London, UK (February 23, 2023)—Ever since video games appeared in the 1970s, they’ve often been tied to another pop-culture juggernaut: music. From the early melodic strains of Buckner & Garcia’s novelty hit “Pac-Man Fever” and the Journey Escape game for the Atari 2600 console, to more recent times with the Rock Band series for PlayStation and the sub-industry that has built up around high-profile game soundtracks, music and video games have always been in step. Now UK-based music social platform/plug-in house Endlesss is aiming to connect the two mediums in a way that’s often been overlooked—the creative aspect—by gamifying music production through its new Beat Machine arcade machine/studio device.
Housed in a traditional upright arcade cabinet, Beat Machine is a music-creation tool powered by the company’s Endlesss Studio app/social network, which typically operates on Mac, Windows and iOS. The Beat Machine arcade cabinet takes a different approach, however, bringing together traditional arcade controls with an 5-inch touchpad XY controller, 24-inch touchscreen interface, a Neutrik XLR/Jack instrument input, two TRS jack audio outputs, a pair of USB-C ports for attaching MIDI controllers and a built-in sound system.
Beat Machine can be used in three different modes—Arcade, Open Mic and Studio—the last of which offers a more in-depth recording experience. In Studio mode, users can connect acoustic instruments, map MIDI controllers, host VST3 plug-ins, import/export audio, collaborate with other musicians via Endlesss’ social platform and more.
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While Beat Machine is in many ways simply a large, unique controller for Endlesss’ readily available Endless Studio, the physicality of the arcade-cabinet design achieves something that software alone cannot, by moving beat-making away from being a solitary activity done behind a desk, and bringing it into a more social, entertainment-focused paradigm. Leaning into that, Beat Machine’s Arcade mode serves up game-like music-making missions, while the Open Mic mode lets users use the cabinet as a live-music creation tool.
While Beat Machine is understandably heavily oriented towards entertainment use, Endlesss is nonetheless positioning it as a serious production tool as well. Grammy-winner Imogen Heap, an early Beat Machine adopter, noted in a statement, “The Beat Machine is like a portal to my flow state. It’s incredible the places it takes my musical exploration…. There are no distractions; you are entirely pulled into play for hours, not hunched over a desk but moving and dancing about upright. Having the buttons and joystick in combination with the touchscreen really takes Endlesss [Studio] to a new level….”
For now, Beat Machine is now available for pre-order with an initial run of 25 units, running $9,999 each plus shipping. Endlesss notes it has a demo unit onsite in its London headquarters that potential customers can take for a test run.