‘Rock Band 3′ Upgrade for Existing DLC, No More Songs for Older Games

Published 4 years ago by

Rock Band 3 DLC Upgrade

Rock Band 3 is a fantastic game, made even stronger by its massive library of DLC. Many of the existing downloadable songs, say Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” or almost anything from the first Cars album, would really benefit from the addition of keyboard parts and harmony vocals. Additionally, players who spend $150 to $280 on one of the Pro Guitar controllers would probably appreciate the opportunity to play those instruments on some old favorites (“Don’t Fear the Reaper,” I’m looking at you). Fear not, Rock Band fans. Harmonix has a plan, though it is a bit less elegant, and more expensive, then we might have hoped.

For starters, upgrading existing Rock Band songs is going to cost $2 to $3 each. Yes, that is the price of downloading the songs all over again, and that is basically what players will have to do, but it is slightly more complicated than that.

Upgrading a previously downloaded track to its Rock Band 3 version will cost $2, and adds keyboards (standard and pro) and harmony vocals to the original song. To further add Pro Guitar and Bass support is another $1. If, for some obscure reason, gamers would like to add just Pro Guitar and Bass, while skipping harmony vocals and keyboards, that option will also be available for a buck.

In short, three versions of each track will be available for download: a Rock Band 3 version, a Pro Guitar/Bass upgrade for the Rock Band 3 version, and a Pro Guitar/Bass upgrade for the existing Rock Band 2 version. No date has been given for the availability of song upgrades, nor has Harmonix indicated how it intends to approach the catalog of 2,157 songs available for the Rock Band games as of today.

It’s a complicated solution to a complicated problem, and a bit disheartening for long time Rock Band supporters. At the very least, it would seem that upgrading to the Rock Band 3 version of a previously downloaded song shouldn’t cost as much as buying the song all over again.

For those players who look at the situation and resolve to stick with either Rock Band 2 or the original Rock Band rather than deal with the song-upgrade situation, the news is even worse. Going forward (and, in fact, apparently since the October 26, 2010, release of Rock Band 3), Rock Band DLC will no longer be compatible with the original games.

According to a Harmonix rep, “…the new authoring standards, inclusion of new instruments, new lighting / venue cues, etc.” in Rock Band 3 break compatibility with the older games. The lone ray of light is that Rock Band Network content will continue to work with the original games, so Jonathan Coulton fans, at least, should be placated.

Speaking as an avid Rock Band fan with a significant library of DLC, the only upside I see is that many of the songs I’ve downloaded wouldn’t really benefit from keyboard or harmony vocal support, though that doesn’t take much sting out of having to re-purchase the songs that would. Furthermore, it’s flat out disappointing to see Harmonix abandon DLC support for the older Rock Band games. Constantly refreshed DLC has kept those games fresh for years — I’ll be sad to see them go.

Ranters, what do you think about the upgrade paths for Rock Band DLC? What do you think about the end of DLC support for the original games?

Rock Band 3 is available now on Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii. A demo is currently available for Xbox 360 and PS3.

Source: Rock Band Forums, Joystiq [via 1up]

TAGS: Electronic Arts, Harmonix, MTV Games, PS3, Rock Band 3, Wii

  • Alex MacDonald

    This is a huge kick to the gonads, Harmonix. I was wondering why my DLC was suddenly not working the other day, and now I know why. I think it’s a huge money grab on Harmonix’s part, and it’s disgusting that they expect us to pay all over again for our songs. That, coupled with the fact we have to buy Rock Band 3 just to USE the songs is another way they’re making cash. You throw in Pro mode on all the instruments for a dollar, and I’ll consider us even. But 2 dollars, plus a dollar for Pro Guitar and Bass? Disgusting.

  • John Jacques

    Harmonix was always the company that made the best choices for fans, but this is, like Alex said, a huge kick to the gonads. I’ve invested a lot of money into the game, and will continue to do so, but I wanted my keyboard for all the old songs – I already bought them, and in my opinion it’s just purchased DLC that received an update. I don’t want to pay for the entire song over again just to get my keyboard track.

    • http://gamerant.com Jeff Schille

      Something to keep in mind: Harmonix probably has to change their licensing agreement for each song in order to add new features, which is certainly going to cost them some money. I’m not against paying for the upgrade, but I think making multiple upgrade paths available is clumsy, and that customers who have already downloaded songs should pay a reduced fee.

      The alternative is that none of the old songs get updated, and I don’t think anyone wants to see that happen.

  • Mike

    – Selling a demo of “Last Resort” and not saying it’s a demo
    – Not mentioning “The Perfect Drug” RB3 achievement has to be done on drums
    – Charging $2 for a song people already paid $2 for

    The ever-growing list of ways Harmonix screws the fans.

  • Jago

    I truly feel like at any moment now Detectives Stabler and Benson (Law and Order: SVU) will be at my door asking me how did it happen and how do i feel about the violation from Harmonix. If i were to get 2 bucks a pop for all the DLC i own from Rockband then i could easily afford the ps3 with move bundle, xbox 360 elite with kinect bundle, games for both and maybe even some dlc as well. I don’t even feel like playing Rockband for a Good while…

  • Steve

    [QUOTE]If, for some obscure reason, gamers would like to add just Pro Guitar and Bass, while skipping harmony vocals and keyboards, that option will also be available for a buck.[/QUOTE]

    What an ignorant comment. Myself and about 4 other people I know who own RB3 could not care less about Vocal Harmonies, nor Keyboard support. However, the ability to add to a growing Pro-Guitar library is far more enticing.

    To assume that only an obsure minority could possibly be interested in guitar alone and not vocal harmonies and keyboard is about as one-eyed and out of touch as a person can get.

  • http://gamerant.com Robert Bratcher

    No thanks to the upgrade. I refuse to re-pay. Dont need the vocal harmonies or keyboard for the old DLC.

  • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

    I think this is pretty unfair.

    Everything is already too expensive and over-priced and you’re not given enough songs to begin with.

    Guess what, buy the songs again now, then when RB4 comes out with a new instrument, you can buy the same songs AGAIN to allow for that.

  • Alec

    What about the new releases? I just bought Blue Monday, which was released Nov 9, and it requires an additional upgrade for pro guitar. Are all the songs going to now require dual purchase to get complete functionality? That seems pretty steep to me, expecially considering the price of the pro guitar instrument. I may just stick to the free pro drums and forget about guitar…

  • http://rukusmag.com/main/games.html Mike Lowther

    I’m a dev for the RBN community and I think it’s a little absurd to charge a few bucks for all the new amenities if you already own the song. Though it sounds a little pricey, we must understand that the time and patience for designing things in the guitar’s Pro-Mode is pretty hectic. The option to choose what you want and what to pay for is a relief, considering I have no intention on upgrading vocal harmonies for hard-earned cash.

    In the RBN, we have the option of developing Pro Modes for our songs, which is nice. I’m not entirely sure on the pricing yet for those in the RBN, but because it’s designed by indies, I can’t imagine it being much, or anything at all.