Monday, December 17, 2007

Rock Band (It's Business Time)

Yes, I stole that from Flight of the Conchords. Man, I hope HBO renews that show.

Two pieces of Rock Band-related information beyond note charts and my continued failure on "Flirtin' With Disaster" on Expert.

First, according to NPD, Rock Band sold 382,000 copies in about ten days. Remember when people were mocking a $170 game as being an overpriced novelty that couldn't possibly sell? Well, that's 64.5 million dollars worth of scoreboard for Harmonix. In ten days.

Rock Band is going to succeed because word-of-mouth is off the charts about the game. Their only problem has been the quality of the intitial batch of controllers, but they quickly set up a program to replace faulty equipment. More importantly, I don't know a single person who bought Rock Band who is still playing Guitar Hero III.

I'm sure you'll be e-mailing me, Mr. Single Person, but I think the fun number is stacked against Guitar Hero, no matter how many bajillion copies they sell. In terms of game quality, the franchises are tracking in opposite directions.

Second piece of news. Here's Activision's response to the compatibility issues with using the Les Paul guitar in Rock Band (thanks Kotaku):
Harmonix and its parent company MTV Games/Viacom recently declined Activision's offer to reach an agreement that would allow the use of Guitar Hero guitar controllers with Rock Band. We have been and remain open to discussions with Harmonix and MTV Games/Viacom about the use of our technology in Rock Band. Unfortunately for Rock Band users, in this case Harmonix and MTV Games/Viacom are unwilling to discuss an agreement with Activision.

"An agreement?" What?

That sounds--to me, at least--like Activision wanted some kind of licensing fee, which is ridiculous.

Does Activision seriously think that they'll sell more copies of Guitar Hero III because people can't use the Les Paul controller with the PS3 version of Rock Band? Do they think the Les Paul is so superior that people won't buy Rock Band if they can't use it?

Are they high?

There's really no way for Activision to spin this that doesn't sound petty, and it was a mistake for them to issue a press release that was worded in that manner.

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