Rock Band 3
Viacom Loses its Lawsuit Against Harmonix, Must Pay Out $299 Million
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Having acquired Harmonix back in September 2006 as part of its MTV Networks subsidiary, before subsequently selling the developer off in 2010, Viacom has found itself losing a year-long court dispute against the Rock Band studio surrounding $299 million in unpaid bonuses owed. The Delaware Supreme Court ruled against Viacom, demanding that the bonuses be paid.

The case of Viacom v. Winshall (the defendant representing Harmonix's former shareholders) has been ongoing since an arbitrator's ruling in December 2011. The company's last quarterly filing recorded a reserve of $321 million as of March 31st, 2013, and reflected a difficult position as far as a possible payment might be concerned.

Viacom's remaining options include appealing the decision to the US Supreme Court or hoping the ruling is reconsidered, otherwise the decision will stand. Viacom paid $150m in bonuses to Harmonix in 2007, determining that shareholders were owed nothing in 2008. The calculation was disputed by Winshall and in December 2011 it transpired that Viacom owed Harmonix $383 million.

Agreeing to pay $84 million towards the 2007 bonuses, the companies went to court over the $299 million, which Viacom must now pay in full to Harmonix following the court's ruling. Harmonix is currently working on Fantasia: Music Evolved exclusively for Kinect on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

[Via Hollywood Reporter]


User Comments

Forum Posts: 911
Comment #1 by MabusScarab
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 04:38:50 AM
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Rather see their efforts go into Rock Band 4.

That's a nice little sum of money the now former company known as Viacom has to pay out to Harmonix, assuming bankruptcy and it's demise follows.

Forum Posts: 54
Comment #3 by Clarky08
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 04:52:05 AM
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I'd love Rockband 4 to come out on Xbox One but as I'll probably need new instruments ... and all the money i've wasted on DLC tracks won't be recoverable it has been an expensive game to enjoy. Worth it though!

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #4 by MyNameIsWill
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 05:02:09 AM
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Dats a lot of monies

Forum Posts: 487
Comment #5 by Rickmassacre
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 05:03:08 AM
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@3 i wish guitar hero didnt kill the genre :(

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #6 by Zero fox fk
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 05:24:03 AM
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Its amazing how many people look down at you when you talk about videogames. Seeing that sort of money flying about reminds me that its a huge market player, not just a fringe entertainment for geeks.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #7 by BUFU
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 05:27:21 AM
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$299 Million? Wow, makes me feel like I only have pennys in my bank account.

Forum Posts: 136
Comment #8 by thacent
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 06:07:15 AM
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@5 Guitar Hero killed the genre? Rockband released just a many games and flooded the marketplace with mostly awful DLC... they should have had a seperate folder, as much as I loved RB I was sick of scrolling through it to get to something else.

Forum Posts: 1463
Comment #9 by Doktor Wilhelm
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 07:01:13 AM
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@1 I don't think $299m is going to be much of a dent in Viacom's funds, so I doubt they'll be bankrupted by this ruling.

Forum Posts: 58
Comment #10 by Original
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 07:09:07 AM
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@8 You're saying that as if it was Harmonix's fault that M$ were to lazy to give them their own section...

Forum Posts: 144
Comment #11 by Comatose
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 07:46:26 AM
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@ 8

Rockband related game: 8
not counting track packs since those were track packs. Not full games. (Info from their website)

Guitar hero games: 24 (Via the guitar hero wiki)

Released just as many games? I think not.

Flooded the market place? They promised DLC that went well beyond what any other game has ever offered in supporting their game. It is not their fault that MS did not give them their own category for it. It certainly sold damn well as I know many people with massive RB3 libraries.

