Response to Questions about Viacom Selling Harmonix

Comments

  • BandRockBandRock Unsigned
    edited November 2010
    I'm getting more scared by the second :(
    It's still too early to say who might be in line to purchase Harmonix, but as CVG notes, Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz is already making an obvious guess: "We speculated several weeks ago that, given the declines in the music genre, it would make sense to (re)combine the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises, thus we believe Activision Blizzard is a potential buyer."

    Indeed, both Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and (at least according to the few initial results so far) Rock Band 3 have met with fewer sales than past games in their respective franchises.
    http://www.1up.com/news/viacom-planning-to-sell-harmonix
  • LoopyChewLoopyChew Wordsmith
    edited November 2010
    HMXJohnD;4171164 said:
    As stated earlier, Viacom is in discussions with several potential buyers and will continue to fully support the business until a sale is completed.
    thatmarkguy;4171195 said:
    The implication there is that support for the business ends when the sale is completed. Think that's a sign that Viacom is keeping the IP.

    The implication is that Viacom's support for the business ends when the sale is completed.

    I still want to know, if Philippe Dauman is on the level about "we're getting out of the game business," what this means for MTV Games, because their name hasn't been mentioned anywhere.
  • Ledgo2Ledgo2 Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    babywolfman;4171310 said:
    Viacom wants out of the games business, but what about the profits for existing DLC?

    I don't see them being so willing to let go of what is basically free money for them. Hopefully it's not as complex an issue as it seems, but that existing DLC might be worth enough for Viacom to attempt to keep the Rock Band IP while ditching Harmonix (and the games biz at large).

    I'm sure with the series being sold, the licenses will go too.
  • ShreddedShredded Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    BandRock;4171333 said:
    I'm getting more scared by the second :(



    http://www.1up.com/news/viacom-planning-to-sell-harmonix
    Would it be so bad if Activision bought it, left it as the defacto band product ... and used the HERO name for single-instrument games?

    Probably not. The DLC sales are really good. I have a hard time believing someone would buy it just to kill the franchise.

    Don't think it's going to happen that way.
  • FlawlessFlawless First Poster
    edited November 2010
    What is scary about a merger of the brands? I firmly believe that Activision would allow Harmonix to take the reigns on the music game genre. They have to realize that what Harmonix has set up is far more powerful going foward than what they have currently with their brand.

    If Activision does purchase Harmonix you'll see Rock Band as the dominate and only music game on the market, strengththgngenening it for every single person invested into the genre.
  • GooseboyGooseboy Unsigned
    edited November 2010
    Will this affect the quality and quantity of future DLC releases?
  • ThatAuthoringGroupThatAuthoringGroup Numero Uno Super **** Fanboy #1
    edited November 2010
    The buyer might only be interested in Harmonix or Rock Band, not both and shutter the one they don't want.

    I worked at a pretty big musical warehouse who shipped hundreds of thousands of pieces of music equipment out each day.

    Our competitor couldn't keep up with us but they wanted our customers so guess what?

    They bought the company, raided it for what they wanted and shut the entire place down.

    Not saying that is going to happen here, but I've seen it happen before. Just because Viacom wants to sell the company doesn't mean the company that buys them is going to have their best interests at heart.

    What IF Activision does buy them, but shutters Rock Band and puts them back on Guitar Hero?

    ANYTHING could happen. I just hope it's something good and positive.
  • Chocobo115Chocobo115 Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    I hope HMX will stay open to all the current consoles and not jump in bed with just Microsoft...

    Also will RB lose it's songs, DLC & exports if HMX manages to keep the IP when switching company?
  • DampizDampiz Opening Act
    edited November 2010
  • SayburrSayburr The Always Informative Rock Band Forum Guru
    edited November 2010
    I would be very surprised if Activision didn't re-aquire Harmonix. Look at it this way, at least there would no longer be any exclusivity.

    No questions here that haven't been asked already... Good luck to everyone employeed there and thanks for the games! Can't wait to see what you all come up with next.
  • DeadManDrummingDeadManDrumming Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    Shredded;4171339 said:
    Would it be so bad if Activision bought it, left it as the defacto band product ... and used the HERO name for single-instrument games?

