There was a bit of confusion this morning when the official press release for AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack hit. Unlike the New York Times story, which said the game was a Wal-Mart exclusive, there was no such mention of exclusivity in the press release. We contacted Harmonix this morning for clarification and it turns out the New York Times got it right: AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack will be released as a disc-only game exclusively at Wal-Mart.The standalone game will include 18 classic live tracks from the band's live performances for more than 99 minutes of gameplay on each instrument. And, according to Harmonix, the game will not be available as DLC only as a disc. If you buy the disc you can export the tracks from the pack to Rock Band or Rock Band 2 at no extra charge by entering a special export authentication code from the manual, though an online connection will be required. The $30 to $40 game will also be available for purchase at Sams Club in the U.S. For those living in Europe, Australia and New Zealand the game will be available at most major retail outlets, but still not online.
You're absolutely correct, and the usual internet whiners are missing the boat on the heart of the matter here.
AC/DC's stance on their catalogue is both increasingly unique and legendary in the music business. Long before RB/GH music games or iTunes, AC/DC has refused to even package their hits in a conventional "Greatest Hits" album.
"AC/DC Live" is about as close as it gets, but even then you've got Brian Johnson on vocals and for Bon Scott fans that's not good enough. Johnson famously doesn't sing Scott's signature "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll)" out of respect for his predecessor. "Bonfire" covers the Scott years in an anthology, but is more a compilation of rarities for diehards than a convenient collection of hits to crank in your car while flying down the highway.
Is it pricey? Well sure it is, by comparison, and I'm okay with that. For my money, this will be a great time with friends, and if I buy the game and they buy the beer, that's a fine evening as far as I'm concerned. I can easily rack up $40+ at the bar, so it might even save me money.
I wish it were cheaper too, but for those of you interested in the music industry as well as the videogame industry, these big-box retail deals are fairly common for A-list acts, and for all their faults almost always generate higher sales than artists who fail to secure them. The record biz is in the toilet now, and I don't blame the band and its management for milking what may be a farewell tour for all it's worth.
Kudos to Harmonix for finally reeling in one of the genre's last white whales out there. Let me do my best Bonzo and drop the Hammer of the Gods on a Zeppelin track pack and I'm yours for life.