Grand Theft Auto VI and other games that have transformed musical fortunes

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The moment gamers have been waiting for has finally arrived, 
a new trailer gives fans the first look at the hotly anticipated Grand Theft Auto VI, set to release in 2025…

The trailer has quickly become the most-viewed video game trailer of all time, and, as a result, the song featured in the trailer, Love is a Long Road by 80s rocker Tom Petty, has seen a huge 37,000% increase in Spotify streams. 

The astonishing increase shows the impact that the multi-billion dollar gaming industry has on music and other media. The gaming industry is now worth a staggering $347 billion dollars

Adam Savinson, Gaming Expert at Sportsboom.com, has looked at ways games such as Grand Theft Auto, and particularly sports games such as FIFA/EAFC, have had a huge impact on music. 

1. Grand Theft Auto

Evident from the release of the latest trailer for the franchise’s sixth entry, Grand Theft Auto has a huge impact on the music the game utilises, and not only just through its trailers.

A staple of GTA games, and something fans are greatly looking forward to in the new entry, is the in-game radio stations. Vehicles in the game have radios where players can select various radio stations to listen to in-game. 

These stations are fake and contain pre-recorded commentary and fake advertisements, but the stations incorporate real songs for added authenticity. 

This greatly impacts the music outside the game, with many people associating songs with the game. One of the most popular stations on Grand Theft Auto V, the series’ last entry, was Non-Stop Pop, which saw older tracks from artists such as The Pet Shop Boys, INXS and Wham gain huge popularity. 

As the most popular video game franchise of all time, it’s no surprise to see its influential effect on players’ musical choices. 

2. FIFA/EA Sports FC 24 

Sports games, particularly games such as FIFA, now known as EA Sports FC, have a huge influence on the music it features in the game. 

The FIFA games are released annually with a new and bespoke soundtrack that usually plays randomly on the main menu. Since the game requires players to spend a considerable amount of game time at the main menu, selecting teams, customising characters, and choosing tactics for example, the soundtrack holds considerable influence. 

The soundtrack usually utilises smaller indie artists, and their feature on the game massively propels these artists’ status and brings their songs into the mainstream. 

One interesting phenomenon from FIFA games of the past is the element of nostalgia connected to songs featured in games from years back. For example, this TikTok reminiscing on 10 FIFA songs from the past has received 6.1 million views. 

3. Wipeout 

Originally released as a launch title on the original Playstation back in 1996, futuristic racing game Wipeout was one of the first games to be released with an accompanying soundtrack of licensed music. 

Wipeout was revolutionary in its use of music, featuring mainly electronic dance music tracks including artists such as Leftfield, The Chemical Brothers and Orbital. These were huge artists at the time, and their music was almost considered futuristic. 

Electronic dance music perfectly accompanies the futuristic setting of the game, and the music also reflects the high speed, high pressure, and consequentially challenging aspects of the gameplay. 

Upon release of the first game, the marketing campaign used high profile figures of the time such as Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox, which made Wipeout reach audiences that other games coudn’t. It infiltrated the UK EDM counterculture of the time.

This tying together of club culture and gaming made gaming cool and acceptable in a different field. 


4. NBA 

Like FIFA, the NBA game franchise similarly features a bespoke soundtrack that plays on the main menu in-game. 

NBA games are also released annually, meaning many soundtracks accompany the game. 

Some of the most well-remembered songs from the NBA series include ‘Viva la Vida’ by Coldplay and ‘Electric Feel’ by MGMT. 

5. Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero saw peak popularity in the mid to late 2000s, and it was a revolutionary way to game upon its original release. 

The game is played with a guitar controller, and the coloured buttons act as notes on a guitar. In the game, coloured notes appear on the screen and the objective is to press the corresponding coloured button on the controller to play a note along with the song. 

This game was highly influential on the music featured, bringing old rock songs back into popularity. Bands such as Van Halen and Guns N Roses were boosted back into popularity, and it also brought the band Dragonforce to the mainstream, as their song ‘Through the Fire and the Flames’ is famous as one of the most challenging songs from the game. 

Guitar Hero is still popular to this day, with the game being a favourite of streamers on Twitch. There’s even an arcade version which is a staple of modern arcades. 

 

Chris Price
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