    That might be interesting. How were the Band Hero sells anyway? Might be a reason to snatch up Rock band and combine them for that series as well as make Guitar Hero spin offs. They definitely want to keep the Hero name so we would be called Rock Hero or just use Band Hero name.

    Edit*: Would be interesting to see how DLC plays out. The best outcome is that we get RB DLC + GH DLC + RB Exports + GH Exports. Heh Dragonforce would be in Rock band then.
  • PankrazzoPankrazzo Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    Go for it Bill Gates, go for it!!! It's your fav game after all, Bill.
  • apple4everapple4ever Opening Act
    edited November 2010
    Umpa;4171262 said:
    Please don't let Activision buy this. We all see what happened to the GH Series.
    Long Live Harmonix!
    You mean how there is feature parity across all three consoles? I think it would be great if Activision bought them for that very reason.
  • ShreddedShredded Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    ThatAuthoringGroup;4171347 said:
    The buyer might only be interested in Harmonix or Rock Band, not both and shutter the one they don't want.

    I worked at a pretty big musical warehouse who shipped hundreds of thousands of pieces of music equipment out each day.

    Our competitor couldn't keep up with us but they wanted our customers so guess what?

    They bought the company, raided it for what they wanted and shut the entire place down.

    Not saying that is going to happen here, but I've seen it happen before. Just because Viacom wants to sell the company doesn't mean the company that buys them is going to have their best interests at heart.

    What IF Activision does buy them, but shutters Rock Band and puts them back on Guitar Hero?

    ANYTHING could happen. I just hope it's something good and positive.
    The difference is Rock Band continues to make money every month through DLC sales. A lot, it appears. I would agree with you if DLC was not a factor.

    It's foolish to shut down that revenue source, as there's no guarantee that users will abandon one platform for another.

    (HEY GUYS! I used the "p" word! :-p )
  • babywolfmanbabywolfman Unsigned
    edited November 2010
    If Activision lets Harmonix do their thing and continue putting out DLC for Rock Band (and allow that DLC to move forward for future releases), then bring them on. I think we'd all agree that would be preferable to seeing Rock Band die before falling into the hands of a major games publisher (despite its questionable reputation).
  • MPPMikeMPPMike Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    Flawless;4171341 said:
    What is scary about a merger of the brands? I firmly believe that Activision would allow Harmonix to take the reigns on the music game genre. They have to realize that what Harmonix has set up is far more powerful going foward than what they have currently with their brand.

    If Activision does purchase Harmonix you'll see Rock Band as the dominate and only music game on the market, strengththgngenening it for every single person invested into the genre.
    My concerns if Activision were to acquire the game and/or Harmonix are:

    a. Will Harmonix be allowed to continue to produce the game(s)?
    b. How will the DLC be affected? Merging the 2 DLC libraries seems an impossible task, so someone is getting left out in the cold.
  • geo2n2geo2n2 Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    Sayburr;4171363 said:
    I would be very surprised if Activision didn't re-aquire Harmonix. Look at it this way, at least there would no longer be any exclusivity.
    It wouldn't surprise me, but oh god, no. I couldn't live with myself if I supported that. I can't imagine how disheartening it would be for HMX too.
  • FlawlessFlawless First Poster
    edited November 2010
    From a business stand point would you kill a brand with over 2,000 songs licensed with the structure set up for future games or kill the brand with ~500 songs and a product which is lagging behind severely?

    I know what I'd do, but Bobby Kotick, so...
  • edited November 2010
    LoopyChew;4171336 said:
    The implication is that Viacom's support for the business ends when the sale is completed.

    I still want to know, if Philippe Dauman is on the level about "we're getting out of the game business," what this means for MTV Games, because their name hasn't been mentioned anywhere.
    MTV games is like 5 people in a corner apartment.
  • LirodonRicaroLirodonRicaro Unsigned
    edited November 2010
    Activision: You might be able to bring them back to glory. Emphasis on "might"

    EA: They're pretty massive, and they've been your distributor. Wouldn't you like them as overlords?

