The Beatles: Rock Band will probably be one of the top-grossing titles in video game history, not for the disc alone, but because there's so much money to be made from the peripherals.
In fact, I'm going out on a limb here and guessing the game plus peripherals could - could - eventually out-gross the box office take of Titanic. Shocked?
You see, if you buy the whole Beatles limited-edition box set, that's $250, and it comes with the game, a Beatles drum set, a plastic replica Paul McCartney Hofner bass, a microphone and a mike stand.
Hold on. If you want to buy replica plastic guitars of John Lennon and George Harrison's Rickenbacker and Gretsch, that's another $100 each.
There's more. This is the first Rock Band game that allows for three-part harmony, so you could dip into your pocket to buy two extra microphones for $15 to $50 and up, depending on brand, plus another couple of mike stands for $40 each.
So if one Beatles fanatic goes all out, he or she can spend $750 after taxes before playing a note. Now multiply that one Beatles fan by a world of Beatles fans and their money.
In a cheap move by Electronic Arts and the Beatles estate, the disc comes with only 45 songs (about $5 per song), which is about half as many as we got with, say, Guitar Hero World Tour. You have to buy the rest of the Beatles: Rock Band songs online for a few bucks each. They'll come as one-off songs or full albums.
Among the songs, though, are classics: "Back in the U.S.S.R," "Birthday," "Come Together," "Day Tripper," "Drive My Car," "Hello Goodbye, " "Helter Skelter," "Here Comes the Sun," "I Am the Walrus," "I Saw Her Standing There," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Twist and Shout" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
The music is digitally remastered as overseen by McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, plus producer Sir George Martin and his son Giles. On the same day of Beatles: Rock Band's release, the entire Beatles music catalogue is being re-released in all-new digitally remastered form that's getting stellar early reviews.
So, there you go. At last, here is the biggest music video game of all time, probably. Can your recession afford it? I'm giving Beatles top marks in this column, but I need to play it longer to see its depth and replay value.
It feels like any other Rock Band, but with the Beatles. Paul, John, Ringo and George look like themselves, but in cartoon-ish fashion. And you get to see the boys play in old haunts, like the Cavern Club, Shea Stadium and the rooftop of their studio headquarters.
If you already own Rock Band equipment and just want the disc, it's retailing for $60 for Wii, Xbox 360 and PS 3. If you go that route, congratulations. You're a paragon of thriftiness, apparently.