News

More details on the demise of Rock Band DLC

Posted by: Dan at 2/18/2013 12:46 PM
I am sure some of us are a little bit shocked (although we probably shouldn't be) that after five plus years, Harmonix is shutting off the amp on Rock Band.  In order to stave off some of the many questions, Harmonix provided a separate Q&A section in the forums today to cover some of the questions that came about after their announcement that DLC will discontinue for Rock Band after April 2nd.  Some of the topics discussed were the future of Rock Band Network, going to a limited release schedule (monthly), future of Rock Band servers and the bottom line question, Is this the end of Rock Band?  I posted below the full Q&A for those that cannot follow the link:
 
As with the previous announcement regarding the wind down of RB DLC, we’ve tried to address as many of the expected questions in a convenient FAQ. You’ll find a number of anticipated topics addressed below, and we’ll be on hand to respond to other questions in this discussion thread. Hopefully this FAQ will serve as a helpful resource for people looking for more info.

1. Is this the end of Rock Band?
This is the end of weekly Rock Band DLC. Rock Band remains an essential part of the history of Harmonix, and the franchise will always be near and dear to our hearts. We don’t have any Rock Band titles in active development at the moment, and we’ll no longer be releasing weekly DLC, but you can expect us to continue to support the existing titles and the extensive song library. We’re not breaking up the band, but we are taking a break from 5+ years of weekly performances.

2. Why not switch to a monthly or semi-weekly DLC schedule instead?
As we transition more and more of our resources onto new projects in development, it’s not possible at this time to maintain that kind of regularity in DLC releases. The weekly release schedule is something that we are incredibly proud of, and we’ll be wrapping up DLC with over 275 weeks of consistent releases.

3. Is there any chance you’ll release Rock Band DLC again?
While we’re no longer actively pursuing content for release, we still have the technical capability should the right band and the right opportunity arise. We don’t have anything planned for release at the moment, but it’s not something we’ve ruled out.

4. Will the Rock Band Network continue to release content on a regular basis?
The current plan is for Harmonix to continue to support the backend technology that powers Rock Band Network on the Xbox 360 for the foreseeable future. Users on the Xbox 360 should be able to submit new content, test, and release as they have been for the last 3 years. It's important to note that this architecture relies on other technologies not directly in Harmonix's control, including the XNA architecture for submission. In the event that our ability to keep RBN up and running changes, we'll make sure to let everyone in the Creators community know with as much lead time as possible.

Unfortunately, PS3 submissions for RBN tracks are submitted in the same manner as standard Harmonix-released DLC and require constant Harmonix production attention. As a result, the last PS3 RBN release planned on our schedule is on April 2nd.

5. Are you shutting down Rock Central servers?
Rock Central servers, leaderboards, and the Music Store should continue to run without interruption for the foreseeable future.

6. What does this mean for the RockBand.com community on the forums?
We hope that RockBand.com will remain a meeting place for fans of the series. The forums will stay open, and posters can still expect to see Harmonix devs answering questions and engaging in conversation. Some outdated site features will likely be phased out in the coming weeks, and we’ll address those changes as they happen.

7. What will happen with Rock Band World and the content posted there?
Parts of Rock Band World will remain operational, but with weekly DLC ending we will no longer be updating with weekly Goals and Tournaments. We may update with additional Goals in the future, but they will be significantly less frequent.

8. What are you going to show on the livestreams in place of weekly DLC?
The livestreams have always been a platform for Harmonix content and we plan to continue on the same weekly schedule. We hope to use the livestream to showcase new Harmonix titles as we get closer to release, but it’s still likely we’ll be discussing Rock Band in some way, whether it’s running through the extensive back catalog, or interviewing devs, or hosting Q&As with the community. You can subscribe to the livestream here: twitch.tv/harmonixmusic

9. Do you have some big, crazy, extra special thing planned for the final DLC release?
We have DLC scheduled through the next few weeks, including what we feel is an appropriate track for the final release on April 2nd. Just prior to that, on Thursday March 21st, we’ll be hosting a big Rock Band show in Boston to coincide with PAX East. This event will be held at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square, and it is open to non-PAX attendees as well, so keep posted for ticket preorder info in the next few days. Hopefully we’ll see a lot of you there!

10. What about these new IPs you’re working on? Are any of them Rock Band related / instrument based music games?
Harmonix has several new projects in the works, but unfortunately no Rock Band news at the moment. You can stay tuned to HarmonixMusic.com for future project announcements.

After reading through this Q&A, it sure sounds like this is the end, but the door was left open slightly if the right opportunity came along (for example, if Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wanted to develop a stand alone Led Zeppelin title, oh please god let this happen).