UPDATE: EA Selling Rock Band iOS Game for $5, Despite Looming Expiration Date
By Jared Newman
Electronic Arts is apparently looking to cement its “Worst Company in America” status by pulling the plug soon on Rock Band for iOS, a game that remains on sale for $5.
Owners of the popular music game report getting a notification on the title screen with the following message: “Dear Rockers, On May 31, ROCK BAND will no longer be playable on your device. Thanks for rocking out with us!”
UPDATE: EA now (5/3/2012) says this was all a mistake. Here’s a statement from the company: “Rock Band for iOS will remain live – the in-app message users received yesterday was sent in error. We apologize for the confusion this caused. We’re working to clarify the issue that caused the error and will share additional information as soon as possible.” Original story continues below.
The fan site RockBandAide, which first reported the shut down, speculates that the songs in the game were licensed for a specific period of time, and that the licensing agreement is about to run out. Another explanation might be that the game requires servers to operate, and EA wants to shut them down, as it routinely does for the multiplayer component of old console games.
Despite the game’s impending demise, EA continues to sell the iPhone version of Rock Band in the iOS App Store, with no indication that the product will soon be worthless. EA also sells a sequel, Rock Band Reloaded, but it’s not clear whether that game has a time limit.
Like its console counterparts, Rock Band for iOS lets players jam along to licensed songs from popular artists, but uses finger taps instead of plastic instruments to strum each note. The game originally cost $10 and included 30 songs, and EA sells more songs within the app for $1 each.
Owners of the game won’t be happy when they can no longer access the content they purchased. It certainly doesn’t look good for EA, which was recently voted “Worst Company in America” in a Consumerist poll — in large part because of outrage over the ending to Mass Effect 3.
On the bright side, customers will likely be able to get a refund if they take their complaints to Apple, one commenter at TouchArcade points out. The commenter reportedly spoke to an Apple support representative who was “genuinely surprised” by the situation. I guess the rep didn’t consider that digital, connected content can be taken away just as easily as it is given.