Viacom Sells Videogames Arm
December 24, 2010 at 7:58 AM (PT)
VIACOM has gotten out of the videogame business by selling HARMONIX, the developer of GUITAR HERO and ROCK BAND. YAHOO.COM reports that HARMONIX MUSIC SYSTEMS was sold for an undisclosed amount to HARMONIX-SBE HOLDINGS, which essentially makes the developer independent after four years under VIACOM.
"VIACOM and MTV NETWORKS have been an amazing home for us over the past four years," a HARMONIX developer wrote at the ROCK BAND forum. "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."
VIACOM's sale comes soon after the two founders of HARMONIX filed a lawsuit against it for withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses and royalties.
The entertainment giant acquired HARMONIX in SEPTEMBER 2006; a year later, the first Rock Band launched, generating more than $1 billion in a year. However, business softened to the point where VIACOM publicly blamed ROCK BAND for lowering its negative global revenue in the third quarter of 2009.
Last month VIACOM all but admitted that it could not run a gaming unit. "HARMONIX has and will continue to create terrific video games, but for us, it is about focus," VIACOM CEO PHILLIPE DAUMAN said at the time. "The console games business requires an expertise and scale that we don't have, so we have taken steps to sell HARMONIX and we are in discussions with several potential buyers."