Forum Posts: 453
Comment #12 by stevedb79
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 08:03:10 AM
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And people moan there's no money to be made in gaming anymore ;)

Forum Posts: 3655
Comment #13 by Akuza
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 08:16:39 AM
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Rock band 4 now please =D

Forum Posts: 6121
Comment #14 by Crimson Ridley
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 09:29:52 AM
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@5 - Guitar Hero didn't kill the genre, Activision did by abusing the franchise. Guitar Hero was very high quality to begin with, and when Neversoft took over they kept it that way. Then Activision started to get different developers involved, and demanded more games. The quality started to drop, the same basic engine got reused over and over again, and the market became oversaturated. Warriors of Rock was a sign that things could be pulled back on track, but the damage had already been done by Activision.

I love both Rock Band and Guitar Hero, but it annoys me when people blame the game and not the greedy publisher who made it all go wrong. If Activision had owned Rock Band and Harmonix stayed with Guitar Hero, then Rock Band would have had its name dragged through the mud.

Forum Posts: 57
Comment #15 by oORuffusOo
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 11:02:49 AM
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@7 I do only have pennies in my bank account.

OT - to hell with MTV. That's what they get for only showing reality crap and no music videos.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #16 by Freekshow
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 11:05:45 AM
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Serves them right. Viacom should be sued for false advertising. I mean mtv, wheres the music television. vh1, where are the video hits. Its just a bunch of mindless reality show garbage that glorifies pregnant teen sluts and morons from jersey. Im glad harmonix got their money.

Forum Posts: 175
Comment #17 by Yourburntstar
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 01:12:59 PM
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I would hate to have to be the one to pay that debt off.. God damn

Forum Posts: 41
Comment #18 by Tim 13
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 01:16:01 PM
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I try to avoid direct bashing, but, 8: You're a fucking idiot. Yes Guitar Hero killed the franchise. And they usually released three songs a week. If you couldn't handle scrolling through those three items, then you are weak and frail and you should surrender your controller.

14: I read your post after I wrote the above, and I don't feel like backspacing. I partially agree, Activision did so by abusing the franchise. But, from the second that Harmonix gave the franchise to them, Guitar Hero 3 came out, and there was an instant drop in quality between GH2 and 3. Harmonix made the first three Guitar Hero games, as in 1, 2, and 80's, and to me, those were the only good Guitar Hero games.

3: Don't rule out a transfer of some sort just yet. Even if the process to transfer everything is a difficult and complicated one, I'm confident that Harmonix will come up with something to make sure that everything we've paid for is usable on the X1. If not a direct transfer, from HDD to HDD, then perhaps allowing HMX access to your Live download history via the Internet, and them sending you download codes for the content you owned.

OT: I'm with 16. Not only will I always support Harmonix getting money, but in this case, a big corporation tried to screw over a little guy, and ended up paying the piper for it. Good; fuck 'em.

Forum Posts: 136
Comment #19 by thacent
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 01:36:26 PM
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WRONG, GH3 was miles ahead of GH2 so your statement is a fail.

Guitar Hero: Metallica was also one of the best music games to ever come out of the genre too and NO I wasn't a big die-hard fan of the band.

Forum Posts: 41
Comment #20 by Tim 13
Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 01:49:25 PM
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lol, okay. Apparently, opinions are fact now. I didn't know that. I didn't know that your opinion that Guitar Hero 3 is better than Guitar Hero 2 (lmao, can't even say it without laughing) is actually the gospel truth.

Are you talking about difficulty? Things were harder after Neversoft took the helm, but the problem is that nothing was charted accurately. It's like they didn't get musicians to chart the songs and then give those charts to programmers, but the programmers charted the songs themselves. Their focus wasn't on quality, it was on difficulty. They could take "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and make it more difficult than Jordan by Buckethead.

Forum Posts: 267
Comment #21 by TheSilentAssassin
Friday, July 19, 2013 @ 04:33:43 AM
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I agree with thacent. I loved guitar hero 2, but it was nowhere near as good or as enjoyable and guitar hero 3. Number 3 was the best game by far.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #22 by D1Matman
Friday, July 19, 2013 @ 03:24:56 PM
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I'm with Tim on this. And here is hoping HMX bring us another RB soon.

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US October 26, 2010
Europe October 29, 2010

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