Last year Harmonix split with its publisher, MTV Games. Viacom decided it had enough with the games industry and Harmonix had to go its own way. Nevermind that Harmonix was leading sales in the music game business AND the Kinect games business, Viacom was like "no thank you!"
Now that Harmonix is with private investment group Columbus Nova, the developers VP of Product Development Greg LoPiccolo says there's no ill will. In fact, LoPiccolo stated that there were benefits and costs of doing business with MTV Games:
I think there came a crossroads where it became apparent to them that they either needed to make a biggest investment in the game space or cut their losses. I think it became apparent that, in this day and age, you really need a big enough publishing organization to achieve economies of scale if you want to make it work and they didn't really have that. They had us, but essentially our games had to carry the entire publishing infrastructure of MTV games which was not particularly efficient.
And so I think they got this "in-or-out" moment and made what, I think, is a reasonable call; it's their call. From our perspective, I think we're pretty aware that there's a whole host of things that we could not have accomplished without them from a music licensing standpoint and just from a financial support standpoint. When they bought us we were a little developer and in collaboration with them we achieved a lot. So I think the parting of the ways was a reasonable business decision that they undertook for pretty clear reasons, but I think we have a deep appreciation for what they were able to bring to our business and what we were able to accomplish together. And now, I think we're relieved and excited to be on our own again and sort of masters of our own destiny.
Still, with everything hanging on by a thread there for a while, Harmonix and company must have been a little worried right? Columbus Nova kind of flew in at the last moment and bought the developer to save them:
I would have to say, it sort of wasn't [scary]. Because we knew our worth. And there was kind of a lot of optics and noise. I think one of the things we've demonstrated to the world at large and to ourselves is that we have a demonstrated ability to make good stuff. And I think we had a confidence that somebody would see that and have that perspective. And it worked out like really beautiful for us. We're happy with our relationship with Columbus Nova and they seem like they really understand what our worth is and are happy to give us the freedom to develop our business. So we couldn't be more happy with how things turned out.
Stay on the look out for what's next from Harmonix around June. E3 will surely reveal further details on a Dance Central sequel, although I'd say you can probably bet on Rock Band 4 taking a while to show itself.