SingStar reborn as free in-XMB app – “A pretty logical progression” says game director

SingStar is being repackaged as a free in-XMB app, ditching the disks and moving into a digital only future. We spoke to game director Chris Bruce to find out more.

SingStar’s free-to-play future

Bruce explains the new SingStar saying, “It’s going to be a free download, direct from the XMB across all the SCE territories. It’s not strictly free-to-play but the game, the actual front end itself, is free. You’ve got access to the full 3000-song catalogue”. At the moment the track pricing will stay the same but Bruce thinks, “We might do some price promotions so there’ll be some sales coming up in the future”.

One new feature players will be able to take advantage of as a result of the move to digital are new free demo songs. “People will be able to download and play short demo songs for free, up to about a minute,” says Bruce. “It won’t be the full catalogue that’s doing it. It’ll just be a selection of songs and we might add to those and change them as we move forward. It’s so people can have a bit of a go and taster. Hopefully we’ll get loads of people singing and playing”.

Another new trick is the ability so sing directly into the PS3′s camera. “One of the big changes we’ve made is people can sing into the PlayStation Eye so they can use the microphone on that,” says Bruce. “What we do see is people uploading videos in big group experiences at parties, load of people singing along so the camera’s perfect that. Obviously we still support the official SingStar wired and wireless mic and most USB mics as well”.

Other than that it’s basically business as usual. “Anyone who’s been using the PS3 disks will recognise it immediately. We’ve made a few little changes so people can get playing songs even quicker, and also find their favourite songs. We’ve got a simple recommendations element we’ve brought in. So there are a few little tweaks and changes here and there across the front end, but to anyone who’s played it before it’ll be totally recognisable”. And you’ll still be able to use all your old SingStar disks: “All the backwards compatibility of the PS3 and PS2 disks is all there, the disk swap feature is right on the carousel so that should be easier to find”.

Bruce describes the move as, “A pretty logical progression,” adding “I think it’s very exciting for us. We’ve been here for 8 years now, we’ve distributing songs in the SingStore for 5 years, and it’s really just the next step on from that. Hopefully we’ll be sitting here in another 7 years and celebrating 15 years of SingStar, and doing something equally as exciting to an even bigger marketplace”.