When Rock Band 4 was officially announced in March, fans were ecstatic. After all, they’ve been waiting for five years for a brand new Rock Band game. Since that initial announcement, the news has gotten better, too, as developer Harmonix revealed that the game will have an ‘RPG’ style career mode, in which players will be able to make detailed choices about their virtual rockers’ careers.
Harmonix also said that the entire back catalogue of Rock Band songs will be compatible with the new title, meaning that the money that fans spent on 2500 or so pieces of Rock Band DLC won’t go to waste. Additionally, older Rock Band instruments will work on the PS4 and Xbox One with an adapter. That’s handy, because Harmonix expects that the new Rock Band 4 instruments may be in short supply at launch.
However, the news hasn’t been great for PC gamers. There are seven Rock Band games in total (including The Beatles, Green Day, and Blitz) and none of these have been released on PC. This time around, PC gamers hoped that, with Harmonix taking publishing duties (alongside Mad Catz) in addition to developing, things would change. Unfortunately, Rock Band 4 project director Daniel Sussman says that the game won’t come to PC, and there are a couple reasons why.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Sussman says:
The library is not there on PC. The library is there on Xbox and PlayStation. So, for players who want it on PC, really you’re looking at a new audience that hasn’t played before, and I don’t know to what degree there is an audience for new players who have never played Rock Band before on the PC. That’s one piece of it.
The other piece is all the security issues, to be perfectly frank. There’s something comforting about the closed network that comes along with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. That’s important to our partners in the music industry. Not to say that’s an unsolvable problem.
The fact that “a lack of a music library” is being cited as a reason why Rock Band 4 won’t launch on PC is understandable, as Harmonix is using Rock Band 4’s backwards-compatibility as a key selling point. However, not everyone agrees.
Some PC gamers criticized Sussman’s statenebt, noting that they are only considered as a new audience because the Rock Band games have never been released on PC. It’s also been suggested that, when Harmonix released a Rock Band survey last year, the developer could have asked survey takers if they would like the series to come to PC. While concerns surrounding music piracy are understandable, some fans noted that regardless of the platform, piracy usually finds a way.
In a follow up statement, Harmonix explained that, regarding anti-piracy, “PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have robust functionality in that area. It’s added security that’s handled by the platform holders”, adding that “[anti-piracy measures are] something we can build.” A PC release is not off the cards, but for now, the developer is “focusing on delivering Rock Band 4 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One”.
Rock Band 4 comes out this fall for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.