Rock Band series developer Harmonix is scaling back its relationship with longtime development partner and co-publisher Mad Catz, announcing that peripheral manufacturer PDP is now “a partner for the ongoing development of Rock Band 4.”
Harmonix announced that new PDP-branded instrument peripherals for Rock Band 4 will be available starting this fall, though the game will continue to support existing Mad Catz controllers across all platforms.
Harmonix’s newly established relationship with PDP follows up on a recently announced corporate restructuring at Mad Catz, which saw the departure of several key executives and the culling of 37 percent of its workforce. Mad Catz bet heavily on the success of last year’s Rock Band 4, and while the game’s release led to a spike in specialty controller sales, full-band accessory bundles didn’t meet sales expectations.
“Rock Band  sell-through was lower than originally forecast, resulting in higher inventory balances as well as lower margins due to increased promotional activity with retailers,” Mad Catz CEO Karen McGinnis stated as part of the company’s most recent quarterly financial results.
Harmonix notes that Mad Catz will continue to sell its remaining stock of Rock Band 4 games, bundles, and controllers, and will offer customer support via its website. The company will also continue to develop firmware updates for Rock Band 4 instruments.
According to Harmonix, details regarding PDP’s upcoming Rock Band 4 controllers will be announced “later this year at PAX East and E3.” While redesigned guitar and drum peripherals are likely in the works, Harmonix flatly denies that its new partnership with PDP will see the return of Rock Band 3‘s keyboard and Pro Guitar accessories.
Harmonix recently kicked off a crowdfunding campaign for a PC version of Rock Band 4 via revenue-sharing platform Fig. Given the timing of this week’s partnership announcement, PDP will likely manufacture all-new peripherals for the PC version of Rock Band 4, provided that Harmonix’s in-progress funding campaign is successful.
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