MTV Games shuttered - Report

Rock Band publisher apparently closed down following sale of Harmonix to private equity group.

Last month, Viacom sold off Harmonix, the developer behind the hit rhythm game series Rock Band and Dance Central, to a private equity company. The move left MTV Games, publisher of the Rock Band series, without its biggest studio--or a game series to publish.

MTV Games is reportedly no more.

It is unsurprising, then, that today comes a report saying that MTV Games has closed its doors. According to an unconfirmed article on British industry site MCV, the label's international office in London was completely shuttered yesterday. A skeleton crew apparently remains on board in the publisher's New York offices to mop up outstanding financial issues.

The fate of MTV Games' other studio, a collaboration with prolific film producer Jerry Bruckheimer, remains unclear. That outfit formed in 2007 with the intention of being an "incubation studio" designed to conceive of games but not actually build them.

Multiple requests for comment sent to MTV staffers had not been responded to as of press time. If true, the closure marks the end of Viacom's four-and-a-half-year experiment with the gaming industry. It began in September 2006, when Viacom bought Harmonix for $175 million dollars plus a generous bonus structure. However, initial success gave way to unprofitability by 2009.

Soon, Viacom was seeking a refund for bonuses paid to Harmonix even before Rock Band 3 launched last October. By November, Viacom announced its intention to sell off the division, which it did in December for a reportedly tiny sum.

For more on Rock Band 3, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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