Rock Band Series Explodes, Harmonix Founders To Benefit
If you're a fan of really big numbers, pay attention.
See, back in 1995, two college buddies from MIT - Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy - founded Harmonix, and it was their goal to bring the world of popular music into the growing world of video games. They brought us Frequency, Karaoke Revolution, Guitar Hero (initially) and the most recent, Rock Band franchise. The latter has proven quite lucrative: according to GameSpot, Viacom (owner of Harmonix parent company MTV Games) has revealed that both Rock Band and Rock Band 2 have now wold 7 million units in 13 different countries worldwide. Said Viacom president Philippe Dauman- "We have a tiger by the tail in Rock Band and our growing games business." All this, and the PlayStation 3 version of Rock Band 2 wasn't included in these figures, as it just released last month. Overall, the two games have generated nearly $574 million in U.S. retailers alone, and this doesn't include any revenue from the new Rock Band music store, which allows gamers to purchase single songs and track packs for the games.
However, while there's no money figure attached to this as of yet, Dauman says there have been around 26 million songs downloaded so far, so the store is off to a flying start. All of this has made Viacom a lot of money, and they're not about to ignore the guys who started it all: in a SEC filing, the company said that during the third quarter, it had paid "$150 million...under an earn-out agreement related to the 2006 acquisition of Harmonix Music Systems Inc." In addition, Viacom will toss out another earn-out payment next year, which - not surprisingly - should "exceed this year's payment." So...given that Viacom payed $175 million for Harmonix in the first place, it seems Harmonix is projected to earn around $500 million in only three years time. How's that for a yearly salary?
11/11/2008 Ben Dutka