Perhaps in response to the sales figures for both Green Day Rock Band and Rock Band 3 hitting below expectations, but Viacom announced last month that it would be selling off its majority share in music-rhythm developer Harmonix, a company it has held since 2006. The sale was confirmed last week, Columbus-Nova – an independent investment company – purchasing up shares and creating Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC. Reps from the developer have already assured the public that the move will not affect downloadable content, releasing a statement saying, “the DLC schedule marches on for Rock Band, we will continue our support of previously released titles.”
About the same time, ex-shareholders in Harmonix (including some of the developer’s original staff, notably company founders Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy) filed suit against Viacom, looking to “recover damages arising from Viacom’s manipulation of…earn-out payments by diverting opportunities from Harmonix for its own benefit in breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing that inheres in Viacom’s contract with Harmonix.” Based on estimations guided by Earn-Out formula, the pay-outs in question would be three and a half times any profit over $32 million Viacom reported in Rock Band earnings in 2007, with proportional increases year over year. For further details on the suit and its financial specifics, visit Gamasutra‘s initial report.