Harmonix completes MBO, goes indie

Thursday, 23rd December 2010 18:27 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Harmonix has confirmed that it’s bought itself from Viacom, and will now operate independently.

Speaking on the developer’s forum, PR John Drake said, “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.

“Viacom and MTV Networks have been an amazing home for us over the past four years. It’s where we launched both Rock Band and Dance Central, worked with The Beatles, Green Day, AC/DC, The Who and thousands of other artists. We want to take a moment to thank everyone in that organization who helped make these awesome games possible.

“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.”

As confirmed by Viacom, investment company Columbus Nova has backed new owner Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC in the move. Terms remained off the record.

Viacom announced in November that it was to sell the Rock Band developer after seeing slowing sales of its games.



  1. Michael O’Connor

    I have two words for this.


    This is great news.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. onlineatron

    So what does this mean for us, release wise?

    Will Harmonix have the money to create games for every console, will they even release at retail?

    Do they own the rights to Rock Band/Dance Central?

    Could we see a Rock band platform released on XBLA? An ‘À la carte’ model where we buy the songs we want so they don’t have to go through the hassle of sending stuff to retail?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. OlderGamer

    I just would like to know/see what this means for those plastic instruments?

    I need drums like no ones bizz, but can’t afford the price of the new drum kits. Esp at xmass time, esp scince I am the only one that uses ‘em in this house.

    I’d like cheaper/affordable ones, even if all they did was rerelease the RB2 kit.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Golden

    Hurrah for Harmonix,this is great news a real Christmas miracle.

    Just like to take this opportunity to wish all VG24/7ers a big and happy Merry Crimbo (or other suitable celebration). I’ve had a great year here and I’m looking forward to the next.



    #4 4 years ago
  5. The_Deleted

    Get in! Keeping it punk!!

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Psychotext

    That’s great news. :D

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Uncontested

    Viacom is laughing all the way to the bank cutting the dead flesh off its ass and actually getting anything in return for it.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Blerk

    It’ll be interesting to see what they do. The “big” games will most likely be out of the window now, but they weren’t profitable anyway. A return to the Frequencies and Amplitudes of old for a while, perhaps? Something downloadable?

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Robo_1

    Good for them. With the rise of partners programs from most of the major publishers, I get the feeling that as an industry, we’re really beginning to appreciate the talent behind the games.

    Great Christmas Eve news to wake up to anyway. :)

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Michael O’Connor

    The more I see these partner programs, the more the gaming industry starts to look like the movie industry.

    But that’s not entirely a bad thing. These kind of partner programs allow for a lot more diversity and creativity than the standard approach.

    I would imagine E.A. owns the Rock Band franchise label? So I can’t see that franchise going anywhere any time soon.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Johnny Cullen

    No, Harmonix does. EA Partners, if I remember correctly, only published it and distributed it.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Crysis

    @11, i would have thought Viacom but more directly MTV owned it, anyone know?

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Phoenixblight



    “Harmonix has confirmed that it’s bought itself from Viacom, and will now operate independently.”

    First freaking sentence.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Crysis

    @13, you’re a moron, read the first 3 digits in my sentence, ‘@’ means at, & ’11′ was Johnny Cullen & JC was responding to O’Connor about this sentence “I would imagine E.A. owns the Rock Band franchise label?” with “No, Harmonix does. EA Partners, if I remember correctly, only published it and distributed it.” NOW read my post over again & think about how stupid your post was…
    I was implying that MTV who published Rock Band (EA distributed & co-published it) were more likely to own the Rock Band IP, but i could be wrong & JC right, O’Connor could be right though but i highly doubt that.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. jacobvandy

    I have no idea why sites keep publishing this without mentioning actual, pertinent facts like:

    - This deal was funded by a third-party investment group called Columbus Nova. So, they didn’t buy themselves out, they just weren’t picked up by a major game company like Activision or EA. They are operating independently as far as I can tell, but that does NOT mean they’re “going indie.” EA is probably still going to publish their games.

    - They keep the rights to Rock Band (and Dance Central). It’s implied in the statement above about continuing to release DLC, but even without that, it’s a no-brainer. How could it possibly be in their interest to give up the rights to a game they just released and plan to support for years to come?

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Michael O’Connor

    Thanks for the info, Jacob. Much appreciated.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Patrick Garratt

    @15 – CN’s just a capital firm. The only thing it manages is money. “Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC” bought Harmonix with CN’s funding. I say so in the story. It is “independent and privately held,” as Drake said.

    #17 4 years ago

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