Harmonix on DLC codes and pre-owned

Music game studio Harmonix has joined the second-hand nay-sayers, dubbing the sector ‘a serious problem for all publishers’.

It has also become one of the few major voices to openly state it believes that Project $10, or the practise of including DLC codes with new games, is intrinsically linked to stamping down on second hand games.

The MTV-owned firm currently allows new and used buyers of Rock Band 3 games to import songs from previous editions by using a one-time code and paying $10.

Buyers of Rock Band 3 who don’t have a Rock Band 2 export code cannot import songs into the latest game, regardless of whether they bought it new or used.

Speaking to MCV during a visit to Harmonix’s Boston HQ, CEO Alex Rigopulos said online verified content is a necessary step for publishers to take in order to tackle pre-owned sales.

Essentially all of the publishers are moving in that direction as the install base of connected consoles increases,” he said.

It’s a natural mechanism to deal with what has become a very serious problem for games publishers.

There is all this pre-owned activity for which the publishers have no financial stake in and it’s really hurting their business, so they need to do something. And I think this online-verified content is essentially a necessary step.”

Harmonix also generates additional revenue from its Rock Band Store that offers over 2,000 songs.

And its Rock Band Network allows artists to upload their songs and get paid for each download.

Rigopulos added: We are integrating our Rock Band Network with the main music store, which is going to make our audience aware of this amazing content.”

Last week, Harmonix told MCV about its plans to take a larger slice of the European market.

Rock Band 3 was published in the UK by EA last Friday (October 29th) on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii, and debuted at No.26 in the GfK Chart-Track All Formats Top 40.

Mad Catz has responsibility for producing and distributing the instrument accessories, including new ‘Pro’ editions of the game’s keyboards, drums and guitars.

A range of these products – including real instruments – are expected to hit the High Street next year.

To read the full interview with Rigopulos, click here.

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