Rock Band 2 update debuts Audition mode

Harmonix's rhythm game gains song-upload functionality for 360's upcoming Network initiative; wireless mics, background DLC downloading, more.

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In July, Harmonix announced the next evolution of its popular rhythm game platform Rock Band, taking the lid off of the Rock Band Network. Not entirely unlike the Music Studio mode that Activision debuted in Guitar Hero World Tour, the Rock Band Network will let musicians create playable versions of their own songs as part of Microsoft's XNA Creators Club and then sell those tunes as downloadable content for Rock Band 2.

Get this man a wireless mic!
Get this man a wireless mic!

While the Rock Band Network is still in closed beta testing, Harmonix took a big step today toward rolling out the full service as part of a substantial update to Rock Band 2. As part of the update, Xbox 360 gamers can now have access to Audition mode, letting them upload and test their songs created on a PC. The Rock Band Network is expected to be available for the PlayStation 3 and Wii, following its Xbox 360 debut in November.

Harmonix's update also included a number of other tweaks to Rock Band 2. Notably, Xbox 360 gamers can now use wireless microphones with the game, namely Microsoft's proprietary mic used in its karaoke rhythm game Lips. Players will also now be able to sort by star level in Quickplay mode, and Harmonix has implemented the same chord hammer-on/pull-off mechanism seen in The Beatles: Rock Band.

With the Rock Band platform having accrued more than 60 million downloads, Harmonix has also introduced the ability to queue up song downloadable content, removing the wait time between purchasing and receiving new content. Lastly, the update adds velocity sensitivity to the limited-edition Ion Drum kits for drum fills and Drum Freestyle mode.

For more on Rock Band 2, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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