Rock Band 3 peripherals priced, bundled

Mad Catz 102-button guitar stands alone for $150, wireless keyboard $80 on its own or $130 with game, MIDI adapter and cymbal expansions also announced.

Harmonix is trying to shake up the slumping rhythm game market with Rock Band 3 this holiday season, adding keyboards and "Pro" modes that aim to teach gamers how to play real-life instruments. That means new peripherals, and another reason for fans of the franchise to dig for their wallets.

Move over, Steel Battalion. There's a new button champ in town.

Mad Catz today gave burgeoning musicians a bit of a budgetary heads-up, detailing and pricing the initial line of official Rock Band 3 console peripherals. The only hardware bundle for this year's version of the rhythm game will include the wireless keyboard controller and the game for $130. The keyboard will also be available on its own for $80, and Mad Catz plans to have a separate (but still unpriced) keyboard stand on shelves at the game's launch.

For axmen looking to push their rhythm game skills to the next level, Mad Catz has the wireless Fender Mustang Pro-Guitar, which features 102 different buttons on the neck (one to replicate each of a guitar's six strings at 17 frets). The Mustang also features a touch-sensitive strumming area with real strings so players can pluck individual strings or cut notes short by pressing on them. Those features come with a price, as the guitar on its own will cost $150.

If that's not real enough, Fender is working on a Rock Band 3 Squier Stratocaster, a full-sized and fully functional electric guitar that will also double as a controller for the game's "Pro" mode. No price or release date for the Squier has been announced yet.

Did you say "keytar" or "geeetar" like a hillbilly?

Back to Mad Catz's offerings, the peripheral maker will also be offering a Pro-Cymbals Expansion Kit and a MIDI Pro-Adapter for $40 each. The expansion kit includes three cymbals compatible with wireless Rock Band drums and features noise-dampening rubber for quieter play. The MIDI adapter plugs in using a USB port and allows players to use their existing MIDI keyboards and drum sets in the game.

Mad Catz will also be producing updated versions of the existing Rock Band guitar, drums, and microphone controllers, though it did not announce release timing or pricing on those items. For more on Rock Band 3, check out GameSpot's first hands-on impressions.

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Discussion

134 comments
jimmychoi
jimmychoi

having played in a band for about 5 years (many, many years ago), the reason i love rock band is getting together with buddies and cranking up the music and playing together. it's the joy of playing *together* that i miss the most about being in a band. sure you can buy a real guitar (and i have a few) but playing guitar alone with an mp3 is not the same. so my advice: pick up a case of beer, invite your buds over, and fire up RB3 (pro mode). all your friends that wish that can play can actually start learning. i'm buying it all - RB3, keyboard, mad catz guitar and probably the fender tele!

syedmuz
syedmuz

And just when I was thinking of switching over to the rb series from gh series, they come up with a keyboard+game only bundle. I was hoping that I could get the full bundle of 5 fret guitar+drums+keyboard+mic+game bundle and then adding up for the 6 string guitar and the cymbals :(. Right now from my ghwt bundle only my guitar and mic works. Drums are gone. Oh well...I might just get the rb2 bundle and this rb3 bundle then the cymbals and 6 string guitar will have to wait :(

ichc1000x
ichc1000x

If only I had enough money right now, I would pre-order the Wii version with the keyboard.

vakiba
vakiba

dooes anybody know how much will cost the Rock Band 3 Squier Stratocaster guitar and if you can play with it in "normal mode" not only pro??????

bumsliepsp
bumsliepsp

a lot of you don't seem to understand or maybe have not read very well but they have a real guitar with real strings that you can play on rock band 3. you can check it out on engadget.com. it senses your finger placement on the fret and everything so it knows what string and and fret you are playing on. it is awesome but i wish i knew how much it was going to be. probably double the price of the plastic one if not more.

kpolicoff
kpolicoff

as far as the guitar goes... you might just BE playing those songs as you should on an actual guitar. If you're really good at reading tab... you might be able to actually play this and learn these songs on a real guitar. It makes sense why they'd choose this type of controller over a real guitar. You'd have to plug in the guitar, and it would have to interpret what's being played. There are many ways to play a specific pitch on a guitar. How is it going to know which fret and string is being used? It's the exact same pitch. You just can't do it without putting a touch pad down the neck of the guitar. Then there's the detection of the strumming of the strings... finger picking... it's just not feasible. This is the best way to simulate playing a guitar so the system knows that you're doing it right. Quite brilliant, really.

