Rock Band 2 sales near 2 million, franchise ships 10 million

MTV Games parent Viacom says Harmonix's rhythm game hit milestone more slowly than expected; touts series' top spot in global revenue for 2008.

US game-industry trackers the NPD Group provided GameSpot with an inside look at the Guitar Hero-Rock Band rivalry last month, revealing that the most recent edition of Activision's stalwart is outpacing its Harmonix-developed rival by a margin of two to one. According to the firm, Guitar Hero World Tour sold 3.4 million copies domestically in 2008, compared to Rock Band 2's achievement of 1.7 million units.

As part of its year-end earnings announcement today, MTV Games' parent company Viacom corroborated NPD's findings, saying in a postearnings conference call that Rock Band 2 has sold nearly 2 million units worldwide on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and Wii through the end of December. Nevertheless, Viacom said that the tally came in below its internal expectations.

"The soft retail environment definitely weighed on sales of our consumer products, particularly during the fourth quarter," said Tom Dooley, executive vice president and CFO of Viacom. "This also impacted sales of Rock Band, which has a relatively high price point. That, however, does not diminish the franchise's great success so far. Rock Band was the number-one game title for 2008 by revenue across all game genres, with more than 10 million units shipped worldwide since its launch."

Dooley went on to say that a growing number of consumers are picking up Rock Band 2 as a standalone game, rather than springing for the game's bundle that also includes a microphone, drum kit, and guitar. "This shift will impact our revenue growth, but it will also improve profitability," Dooley noted.

On the whole, Viacom's Media Networks segment--of which MTV Games' Rock Band is a part--saw revenues climb 8 percent during the fiscal year to $8.75 billion. The media conglomerate attributed a portion of its climbing revenues to increased sales of the Rock Band franchise. However, the division's operating income slipped 10 percent compared to a year before, falling to $2.73 billion.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

28 comments
CrushedGroove
CrushedGroove

I do have to applaud Harmonix for doing things the right way with RB2. Allowing you to get almost every song off the first game, DLC being compatible with the new game, and the instruments working with the sequel (albeit the RB2 drums are wireless). I think this is the way to do it, not making the previous game (and it's downloaded content) obsolete. I think if GH would have done this all along, there wouldn't be any competition. I have almost 200 songs on RB2...just imagine what that number would be if GH had been doing that all along. Nothing against GH, I've played (and loved) every installment (sans Aerosmith), but I think they should have thought about exporting songs and carrying them over before now.

MetaKnight39
MetaKnight39

Hmm guitar hero has been outselling RB? well a lot of people everywhere think one another some that say RB is better and some GHWT better,i personally thought the guitar hero series only had the guitar until world tour came and had full band ,i think GHWT copied RB cause they wanted it to be more better and seems still better,i got both of them,pretty much both okay ,metallica comes out i will get it ,rock revolution nah

norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

@ GodLike500: I personnally find enough improvements in RB2 to deserve a new purchase. The things that innerve me about RB1 are linked to how world tour is a limitation to what songs you can play, while RB2 allows quicker access to all songs through challenges. Also having difficulty displayed in the songs selection and having the possibility to add/remove band members easilly are very useful to me and my friends, 'cause people keep droppping out / joining in as time goes by. Sure, the no-fail mode is a nice thing too. That is as far as software goes. For hardware, I do not need to say anything. The instruments have really been improved (except for the mic'). But I agree overall if you do not mind having to go through songs in packs in world tour, you can do it in RB1. So... it is your choice. :) @ Lucidmike78: Please keep in mind that RB came out waaaay late in other regions, which has caused a difference in ourchases, for sure, in those regions.

GodLike500
GodLike500

Rock Band (and the entire genera) is for the most part directed towards casual gamers. When Harmonix continuing to support the original Rock Band with music downloads there's really no need to buy Rock Band 2 .Except the no-fail feature, there isn't really a large improvement in game play. I'm sure most of the sales for Rock Band 2 were 1) people without the original, 2) "hard core" gamers who want to latest and greatest, or 3) "achievement/trophy whores" looking to bump up their gamertags. Since all the old instuments are supported, there's also no need to upgrade to the Rock Band 2 equipment.

Lucidmike78
Lucidmike78

My theory is that GHWT did not outsell RB2. And if they did, people bought it but are not playing it at all. Just look at YouTube videos. There are 10-100 times more YouTube videos of people playing rockband. The most viewed GHWT video has about 15-20k views. The RB2 videos? Many of them hit a million. Don't you guys find this kinda strange? Not trying to say I prefer one over the other, but there is something to be said about these numbers.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Good to see that its doing well, and rock band beats GH any day

Azwethinkweiz89
Azwethinkweiz89

Maybe some people just perfer GH over RB, you can't force your opinions down people's throats. And that's how I see it with some of the RB fanboys. You freak out when people play GH or any news on the series and start trolling.

Odiewodie_911
Odiewodie_911

The only reason that GH, is selling more than RB is because of the brand name. Most people (that I know at least) are ignorant to the fact that harmonix also made guitar hero 1 and 2. Most of my friends tell me that RB is a cheap knockoff despite the fact that the people who make the guitar hero franchise now, have copied everything Harmonix ever does.

peetowser
peetowser

@ playa42018 : that, Pull Me Under and the Metallica album... I prefer RB's DLC though, I spent a fortune there heheh :P But I got both games, and the only reason I pop GHWT in is for Tool, PmU and DM... I can play RB for hours on end without getting bored with all the great DLC... @ SolidTy : I'm just glad they didn't act like Bethesda (no FO3 DLC for PS3) and they only agreed to a one month delay. I know it sucks but it's always been this way in business, when one company has leverage they take advantage, like Sony did with MGS1 or Nintendo and their former deal with Rare. I had to wait for one month too since I play RB2 on my PS3, if that made HmX a pile of dough to sign awesome DLC then I'm glad, my wait was worth it heheh... PJ 10 looking right atcha :P

Ergo_Proxy656
Ergo_Proxy656

Cool. Wonder how the downloadable sales are, though. ._. And, though I love the GH drums (albeit with a few problems), I like Rock Band's setlist a lot more.

playa42018
playa42018

The only thing GH:WT has over RB2 is TOOL.

bassmaniac20005
bassmaniac20005

Good to hear. I love Rock Band and I love to see it doing well.

halokila
halokila

Keving7's got a point. Their trying to make it a family game know, i mean have you seen their commercials?

robx360
robx360

Considering that Rock Band is not hyped as much as Guitar Hero. The numbers are impressive. I was in line for the midnight release of the first one. Bought the bundle for Rock Band. Only the game for Rock Band 2. I prefer Rock Band over Guitar Hero. I think the setlist is better. I usually pick up both games though. DLC and Rock Band are like pepperoni and cheese. Guitar Hero just don't measure up in those terms. Maybe they spend to much in advertising.

kkevguy47k
kkevguy47k

ghwts set list sucks horribly. rb2s is awesome. and the ghwt drumset cymbals break really easily.

dkidfrmdbx
dkidfrmdbx

i have never been a rock fan but thanks to RB i have opened my eyes and enjoy listening to some great songs also iw as stupid to believe u didnt really need skills to play guitar. I want to thank RB for opening my eyes

Keving7
Keving7

its a damn shame GH4 sells more than RB2. Thanks soccer moms and Wives for buying christmas presents, your passing up on an amazing rythm game in Rock Band 2. RB FTW

dragonmaster335
dragonmaster335

They really gotta include the DLC profits...the amount of sold units doesn't show how much money RB has made.

shanzor
shanzor

Go Rock Band. They might not move as many units as GH4 but they have the downloads perfected. It's good to see Rock Band getting somewhere.

SoNin360
SoNin360

i regret getting world tour, it's nothing like Rock Band and a lot of the songs are horrible... glad i have RB and RB2 though

personmann
personmann

I wish that when the NPD sales figures are released that they include DLC figures, becuse I suspect that while initial SKU purchases are slower for RB the DLC figures would make up for it

gnbfd
gnbfd

Go Rock Band! If they just learned how to advertise (like Activision) then they can easily overtake GH.

dbzfreak
dbzfreak

It all comes down to your music tastes with these two games. I prefer the songs in RB over GH.

tacoeater831
tacoeater831

The way I see it, Rock band is way more fun, Almost Everything being used in both RB and GH, rock band thought of first. think about it, 4 instruments at a time, create a character. Plus personaly I think Rock band 2 has a soundtrack way better than guitar hero 4.