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Speak of the Exports! Let’s Shed Some Light

We’d have to be asleep under a rock to not hear talk about exports in the Rock Band 4 community recently. We know that across Xbox, Sony America, and Sony Europe, everyone’s waiting for something different in regards to exports, track packs, and remaining DLC content, so let’s take some time to clear up what we can.

Let me start by saying that we’re sorry for the mixed messaging to our Sony America players last week. We had every intention of getting both the Rock Band 2 and LEGO Rock Band exports live for PS4 players in America by the end of last week. After a series of unexpected snags on both the Sony and Harmonix front, we weren’t able to make that happen. For that, we apologize.

Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) is a great partner who has done everything in their power to make this content available for users with previously purchased DLC entitlements. It wasn’t anyone in particular’s fault that this happened. Both our first-party partners and Harmonix are dealing with entitlements to products that are sometimes well over five years old. That’s a long time as far as video games and evolving technology goes! The process to map existing products to users in the present day is relatively uncharted territory for everyone involved, Harmonix included. The Rock Band series is well-known for having the absolute highest quantity of DLC available for any game. Ever. We are the only game, and therefore the only company, that needs this kind of dedicated support on all sides. Our partners at both Sony and Microsoft have been incredibly helpful in the process, and we would never have been able to accomplish everything we’ve done so far for supporting entitlements without them to date.

So, what happened? For one, expectations from both the community and Harmonix weren’t met. As I said, Harmonix had every reason to believe the Rock Band 2 and LEGO Rock Band exports would be available by the end of last week. The Community team at Harmonix tweeted that the Rock Band 2 export would not be available for re-download on February 25th, while also letting you know that both the Rock Band 2 and LEGO Rock Band export would be coming the week following (last week). Before talking about this publicly, we confirmed internally and with our partners at Sony that this was accurate information. At the time we announced it, it was. One week rolled by and we encountered some unforeseen issues with these exports. As some of you probably noticed last week, the LEGO Rock Band export didn’t release as it was supposed to. We immediately started diagnosing, with the help of Sony, to assess the situation and found issues related to the content not appearing as intended. It was unlikely that these exports would be available by the end of the week, and we wanted to let our community know, which we did late last Friday.

To give you some background, here’s a brief flow of the DLC and entitlement process:

  • Step One: Assess the situation. Determine if it is possible to map legacy entitlements to new products.
  • Step Two: Re-submit new versions of ALL new content. Every single piece of content gets re-uploaded by hand. All content submissions, new or old, by any game or publisher, are uploaded by hand. This includes the hard code of the content as well as any associated metadata (title, descriptions, price, etc.)
  • Step Three: Harmonix and first-party review the content and the mapping of these entitlements. This requires an enormous engineering effort on store operations teams.
  • Step Four: Content releases in the marketplace.

Disclaimer: There is more to this process than what we listed. We’re under an NDA with our partners, so we can’t expose any more information than this.

Here’s what doesn’t work to get DLC and entitlements in-game:

  • Copy/pasting the same process for other legacy content.
  • Switching the submissions “off” or “on”.
  • Praying/begging to Sony or Microsoft.
  • Blowing in the cartridge.
  • Turning it off and on again.
  • Yelling at the computer screen (we wish this would work, though).

Harmonix is just a bunch of human beings. Whether you think we do or not, we care about what you say, and we hate to see everyone feel let down and frustrated at the lack of export availability and the continued delays. We read forum threads and tweets and Reddit posts and Facebook comments all day long and wish we could wave a magic wand and make exports ‘just work,’ but unfortunately…we can’t. We also can’t go back and change the way that things were talked about in the past, or deadlines that we’ve missed.

Here’s what we can do: We’re going to move forward and work to avoid further possible issues as much as we can. We’ve evaluated the effects of our efforts from the past few weeks and have decided to “go back to the drawing board” with our partners at Sony and Microsoft to get legacy content released or fixed as soon as possible. Moving forward, we hope to come to a point where both Harmonix and first party are moving forward together, and we believe the changes we have planned will make that happen. We’ll be altering our process to ensure things like this don’t happen again. We hope to bring content to you on a regularly scheduled basis. This also means that until we have that schedule in place, we’re not ready to lock down target dates until we’re sure we won’t be breaking them.

If you’re more a bullet point kind of person, here’s what we’re going to do:

  • Go “back to the drawing board” and work on a better plan for releasing all unreleased or broken content.
  • Re-address the “intended user flow” given the most recent technological advancements.
  • Continue creating a stable environment in-house to test live content.
  • Continue constant communication with first-party partners to support everyone on a sustainable and regular schedule.
  • One thing we won’t be doing is providing any dates in advance until we’re 100% sure that we’ll be able to hit them.

We talked about a lot of SCEA specifics above, so what about Xbox and SCEE?

Microsoft, just like both Sony America and Sony Europe, are supportive partners in our DLC, exports, and expired content process. From day one until today they’ve been by our side, making the seemingly impossible task of carrying over thousands of pieces of content a reality. Both Harmonix and Microsoft are aware of issues that are existing for users who have previously owned the AC/DC Track Pack and Rock Band 2 20 Bonus songs. We are continuing to work together on the issue, looking into possible solutions that work for everyone. We have no further update to give at this time. We hope to have more news on this shortly, and will keep everyone updated on Twitter, Facebook, and the Forums.

The situation for PlayStation®4 players in Europe is similar to those in America. The reality is that we have nothing more to announce other than your rightfully entitled content is (still) coming. We’re working with Sony Europe as closely as possible to ensure that this content makes its way to you, but as mentioned above, it’s not as easy as pressing a button. When we have more to say, rest assured that you’ll hear about it across as many Rock Band channels as possible.

In an effort to clarify one major note to our users: ALL rightfully entitled legacy content is still on the way. This includes exports, remaining Track Packs, expired or de-listed content, promotional content, and any current issues with live DLC. We have not pivoted resources internally due to any recent announces in the Rock Band world (including our Fig campaign to bring Rock Band 4 to PC), and have no intentions of doing so. The Rock Band 4 DLC team here at Harmonix has one goal in mind – to get you all the content you’ve ever had, in Rock Band 4, as soon as possible. We have never stopped working on this since the day Rock Band 4 launched.

Seriously, thank you for your continued support of Rock Band 4. The Rock Band 4 team, as well as the Community team, hope to put any legacy issues behind us as soon as possible and get everyone rocking with their fully functional libraries. If you’d like to tell us your thoughts on this subject, or any others, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. We gladly accept any feedback or response to the information above.


The Community Team

P.S. If you read that whole thing, you deserve some cat gifs.

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