Beatles: Rock Band outsells Guitar Hero 5 in Sept.

MTV Games' Fab Four tribute shifts 595,000 units in opening month, nearly 100,000 more than Activision's flagship contender; Abbey Road DLC out this week.

In mid-September, the newly installed president and CEO of Activision's Guitar Hero division Dan Rosensweig claimed that Guitar Hero 5 preorders were building up a seemingly insurmountable lead on its major competitor, MTV Games and Harmonix's The Beatles: Rock Band. However, the tide apparently didn't take long to turn.

The Beatles apparently got a little help from their friends.

As part of the NPD Group's US retail sales report today, MTV Games announced that The Beatles: Rock Band had outsold Guitar Hero 5 during September. According to figures provided by to GameSpot, The Beatles: Rock Band sold 595,000 units across the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii on September 9. Activision's Guitar Hero 5 sold 499,000 units at retail for the 360, PS3, PlayStation 2, and Wii since its September 1 launch, the firm noted.

Beyond unit sales, MTV Games also said that Xbox 360 gamers had downloaded The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" in excess of 100,000 times through September. Last month, Microsoft said that the single was officially the "fastest-selling" Rock Band track, having helped raise more than $17,000 for the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders.

Notably, The Beatles: Rock Band launched with considerable cross-promotion alongside the remastered Beatles audio catalog, a fact Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich attributed the sales victory to.

"In terms of Beatles outselling Guitar Hero, it simply comes down to marketing, and MTV Games spent more money than Activision on promotion and advertisement, which is a reversal from previous showdowns," Divnich told GameSpot. "Activision didn’t really go full throttle with its marketing as it has with previous Guitar Hero titles. Activision is likely holding back so it can support other music based games, such as DJ Hero and Band Hero."

Divnich went on to note that both The Beatles: Rock Band and Guitar Hero 5 "performed at respectable levels and well inside the range of expectations." However, he went on to emphasize that both games are expected to continue to perform well as the holiday shopping season continues.

Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter also downplayed the corporate ballyhoo of The Beatles: Rock Band's sales victory, noting that neither game debuted to a particularly strong commercial reaction.

"Outselling GH5 isn’t that big of a deal, and in terms of units, they were actually quite close," he said. "What’s striking is the low overall dollar figure for the two games, which were out for almost the entire month. The two combined fell short of $100 million, and I had forecast $210 million."

Interest in The Beatles: Rock Band isn't likely to wane in the coming weeks. Harmonix today confirmed that the Fab Four's venerated Abbey Road will be available as a playable album download for the Xbox 360 and Wii on October 20, with the PS3 installment following two days later. The DLC can be had in its entirety for $16.99 (MSP 1,360) on the Xbox 360 and PS3, and individual tracks for Nintendo's console will run 200 Wii points ($2).

With "Come Together," "Something," "Octopus's Garden," "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," "Here Comes the Sun," and "The End" already included in the full game, the Abbey Road Complete Album Pack includes "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," "Oh! Darling," and "Because." Also included in the DLC is a 16-minuted Abbey Road B-side medley, which includes "You Never Give Me Your Money," "Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard," "Polythene Pam," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight" and "The End."

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Discussion

114 comments
norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

I agree with Icedburden123, except I would like more instrument options to be available in Europe too. ;)

Icedburden123
Icedburden123

We don't need (nor want, obviously) any more band-themed music games. I'll be more than happy if we just get DLC for a couple years with some game updates here and there for a while. When they come up with something worthy of releasing a full-fledged $60 numbered sequel (i.e. Rock Band 3), then I'll buy it without question. But until then, keep the instruments to yourself CEO's. And there is no way in hell Radiohead should be compared to The Beatles, ever.

The_Deepblue
The_Deepblue

I don't see how The Beatles can be topped as far as having a big name rock band featured in your game. It's impossible. A Radiohead music game would come close though.

valhallenx
valhallenx

In the end both games are basically the same. So the only winner of this war between GH and RB is... us!!! Who knows which awesome band will be coming to our consoles in the next years thanks to this great competition. It's like: We have.... METALLICA!! oh yeah?? but we have... THE BEATLES!! really? then we have... VAN HALLEN!! and in bewteen this fight, there's all of us enjoying these great games. Hope they keep it coming. p.s.: so far... my favorite game is Beatles Rock Band. Let's see who can top that.

aafreund91
aafreund91

Can't say that I am surprised. Rockband has a wider variety of DLC music.

metroidprimer
metroidprimer

the fact is that the beatles have sold many millions of albums. but to say that the beatles are the best band ever is opinion. much like saying RB is better than GH. I think its safe to say that my opinion differs from most of yours when i say Van Halen will always be the better band and GH is better than RB. But who cares about my opinion? who cares about anybody elses opinion really? i certainly don't care about yours

topraman517
topraman517

"The Beatles audience was too old for Rock Band's customers." Good music never dies. Every generation will have its sizable Beatles fanbase. The Beatles are not some nostalgic group that only aging baby-boomers listen to.

stziggy
stziggy

My mom used to sing me Beatles tunes to get me to sleep when I was a baby. So when I heard the Beatles were coming to Rock Band, I thought no one would buy. The Beatles audience was too old for Rock Band's customers. I have pleasantly been proved wrong.

Waffleman7
Waffleman7

GH 1 =awsome GH 2 = Better GH 3= Massive Win GH 4 = EPIC FAIL GH 5 = BAD BAD BAD Rockband 1 = Fa nominal Rockband 2 = Awsomer Beatles Beat All.

