EA boss sees a future for music genre

Plus, clarifies Harmonix buy-out comments.

Rock Band 3 distributor EA doesn't believe the music genre is dead in the water, despite key franchises seeing dismal sales this year.

CEO John Riccitiello told Kotaku, "I think the music genre is going to recover. I don't know exactly how. It could be based on some new innovation. Maybe it all becomes dance-based."

The likes of Ubisoft's Just Dance 2 on Wii and MTV Games' Dance Central on Xbox 360 have certainly fared much better than more traditional music games of late.

Rock Band 3 only managed to sell 7386 units in its first week on sale in the UK, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock bombed in the US and DJ Hero 2 failed to break into the UK top 20.

EA isn't the only publisher confident that the rot can be stopped. Guitar Hero custodian Activision recently announced that the franchise would be returning in 2011.

Riccitiello also clarified comments he made earlier this week where he described a potential buy-out of struggling Rock Band 3 developer Harmonix as like trying to "catch a falling knife."

Fearing he might have caused unintentional offense over at Harmonix, Riccitiello further explained his stance.

"When asked about it yesterday, what I said was Alex [Rigopulos, co-founder of the studio] is a great developer, Harmonix is one of the great developers of all time.

"They've got the leading dance product and maybe the leading game full stop on Kinect and the question was what investors might be thinking about it. [I said] the nervous investor would be worried about the decline in the music sector feeling like a falling knife.

"The only part of that conversation that got reported was the 'falling knife' part," he continued. "Given the run up to it it's a little bit unfair condemnation of people I have a great deal of respect for.

"Harmonix is at least as responsible as any company on earth for the creation of a genre. There aren't that many times you can point to that level of innovation."

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Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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