NEW YORK — The Beatles are coming to a game console near you.
For the first time, the legendary group's music will be featured in the lucrative video game market in a deal with MTV Games and Harmonix, creators of the "Rock Band" series. The game is scheduled to make its debut in time for next year's holiday season.
"The project is a fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music. I like people having the opportunity to get to know the music from the inside out," Paul McCartney said in a statement.
The game will not be titled "Rock Band," but will work with the existing instruments _ a guitar, drums and microphone. Game developers were cagey about whether new instruments, such as a keyboard, would be incorporated.
"I would say that there will be interactive performances of The Beatles' music as well as new dimensions that you haven't seen from us before," Harmonix Chief Executive Alex Rigopulos told reporters on a conference call Thursday.
The video game has become a key and profitable market for established musical acts such as Metallica and Aerosmith to expose their music to a new generation of fans; some bands have even debuted their music via video games.
"The Beatles continue to evolve with the passing of time and how wonderful that The Beatles' legacy will find its natural progression into the 21st century through the computerized world we live in," said Beatles drummer Ringo Starr in a release. "Let the games commence."
Grammy winner Giles Martin, son of The Beatles' producer, George Martin, will serve as music producer, with input from McCartney, Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.
The game will feature sampling of music and imagery from throughout the band's career, from "Please Please Me" (1963) through "Let It Be" (1970).
Talks on the game have been in the works for almost a year and a half, said Paul DeGooyer, MTV's senior vice president of electronic games and music.
But the news doesn't mean that long-awaited digital downloads of the band's music would be available anytime soon.
"We're still working out the details," said Jeff Jones, chief executive of Apple Corps Ltd., the London company formed by The Beatles that helps guard their legacy. "We have no announcement to make."
Viacom Inc. owns MTV and Harmonix.