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Ask Joystiq: On bankruptcy, guitar compatibility and Euro-rock (band)

Kyle Orland

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Ask Joystiq, the column where you ask the questions and we track down the answers like the lowly, underpaid servants we are. This week's topics include the magazine industry, PlayStation 3 guitar compatibility and Rock Band's absence in Europe.

If you have a question you want answered, drop us a line at ask AAT joystiq DAWT com. Let's get down to it:

Q: Regarding Ziff-Davis' filing for Chapter 11: Did online kill the magazine star?
-Jonah Falcon

While most people associate the word "bankruptcy" with "going out of business," Chapter 11 status is often used by relatively healthy companies to restructure old debts. 1UP Vice President for Content Simon Cox explained as much in a recent blog post: "Ziff has been saddled with an enormous amount of debt for many years. An amount so large that even though we're a profitable company (and growing all the time), the repayments were killing us ... So last year we brought the bondholders of that debt to the table and proposed that they turn that debt into equity in Ziff Davis. They all said yes."

So despite the bankruptcy talk, Ziff Davis and its magazines aren't going anywhere. But more to the point of the question: The entire magazine industry is facing tough times in the face of online competition, and video game magazines are no different. Last year alone saw the shuttering of Tips & Tricks, Computer Games and Ziff Davis' Official PlayStation Magazine (which later rose from the dead as a rejiggering of Future's PSM). But there is hope: Industry leader Game Informer is still doing extremely well, and multi-console mags like GamePro and Ziff's Electronic Gaming Monthly show no signs of going anywhere anytime soon.

Q: What are my options for playing the PS2 versions of Guitar Hero on the 60GB PS3? ... Is there any guitar out there that will work with both the PS3 & PS2 versions of the game and can connect to the PS3?
- John M

When the Guitar Hero series made the transition from PS2 to PS3, it may as well have smashed the PS2 guitar peripherals in a Who-esque stage spectacle. Despite the backwards compatibility of the 60GB Playstation 3, Guitar Hero 1, 2, and Encore remain largely unplayable on the console, due to a few peripheral compatibility issues.

Obviously, the PS3 wireless Guitar Hero peripheral won't play nice with the three PS2 games, meaning the only option is getting an adapter for the PS2 guitars. Unfortunately, not every adapter will work perfectly with the old guitars. Last May, we looked at Pelican's PS2 to PS3 controller adapter, which features a special mode for Guitar Hero II controllers. Unfortunately, as we found out, the support is less than perfect, as on-screen frets will not light up when pressed, and hammer-ons and pull-offs simply don't work. For many Guitar Hero aficionados, these are game-breaking faults, making the adapter not worthwhile. Unfortunately, your best bet for playing the original PS2 Guitar Hero games is on an actual PS2. But more Guitar Hero titles are no doubt headed to the PS3, starting with Guitar Hero Aerosmith in June.

Q: Any word on a Rock Band European/UK release date? Q1 was the original announcement but a vague '2008' is all EA's website is giving us now. I am slightly upset, and may get angry.
- Colin H [among others]

The last we heard about Rock Band for PAL territories (that's Europe, folks) was that it was coming in the second fiscal quarter 2008, which for Electronic Arts is between April and June. We tried our best get a more definite answer, but all we managed was the following statement from a Harmonix spokesperson: "Official news is coming soon -- stay tuned."

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