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Rock Band downloads pass 100 million

Harmonix discounts Rock Band 4 retail release as DLC stay strong

The total number of songs downloaded across the whole Rock Band franchise have passed the 100 million mark, according to Harmonix vice president of strategy and business development Chris Rigopulos.

Speaking to Game Informer, Rigopulos confirmed that previous owners Viacom, and publisher MTV Games, no longer have any involvement in the brand or the downloadable content.

The Rock Band Network currently offers more than 2700 songs from 900 different artists, across on-disc and downloadable content. Rigopoulos claims that that is the most available for any video game on the market.

Since downloadable content was first offered in 2007 almost 5 million accounts have downloaded a song from the Rock Band catalogue.

"With all of the negative press around the band genre, you might be surprised to learn that we still see more than a million unique users log on each month to play Rock Band and to pick up new music – and it's not the same million players each month," said Rigopulos.

However, Rigopulos avoided answering the question of what percentage of players purchase the pro-mode upgrade song, when available. Pro-mode was introduced with Rock Band 3 and for an additional charge gives users access to tracks compatible with the more complex Pro instruments.

Rigopulos was also unable to quote a percentage for the number of online Rock Band players who purchase downloadable content. "I can't tell you the exact figure, and it varies by platform, but it's very high relative to other games with add-on content," he said.

Comparing the profitability of retail releases to downloadable content Rigopulos classified the issue as "an apples-to-oranges thing".

"DLC represents an ongoing opportunity to improve the economics of the disc release. This is substantial enough in our case that it might affect how we think about our retail strategy," he said.

"For example, the price for Rock Band 3 was recently reduced to $19.99. A price cut like that has much more compelling economics when you consider that each unit sold represents the potential creation of a new DLC customer.

For all of these reasons, we're not planning a Rock Band 4 disc release in 2011. Rock Band 3 is a big game with lots of available music content and lots of new goals and challenges. We want to give our fans the time to explore that fully."

Harmonix vice president of product development Greg LoPiccolo has previously suggested that the company would make a number of "significant" announcements at E3 in June. Rigopoulos' comments suggest that these will not involve a retail product called Rock Band 4.

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David Jenkins