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Details on Lips: microphone, your songs, its songs


We got a chance to sit down with Keiichi Yano – chief creative officer of Lips developer iNiSfor a walkthrough of their upcoming Xbox 360 karaoke game. We'll get around to writing up some of our impressions later, but first we wanted to share some answers to our biggest questions about the game.

The microphone

  • The wireless microphone will bind with the Xbox 360, no dongle required.
  • It's unclear if it will work with other music games. When asked about Rock Band or Guitar Hero World Tour, Keiichi Yano told us, "That's a great idea. We would love to do that." Alas, it's up to those third-party devs to implement support for this peripheral.
  • A second player can shake the microphone to instantly "jump in" to the song, no menus needed.
  • They use 2 AA batteries, just like the Xbox 360 controller. Yanno said that, despite the motion-sensitivity and the lights, the battery life is pretty impressive already, on prototype hardware.
  • Lips will be bundled with a black and a white controller
Your music
  • Though they were only showing off the streaming functionality through a Zune, they assured us it would work just as simply through an iPod. When asked why they couldn't use one now, Yano responded, "Trust me. It works." We then crossed our arms and fell backwards into his waiting arms ...
  • DRM'd songs can't be used, regardless of the DRM scheme used. So no Zune or iTunes songs.
  • Lips will perform "vocal reduction" on your own songs, though they weren't showing the functionality off.
  • You can be scored on your own songs.
  • Audio from a Zune or iPod is streamed only, not downloaded, so you'll need to keep it nearby
  • After telling us that they "actually don't know" if Lips will be able to read directly from your streaming media library (think iTunes) the way the Xbox 360 can, Yano said they'd like to implement the feature, which he followed up by saying "hint hint, wink wink, say no more." We asked him to repeat that in a British accent and he was all too happy to oblige.
  • When asked if you would see your Avatar singing on the screen in the absence of a music video, they said they weren't talking about Avatars now.
  • No word on how they'll implement lyrics or a beat chart for the songs, though Yanno promised it would be "very, very compelling."
Its music
  • There are only three confirmed songs: "Mercy" by Duffy; "Young Folk" by Peter, Bjorn & John; and "Bust a Move" by Young MC
  • All songs will be master tracks and will include the original music videos
  • Rap songs work a little differently, it's not just about rhythm.
In this article: INIS, Lips, microphone, Xbox-360

Motivated by either an unhealthy Messianic complex or a dearth of career opportunities (he never could decide which), Chris put his college education to good use as a carpenter before becoming editor-in-chief of Joystiq and editorial director of Joystiq's own Massively and WoW Insider.

In those roles, he's served as an IGF judge, an E3 judge, a VGA judge, and a podcast host; interviewed many of the industry's familiar faces, from Bill Gates to John Carmack; spoken at plenty of places from MIT to GDC; and appeared in or on CNN, The New York Times, BBC, all while reporting on the video game industry for the world's top gaming news and information site.

He hangs his hat in the cultural epicenter of the video game industry. Philadelphia.