'Rock Band' Developer Harmonix Sold to Investment Firm

It may be the season of good will but for Harmonix and Viacom, the new year will bring more than a change of calendar.

The two companies have confirmed the sale of Harmonix and thus the end of the pair's co-existence in the video games market.

The sale will see Harmonix become an independent studio, owned by investment firm Columbus Nova with Viacom receiving an estimated $200 million in the deal. The Rock Band and Dance Central developer confirmed the sale of the studio in a post on its official forum.

"We're happy to confirm the news today that the sale of the company is complete. We appreciate all of your support, comments and warm wishes in the preceding few weeks,"

The sale should come as no surprise to those close to the studio, as reported back in November, Viacom had placed Harmonix up for sale. With no official reason for the split, it would appear that Viacom simply wanted out of the video game market. Disappointing sales for The Beatles: Rock Band certainly didn't help keep Viacom interested in Harmonix. As Alan Gould, an analyst with Evercore Partners said about the game

“(Beatles: Rock Band) didn’t do anywhere near the kind of business they thought it was going to do.”

The move is only surprising, considering the success of the Rock Band franchise on the whole. That said, many analysts questioned the marriage between Viacom and Harmonix - due to the conflicting nature of the organizations. Viacom, more known for its television properties like MTV and Nickelodeon, has never really had an interest in the video game market. It's purchase of Harmonix was seen as a way of bridging its music interests with MTV.

Nevertheless the future looks bright for Harmonix. With the continued success of its Rock Band franchise and a strong following from its fans, it would be safe to assume the developer should have little trouble in attracting new publishers to help with future projects. The studio moved to assure fans of its future.

"We're excited to be returning to our roots as an independent and privately owned studio. As for what it means for you, the DLC schedule marches on for Rock Band, we will continue our support of previously released titles and we're hard at work on some unannounced projects that we think you're going to be pumped about."

Do you think this will be good for Harmonix? Do you think Viacom made a mistake in selling the developer?

Source: Boston Herald

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