Sunday, September 7, 2008

Figure Friendly: 3-D Printing Goes Consumer

Today's Globe column talks about an interesting deal between two local companies, Z Corp. and Harmonix, to print out avatars from Harmonix's game 'Rock Band.'

The opening:

    Starting with the release of the game Rock Band 2 this month, players will have the option of purchasing a collectible plaster figurine of the character they create - whether it's a lead guitarist with a Mohawk or a screeching lead singer sporting a skimpy bikini top. (The game is produced by Cambridge-based Harmonix Music Systems, a division of Viacom Inc.) The $75 figures will be produced at Z Corp.'s Burlington headquarters and shipped to players about a week after an order is placed through the Rock Band website.

Here's the video, which shows how the 3-D avatars are produced:

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Monday, November 26, 2007

'Guitar Hero III' vs. 'Rock Band': The Game Genre Harmonix Invented

Cambridge-based Harmonix gave birth to the newly-hot genre of music-based videogames, and this morning the NY Times has a story on the two latest releases: 'Rock Band,' from Harmonix and its parent company, MTV, and 'Guitar Hero III,' from Activision. In just one week, 'Guitar Hero III' (the franchise was launched by Harmonix, but is now the property of Activision) raked in $115 million in sales.

From Robert Levine's piece in the Times:

    The rivalry between MTV and Activision is made more stark in that both Rock Band and the previous versions of Guitar Hero were developed by Harmonix Music Systems (the newest Guitar Hero was developed by another studio).

    MTV purchased Harmonix in September 2006 for $175 million cash, in a deal that did not include rights to the Guitar Hero franchise. To distribute Rock Band, it signed a deal with Activision’s main competitor, Electronic Arts.

    Like any battle of the bands, this one features its share of trash talk.

    “MTV trying to take on Guitar Hero is like us trying to go into the music cable business,” [Activision chairman Robert] Kotick said. One of the largest video game makers, Activision is enjoying its best year ever, because of Guitar Hero II, several successful movie tie-ins and the latest entry in the action game Call of Duty.

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