MTV says 'Rock Band' flying off shelves

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NEW YORK -- Viacom's MTV Networks said Wednesday that copies of "Rock Band," its new music-based video game, have been "flying off the shelves" in the first week of sales.

"It's fantastic," Mika Salmi, head of digital at MTV, said at the Reuters Media Summit in New York. "Downloads are going great, Rockband.com is going great with people logging on and downloading stuff from there. It's got a lot of legs, we're in it for the long term."

So-called rhythm-based games have been one of the strongest new video game genres in the past year. Video game publisher Activision raised its outlook Tuesday after seeing strong retail sales of "Guitar Hero 3" in the month since its launch.

Activision said "Guitar Hero 3" generated $115 million in sales in its first week alone. NPD, a retail research company, estimated Activision shipped 1.4 million copies in six days.

"Rock Band" retails for about $170, versus $90 to $100 for "Guitar Hero 3" depending on the version.

"Rock Band" was launched to take advantage of MTV's music heritage as the network diversifies into other media. Executives told Reuters they are already in early-stage development to build on a Rock Band platform of services and games, and would look at other music-gaming genres.

"We have a lot of plans for the way it's going to keep rolling," MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath said.

She said "Rock Band" developer Harmonix, which MTV bought in September 2006, is already working on another music-themed game for MTV, but she declined to give details.
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