboard component, neither of which MTV would confirm. But one longtime Beatles associate says you can count on it being revolutionary. “When it comes out, it’s going to be like Sergeant Pepper’s,” predicts former Apple Records exec Kan Mansfield, who recently authored The White Book, about his time as the Beatles’ U.S. liaison. “It’ll be something different and totally innovative — what a Beatle product should be.”

But while the Beatles were long hailed for being ahead of their time, the band has been surprisingly reluctant to enter the digital age — none of their tracks are available for legal download anywhere on the Internet, and if you were to buy The White Album on CD today, it would essentially be the same product released in 1987. So does their foray into the world of gaming, of all places, mean we could finally see their catalog hit iTunes — or another digital platform, maybe their own? — sometime before the next century?

Ono, who knows a thing or two about reaching younger generations — she’s currently riding a No. 1 dance hit with “Give Peace A Chance” (The Remixes) — prefers not to comment on rumors of progress on that front. But some speculate there’s reason for optimism. “The Love show continues to sell to full capacity in Las Vegas, 30 million people watched American Idol’s Beatles night, and now there’s this game,” says Martin Bandier, head of Sony/ATV Music Pub­lishing, which controls more than 250 Beatles copyrights. “I think there’s a changing wind — and that this will naturally lead to other opportunities no one even thought about.”

Source: Hollywood Insider


4 Responses

  1. I’m so excited to see this. I’m glad so many people my age are so into the Beatles that a game like this is actually worth making. Something from Freddie and the Dreamers, not so much. But the Beatles are still going strong!

  2. I’m not excited at all about the game but just the fact that more of their digital catalog is flowing out of Apple. This is a sure sign that the remixed/remastered cataloge is on it’s way!!!

  3. If it brings in new younger fans, all the better.

    Beatle Bob
    (Bootleg reviewer on Bootlegzone, 910, Beatleglist, etc)

  4. Well, I’m not too excited about Beatles games. To me, that’s sort of Madonna and U2’ish. You know, dedicated followers of fashion and keeping up with the trends. Remember that The Beatles invented fashions in the 60’s, everybody else followed The Beatles. But then again, I don’t really mind it, I’m just not very excited about it. I’m looking forward to the remastered catalog though. The CD’s with crispier sound quality.

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