Activision Kills "Guitar Hero" Dead

Activision Kills "Guitar Hero" Dead
R.I.P., Star Power and carpal tunnel syndrome. Bobby Kotick & co. have pulled the plug on the (once-)immensely popular Guitar Hero series. The entire business unit responsible for pumping out the rhythm games has been disbanded. Also cut was the well-received DJ Hero franchise and the in-development True Crime: Hong Kong. Overall, Activision cut 7 percent of its staff, which amounts to around 500 employees.

Despite the company doing extremely well in 2010 with $4.45 billion in revenue, these moves aren’t surprising.  The music genre has been rapidly declining over the last year or so, and making these games costs a lot in peripheral development and royalty fees to the musicians. The music game fad rocketed these titles to the top of the sales charts, and companies responded by pumping out titles at record pace (record! zing!). The result was an oversaturated market of carbon copies all clamoring for the same slice of the pie. 

True Crime: Hong Kong was given the axe for different reasons. "Even our most optimistic internal projections show that continued investment is not going to lead to a title at or near the top of the competitive open-world genre," said Activision's statement. "In an industry where only the best games in each category are flourishing, to be blunt, it just wasn't going to be good enough." It’s easy to point fingers at a profit giant like Activision and cry foul; layoffs and their aftermath are real and extremely unfortunate. However, can we expect a company to continue with projects that aren’t forecast to be profitable or up to snuff from a quality standpoint? It’s not all bad news, thankfully, as Activision also launched a new company called Beachhead whose focus will be designing a “digital platform” for the Call of Duty series. No further details have been revealed at this time. So, to sum up: Guitar Hero, DJ Hero, True Crime: Hong Kong = dead.  New company = Call of Duty digital platform. Kotick's been expressing his desire for a subscription-based multiplayer model for CoD—could this mean the time has come? [via CVG]

Tags: activision, guitar-hero
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