Viacom wants bonuses paid out to Rock Band devs back

By Stephany Nunneley
13 February 2010 19:40 GMT


MTV Games’ parent company Viacom plans on to seek a partial refund on the $150 million in bonuses it paid Harmonix back in 2008.

Guess since music sales have slumped, it needs the money.

“In 2008, we paid $150 million, subject to adjustment, under this earn-out agreement related to 2007 performance,” says Viacom in an SEC filing (via Gamasutra). “At December 31, 2009, we believe that we are entitled to a refund of a substantial portion of amounts previously paid, but the final amount of the earn-out has not yet been determined.”

The Rock Band franchise has generated over $1 billion dollars in sales to date, when combining the original game, Rock Band 2, and The Beatles: Rock Band.

While sales for the music genre have been slow, as Gama notes, it is “transitioning, not declining” due to market saturation and the controller install base at its peak.

Money made from the genre will mostly come in the form of software and DLC, now that almost everyone has a plastic instrument in house. That, however, is the main cause in revenue decline for Viacom and others like RedOctane – which is now just down to a skeleton crew.

Over saturation is also an issue, but with Activision only releasing two music games this year – DJ Hero and Guitar Hero 6 – hopefully, that will no longer be a big issue.

Harmonix is expected to release Green Day: Rock Band sometime this year.

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