Harmonix: Activision squashes Rock Band patch

Developer of rhythm game claims to have resolved compatibility issues with PS3 Guitar Hero controller, but can't release update due to rival publisher's objection.

by

Megadeth's Dave Mustaine and Metallica, Oasis and Blur, Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., Pete Townshend and his hearing. The music world has seen its share of feuds over the years, and with the music genre taking off in gaming, it's about time for interactive digital entertainment to get its own high-profile beef.

Whether one refers to the feud as Activision-MTV, RedOctane-Harmonix, or Guitar Hero-Rock Band, two of the top toy-guitar game makers are butting heads about compatibility issues. After Harmonix revealed Rock Band to the world earlier this year, it claimed it supported open hardware standards, which meant the developers would do what they could to make Rock Band instruments work with other music games on the market, and vice versa.

But when Rock Band arrived on the PlayStation 3, gamers who purchased Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock on Sony's system found that the included Les Paul controller would not work with Harmonix's game. Harmonix said it was working on a fix for the issue, and today the developer announced that it had successfully created a software patch that would do just that and that it had finished work on the patch two weeks ago.

As for why PS3 Rock Band owners can't rock out with the Guitar Hero III controllers at the moment, Harmonix also went public with a bit of backroom squabbling that has kept the patch tied up. An excerpt from the Harmonix statement follows:

"Two weeks ago, Harmonix created a software patch for the Sony PlayStation 3 version of Rock Band that allowed for guitar compatibility and support for third party peripherals, including enabling use of Activision's Guitar Hero III controller with Rock Band. The compatibility patch was submitted, approved and had been scheduled for release by Sony on Tuesday, December 4. Unfortunately, Activision objected to the release of the compatibility patch. The patch remains with Sony, but we have been told that it will unfortunately not be released due to Activision's continued objection. [emphasis added]

"As is the case with the Microsoft Xbox 360, we believe that Sony PlayStation 3 users should be able to use the peripheral of their choice with Rock Band. We sincerely hope that Activision will reverse its decision and allow release of the compatibility patch and further, that Activision will allow Guitar Hero III to support Rock Band guitar controllers as well. We welcome all third party developers who wish to support our controllers and will provide any required support in order for them to do so.

"We believe that when consumers have choice, everyone wins. Harmonix and MTV Games hope that Activision and others in the industry will also adopt this philosophy."

As of press time, Activision and RedOctane representatives had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment.

Discussion

505 comments
Karmacodelc18
Karmacodelc18

Great...wasted money buying a GH 3 controller... Stupid flunky Rock Band controller. I guess the patch is still in Purgatory even though its been forever? Feel free to drop me a message... though its pretty obvious Activision is still being a baby.

noobdawg123
noobdawg123

Just one more reason not to buy a PS3 i suppose.

7ranc3
7ranc3

"The recent announcement by MTV Games/Viacom's Harmonix division that Activision is blocking Sony from releasing a patch and their plea to enable Rock Band software to work with Guitar Hero hardware paints a very misleading picture. In fact, Harmonix and its parent company MTV Games/Viacom recently declined Activision's offer to reach an agreement that would allow the use of Guitar Hero guitar controllers with Rock Band. We have been and remain open to discussions with Harmonix and MTV Games/Viacom about the use of our technology in Rock Band. Unfortunately for Rock Band users, in this case Harmonix and MTV Games/Viacom are unwilling to discuss an agreement with Activision. Activision's top priority is to provide consumers with a seamless marriage of best-in-class hardware and software. We are focusing our efforts on innovating hardware and software that are designed to work together, work flawlessly and provide an enjoyable gaming experience." Read between the lines. I means Activision wants money for a patch that they did not develop, which means that they are either greedy or the quality of the guitar for GH3 is so poor that they are worried about extra breakage in usage beyond the original game itself and the extra warranty calls as a result. In any case, it makes Activision look very poor.

Ozzie234
Ozzie234

Excuse me, but why would Activision HELP people to get into their biggest rivals game? Good will? LOL. And please, spare us the "boycott Activision" hymns. The regular videogame customer is as loyal as a RAT, and you know it.

jeffwb17
jeffwb17

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Impostorzim
Impostorzim

Activision, if you can read this: Go to Hell. You and all your boyfriend game companies obviously don't care about the players. They just want to bite the hand that feeds them. They just can't get over the fact that they were screwed over. Harmonix made a masterpiece and then moved on and made something even better. Now the only thing Activision can do is make sure their Guitar Hero controllers are only for their games...pathetic.

fdaguila
fdaguila

In a way it is Sony's fault. Sony needs to cut this in the bud now and tell activision hardware is not proprietary. Who owns the PS3 Sony or Activision? Can you imagine for every game you need a different controller, thats a dangerous road to travel down.

