In September, gamers answered the age-old question of "Are you ready to rock?" Judging by US sales figures from the month, the answer was an apathetic shrug of the shoulders.
The industry-tracking NPD Group yesterday released sales data for the month of September, revealing that the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 versions of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock sold fewer than 100,000 copies combined. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter had projected the game to sell 100,000 copies earlier this week.
"September music genre sales declined to $16 million from $116 million a year ago, facing tough comps from the launch of Beatles Rock Band and Guitar Hero 5 last September," Pachter said in a note to investors today. "Year-to-date music genre sales are only $158 million, compared to $506 million for the first nine months of 2009, accounting for over three-quarters of the total industry decline so far this year."
Last year, