Activision pulls the plug on Guitar Hero franchise

By on February 10, 2011, 8:30 AM
It's a sad day for fake musicians everywhere: Activision Blizzard has announced that development of its Guitar Hero games has been discontinued and the business unit disbanded. The move comes amid a continued decline in sales for the music genre and follows Viacom's decision in November to sell its Rock Band video games unit.

The Guitar Hero series allowed musically inexperienced players to use a guitar-shaped game controller to simulate playing lead, bass guitar, and rhythm guitar across numerous rock music songs. It became a cultural phenomenon and has raked in more than $2 billion in sales from its various installments the past few years, but apparently there is only so much pretend guitar playing one can indulge in before the plot gets old and as a result the latest installment in the series, Warriors of Rock, sold fewer than 100,000 copies during its debut month last September.


Part of the reason is also increased competition from a new generation of games that don't need specialized controllers, especially those for the Sony PS3's Move and Microsoft Xbox 360's Kinect.

The announcement came during a conference call to disclose fourth-quarter results. The company reported a profit of $418 million in 2010 and a net loss of $233 million for the quarter ended December 31, but it still reported record-setting performance for Call of Duty: Black Ops and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.




User Comments: 17

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Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Oh noes, not Guitar Hero.

yRaz yRaz said:

Good thing I decided to pick up guitar years ago. Guitar hero was fun though, it was a great party game.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

Sad? I've heard complaints for years about how long Guitar Hero has been "drug out". They had a great run, and everyone involved in the franchise should be proud of their work. But the series just wasn't really moving forward in my opinion.So maybe it's time to go buy a real instrument?

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It's a shame. I love that game.

You can't beat showing your friends who's boss and who's the "Axe man".

aj_the_kidd said:

mattfrompa said:

They had a great run, and everyone involved in the franchise should be proud of their work. But the series just wasn't really moving forward in my opinion.

My sentiments exactly

Emin3nce said:

Well actually, i found the last installment was much better to play than the previous - with more responsive graphics on the track, and a better vocals system.

However, you're right - there's only so much kareoke guitar you can do before you need to evolve the genre... and no evolution happened. Shame really.

I mean, i play guitar as well as guitar hero. Guitar hero was good because friends who weren't real musicians could play along and compete etc - it gave me common ground at a party. Plus, i can't get my fingers to shine when i'm absolutely shitfaced, on guitar hero, i can

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well people weren't going to buy a whole new game every year just for a few new features and some tracks they liked and a whole buch of others they didn't - Activision should have just focused on DLC.

Guest said:

If they wanted to sell the last guitar hero they should of put beiber on the front of it. The Warriors of rock just looked like the early game they released which just had a crap load of bad songs that no one enjoyed playing to.

KG363 KG363 said:

It put out COD and WOW and had a net loss?

Emin3nce said:

WOW is getting worse too, i wouldn't expect a loss. I know most of the people that i knew that played it have quit lately.

Emin3nce said:

Emin3nce said:

WOW is getting worse too, i wouldn't expect a loss. I know most of the people that i knew that played it have quit lately.

Would* expect a loss.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Doesn't surprise me at all, they really only have themselves to blame too. Releasing dozens of GH titles to an already saturated market with little innovation just wasn't going to work. Their really is only so much one can do with the rhythm genre imo, and Rock Band had the right idea with focusing more on DLC then new releases.

What I find more interesting here is now Activision lost one of it's big three franchise names. Not like it was really contributing much as of late but still big imo considering that if they lost CoD/WoW they wont have much else. I guess a lot is riding on what Bungie is developing for them since outside of that I don't think they've announced anything new.

yRaz yRaz said:

What I think that sucks about guitar hero is it does have a HUGE fan base. As a fan of the series from the start, none of the newer games challenge the gamer. Songs like raining blood, metallica's one, Jordan, and through the fire and flames all challenge the gamer. every thing they have put out since GH3 has been easy as pie. A game needs to be hard for it to be fun.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

It's a shame. I love that game.

You can't beat showing your friends who's boss and who's the "Axe man".

Come on Benny! have a little class. Its not 'The Ax Man'...its' the Axemen' :p

Guest said:

WTF is it with haters and the go buy a real guitar bull. Some of us do not care to learn the the real thing and rather have fun playing the vidogame. I will miss getting a 12 pack of beer and jamming out to real music insted of spending years learing and mastering the real thing. Think on that for a bit.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

WTF is it with haters and the go buy a real guitar bull. Some of us do not care to learn the the real thing and rather have fun playing the vidogame. I will miss getting a 12 pack of beer and jamming out to real music insted of spending years learing and mastering the real thing. Think on that for a bit.

I got some slate for it from some "friends" myself...I just ignored them and told them to eat some power cord (which i don't think they liked me saying too much ).

Red1776 said:

Come on Benny! have a little class. Its not 'The Ax Man'...its' the Axemen'

"There can be only one!" -- Quote from the film The Highlander

mtbdude641 said:

i believe that its not necessarily that the franchise has died out but more of how many games they produced and how often sometimes you would see new guitar hero games coming out all the time and it was the same as the previous version just different setlist of songs to play

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