Rock Band developer sold off by Viacom

Harmonix bought up by private holding company; says "unannounced projects" are on the way.

A month and a half ago, media giant Viacom announced its intention to sell off Harmonix, developer of the Rock Band games. Today, the company announced the deal is done, with Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC scooping up the studio for an undisclosed sum. The privately funded holding company is an affiliate of New York City-based investment firm Columbus Nova, LLC.

Harmonix is dancing to the beat of a new drummer.

In a forum post, Harmonix issued a statement in which it assured Rock Band owners that the sale won't affect the regular downloadable content updates for its games, which also includes Kinect favorite Dance Central.

"We're excited to be returning to our roots as an independent and privately owned studio," read the post. "As for what it means for you, the DLC schedule marches on for Rock Band, we will continue our support of previously released titles, and we're hard at work on some unannounced projects that we think you're going to be pumped about."

Harmonix also thanked Viacom and its subsidiary MTV Networks for being an "amazing home" since the studio was bought in 2006 for $175 million. The timing of the graciousness was curious, as just last week the original shareholders of Harmonix filed suit against Viacom, accusing the company of manipulating costs in order to deny performance bonus payments to Harmonix.

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Discussion

131 comments
glimpus
glimpus

I've played drums for about 15 years and I love the Rock Band kit. Playing on expert it's about 99 percent realistic (aside from the lack of a hi hat to open and close with your foot), it's really quite amazing. I say 99 percent because the layouts on each song isn't quite perfect, but it's almost there. It's even good practice since I can't fit my real kit in my apartment. These games can actually teach people how to play instruments, and that's pretty incredible if you think about it.

glimpus
glimpus

@pszone please tell me that English isn't your first language.

MrHatnClogs
MrHatnClogs

Aw man, I was really hoping for a Rock Band: Jersey Shore Edition :(

digi-demon
digi-demon

A new release on the horizon...could that be Rock Band 'Busker' edition :P BTW PSZONE....:?

Cwagmire21
Cwagmire21

Harmonix is a good developer and is probably better off losing its ties to MTV.

pszone
pszone

look i do welcome them but i was just saying last game that pp didnt buy it but next game might sell because they not with ea games anymore they need to bring muisc games back on track but i do sp english and if you cant read this how i feel that your idolit that you cant read what i said so this my final comment

Chinn3rs
Chinn3rs

Love guitar hero and Dance Central is a great game. I look forward to their next projects.

Kiltman99
Kiltman99

In some ways Harmonix might be better off as an Indie studio. They're quite innovative, and from what I hear they treat they're employees very well. Their the kind of operation that would probably be screwed up by too much oversight and pressure from an inexperienced and monetarily concerned publisher.

silentsniper321
silentsniper321

viacom sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kris9031998
kris9031998

@pszone Oh really? Then why does your grammar suck. Its supposed to be "Well i do welcome them too, but im just saying what will happen?" Which is not what you wrote.

pszone
pszone

well i do welcome them too i just saying what happen and plus i do speak english

soolkiki
soolkiki

@pszone Shut up troll, learn some English and then maybe I'll consider what you're saying. Heh, but it looks like that is going to happen when hell freezes over. =---- Anyway, great job to both companies, I think they made a wonderful decision. :)

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

Now, if only the Call of Duty bubble could burst too. Then gaming would be in an even better place.

Veldon56
Veldon56

@NerdyGeekboy its funny cause i play saxophone too

XzVinniezX
XzVinniezX

awww!!! come on new headlines please!

digi-demon
digi-demon

To coin a phrase..."does the dial on their Amp still go up-to '11' ?"

digi-demon
digi-demon

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

fadersdream
fadersdream

ummmm... don't forget donkey konga... i guess.

marshin7
marshin7

@mikemaj82 yah i get that guitar hero brought the genre to new heights when it started. But really there would be no guitar hero without games like Dance Dance Revolution that started out the Music/Rhythm genre. Rock Band took what guitar hero had and made it something amazing. Guitar Hero tried to pick up Rock Band's steam and took their idea and made nothing new out of it.

mikemaj82
mikemaj82

@Ice_man_1985 yes, and which game came first? ah you said it! very good! kudos to YOU

mikemaj82
mikemaj82

@marshin7 ahh yes very good. it's called taking an idea and expanding on it. there still would be no rock band without guitar hero. wow.

mikemaj82
mikemaj82

@requul1 sorry I forgot that life depends on how people vote me on gamespot.

