Will Rock Band 3 ship with a keyboard controller?

Rock Band and Guitar Hero limited your pop-star fantasies to a plastic guitar, a plastic mic, and a set of plastic drums. Elton John fans, brace yourselves: Rock Band 3 may include a plastic keyboard.

A screenshot from Green Day: Rock Band. Word on the street is that Rock Band 3 will include a plastic keyboard. That would be good news for the Rock Band franchise, and good news for the music game industry at large.

The evidence is a bit thin on this one, but if what we're hearing is accurate, Harmonix, the makers of the popular Rock Band franchise, could be releasing "Rock Band 3" with a keyboard peripheral. So listen up, all you fans of soft-to-moderately-hard piano rock! Pretty soon, you might finally get a chance to participate in the plastic instrument craze!

Back to that evidence: Harmonix recently released a demo for "Green Day: Rock Band" on the Xbox Live Marketplace. At the end of the demo, a bunch of adverts pop up on the screen, including a spot for "Rock Band 3," which appears to show a keyboard logo alongside the guitar, drums, bass, and mic logos. Voila!

Yeah, it's a bit spotty – and we've got no official word from Harmonix – so let's go ahead and call this one a rumor.

Still, a keyboard controller would likely be great news for Rock Band fans, and even for the music game industry at large. As we've reported in the past, music games from Rock Band to Guitar Hero have hit a bit of a rut lately. Sales are down; enthusiasm is relatively low; the novelty has sort of worn off.

Hence the need for new peripherals, such as a keyboard, or the real guitar which is expected to ship with a new game called "Power Gig: Rise of the Sixstring." According to Seven45, the studio behind Power Gig, players will be able to use the guitar as a controller or plug the thing in an amp, and create real, live guitar music.

Alternatively, maybe we should all listen to Jack White, who told NME recently that all aspiring musicians should "quit playing video games, throw away their Auto-Tune program and cut three strings off their guitar."

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