Vengentz
Vengentz

Just another company that doesn't fell like TESTING THEIR OWN GAMES before selling it. If they did they would have figured out that it wouldn't work. This release it now and we'll patch it later is now a problem in the consoles. Is nowhere sacred ?!?!?! With that said, the guys at Activision are a bunch of, well..I'll leave that part out.

medicine_freak
medicine_freak

Errr... PC FTW? Everyone, do yourself a favor, read this http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/$500_gaming_pc_upgrade/ Play PC exclusives AND the games that get ported from all you stupid consoles simultaneously. PC fanboyesm for the win!

Dawg9000
Dawg9000

Activision is full of garbage. They make good games though.

moatartareque
moatartareque

ha couples fighting each other cuz of thier games

SHACKR
SHACKR

Activision doesn't want people using their guitars for another game. It's like Sony doesn't want Blu-Ray on the 360.

Jose619
Jose619

why the hell are fanboys here? I mean this is an issue about RB and Activision. Then some fanboys bring up 360 and Halo. Err...? Anyways I personally think this is bad. I mean Activision thinks RB will dominate GH3? Quite possibly. However they are making themselves look bad. Even if they are protecting there games, they are damaging there name even if some of you do say that Activision has its right. P.S. FANBOYS.... **** AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!! annoying little kids that think one systems is the best. GET TEH CRAP THAT YOU LIKE MORE AND BE HAPPY WITH IT. Don't brag and boast about something else being bad.

RoboWizard
RoboWizard

I don't see the logic behind the "Activision + compatibility = bad GH3 sales" sentiment. If people who were going to buy Rock Band found out they could use GH3 guitars, wouldn't that just encourage them to buy both if nothing else? The argument that suggests it would hurt them seems to be implying that consumers will go, "hey, I can use Guitar Hero controllers in Rock Band now, I'd better NOT buy Guitar Hero for that very reason!!" So yeah, I don't see the problem here.

joestuart
joestuart

Ignoring the fan-boys (I have a 360, and the only reason I don't have PS3 is money), I don't entirely blame Activision for blocking the patch. If the patch happened, then chances are likely they'd have few GH3 sales, as well as the (inevitable) release of special guitars. Elvis style, anyone?

DJJ2
DJJ2

'Cause a patch to improove compactabillity between their peripherals does not implicate a freaking lawsuit, PC joysticks and controllers work with any game no matter what company it belongs to, and it's been like that for ages. The Guncon in the PSX had at least 3 other competitors here in Brazil and you didn't see games desinged for it locking down every other lightgun you pluged in. And answering our dear fanboy's question down there: Resistence, Ratchet & Clank, Warhawk, Heavenly sword, uncharted and a few others.

sykonfc
sykonfc

It's Activision's property, why should they share it with a rival company/game?

Grahamaholic
Grahamaholic

Dude this isn't because the PS3 sucks, we should be mad at Activision for denying the patch to fix it. They're just trying to be **** and are just making themselves look stupid. They helped create the most awesome music game ever, so why would they deny some gamers the right to rock? Comon Activision, let them release the patch. If they did, we wouldn't have annoying sony and microsoft fanboys filling up every GOD DAMN FORUM!!!!!

backwardsman000
backwardsman000

haha, well, that sucks. I just got a ps3, and im happy with it. it does what i want it to do, and i've got no complaints. haha, i still got my n64 and sega dreamcast. i thnk RB and GH3 should get over it. Activision made GH what it is today, and then handed over the rights. I'm just trying to think if they are even caring for customer support, because i was really hoping to use my gh3 controller as just another controller for RB. we'll just wait and see.

BGCD
BGCD

Lolz @ PS3's suckage.

DJJ2
DJJ2

L1qu1dSword and all other fanboys in this thread listen here and listen good. Give it up, play your 360s and leave us PS3 owners the frick alone! We don't care for the 360 and never will, just make your effin' peace with that and go play Halo, it doesn't matter what snide comments fanboys launch our way, it just doesn't stick, it's old, give it up! Do everyone a favor and just play your 360s for all it's worth, contemplate on you "highly advanced and better quallity" gaming and leave us PS3 gamers alone. This whole console wars thing where you go into another console's threads and spamm it with brainless snickers has without a doubt worn thin. We PS3 users will never care for the 360 and vice-versa, now do yourselves a big favor, play Halo 3, Mass effect, whatever other exclusives you've got and let it be, we'll be right here playing our exclusives and loving it, no matter how bad you believe it is. I couldn't care less for your launch titles, please do yourself and us the favor of not caring about ours either.

