Rock Band 3 has been a stunning success in almost every department. With Harmonix adding a keyboard peripheral to their latest franchise installment, they have continued to push the boundaries of music gaming through growing the interactive experience and adding features such as Pro Mode.
Their progress is evident in all the accolades they have received including winning "Best Music Game" at the VGAs and a prestigious 4.5 star review from Game Rant. Yet somehow, even with all this success, Harmonix has decided to stop supporting the weekly Rock Band Network tracks on the Wii.
“With the smaller online install base, limited demand for releases so far and the significant amount of work it takes for our producers and audio team to convert and process these additional tracks we're no longer able to continue submitting RBN content to the Wii.”
Viacom (parent company of MTV Games) recently sold Harmonix to a New York investment firm for $50. Because of this, Harmonix is in a state of flux. They are retaining their independence, but the demise of Rock Band Network tracks on the Wii probably has to do with some sort of housecleaning project conducted as a result of the sale. Regardless, Harmonix has promised that 360 and PS3 DLC will remain unaffected and that there will be continued support of regular Wii DLC.
The last six Rock Band Network tracks for the Wii will released on January 18, 2011.
- The Main Drag -- "How We'd Look On Paper"
- Wounded Soul -- "Rx"
- Band of Horses -- "The Great Salt Lake"
- Firewind -- "Head Up High"
- Cetan Clawson and the Soul Side -- "White Heat"
- OK Go -- "White Knuckles"
It is probably not Harmonix’s fault that the Wii DLC was floundering. In reality, the blame probably deserves to be placed on the Wii’s antiquated online system. Nintendo is infamous for having a very barebones approach to online gaming and the result has been problematic at best. The most frustrating thing has been Nintendo’s reliance on friend codes.
Both the Wii and DS rely on a system that requires exchanging a 16-digit friend code for each game you wish to play with a friend. The codes are hard to remember and a pain to enter in for each game. In many cases they serve as a deterrent to playing Nintendo games online. It will be interesting to see if Nintendo upgrades their Friend Code system as it appears the codes will be returning for the 3DS.
In the end, this news is not telling of any major problems with Harmonix, but is more reflective of the sorry state of Nintendo’s online framework.
What do you think of the decision to cancel the Wii’s Rock Band Network tracks? Do you frequently play any Nintendo games online?