On April 2, Harmonix will be releasing the last batch of Rock Band DLC, effectively bringing the Rock Band series to an end after over 4,000 songs and 275 consecutive weeks of DLC.
I suppose this shouldn't come as any great surprise since I don't know anyone else IRL who even owns Rock Band 3, much less still regularly plays the game or buys new songs, but it's still kind of crappy news to wake up to.
Originally posted by Harmonix1. 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.
Originally posted by JayJayDeanIt is unbelievable how many songs those guys made. It doesn't say so, but I assume the whole catalog will remain in the PS Store as long as there is a PS Store, right?
As far as I can tell, yes. Which is good, because I'll still want days where I grab an Xbox points card and dig through the back catalogue and blow the whole thing on songs where I'm really only familiar with the chorus.
Timing wise, I guess it makes sense. The new PlayStation and Xbox will almost certainly be announced this year and may even both be out by Christmas. There's no guarantee that either will be backwards-compatible, and even if the games are, the instruments may not be. And the number of people who still have any interest in new songs is already a tiny fraction of what it once was.
Still feels weird to think that once you take the remaining Blitz singles out of the equation, there are probably only about 10 new songs left to come (they've already said that the April 2 DLC will be just one song).
Originally posted by KJames199Still feels weird to think that once you take the remaining Blitz singles out of the equation, there are probably only about 10 new songs left to come (they've already said that the April 2 DLC will be just one song).
Yeah. I wonder how much download business they do. I suspect I'm hardly alone, but it was always the new releases that would get me back into playing the game and buying more music than just that new release that originally caught my eye. I haven't really played since I got the cymbal expansion kit after Christmas but I have a gift card to spend.
I guess the only upside is I can spend that gift card after April 2 without seeing the would-be April 9-update and being all "awww...I wanted *that* song."
Holy fuck shit motherfucker shit. Read comics. Fuck shit shit fuck shit I sold out when I did my job. Fuck fuck fuck shit fuck. Sorry had to do it....
Revenge of the Sith = one thumb up from me. Fuck shit. I want to tittie fuck your ass. -- The Guinness. to Cerebus
Originally posted by JayJayDeanI wonder how much download business they do.
According to their farewell video, over 130,000,000 songs over the life of the franchise.
(They may be at 131,000,000 by now - I may have gone on a bit of a downloading spree Tuesday night.)
I wrote up a bit about the game for my music blog. I don't know that any Rock Band players read it, so I figured I'd copy/paste it here.
Originally posted by meWith today’s release of Don McLean’s classic American Pie, I have 1,082 songs in my Rock Band collection. I know this because I keep a spreadsheet. Of COURSE I keep a spreadsheet.
I’m glad I don’t have an exact figure of how much I’ve spent on Rock Band; I know that “hundreds” doesn’t begin to cover it and that’s as much as I care to admit. But whatever, we all have our “thing” and despite people occasionally wondering if I was stuck in 2009, Rock Band was one of my things.
But American Pie was specifically chosen to be today’s release because it’s an appropriate fit for the day. After more than five years of weekly releases, Rock Band’s developer, Harmonix, will no longer be adding new songs to the library.
In a sense, this is the end of an entire genre of gaming. First popularized in North America by Guitar Hero, music games were a brief but massive fad. For a while, it seemed like every gamer I knew had at least one of these games and a plastic guitar. I remember going from store to store to store to find a place that hadn’t sold out of Guitar Hero III on its launch day (October 28, 2007), but by the time Rock Band 3 came out in 2010, nobody outside of a handful of diehards seemed to notice or care. If anything, it’s a wonder Harmonix didn’t stop releasing new songs years ago.
And yet, I was taken by surprise by the announcement that Rock Band downloadable content was ending. The number of new songs had clearly slowed over the past while, but I was hopeful that this was a compromise that would keep SOME fresh content coming for the foreseeable future. But between the ever-dwindling player base and the forthcoming next generation of consoles, it just didn’t make sense for Harmonix to continue putting out new songs. It’s disappointing, but I couldn’t expect them to do otherwise.
Over the five years, my collection’s grown to include some great stuff. I’ve got lots of White Stripes, Nirvana, Johnny Cash, Queen, R.E.M., and Foo Fighters. I’m the exact right age to appreciate having Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik album in its entirety. I’ve got Total f’n Eclipse of the f’n Heart. And even in the game’s dying days, Harmonix still managed to throw me Oingo Boingo’s Weird Science, Walk This Way by Aerosmith, and that song by The Flys that I thought was sort of okay a decade ago and promptly forgot about.
Okay, they aren’t all winners. I’ve been known to buy songs solely for the sheer party-killing potential involved, just because I think that sort of thing is hilarious. Who wouldn’t want to have a fun night with friends, flailing away on plastic instruments to the tune of Barenaked Ladies’ Hannukah Blessings? Or the updated version of St. Elmo’s Fire with lyrics about Tim Tebow? Or not one, not two, but THREE songs by SpongeBob Squarepants?
(I’m not sure what category Billy Joel fits into, but I was much more excited to add his songs to my collection than I should probably admit.)
The new songs helped me customize the game to my liking but more importantly, they were great for enticing family and friends to play along. I’m not much of a competitive gamer; I feel bad if I’m better than my opponent, and if I’m worse (basically 100% of the time), I get frustrated. Some of my favourite group gaming memories are really of games where we all took turns, passing the controller around, everyone encouraging the player. And no game that I’ve played has been better at creating that feeling of camaraderie than Rock Band. There’s something great about getting four (or more) players going at once, no-fail mode turned on for the non-gamers, and a song that everyone knows. It’s worked as well for drunken late nights with friends as with Sunday afternoon family gatherings at my mom’s house.
Pro tip: you can never go wrong with The Gambler.
Of course, Rock Band isn’t truly over. I’ve got lots of songs I haven’t even played yet, and with over 4,000 songs available, there are still plenty left for me to pick up. And the Rock Band Network program, which allows bands to add their own songs into the game, is still accessible for now, at least on the Xbox 360. It never has much that interests me but there’s the occasional hidden gem in there. And even once that’s done, I’ll keep playing off and on until my Xbox 360 dies or is sent to live on the farm (big Rubbermaid tub in the office closet). Gotta maximize my 1,082-song investment, after all.
But it’s still a bit sad. There are lots of bands I like that never made it into the game and now never will. There will be no more Friday mornings refreshing Twitter to get the first look at what the next week’s songs will be. And I can see my interest waning over time just like everyone else without new songs to suck me back in. (I’ve already had a brief fling with the Xbox 360′s new Karaoke Channel app. Please don’t judge me.)
Harmonix deserves all the credit in the world for bringing this ridiculous game into existence, and moreover, for going the extra mile for players long after it was likely financially feasible to do so. They hosted Rock Band events, were accessible to fans via social media, were generous with prizes, patched the game to add in features two years after launch, and did an insane amount of complicated licensing work to ensure that players could keep their existing songs when upgrading games. So thank you, Harmonix, for five great years, 4,000 songs, so many fun nights, and (speaking for myself here) inspiring some of the worst singing you’ve ever heard. I got a lot better but I never got good.
...and I feel very, very old. I don't know when I first got into Tetris - I know it was in an arcade in Kelowna, sometime around 1988 - so I missed some of the first few years, but it still wins my vote for best game ever.