When the first Guitar Hero hit the shelves back in 2006, artists weren't exactly queuing to be featured in the game, and the original track list featured mostly covers of famous songs. Since then, however, the series has gone from strength to strength with Guitar Hero surpassing the $2 billion mark in sales and rival series Rock Band reaching $1 billion in sales in North America alone.
With both companies waving around big wads of cash, they've been able to attract some of the biggest names in rock and pop music to have their original music to be featured in the game. This has led to artist-featured versions, including AC/DC and Van Halen, and even the file-sharing haters Metallica have lent their name to a game.
Not everyone is happy about the rhythm game revolution, however. NME reports that the White Stripes' Jack White and legendary guitarist Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin both had a pop at Guitar Hero at a conference in Los Angeles.
"It's depressing to have a label come and tell you that [Guitar Hero] is how kids are learning about music and experiencing music," said White. "If you [the artist] have to be in a video game to get in front of them, that's a little sad." Page also chimed in, adding that he can't imagine people are learning about playing real instruments from the games. "You think of the drum part that John Bonham did on Led Zeppelin's first track on the first album, 'Good Times Bad Times,'" he said. "How many drummers in the world can play that part, let alone on Christmas morning?"
White and Page aren't the first stars to have a dig at Guitar Hero. Rock-funk legend Prince turned down an offer to licence songs for Guitar Hero earlier this year, citing "principle" as the deciding factor. "I just think it's more important that kids learn how to actually play the guitar. It's a tough instrument--it's not easy. It took me a long time, and it was frustrating at first. And you just have to stick with it, and it's cool for people who don't have time to learn the chords or ain't interested in it, but to play music is one of the greatest things."
Though Page's remarks may have dashed hopes for a Guitar Hero Led Zeppelin, arguably the biggest group of all time, famous digital holdouts The Beatles have their own Rock Band coming out this September.