Activision ends Guitar Hero franchise

Activision ends Guitar Hero franchise

Activision has officially killed off the Guitar Hero franchise following a decline in popularity.

Activision has confirmed that it has officially killed off the Guitar Hero franchise as part of a series of culls and cancellations today.

According to an announcement, Activision blames a decline in in popularity of the music game genre for the cancellation of both the series as a whole and a planned title that was already in development.

'Due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing's Guitar Hero business unit and discontinue development on its Guitar Hero game for 2011,' says the official statement.

Lay-offs at Guitar Hero developer Vicarious Visions are rumoured, but not confirmed at the moment.

The move to cancel the series doesn't come as a big surprise, as Activision's Eric Hirshberg said last year that it was no secret that the genre was in decline following poor sales of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.

'It's no secret that not just Guitar Hero, but also Rock Band, and the music category in general, do not have the same mass appeal today that they did a few years ago,' said Hirschberg.

Check our review of the most recent game, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, for more information on the series, then let us know your thoughts in the forums.


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Jamie 10th February 2011, 10:33 Quote
Activision blames a decline in in popularity of the music game genre

They should be blaming themselves for flooding the market every 6 months with another spin off/rehash of the same rubbish game.

This is the best news I've heard all year.
Hamfunk 10th February 2011, 10:36 Quote
alastor 10th February 2011, 10:40 Quote
Any news on DJ Hero? That was actually good.

edit - that's gone too :(
proxess 10th February 2011, 10:48 Quote
Thank god.
eddtox 10th February 2011, 11:03 Quote
They milked it dry...
jsheff 10th February 2011, 11:17 Quote
Originally Posted by Jamie
They should be blaming themselves for flooding the market every 6 months with another spin off/rehash of the same rubbish game.

I for one enjoyed the Guitar Hero games. What I did not enjoy was being asked to spend £40 on a new title with little in the way of new features for only a handful of songs I'd like to play. The market is saturated. It's not that demand has fallen, it's that everyone who would want a music game has one and doesn't want to pay through the nose for more.

Just for reference, here is the list of Guitar Hero and Rock Band games released since 2005 (yes, it was only 5 years ago)

[2005] Guitar Hero
[2006] Guitar Hero II
[2007] Guitar Hero III
[2007] Rock Band
[2007] Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80s
[2008] Guitar Hero: World Tour
[2008] Rock Band 2
[2008] Guitar Hero: On Tour
[2008] Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades
[2008] Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
[2009] Guitar Hero 5
[2009] Guitar Hero Arcade
[2009] Rock Band Unplugged
[2009] Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits
[2009] Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
[2009] Guitar Hero: Metallica
[2009] Guitar Hero: Van Halen
[2009] The Beatles: Rock Band
[2009] Band Hero
[2009] DJ Hero
[2009] Lego Rock Band
[2010] Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock
[2010] Greenday: Rock Band
[2010] Rock Band 3
[2010] DJ Hero 2

That's 25 Games in 5 years (admittedly, I've included NDS/PSP titles, but I've excluded mobile or iOS titles) - an average of a new game every 2.4 months. Wonder why people are getting bored?

On a related note - When CoD LXIII comes out in two years time, will they begin to wonder why people aren't buying it?

EDIT: I just looked over the post - was 2009 year of the 'suck every last penny we possibly can from this genre'?
Hex 10th February 2011, 11:42 Quote
Originally Posted by Jamie
They should be blaming themselves for flooding the market every 6 months with another spin off/rehash of the same rubbish game.

This is the best news I've heard all year.
^This. I really loved GH & GHII. When the teams split up I got GHIII and could've cried. They sucked every ounce of fun out of it and made it a horrible experience. It was the last GH title I bought (I rented some of the others). Rock Band on the other hand has released about 1/3 of the titles and remained fun for me.
ledbythereaper 10th February 2011, 11:58 Quote
Guitar Hero: Metallica was the last one I bought, and the best one in my opinion. Rock Band is superior however, hopefully that franchise won't be canned aswell.
lacuna 10th February 2011, 12:13 Quote
Byron C 10th February 2011, 12:16 Quote
Yes the market has declined; it's declined to the point where they cannot compete with Harmonix & Rock Band.

