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Viacom ordered to pay Harmonix $383 million

Viacom ordered to pay Harmonix $383 million

When Rock Band developer and its former owner Viacom argued over who exactly owed whom money from bonuses, resolution accountants were called in to sort out the mess.

Former Harmonix shareholders sued Viacom in December 2010, alleging that they were owed substantial bonuses. In retaliation, Viacom counter-sued, saying that the shareholders actually ought to repay Viacom $131 million of the $150 million they received in 2007. Viacom had promised performance-based bonuses for that year and the next when it bought bought Harmonix, but only paid out once. It claimed that only around $18 million had ever been owed.

Read more: Harmonix disputes findings »

"awesome. I love Harmonix and hope the judge tells Viacom to go cry some more. I have a Kinect ..."
- thecray    See all 11 comments

Viacom files $131M suit against former Harmonix shareholders

Viacom files $131M suit against former Harmonix shareholders

Viacom has filed suit against the former stockholders of Harmonix, seeking $131 million to make good on miscalculated payments from 2007. The suit alleges that the company was given $150 million for performance-based payouts, but the company only generated an earn-out payment of $18 million. Viacom is seeking to be refunded for the remaining cost.

Read more: Harmonix says Viacom owes them »

"The more accurate statement is: Viacom sold HMX to their shareholders, reportedly for $50.00 ..."
- Masem    See all 8 comments

Rock Band Dev Harmonix Sold, Goes Solo

Rock Band and Dance Central developer Harmonix has successfully been sold, former owner Viacom announced today, to itself--going privately-owned once again as an affiliate of investment firm Columbus Nova. Truly, it is a Festivus miracle!

"We're excited to be returning to our roots as an independent and privately owned studio," Harmonix wrote on its blog. "As for what it means for you, the DLC schedule marches on for Rock Band, we will continue our support of previously released titles and we're hard at work on some unannounced projects that we think you're going to be pumped about." Read more »

"I have about 200 DLC songs. Plus all the imports. I'm probably around 400 to 500 tracks in ..."
- matrixneo42    See all 14 comments

Viacom Sued Over Rock Band Payouts by Former Harmonix Shareholders, Founders

A group of ex-shareholders in Rock Band developer Harmonix, including several studio founders, are suing its parent company Viacom, Gamasutra reports, over allegedly attempting to avoid paying out performance-based bonuses for the rhythm game series.

When Viacom bought Harmonix back in 2006 for $175 million, it was agreed that Harmonix shareholders would be paid bonuses if the developer exceeded performance targets in 2007 and 2008. The ex-shareholders claim that they were never paid the 2008 bonus, which would have been based on any profit over $42 million. As the Rock Band franchise's retail sales were over $1 billion in 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, the profits and payouts were probably substantial. The plaintiffs are still calculating a figure. Read more »

"This sounds a lot like the, "They'll NEVER sue us because they KNOW if they do, we'll sell their ..."
- HisDivineOrder    See all 25 comments

Viacom Reveals Plans to Sell Rock Band Developer Harmonix

Related Topics – Harmonix, Business, earnings, Viacom

Within its third-quarter financial report, media conglomerate Viacom revealed plans to sell Harmonix, the developer behind Dance Central and the Rock Band franchise.

According to the Wall-Street Journal [subscription required], Viacom's third-quarter earnings fell 59 percent on write-downs at the developer but overall revenues and income from other operations increased more than analysts predicted. Read more »

"i havent played it in 4 months. had no interest in the latest game. im done with it."
- rtrson    See all 19 comments

Gibson, Viacom Settle Rock Band Suit

According to a report by Bloomberg Businessweek, the patent-infringement suit Gibson Guitar Corp. filed back in 2008 against Viacom--owner of Rock Band video game maker Harmonix--distributor Electronic Arts, and a host of retailers, is finally being settled.

Gibson filed the suit back in 2008, claiming EA and Viacom had infringed upon "a patent issued in 1999 for a way of using a musical instrument to take part in a simulated concert." At the time, Harmonix responded by citing notable differences between the Rock Band franchise and Gibson's patent that had been filed a decade prior. Read more »

"Gibson should focus their efforts on getting their QA department to stop sucking monster butt ..."
- panbient    See all 2 comments

Harmonix Responds to Latest Rock Band Lawsuit, Labels It 'Opportunistic and Baseless'

Rock Band developer Harmonix and owner MTV Games have responded to a $5 million-plus lawsuit regarding defective Rock Band kick pedals, labeling the charges "opportunistic and baseless."

In an e-mail to Shacknews, a company representative stated:

Harmonix and MTV Games are dedicated to consumers having an outstanding experience with our products. When used as directed, our drum pedals are designed to provide years of enjoyment. In addition, at the launch of Rock Band we offered consumers an extended opportunity return defective or broken hardware for any reason whatsoever--no questions asked. This litigation is opportunistic and baseless.
Read more »

"and since most people that play these games are NOT musicians.... tada! broken pedal."
- vertdang    See all 20 comments

Harmonix Gets Rock Band 2 Class Action Lawsuit

Everybody involved in the making of music-rhythm phenomenon Rock Band--developer Harmonix, publisher MTV, MTV owner Viacom, and distributor Electronic Arts--has been hit with a class-action lawsuit stemming from the game's drum peripheral.

