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Rock Band 4 not coming to PC due to security and audience concerns (update)

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Rock Band 4 is in development on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but not on Windows PC, and there are two main reasons for the lack of a PC version, developer Harmonix told Eurogamer in a recent interview.

The first point is that none of the previous entries in the Rock Band franchise have been released on PC. That fact makes Harmonix skeptical of the potential audience for a PC version, according to Rock Band 4 project manager Daniel Sussman.

"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," Sussman told Eurogamer.

Regarding the rise of Steam Machines and other computers designed for living-room gaming, Sussman said Harmonix is in a wait-and-see mode about that trend. But keep the faith, PC gamers: Sussman added, "If we determine there is a market for PC, then we'd be crazy to ignore it."

However, regardless of whether there's an audience on PC, music security issues would be a huge concern for a game like Rock Band 4, what with Harmonix's complicated negotiations and licensing agreements with the music industry.

The "closed network" that the PS4 and Xbox One offer is "important to our partners in the music industry," said Sussman, though he noted, "Not to say that's an unsolvable problem."

Rock Band 4 is set for release later this year. For more, check out our preview from March.

Update: A Harmonix representative reached out to Polygon to clarify that piracy wouldn't be the issue with a prospective PC version of Rock Band 4, but security.

"We're not concerned about software piracy on PC," said the Harmonix rep. "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," the Harmonix spokesperson continued. "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."

We've edited our article to reflect this.

Rock Band 4: Behind the scenes with Harmonix

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