Ubisoft has announced its popular music education game Rocksmith 2014 will be delisted from digital storefronts on October 23rd. Originally launching in 2013 as a sequel to 2011’s Rocksmith, the game garnered acclaim for innovatively teaching real guitar skills through engaging video game mechanics. Its impending removal highlights how licensing issues can impact game preservation.
Unlike plastic guitar rhythm games like Guitar Hero, Rocksmith used actual guitars as controllers. Players would play notes on-screen to perform songs while genuinely learning chords and techniques. This novel approach earned the title outstanding reviews, including an 84 Metacritic score praising its accessibility and educational value.
Licensing Rights Expiration Forces Removal Despite Just 9 Years Since Launch
However, the licensed soundtrack of popular songs now requires delisting just 9 years post-launch. On October 23rd, Rocksmith 2014 and all its DLC will be removed from digital platforms as Ubisoft’s licensing agreements expire. This urgently short window gives fans less than a month left to purchase the content.
Delisting will prevent new customers from buying Rocksmith 2014 digitally. Physical copies will still be available, but DLC access will disappear entirely. While disappointing, this unfortunately remains a common fate for games relying on licenses.
Silver linings exist, including existing owners still having download access after delisting. Additionally, Ubisoft recently launched a newer subscription-based successor called Rocksmith+ in 2022 on PC and mobile.
This newer platform features over 7,000 songs and remains a worthwhile guitar learning tool. However, its song catalogue differs from 2014 and console access is currently unavailable.
In time, maintaining licenses for aging games proves unrealistic. Companies must decide whether to renew agreements or move on. The music game’s teaching and entertainment value hopefully leaves a lasting impact beyond its shortened marketplace lifespan.
Popular games like Music 2000 on the PS1 in 1999 and more recently Rock Band revolutionised the niche, fast-forward to today and the genre is coping badly in popularity and demand.
Music fans will mourn the loss of this innovative title that made real instrumentation accessible and enjoyable for gamers and musicians alike. But the DNA of Rocksmith continues on through its subscription-based descendant. Ubisoft must now hope lightning strikes twice by evolving their music education gaming vision to stand the test of time.
Rocksmith 2014 is currently available for Windows PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
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