The American SingStore will feature over 200 songs for the US launch. However, it will be slightly different than the European Store."It's because of different broadcasting standards," a SCEA producer told us. Some content that's appropriate in Europe may not be accepted here in the States. The plan is to update each month with 25-50 new songs.
An exciting direction for the US SingStore is a new focus on independent music. Indie bands can create videos for distribution in the SingStore, with Sony taking care of rights and clearance. The SingStore will also expand to include support for song packs in the future. Like Rock Band, song packs may include discounts. Full albums are being considered as well.
SingStar initially launches in the US, players will be required to download a patch, approximately 20MB in size. This will enable the features of the European SingStar Vol. 2 for the American release. This patch will add an enhanced Duet mode, which adds harmonies into Duet tracks. Remote Play has also been added: you won't be able to play the game, but you will be able to access the SingStore, queue up downloads, and visit the My SingStar Online community.
Unlike the SingStore, My SingStar Online will be a global affair. User-created videos can be uploaded and seen by the entire worldwide community. "If you want to see what the latest and greatest thing in Germany is, you can see it ... it's a really great Fanboy site," we were told.
My SingStore Online videos are limited to 30 seconds each. The community is user-moderated, and the moderation menu can be brought up quickly via the Select button. Incidents have been very few in Europe, but we have a feeling that the American audience may experience a bit of ... immaturity (look at Burnout Paradise, and Xbox Live, as examples).
Both My SingStar Online and SingStore will receive a few enhancements with the required launch-day patch. New "top 10" lists will inform the community about which songs are the most popular, and which user-generated videos are popular every week. Searches will be easier with the community, so players can narrow the searches by language, artist, etc.
We're very excited for the upcoming US release of SingStar. The presentation is incredibly sleek (look at the revised PLAYSTATION Store for an idea of what the menus look like), and the gameplay is still the best for passionate singers. The price for each song is rather reasonable, and the plans to expand the Store are quite ambitious. We already have our PS2 SingStar microphones -- at $40 for a brand new game, with access to My SingStar Online and the SingStore, this sounds like a great deal.
Stay tuned. We'll have the entire launch song list for you soon.