Anteraan
Anteraan

MIDI drum set compatible, sweet! I've been considering getting a nice, quality e-kit...and now I will. It's time to start shopping!

dimplus
dimplus

@BrickTamland314 as I see it (don't kill me if I'm wrong here) this IS a real guitar or keyboard... so... might as well buy THESE ones and benefit from the extra's which come with Rock Band 3 as a game or as a musical gadget. Personally I do appreciate the effort that Harmonix puts into finally bringing games and ' real music' together. Will it be a 100% , doubtfull, but that is not the main point, it's damn well close enough to make it worth trying. And (again, don't kill me for it if this isn't as I understand it) you will still have a guitar or keyboard if you don't play the game itself with them.... IF they are useable outside the game , seen the functions they have, that should be a pretty good option.

Jrock7
Jrock7

This is a great idea. If you want to play and have fun with friends. Play easier modes. If you want to try and learn to play real instruments. A great training tool. Rock band 2 sucked in terms of new ideas. finaleve - You don't have to play Pro. Play easy and the game will only use some keys not all. Pro is just a option if you want to really start playing with all keys.

finaleve
finaleve

The rock band pro idea sounds ok but I'm not spending money to learn how to play my guitar anymore than I have. However, the keyboard aspect is a bit interesting as it might actually help people learn better, but then I'm not exactly sure until there are some on hand stuff. The other problem is that not everyone will play Rock Band Pro, especially in a party game. They should leave Rock Band Pro for an entirely different game yet still compatible with all DLC, and have that game itself teach players while still being a stand-alone game. This way they can bundle up the whole setup with guitars or drums.

Kashmiro
Kashmiro

Any guitar you can buy for $150 would be a piece of crap, just saying. Also you pay that for the ability to try and learn a bit of real guitar through their new system. It is more pushed for people who know nothing about guitar not people who already own/know how to play.

Scottyboy771
Scottyboy771

Holy cow I payed 150 for the squier standard stratocaster that i own! Not paying that much for a fake guitar!

Zero9698
Zero9698

wow talk about realism i will get guitar hero 6 and for the first time rock band 3 but i wont get that keytar or real-ish guitar $150 wtf get a real that's what im really going to do (reguadless of what i get TIME TO GET A JOB 4REAL)

NebularDragon86
NebularDragon86

Hahah Sister Christian toward the end and Pearl Jam.

Pete5506
Pete5506

I better start saving now

pilot_riaz
pilot_riaz

@dynomitemasta - I have a Fender Squier electric guitar and yeah i would prefer to use this than having to buy another guitar for the game. They should make the electric guitars compatible, plug it in

tyco_ex
tyco_ex

Couldn't they just make a device that you can plug a normal electric guitar into and it translates the sound into code that the game can understand?

dynomitemasta
dynomitemasta

I really can't understand why they just don't use a Roland ready 13 pin midi guitar...... Fender makes them along with a bunch of other companies..... you can even retro fit any guitar with the roland pickup to become midi.....this way for those of us shredders and real guitar players we can have a game for us too, and people would be able to learn the guitar while they were at it..

SillySkeleton
SillySkeleton

The thing I'm wondering is how you're supposed to play the song by reading the notes on screen with the new guitar. I mean, reading five or so different coloured notes rolling down the screen is one thing, but 102 notes...?

kokakee
kokakee

I believe i saw a playable electric guitar with the same concept made by Yamaha.. I think..

Acurate_Bob
Acurate_Bob

wow, i cant wait to play the guitar and keyboard again, i used to for real but broke my wrist and couldnt move fingers for months, then tried and couldnt even find the correct strings and keyboard went to attic soon after too.. This could change all that, WOOOOHOOOO

dangwtf
dangwtf

man im gonna have to take out a mortgage to play this

oKiRe
oKiRe

My wish came trueeee!

youaddme
youaddme

omg! this looks so over the top! take that guitar hero! XD

MissObvious
MissObvious

OMG That guitar controller looks insane! I don't know if I would want to spend that much money on one after how fast my old guitar controllers started falling apart. :(

RE4WiiGirl
RE4WiiGirl

JUST BRING IT TO AUSTRALIA IN A BUNDLE VERSION THIS TIME!! We dont even have effin RB2 bundles available yet.......

Seiki_sands
Seiki_sands

I wonder how much it cost to make a real playable guitar with pressure and vibration sensors in it so it can be used for a game?

Cheesehead9099
Cheesehead9099

The problem with this is that Harmonix is bringing their controllers too close to the real thing. The Squier Strat that will double as a RB3 controller is a good idea since they could learn real guitar and play at the same time, but the stupid MadCatz controller seems really dumb considering that the only difference is instead of frets, they put buttons. To me it just seems like they're making it overcomplicated, but meh.. whatever. I'll just stick to my real guitar and regular ol' 5 - button rock band.

coolkid93
coolkid93

That's a whole lotta buttons. But practice makes perfect though. It's probably (most likely) going to be hard to learn though.

