Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos Talks Rock Band 3, Entrepreneur Advice, and What’s Next for the Firm

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in RB3. Also, with the addition of the keyboard, plus 3-part vocal harmony, RB3 supports up to 7 simultaneous players, which is awesome fun in a party situation.

Second, there’s a massive new set of features under the label of “Rock Band Pro,” which collectively aim to bridge the gap between music simulation and real musicianship. There are Pro modes for all instruments, but the flagship is the Pro Guitar mode, wherein players can play the game using a real electric guitar. It still has all of the fun, accessibility, and addictiveness of a videogame, but as you spend time getting good at the game, you’re simultaneously developing skills on a real instrument. It really works, and it is awesome. Beyond that, there’s an incredible soundtrack, plus dozens upon dozens of improvements to every dimension of the Rock Band experience. It’s really a big leap forward for the franchise.

X: How does Rock Band 3 fit with the broader evolution of social and casual gaming?

AR: One of the cool features of RB3 is the number of ways that it interfaces with the outside world beyond the console. For example, through rockband.com, you can create custom set lists and issue challenges to your friends, and the results of those competitive challenges are then trackable on the site. Furthermore, we allow players to selectively broadcast their game accomplishments out to social networking services like Facebook and Twitter, which helps foster the competitive dynamics among friends.

X: How crucial to your business is the new game’s success, and what’s coming next?

AR: Rock Band is our kingpin franchise, so obviously its success is important to our business. Given how strong a product we believe it is, we’re pretty hopeful that the marketplace will embrace it.

At the same time, we also have a brand new game coming to market this fall, Dance Central, and we’re extremely optimistic about its prospects for success; it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Of course … Next Page »

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