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Harmonix Announces Rock Band 3

Harmonix's ground-breaking band game franchise, Rock Band, is set to become a trilogy, as publisher MTV Games announces Rock Band 3 for holiday 2010 -- with Electronic Arts distributing after all.
Harmonix's ground-breaking band game franchise, Rock Band, is set to become a trilogy. Publisher MTV Games announced today that Rock Band 3 is coming for holiday 2010. As it has with previous installments, Electronic Arts will act as distributor, implying the company has renewed its distribution agreement with Viacom that expires this month. The decision also comes despite EA's recent announcement that it would be scaling down its distribution business to focus more on owned titles. Posting the announcement to fans on its Facebook page, the company said Rock Band 3 "will innovate and revolutionize the music genre once again," and promised more details forthcoming soon. The company is pursuing the game in spite of an industry-weakening decline in the once-booming genre of peripheral-equipped music games. Although the franchise has generated over $1 billion dollars to date, the category in general saw sales contract by as much as half throughout 2009. MTV Games parent Viacom also saw Rock Band declines drag on its balance sheet in its last fiscal quarter, and expressed a need to refocus away from pricey peripherals in favor of software. It also said that due to royalties it would need to be more "selective" about track listings, and that it needs more support from the music industry in that department. Further, Viacom said last month it will seek a "substantial" refund from some $150 million in target-based compensation that it paid to Harmonix developers in 2007 for the success of Rock Band. MTV Games has held the position that the music genre isn't declining, merely evolving. Increasingly interoperable peripheral controllers and userbase saturation mean the primary revenue source for the category is shifting away from high-priced bundles and toward software and digital downloads.

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