Buying Rock Band Developer Harmonix Like Catching a Falling Knife, Says EA

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Buying Rock Band Developer Harmonix Like Catching a Falling Knife, Says EA

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Whoever buys Harmonix runs the risk of doing themselves more harm than good, says EA's CEO.

It may be the distributor for the Rock Band games, but EA says it will not be buying their developer, Harmonix. Speaking to Bloomberg, CEO John Riccitiello said that such an acquisition made would make a certain kind of sense, but that it wasn't the strategic direction EA wanted to take.

Riccitiello believed that purchasing Harmonix would send the message that EA was "doubling down" on the victories of the past, which made it more difficult to convince investors that the future of EA - which included social and casual gaming - was the "Promised Land." He compared buying Harmonix to trying to catch a falling knife, saying that the buyer's timing would have to be just right to be successful. He pointed out however, that most people who tried to catch a falling knife just ended up cutting their hands.

It's a hard to argue with Riccitiello, as neither of the most recent Rock Band or Guitar Hero games have sold particularly well. If the bubble has burst and people aren't buying music games, then you can hardly blame publishers like EA for being hesitant about buying the studio, just as you can't really blame Viacom for wanting to sell.

Source: via 1up

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Buying Rock Band Developer Harmonix Like Catching a Falling Knife, Says EA

use gloves

now, douchebag-ness aside, you know what would be cool? using the Criterion strategy

shit yourself on money with a franchise, then release a different title on a different genre, but with the same feel

and then use that time to improve on your first franchise with a new title ^-^

yeah not many people music games any more. With the exception of dance central

ForgottenPr0digy:
yeah not many people music games any more. With the exception of dance central

Which ironically is made by the very same developer.

Sucks to see Harmonix getting thrown around like this, they are an awesome developing company and Rock Band 3 was a superb game in my opinion.

Halo is an extremely popular franchise. Imagine if you had to buy three controllers every time it came out though. I think people are tired of the fake guitars, drums, and whatnot that they have to find room for.

I think we'll see them sell a bit more during Christmas time, but really the focus should've been on extending music libraries via DLC then graphic overhauls and storylines.

I know I spent about $50-$100 on music DLC.

Ermmm...Also from today...

"I think the music genre is going to recover," John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, the company the distributes Rock Band, told me this morning during an interview in New York.

Source - http://kotaku.com/5702548/music-games-will-make-a-comeback-but-how-is-a-mystery

these games...every much "played one, played them all" and tbh i've always thought that.

Maybe their sales would be better if they didn't release a hundred identical games a year...

I think a move to a more modular pathway is going to be what keeps the music genre alive. Less of these full "Rock Band" titles and more of these "Rock Band: Beatles" or "Guitar Hero: Metallica" type titles.

Because lets face it, if you look at the Rock Band 2 tracklist, at least half of what you see is shit you don't want to play, and maybe a quarter is stuff you've never even heard of. It gets even more narrow when you add another three people trying to decide what to play.

Cheaper sales of certain bands and entirely separate but always compatible peripherals are the way forward in my eyes.

I blame Activision (Easy Target I know) for Saturating the market too much.

The thing with music and rhytm games is that you eventually cannot just repackage the old, introduce one or two new features and sell it as a game. You're forced to innovate and unfortunately no company is willing to take that risk.

The music game market is done for and the only way to gain a profit from it is by selling songs online to increase the library of current games. Unless, that is, someone innovates the entire genre.

But unlike Guitar Hero, Rock Band's quality hasn't suffered.

Time to Reboot the music-game genre! Think, Think, Think,

...

Eureka! I have it!
Comming Soon: Philharmonic Orchestra: MOTSART!

Brilliant idea:
use harmonix to make things which aren't music games.

They're obviously a creative bunch over there, I feel like a lot of amazing ideas are being locked away behind the stereotype that they only have, and thus only should, make music games.

OR if they have to/want to stay along the music route: make games like Audio Surf, Beat Hazard, REZ, etc. Games where the music is part of the gameplay.

