While I’m by no means a life-long Harmonix fan, I’ve loved them ever since they rocked my world with Guitar Hero II. They’ve consistently made quality music games and supported them with great downloadable content, which puts them head and shoulders above anybody else in the music/rhythm genre. As far as downloadable content goes, no game ever has had better support than the Rock Band franchise. I have easily spent hundreds of hours (and dollars) on their products, and don’t regret any of it.
It looks like my money wasn’t enough to keep their operation going. Viacom, parent company of MTV and Harmonix, has announced that they’re going to sell off the creators of Rock Band and Dance Central.
Viacom spent big bucks on Harmonix back in 2006. Music games were on the rise and it looked like they hit the jackpot when the first Rock Band took the world by storm. Unfortunately, they got caught up in the music game bubble, which saw the industry get flooded with music games, only to have the entire market bottom out. The fact that this announcement is being made now probably means that Rock Band 3 is not performing to expectations.
I’m sure that Harmonix as an entity or the people at Harmonix will continue on to do great work, but what about their current series, such as Rock Band and Dance Central? I’m pretty sure Viacom owns the rights to those IPs, but I could be wrong. If so, do those series’ just die? Do they hand that work off to another developer? What about all of those people who bought a pro Rock Band 3 guitar, expecting it to be supported with downloadable content with pro guitar tracks? As someone who was originally dead-set on dropping the funds on a Fender Squire guitar, I’m not so sure I’m willing to do that anymore, depending on how this whole situation shakes down. The current PR spin says that they’ll continue to support the games until Harmonix is officially sold off, but after that, who knows.
It’s sad to see this happen to one of my favourite developers and one of my favourite franchises. Here’s to hoping it works out for everyone involved.