I've always gotten the music video game Guitar Hero confused with Rock Band, and that may have ultimately been one of the nails in the Hero series coffin. No, not my specific inability to tell one game from another, but market oversaturation.
Activision/Blizzard today announced it is dropping the Guitar Hero franchise, with no game forthcoming for 2011 and its business unit to be disbanded. The company cited "continued declines in the music genre" and said they were instead going to focus on "the greatest opportunities that the company currently has to create the world's best interactive entertainment experiences."
IE, cash-cow franchises like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.
Activision has long been criticized for milking the Hero brand by issuing several game releases with minimal, and some say mediocre, changes. Special editions of the game like Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, Metallica, and Van Halen may have contributed to genre fatigue and declining profits.
Once one of the most valuable and recognizable brands in gaming, some say the writing has long been on the wall for Guitar Hero. In 2009, an analyst with Lazard Capital Markets said of the series, “At this stage in the lifecycle of ‘Guitar Hero,’ they need to be innovative and create new experiences for fans.”
"Change features to the gameplay, improve it, or at least try," begged one fan on CheapAssGamer.com.
Sounds like Activision decided to cut their losses instead.
Do you think the Guitar Hero makers killed their own franchise? Or are there only so many plastic-guitar games people are willing to play?
Image via Amazon