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.

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kevinater321
kevinater321
9 years ago

I'm glad that the guitar hero franchise is finally dead, but i worry for the developers that have used that franchise as a staple for the past decade or so. If you are a beginning game dev and go into guitar hero and only work on that same game over and over for a decade you probably don't have much skill when it comes to developing other genres. Good luck to the poor guys anyway.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

And good luck to Infinity Ward and Treyarch when the over-saturation kills CoD.

matt99
matt99
9 years ago

This was inevitable, I mean guitar hero was fun for a bit but newer iterations didn't really expand on the original besides offering new songs which really is best done through DLC. Still, too bad for those who got laid off.

Bugzbunny109
Bugzbunny109
9 years ago

They have apparently milked this one dry. Instead of trying to bring something original or improve the series, they want to shut it down and fire 500 employees. That's Antivison for you. Call of Duty will be next if people finally come to their senses. I wonder what they will try to milk after COD…..


Last edited by Bugzbunny109 on 2/9/2011 9:53:10 PM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Ummm. Errr. Uhhh. Prototype? lol

natho86
natho86
9 years ago

All good things come to a end…. Call of duty?

Alienange
Alienange
9 years ago

They barely ever changed a thing in it. Just more music all the time. It might as well be just some dlc for the plastic axes we already have.

On the bright side, maybe now it'll be easier to see the other games in the bargain bins.

The Doom
The Doom
9 years ago

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT TRUE CRIME!!!!!

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Yayyy! Activision squeezed all the money they could out of that piece of crap. But I heard they opened up aNOTHER studio to make more CoD. So, like, that's gonna be next to die right?

Edit: What the hell is True Crime?


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 2/9/2011 10:19:13 PM

Bugzbunny109
Bugzbunny109
9 years ago

True Crime was a really good shooter that came out for PS2 and Xbox. I do not really remember the plot; but I think it involves a cop trying to get revenge on mobsters. You should check it out. According to Activision, the game is not "top-teir" enough lol. Its funny because very few of their games have exceptional quality, let alone "top-teir" quality.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Activision has Nazi like control over their devs, so if the game isn't Top Tier then that's their fault and by axing it with that excuse they seem to be saying they aren't capable of putting out Top-tier games. That is a sentiment with which I can agree 🙂

PorkChopGamer
PorkChopGamer
9 years ago

True Crime had 2 games set in LA and New York. Both were good, especially, New York. Went around busting crimes from rockers trashing a hotel room to kidnappings. You could frisk anyone on the street but if you abused your power( killing or beating too many innocents) too much you would get busted to a beat cop helping get cats out of trees and helping old ladies cross the street. Good fun.

For overall game quality, Activision had a pretty great year last year. Nothing super crazy awesome but just consistently good stuff and I'm happy with that. Sad to see some of these people lose their jobs…


Last edited by PorkChopGamer on 2/9/2011 11:30:10 PM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Yes it is sad to see people cut loose who did nothing wrong.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

The CoD craze will have to recede eventually.

If Bungie's new game does turn out to be another FPS and Freespawn's turns out to be one as well, plus, this special "un-announced" FPS makes a showing, that's a whole lot of FPS to go around. How much FPS can twitchy take? =p

rogers71
rogers71
9 years ago

All the people that lost their jobs will be moved over to help with the next Call of Duty. It should be interesting. Call Of Duty: Modern Rock

You will use your plastic axe to hit notes and take down the taliban one riff at a time. You people laugh but it could happen……couldn't it? 🙂

556pineapple
556pineapple
9 years ago

Guitar Hero died as soon as Bobby boy got his grubby little paws on it. Just look at Rock Band 3, and you can see that Harmonix is a company that is very passionate about the music itself, and wants to bring it to people in new ways. They're even trying to get people to learn instruments with the game! Activision just throws together a new setlist, makes some graphical overhauls, and adds a lame quest mode (Brutal Legend ripoff anyone?)

I don't play rhythm games as much as I used to, but Rock Band shows promise for the future, and as long as Harmonix can keep making the games and releasing music, I'll be a customer of theirs. It really sucks about the layoffs, but I'm sure those people will rebound somehow. There's a light at the end of every tunnel.

booze925
booze925
9 years ago

uh-oh.
HINT HINT activision. don't milk these franchises! the reason why no one bought ur damn guitar hero is because u announce a NEW one 2 months after ur LAST one released!
CoD is in its prime right now, and you will kill it if this continues.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
9 years ago

Over-saturation kills things in any market.

But CoD has one thing over GH. CoD doesn't require additional controllers or special instruments to play. You just need a console, a controller (or more for split-screen) and a copy of CoD.

I see CoD dying sooner rather than later, but I don't see it happening for another 2 years.

GuernicaReborn
GuernicaReborn
9 years ago

If this was a movie, all the laid-off developers would band together and form a rag-tag game studio to make a killer game. Ultimately, their game will put Activision out of business. Then, they could prove to Activision that they shoulda kept them around.

