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Bharam

In: Business and Management

Submitted By sshhkoihai
Words 25518
Pages 103
Chapter 1 Case Study: Harmonix
Embrace Your Inner Rock Star
Little more than three years ago, you had probably never heard of Harmonix. In 2005, the video game design studio released Guitar Hero, which subsequently became the fastest video game in history to top $1 billion in North American sales. The game concept focuses around a plastic guitar-shaped controller. Players press colored buttons along the guitar neck to match a series of dots that scroll down the TV in time with music from a famous rock tune, such as the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” and Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.” Players score points based on their accuracy. In November 2007, Harmonix released Rock Band, adding drums, vocals, and bass guitar options to the game. Rock Band has sold over 3.5 million units with a $169 price tag (most video games retail at $50 to $60). In 2006, Harmonix’s founders sold the company to Viacom for $175 million, maintaining their operational autonomy while providing them greater budgets for product development and licensing music for their games. Harmonix’s success, however, did not come overnight. The company was originally founded by Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy in 1995, focused around some demo software they had created in grad school and a company vision of providing a way for people without much musical training or talent to experience the joy of playing and creating music. The founders believed that if people had the opportunity to create their own music, they would jump at the chance. Their software, which they eventually dubbed The Axe, provided basic music composition tutorials and allowed participants to use a joystick to improvise solos along to popular music tracks. They attempted to market their creation through an interface with Japanese karaoke machines, a demo package deal with Intel, and even in an exhibition at Disney’s Epcot. And while the...

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