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Friday, May 23, 2008
"Guitar Hero" Gets Drums, Microphone

Activision is adding drums, bass guitar, and microphone to its popular "Guitar Hero" video game.

"Guitar Hero World Tour" will include the ability for two groups of four people each to compete online, as well as let players compose and play their own music, Activision said on Thursday.

The game will feature songs from bands such as Van Halen, The Eagles, Linkin Park and Sublime, with every song being an original master track, unlike past games where many of the songs were cover versions.

Due out in the fall, the game will mark a new direction for the "Guitar Hero" franchise, in which players push colored buttons on a plastic guitar-shaped controller to match notes on the screen.

Activision's franchise got its first real competition last November when Viacom's MTV unit launched "Rock Band," which featured drumming and singing in addition to guitar playing.

The "Guitar Hero" series has raked in more than a billion dollars for Activision and has helped drive a 72 percent rise in the company's stock over the past 12 months.

Activision did not say how much the new game will cost. Last year's "Guitar Hero 3," which came with one wireless guitar controller, sold for about $90. "Rock Band," which came with one guitar, a drum kit, and a microphone, sold for $170.

Next month will see the launch of "Guitar Hero Aerosmith" focusing on the best-selling American rock group, as well as a portable version called "On Tour" for Nintendo's DS handheld device.

"Guitar Hero World Tour" will come out in versions for Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 consoles.

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