Guitar Hero Booed off the Stage

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Guitar Hero has been strumming klunkers for quite a few financial quarters, and the publisher, Activision, has booed it off the stage. As mentioned in Rolling Stone, the game may live on in mobile or social formats, but not in its current form.

According to News Quest Online and The Huffington Post that also means that 500 people who worked on the product are losing their jobs.

Erin Broadley commented in Was the Death of Guitar Hero Inevitable? Slash, Star of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Answers Here

Our inner 13-year-old boy cried yesterday when news broke via Rolling Stone that video game company Activision was officially pulling the plug on popular music game franchise, Guitar Hero. The game that made plastic kiddie guitars cool and launched millions of virtual rock star dreams was declared dead.

My inner 13-year-old boy is crying too. I spent many an afternoon trying to make it all the way through a song with one of my granddaughters beside me hitting every note on her plastic guitar. Even though I was awful and they were masterful, it was fun. Both my granddaughters grew out of the Guitar Hero stage. Apparently there weren’t enough young people coming up behind them getting hooked on the game, because it started losing money for Activision a couple of years ago.

It isn’t all music genre games, as Activision tried to hint. Terri Hemmert, in Guitar Hero R.I.P. reports that

Harmonix is doing well with the competing Rock Band line. If you have Beatles Rock Band at home, you’re not alone. Big seller. And look for future Rock Band games this year with Johnny Cash and Bob Marley and the Wailers. Doesn’t get much cooler than that.

Laura June says, “At least we still have Rock Band, right?” as well, in Activision kills Guitar Hero division to the consternation of fake musicians everywhere.

How did this happen?

On TechCrunch, Nicholas Deleon had a snarky theory in Guitar Hero Didn’t Die A Natural Death, But Was Killed By Myopic Greed.

And what could possibly be the reason for that, hmm? Maybe releasing sequel after sequels after sequel in such a quick succession that you don’t give gamers any room to breathe? Gotta maximize short-term profits! The future? That’s someone else’s problem.

Eurogamer took a more in-depth look at the failure in Why Guitar Hero Died. A few quotes:

In 2009 Activision released five separate SKUs of Guitar Hero and the brand essentially lost its relevance.

. . . the fact gamers could play new Guitar Hero games with the peripherals they already owned proved to be the killer blow.

. . . music related games are becoming increasingly risky investments . . .

During the same time, the incidence of active gamers who like to play shooter games ‘a lot’ has increased from 40 per cent to 47 per cent, with Call of Duty leading the charge.

In the Huffington Post article, Guitar Hero Over: Iconic Video Games Gets the Ax, the theory of the failure was

These days, guns are more popular than guitars, at least when it comes to video games.

If my video game playing family members are any indication of a social trend, then the shoot-em-up theory is right. My former Guitar Hero fanatic is now shooting everything in sight in endless iterations of Halo, a game that seems to have killing things as its only objective.

Did Guitar Hero pass in and out of your life, only to become a box of plastic guitars and drum sticks in a closet somewhere, or do you still rock out to Barracuda on a frequent basis? Will you miss Guitar Hero?

Cross posted at BlogHer.

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