MTV to acquire Guitar Hero developer

Harmonix Music Systems to become latest member of the Viacom media empire; price set at $175 million in cash.

Guitar Hero has made a lot of people very, very rich. In May, Activision announced that it had purchased the publisher of the game, RedOctane; a pickup that cost the company $100 million. Today, MTV Networks announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Guitar Hero's development studio, Harmonix Music Systems, for $175 million in cash.

The move represents another step into gaming for MTV parent company Viacom. The media giant has previously been rumored as contemplating takeovers of Electronic Arts and Midway (of which Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone owns a considerable amount of stock). As for steps it has actually taken into the gaming sector, the company acquired Xfire earlier this year for $102 million.

This is not the first time MTV has involved itself with the Guitar Hero brand. Last November, it announced an agreement with RedOctane to feature Guitar Hero (as well as future installments of the series) in original programming, creative promotions, and competitions on its array of cable channels and Web sites.

While the Harmonix hit du jour may be Guitar Hero, the studio has developed a number of successes, including the cult PlayStation 2 rhythm games Frequency and Amplitude, as well as Konami's Karaoke Revolution series. Harmonix's next game to hit the market, Guitar Hero 2 for the PS2, is expected to arrive in stores this November.

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