MTV Creating Beatles Video Game

MTV owned Harmonix creating the new Beatles game, which will not be a spin-off of the company's popular Rock Band franchise, but rather a standalone title.

MTV, which owns video game publisher Harmonix, creators of last year’s hit Rock Band, inked a deal with Apple Corps Ltd. to produce a Beatles music video game. While a release date is still up in the air, it is expected to be ready in time for next year’s holiday season.

The new game will not be a spin-off of MTV and Harmonix’s Rock Band franchise, but will rather be a standalone, focused on the music of the Beatles. Much as in Rock Band, players will be jamming along with the music, which will span the entire career of the legendary band, on instrument peripherals.

The deal marks the first time that Beatles music has been available outside of traditional delivery formats. The Beatles are yet to license any of their music for digital download such as through Apple iTunes, and the deal with MTV is the first time their music will be available in a video game. Jeff Jones, CEO of Apple Corps. Said on a conference call that the company is “still working out the details” about distributing the band’s music through a digital service.

While it was not spelled out in the call it is understood that music featured as part of a game--even a music focused game such as Rock Band or Guitar Hero--is less likely to be pirated than other content delivery systems.

The deal is also something of a coup for MTV, which already made a splash into the video game world last year with Rock Band. The new Beatles game is only likely to boost the company’s new and interactive media credentials.

“This is our boldest move yet, it is a thrilling day for us,” said MTV Networks Chairman and CEO Judy McGrath, on the call with reporters. “40 years ago John, Paul, George and Ringo showed us music can change the world. I know every song, and with all respect to Yoko, I wrote Ms. John and Judy Lennon in all my schoolbooks.”