Karaoke isn’t as popular as it used to be. You can find a few bars that sport a karaoke machine, but they’re few and far between. In their absence, karaoke video games have tried to fill the gap. Sony has met with some success with its SingStar franchise, but Microsoft might just be the first to nail the authentic experience – hourly rates and all.
Microsoft announced today that its partnering with The Karaoke Channel to bring a dedicated Karaoke game to Xbox Live. The game will include over 8,000 songs from just about every genre imaginable. As expected, the game will also make extensive use of avatars to add a bit of personal flourish to the activities.
“As the owner of the world’s largest licensed karaoke library and karaoke service on TV and Internet, the KARAOKE Channel will combine its expertise with the advanced capabilities of the Xbox 360 platform from Microsoft to develop the best in-home karaoke experience ever,” says Eric Boyko, President and CEO of Stingray Digital Group Inc. “Now anyone can access our vast library and sing in a fun and interactive way right from their Xbox.”
The game will support Xbox SmartGlass. Players will be able to queue up songs via a supported tablet or smartphone instead of taking up screen real estate on the TV screen.
It all sounds pretty standard as far as karaoke games go, but Microsoft is being pretty innovative in one aspect. All the songs players sing will be streamed to the console via the cloud. With over 8,000 songs, it would be kind of ridiculous to expect the system’s hard drive to hold them all anyway.
Streaming music serves a secondary purpose as well. Just like in a real karaoke bar, players will be charged by the hour to sing songs. Having to download songs would just cut into the time players have to actually sing.
Speaking of hourly rates, Microsoft says that players can buy 2, 6 and 24 hour time allotments. There’s no price set just yet, but it should be cheaper than traditional karaoke rates. Being expected to pay $25 an hour for digital karaoke seems a bit much.