ARI SHAPIRO, host:
The Beatles could soon be coming to a video game near you. The Financial Times reports that two big game makers are in talks with the owners of the Beatles music to create a Beatles music video game. Edward Woo is a video game analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities.
Thanks for joining us.
Mr. EDWARD WOO (Video Game Analyst, Wedbush Morgan Securities): Great.
SHAPIRO: Well, these reports say that the two big names in the music video game world - "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" - are competing for the Beatles music. And it seems like it just says something that this august newspaper - the Financial Times - is talking about the video game "Guitar Hero." This has really become a market phenomenon, hasn't it?
Mr. WOO: It really has. You know, music-based video games have always been around. But it's really with the launch of "Guitar Hero" three years ago that really catapulted it from a little bit of a, you know, smaller niche within the sector to become one of the biggest sectors within video games.
SHAPIRO: Why are these music video games growing so fast?
Mr. WOO: I think there's always been a lot of appeal to music. You know, people always love to listen to it. People love to sing it. What happens is that video game is very interactive, and the chance to do more than just listen to music is very appealing. Plus, I think it also brings out the inner rock star in all of us. You know, who's never dreamt about performing on stage and wailing away in front of a big crowd of, you know, screaming fans?
SHAPIRO: Beatles fans tend to be baby boomers. The "Guitar Hero" crowd, I would think, tends to be a bit younger. Where's the intersection here?
Mr. WOO: The intersection is, you know, just the timeless lure of the music of the Beatles. I mean, you're right. It's definitely a different generation when they first launched. But with the popularity of music these days, it always seems like people like to go back to the classics.
Another trend in the video games market right now is the move towards really spanning the market from, you know, the traditional young male gamers to all ages and across, you know, both sexes. And Nintendo has shown a lot of success with the Nintendo Wii to really broaden that demographics. And with the introduction of "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band," it really has brought in the appeal of what people think of, just young males playing young video games by themselves, to make it more of a social game-playing experience.
SHAPIRO: The folks who own the Beatles repertoire are famously reluctant to let other people use the music. In fact, the Beatles songs still aren't even available on iTunes. Why would they team up with the video game company?
Mr. WOO: I do agree that they've been very hesitant, but I think the tidal wave of everything moving towards digital will eventually get them to turn as well. Because, you know, as much as they want to have control over their music, they also recognize that they have a little bit of an obligation to share the music with an entire new generation who is not going to be buying a CD or buying a record but going to be, you know, listening to it on their iPods and going through iTunes. And in terms of being able to offer it on video games, that's another step in that direction.
Of course, the Beatles are going to really control how the game is going to be played out and how much they wanted to (unintelligible). But I think eventually they're going to have to do that, because otherwise they're going to be left out of entire future generations who will not be able to have the enjoyment and pleasure of listening to their music.
SHAPIRO: Edward Woo is a video game analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities. Good talking with you.
Mr. WOO: Great talking to you.
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