There's no PC version of Rock Band 4. Harmonix explains why

"There are a few reasons…"

UPDATE: Harmonix has been in touch to expand on Daniel Sussman's comments on piracy. Here's a statement:

We're not concerned about software piracy on PC. We have and will release games for PC. In fact, last year we released A City Sleeps for PC, Mac, and Linux. As Daniel stated, the security in question is related to licensed music in the game. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have robust functionality in that area. It's added security that's handled by the platform holders.

In the case of more open platforms like PC, we're responsible for that. It's something we can build. It's not off the table for the future, however we're first focusing on delivering Rock Band 4 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this holiday.

ORIGINAL STORY: Harmonix isn't making a PC version of Rock Band 4. That may come as no surprise to you, given the series' legacy on consoles. But amid the impending launch of Valve's Steam Machines, all of which target the living room, some PC gamers had hoped for a PC version of the music game this time around.

Daniel Sussman, who has worked at Harmonix since 2001 on everything from FreQuency to The Beatles: Rock Band, told Eurogamer the decision to skip PC was in part about a perceived lack of an audience for the game on the platform.

"There are a few reasons," Sussman said when we brought up the subject of PC and Rock Band 4 during our recent interview.

"One has to do with the fact the library is not there on PC. The library is there on Xbox and PlayStation. So, for players who want it on PC, really you're looking at a new audience that hasn't played before, and I don't know to what degree there is an audience for new players who have never played Rock Band before on the PC. That's one piece of it."

There's more to it than that, of course. Harmonix has a concern that releasing Rock Band 4 on PC would spark all sorts of piracy issues - and for a game that depends on its strong relationship with music rights holders, it's perhaps not worth the risk.

"The other piece is all the security issues, to be perfectly frank," Sussman admitted. "There's something comforting about the closed network that comes along with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. That's important to our partners in the music industry. Not to say that's an unsolvable problem."

Despite all this, Rock Band 4 may one day come out on PC. Harmonix intends to keep an eye on the market to see if it's worth porting the game across.

"To me, it's an interesting conversation to have in the context of the tale of Rock Band," Sussman continued. "As we start to think about Rock Band 4 and how we build out from this platform, part of that is content and features, another part of that is platforms. If we determine there is a market for PC, then we'd be crazy to ignore it."

The question comes up because we're seeing living room-focused PCs come to the fore. We've got Steam Machines coming that are designed to be plugged into your telly in the space where you'd traditionally have consoles.

So, you'd think, PC is now a more suitable platform for the Rock Band experience. Or at least it will be soon.

"I think that is a big thing and we're still waiting for that to be more than a thing we think is coming," Sussman countered. "But for it to be a thing that is absolutely there before we go that way."

So there you have it. Rock Band 4, due out this Christmas, is for PS4 and Xbox One only for now. PC gamers may have to wait. But at least we know why.

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Editor  |  wyp100

Wesley is Eurogamer's editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.


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