Wii will shred 'Rock Band,' starting June 22

The music video game, created by MTV's Harmonix and distributed through Electronic Arts, will be taking the stage on Nintendo Wii consoles this summer.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read

It's only rock 'n roll, but Wii like it. Harmonix, the game developer acquired by MTV Networks to create the Rock Band video game, announced Monday that the software will be available for Nintendo's Wii console on June 22. Currently, versions of Rock Band have been created for Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3.


Rumors of a Wii edition of Rock Band first started to circulate early last month. The game was originally released in November amid the soaring popularity of Activision's Guitar Hero franchise, which had a Hollywood-worthy $115 million opening weekend for its most recent game, Guitar Hero III. MTV's Rock Band puts a spin on the concept by letting participants play bass, drums, and vocals in addition to guitar.

Despite the inherent similarities to Guitar Hero, Rock Band has been a huge hit, too.

But, just like a rerun of Behind the Music, the guitar-playing video game craze has been ridden with drama. Harmonix developed the original Guitar Hero, but MTV Networks acquired it in 2006 to create rival Rock Band and distribute it through gaming mega-publisher Electronic Arts. Meanwhile, guitar manufacturer Gibson Guitar has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of both Guitar Hero and Rock Band as well as six major retailers--according to Gibson, it's held a patent on a guitar-playing video game since 1999.

So far, none of the gaming console manufacturers--Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo--have been targeted by Gibson's suit.

The June 22 Rock Band Wii release will encompass the U.S. and Canada markets, and a core bundle (software, drums, microphone, and one guitar) will cost $169.99. Standalone instruments will also be sold. It'll feature a lineup of 63 songs, including five exclusive to the Wii.