Bruckheimer Games left in limbo as Viacom exits video-game business
Viacom Inc.'s decision to sell Rock Band development studio Harmonix could be bad news for one of Hollywood's biggest producers.
While Rock Band has been the primary business for Viacom's MTV Games business so far, the division nearly three years ago signed a deal to publish games made under the aegis of Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "CSI."
Bruckheimer Games, which is co-owned by the producer and MTV, was slow to get off the ground, but in 2009 Jay Cohen, a former senior vice president of French game publisher Ubisoft, was brought on as president of development.
On a conference call with Wall Street analysts Thursday, Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman not only said his company would sell Harmonix, but that "The console game business requires an expertise and scale that we don't have."
Among the several titles in production at Bruckheimer Games are ones for consoles, such as Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's Playstation 3.
It's now unclear whether Bruckheimer Games will find a way to complete its deal with MTV, sign a deal with a new publishing partner, or have to end its efforts. People familiar with the matter said the company is currently assessing its options.
An MTV spokesman declined to comment, and Bruckheimer could not be reached for comment.
Photo: Jerry Bruckheimer. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.