Apple 2.0

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Mixed reviews for iPhone's Rock Band

October 19, 2009: 11:47 AM ET
Photo: Electronic Arts

Photo: Electronic Arts

On Monday, nearly two weeks after Electronic Arts (ERTS) confirmed its imminent arrival, the iPhone version of Rock Band -- one of the most successful video game franchises of recent years -- showed up on Apple's (AAPL) iTunes App Store to mixed reviews. (App Store link here.)

The lion's share of the first 40 messages on the App Store were one-line positives: "Amazing." "Awesome!" "Saaaaweeeeeett!"

But the longer, more thoughtful -- and more useful -- reviews were less kind. The main complaints seemed to be that it was too expensive ($9.99), too easy (lacking an "extreme" level), and that some of the advanced features, such as multi-user play over Bluetooth, didn't work as advertised.

The big problem, however, is that the program is 15 months too late.

Veteran game-players are comparing it not only with Harmonix' original Rock Band for Sony's (SNE) Playstation 3 and Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox 360, but with Tapulous' Tap Tap Revenge, which has occupied the beat-tapping mobile game market since July 2008 with free and paid ($0.99) versions.

The competition is fierce. Tap Tap Revenge is one of the most successful iPhone games ever released; by last spring one in three iPhone and iPod touch users had downloaded it.

So early reviews are critical. I had fun playing the game at the easy levels, but as of Monday morning, "missmaxim's" write-up of Rock Band had been voted most helpful. We've copied it below the fold:

Source: iTunes App Store

Source: iTunes App Store

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for

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