Holy shit. Rock Band is unprofitable, Viacom wants their bonus back. - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:30 PM
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Default Holy shit. Rock Band is unprofitable, Viacom wants their bonus back.

Err... wow.

http://videogames.yahoo.com/events/p...ck-104/1389935

Listen to the whole thing. It's kind of amazing.

- Viacom wants Harmonix to return $300 million in bonuses.
- Harmonix games have lost millions and millions of dollars for the past 3 years (not just last year with Beatles).

Meanwhile, Activision has laid off Neversoft (Guitar Hero) and hired another team to take over.
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:41 PM
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Yeah, I've been following the various stories individually. I think this is just a sad case of too much, too soon, with too much confidence. After the amazing run that the earlier GH/RB games had, everybody assumed it was going to continue indefinitely, but it looks like it was a fad and has run its course.

I still love music games, and Rock Band in particular, and I'll be sad to see the genre scale down. But it's going to have to if it wants to survive. Nearly everyone that wants a plastic guitar or drum has one, so constantly cranking out all those SKUs was going to over-saturate the market. DLC the way Harmonix has been doing the last couple of years is definitely the way to go.
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:42 PM
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Holy... Wow. I never would have expected this! It's gotta be all the music rights.
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:43 PM
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wow... thats pretty unexpected to me honestly. I always thought those games did well. They did milk the shit out of it though.
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:48 PM
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Yeah, the yearly release cycle killed it. And as said above, I imagine the license fees for the music were brutal.
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:49 PM
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It's just speculation on my part, but I suspect that while the software itself is probably still selling okay, it's the SKUs with pack-in instruments that's probably the culprit for both companies. Manufacture and distribution of peripherals bumps up costs, and stores generally dislike how much shelf space they take up.

And like I said, once you've got your plastic instruments, how many more do you need? How many other people still don't have them? I'm STILL using my Rock Band 1 instruments, my only replacement being one of those deluxe life-size guitars instead of the pack-in Fender Strat, and that's only because I just wanted a better, more responsive guitar.
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:55 PM
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I find it amazing that whatever losses they've suffered they haven't made up in DLC. It seems like a license to print money.

This goes to show that Metacritic scores and positive response from gamers does not equal a healthy business.
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Old 02-21-2010, 04:12 PM
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Fuck Viacom. I hope Harmonix is court ordered to NOT pay a single penny back to them. Greed got the better of them. It's a part of business. Again, fuck Viacom

Sad also to see Neversoft getting kicked to the curb as well.
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Old 02-21-2010, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRedSuit View Post
This goes to show that Metacritic scores and positive response from gamers does not equal a healthy business.
I thought PS3 already showed that? (kidding!)

Surprising news though.. like Shoeless said, the market became oversaturated..
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Old 02-21-2010, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRedSuit View Post
I find it amazing that whatever losses they've suffered they haven't made up in DLC. It seems like a license to print money.

This goes to show that Metacritic scores and positive response from gamers does not equal a healthy business.

True. But then it became clear to many gamers a while ago that good critical reception doesn't automatically equate to sales.

The cynic in me also wonders how much of this can be attributed to just being drunk on success. Sure they got massive bonuses, and they made a lot of money, but how much of that went back into the company itself? Into R&D for new product? Into making the office "cool and fun" rather than actually better for producing good product?

As far as Guitar Hero goes, I can understand the declining quality of GH games with subsequent iterations, simply because Neversoft was NOT a music game company and their heart was never in it. I mean, if I remember correctly, when the whole "hand over" thing occurred, there were interviews with Neversoft execs where they said part of the reason they got the deal was because they played a lot of Guitar Hero in the office, but they will always be associated to a certain gamer audience with the Tony Hawk series. That was their passion, and the franchise went into freefall and they got turned into a GH factory. Their assignment to Guitar Hero was almost entirely a business decision, and successive releases show that.

I guess it's like any fad. Eventually you hit a saturation point where it just can't sustain itself any further because that unnatural spike of mainstream interest has moved on to something else. I have doubts it will happen, but maybe it's a precursor that the same thing will occur with the Wii, finally.
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