Cliff_m85:
Halo is an extremely popular franchise. Imagine if you had to buy three controllers every time it came out though. I think people are tired of the fake guitars, drums, and whatnot that they have to find room for.

I think we'll see them sell a bit more during Christmas time, but really the focus should've been on extending music libraries via DLC then graphic overhauls and storylines.

I know I spent about $50-$100 on music DLC.

You really don't have to buy new guitars every time. Or drums.

Zachary Amaranth:

Cliff_m85:
Halo is an extremely popular franchise. Imagine if you had to buy three controllers every time it came out though. I think people are tired of the fake guitars, drums, and whatnot that they have to find room for.

I think we'll see them sell a bit more during Christmas time, but really the focus should've been on extending music libraries via DLC then graphic overhauls and storylines.

I know I spent about $50-$100 on music DLC.

You really don't have to buy new guitars every time. Or drums.

Certainly you don't. Unless you want the 'full experience'.

Rock Band instruments won't work on Guitar hero instruments.
Rock Band releases new Keytar. And stringed guitar.

You could do it without these add ons, but you'd be missing out a bit. Then the fee for transferring songs.

Flying Dagger:
Maybe their sales would be better if they didn't release a hundred identical games a year...

They've released TWO games this year.... TWO... And they are very different in feel, art style, music, and in game features. Rock Band 3 is a completely overhauled game where even some of the core mechanics got changed, and all got expanded upon.

You must be incredibly ignorant to make this statement if you're serious.

Cliff_m85:
Certainly you don't. Unless you want the 'full experience'.

Rock Band instruments won't work on Guitar hero instruments.
Rock Band releases new Keytar. And stringed guitar.

You could do it without these add ons, but you'd be missing out a bit. Then the fee for transferring songs.

Rock Band instruments don't work on Guitar Hero games? Then how have I been playing all the titles since WT with RB guitars and drums?

(And it works both ways).

The Strat has been effectively the same since RB1 four years ago, the drums haven't changed since the last iteration two years ago, and while the keyboard is new, they're hardly offering up a new instrument every time.

Cliff_m85:
Halo is an extremely popular franchise. Imagine if you had to buy three controllers every time it came out though. I think people are tired of the fake guitars, drums, and whatnot that they have to find room for.

Also imagine if all you did in Halo was just one giant quick time event after another, and there was no possibility of any awesome moments you might have in Halo as a shooter.

I think those two things are why people aren't buying these games that much anymore.

lotr rocks 0:

Flying Dagger:
Maybe their sales would be better if they didn't release a hundred identical games a year...

They've released TWO games this year.... TWO... And they are very different in feel, art style, music, and in game features. Rock Band 3 is a completely overhauled game where even some of the core mechanics got changed, and all got expanded upon.

You must be incredibly ignorant to make this statement if you're serious.

At the end of the day, the games are all still just a series of quick time events (minus pro mode I suppose). You can't blame people for looking at all of them and seeing the same thing, even if music from The Beatles and Green Day are miles apart.

Poketom:
Ermmm...Also from today...

"I think the music genre is going to recover," John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, the company the distributes Rock Band, told me this morning during an interview in New York.

Source - http://kotaku.com/5702548/music-games-will-make-a-comeback-but-how-is-a-mystery

He is saying this so the price of Harmonix will go down and then he will buy Harmonix.

Rhythm games have always been a niche market filled with a relatively small group of hardcore fans. That's just how it is.

It's a market filled with people who don't really want innovation who try to master the mechanics they're given and just hope for a fluid control system with new and interesting songs consistently coming out.

Its obvious that a lot of you people making comments know nothing about the games. Activision, not Harmonix, flooded the market with new games. They are also the one continually coming out with new, slightly different controllers. They also make sure your downloaded songs DON"T work with new games. Harmonix IS innovating and bringing new things to the genre. Pro modes, which can actually teach you to play real music. I have been using the same rock band 2 drums for several years. I did upgrade them with cymbals (cost $30). The songs I downloaded for rock band one, 3 or 4 years ago work with rock band 3. Whoever buys Harmonix will be getting a top-notch developer. They will succeed with whatever they try next.

