Well, here's some news.
Kotaku is reporting that Viacom, parent company of MTV and a host of other media outlets, is planning to sell off Harmonix, the music-game-development house responsible for the original Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and the new Dance Central. It's a bit surprising given the apparent success of Dance Central, but then less surprising when you consider the disappointing sales of the last few iterations of the Rock Band franchise - even though Rock Band 3 is the best installment yet - and of music games in general (Guitar Hero's sales are also way down in the last few years).
That's right: KMFDM
Last summer, Harmonix announced a bold new strategy to enable artists, labels, management, or other authorized hangers-on to upload music to something called the Rock Band Network for sale as downloadable content in the Rock Band video game. Since then, business has turned a little sour for the music-game genre, but: the RBN is up and operational!
Harmonix let go of 13% of its staff today in a surprising turn, given the success of The Beatles: Rock Band and that fact that we all think of Harmonix as the video-game industry's own utopian paradise in which nothing ever goes wrong.
The official statement is that the layoffs were part of "re-structuring to better align our staffing to best suit our product development plans and schedules moving forward," and that most of the positions cut were in QA -- except we know that at least one staff designer got a pink slip as well.
Here's a little gamer innovation (courtesy of Co-Optimus). This young flutist discovered that she could ace Expert Mode on Rock Band not by singing, but by playing her flute into the mic:
My first reaction is a strong desire to break out my old clarinet and try it myself, but I also thought about what could this mean for future Rock Band peripherals.
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