MTV Want Its $150 Million Back from Harmonix

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MTV Want Its $150 Million Back from Harmonix

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Back in the heyday of music rhythm games, MTV paid Rock Band-makers Harmonix $150 million in performance-based compensation and now it wants that money back.

It was 2007 and it seemed everybody was talking about Rock Band and Guitar Hero. You couldn't walk down a street in Manhattan without seeing kids and adults alike strumming on plastics guitars and banging on fake drums in storefronts and apartments. Rock Band sold over a million units in its first month of release and the franchise has earned over $1 billion overall. But, as we all know, such glory days were meant to fade like the career of an aged rocker. The sales of expensive bundles like The Beatles: Rock Band have cooled and MTV is trying to collect on some of the cash it gave Harmonix based on how well the first Rock Band sold.

MTV's parent company, Viacom, filed with the SEC the following statement:

In 2008, we paid $150 million, subject to adjustment, under this earn-out agreement related to 2007 performance. At December 31, 2009, we believe that we are entitled to a refund of a substantial portion of amounts previously paid, but the final amount of the earn-out has not yet been determined.

It seems disingenuous to try to take back someone's bonus, but that appears to be exactly what Viacom is doing. Just because the sales of rhythm games has slowed doesn't mean that they didn't move a buttload of units just a few years ago. By all accounts, Viacom still made money on the deal. What gives?

More importantly, does this foretell a bigger shift in the videogame industry? Will we see parent companies reluctant to take risks on new music games? Is this filing by Viacom the first harbinger that the Rock Band is era is over?

Nah, I'm just kidding. But it does seem bleak.

Source: Gamasutra

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Viacom... That does bring me back to the end of another era, the one when YouTube was still fun.

Hopefully this isn't going to be that dramatic a change.

Ah Viacom, is there anything you can't mess up?

Answer: No, they must destroy all sorts of freedom they don't own.

i didn't know you could do that, i think i want a refund on allot of things now that they dont perform as well.

but no, i really dont think you can invest a butload of money in something and if you 3 years later aren't quite satisfied ask for your investment back, if you can i have an idea why the world economy is experience some turbulence.

Arghh... Viacom has won another battle...

So, hold on? Rock Band sold well, so MTV gave Harmonix a $150 million bonus, and now they want it back because sales aren't as high? That's fucking ridiculous.

Ah jeez, not fucking Viacom again...

This sort of thing happened with them a couple of years ago, meaning that it became impossible for me to watch things like Invader Zim on Youtube. Doesn't sound so bad, except that I live in the UK where Zim has had no DVD release and I just really like that show!

I am convinced that that company is evil and absolutely determined to ruin everything that is even remotely fun.

There's no way this will get through court.

Viacom you greedy bastards....For this you will be sent to the 4th circle of Hell (that's Greed) where all the stuff you ever coveted for are to be melted into building materials right before your eyes while several minions laugh heartily and whip you

I suppose the question comes in the form of where the hell did MTV have $150 millie just sitting around collecting dust? Really? And they invested in Rock Band? I could swear a lot of people invested their own money in that setup. Is a bit of a dick move to ask for a bonus back.
Seems fishy they attached a condition to the bonus where it was "subject to adjustment". What does that mean? Apparently that they can just say, "you know what? we gave you too big of a bonus, give some of it back". I say that MTV has done nothing to improve music anyhow, and for them to do this just cements that. Hurray for MTV being jerks!

swaki:
i didn't know you could do that, i think i want a refund on allot of things now that they dont perform as well.

Yeah, I'd like a complete refund on Mercenaries 2 because it fucking sucked, but apparently customer satisfaction isn't a priority these days.

Here's a question; Who the fuck cares what MTV wants?

They're responsible for some of the worst shows ever.

Surprise, surprise. $150 mil is a pretty steep bonus, but they should have known the sales numbers weren't going to last forever. You can only release so many games before people get tired of spending $60 for something that could easily be released as DLC for $20-$30.

Julianking93:
Here's a question; Who the fuck cares what MTV wants?

They're responsible for some of the worst shows ever.

Yeah, but they are terrible shows that have huge ratings.

What a load of classification 1 BS.

Of course sales have slowed, it's been ages since it was first released you morons.

viacom... you decided to put 150 million or so into this, guess what, no take backs.

Sir Kemper:
Ah Viacom, is there anything you can't mess up?

Answer: No, they must destroy all sorts of freedom they don't own.

yep they are like me. fuck up everything they look at. o yea, your avatar is awesome.

