Harmonix drops Mad Catz as Rock Band 4's co-publisher


Teams up with PDP instead

Last spring, little more than one year ago today, it was announced that Rock Band 4 was happening and that Mad Catz would co-publish the game alongside Harmonix. Mad Catz would be responsible for manufacturing the hardware, Harmonix would develop the game, and they would presumably split the distribution costs. Five months removed from Rock Band 4's launch, Harmonix has had enough of that partnership.

In a press release sent out this afternoon, Harmonix revealed that Performance Designed Products (PDP) is Rock Band 4's new co-publisher. Further, Harmonix says that it has a "major Rock Band 4 feature update coming this fall," and that new hardware will accompany it. It's just a presumption at this point, but it kind of sounds like the game is getting re-released in a more polished form.

As for Mad Catz, Harmonix didn't outwardly say that it severed ties. But, the signing of PDP in the role that Mad Catz originally served makes it sound as if the business relationship has been dissolved. We've reached out to Harmonix representatives to confirm that this is the case, but we haven't yet heard back.

In February, Mad Catz went through a tumultuous few days where it saw three board members resign before posting its most recent fiscal results; during that investors meeting, it was also announced that the company was laying off one-third of its staff.

In hindsight, it's unknown if those layoffs occurred because this partnership was coming to an end, or if Harmonix terminated it more recently (possibly because of the situation Mad Catz is in). It's sort of a chicken-and-egg type of thing. It's also unclear if the co-publishing relationship between Harmonix and Mad Catz had an end date, or if Harmonix just dissolved it.

Whatever the case may be, Rock Band is heading in a different direction -- a direction that doesn't include Mad Catz for the first time since 2010. PDP will be the new face of Rock Band's hardware, at least for the time being. Later this year, we'll find out exactly how it plans to change the game's instruments.

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Brett Makedonski
Brett MakedonskiManaging Editor   gamer profile

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