Many people bought Guitar Hero III. Some of them bought it with Rock Band to be able to add the second guitar to Rock Band, to, you know, make a band.
Much to the surprise of many, the guitar for the Playstation 3’s Guitar Hero III will not work with Rock Band.
Adding to the drama, Harmonix recently claimed that Activision is actively working to keep things this way. Activision, for its part, said December 14 that they offered to help Harmonix fix the problem, and Harmonix refused.
It looks like the kids won’t play nice.
In a statement released on December 12, Harmonix announced that they finished a patch for Rock Band that will allow it to work with third party guitars, including the Guitar Hero III instrument. Harmonix claimed the work was completed, approved by Sony and scheduled to be released on Dec. 4 until, they claim, Activision objected to the release of the patch.
“The patch remains with Sony, but we have been told that it will unfortunately not be released due to Activision’s continued objection,” Harmonix said.
Harmonix is saying they believe that all guitars and peripherals should be compatible. They are backing up this claim by planning to release all details of their controllers and assist any development team desiring to work with them. They also asked that Activision release an update for their Guitar Hero III game to add support for Rock Bands guitar.
Activision says that they offered to reach an agreement with Harmonix to support the Guitar Hero III guitar in Rock Band, but Harmonix refused their offer. They are blaming Harmonix for being unwilling to discuss an agreement to the compatibility issue. Activision stated,
“We have been and remain open to discussions with Harmonix and MTV Games/Viacom about the use of our technology in Rock Band," said in a statement released to Blast by Activision spokesman Jordan Dodge.”We are focusing our efforts on innovating hardware and software that are designed to work together, work flawlessly and provide an enjoyable gaming experience.” (Click here for the full statement)
So now we have both companies claiming they want the compatibility but that the other is stopping them — Harmonix blaming Activision for blocking the update, Activision blaming Harmonix for not agreeing to work with them on the compatibility.
Clearly, Activision and Harmonix are not making beautiful music together.
This is much larger implications. Activision’s merger with Blizzard makes it one of the largest interactive entertainment companies ever. Harmonix is owned by MTV Games, which is owned by Viacom, and Rock Band was partially distributed by Electronic Arts/EA Partners (if you look on the Rock Band box, you’ll see EA’s logo).
Gee, the two biggest gaming competitors are not cooperating? Whowouldathunkit?
Blast Magazine staff writer John Guilfoil contributed to this report.