The Future of Dance Central and Harmonix

Find out if Dance Central: Spotlight will be the last game in the series, and if it will remain an Xbox exclusive.

Dance Central was one of the premiere franchises that helped propel the Xbox 360 Kinect to a successful venture for Microsoft. With the launch of the Xbox One and the Kinect included in every box at launch, it was assumed Dance Central would be there right alongside to offer another useful application for the peripheral. After three successful Dance Central titles on the Xbox 360, it took almost a year following the launch of the Xbox One for fans to see Dance Central: Spotlight. Even then, it wasn’t exactly what fans had hoped for.

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With Harmonix now focused on Rock Band 4, fans of Dance Central have been wondering what, if anything, will come of the franchise. Ubisoft continues to release Just Dance games, even offering the ability to play the upcoming Just Dance 2016 without a motion peripheral. We spoke to Harmonix at E3 to find out what the company has in store for fans of Rock Band and Dance Central alike.

It’s hard to argue that Dance Central: Spotlight wasn’t the game Dance Central fans had hoped to see on the Xbox One. With the enhanced Kinect 2.0 the movement recognition was far superior to the original Kinect, but many of the dance routines were lackluster compared to what fans had grown accustomed to in the three previous titles.

To add flame to the fire, the game was released in an ala cart format, similar to what Double Helix and Microsoft did with Killer Instinct. For 10 dollars you get the base game, which includes 10 songs. You can then buy additional songs for $1.99 or in some cases you can buy bundles of songs for as much as 10 dollars. The piece meal format allows Dance Central players to pick and choose which songs they want, and any DLC from previous games that was ported over to Spotlight was available for those who had already purchased the songs, but to many it felt like they were getting the short end of the stick.

While Harmonix would not comment on sales of Dance Central: Spotlight, it was clear enough that the game did not meet expectations. At the very least, it seems unlikely we’ll be getting a sequel anytime soon, and new song additions to Spotlight have slowed down considerably since the game launched almost a year ago. Still, there is hope yet for fans of the series.

Harmonix was very clear about the fact that Microsoft does not own the Dance Central license. The game could appear on any platform in the future if Harmonix decides to continue the series. With Microsoft moving away from the Kinect and focusing on the HoloLens and VR technology, it seems as though Dance Central will have to either evolve, or change platforms. However, the PlayStation Eye isn’t a particularly popular peripheral either, so we may end up seeing Dance Central take some time off much like Rock Band and Guitar Hero have.

It’s unlikely fans will see another Dance Central anytime soon, but Harmonix will continue to support Spotlight, even if that support isn’t as robust as it was shortly after the game launched. The best way to tell Harmonix you want more Dance Central is to simply keep supporting the song releases in Spotlight. With all of the new technology on the horizon, it’s not impossible we’ll see another Dance Central, but right now the chances are slim.

In the meantime, check out our first look at Rockband 4 to see how the revisited music game is shaping up!

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Author

Bryan Dawson
Bryan Dawson has an extensive background in the gaming industry, having worked as a journalist for various publications for nearly 20 years and participating in a multitude of competitive fighting game events. He has authored over a dozen strategy guides for Prima Games, worked as a consultant on numerous gaming-related TV and web shows and was the Operations Manager for the fighting game division of the IGN Pro League.