Thursday, December 13, 2007

Who's at fault? Activision vs. Harmonix

Activision prevented Sony from releasing a patch Harmonix developed to allow the use of PS3 Guitar Hero III controllers for the PS3 version of Rock Band. Full story here. tl;dr Rock Band releases a stand-alone copy of their software (no guitar peripheral) for the PS3, was supposed to be compatible with GHIII controllers but Activision strongly objected all of a sudden.

Activision/Guitar Hero:
Guitar Hero is an established and highly-successful music/rhythm game, with many fans. Activision wants to stay ahead of the competition and drive off any rivalry, as all firms do.

However, they're being gigantic dicks to their fans who want to play both GHIII and RB. Some people may have bought GHIII so they can play both games. Others, who bought the RB special edition bundle, might want an extra guitar (bass) and now unless they buy another special bundle they won't get a bassist (until next year). Lots of people are already complaining.

Harmonix/Rock Band:
Harmonix recently entered the rhythm game market and produced Rock Band, which features not only guitars, but vocals and drums as well. There are Special Edition bundles of their game which come with all the peripherals necessary to play the game, but for those who don't want to spend as much (and already own GHIII), they also released a stand-alone copy of their game which was supposed to work with Guitar Hero controllers (which by the way aren't sold outside of the GHIII bundle, $100). RB's official controllers for PS3 are on their way but won't make it until early next year.

But did they really expect that a rival firm, of all people, would help them sell their product? Either they should have made the guitars available or not sell the game at all. They thought they could piggyback on Guitar Hero's success; they forgot that they are competing for the same market.

Sony just happened to get caught in the crossfire. They have the patch, but until Activision stops objecting they can't release it. In other news there are no RB/GH issues in the Xbox 360 version (i.e. you can use GHIII controllers for Rock Band on the 360). Wonder why though.

Who's the bigger dick? I still think it's Activision. Not even because they're being dicks to their fans anymore, but because they just missed a great opportunity for extra sales. ("Hey we need an extra guitar for bass; I know, let's buy GHIII! We can get an extra controller AND another fun game in one")


Anonymous said...

There is one error. Harmonix did not just enter the rhythm game market with Rock Band. Harmonix developed Guitar Hero and GHII. Then they made Rock Band and Activision made GHIII.

iluvgirlswithglasses said...

That is true. Not sure how that slipped my mind :( Thanks for the correction.