Video game publisher Activision is bringing back ‘Guitar Hero’ after five years of not releasing anything from the franchise. Market saturation caused the company to stop releasing the popular games of the franchise five years ago. Will it be as good as the first versions?
Activision Publishing, a division of Activision Blizzard, hopes gamers will give some attention to the upcoming Guitar Hero Live, which is the first new game in the $3 billion franchise in five years.
Bhatia predicts the new Guitar Hero game will sell one to two million copies around the world this fall. Peter Warman, CEO of Newzoo, believes the comeback of the music video game will bring over $100 million globally with Activision’s music game accounting for 75 percent of the market.
Guitar Hero surprised in the music game genre in 2005, which reached its best point in 2008 with sales of $1.7 billion. Two years later music game sales dropped down to $900 million and accounted for less than $300 million the following year. By 2011, both Guitar Hero and Rock Band were done releasing games.
“Guitar Hero and Rock Band saturated the market and sold consumers too much, too quickly,” Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities, says. “The fact is that the games were packed with 85 songs each, and that was more than a year’s worth for most people. There was just no reason to buy the games every year.”
Fans Want It Back
According to Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Guitar Hero Live, which has taken around four years to develop, is the result of a lot of creative experimentation. Activision did not plan to release the game this year, but it looks like they will anyways.
“Having 10 million Facebook fans after not having a game in the market for five years is remarkable, so the brand is strong,” Hirshberg says. “We knew we had that going for us, but we also knew that reinventing this thing was really important. We needed to create something that no one could say, ‘been there, done that,’ and that even the most hardened cynic would think looks fresh.”
“Part of what you’re seeing from what we learned with the previous Guitar Hero games is reflected in Guitar Hero TV, which allows us to bring new music to people through this living, breathing 24-hour music network,” Hirshberg says. “Before music was tied to new discs, and now we can continually keep the game fresh without requiring gamers to buy a new game every time.”
Tablets and Smartphones
The game, which will be released later this year, will go against Rock Bad 4, a longtime rival. While the new Rock Band will be released exclusively for the new consoles, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Activision is releasing Guitar Hero on PS4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360. That’s not all, it is also coming to smartphones and tablets.
The mobile version of the game, a first for the franchise, will join the many users of phones and tablets who don’t have games like this. Pachter believes people will play Guitar Hero Live with a tablet or smartphone connected to a TV. But they know the majority will play on a console.
Sequel In 2 Years?
With the major improvements and playable songs at launch with more digital content coming after release, Pachter says Activision learned that consumers won’t and don’t need to buy a new version every year. He believes if this Guitar Hero game does good in the market, a sequel won’t be released for two years.
Things have changed since the last Guitar Hero was release, but the interest of being a rock star is still there. Will the games be successful as they once were?