___________
___________
9 years ago

NNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
figures, the repetetive saturated crap like COD gets sequels out of the wazoo but when we finally get a new different game like true crime it gets canned before release!
wheres the justice in that?
the crap gets revived, and the gold gets shunned to the depths of hell!
honestly no joke i foresee in 10 years time we will have nothing but COD knockoffs!
tis why i can see this gen being my last gen of gaming!
its not enough that everything has to turn into a military shooter, now if it cant be a military shooter it just gets canned?
f*ck that!

Lairfan
Lairfan
9 years ago

I agree that they shouldn't have axed True Crime, but you're taking it just a bit too far. Have a bit more faith in the industry man.

rogers71
rogers71
9 years ago

Finally I have something to look forward to. This is No Name's last generation of gaming. I look forward to the time when I can read the forums without mindless expletives and meaningless drivel. Glory be the day. LOL

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

Guitar Hero was going to go anyway. No two ways about it, the lack of any information on a new one since Warriors of Rock was indicative of that. Not that I'm sorry to see it go. It was stagnant. At least the guys making Rock Band only make a few games, but make them well, and make them different, rather than simply changing up the setlist.

True Crime: Hong Kong would have been my first Activision purchase. It sounded very interesting, and to hear that they've killed it because it isn't "top-tier" is laughable. Was Prototype really "top-tier"? Was Transformers? Was Tony Hawk: Shred? No. They were decent, but hardly enough to set the world on fire. Perhaps it is simply because True Crime has neither the farm-ability, or instant brand recognition of any of those other titles.

Not only that, but didn't they also shut down the studio that created Split/Second: Velocity? More proof that they are focussing on relying solely on CoD for their future. It won't last.
Peace.

tridon
tridon
9 years ago

Split/Second was a Disney game. You're probably thinking of Blur.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

Indeed I was. Thank you.

Mamills
Mamills
9 years ago

no more guitar hero??

THANK GOD!!!
maybe ppl will actually want to go out n learn the real instrument instead of playing a pathetic excuse for music lessons

now if only call of duty can get axed.
(LOL know that wont happen, plus i heard they are opening another studio… again for even more call of duty. cmon extra online fees)

PorkChopGamer
PorkChopGamer
9 years ago

Hold on there, Jack White. If you saw a kid at Kiddie City playing Duck Hunt back in the 80's, would you have slapped the gun out of their hand and screamed 'Go out and shoot a real duck with a real gun, not this pathetic excuse for shooting lessons!' No law saying games can't emulate something strictly for the sake of fun. I don't know anybody that came away from Guitar Hero thinking they were the next Anders Nystrom.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

I'm with PCG on this one. I know lots of musically tallented people, including my juno nominated brother-in-law, who think Guitar Hero and Rock Band is a blast! He -obviously- knows it's not the real thing. Only thing is, he's not a snob about it.

If you asked him, I'm sure he'd say something along the lines of the fact that it's just nice kids are learning to appreciate music.

SvenMD
SvenMD
9 years ago

Great analogy PCG. I don't think the purpose of Guitar Hero was ever to either take musicians away from real guitars, or to teach people how to play guitars….it's just a fun game.

If anything, I do think it broadened peoples music choices, which is always a good thing.

Fane1024
Fane1024
9 years ago

Actually, Harmonix's raison d'etre IS to get people interested in playing music and to teach them how via video games.

The original Guitar Hero was part of that mission and it largely comes to fruition in RB3.

But they are also meant to be fun approximations of playing instruments.

kraygen
kraygen
9 years ago

While neither of those games was anywhere near my list of ever being purchased, that's a dumb attitude for craptivision to take. Why not keep those employee's around working on something else.

Besides the big problem with this thinking is that if they start canceling all their non top tier games, well they'll have to just shut the doors and stop making games altogether. 😉

aaronisbla
aaronisbla
9 years ago

I never thought True Crime was really deserving of a sequel anyways, the other games were ok at best.

Danny007
Danny007
9 years ago

This is such a disappointment. I was really looking forward to playing True Crime on the current gen consoles. So, since Activision has cut all of their franchises what is there to look forward to besides Call of Duty?

Blur 2? Nope.

Why couldn't they just release True Crime!!!

tridon
tridon
9 years ago

Acitivision will still give you crappy Spider-Man and X-Men games (even though Destiny holds my interest) and even crappier movie-to-game adaptations. No worries, you're still good! 🙂


Last edited by tridon on 2/10/2011 6:27:27 AM

tridon
tridon
9 years ago

Funny story… last night, after reading about this, I put up a tweet regarding Activision and how their over-saturation killed a once great franchise in Guitar Hero. This morning, I signed into my Twitter account to find my tweet nowhere to be found. The other four that I put up last night are still there but the one in regards to Activision has vanished. The plot thickens…

A2K78
A2K78
9 years ago

Its funny how the very same people who are complaing about activision putting out endless guitar hero/COD sequels are the very same ones who want Sony to put out endless sequels to GOW, KZ, GT, Uncharted, Resistence, etc. When it come to that I see nothing but sheer hypocrisy sticking its head out.

"Activision and how their over-saturation killed a once great franchise in Guitar Hero."

To be honet, there was never anything great about the Guitar Hero or Rockband franchises because they were nothing but knock-off's of Konami's arcade game.


