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.

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