Rock Band 4 Is Being Published By Mad Catz. That Could Be Bad For Australians.

Rock Band 4 Announced For PS4, Xbox One

Let me take you back to a dark time. Before Australian video game prices began to relax. Back when paying $109.95 for a video game was the done thing. Rock Band 3 comes out. The Rock Band 3 pro-guitar? It cost $149.95 in the US. In Australia? $288. That's if you were lucky enough to find one.

Today Rock Band 4 was announced by Harmonix and there was much rejoicing. Rightly so. The time is right. The world is ready for a new Rock Band game. But Australia is not ready for Rock Band 4's new distributor: Mad Catz.

Back in the day, Rock Band the game was published by EA, the instruments? That was Mad Catz's responsibility and that was a source of constant consternation for Australians. Many believe it was the reason why the original Rock Band was delayed over one year in Australia. Many believe it was the reason why Rock Band 2 wasn't even officially released here. Why was everything so difficult? Mad Catz does not have local representation here in Australia. At all. Mad Catz products are distributed by a small company called Home Entertainment Suppliers (HES) and that company has traditionally found it difficult to keep up with Rock Band demand.

The fact that Mad Catz has been named by Harmonix as the published and distributor of Rock Band 4 could be bad news for Australians.

With Rock Band 3, for example, it was almost impossible for Australians to get their hands on the game's peripherals without importing. And even if Australians did manage to find a Rock Band Keyboard, we were expected to pay almost double the price for it compared to the US.

US Pricing (from Amazon)

Rock Band 3 Wireless Fender Mustang PRO-Guitar Controller: $149.99 Rock Band 3 Wireless Pro-Drum and Pro-Cymbals Kit: $129.99 Rock Band 3 Wireless Keyboard: $79.99

UK Pricing (from Game UK)

Rock Band 3 Wireless Fender Mustang PRO-Guitar Controller: £119.99 Rock Band 3 Wireless Pro-Drum and Pro-Cymbals Kit: £119.99 Rock Band 3 Wireless Keyboard: £69.99

Australian Pricing (From EB Games)

Rock Band 3 Wireless Fender Mustang PRO-Guitar Controller: $288 Rock Band 3 Wireless Pro-Drum and Pro-Cymbals Kit: $288 Rock Band 3 Wireless Keyboard: $138

Back then Sebastian Giompaolo, of HES, told us that Australians were being asked to pay more because they bought all their stock from Europe. That was also part of the reason why Australia was drastically under-supplied.

We could be wrong — Rock Band 4 could launch here in Australia without a hitch. But there has been a precedent set here: Rock Band has traditionally had troubled launches here in Australia as a result of Mad Catz's lack of local representation in this country.

My recommendation: if you have old Rock Band instruments gathering dust in a garage/cupboard somewhere, get ready to dust them off. You might have some difficulties getting your hands on new instruments when they game launches.


    Might be a good time to go through garage sales as well

      Just came from a recycling place the other day and I saw maybe 6 RB drum kits with guitars everywhere. They couldn't get rid of the things.

      I just sold all my 360 gear a few weeks ago.

    Oh dear.

    This is exactly what I had feared, and the experience from the original RB games almost turned me off the series completely.

    I'm interested in this as long as they don't completely botch the Australian release again. If it's another big shmozzle though, you can count me out.

      There is really no excuse this time though... If they are trying to get full legacy support of all other controllers, then they only need to release the game on Day 1 and can use existing controllers for the interim.

      If there are customers that want to buy the new instruments, then certainly have special orders via HES themselves and they can deal with it that way.

    I imported a full RB3 set from the US at launch to replace my aging stuff. Dollar was at parity at the time too so it was nice and cheap.

    I played with the Mustang pro and keytair maybe an hour a piece and went back to the regular guitar. I'm glad the series is returning to its more casual focus of RB2. Rocksmith exists for those who want it ;)

    Great local story/angle Mark - well done.

    One question though - I thought Mad Catz were only involved from RB3 - so they couldn't be the reason for the late release of RB1 and non-release of RB2?