Riccitiello believed that purchasing Harmonix would send the message that EA was "doubling down" on the victories of the past, which made it more difficult to convince investors that the future of EA - which included social and casual gaming - was the "Promised Land."

social and casual gaming

Oh, boy.

It's not just a sandwich but somebodies knife

gsf1200:
Its obvious that a lot of you people making comments know nothing about the games. Activision, not Harmonix, flooded the market with new games. They are also the one continually coming out with new, slightly different controllers. They also make sure your downloaded songs DON"T work with new games. Harmonix IS innovating and bringing new things to the genre. Pro modes, which can actually teach you to play real music. I have been using the same rock band 2 drums for several years. I did upgrade them with cymbals (cost $30). The songs I downloaded for rock band one, 3 or 4 years ago work with rock band 3. Whoever buys Harmonix will be getting a top-notch developer. They will succeed with whatever they try next.

Basically what this guy says. Harmonix is easily my favourite dev studio and while they aren't perfect and neither is Rock Band 3, they are one of the best game studios around in terms of trying to listen to their fanbase and genuinely make new and fun experiences and not just merely milk a franchise until it dies.

I just reallly realllly realllyy hope that Activision is also not interested in HMX because if Acti picks up HMX, I foresee HMX either getting immediately dissolved/forced to work on guitar hero, or having to meet deadlines to put out 3 mediocre games a year and less DLC. Either is very bad in my opinion

The only possible (not likely) positive of having Acti pick up HMX would be if they merged GH and RB into one entity and somehow managed to merge the music catalogues into one super epic catalog. The problem with this is that RB and GH have different instruments and modes, gameplay features (unison bonuses vs band moments, extended sustains vs trills/tremolo picking) that would somehow need to be combined to be compatible with one game.

Logan Westbrook:

It's a hard to argue with Riccitiello, as neither of the most recent Rock Band or Guitar Hero games have sold particularly well.

Why do I keep having to bring this up? The early numbers used for the "TERRIBLE TERRIBLE SALES" were European Union sales for the PS3 in week one, and then followed up with the claim that the game was selling terribly. To date:

http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/sales/29394/rock-band-3/
http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/sales/29395/rock-band-3/
http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/sales/29396/rock-band-3/

116,138 ps3
212,769 360
91,937 Wii

420,000 total sales to date, which is roughly half of the sales to this point of Rock Band 2 when it first came out.

That is by no means 'not selling particularly well'. They're also going to have two more bursts of sales with the holiday season, and when the Squier Strat comes out.

All this bad press the gaming media has been pushing around about RB3's sales is fulfilling their own created prophecy.

Scizophrenic Llama:

ForgottenPr0digy:
yeah not many people music games any more. With the exception of dance central

Which ironically is made by the very same developer.

Sucks to see Harmonix getting thrown around like this, they are an awesome developing company and Rock Band 3 was a superb game in my opinion.

Even though rock band 3 may be a great game... the launch was just plain weird.
The main selling point was supposed to be the pro controllers, and they didn't realease those until much later, the madcatz pro guitar having just launched recently, and the fender pro guitar launching in march?
My guess is most people are/were expecting the pro controllers to buy the game. But most of them will lose interest over time about them. I think it was a huge risk by harmonix and not sure if it was worth it. I bet nobody will give a damn about the fender proguitar by march.

gsf1200:
Its obvious that a lot of you people making comments know nothing about the games. Activision, not Harmonix, flooded the market with new games. They are also the one continually coming out with new, slightly different controllers. They also make sure your downloaded songs DON"T work with new games. Harmonix IS innovating and bringing new things to the genre. Pro modes, which can actually teach you to play real music. I have been using the same rock band 2 drums for several years. I did upgrade them with cymbals (cost $30). The songs I downloaded for rock band one, 3 or 4 years ago work with rock band 3. Whoever buys Harmonix will be getting a top-notch developer. They will succeed with whatever they try next.

