NEWS - Sunday, July 13, 2008

Konami Sues Harmonix Over Rock Band

Konami is suing Harmonix, Viacom and MTV Networks over alleged patent infringement in the Rock Band videogame.

The publisher’s patents were issued in 2002 and 2003 and cover simulated musical instruments and a "musical-rhythm matching game".

Konami is seeking cash compensation and an order to block Viacom and Harmonix using the peripherals included in the game, according to the complaint filed yesterday in Marshall, Texas.

Rock Band ships with a bundle of peripherals – guitar, drums and microphone – costing over USD 160 in the US and almost GBP 180 in the UK. So far, the Rock Band online music store has sold over 15 million paid downloads.

Although Harmonix has seen incredible success with the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises, Konami has its own Guitar Freaks series, which first appeared in arcades in 1999 and has since moved to PlayStation and PlayStation 2 formats.

Most recently, the publisher of Dance Dance Revolution and Pro Evolution Soccer announced Rock Revolution, another music-based game centred around drums and in production at the UKs Zoe Mode studio.

A spokesperson for Viacom told Bloomberg that the company has yet to receive a complaint from Konami and so would not issue any comment.

Rock Band was released last November in the US, and has proven so popular publisher Electronic Arts EA announced a sequel in June, due for release this September.

The success of Rock Band has earned Harmonix a bonus of over USD 208 million under terms of the company’s acquisition by Viacom in 2006.


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