JayQproductions
JayQproductions

only reason i havent bought rock band 3 is because i refuse to pay $70 for a plastic keyboard.

izzyrevenge
izzyrevenge

i think this will be good for Harmonix.who wats to have anything to do with mtv anyway.mtv is f***'n lame

Trogeton
Trogeton

I think by now especially on youtube.. everyone hates viacom lol

pszone
pszone

Lockedge only reason didnt sell fans think same as the last one thats the case really is too blind anyways i do welcome harmoix been brought out so

xXFr34k_0uTXx
xXFr34k_0uTXx

@holagrave1918 Thanks for the laugh, you nailed that one. On another note, I wish Harmonix the best. They really know what it takes to create outstanding music/rhythm games.

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

Why has this turned into an argument about RB vs. GH? I've played many versions of both and they both can be quite fun. I'm a Rock Band guy myself(I like the less chunky guitar),but I'll play a Guitar Hero game any day.My point is,that yes the genre is slowing,but it isn't dead.It's just that almost everyone has the instruments and would rather have just the games without bundles,which is easy to do. Anyway,why are we talking about this,when we should be talking about the unspecified project we are going to be pumped about according to Harmonix?LET'S GET PUMPED!

NightRain
NightRain

They are going to regret it. Viacom, that is... Harmonix makes your music/rhythm games awesome.

Lockedge
Lockedge

@pszone RB3 hasn't sold well because the music game genre is saturated and people are tired of paying $150 for a game and plastic instruments over and over again. I think RB3 will be a game that keeps selling over time as more people pick it up when the price drops.

Lockedge
Lockedge

I just want Rock Band DLC to continue and for Harmonix to keep going. I figure if HMX stretch out their releases, keep a stream of DLC, that they will be fine. :) A healthy HMX = a happy me

pszone
pszone

well CCGR why rock band 3 didnt sell because pp didnt care about reviews

CCGR_Pheonix
CCGR_Pheonix

Oh, if you care about the music game genre, you should thumb this up to prove "pszone" wrong.

CCGR_Pheonix
CCGR_Pheonix

Harmonix is one of the best gaming companies in exsistence. From their weekly DLC for both their franchises to their love for their community, it's hard to find better. Good luck to you Harmonix. Keep on rockin'

pszone
pszone

holagrave1918 i know how to do english and plus they dont sell no more because why you think EA Games sell Homiex selling up for fun no because EA Games had to sell up even Rock Band 3 got gd rate pp dont care at muisc games just face it

philipinoy
philipinoy

*continuing to my previous post. also, they did a 'lego' version as well... so it goes both ways, not just saying GH put out too many versions.

philipinoy
philipinoy

SolanOcard Posted Dec 25, 2010 7:36 am PT @mikemaj82 Learn your history fool. and Rock band is FAR better than recent Guitar hero outings. RB1 > GH3 RB2 > GH:WT RB3 > GH:WoR what about Guitar Hero 5 you say? Well, it was released without a Rock Band counterpart, which just goes to show you Guitar Hero puts out TOO many games. And any Rock Band game is still better than Guitar Hero 5. oh, and Smash Hits? I suggest moving the "s" from the first word to the second for a more apt description. -------------------------------------------------------- i'm not doubting what you're staying, i just have a problem with your middle statement. RB also did a "beatles" version, and a "green day" version. they all went head to head with GH in some way or another... if i'm right, GH5 (as you say went up against nothing) i think they were against "the beatles"

magicalclick
magicalclick

I hope the new company actually appreciate Harmonix, not only business. The did a good job on the new Dance Central and I wish the new owner would aim for the same goal and deliever newer type of rythm game to the market.

holagrave1918
holagrave1918

Thumbs down to pszone's grammar and the English teachers who tried to teach him. FAIL

pszone
pszone

k dont get me wrong i welcome muisc games but rock band 3 got big rate but didnt sell what got ea games to sell but muisc games dont sell no more and i dont care give me thumb down because im right

bardos-the-3rd
bardos-the-3rd

@dibooda because this is a rock band 3 treat and because rb and gh are rivals,this is like posting in a killzone treat that halo is better or in other words 1 thumb up 20 down

dibooda
dibooda

why is every1 bashing gh? I do believe this is all a matter of taste. I much prefer gh due to its heavier tracks. and i love circles >

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

I wonder whats in Store for Viacon since they got sold off, hopefully they'll do alright.

bardos-the-3rd
bardos-the-3rd

is this "isn't viacom the maker of..." some kind of joke becuase there is a lot of bull posted about it

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

@JMONEYHALOWWE NO.. It's Vivendi.. not Viacom ;)

requul1
requul1

@mikemaj82 whoa you're good at being wrong. Like epically good. I've never seen -21 before. Props dood. You 're wrong like the sky is blue. That takes skill.