That grinding sound you hear in the background is hundreds of tons of plastic Rock Band inventory being driven across the country to Epic Games headquarters in dump trucks. Yes, the Fortnite developer has opened its deep pockets once again to acquire another gaming studio, and this time it's Harmonix, the musically-inclined developer behind Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and lesser-known titles like Frequency.
In a press release announcing the move, Epic said that this acquisition is key to its vision of "the metaverse," as Harmonix will help it to "reimagine how music is experienced, created, and distributed." As usual, there are very few specifics on just what the devil "the metaverse" is going to look, feel, or sound like, but there will apparently be music there. Very cool!
Friends in high places — In terms of raw output, Harmonix has many classic rhythm games under its belt, and its Rock Band series briefly dominated the sales charts a decade ago. The studio's latest game is Fuser, which allows players to create their own DJ set to share with their friends. While Fuser got positive reviews from critics, it doesn't seem to have set tills alight from where we're sitting, so this is probably a good move from Harmonix.
As we've discussed before here at Input, while the Fortnite craze can seem a bit irritating from afar, it is true that the game's concerts are an interesting new medium for music. Of course, that didn't stop Epic Games from running the other way as fast as possible from Travis Scott following the performer's tragic concert in Houston a few weeks ago.
Plastic drums, where art thou? — Unfortunately for Harmonix fans, the studio also reiterated that it does not plan on producing more Rock Band instruments anytime soon, so it's probably best to keep that nonsense in your closet for a couple more years. Epic Games' acquisition of Fall Guys developer Mediatonic was a no-brainer, but Harmonix has showed itself to be a studio full of ideas, so maybe it is a good fit for the lurking black hole of "the metaverse" after all.