Harmonix announced today that Performance Designed Products (PDP) is the new co-publisher of Rock Band 4. The company will work with Harmonix to provide new controllers for Rock Band 4, with the first new controllers shipping this Fall. The partnership replaces the existing deal Harmonix had with Mad Catz, through that latter company will continue to sell and support its controllers.
"As we look to fully achieve our goal of creating this console generation's category-defining music gaming platform, we need to partner with a truly world-class manufacturer that can operate at the scale that Rock Band requires," said Harmonix CEO Steve Janiak in a statement. "PDP has a well-deserved reputation for innovation, customer satisfaction, and quality. They have the logistical and technical expertise to support Harmonix's ambitious plans for the future of Rock Band, with new hardware alongside a major Rock Band 4 feature update coming this Fall."
This is a continuation of trouble that's already hitting Mad Catz below the belt. Last month, president Darren Richardson, chairman Thomas Brown, and senior vice president of business affairs Whitney Peterson all resigned from the company ahead of the third quarter financial results. Mad Catz also laid off 37 percent of its entire workforce following the earnings release. Net sales and operating income were up for the company year-over-year, but Rock Band instrument sales were lower than anticipated.
"Our quarterly net sales were the second highest in the Company's history reflecting strong Rock Band 4 sales, which were partially offset by continuing softness in sales of our audio and PC gaming products," said new president Karen McGinnis. "However, 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."
Assuming the loss of those further Rock Band 4 sales, Mad Catz could be sailing into rough waters. The company ramped up production of the Rock Band peripherals expecting huge demand that never really came, partially because Harmonix worked hard to provide backwards compatibility for previous instruments.
That leaves official Street Fighter V Fight Sticks and Fight Pads as Mad Catz primary driver of new sales, but Street Fighter V's first-week sales in Japan fell far belows Street Fighter IV's debut. It remains to be seen if the Western reception was the same, though the game was hit hard in the community for a lack of single-player and offline content.