JamLegend is easily the coolest still-in-beta game I’ve played in recent weeks, and after some nagging on my part, the developers just sent me a 1,000 beta invites so GigaOM readers can try it out, too. Use this link to create an account.
The three founders recently stopped by Pier 38 to give me an advance look. Backed by LaunchBox Digital, JamLegend combines several disparate game/Web 2.0 elements into a coherent whole that’s instantly appealing: Think Guitar Hero meets Last.fm meets World of Warcraft. That is, a music rhythm game fused to a music social network overlaid with MMORPG-style gameplay.
The gameplay itself is instantly recognizable to fans of Guitar Hero and its many successors, but instead of playing on a plastic musical instrument connected to a console, JamLegend is a Flash-powered game you play on the web, using your keyboard to hit the notes as they fly across the screen. (You can hold your keyboard upside down like a guitar; it’s also compatible with the guitar from the PC version of Guitar Hero 3.)
That would be fun in itself, but you can also compete with other JamLegend users and track your overall player score across the network. (It’s an MMORPG where that acronym stands for “massively multiplayer online rockstar player game.”) And while the developers tell me they’re hoping to feature well-known bands when they launch, JamLegend is also set up for independent musicians to upload their own songs into the game as a way of promoting and selling their music.
The developers haven’t monetized JamLegend yet, but they are considering several options after they’ve launched — sponsored tournaments, MP3 affiliate sales, etc. With music games already generating so much revenue and top bands using them as a major launch platform, that shouldn’t be a problem. As one of JamLegend’s young founders cheekily (and plausibly) informed me, “We definitely see ourselves as part of the future of the music industry.”
Image credit: jamlegend.com