Yikes, thats a rather douchebaggery move by MTV there :S

Alas, it does appear that the music game genre is comming to a rather swift death... at least in the GH vs RB sense, at least. The near-identical competition and over flooding of peripherals has killed both of the franchises.

Hang on, I've got to call the pizza place. I want that tip I gave the driver back, there was less pineapple on one slice.

Regardless of whether or not it was in the initial agreement, this is ridiculous. Should everyone then be able to say "I'm not making enough money on my investment, I want it all back now." And what are types like Kotick going to do? Say what you will about the fellow, he knows his business. But how's he going to react to something like this happening in the industry?

This is as stupid as MTV's own TV channels, since they don't have music on them anymore.

You can only saturate a market so much, I think the population has had enough rhythm games for now, bad enough they made a DJ version.

Wow. Sucks for Harmonix, but seriously, anybody who didn't see this one coming needs to wake up.

robrob:
Some excellent journalism here. Hint: Find out who actually owns Harmonix and get back to us. It's on their wikipedia page.

Just in case you're all too lazy to find out, I'll give you a clue. It starts with M and ends with TV.

This is an accounting adjustment, it was probably part of the original contact too, thus the "subject to adjustment" line

You know MTV is owned by viacom, right? I'm sure it's on their wikipedia page.

scnj:
So, hold on? Rock Band sold well, so MTV gave Harmonix a $150 million bonus, and now they want it back because sales aren't as high? That's fucking ridiculous.

That's business. You destroy things that aren't in the eyes of businessmen or stock holders as successful. Business is just as much destroying as it is investing and people would rather cut out on the decline than stay invested in the long run. Burn the bridge and move on to the next profitable situation whatever it maybe.

my bad, it's an earn out agreement, not a bonus. Which basically means "we'll buy your company and if it maintains certain income levels, you'll get to keep all your money". Harmonix didn't, end of story

I read the article and I have to ask MTV one simple question "On what grounds do you want the $150 you willing gave Harmonix back for? Breach of contract or some superfilious reason?"

MTV thought other business could be profitable long after they ceased to be relevant given they've been doing that for 20 years now.

How about we get the money we spent indirectly on MTV back, when it stopped being Music Television? And I mean when they switched years back, not just recently. Then maybe they can beg for their money from Harmonix.

meh.....hearing the name ViaCom gives me hives at the thought of losing something that was relevantly fun to me. first tv, then YouTube, now this?. if they hit legal torrents, then it's war...

MTV must really need the money back pretty bad if they are doing this, my guess is another awesomely fantastic reality tv series has just been green lit and they need to pay the people involved. That or they are adding another music series without any actual music on it.

Or maybe Sumner Redstone just wants a new Ivory backscratcher.

samsonguy920:
How about we get the money we spent indirectly on MTV back, when it stopped being Music Television? And I mean when they switched years back, not just recently. Then maybe they can beg for their money from Harmonix.

Only if we also get money for when Video Hits 1 (which is, yes, owned by Viacom,) replaced music videos with reality shows involving C-list celebrities.

Low Key:
Surprise, surprise. $150 mil is a pretty steep bonus, but they should have known the sales numbers weren't going to last forever. You can only release so many games before people get tired of spending $60 for something that could easily be released as DLC for $20-$30.

Julianking93:
Here's a question; Who the fuck cares what MTV wants?

They're responsible for some of the worst shows ever.

Yeah, but they are terrible shows that have huge ratings.

A bad behemoth with good ratings... indeed it is. Its not even about Music anymore...

OT: That just means, because of their greed, they want it back. No way MTV, no way!

If it's in their contracts that they can get reimbursement if their investment doesn't pan out, then yeah, of course they should be refunded...

but no, if your investments don't pan out in real life, you can't sue who you invested, unless they actually cheat you.. I don't think Harmonix did that.. They used the money to fund their projects, which didn't pan out well in the end..

but that's how life works.

Viacom and its ability to want to make people totally pissed...how good you are to all of us

Perhaps Viacom might want to consult its lawyers about the concept of "honoring terms of a contract" before continuing here.

Then again, that's just like Corporate America. They'll hold their customers to the most absurd terms possible, but the moment they have to honor their own obligations they run away faster than the French Army facing Germans.

Once again Viacom proves that it has no fucking clue how to handle the 21st century.

EDIT: Bonus Joke: MTV wants its $150 Million Back? Well I want MTV to actually play music on their channel again. Neither of which is ever going to happen.

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