Jimi Hendrix Could Ignite the Next Rock Band

The next version of Rock Band could be dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, according to word from the Hendrix estate.

Step-sister Janie Hendrix told the Los Angeles Times to expect the Hendrix-branded game by the end of the year, the perfect trump over Guitar Hero.

Hendrix is arguably the Zeus of guitar gods, though MTV-owned Harmonix tamped down the rumor a bit.  “While we have not made any official announcements regarding Jimi Hendrix and Rock Band, we are excited to say that we are in discussions to bring more of his music to our platform,” a Harmonix spokesperson told Joystiq.  So, talks may be ongoing, and different variations could be at work, including a more simple Hendrix licensing instead of a themed game.

Guitar purists will undoubtedly be unhappy either way, part of a broader debate over whether plastic guitars and buttons are reasonable substitutes for the real thing.  But perhaps this debate is part of a broader cycle – just a few generations ago, parents were screaming at their kids to turn down that rock n’ roll, put down those noisy guitars and take some responsibility in life (goddamit).

Back to the present, some questions also surround the merits of releasing another iteration of Rock Band.  Revenues from music-related games slumped substantially last year, in numbers that easily outpaced broader gaming declines.  That includes The Beatles: Rock Band, an underperforming title.