No new Rock Band video games, including the anticipated Rock Band 4, will arrive in 2011, says creator Harmonix. This announcement crushes hopes that the popular music game franchise would stage a surprise comeback by the year’s end.
In a recent interview, Chris Rigopulos, VP of strategy and business for the game developer, tells Game Informer magazine that it is instead opting to focus on downloadable content, including additional songs for Rock Band 3. Harmonix will issue new tracks by Lady Gaga, the Foo Fighters and Ozzy Osbourne this month, as well as the 13-minute jam track “Do You Feel Like We Do,” from Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive album.
Rigopulos further notes that Harmonix has reached a landmark of 100 million songs that have been downloaded for the Rock Band family of games. More than 2,700 individual tracks from roughly 900 artists, including Metallica, the Ramones and Fleetwood Mac, are now available across retail and downloadable outlets, as well as through digital distribution platform the Rock Band Network. According to Harmonix, more than a million players also sign on each month to play Rock Band as well as purchase new music.
These revelations would appear to lend credence to suspicions that music games aren’t dead, as some critics have posited, but are merely making the transition to digital, online and social platforms. Harmonix, which is busy repositioning itself after its recent sale by MTV Games, is expected to announce a sequel to the motion-sensing game Dance Central shortly, possibly as soon as the E3 2011 gaming tradeshow in June.