Rapper Ludacris likes combo of video games, music
"It's just a great way to market music," Ludacris said in an interview with Reuters in Los Angeles.
"People are very surprised how old the (video game) demographic is because you have grown-ups who love video games as much as children," he said.
By showing up in games, "artists are trying to be where their audience is," Yankee Group analyst Michael Goodman said.
Video game soundtracks are now a launching pad for new music and a revenue stream for record labels, which prefer to sign acts with a proven fan following, he said. Game publishers also benefit when celebrity tie-ins boost sales.
"They all need each other," Goodman said.
For his latest act, Ludacris appears in voice and likeness in Midway Games's NBA Ballers: Phenom," which mashes up the sports and lifestyle genres, something he said may attract more women to the game.
The title allows players to choose paths that will either shape them into a basketball star with help from Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups or build them into an entertainment mogul a la Ludacris.
Like its predecessor NBA Ballers, the new title features a soundtrack of original music specifically created for the game and from a healthy mix of underground and established artists, said Midway senior designer John Vignocchi, who assembled both soundtracks.
Since debuting the song Get Off Me, in Electronic Arts's popular football game Madden NFL 2000, Ludacris has also appeared in other video games, including EA's 2003 title, Def Jam Vendetta, which was promoted as "hip-hop" meets Fight Club and starred other top rap acts from Def Jam Records.
Meanwhile, the rapper, whose film credits include roles in Crash and Hustle & Flow, dismissed speculation that he has his own game in the works.
But even if it's true, it's not uncharted territory: Rapper 50 Cent recently teamed up with Vivendi Universal Games and Genuine Games on a game titled 50 Cent: Bulletproof.