Speaking at a pre-CES videogame panel Wednesday afternoon, Alex
Rigopulos, CEO of “Rock Band” developer Harmonix (owned by MTV),
reportedly said his studio isn’t focusing on making a third annual
version of its key franchise this year (details here or here). Instead, all its energy is going into the “Beatles” focused-spin off game (details on that are here).
As Rigopulos said, that’s no surprise for creative reasons, since
making that Beatles game good is really important. But it also makes
sense business-wise. MTV paid a LOT of money
to get rights to the Beatles and needs it that game to sell better than
any of the “Rock Bands” have. perhaps more importantly, “Rock Band 2” has sold significantly worse than the original “Rock Band” since launching.
It would be hard to justify a third iteration, especially under the
assumption that the economy will still be weak next fall. In fact,
“Rock Band” for Wii (that’s the original one, not “Rock Band 2”) was
the only version of the game to break NPD’s top 20 in November. So
there’s no reason to think that interested buyers won’t be perfectly
fine with “Rock Band 2” this fall.