Harmonix, the development house that brought the Rock Band series and Dance Central to gamers everywhere, has been sold by Viacom (parent company of MTV Games) to New York investment firm Columbia Nova for the price of $50. Yes, a multimillion dollar company has been sold for less than the cost of a retail copy of Rock Band 3.
The sale was originally made back in late December, however the price was undisclosed at the time, as were the terms of the sale, of which there are a few. Harmonix will return to its role as a privately owned, independently operated studio with the sale to Columbia Nova, who will assume a few duties as the new owner of the studio. Columbia Nova will assume responsibility for Harmonix liabilities such as unsold, warehoused merchandise and music licensing fees. There has been no allusion to what that amount totals up to, but Viacom will be receiving a $150 million tax write-off after the sale, so it might be fair to state that it is a substantial number.
It's also worth noting that Harmonix being sold does not affect the DLC scheduling for Rock Band 3 or Dance Central, as seen with the recent Johnny Cash pack, and songs will continue to be made available in the future.
What does this all mean for the company responsible for bringing the music/rhythm genre to a whole other level? Based on the current outlook, it seems like smooth sailing. Harmonix started as an independent studio when they brought out the original Guitar Hero and original Rock Band games, not to mention a plethora of other interesting music games like Amplitude and Frequency. Perhaps another innovation in the genre might be due soon, but in any case, the team is hard at word ensuring that Rock Band and Dance Central stay at the forefront of the music gaming scene. Harmonix's future doesn't look dark and dreary at all. In fact, the sky's the limit.
Ranters, do you have any thoughts about Harmonix regaining its independence? What kind of project would you like to see the developer tackle next?