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.

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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.

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