DDR in P.E.?!

Ah, Dance Dance Revolution. Me and that game have an…unusual relationship. I clearly remember adoring my import copies of DDR 2nd-4th Mix, buying expensive hard plastic and metal dance pads, hunting down arcade machines, the ill concieved DDR USA Mix, and then absolutely hating the DDR Max series and beyond (the difficulty got weird and the step charts got lame).

But back when it had it’s hooks in me, I even went so far as to say that in a perfect world, kids would play DDR in P.E. class. Well, seems Konami is making the world a better place then as they have just announced DDR Classroom Edition:

Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty! While the game itself seems very dry at first glance with some of the blandest presentation ever, looking closer reveals some interesting features. The background image of the people running track actually shows who is doing the best (and suddenly brings back memories of the movie The Wizard). What’s more, it supports up to 48 dance pads! 48 hard plastic wireless dance pads! Yeah, I think we all want those suckers released to the public! Those look nice! On top of that, they have progress cards as well which use the same technology seen in many modern arcade games. Shoot, the cards themselves look identical to the ones seen on Tekken 5 machines.

This probably looks pretty expensive and like something no school would be insane enough to purchase. The cheapest one is $10,000 for the 12 dance mat version, $20,000 for the 48 dance mat version. However it makes sense that it’s that expensive. The package comes with a computer to run it on complete with monitor and the works, the receiver, a bunch of high-end dance pads, a charging station for said dance pads, the personal data tracking cards (those are cheap), and the game. In the long run, that’s not a bad price.

But would any school pay that much? Well if you knew how much money schools already spend on building new gyms and crap, $20,000 for a DDR set is actually pretty reasonable…assuming the dance pads hold up. Build quality is going to be important because while schools will gleefully buy new things, they don’t like to re-buy them. $20,000 is cheap for everything they get as long as it’s durable enough to last a good number of years. Otherwise, it just plain won’t matter.

From a business standpoint though, this is a pretty brilliant move on Konami’s part. Think about it, they’re catering to a practically untapped market with no competition. It’s all just a question of how many schools will bite. But even if no one buys it and it winds up being a complete flop? Konami probably didn’t waste too much money on it. DDR is a pretty basic game, they have 80% of it done already, the only real money sink is the song licensing and the cost of developing the equipment. Something that is by no means cheap, but I’m pretty sure they’ll make back that money.

But enough talking about overprivileged schools getting DDR sets, what about us? As I said, those are some nice dance pads! How much are they costing? What are the chances the general public could get some of those? Well, according to my math, we’re looking at a price of $278 per pad. Which, actually, isn’t too bad. I think I paid about $200-$300 for my all metal pad a while back. I dunno if there’s enough hardcore DDR fans around who would want to pay that kind of money for a high-end wireless dance pad, but it’s not a terrible idea.

…until you realize they cost more than a Kinect. Hey, Konami! Release more Rhythm Party DLC already!

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