Agree 100% with you man..

AC10:
Brilliant idea:
use harmonix to make things which aren't music games.

They're obviously a creative bunch over there, I feel like a lot of amazing ideas are being locked away behind the stereotype that they only have, and thus only should, make music games.

OR if they have to/want to stay along the music route: make games like Audio Surf, Beat Hazard, REZ, etc. Games where the music is part of the gameplay.

Amnestic:
I think a move to a more modular pathway is going to be what keeps the music genre alive. Less of these full "Rock Band" titles and more of these "Rock Band: Beatles" or "Guitar Hero: Metallica" type titles.

Because lets face it, if you look at the Rock Band 2 tracklist, at least half of what you see is shit you don't want to play, and maybe a quarter is stuff you've never even heard of. It gets even more narrow when you add another three people trying to decide what to play.

Cheaper sales of certain bands and entirely separate but always compatible peripherals are the way forward in my eyes.

True, cheaper games will make this a lot better in the long run. Matter of fact, I highly doubt that they would need to make a new game peripheral for quite some time. But I think they would have to really diversify the market.

I'm sure not many people have heard of Drummania or Guitar Freaks, which I believe to be a very successful series (even if it's mainly Japanese music). Problem is, licensing kills all of the deals. I would love it if there were more international music that was cheaper or music from various sources.

When they started looking into specific music bands, I felt that was truly a step in the wrong direction on all fronts.

Onyx Oblivion:
But unlike Guitar Hero, Rock Band's quality hasn't suffered.

In track lists.

It has not suffered in song selection.

Believe me as a frequent player of both series, gameplay-wise Guitar Hero is better than Rock Band (I could go into why, but let's just say "design choices" and leave it at that").

OT: It's a damn shame, Harmonix is excellent at what they do, even if what they do is make games in a genre that's already full of similar games.

But, hey... can't you direct them in another genre? Or have them make 80 more Dance Central Games?

I wouldn't say it's that risky, EA.

I think Harmonix has more to offer, somebody just has to give them a chance. There's still plenty of market out there for music games, just not so much be the big peripherals that go with it.

Harmonix has always been great at experimenting. Before they made Guitar Hero (and later, Rock Band), they had FreQuency and Amplitude, as well as EyeToy: Antigrav (that one might be a lot more fun with Kinect . . . if Sony doesn't hold a license on it). I hope they are bought, because they can still make great stuff. They just been forced into a cycle of sequels and spin-offs for Rock Band.

Hopefully someone can finally inject some innovation into big-budget music games.

(The indie scene is already quiet innovative).

This article is so redundant. Interesting how it ignores the fact he also said that HMX are one of the great developers of all time and that he thinks the music game genre will recover. That falling knife quote was taken out of context. It'd be fine if this had been reported before Kotaku cleared it up, but this was posted nearly half a day later >.<

Poketom:

Source - http://kotaku.com/5702548/music-games-will-make-a-comeback-but-how-is-a-mystery

mikozero:
these games...every much "played one, played them all" and tbh i've always thought that.

And that's different then Call of Duty or Halo how?

lotr rocks 0:

Flying Dagger:
Maybe their sales would be better if they didn't release a hundred identical games a year...

They've released TWO games this year.... TWO... And they are very different in feel, art style, music, and in game features. Rock Band 3 is a completely overhauled game where even some of the core mechanics got changed, and all got expanded upon.

You must be incredibly ignorant to make this statement if you're serious.

as someone who doesn't have much interest in these music titles, I can barely tell the difference between each guitar band and rock hero. but between those, the other titles and things like DJ hero, it just seems a long series of putting out exactly the same game with very slight changes.

What other game could get away with putting out the same gameplay, with the same story and just changing the soundtrack? (other then sports titles, which is another game type that I think release too many titles)
Two iterations in a year sounds too much to me anyway, how can they possibly change much when working on those timeframes?
But then I'm not the chump that paid full price for the same game twice, so maybe it's just something I wouldn't understand.

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