February 9, 2011

Guitar Hero — The Bands Breaking Up

Activi­sion Bliz­zard said   that it will be bring­ing the axe down on the “Gui­tar Hero” video game series.  This is quite sur­pris­ing news con­sid­er­ing how pop­u­lar the titles have been. 
Bliz­zard also men­tioned that it will be lay­ing off 7% of its staff includ­ing the “Gui­tar Hero” team among them. 
Bliz­zard stat­ed that “Due to con­tin­ued declines in the music genre, the com­pa­ny will dis­band Activi­sion Pub­lish­ing’s ‘Gui­tar Hero’ busi­ness unit and dis­con­tin­ue devel­op­ment of (the game) for 2011,” Activi­sion said.  This announce­ment coin­cid­ed with the state­ment of it’s quar­ter­ly fis­cal results. 
They have reas­sured the mass­es how­ev­er that it remains ded­i­cat­ed to it’s ever­ly pop­u­lar Call of Duty fran­chise.  The Call of Duty fran­chise has seen more then a bil­lion dol­lars in sales and World of War­craft has more than 13 mil­lion sub­scribers.  These games are clear­ly their most pop­u­lar.  Appar­ent­ly the Gui­tar Hero fran­chise has lost it’s lus­ter after it debuted back in 2005. 
Activi­sion report­ed that it lost $233 mil­lion on net rev­enue of $1.43 bil­lion in the final three months of 2010. It fin­ished the year with a net prof­it of $418 mil­lion on annu­al net rev­enue of $4.45 bil­lion.
On a side note I don’t find this sur­pris­ing.  Activi­sion likes to milk fran­chis­es that make them a ton of mon­ey and they did just that  with the Gui­tar Hero fran­chise.  Launch­ing title after title every year.  Sim­i­lar to what they are cur­rent­ly doing with Call of Duty how­ev­er that fran­chise still sells like wild­fire.  It will be inter­est­ing to see if the Call of Duty fran­chise can keep up it’s illus­tri­ous sales of if it too will even­tu­al­ly loose the appeal it once had.


  1. cYpher - February 9, 2011 10:28 pm

    Activi­sion is the “Yoko Ono” of the Gui­tar Hero indus­try.
    Plain and sim­ple. The come in cause a rift between Red Octane and Har­monix. Next thing you know, Har­monix is now off doing it’s own thing in “Rock Band” and suc­ceed­ing.
    I hope Har­monix can scoop up what’s left of this after­math and make some­thing of it!

  2. thsoundman - February 9, 2011 10:57 pm

    This tac­tic does­n’t suprise me. Activi­sion has start­ed mak­ing a habit of milk­ing franchines for every­thing they are worth and then when they have run them into the ground and stomped on them like a hoe until every dol­lar has been squeezed out they drop them like a hot pota­toe.
    This ties in with Activi­sion Quar­ter­ly report so this news does­n’t suprise me but I’m sure that they will do this with the COD fran­chise once it stops mak­ing them bil­lions. http://investor.activision.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=548900

  3. CharcoalCoyote - February 10, 2011 7:37 am

    I have two opin­ions on this. For one, it’s kin­da sad. Back in the gh2 days, I was a Gui­tar Hero fanat­ic. Gui­tar Hero is the rea­son I now play gui­tar. So, it’s kin­da sad to see it go. On the oth­er hand, it seems more or less like a mer­cy killing. It stopped mak­ing mon­ey because the games start­ed suck­ing. Title after title was just extra songs (which sucked) chun­ked togeth­er with a shit­load of adver­tis­ing and maybe some new gim­mick. They put so many out that I start­ed eager­ly await­ing the demise of the fran­chise. In all actu­al­i­ty, I think it’s time for music games to step down. They’ve had their time in the spot­light, but now they’re EVERYWHERE, and 99% of them suck. I haven’t played Rock Band 3, so I don’t know about it. It seems a tad gim­micky, but we’ll see.

  4. cYpher - February 10, 2011 7:26 pm

    True to a cer­tain point CC. Keep in mind — some of that adver­tis­ing brings in $$ to help with devel­op­ment costs. But I believe that there was so much more that could have been done. While I under­stand that cer­tain things for DLC, Activi­sion is as bad as (if not worse than) EA now. Also — I think the mix-mash of songs and for­mats made it bor­ing and un-inter­est­ing for some (includ­ing me.) They should made more genre spe­cif­ic ver­sions like they did with GH:80’s…
    But no mat­ter now, I just it’s just Rock Band from now on!

  5. ScrotusKilmystr - February 11, 2011 7:12 am

    It’s a shame to see any series be run into the ground but I think activi­sion did­n’t have any…well “vision”! I’m all for accor­dion hero or Lute hero maybe even spoons hero and ban­jo hero!!!!


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