When Guitar Hero launched in 2005, the gaming industry was literally blown away by the simple, yet engaging concept. Musical video games never really placed gamers into the shoes of a rock-star like Guitar Hero was able to achieve. Recently, there was news that the franchise was coming to an end, but, according to a recent article by GamesIndustry.biz, Activision vice president of operations Dan Winters said Guitar Hero is not ending, rather taking some time off.
This is major news for fans of the franchise, considering just a few years ago, the games generated hundreds of millions of dollars for the company. However, like many great game titles, the novelty wore off and sales plummeted for Guitar Hero and spin-off Rock Band. In February, Activision announced the franchise would stop, due to overall sales for music games falling from $1.7 billion in 2008 to less than $300 million.
“Actually, just to clarify, we’re just putting Guitar Hero on hiatus, we’re not ending it,” Winters told GamesIndustry.biz. “We’re releasing products out of the vault – we’ll continue to sustain the channel, the brand won’t go away. We’re just not making a new one for next year, that’s all.”
It’s not as if fans completely dismissed the franchise completely, but simply adding new songs and artists to the same format time after time definitely wears thin. Activision appears to be learning from other gaming companies. With Marion, for example, Nintendo doesn’t simply rehash the same format for every Mario game. The company evolves the character on each console and continues the story. What makes game sequels thrilling for consumers is not the same story every time, but different entries into the series.
This is definitely the best action for the company to take for Guitar Hero. For hardcore fans, this is great news and for casual fans of the franchise, this is probably the best news. Now, instead of saturating the music market with sequels that are mostly the same, Acitivison can rework Guitar Hero and keep fans in suspense, bringing sales and gamers back to rock.