Is it all about song choice?Whilst song choice is obviously a really important part of any Karaoke game, it still needs to have other strengths. You need to have good presentation, an intuitive interface and a streamlined scoring system. We know that Singstar has these traits and although it has taken Sony more than one attempt to get it right, it has a brilliant game mechanic that Microsoft will find hard to mimic and in the latest PS3 version it boasts some excellent community and online features.
If anyone can take on the challenge though it’s Microsoft and the brilliant iNiS team, who were behind the superb stylus-tapping Elite Beat Agents on Nintendo DS.
Microsoft has already prove that it can create intuitive and well presented interfaces, great game lobbies and excellent online and community features in its games.We get the feeling that Lips will certainly look flashier, more next-gen than Singstar, but it’s questionable whether it will get the essentials right on its first attempt: the speech recognition, pitch and rhythm detection, and scoring system.
Song list aside, Lips does have a couple more selling points up its sleeve, including being the first game to offer wireless microphones, however the other features seem to be just a gimmick. Do Karaoke fans really want a motion-sensing microphone that flashes?
Karaoke players want to sing, they don’t want to play tambourines and cow-bells and whatever else Lips has to offer. Hopefully, we’ll be able to turn this feature off, otherwise we suspect it could ruin the game.
It’s great to have competition in the console Karaoke arena though, see Sony challenged and to sit back and watch how things will materialise over the next few years. Whilst Lips will undoubtedly make a huge impact in this arena, it’s surely going to make Sony work harder on its Singstar franchise. As it already has the solid foundations to build upon, it's going to be interesting to see what the Singstar franchise has got left to give. We suspect Sony will up its game considerably in the next Singstar outing, but will it ever be able to offer gamers the chance to sing any song they wish? That's what fans will ultimately want.