Harmonix cops to Rock Band problems

Developer says it's working to make non-Rock Band PS3 controllers compatible and pledges to replace faulty hardware.


A rock band without turmoil is hardly a rock band at all. It's appropriate, then, that Harmonix is experiencing some issues with the launch of its multidisciplinary rhythm game Rock Band.

First and foremost, PlayStation 3 Guitar Hero III controllers had originally been expected to work with Rock Band, but that turned out not to be the case. This might have been a mild inconvenience for those who purchased the $170 Rock Band bundle that includes drums, a microphone, and a guitar. It was a much bigger deal for buyers of the $60 stand-alone version of the game, since individual Rock Band instruments won't be sold separately until next year.

However, Harmonix today told would-be rock stars steeling themselves for many-a "Silent Night" that it is working to fix compatibility issues with PS3 guitar controllers. But given Harmonix's split from Activision-owned Guitar Hero publisher RedOctane, the GHIII controller--which is the only other PS3 guitar peripheral on the market--is never mentioned by name.

"Some of you have contacted us about the PS3 edition of Rock Band--from issues with guitar compatibility to frustration that stand-alone guitars and drums for Rock Band have not yet hit stores," a Harmonix representative said. "Please know that these issues have our full attention. We are listening and we read everything that is posted on our forums. We are committed to providing the best play experience possible and working hard to ensure that we solve these problems as soon as possible. We promise to keep you updated and, in the meantime, we thank you for your patience."

There's also no guarantee that those who went with the bundle will be spared Rock Band-related headaches. After numerous reports of broken strum bars on the Fender Stratocaster guitar controller, Harmonix also acknowledged that there were some issues with the first batch of the guitars.

"As sometimes happens when new products first go into manufacturing, we discovered an imperfection with the strum bar in an early production run of guitars that were shipped at launch," the representative said. "We want to inform you that we have since identified and fixed the issue in all subsequent production runs of the guitars."

As for reports of other Rock Band hardware failures--such as snapping drum-kit pedals--Harmonix and publisher MTV Games pledged to stand by all the game's hardware. "If you are experiencing a problem with your guitar or any of your other Rock Band instruments, simply visit the customer support website and we will send a replacement immediately."

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