Viacom announced today that they are selling Harmonix, the developers behind the Rock Band
franchise and Dance Central
Viacom originally purchased Harmonix (the then developers of Guitar Hero
) in September 2006 for $175 million, but have decided that slow sales and loses is enough for them to pull out of the console games market completely.
Harmonix lost a reported $65 million in the quarter ending 30th September 2010 according to Tom Dooley (Chief Operating Officer for Viacom).
Viacom Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman is quoted as saying:
Our decision to exit this business reflects our strategy of focusing entirely on what we do best. The console games business requires expertise and scale we don’t have.
Viacom did reveal however that they are in talks with several potential buyers for Harmonix.
Harmonix quickly opened a Q&A topic
on their website's forums.
We’ve seen a lot of questions pop up in response to Viacom's statements this morning regarding their intention to sell Harmonix. We’ve posted this thread to respond to those questions. Please keep your forum conversations regarding this matter in this thread. We’ll check in throughout the day as we’re able.
This morning’s announcement does not affect the ongoing work at the studio as we continue to support our existing franchises, Rock Band and Dance Central. As stated earlier, Viacom is in discussions with several potential buyers and will continue to fully support the business until a sale is completed.
It is still unclear at this time if Harmonix will keep the rights to the games they have created. With Viacom seemingly looking to move completely out of the console market, it would appear (at least for the time being) that this would give them the best return in monetary terms.