Rock Band 4 will not be on PC. That’s more of a surprise now than it was a few years ago, as many previously console-focused games are making their way to PC thanks to steady distribution platforms and the widespread adoption of a few standard controllers. With Steam Machines on the way, a few fans had hoped the series might make the jump, but in an interview with Eurogamer, Harmonix’s Daniel Sussman explained why their music game won’t.
Part of it is a matter of audience: “The library is not there on PC,” he said. “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 PC.”
More logistically, though, is the complicated matter of licensing, piracy, and closed systems.
Simply put, the Xbox and PlayStation networks and systems are closed loops.
“There’s something comforting about the closed network that comes with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One,” Sussman said. “That’s important to our partners in the music industry.”
While people do usually find ways to pirate games on those systems if they really want to, it takes a lot of work and puts expensive hardware at risk. It’s not appealing and isn’t as widespread. On PC, modding isn’t nearly as much of a risk, as it’s purely a matter of software. Modding Rock Band 4 to accept non-licensed tracks or pirated tracks could put the licensing deals so crucial to Rock Band‘s survival at risk.
With that said, Sussman said that this is not an “unsolvable problem,” and that they’d be crazy to ignore the market for the game if they find it exists.
Rock Band 4 is set to release this fall for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.