Activision took the GH franchise in a totally different direction. It's still a beat-matching music game, but it's more about score-grinding and pulling of perfect note sequences. However Harmonix put their effort into making Rock Band fun to play - on your own, or with others. They toned the difficulty down a little - although still keeping it challenging - and beefed up the online/offline multiplayer aspect. Also unlike GH, they didn't try to cater to niche markets by releasing different games - they used DLC for that. Of course, there is the notable exception of The Beatles Rock Band, which deserves its own game, IMO.

They simply cannot compete with Rock Band any more, especially with the depth of the new "pro" modes/instruments. If you want just a simple and fun experience, then great. But if you want a little more depth, you have the option of the Pro instruments. Not only that, but the Pro instruments are *real* instruments: the keyboard has a MIDI interface and has a two octave range, the drum kit is practically a full electronic drum kit and also has a MIDI interface, and the as-yet-unreleased guitar is even better. It's a proper electric guitar - 25 frets, 6 strings, 1/4" jack, etc - that can still be used with the game or in its own right. It's not even as if it's a cheap electric guitar either; it's being made by Fender. Hell, you can even use your own keyboard or electronic drum kit with RB3; there are MIDI interfaces available to allow you to use "real" instruments with the game - again, fully supported by the game.

Harmonix have always been about the music; even back as far as Frequency/Amplitude (remember that on the PS2? ;)). Partnering with MTV was potentially one of the most savvy moves they've ever made.

EDIT: If I come across as a raving Harmonix fanboi, that's probably because I am - I make no apologies for that! ;)
battles_atlas 10th February 2011, 13:30 Quote
As above, Activision entirely killed it. Largely through far too many releases, but also by entirely losing site of the game's appeal. I really enjoyed GH World Tour as a party game. I bought GH 5 at Xmas, planning to play it with friends on New Year's Eve. It lasted for all of about 10minutes, during which time we got booed off every stage within thirty seconds, because someone or other wasn't playing note perfect. And this was on the easiest settings. Moronic game design.
Jake123456 10th February 2011, 15:10 Quote
Well, it was good whilst it lasted...
Flibblebot 10th February 2011, 15:31 Quote
What's ironic is that while they cite the "decline of the music genre", there's no mention of the fact that they single-handedly caused that decline themselves :(

Just goes to show that releasing rehash after rehash every few months is not a viable business model: eventually, even Joe Public will get sick of being force-fed crap.
Blademrk 10th February 2011, 17:10 Quote
It would have been better if they'd released the main game (World Tour was the last substantial update I think) and then all the other songs as DLC* - players could pick and choose which songs they want and not have to spend £30-£40 on a disc that contains >50% of content that they have no desire to play (see Dara's comments on GH/RB in the video in the "Gaming Death" article).

The band specific games (Green Day/Aerosmith/Metallica/Van Halen) were just the final nail in the coffin.
The market for Band specific titles is going to be a lot smaller than for a more generalised title and whereas I might be a fan of Metallica and Aerosmith I might not be a fan of Van Halen (not saying I'm not, in truth I've only ever really heard "Jump" and "Hot for Teacher") which would mean I wouldn't buy that version (especially since given the number of GH releases in the Time frame.

Actually I did enjoy the Metallica one, but felt that some of the songs in it that weren't Metallica should have been ("Turn the Page" for example), but then I bought the game for Metallica songs.

TLDR - Activision spoiled it by pushing too many releases in too short a space of time.

* The pricing of DLC tracks is another matter, currently I think they are a bit too high for single tracks which again will put most players off impulse purchases of tracks)
Fizzban 10th February 2011, 21:50 Quote
Good. Now if someone could just end Activision..
outlawaol 11th February 2011, 06:04 Quote
Rock Band is better IMO. I spent very litte on the series, getting my guitar second hand and game.

I hope Rock Band sticks around for awhile tbh.
The_Beast 11th February 2011, 06:37 Quote
Meh, most of those guitar hero's I've never even heard of
Journeyer 11th February 2011, 07:18 Quote
I enjoyed most of the GH titles, though I must say that GH 5 and Aerosmith were rubbish. However, that is motsly due to the fact that I don't like Aerosmith, and GH 5 was unintersting and seemed to be riddled with bugs. I've only played it once. I have logged most playing time in GH 3 and World Tour, and have to add that GH 3 is the game that gave the missus tendonitis...
ssj12 11th February 2011, 07:28 Quote
why not compare RB releases vs GH releases. If you notice one company milked the market dry.
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