The Beatles: Rock Band vs. Guitar Hero 5 vs. ... Courtney Love?

Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week

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This week's Trendrr chart takes a look at Twitter buzz surrounding the current epic battle of the video games: "Guitar Hero 5," released on Sept. 1 (in the U.S.; Sept. 11 in Europe), and "The Beatles: Rock Band," released this past Wednesday. A few notes:

  • The games theoretically appeal to different demographics -- with the Beatles game obviously skewed toward boomers -- but they curiously both maintained roughly the same amount of Twitter buzz throughout August and early September (e.g., on Sept. 2: 1,799 Twitter posts about "Guitar Hero 5" vs. 1,688 for "The Beatles: Rock Band").
  • Synergy, baby! "The Beatles: Rock Band" presumably got a major boost from the simultaneous release on Wednesday of the band's entire catalog (in remastered stereo and monaural editions). "Guitar Hero 5" only showed a moderate boost in Twitter buzz on its release date (with 1,628 tweets on Sept. 1, vs. 1,222 for "The Beatles: Rock Band"), whereas the Fab Four's video game skyrocketed on its big day (14,931 tweets).
  • Both games generally have been very well received, but it's worth noting that "The Beatles: Rock Band" has gotten some outright rapturous reviews -- like the one from New York Times video game critic Seth Schiesel, who wrote, "By reinterpreting an essential symbol of one generation in the medium and technology of another, 'The Beatles: Rock Band' provides a transformative entertainment experience. In that sense it may be the most important video game yet made." Damn!
  • Watch for breaking news involving a certain rock-star widow to cause a new surge of buzz for "Guitar Hero 5." As MTV's Multiplayer blog reports, Courtney Love seems "primed for a legal rampage" over the inclusion of Kurt Cobain's likeness in the game, with Love tweeting her rage against Activision, the publisher of "Guitar Hero 5." Then again, at one point, Love tweeted, "so yeah get over your fucking selves til my lawyer is ucking FOUND as hes LOST somehwere in china and we need him to fucking check IN." Late this morning, MTV updated its report with this addendum: "Activision reached out with their official comment: 'Guitar Hero secured the necessary licensing rights from the Cobain estate in a written agreement signed by Courtney Love to use Kurt Cobain's likeness as a fully playable character in Guitar Hero 5.'"

Stay tuned.

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Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week is produced in collaboration with Wiredset, the New York digital agency behind Trendrr, a social- and digital-media tracking service. More background here. A basic Trendrr account is free; Trendrr Pro, which offers more robust tracking and reporting tools, comes in various paid flavors (get the details here).

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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