Hip-hop video game integrates social networking for rap faceoffs

11 Oct 2010

4mm Games has created Def Jam Rapstar, a karaoke game linked with social networking. It will also star a host of hip-hop stars.

The developers have allowed gamers to face off against each other through hip-hop karaoke recordings on a social-networking website.

“This is actually one of the first video games to really include a social media platform, and that’s going to make all the difference because hip-hop is very social,” said Scott Steinberg, video game analyst at consultancy Tech Savvy.

The games comes with more than 40 old and new hip-hop tracks, such as Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Big Poppa’, Outkast’s ‘So Fresh So Clean,’ Nelly’s ‘Hot in Here’ and Lil Wayne’s ‘A Milli’.

The player can select a song to rap over, matching the words and pitch as a music video plays in the background.

It can all be recorded on video and uploaded to the game’s website. Users can “battle” each other to compete for votes in order to determine which version is best.

“We wanted everybody to have an opportunity to rap to their favourite songs, to rap over the hottest tracks from producers around the world and to battle people around the world,” said Kevin Liles, Def Jam Enterprises president.

Some analysts believe that the rap aspect of the game may prevent it from being a true hit, with Michael Pachter, a video games analyst at research firm Wedbush Securities saying that “rap is harder to actually do” than singing or playing a plastic guitar for other music games.

However, Steinberg believes the game is “the first game that really captures what hip-hop is all about” as opposed to other games on hip-hop culture who, he said, have been more focused on creating “caricatures.”

Def Jam Rapstar will be out in Europe on 11 November for the Xbox360, Wii and PS3.