Sony’s SingStar turns 10 this year, celebrates with a new game and a microphone you already have

Sony’s attempt at turning the empty orchestra into one filled with sounds, light, and high scores is turning ten this year, and to celebrate, Sony is announcing a new title for the PlayStation 4, and a new way to sing at your TV.

Karaoke isn’t the same as it used to be. You used to have to go to a terrible bar, or a decent karaoke place to make a song and dance — well, maybe not the dance part, though a state of failed sobriety could probably help with that.

No, karaoke used to be something many would ignore, unless already out on the town and celebrating a big night.

I mean, doesn’t everyone have a song inside them just itching to get out?

Times have changed, however, and with the last two generation of video game consoles, we’ve seen karaoke come home.

Sony started the concept with its PlayStation 2 console in SingStar, a title that brought the singing concept to a video game you could play amongst friends. Chances are you’ve played it before, possibly while inebriated, and later on Sony brought the series to its PlayStation 3, with the technology improving song playback, on-screen visuals, and grading how closely you could match the pitch, speed, and tonality of the music you were singing to.

During the PlayStation 3’s age of SingStar — yes, we’re calling it that — Sony also had to compete with other titles coming out offering similar functionality. Xbox tried its own karaoke title in “Lips” on the Xbox 360, but it never really took off.

No, the real competition came from Electronic Arts and Activision in the form of the “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero” series when they started to encompass more than just guitar simulation, letting you add a drummer and a singer, and start a virtual band.

But ten years on, all of the rock band-styled games have died, and while we still have far too many virtual instruments doing nothing in our closets and storage spaces, SingStar is still around, with Sony announcing a new title, with the first version for the PlayStation 4 on its way out this year.

“I’m really excited about the new SingStar as we’ve really worked hard to bring the game right up to date for PS4 with a brand new look and feature set,” said Chris Bruce, SingStar’s Game Director.

One of those new features is a new microphone, and perhaps the coolest part of this new game release is how it uses a device you may already be in possession of as a microphone.

That device is your smartphone, with a free SingStar companion app turning an iOS or Android handset into a microphone, meaning you won’t have to buy an excess supply of microphones that take up room and can let your friends join in with a phone they already own.

Also added to SingStar will be access to the PlayStation 4’s camera, and if you have it, you’ll find augmented reality connectivity to turn your living room into on-screen versions of music sets — studios, music videos, and the like — and add digital masks and effects to your on-screen characters.

For the release, “SingStar: Ultimate Party” as it’s being called will have 30 tracks included, with more available for purchase at around $2.05 per song from the PlayStation Store.

The release date of the game isn’t yet known, outside of “later this year,” but we know the price, with the title coming in at $39.95 when it does hit.