Monte Morgan of Kansas alleges that the above four companies conspired to sell defective drum kits after admitting that the drums' kick pedals were defective. Morgan's lawyers noted that the defendants' special warranty extension lasted until October 1--just before the release of Rock Band 2 featuring a new and improved kick pedal. Read more »

"not a conspiracy, just u cant make a good solid pedal for the cost of what they wanted to make ..."
- chilln    See all 15 comments

Harmonix Founders Get $300 Million Bonus

Viacom may be part of the same media empire as the money-hemorrhaging Midway, but that hasn't stopped the MTV Games parent from giving $300 million to just two men: Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy, founders of Rock Band developer Harmonix.

Bloomberg reports that the duo, who started Harmonix in 1995 during their time at MIT, "received $150 million last quarter for exceeding performance targets" and are due another payment "exceeding $150 million" in 2009. Read more »

"If HMX offers bonuses based on company performance, then they'll probably get a decent amount. ..."
- nuvm    See all 24 comments

Gibson Claims Guitar Hero Games Violate Patent; Viacom Drops Guitar Hero Royalty Suit

Related Topics – Guitar Hero, Activision, lawsuit, Viacom

Following guitar manufacturer Gibson's claims that the wildly successful Guitar Hero franchise violates a 1999 patent, Guitar Hero owner Activision has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate Gibson's patent.

According to the suit, as reported by Reuters, Gibson alleges that the series infringes on a patent for technology that simulates a concert performance via pre-recorded audio and a musical instrument. Read more »

"why are people fapping over REAL name guitars becoming toys? if you wanna play guitar, go get a ..."
- tard21    See all 24 comments

Rock Band Earns Harmonix Possible $208M Bonus

The strong performance of Harmonix's multiplayer rhythm game Rock Band (PS2, PS3, X360) may have earned its former shareholders upwards of $208 million, reports Gamasutra.

Going by Viacom's annual report to the SEC, the company's acquisition of Harmonix in 2005 included a clause that stipulated performance-based incentives for the former sharholders if Rock Band exceeded expectations. Read more »

"You earn $190 million on something... you pay 208.7 million in bonuses.... crazy."
- dirtypunk    See all 13 comments

Rumor: Viacom Makes Take-Two Buyout Offer

Publisher Take-Two Interactive Software may be the target of a $1.5 billion buyout offer from entertainment conglomerate Viacom, according to "industry rumors" reported by MCV.

If true, the move would mark the latest in the recent rash of video game buyouts and mergers, the most notable of which was Activision Blizzard, the unexpected $18.9 billion combination of major publisher Activision with Blizzard Entertainment owner Vivendi Games. Read more »

"That Civilization Revolutions game doesn't deserve the Civilization name. Look at how simple ..."
- leaked    See all 4 comments

Midway: "Fewer, Bigger, Better" Games in 2008

Related Topics – Viacom

Midway CEO David Zucker has a plan, one that he hopes will guide the video game publisher and developer to its first annual profit since 1999. The key lies with producing "fewer, bigger, better" games, he told the Chicago Tribune.

Other initiatives include an emphasis on license-driven titles based on movies and more active involvement from newly-elected Midway chairwoman Shari Redstone, daughter of majority shareholder and Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone. Read more »

"Ok, yeah it was the demo. But let me ask this... Do enemies spawn out of literally closets ..."
- Murdoc.    See all 35 comments

Viacom Partners With Microsoft for Casual Gaming, BET Programming on Xbox Live

Viacom and Microsoft have teamed up for a mutually beneficial content and advertising deal, with a few gaming-related endeavors included in the agreement. The terms of the deal weren't revealed, although Microsoft claims the deal is valued at $500 million.

As part of the deal, Viacom will work to become Microsoft's "preferred publishing partner across Microsoft's casual gaming platforms." These platforms comprise Xbox Live Arcade as well as MSN and Windows, on which Microsoft will host Viacom property-related downloadable games. Read more »

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Bruckheimer and MTV Team Up to Found Game Studio

Related Topics – Activision, Electronic Arts, Viacom

Viacom subsidiary MTV's game division has announced plans to work with prolific Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Kangaroo Jack, Flashdance, Rafferty and the Highway Hustlers) on a new "game incubation studio" that intends to create new entertainment properties that will start life as video games.

According to the announcement, the studio will be staffed by "a team of experienced video game experts, artists and Read more »

"He picked the most shining examples of Bruckheimer's brilliance. None of that mainstream stuff. ..."
- xsoulbrothax    See all 22 comments

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