    Ah well, at least there's a new Guitar Hero coming...

      Wait, really? There is? Please don't tell me you're wrongly getting my hopes up here.

        Hmm, on seeing the Kotaku UK article linked in the other RB article's comments, I'm not sure I'm as enthused.

      The only Guitar Hero games I liked were the Harmonix ones.

    Oh well, I'll just import like I did with Rock Band 2. Besides, I've got something like 180 songs I downloaded off the US PS store, so it makes more sense for me to import it.

    I hope Harmonix put up all the DLC like a week before the games release to give people time to re-download their DLC libraries.

    I bought the Guitar Hero 6 set (guitars, drums, mic etc) for $10 at Big W about 1.5 years ago! I haven't even opened it yet as I have so many other games to play!
    Let's wait and see how backwards compatible RB4 is.

      Pretty sure they said it will work with ALL previous DLC and ALL previous instruments.

    "Back when paying $109.95 for a video game was the done thing."

    Guess what. Thanks to the sh*thouse Australian dollar, those days are coming back with a vengeance!

      Here I was about to suggest buying from JB Hifi, and I see they also have MGS V listed at $110 (on current gen consoles)... :(

      Maybe Dick Smith will have a cheap preorder deal?

    They've recently added new DLC for rock band 3 and up until last week, it wasn't available for Australia (at least on PSN).

    So I'd suggest that we're most likely going to have a very similar experience with RB4.....

    It's a shame that we have to deal with a half assed commitment from this particular game developer.

      It all seems to be there on Xbox 360, although DLC for Xbox always seems less restrictive than on PS3.

      I also noticed that there's a new (free) RB3 song that was released yesterday. o.O
      I Still Believe by Frank Turner. Never even heard of it before.

      Last edited 06/03/15 11:02 am

        Will have to check tonight, I was referring to the new DLC for Arctic Monkeys & Foo Fighters.

          Since the "last" song (American Pie), shows:
          *Rebound - Laura Bell Bundy (24/7/14)
          *R U Mine? - Arctic Monkeys (13/1/15)
          *Something from Nothing - Foo Fighters (13/1/15)
          *Shepherd of Fire - Avenged Sevenfold (13/1/15)
          *Back to the Shack - Weezer (17/2/15)
          *Rise of the Fenix - Tenacious D (17/2/15)
          *I Still Believe - Frank Turner (5/3/15)

            Checked and its not available from the PSN for Australia it seems..... Anyone else verify?

        Is it the "I Still Believe" song from The Lost Boys?


      I've been thinking about that, cause I would like to have picked it up, but my theory for it is that the MS submission process is one and all.. once it's passed it goes on all marketplaces.

      On the Sony side, we know they have one for US and one for the EU side of things. Given the randomness of the release at the time, I think Harmonix maybe never submitted it to the EU side of things at the beginning, to save on costs and to test the market to see if it actually made any money.

      I'd imagine that when RB4 rolls around they will make sure things are smoother (well I hope so anyway).

    Firstly: fuck yeah, new Rock Band!

    Secondly: My plan is to wait and see what they end up achieving with instrument cross-gen compatibility. I've still got all my instruments for X360, but switched over to PS4 this gen. When/if the announcement comes out that PS3 instruments are compatible, it'll be time to hit Gumtree :)

    2nd hand instruments wont be a problem, it will be those wireless adaptors that will be hard to come by

    Thats just stupid! price aside though are these games any good since the stupid music licensing means you might be able to play 1 song after 2 years??

    Harmonix haven't yet confirmed that old hardware will be supported in RB4.

    I love my RB though so will suck up any import premiums.

      I think I read that they are ust trying to convince MS & Sony to allow them to make the controllers backwards compatible.

    asked to pay more because they bought all their stock from Europe.
    That's a rather poor excuse, since EVERYTHING has to be imported into Australia.

    I just recently purchased rockband 4 and imported a rockband 3 cymbal kit and it is compatible! So start buying people they obviously were wrong!

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