    Konami: You could teach them a few things about making good American products. Oh, and you could rework Beatmania for the U.S. as an Amplitude revival. Konami has also been getting better at music licencing in Japan recently, I'd dig some J-rock DLC, and your plan to make a Japanese version of RB could work under them too.

    Disney: "Jonas Brothers: Rock Band"
  • QuaszarQuaszar Opening Act
    edited November 2010
    This is NOT how to sell/advertise your product going into the holiday season....
  • PCTraitorPCTraitor Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    Well it's not good news and there is always a chance that this is the end.

    So I ask this of Harmonix. Treat it as the end even if it isn't and make it the best end possible. Get tons of the best DLC out as soon as possible and fix the bugs. Get us back our missing DLC songs too. Because this is your legacy. It could end today (or in a few months) and 20 years from now people may still be playing this game. So make it end proudly it could very well be Pac Man, Super Mario Brothers, Zelda and Rock Band in the pantheon of great video games one day.
  • ShreddedShredded Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    Quaszar;4171393 said:
    This is NOT how to sell/advertise your product going into the holiday season....

    The average shopper in Wal-Mart wouldn't know or even care about this. Really.
  • BassFlyerBassFlyer Unsigned
    edited November 2010
    So since everyone in the other thread had fanboy rose colored glasses on. Here are the cold hard facts straight from the last two years financial statements, and the news isn't good. Not one good thing in the last two years and the include TB:RB which according to this didn't do so hot...

    6/30/2010 10K –
    Media Networks contributed $97 million of the increase, principally reflecting the increased revenues and lower Rock Band losses.
    The Media Networks segment continues to be affected by softness in the disc-based video game industry. If such conditions persist and impact the sales projections for our existing and future product, this could result in an impairment loss on Harmonix goodwill. At June 30, 2010 the carrying amount of goodwill associated with the Harmonix acquisition was approximately $300 million.
    as growth in online content licensing fees and consumer products revenues was offset by lower music video game royalties resulting from a difficult comparison to the prior year, which included the settlement of a dispute.
    Domestic ancillary revenues decreased 14%, principally driven by lower music video game royalties resulting from a difficult comparison to the prior year, which included the settlement of a dispute, and lower Rock Band sales reflecting the mix of Rock Band product offerings, partially offset by growth in online content licensing fees.
    Total expenses increased $28 million, or 2%, to $1.302 billion, and $43 million, or 2% to $2.545 billion in the quarter and six months ended June 30, 2010, respectively, principally driven by an increase in programming costs, reflecting our continued investment in programming, and employee costs, partially offset by lower Rock Band costs. (This was probably due to some layoff’s last year)
    3/31/10 10K –
    Worldwide ancillary revenues decreased $14 million, or 7%, to $195 million in the quarter ended March 31, 2010. Domestic ancillary revenues decreased 22%, principally driven by lower Rock Band sales reflecting the mix of Rock Band product offerings. The quarter ended March 31, 2009 included higher sales from the continued roll out of Rock Band 2.
    Total expenses increased $18 million, or 1%, to $1.254 billion in the quarter ended March 31, 2010, principally driven by an increase in programming costs, reflecting our continued investment, and employee costs, partially offset by lower Rock Band costs.
    12/31/09 _Annual Report –
    In 2009, Rock Band, Rock Band 2 and The Beatles: Rock Band sold over 1.8 million bundles, 2.6 million units of standalone software and 614,000 units of standalone hardware domestically, and players downloaded over 50 million songs. • In September 2009, The Beatles: Rock Band debuted as the top selling music video game domestically for the month and over 100,000 downloads of “All You Need Is Love” were sold. Harmonix and MTV Games continue to pursue additional partnerships with legendary musicians and bands to provide content for their video games, including a collaboration with Green Day for Rock Band that is expected to be released in 2010.
    The decrease in ancillary revenues was primarily driven by lower Rock Band revenues.
    The positive impact of the $313 million decrease in restructuring and other charges and higher affiliate revenues were partially offset by lower advertising revenues and losses associated with Rock Band.
    Worldwide ancillary revenues decreased $432 million, or 31%, to $982 million in 2009. The decrease is primarily driven by lower Rock Band revenues due to a more challenging retail environment and the mix of Rock Band product offerings, partially offset by the favorable impact of settling a licensing fee dispute in the second quarter. Revenues from The Beatles: Rock Band, released in September 2009, were more than offset by lower sales of Rock Band and Rock Band 2, released in the fourth quarter of 2007 and 2008, respectively.
    The remaining increase of $662 million was primarily due to Rock Band’s higher manufacturing costs, software amortization, marketing costs, royalty costs and participations, as well as amortization of programming costs and higher employee compensation expense.
    In the third quarter of 2008, the Company paid $150 million, subject to adjustment, under an earn-out agreement related to the 2006 acquisition of Harmonix Music Systems Inc., the developer of Rock Band, Guitar Hero and other gaming titles.
  • edited November 2010
    Sayburr;4171363 said:
    I would be very surprised if Activision didn't re-aquire Harmonix. Look at it this way, at least there would no longer be any exclusivity.