Last edited by A2K78 on 2/10/2011 8:03:03 AM

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Hmm… I have a lot of problems with your post here… So let's see…

"Its funny how the very same people who are complaing about activision putting out endless guitar hero/COD sequels are the very same ones who want Sony to put out endless sequels to GOW, KZ, GT, Uncharted, Resistence, etc."

-Ok… first of all, there's a major difference between a sequel and pure saturation of that sequel. Activision releases Guitar Hero more than once per year, and CoD 1-2 times every year. That is saturation. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with desiring a sequel.

All those titles you listed for your hypocricy claim are titles that ALL release a minimum of 2 years apart. GOW3 is the only GOW this generation in fact!!! Uncharted is 2 years apart, KZ is a few years apart, GT took 5 freaking years, and Resistance is spread out too!

Nothing wrong with sequels, but the difference is, we are not saturated with those titles you listed. By the time one comes out, we're CRAVING it. With Activision's games, a sequel comes out before we're barely done with their last one. It's far from hypocricy. To say it is is just plain dumb.

I'm not sure why that would be hard to grasp without me having to tell you…

"To be honet, there was never anything great about the Guitar Hero or Rockband franchises because they were nothing but knock-off's of Konami's arcade game."

Knock off's or not, they brought something new to the table at first. There's a reason there was a craze. Guitar Hero was king, and then Rock Band improved on that recipe. There was indeed something great about them. They allowed people with little to no musical experience, not just appreciate music, but interact with it directly. It's far from playing the actual instruments, but that's hardly a good argument against it's quality.

Plain and simple… it was a wonderful idea that provided a rich and new experience that got burnt out due to FAR too many title releases.

Please don't respond unless you're willing to address all my points. I'm trying to warn you before you throw your usual red herring.

SvenMD
SvenMD
9 years ago

Again, great points Underdog.

The difference is definitely about saturation – the number of games for a particular franchise at a particular time. Guitar Hero has far less games than the Final Fantasy franchise, but we're nowhere near saturated with FF because they only come out every 2-3 years or so (sometimes longer).

Putting out a new game every year like CoD (or every 3 months in GH's case) eventually causes boredom. You never get that itch that says, "Damn they should come out with a new CoD game" (because they just did)

It's like the Cadbury Creme Eggs or Girl Scout Cookies….If they were on the shelf year-round, you might pick up a box once a year. But since they only come out at a particular time…you crave it all year and then buy 10 boxes when they finally arrive. Those creme eggs are delicious!!!

spiderboi
spiderboi
9 years ago

There's a huge difference. One, over-saturation deals with releasing sequels within a very short span. GH and CoD both fall into this. Also,the other franchises bring a lot of innovation and improvement from the last installments. And third, non-milkers churn out quality. I haven't seen much in youtube in the likes of game exploits and glitches. The only glitch I saw for Uncharted 2 was for the final boss that you can just hang from a ledge and shoot.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Right. Nothing but knock-offs of an arcade game.

…their popularity had nothing to do with the fact that Guitar Hero and Rock Band expanded on that basic principle, added a sh**-ton of licensed music to which the mainstream can attach, and oh yes, brought it into the HOME.

Your loyalty to arcades is touching, but it's also misguided.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Nobody here wants exclusives to be milked for fast cash. You may go now.

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
9 years ago

I can't believe it took this long! Rock Band has consistently released a great product without saturation. RB3 is amazing and I play it now quite often. Never liked GH even though I got into the music instrument gaming scene with GHIII. Best of luck to the developers.

swapnilgyani
swapnilgyani
9 years ago

Good luck to the guys who've lost their jobs, hope they find something worthwhile pretty soon.

On a different note, this article reminds me of another developer's dilemma – Tim Schafer's Double Fine studio.

Brutal Legend was a really good game, but it didn't sell that well. A lot of people hated the RTS element of the game, and those portions did seem a bit out of place. I wonder how the game would have been received if those RTS elements were replaced with Guitar Hero-like mechanics – something rhythmic / musical, that blends very well with the overall feel of the game.

AcHiLLiA
AcHiLLiA
9 years ago

Why True Crime, that sucks, enjoyed playing it back on the PS2.

telly
telly
9 years ago

There's a lesson to be learned here about the perils of over-saturation. Annual installments in a crowded genre = overwhelming. Fans can't help but get sick of it. Do you think CoD will face similar backlash in a few years?

Godslim
Godslim
9 years ago

about time jesus…..all they ever really needed to do was release more songs on the store instead making a whole new game :S

spiderboi
spiderboi
9 years ago

Exactly! I wouldn't waste my money to buy another game to which I only bought because of 2 tracks. At least by this per track focus, I can also have better hold on my money.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I didn't realize GH was nosediving so hard.
Maybe now I can find a couple GH guitars and a game for dirt cheap so my family and I can play.

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
9 years ago

The GH World Tour and GH5 guitars are the best on the market IMHO. The Rock Band and Mad Catz guitars were not that good. The strum bar is very squishy.

Fane1024
Fane1024
9 years ago

squishy > clicky
frets > inset buttons
realistic > toylike
RB guitars > GH guitars

IMO

However, I rarely play (fake) guitar.