“Rock Band’s not dead,” says Harmonix’s Drake – details

Tuesday, 23rd August 2011 12:26 GMT By Johnny Cullen

It really doesn’t get any clearer than that.

Harmonix comms boss John Drake has told VG247 that it still intends to support Rock Band as an ongoing thing, saying in simple terms the music franchise is “not dead.”

The Boston-based company released Rock Band 3 last October as part of its final hurrah with MTV Games before becoming an independent company again at the end of last year. While the game did critically well – it did score between 93 and 91 for the console versions – its sales weren’t all that great.

In its first week on sale in the UK, it sold only about 7,000 units, with studio boss Alex Rigupolos saying the launch of Dance Central “outperformed” the band game.

That said – despite Activision shutting down Guitar Hero and the rest of its music business, as well as ending DLC support for its music games earlier this year – Harmonix is not giving up that easily with Rock Band, although admitted sales of RB3 were disappointing.

“I think we spent a lot of time and had a lot of passion going into that project. The team was a big team and they worked really hard for a long time,” Drake told us in Cologne at gamescom last week whilst seeing Dance Central 2. “We thought that Rock Band Pro was one of the most innovative and huge things that a company has done with a videogame expansion in years.

“And the critical reception is what it is, I think people saw it was a really good game, it’s really well designed. The commercial reception wasn’t as good, we have to be honest about it: band simulation games had a huge boom from 2006-2009 and then it contracted pretty sharply.”

Drake admitted that it still has a strong community backing, however, with Rock Band 3. The company’s recently passed 100 million sales of DLC content from 3,000 songs available for the series’ multiple titles, and it still sees “hundreds of thousands of people playing online” in the game.

“We’re supporting our community, we’re not going away: Rock Band’s not dead,” said Drake. “We’re not making another retail release this year, but we’re probably the most aggressive company, I’d say, in videogames about supporting our community with digital content.

“I think we’re really proud of how the game turned out, there’s a lot to explore in the game and it’s still making money, it’s still a profitable day-over-day thing for us to have downloadable content sales.”

The company’s next game is Dance Central 2, which releases on October 21 in Europe. Here’s a video of two prats dancing to it.



  1. Kabby

    It is dead.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Golden

    Just last night I was hoping that Rock band 4 or variation there of would be created. I love RB I really hope it’s not dead

    #2 3 years ago
  3. OlderGamer

    Sure feels dead to me.

    Once they got away from “one disc, every song” type stuff they started to die imo. A new release and a 10usd DLC code to “import” your songs was a step down the wrong road.

    When RB3 wasn’t even compatible with RB1+2, DLC-wise, that was a very bad step down the wrong road.

    When harmonix stoped making instraments, mine died, and I releaized I would have to fork out too much cash for 3rd party ones that did more then I needed them to do, that was when I stoped playing. At this point I need drum replacments, but no way I will drop 150plus on new ones.

    Harmonix didn’t take steps to protect the long term investment of its users and because of it, there biz declined. The game industry has to be about more then increasing profits, at least some of it has to be about keeping your user base happy. Because an unhappy user base won’t keep buying your product.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Gekidami

    Cant people just be happy with the 12-odd Rock Band games that are already out? Not to the mention the equal amount of Guitar Hero games.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. OwningXylophone


    And by that logic shouldn’t we be happy with the 8 COD games that are already out there, or the 18 NFS games, or the 9 Tomb Raiders or the 75 million WWE/WWF games? It’s called innovation and is (usually) the reason for releasing sequels, and if you think there is no innovation in RB3 then you’re either crazy or have never played the game.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. The_Deleted

    The games aren’t selling but the community is still there. I love my Rock Band and play all the time. There really is nothing else like it.

    #6 3 years ago

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