Rock Band is a 2007 music video game developed by Harmonix Music Systems and distributed by MTV Games and Electronic Arts. The game is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and Wii game consoles. Rock Band is based on Harmonix' previous success with the Guitar Hero series of video games in which players used a guitar-shaped controller to simulate playing rock music. Rock Band expands on the concept by adding a drum and microphone peripheral, allowing up to four players to participate in the game, playing lead and bass guitar, drums, and vocals. The gameplay in Rock Band is comparable to that in Guitar Hero along with elements from Harmonix' Karaoke Revolution.
Rock Band for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 and 3 shipped with 58 songs on disk, while the Wii version, released at a later date, contained 5 additional songs that were released as downloadable content for the game. The European version of the game also includes 9 additional songs that have since been released as downloadable content for other regions. The player can expand their music library on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions by purchasing new songs offered on a weekly basis through the consoles' respective store systems. A full list of downloadable songs is available. For the PlayStation 2 and Wii versions of Rock Band, Harmonix has created Rock Band Track Packs that contain a selection of the downloadable content already offered.
With Rock Band 2, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 players with the North American release of the game can export all but three songs from the Rock Band soundtrack to their console's storage device for use in Rock Band 2 by purchasing a transfer license (400 MSP). One of the nine additional songs in the European release is not available for export along side the three from the North American release. Additionally, certain songs deemed Family Friendly by Harmonix are playable in Lego Rock Band. Two additional songs in the North American release plus two additional songs in the European release are not playable in Rock Band 3.
Players can play Rock Band alone through a Career mode for lead guitar, drums, and vocals, earning in-game money for their character to purchase new outfits and instruments. Each of the 45 songs has a different difficulty ranking for each instrument part, as well as a total band difficulty. There are a total of nine difficulties, or tiers. In career mode each song in a tier must be successfully completed to move onto the next and unlock the songs in that tier. This tier system is also used for rating the difficulty of the song (the Band tier) and its separate instrumental parts for downloadable content even though the songs are not used to unlock new songs in career mode. Once songs are unlocked, they may be played in any mode, including Quickplay, and multiplayer (competitive and co-operative modes) off- or online. Each instrument part in each song can be played at one of four difficulty levels, which include Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert.