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Harmonix: People were waiting to buy RB3

Is that why Guitar Hero flopped?

Developer Harmonix reckons rival music game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock's dismal sales might have been down to gamers waiting to buy Rock Band 3.

Warriors of Rock sold just 86,000 copies in its first week in the US, across all formats. The figures represented a serious decline for the series.

It entered the UK all-formats chart at six when it launched last month. Eurogamer's Johnny Minkley awarded the game a solid 7/10.

Were music game fans holding out for Rock Band 3 – out today in the UK and the proud owner of a 10/10 review score from Eurogamer? Harmonix thinks there's a good chance.

"Who knows how the public at large will feel about the game?" project director Daniel Sussman told Eurogamer in an interview conducted last night.

"The early read is that a lot of people are waiting for our game and I hope that turns out to be true."

"I'm not an analyst," Sussman replied when asked why Guitar Hero flopped this year. "I know that as a game player I'm the type of gamer that would wait and spend my money on Rock Band 3. It's possible that sales of other games in the category are down because people are waiting to spend their money on Rock Band 3. That's what I hope anyway!"

Sussman cited Rock Band 3's accessibility as another contributing factor to its potential success.

"Our studio is all about accessibility and from game to game we've put a lot of emphasis on respecting the casual player.

"We've played very close attention to that in respect to the keyboard and making sure that, whether you're playing on regular five lane keys or pro keys, it's accessible to people who don't have any Rock Band experience. The same with the pro guitar."

Earlier this year Harmonix talked down fears that the music genre is in terminal decline. CEO Alex Rigopulos claimed, "I absolutely do not believe that rhythm-action gaming has reached its peak."

Last night Sussman echoed his comments, saying, "There are ways to interact with music through videogames that have not been realised yet. Harmonix is pleased to be on the bleeding edge on innovation in that regard – there's all kinds of opportunities out there, and not just for Harmonix but other studios too."

Has Rock Band 3 saved the music game genre? It's too early to tell. We'll have to wait for October's sales data from the US – to be reported in the second week of November – and next week's UK all-formats chart, before casting judgement.