    Personally I think Microsoft is a frontrunner since Dance Central is a flagship IP for their Kinect doodads. They also have the cash and the history of acquisitions.

    Of course money talks better than anything and there are a good half dozen firms with the expertise and resources to make a move.
  • ShreddedShredded Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    PCTraitor;4171394 said:
    Well it's not good news and there is always a chance that this is the end.

    So I ask this of Harmonix. Treat it as the end even if it isn't and make it the best end possible. Get tons of the best DLC out as soon as possible and fix the bugs. Get us back our missing DLC songs too. Because this is your legacy. It could end today (or in a few months) and 20 years from now people may still be playing this game. So make it end proudly it could very well be Pac Man, Super Mario Brothers, Zelda and Rock Band in the pantheon of great video games one day.

    That reads like a eulogy. They've not shut the doors. That's a little premature.
  • UltraceUltrace Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    Flawless;4171341 said:
    What is scary about a merger of the brands? I firmly believe that Activision would allow Harmonix to take the reigns on the music game genre.
    What would be scary about a merger/purchase by Activision would be the management and decision style of senior executives there. It's clear from the past few years and from direct statements that Activision is interested in utilizing many sequels ("exploiting" a series) and that's in conflict with what we see in RB. RB3 was allowed to develop for two years and people still have issues with it. Imagine if they were forced to put out a major Rock Band game every year. Also, we still don't know the root causes behind so many songs that don't pass from game to game in the GH series; if it's due to cost-saving measures or whatever, a purchase by Activision could mandate a serious drop in quality or support for the series that people have come to expect... Which ultimately tarnishes the brand and Harmonix as the developer.

    This is obviously leaning more toward the "worst case scenario" of an Activision purchase, but as someone who has played their games since River Raid and Kaboom!, I've watched them devolve into a very financially successful company that no longer provides gamers the experiences they used to, and I would hate to see that same fate befall Harmonix.
  • BandRockBandRock Unsigned
    edited November 2010
    Flawless;4171341 said:
    What is scary about a merger of the brands? I firmly believe that Activision would allow Harmonix to take the reigns on the music game genre. They have to realize that what Harmonix has set up is far more powerful going foward than what they have currently with their brand.

    If Activision does purchase Harmonix you'll see Rock Band as the dominate and only music game on the market, strengththgngenening it for every single person invested into the genre.
    There are a 1000 different scenarios that could make this a disaster. It's atrocious what Activision has done not only the Guitar Hero franchise, but to this new genre as a whole.
  • SoupiertigerSoupiertiger Unsigned
    edited November 2010
    Remember when everyone was terrified when Activision bought Blizzard? Everyone was terrified that something bad would happen.

    Nothing bad happened. I think that if Activision were to acquire Harmonix, they would release that Rock Band is more the profitable IP and continue to push forward going on.

    However, it is Activision, so anything is possible.
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