There aren’t many figures in modern music more industrious than Steve Aoki. The DJ and house musician is constantly experimenting with new ways to expand his personal brand and engage his fans. In fact, Aoki has even spoken to these efforts. An article in Forbes quoted him as saying he’s always thinking about what he calls the “Uber principle.” He defines this as how you can get the world to engage constantly with your idea, and vice versa.
For Aoki, that means all kinds of different efforts. He’s known for experimenting with his music in ways that bring in new audiences and keep existing fans on their toes, for one thing. In the recently released album Kolony, for instance, he’s working primarily with hip-hop stars, from Migos to Lil Yachty – an unusual move for an EDM record. Aoki’s experimentation and outreach to fans go well beyond blending musical genres, however. He’s also in charge of his own fashion line, and has become a brand ambassador for a French wine called Luc Belaire. But his most interesting efforts may just prove to be in gaming.
The idea of artists seeking publicity through video game partnerships is actually one that’s gained steam over the years. Most will immediately think of games like Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and DJ Hero, and those are certainly good examples – though they’re not the only ones. Guns N’ Roses has famously had a resurgence in the last 18 months or so, and before that even started the group allowed its material to be used for one of several games based on licensed properties that appear on internet casino platforms. It’s a more direct example than games like DJ Hero – a whole slot reel dedicated to the imagery and audio of Guns N’ Roses, catering to old fans and likely roping in some new ones as well.
This is not the only example of a band that’s lent material to a casino game developer. It’s worked for a number of artists and groups, and Aoki seems keen on imitating the success. In typical fashion, however, he’s not actually imitating the method – Steve Aoki is nothing if not original, and accordingly, while he’s getting in on the casino gaming business, he’s doing it with his own special twist.
Rather than releasing a slot reel featuring his music and likeness (which, come to think of it, would probably be a hit), Aoki is helping to create an endless runner alongside GameCo. The game will be called Steve Aoki’s Neon Dream, and will be based on the 2014 album Neon Future. It will be an entirely original, skill-based experience built in the “endless runner” format associated with titles like Temple Run and Super Mario Run. It’s hard to know quite what to expect, though a statement from GameCo mentions that it “blends Steve’s aural imagery with the music from Dim Mak” (Dim Mak being Aoki’s label).
It sounds like a lot of fun, and yet another fascinating move for exposure from this one-of-a-kind artist. And as a last note, it’s worth mentioning if you forgot: Aoki has been involved in a game before. He’s a playable character in Speedy Ninja, which is a pretty enjoyable game available in app stores!