One of the videogame industry’s dark little secrets is that the seemingly successful and beloved Rock Band franchise has actually been a pretty big flop for Harmonix’s parent company Viacom, who have sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into the game and hasn’t been able to recoup their losses. However it seems that the scales might finally be tipping in Viacom’s favor, as the company’s CEO, Philippe Daumann, told investors that the series might become “slightly profitable” if Q4 sales are strong over the holiday season.
“The economics of our Rock Band franchise are improving, though not as quickly as we’d like,” Daumann said. “We had a great launch of The Beatles product…obviously at this time of year we await the holiday season to begin as the month of November unfolds. We will start putting in more marketing dollars together with our retail partners behind that product.”
I still find it intriguing that a game as popular as Rock Band has failed to make a profit, but considering the disappointing sales of Guitar Hero 5, the questionable sales of DJ Hero, and the nonexistent sales of games like Rock Revolution, maybe the music game business isn’t as lucrative as people thought? I’ll be interested to see how both Band Hero and Lego Rock Band sell and the effect they have on the future of a entire genre.