New iPhone app hopes to challenge slew of rhythm games

UMG has released “Six-String,” a new iPhone app that hopes to challenge the slew of rhythm games on the platform.

Universal is touting the app as ‘revolutionary’ but its similarities to Viacom’s “Rock Band” and even Tapulous’ “Tap Tap Revenge” are apparent. (Activision’s “Guitar Hero” does not have an iPhone application, but the basic gameplay mechanics aren’t dramatically different.)

At $4.99, the app is priced $2 below “Rock Band,” but falls far short of its musical offerings. “Six-String” ships with six tracks, including Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name,” Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” and additional songs from Fall Out Boy, Peter Frampton, The Scorpions and Orianthi. Players who want to play additional tracks must purchase them for 99 cents within the game.

The iPhone version of “Rock Band,” though, ships with 30 songs included – and has a much larger library to download additional tracks.

What makes “Six-String” distinctive is that the studio is offering the game directly to consumers, rather than utilizing a video game publishing partner. Large media companies have been eager to get a larger share of the gaming market – and the iPhone is an opportune way to test the waters.

Games developed for the platform are relatively inexpensive, so failures aren’t catastrophic. However, games for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 typically cost tens of millions of dollars, so failures there have a bigger impact on the bottom line.

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