Year after year EA's chief music executive Steve Schnur has told me, in interviews, that video game soundtracks for games like "Madden" will someday be update-able via downloaded music.
The idea is that gamers shouldn't be stuck listening to the same EA-made soundtrack every day, week and month that they play their favorite EA sports, racing and action games. But year after year that hasn't happened to games like "Madden" yet. (It has been happening for games such as "Rock Band," which expands its soundtrack every week.)
When I interviewed Schnur yesterday about the soundtrack for "Madden NFL 09" he finally named a timeframe. "You're going to see it in 2009," he said. He said that by "Madden '10" gamers can expect some of the "broader-based" EA games (not just any music titles) to be able to "continually recommend" new music that can be downloaded to enhance a soundtrack.
Given EA's ability to break new music that users wouldn't already own and be able to import via any custom soundtracks feature, this could certainly be a new way to promote new songs to year-long players of "Madden" and other games.
Would gamers pay for the songs? Would the songs be playable across multiple games -- and even into rhythm games like "Rock Band"? And is this kind of DLC more or less appealing than downloadable weapons, map packs and other micro-transaction material?
Sounds like we'll find out more in 2009.