Over-saturation will get you every time.
Back in 2008, Guitar Hero was one of the biggest franchises in video game history and the music/rhythm genre overall was soaring. But as it turned out, the phenomenon turned into more of a fad, and multiple music-based games began to flood the market. Activision reveled in the $2 billion generated by Guitar Hero and tried to keep pushing but all good things have to end; the latest series entry, Warriors of Rock , sold under 100,000 copies during its debut month last September. This resulted in the end of developer RedOctane and designer Neversoft suffered a round of layoffs. And now, we may have the final nail in the coffin: according to the publisher's latest financial report , the Guitar Hero series is done. At least for now.
The report says that "the company will disband Activision Publishing's Guitar Hero business unit" and it seems a third DJ Hero is out of the question as well. Activision wouldn't say if they had plans to resurrect the once-proud franchise in the future but for the time being, the company just couldn't make Guitar Hero or DJ Hero profitable anymore, what with all the licensing fees and music royalties. They will continue to produce downloadable content for existing titles for the sake of the fans, but that's about where it ends. And the bad news doesn't end there.
The new True Crime , which we hadn't heard about in quite some time, has been canceled. True Crime: Hong Kong is no more; it was initially slated to hit the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC later this year. The reason? Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said the company is only interested in producing "top-tier games" in today's market and quite simply, True Crime wasn't a top-tier title. "To be blunt, it just wasn't going to be good enough," he said. The boss also confirmed they'd be holding off on more Tony Hawk installments, which isn't exactly surprising.
At the end of the day, all of this means 7% of Activision's workforce will disappear, which means around 500 people will lose their jobs. It's always unfortunate to hear this but with Call of Duty and World of Warcraft – the two biggest video games in the industry right now – Activision will be just fine. Those 500 poor souls won't be, but then again, they'll probably catch on elsewhere. …EA is going to get a lot of applications very soon.