By Joseph Leray
Harmonix announced yesterday that weekly downloadable song packs for its various “Rock Band” games will end on April 2.
“We’ve managed to maintain a consistent release schedule for a staggering 275 consecutive weeks, releasing over 4,000 songs for the Rock Band Platform, but in recent months we’ve scaled production down as we’ve transitioned resources onto other projects,” writes community development director Aaron Trites, noting that the developer has “several new titles in development.”
While I don’t doubt that resource allocation is a factor in Harmonix’ decision, it’s hard not see the discontinuation of one of the music industry’s most successful and profitable digital distribution methods as a sign of the changing times. The series last console release, “Rock Band 3,” came out in late 2010, and the only subsequent game was “Rock Band Blitz,” a downloadable title for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Development on “Guitar Hero 7,” meanwhile, was an unmitigated disaster.
In other words, the era of plastic-guitar-dominated living rooms seems to be winding down.
The release schedule until April 2, however, remains full: songs from “Rock Band Blitz” still need to be brought over, and there are still a few artists who have yet to make their “Rock Band” debut. Trites also points out that over 1,100 songs on the “Rock Band” Network are currently on sale.
“We’re incredibly proud of the DLC milestones we’ve set, especially producing the largest music library of any game available, and we wouldn’t have been able to release as much outstanding content without the support of our amazing community,” Trites explains.