In March of this year, Rock Band underwent a significant business change as Harmonix dropped Mad Catz and signed PDP to co-publish the Rivals expansion. The co-publisher’s most forward-facing function is to manufacture the peripherals, the plastic instruments that give Rock Band its signature real-world look.
PDP agreed to produce an extra piece of hardware, one that’s significantly more niche and appeals to the most hardcore of Rock Band players. That was the wired legacy adapter, a $30 connector that makes it possible to use high-end electronic drum kits (when combined with the Rock Band 3 MIDI Pro-adapter) for more accurate playing. It’s not a product that many people will have use for, but it’s the kind of thing that has been fervently requested for a long time by the most serious drummers.
The wired legacy adapter released on November 25. As of December 19, PDP has told customers that it will manufacture no additional units. According to a post on reddit, a PDP representative sent the following email to someone who inquired about the product being sold out: “Hello Samuel, we apologize for the inconvenience. The Rock Band Legacy adapters will no longer be produced, as they were produced in limited quantity, per our agreement with Harmonix.”
Predictably, the Rock Band community is full of upset people who suddenly find themselves unable to purchase an adapter that they thought would be permanently in-stock. Nobody’s really sure who’s to blame for the shortage, Harmonix or PDP. It’ll likely stay that way, as the details of the co-publishing agreement will almost certainly never come to light.
While trying to pin fault to someone would be futile, it seems as if there was a crucial breakdown in messaging. A heads-up that they wouldn’t be around long might’ve helped tremendously. But, it also might’ve sparked the scalper market, and made the adapter even more scarce for the people who actually wanted it. It’s a tricky situation all around, and, unfortunately, it results in some of the best drummers not doing their best drumming.
Harmonix declined our request for comment on this matter.