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Top Of The Flops: Rock Band 4 PC Crowdfunding Fails

Plastic guitar enthusiasts Harmonix have failed in their attempt to crowdfund a PC port of their 2015 rhythm game Rock Band 4 [official site]. They had hoped to raise $1,500,000 (£1.07 million-ish) on Fig, which is a bit like a less-known and less-trusted version of Kickstarter which also supports actual financial investments. The campaign ended this morning with only $792,817 pledged, which means they get nothing. Harmonix haven’t said yet whether they’ll try again another way, but it’s not good news for folks who wanted to rock out with their Winsock out.

Harmonix were hoping to bring over Rock Band 4 and make a Steam Workshop version of their Rock Band Network tools, which let musicians convert their songs to Rock Band tracks and sell ’em. RBN isn’t new, but it used to require paid membership and a lot more fuss to get a song into game. In theory, it could’ve given RB4 a far larger and fresher library of songs.

Of the $793k pledged for Rock Band 4, only $201k was pledges from would-be players. The other $592k was interest from investors, who could have received a return on their cash. But using a crowdfunding site other than Kickstarter is risky, as they’re far less known – and less trusted. Fig has seemed to be quite conservative and only allowed games which looked fairly safe bets, and of the five projects so far I’ve not doubted any would be finished, but the sheen has worn off crowdfunding and Fig’s semi-investment nature makes it weird and confusing.

Would an actual Kickstarter have reached $1.5m? Given the drawn-out public death of plastic instrument games, the number of free alternatives already on PC (including Phase Shift and Frets on Fire), and that it wouldn’t include that cash from investors, I think it’d be unlikely. But maybe some of those investors can still be persuaded to fork up more. Harmonix said yesterday that they’d post another update after the campaign ended, so I guess we’ll soon see what’s what.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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