Harmonix Shareholders Sue Viacom
Happy Holidays! What’s under the tree for some in the music videogame industry is yet another lawsuit, as recent developments demonstrate that it’s not all fun and games for Harmonix and (for now) parent company Viacom, Inc.
It was reported this morning that former shareholders of Harmonix Music Systems, maker of the ‘Rock Band’ game franchise and original developers of ‘Guitar Hero,’ have sued its parent company Viacom Inc., alleging that the company is trying to cheat them out of hundreds of millions of dollars owed under the terms of Viacom’s 2006 acquisition of the Harmonix. This suit comes on the heels of Viacom announcing that it’s seeking to sell the Cambridge, Mass.-based game developer.
Viacom has responded to (some of) the claims, denying it dodged any obligations, and says instead that the representative for Harmonix’s shareholders, Walter Winshall, was offered agreements that included big payouts for the developer but “spurned” those, hoping for a bigger reward later. That reward never came, says Viacom, and Winchell is allegedly filing the lawsuit for not meeting his shareholders’ expectations.
However, the other allegation in the lawsuit against Viacom claims that it set up an agreement with EA on the ‘Rock Band’ brand that benefited its own interests rather than those of Harmonix. More as developments warrant…