Rock Band: What Comes Next?

If you’ve been paying attention to music games over the last year, you probably saw that Rock Band and Guitar Hero are back! Unfortunately, that’s about where the excitement ends. While both franchises brought something new to the table, each failed to meet sales expectations in their return to the market.

Guitar Hero Live is expected to serve as a platform moving forward with Activision stating that it will not release another entry in the franchise on this generation of hardware. Rock Band 4 on the other hand, has a less definitive plan for the future.

After an underwhelming holiday season, Mad Catz and Harmonix recently announced an end to their co-publishing agreement for Rock Band 4, stating that PDP will be Harmonx’s partner for the game’s future. Meanwhile, Mad Catz is holding onto $8.3 million of inventory for the title which must be sold by September to avoid a sizable write off. It’s safe to say that Rock Band 4 wasn’t a huge success.

But don’t tell Harmonix that. Last week, the official Rock Band Twitter account teased “the next verse” by showing what appears to be an upcoming peripheral for the game, presumably a new Fender design produced by PDP.

Speaking at PAX East this spring, Harmonix announced that online multiplayer will be added to Rock Band 4 this fall. Additionally, they will be releasing a paid expansion for the game that draws inspiration from expansions to Destiny, among others. Although no pricing details were announced, the Harmonix community lead promised “huge stuff in store.”

This is pure conjecture, but I imagine that any expansion pack to Rock Band 4 will include a song pack in addition to the new features that were teased at PAX East. While new features would be incredible to have, a paid expansion would be tough to sell without adding to the core content of the game…the music. With an E3 presence teased, I expect to see Harmonix on stage with Microsoft or Sony on June 13th announcing the future of Rock Band 4.

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