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Viacom Drops Harmonix And Its Liabilities For $50

My, how the mighty have fallen.

Things can change quickly in any big business situation, especially one that involves the fickleness of retail consumers. Or, in this case, the over-saturating of a lucrative market. Back in 2006, right around the time the rapidly growing music genre was primed for an explosion laden with plastic instruments, MTV parent company Viacom purchased Harmonix for $175 million in cash. Late last year, after yet another decline in said genre and despite high praise for Harmonix's Rock Band 3, the studio was sold off...and for a slightly lower price. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Viacom sold the money-hemorrhaging studio to an affiliate of New York-based investment firm, Columbus Nova, for $50. No, that isn't a typo. Fifty bucks. As in, $10 less than the cost of a new copy of Rock Band 3. Of course, the new owner will also inherit all of Harmonix's liabilities, which includes the designer's music rights fees as well as the value of any existing franchise inventory.

Still, things aren't exactly what they used to be. Many still love the music/rhythm games but sometimes, the situation reaches the dreaded "enough is enough" point.

Tags: harmonix, viacom, rock band, games industry

1/4/2011 3:04:48 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (28 posts)

maxpontiac
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 3:34:49 PM
Reply

I would sure like to see that contract.

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NissanFlyboy
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 7:43:35 PM

I would love to be standing there with a camera as they handed it over... And take a picture as their eyes started to swell over their money...

Last edited by NissanFlyboy on 1/4/2011 7:44:07 PM

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thj_1980
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 3:39:43 PM
Reply

DAMN 50 bucks to own them that would be sweet!!!!!

Last edited by thj_1980 on 1/4/2011 3:39:57 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 3:41:08 PM
Reply

Man I would have bought it. I'd turn that mess around right quick with some fresh ideas.

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HighOnFire
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 3:58:00 PM

Fresh ideas? Lets hear em!

Last edited by HighOnFire on 1/4/2011 4:02:53 PM

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CH1N00K
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 4:06:38 PM

Tifa Rockband?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 4:41:51 PM

I'd get some talented staff to work on an interface that translates any MP3 on your hard drive into a playable song.

Then I'd go local, make a few safe deals with bars and venues around the country where people are obsessed with their local bands, install a bunch of Rock Band gear and let the patrons pay a bit to play their local bands songs. It wouldn't work for every type of music but for certain songs it would. You could host local competitions and whatnot too.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 1/4/2011 4:43:25 PM

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HighOnFire
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 4:52:01 PM

Those are good ideas, especially the MP3 one. It was hard for me to get into the whole music game thing because there just wasnt enough....wait for it....METAL!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 5:01:02 PM

By the way, Dexter is the sh*t!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 5:31:28 PM

Let's not forget you had to take on their liabilities.....you don't want those. Complications galore. ;)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 5:40:54 PM

Yeah I read that, you'd have to find some venture capitalists for sure, and sell them on a lot more ideas on how to turn the stale music gaming genre around.

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Fane1024
Friday, January 07, 2011 @ 4:27:36 PM

$150 million in liabilities...so not really cheap.

The talented staff at Harmonix already built a game that uses any mp3. You can't do that with Rock Band, because you need the master recordings with separated tracks. Nice try, though.

The only staff Harmonix need to hire is someone with RPG experience to make a proper World Tour.

Oh and Dexter is awesome.



Last edited by Fane1024 on 1/7/2011 4:31:13 PM

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CH1N00K
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 4:07:37 PM
Reply

Has anyone played the new Rockband? I wondered how the new "learn to play" peripherals worked. But not enough to buy another Rockband. The one we have hardly gets used....

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HighOnFire
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 4:19:04 PM

Like you, we dont use the one we have. My wife is a drummer, and definatly not a gamer, but she wanted Rock Band for the drums. First coulple of days was fun, but now it sits in a sad, dusty corner of the game room. Every so often I think about busting it out just for Iron Maiden......

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Fane1024
Friday, January 07, 2011 @ 4:33:40 PM

IF you're going to play it, RB3 is well worth the price. I haven't played with any of the Pro instruments yet, though, so I can't give a personal opinion on that question. Those who have used Pro mode, however, are raving about it.

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Rings0fUranus
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 4:47:26 PM
Reply

Remember when Guitar Hero was awesome?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 5:01:14 PM

Actually no, I don't ;)

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NissanFlyboy
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 7:41:27 PM

The first one was fun, but playing the 2nd on ps2 was the sh*t. GH2 was the last GH game I liked.

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jaynet333
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 5:15:53 PM
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The irony is that Activision is the company that saturated the market the most. Rock Band only had the 3 major releases since Nov 2007. Between Guitar Hero, Band Hero, and DJ Hero, it seemed like Activision couldn't pump these things out fast enough.

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thj_1980
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 6:19:09 PM
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Oh well ym kit is back in the box in a corner, I don't think i'll be busting it out anytime soon. I might now an then but still, it's just music games are fun, but what really happened when call of duty walked in?

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NonProphet
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 6:38:34 PM
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I'm just waiting for this to happen to COD, not gonna hold my breathe though.

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Scarecrow
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 6:43:19 PM

Hopefully it happens this year.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 10:05:58 PM
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Damn, talk about a real bargain-bin deal.

As it stands now, I don't own any of those RB/GH/DJ/Dance/etc, games in my collections(except for 1 Sing-Song white PS2 slim bundle, so they should have talked to me first!

I would have gladly given them twice that....a nice brand new crisp $100 bill, just so I could add all their musical games & plasticware into all of my console collections that need them.

Then the very next day, I would have turned the company keys over, "free of charge", to the employees.
Then they they could decide their own fate, deciding on whether to run it & how to whittle down the liabilities, or to sell it & hopefully make a few dollars out of the transaction (dependent on how big the sale amount vs. their liabilities are).

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___________
Wednesday, January 05, 2011 @ 2:35:45 AM
Reply

WHAT THE!?
WTF would you sell off harmonix?
there one of the biggest best developers out there!
RB3 is selling so well, the RBN is so popular!
getting rid of harmonix is like getting rid of treyarch after releasing a 1B dollar game!

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nilos95
Wednesday, January 05, 2011 @ 6:55:18 AM
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Wait.........................i should have bought this studio. I lost my chance :(

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abghnmjk
Thursday, January 06, 2011 @ 6:53:26 AM
Reply

Hello. My friend

w w w . a e o o e . c o m

Dedicated service, the new style, so you feel like a warm autumn!!!

WE ACCEPT PYAPAL PAYMENT

YOU MUST NOT MISS IT!!!

thank you !!!

w w w . a e o o e . c o m

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abghnmjk
Thursday, January 06, 2011 @ 6:53:32 AM
Reply

Hello. My friend

w w w . a e o o e . c o m

Dedicated service, the new style, so you feel like a warm autumn!!!

WE ACCEPT PYAPAL PAYMENT

YOU MUST NOT MISS IT!!!

thank you !!!

w w w . a e o o e . c o m

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realmadpuppy
Thursday, January 06, 2011 @ 11:12:15 PM
Reply

I hope that all these music games become marginalized, I am sick and tired of the biggest update to PSN every week is songs for the music games. what I want to see is more "real" games on PSN.

Last edited by realmadpuppy on 1/6/2011 11:12:34 PM

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