L1qu1dSword
L1qu1dSword

Ahhh the sweeeet sensation that comes with not owning a PS3 :)

tommcruise
tommcruise

>>@ZEDFRAGG "Such as my brother he owns all (PS3/360/Wii) being an actual gamer he can give the real truth Xbox 360 = More games at the moment better choice higher quality multiplayer" YAWN.... 360 fanboys are STILL making this comment? I've said it before, and I'll say it again... ALL THE GAMES I AM PLAYING FOR THE 360 ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PS3. Plus, I want GT5, HAZE, Unreal Tournement and Metal Gear... but I cant get them on my 360. (And no, I do NOT want Mass Effect or Halo 3 which I sold 2 weeks after I wasted money on it). Please, enough with the "No games" angle. Its old. As for multiplayer... watch out for Home in 2008... which will also be free... All I want to do is go online and play games.. which the PS3 can do... if you want to spend an extra $50 for an XBOX Live subscription just so you could send annoying messages to other players or read their "BAMF" motto, go ahead and do it.

storm_canada999
storm_canada999

Activisions acting like a 5 year old who doesn't wanna share even after a compromise has been made >.>

earlmccormick88
earlmccormick88

Independent companies who are not willing to work together=conflict, which makes it bad for consumers. Theres someone who actually wants to use the guitar hero guitar on Rock band.

nobdow
nobdow

The only reason they won't do it is because they want people to buy Guitar Hero over Rock Band. So all you PS3 owners who have Rock Band I laugh at you, you should have gotten the Xbox 360 version

Dixteel
Dixteel

wow...is this for real? the game industry is getting a bit too ugly, doesn't it?

bigdc
bigdc

there the same buttons just in a different place...

theone86
theone86

I do have one question, doesn't the RB controller have an extra set of fret buttons? How would the other controller be able to work with RB, then?

ZedFragg
ZedFragg

And now back to the matter at hand, GH3 and Rock Band will never be compatible. its about money and Activision wants it and needs it. Besides the GH3 guitar is really really badly made it feels sturdy but is horrible to use i still use my GH2 guitar its so much more....just THERE its more "in the zone" if anyone gets that

ZedFragg
ZedFragg

And now back to the matter at hand, GH3 and Rock Band will never be compatible. its about money and Activision wants it and needs it. Besides the GH3 guitar is really really badly made it feels sturdy but is horrible to use i still use my GH2 guitar its so much more....just THERE its more "in the zone" if anyone gets that

ZedFragg
ZedFragg

Dude rather than making straight up comments like PS3 is better than everything hands down SONY RULZ JAP4LIFE AHHAH! Why not just do what we do... Its about choice, its about preference... Such as my brother he owns all (PS3/360/Wii) being an actual gamer he can give the real truth Xbox 360 = More games at the moment better choice higher quality multiplayer PS3 = All round entertainment unit (Movies photos music games although lacking on the games front etc) Wii = Party console (fun for the masses which ps3 and xbox ain't) Rather than being a fanboy try seeing behind the scenes. Its like your trying to convert people over to a religion (No offence.) Also so what the ps3 has all the newest hardware...if you wanna get technical here it is The PS3 also runs on a linux backbone meaning no developer WANTS to make games for it because its bloody horrible lol Also PS3 has trouble with regular HDR lighting and has to switch to a custom shading technology for each individual game which each developer must make. Now...Concidering its the best hardware it sounds like it'd be a bit too much hassle to me. Zed

GTA5Addict
GTA5Addict

Got this from the customer support help on Activision's Website: To Music Gaming Fans: The recent announcement by MTV Games/Viacom's Harmonix division that Activision is blocking Sony from releasing a patch and their plea to enable Rock Band software to work with Guitar Hero hardware paints a very misleading picture. In fact, Harmonix and its parent company MTV Games/Viacom recently declined Activision's offer to reach an agreement that would allow the use of Guitar Hero guitar controllers with Rock Band. We have been and remain open to discussions with Harmonix and MTV Games/Viacom about the use of our technology in Rock Band. Unfortunately for Rock Band users, in this case Harmonix and MTV Games/Viacom are unwilling to discuss an agreement with Activision. Activision's top priority is to provide consumers with a seamless marriage of best-in-class hardware and software. We are focusing our efforts on innovating hardware and software that are designed to work together, work flawlessly and provide an enjoyable gaming experience. Best regards, Activision

metalhead1966
metalhead1966

I am considering buying both GHIII and RB... this is interesting to be aware of. I own a PS3 60gb and it was worth every penny. It's a beautiful, future proof piece of hardware to which the 360 cannot compare. I could afford both, but why buy an outdated, dvd only console with no internal hdd (PS3 can be upgraded with any notebook hdd). Sony did their homework. I don't care how many consoles are sold as long as there is support (new games, etc.) and online FPS play. I have a Wii, and it's for sale. It looks like the toy it is sitting next to the beautiful PS3. Sony haters buy a PS3 and then trash talk (you wont).

zyxomma100
zyxomma100

"DVD quality games"? Um... The quality of game graphics is in no way dependent on the storage media. No 1080p or i on the 360? That support was added months ago... Maybe years? Long load times? Maybe you think so, but I'm fine. Load times are certainly much shorter than the PS2 I'm otherwise used to playing, and on par with the Wii. It's pretty obvious you don't know what you're talking about.

boozak
boozak

So.. it's compatible for the 360 meaning compatibility isnt the issue here, but realeasing a patch to make it compatible for the Ps3 is an issue? Yeah I think there's more going on here rather than Activision jus being money grabbing wh0res, but it reallly wouldnt surprise me - Jus seems stupid that's all..

