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CES 2009: Harmonix's Alex Rigopoulos talks Rock Band 3, selling listenable songs

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Owners of Rock Band games have repeatedly suggested that Harmonix sell music through the games -- imagine being able to purchase MP3s of Rock Band songs, iTunes-style, from the Rock Band Music Store. At CES 2009 today, Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopoulos gave the keynote at Billboard’s “Digital Music Live” session, and he assured us that the company had given the idea some serious thought -- though he doesn’t seem to be entirely sold on it yet.

Directly selling songs to consumers would “change the tenor” of the relationship that Harmonix and publisher MTV have forged with the record labels, Rigopoulos said, but regardless, he claims that he’s “very much” interested in the idea of selling package deals -- i.e., offering a version of a song that’s playable in Rock Band along with a listenable audio file.

Rigopoulos also dropped a tidbit on Rock Band 3 -- namely, that we won’t be seeing it this year. “We’ve actually made a choice to break out of the annual release cycle for Rock Band this year,” he explained, “partly because the annual cycle places limits on the choices you can make as a developer. We’re trying to take a long term view.” In addition, he noted, Harmonix is putting all its efforts toward the previously announced Beatles game, which is due out this fall.

When asked about distributor EA’s stance on the lack of a Rock Band game (read: potential cash cow) in 2009, Rigopoulos explained that EA was willing to let Harmonix control its own IP: “Well, I’m sure they’d take [Rock Band 3] if we gave it to them, but they know how important this series is and they’re willing to give it the time it needs.”

Hey Activision, are you listening? This is how to ensure quality in your franchises, as opposed to milking them to death.

[Via Ars Technica and Crispy Gamer]

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Samit Sarkar
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Filed under... #CES #Harmonix #Rock Band #Top Stories

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