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Viacom puts Harmonix on the market

It’s merely a Thursday morning and we already have a major report concerning a company beloved by many.  Today the multi-media giant Viacom gave a profit reported which of course boasted their earnings thanks to films like The Last Airbender or TV properties like The Jersey Shore.  But in case you didn’t know, Viacom also dabbles in video games as they own Rock Band developer Harmonix. Well I guess Viacom doesn’t feel that Harmonix is a viable investment anymore as they’re selling the developer.

Yes, after giving us four Rock Band games and a new hit in the making in the form of Dance Central, Viacom is going to sell Harmonix to the highest bidder.  As of now Harmonix has yet to issue a public statement concerning this news and I don’t know what they’ll say since it’s never good to be kicked out the door by the company that has owned you for several years.  Viacom’s decision to sell Harmonix may seem a bit brash and silly, but considering that the Rock Band series hasn’t been the megahit seller that it once was, it’s not too surprising that Viacom decided to drop Harmonix.

The two big questions that come out of this news are: who’s going to buy Harmonix and what will happen to the Rock Band franchise?  Given the talent at Harmonix and how they created, or at least breathed new life, into the music game genre with Guitar Hero I don’t think it’ll take long for Harmonix to find a new home. The question that remains is which company will be a good fit for Harmonix.  As usual, the standard names are being thrown out as potential suitors for Harmonix such as EA, Activision and even ZeniMax based on the recent string of acquisitions.  Personally, given the relationship Harmonix has with Microsoft, I’m going to throw my two cents in and say Microsoft will snag Harmonix, for better or worse.

On the future of the Rock Band franchise, I really don’t know what the future has in store.  Considering that Rock Band is technically a property of Viacom, it’s possible that with the sale of Harmonix that Viacom is officially putting Rock Band to bed for good.  But who knows, maybe some of the fine print in the Harmonix deal and impending sale includes Rock Band as part of the deal as well.

It sucks that Harmonix is getting dropped by Viacom but given the direction of the music genre franchise I’m not surprised at all.  Two years ago Rock Band and Guitar Hero were huge franchises but now I think everyone is just burned out on the genre.  With the advent of the PlayStation Move and Microsoft’s Kinect I think we’re officially in the dance game era since peripheral based music games are now a thing of the past.

[via Bloomberg]