Sony has confirmed last week’s speculation and announced that their karaoke franchise SingStar will be going “free-to-play” at the end of October, however, the new business model will be pretty lite on the “free” side.
SingStar will launch as a free-to-download app on the PlayStation 3, and users will be given access to the store where they can try out minute-long demos of a “selection of songs”. Everything outside of those demos will cost you on a per song basis.
The game’s senior producer Chris Bruce explained the change to Gamasutra, saying:
“We did the Singstar viewer originally, which was a little application where you could go and browse the songs, and this was just a logical progression from that…”
“…it’s not strictly free-to-play. Obviously you need to buy the songs, and we have a licence to pay to the licensors, but we obviously want to get as many people trying it as we possibly can. Someone who has never bought a song before will be able to download a short demo song to give it a go.”
While it is disappointing that there is not a small selection of free songs for new users, this does seem to be an improvement over the old retail-based model that had players simply buy a whole game’s worth of tracks. I’m not normally one to praise a push towards digital distribution, but it completely makes sense for a game like SingStar.
I just wish that Sony would refrain from calling it “free-to-play”, because it is more “free-to-demo”.