Rock Band 4 parts ways with Mad Catz, signs PDP as co-publisher

Ben Parfitt
Rock Band 4 parts ways with Mad Catz, signs PDP as co-publisher

The news just gets worse for Mad Catz.

Harmonix has announced that PDP is its new co-publisher for Rock Band 4, seemingly replacing Mad Catz.

The company isn't formerly admitting that its former partner has been dropped, simply saying that Harmonix and Mad Catz are continuing to work together” and that Mad Catz has been an important partner, and they continue to sell and support controllers for Rock Band 4.”

However, PDP will from this autumn be the official manufacturer of Rock Band 4 accessories, although ongoing support for the existing Mad Catz products is promised.

"As we look to fully achieve our goal of creating this console generation's category-defining music gaming platform, we need to partner with a truly world-class manufacturer that can operate at the scale that Rock Band requires," Harmonix CEO Steve Janiak said, in a statement that could appear to be critical of its former partner.

"PDP has a well-deserved reputation for innovation, customer satisfaction, and quality. They have the logistical and technical expertise to support Harmonix's ambitious plans for the future of Rock Band, with new hardware alongside a major Rock Band 4 feature update coming this fall."

PDP CEO Chris Richards added: Rock Band is the premier music platform for console players. This will be a great partnership and gaming fans should get ready to experience new, innovative hardware products for Rock Band 4 and Rock Band VR.”

It was a surprise to everyone when Mad Catz was named as the co-publisher of Harmonix's music sequel in April of last year. At the time the peripherals specialist made a lot of noise about the partnership being a catalyst for certain growth.

However, it became apparent later in the year that things weren't as they should be at the company, with KPMG issuing a dire warning about the company's future. Last month Mad Catz announced that it was to cut over a third of its global work force after what it described as strong” but lower than forecast” sales of the music game.

The question now is the nature of the pair's parting. Did Harmonix drop Mad Catz? Did Mad Catz choose to sell its contract to raise capital to ease its financial struggles? And what exactly is Mad Catz' ongoing contractual commitment to the series? Most importantly, what now happens to Mad Catz? The company won't have been helped by the soft sales of Street Fighter V, either, for which it manufactured a range of fighting sticks.

Harmonix recently kicked off a crowdfunding drive to try and bring the game to PC.

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