Many experts and analysts believe Activision ran Guitar Hero into the ground due to immense over-saturation of the market. Numerous spin-offs, pricey bundles; it all got to be too much, and the bottom fell out of the music/rhythm genre.
In only about a year, the genre went from being worth billions to being worth only a few hundred million and as a result, we haven't seen a new Guitar Hero or Rock Band in quite some time (with the exception of the no-plastic-instruments-needed Rock Band Blitz ). It could happen to any franchise, really. But not Skylanders , Activision says; there's just no comparing the two IPs.
UK managing director Roy Stackhouse told MCV that Skylanders is "certainly not another Guitar Hero ." He says the two franchises have "completely different target markets" and there really is no comparison. Stackhouse went on to say that the retail-driven Skylanders franchise is a "creative goldmine" and the possibilities are limitless:
"As long as the innovation continues to be as great as it is, then I don't see it having a limited shelf life. The reason I say that is because if you think about the possibilities in this category, what has been achieved with Swap Force and its innovation, and the endless possibilities in terms of the Skylanders universe. This must be a creative goldmine to work on because a child's imagination is one of the most fertile in the world, and if you can tap into that then there is endless opportunity for innovation."
Well, it was a brilliant idea. Rather than including a bunch of unlockable characters in the game, create little physical figures of those characters, sell them at a huge profit at retail, have each figurine represent a new playable character, convince kids they're worth collecting, make about a zillion of 'em, and boom…another billion-dollar IP.