Byaku524
Byaku524

O_o OMFG...that's a lot of buttons. I'm a real guitarist but this is gonna be hard as hell when I try out Pro Mode. Thank god for practice mode.

RatchetV1
RatchetV1

@zzamaro "I know, you could learn how to play and have fun but that's not the point." Oh? playing a music VIDEO GAME having fun while at the same time LEARNING to play the actual intrument itself isn't the point? You have no idea how stupid you sound.

SlowMotionKarma
SlowMotionKarma

@ravenguard90 Very true. I suppose I'm still thinking of "Pro Mode" as just a harder difficulty, not a "bridge" like they're aiming it to be. Practice mode would become much more important. A few of these videos show essentially what I thought. Pressed keys seem to be denoted with a classic "bar" for timing, and there's a number next to it/them I suppose corresponds with the fret. And the interviewee said the "Expert Pro" mode was a direct analog to the actual instrument play, so if you can play it here, you can just transfer to a real instrument and do the same thing for the same effect, only "IRL." Heck, maybe I'll pick up my 'ol Strat too after this.

ravenguard90
ravenguard90

@SlowMotionKarma That's what Practice Mode is for :P But I can see where you're getting at. I always felt overwhelmed even with tabs, but the one thing I think this game has over traditional tab-to-song learning is that you can pick single segments of songs, slow it down, and learn it from that. All the while speeding it up as you go along. Rock Band is really blurring the lines between game and simulator with these new features. If they pull it off right, they may actually score big with not only the hardcore Rock Band players, but also with casual console gamers who happen to want to learn how to play the guitar or drums on their system. I've personally been struggling to learn guitar for the longest time, so I'm hoping this could be the answer for me :D

SlowMotionKarma
SlowMotionKarma

/anxious to see how Harmonix will set up the "Pro Mode" for the guitar. 102 keys to show onscreen? How confusing will that be, even if they do some sort of "tabs" setup where there are 6 lines and the key is numbered down (or up) the fretboard, it will still be hard to keep up with with the keys moving.

LiquidBullet
LiquidBullet

@Pat_Dude: No, the Keyboard's been confirmed as Midi-capable. (Pretty much states it in this article, and outright states it in either the Rock Band 3 preview or the Pro Mode interview, can't remember which). I wasn't aware the Guitar was confirmed as midi-capable as well. Wouldn't make sense for it not to be, but y'never know. Good to hear it is.

armedvigilante
armedvigilante

oh sweet a plastic guitar controler worth the amount of a real starter guitar... i mean really this is ment to teach people guitar right? why dont they just buy a real one

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

That guitar is nifty, but pricey

maverick_76
maverick_76

Man that is crazy. But I felt that for the game to expand that it needed to get a little more realistic. But honestly I think the rhythm market has been saturated at this point in time.

Pat_Dude
Pat_Dude

Hope the keyboard's got MIDI capabilities, only the guitar's been confirmed. *Crosses fingers*

DrEvilKoala
DrEvilKoala

Not only is the price for this ridiculous, but I'm also afraid that it might fall somewhere between fun and realistic. Chances are that it's too convoluted to be a lot of fun to newcomers and that it's too shallow for someone who knows how to play the actual instruments. Why would you play the game if you can play the actual instrument yourself? I think they took a risky choice here...

Bluegreen17
Bluegreen17

XD I took six years of piano when I was little, so I am RIDICULOUSLY excited for this!

gingergamer
gingergamer

so the drums are catching up with what dtx have been doing for ages?

StSk8ter29
StSk8ter29

I'm kinda wondering whether you'll be able to turn the game on to pro practice mode and sit there with a real guitar to learn the chords. Also, will it include south paw?

SteeleInd
SteeleInd

lol... How are they going to show you on-screen where to position your fingers? If there are 102 possible positions... It's going to have to be pretty convoluted. I'll stick to playing these games on Expert and play my real guitars if I want to experience "Pro mode".

Xenogear272
Xenogear272

I think what RockBand 3 is offering, is a FUN way to learn how to play instruments and thats a good idea. Some people doesn't have the patient to learn all the theory or just want to get better. But the Fender Squier sounds really interesting cause its a REAL instrument, so you can learn a song with the RockBand Pro, and then try it right away in a real amp, or maybe play it with your friends in a band, who knows...

grimtendo
grimtendo

so this will be one of the most expensive games ever?

zzamaro
zzamaro

@fetusfart18 Your point is...? Yes, what you said about "inspire a greater appreciation of music and to show people the joys of playing music" is right but...why can't they sell real guitars, fake and real guitars basically cost the same... There's nothing bad about learning to play a guitar with a videogame.