The Beatles: Rock Band might be besting Activision’s Guitar Hero 5 in the sales department, but the interactive love letter to the Fab Four has yet to be profitable for MTV Games’ parent company, Viacom, the GamesIndustry.biz reports.
During a conference call, Viacom chief financial officer, Tom Dooley, said, "Rock Band was a negative contributor to margins in the third quarter. We expect it to break even or be slightly profitable in the fourth quarter from a margin point of view. It really depends on how many units we sell in the holiday season."
Most rhythm-based music games are typically profit sucks for publishers because of the cost of manufacturing the instruments and accessories. In the case of The Beatles: Rock Band, those costs were heaped on top of the cash that was dished out to license the coveted tracks, a feat that the game's closing credits proves must have been nothing short of an absolute nightmare. Still, Viacom chief executive Philippe Daumann said, "the economics of our Rock Band franchise are improving," even if it’s taking a bit longer than the company would like.
Looking ahead to the end of the year, Viacom says it plans to "start putting in more marketing dollars together with our retail partners behind [Beatles: Rock Band]," in the hopes of attracting those ever-precious holiday dollars. Although, given the number of massive titles being released between now and the end of the year, bringing the Rock Band franchise into the black isn't going to be an easy task. On the other hand, the holiday season is prime family-gaming time, so that should bring in some much needed green. I'll guess we'll know for sure when the sales figures are released early next year.