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Harmonix losing some respect points with Rock Band 3 |

Harmonix’s flagship brand, Rock Band 3, released yesterday. For fans of the music / rhythm game, and its many iterations, this game is the culmination of years of work and thousands (over 2,000 now) of songs. Yes, Rock Band 3 introduces new modes,  new instruments, a refined experience, and a partridge in a pear tree. One of the greatest features of Harmonix’s games is how much they seem to go to bat for the consumer by trying to provide ways to make their Rock Band experience that much more enjoyable. One of the ways Harmonix has done this is allowing song imports: Rock Band 1 imported 55 of 58 songs into Rock Band 2 for a $5 fee; Lego Rock Band imported all songs into Rock Band 2 for a $10 fee; any of the track packs, or the AC/DC pack imported into Rock Band for no extra fee. The only drawback was The Beatles Rock Band was not importable into other games, considering the licensing it took to get the Beatles into Rock Band in the first place, I don’t begrudge Harmonix for that at all.

What I am begrudging Harmonix is the fact they are charging $10 to import Rock Band 2 songs into Rock Band 3. They charged $10 to import Lego Rock Band, but they initially listed the game at $49.99 retail, which is $10 off the standard price for PS3 and Xbox games. I completely understand why they did this and appreciate them taking their consumers opinions into consideration when setting the prices. But Rock Band 3 is going to charge $10 to import Rock Band 2 songs? Is Rock Band 3 going to be $10 cheaper than typical new releases? I doubt it.

The reason Harmonix is losing respect points is because their reasoning behind charging $10 to export RB2 is the exact same reasoning behind charging $5 to export RB1 songs 2 years ago. Harmonix’s logic in 2008: We licensed songs on Rock Band for 1 game, not the Rock Band ‘platform’, by paying $5 for the export tool, we’re relicensing these songs for all Rock Band releases.

For the love of all that is unholy, why didn’t Harmonix license Rock Band 2’s songs for the same ‘platform’. If they had, we wouldn’t have to pay a $10 re-licensing fee. If they did license RB2 songs for the ‘platform’ then they are simply lying to us to shell out our money to import almost all of our songs in a single place (which is more convenient than you may think). So either someone at the Harmonix Licensing Department is really stupid or really greedy.

I’m sort of wondering how much it will cost us to relicense Rock Band 3’s song list when Rock Band 4 comes out in late 2012, $15? $20?

  • I have no respect for them simply because they’ve released multiple games in such a short time frame. Noone wants to buy multiple music games, just songs. Release one game and have a platform for songs. Maybe a few years down the road you can revisit the music genre.

  • Luke

    Didn’t the game just release today not yesterday? I do have a problem with the $10, but if you are not interested, then just don’t buy it. I don’t see them chainging their mind about this.

  • Luke has a point. If you don’t want the songs don’t import them. That said, I think the price is a bit steep so gamers need to speak with their wallets if they don’t like what they see.

  • LEGO Rock Band lets you import 45 songs for $49.99 for the game and a $9.99 export fee. To get songs into Rock Band 3, it costs $1.33 per song. Rock Band 2 lets you import 70 songs (PLUS 9 other songs offered for FREE later) for $59.99 retail and a $9.99 export fee, or essentially $1.00 a song. You’re getting a better deal with Rock Band 2’s export than LEGO’s. Not sure why the “begrudging.”

    The licensing agreements for songs in Rock Band 2 were drawn up probably around the same time as Rock Band 1 (the games were released about 11 months apart). Licensing is NOT an easy thing… Harmonix was able to get The Beatles and AC/DC (even Apple can’t get either of them into iTunes).

    @LOKO117 I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of Guitar Hero. They had over 25 different SKUs in 2009. Rock Band had 3 (Beatles, LEGO, Unplugged).

  • Luke

    This Tommy person sounds like he works for Harmonix and I don’t mean that in a bad way.

    I have several songs that I will need to port over once I get Rock Band 3 and although I don’t want to pay an extra $10 I know I am probably going to do it. Honestly if you think about it there is a crap load of content that keeps getting added not to mention the stuff that comes with Rock Band 3 as opposed to the previous versions.

  • Darrin

    This sounds like a legit gripe and annoyance. I don’t mean to downplay it, but RB3 looks too amazing to get upset.

    I’ve been dying for a product exactly like RB3. I’ve used several learn-to-play software products on the PC and they weren’t even close to this level of quality. I haven’t played RB3 yet (package should be arriving today or tomorrow), but it really looks beyond perfect.

  • To me, I played more than $60.00 worth of time out of RB2. It was worth every penny. Now, to pay $10 to continue to play the songs I enjoy playing. I have no issue with this.

  • @Tommy. Definition of Multiple is more than 1. 3 is more than 1. 25 is also more than 1 but Harmonix didn’t make Guitar Hero so I didn’t mention it here.

  • I’m not saying the $10 fee is unjustified or isn’t even a good deal. My problem is the reason for the fee. The reason is the exact same reason we paid the $5 fee for exporting RB1 songs.

    When I bought RB2, I was aware of the $5 RB1 export fee. Reading the Rock Band forums and other blogs where people speculated about this issue, it was assumed that this was a 1 time fee because Harmonix didn’t license RB1 correctly and it was rectified with RB2. Because of this all RB2 songs would be able to be imported into future iterations of the series, which was a big selling point, at least for me.

    It just makes no sense, is there a fee for the Track Packs? I believe some of the track packs came out before Rock Band 2. If there’s no fee to import those, there shouldn’t be a fee for Rock Band 2.

    @Tommy You do sound like a Harmonix employee. Yeah it’s a great deal and all and I don’t have an issue with paying it, except for the re-licensing excuse has been used before and the public was made to believe we wouldn’t have to pay such a fee again.

  • FrenchK

    Will most likely Do liek i did when i switched from RB1 to RB2.

    Buy license to export, and then sell RB2 game on ebay.

    Covers more then the 10$ i paid to export the songs.

  • Crunk Posby

    @mairondil: If you think Tommy is a Harmonix employee, then he basically told you why there’s a licensing fee.

    “The licensing agreements for songs in Rock Band 2 were drawn up probably around the same time as Rock Band 1 (the games were released about 11 months apart).”

    I have no idea if he’s an employee (my guess is no) but the above was my assumption as well. They figured it out for LEGO Rock Band, but RB1 and RB2 they probably weren’t too sure what direction they were going in.

    If you want to gripe, then gripe about Dani California and Black Hole Sun not being playable in RB3 after we already paid for the export from RB1. I didn’t even conceive that something like that would happen b/c I assumed they received the proper licensing to transfer it over as DLC. This is what doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Sghoul

    Of the reasons to be miffed at RB3, I would think that having no bundle for the Keyboard on the PS3 would rank high than 10 bucks for 70 songs.

  • Skydog

    First commenter has the wrong game.. that’s guitar Hero bud.
    Rock Band has barely released any games so far.
    Guitar Hero has 6!

    Band related games really don’t count since many don’t buy… the major (#) games count.

  • Skydog

    PS. To Be Honest, be happy you can even export.. Guitar Hero just finally started exporting after 5 disc. (That is awful)
    Plus you can download for 2,000+ songs in the store.. so quit complaining about a couple song loses.

    A) Everyones sick of those songs anyway
    B) That ACDC song was trash
    C) Spoonman is the most overrated 90s song.

  • Skydog

    Sghoul: Of the reasons to be miffed at RB3, I would think that having no bundle for the Keyboard on the PS3 would rank high than 10 bucks for 70 songs.  

    I’m glad I COULD NOT order the bundle after going out and getting they keyboard.. have played it twice.. really disliked it.