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

@thetravman Ditto, us Brits and Canadians are just getting screwed over by the Yanks.... again!

thetravman
thetravman

Also, I wouldn't have bought GH5 right away if I knew the VH deal didn't work in Canada. Big fail activision.

thetravman
thetravman

RB outsells GH. Big whoop. I guess people are interested in this kind of stuff.

BoondockSaint22
BoondockSaint22

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

SoNin360
SoNin360

Maybe some people are tired of wasting thier money on more Guitar Freaking Hero games. And besides... Rock Band > Guitar Hero The Beatles > Random Crap on Guitar Hero

JUSTBLAZE_928
JUSTBLAZE_928

Yeah and Dj Hero will outsell both of them i bet.

stephenage
stephenage

@mrdraino, these games aren't stopping other games be made and they are good fun! What have you got against social gaming where people can have some fun?

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

GH 5 is hardly a cash in ok band hero is a cash in but GH 5 offers new features like having up to four of the same instrament where beatles rock band from what i can see is just rock band 2 with beatles songs.

mrdraino
mrdraino

anyone who buys rock band or guitar hero games are the cancer killing gaming

Oni
Oni

I just love Ringo :)

Realacide
Realacide

Never Underestimate the power of The Beatles!!!

link1709
link1709

I am thrilled at this news as Beatles Rock band set list far outstripped the GH5 one, an amazing feat considering the only band rock band is the beatles, the songs were far more entertaining. You know how harmonix is going to beat this, The rumour of brian may wanting to do queen!

Kenbo325
Kenbo325

This come as no surprise to me :)

InsertWittyID
InsertWittyID

@55592 Yeah, unfortunately Activision has no concern for maintaining the integrity of their franchises. It makes me upset that great developers like Infinity Ward and Blizzard fall under their wing.

55592
55592

Could someone give me an accurate picture of how many Guitar Hero's are coming out by end of the year? Guitar Hero 5, Guitar Hero Greatest Hits, Band Hero, Guitar Hero Van Halen, DJ Hero. Is the Activision business model looking at 3 sequels every month? Great long-term thinking.

wiiplay1
wiiplay1

Where did your lead go Activision? Or did you ever even have one? Rock Band ftw

Joshua250
Joshua250

Van Halen is not really an incentive to buy a Guitar Hero game. Or any game for that matter. Every era has its share of terrible music, such as all of the ballads and hair metal of the 80's or the pop punk and metalcore of the 2000's. The Beatles aren't bound by time for the simple fact that they define pop. They are not defined by pop, but pop itself was defined by The Beatles.

NyGin07
NyGin07

yea rock band 1 and 2 and beatles are better than guitar hero . activision is just milking guitar hero dry now i hope harmonix doesnt start doing that with rock band now...

indysw457
indysw457

i really hope they make a rock band U2 now

farrlinn
farrlinn

Harmonix got the Beatles, who the heck can top that?

VirtualTofu
VirtualTofu

HOW?!!! GH5 has songs by TONS of bands and people are getting Van Halen MONTHS ahead of everyone else.

GCwasthebestsys
GCwasthebestsys

just goes to show that the beatles still can attract young fans. they are timeless. a beacon of light in the modern era of terrible music.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

Its The Beatles you are talking about here. The classic among classics, like Elvis or Frank SInatra or Michael Jackson. Yes I just wrote Michael Jackson down.

Deepfreeze32
Deepfreeze32

honestly not surprised because The Beatles are quite popular. However, I DO think my money would be better spent on GH5, since I despise the Beatles. XD

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

The shock to me is that a music game dedicated to what many would call the biggest music group ever in the history of mankind since the birth of Christ only beat the retread that is GH5 by a measly 100k units.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

I have played both GH and RB games and in my experience and opinion, I find that RB has a better presentation of gameplay and a good selection of musics. At least the levels in RB were really balanced out, I was able to see what I was supposed to hit in RB than GH, whatever difficulty. GH was such a mess on medium, I thought I accidently chose hard mode. Still a shame that in both, you still have to concentrate on the notes and not being able to see the background.

Hanzoadam
Hanzoadam

I really am not intrested Im not fan of either anymore they bore me but I am surprised

necronaux
necronaux

Really not a fair comparison. Now it it were Beatles RB vs. Beatles GH, then they'd see whis franchise rules.

railroberto2007
railroberto2007

rockband is better then guitar hero. to bad i hate the beatles.

protoroc
protoroc

Michael Patcher looks at the song list for Guitar Hero 5 and probably only recognizes the classic rock tracks. Of course he scoffs that Beatles should do no less then GH5.

InsertWittyID
InsertWittyID

Is anyone honestly surprised? It was obvious that Activision was just making ridiculous claims about sales. Its the freakin' Beatles after all!

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

I'm more of an early Beatles listener, as such I think I already got the best from Abbey road and will wait for the next set of songs. I think Rottenwood has it right, it is too overpriced for the left-overs... but I think they are going for the 'have to have them all collector' money anyways.

game_overdose54
game_overdose54

EA learned it's lesson last year, and now Activision may learn it as well. Now they know they shouldn't keep shoving music games no one will but down our throats.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Call it a small victory for artistry. Although I feel bad for Van Halen here, even if I never liked them much as a band. Their life's work was given away as a promotional tool for Guitar Hero 5, and their combined efforts still got smooshed by the Beatles. I guess that's what happens when you swap lead singers every five years. Can't say I understand the Abbey Road pricing at all, though. The best songs from that record are already in the main game; I doubt many will pay close to twenty dollars for the remainder.

Trogeton
Trogeton

honestly no one really reads all the news.. just last month they said that GH5 out sold beatles... so this is just flawed news... this is just an update..... the sad thing is that is every now and then that rockband even has a new game to have a war with.. rock band is all about new DLC guitar hero is all about new charts and engines Rock band NEVER changes