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

rebelwithacoz wrote: Hence why i've decided to get an old NES, Genesis and an assload of games for my xmas instead of a PS3, i might get it when they stop messing around and make some freaking games. PSP is holding back the PS3, they just spat that out into stores with a crap library of games to try and compete with the DS, and it failed miserably. It'll be dead in a year. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The psp has been out for a couple of years now.....it's not gonna fail in a year. When Nintendo didn't sell as many units as Sony did, did you like it when everybody said Nintendo is dead? Or did YOU believe Nintendo WAS dead? No, I didn't think so. Bottom line is, they are selling just not as much as the competition but saying Sony is dead just sounds like bleeding heart fanboyism. You comlain about Sony and Blu-ray but that is a true next-gen exp. I mean, 360 doesn't even have wi-fi!!! I mean really, I own a 360 cuz I won it in a contest and I think it's loud, too many load times, lots of pop-in with games, no wi-fi, no high-def player which will become really handy within a year or two. 360 owners are stuck with DVD quality games, ps3 games get hd quality no matter what cuz they are blu-ray games. You gotta pay 52.49 a year to go online!!!! The red rings of death have plauged virtually EVERY console! The 20 gb versions are WEAK! I have just a few demos and Crimson Skies on my 20gb and now I only have 8.3 gb left!!! WTF!!! The early ones didn't even have HDMI outputs. Nor did it have 1080p or i. You guys get mad when you say sony is expensive yet you talk about "Next-gen" like the 360 is one. All i see with the 360 are shiny graphics and a wireless controller. I gotta tell you PS3 has the most potential in the years to come just wait and see!!!! And the wii is pretty darn cool too.

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

doublej says: SONY: Consumers pay $600 for your glorious PS3 and then get treated like this? Hey I got an idea... why don't you work with all your developers so everytime a new shooting game is released on PS3 it requires a (new) proprietary light gun? You owned the industry back in the day. Now everyone's trying to get their hands on a Wii for Christmas. Nice move. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What? DId I just read this? Dude, leave sony outta this. THis is a third party developer squabble and Sony had no say so in the first place. Didin't the article just say that SOny has the patch and was ready to release it when Activision pulled the plug? SO how is that Sony's fault? Geez, you people love a scape goat I tell you what............

InfinityTomorro
InfinityTomorro

@rebelwithacoz It's not Sony's fault that Rock Band isn't getting the patch. It's Activision's or Harmonix's, an independent company. Just because its a Sony console doesnt make it Sony's fault. Its a dispute between 2 different developers. Leave Sony out of it.

HK-Ghost
HK-Ghost

Wow Activision. You really blew it with that.

MamaLukuBuku
MamaLukuBuku

Let Activision do what it wants. The Rock Band mechanics in terms of the guitar are far inferior to that of Guitar Hero's and Activision doesn't want their hardware being used on an inferior game. If gamers like Rock Band better then let them go out and buy another Rock Band Guitar Controller. Why leech off another controller meant for another game?

Aquachild
Aquachild

Just when I thought people couldn't get any stupider...

flickds
flickds

I mean really, Activision? You suck.

Rebelwithacoz
Rebelwithacoz

@doublej I couldn't agree more, after the way sony are treating their ps3 consumers (no backwards compatibility with new UK models, messing around with rumble, loads of titles making the jump to other consoles, charging an arm and a leg for their system, this crap) i can see why people are and should be feeling betrayed. They thought they could match the success of their previous consoles, they just F***ed whis whole thing up. Make great graphics and shove an expensive blu ray player in there, worry about things like rumble, games, compatibility, hardware issues, later...what a joke. Hence why i've decided to get an old NES, Genesis and an assload of games for my xmas instead of a PS3, i might get it when they stop messing around and make some freaking games. PSP is holding back the PS3, they just spat that out into stores with a crap library of games to try and compete with the DS, and it failed miserably. It'll be dead in a year. Might get a 360, they look good and have great exclusives. I own a Wii (didn't they screw GH on that too?) Go Nintendo, teach these young'uns how it's done. (not a fanboy, they are owening the market) However i think GH and rock band were rushed. They are great christmas "toys" for sure, but i'd rather play a finished game in January or Febuary, than a disspointing game at christmas. (Not a dig about smash bros at all :P)