Sunday, December 26, 2010
Harmonix Sold, Now Independent
Last month, reports arrived stating that Viacom, the entertainment conglomerate which owns MTV and its gaming division MTV Games, would be selling Harmonix Music Systems off and listed the company's investment as "Discontinued Operations." Rumors around potential buyers arose, but the sale today confirms the new owners to be investors, not gaming publishers.
The purchaser is Columbus Nova, an investment firm, and the company created a holdings company, Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC, which now officially owns the developer.
Harmonix will be able to hold onto its IPs and will still be moving forward with DLC content on schedule. Nothing has been stated in black and white as to what new projects the company will undergo post-purchase nor what the final sale entailed.
Harmonix Music Systems was formed in 1995 with a focus in music interaction products, but its first video game came in the form of FreQuency and Amplitude for Sony in the early 2000s. The company also produced the Karaoke Revolution franchise with Konami before it worked with RedOctane to create Guitar Hero, a franchise in which players originally used a single replica guitar controller to play particular rock songs. After RedOctane was purchased by Activision, Harmonix was purchased by MTV Games and earned a publishing deal alongside Electronic Arts to make Rock Band, a series of music games in which players use guitar, bass, and drum controllers to play alongside a myriad of songs spanning a number of genres. The newest games made by Harmonix are Rock Band 3, which introduces a keyboard controller alongside other additions, and Dance Central, a Kinect launch title in which players dance to particular cues to the beat of today's and yesterday's top hits. The sale of Harmonix puts it back into independence, and it is believed that EA Partners will still be supporting the developer's future efforts.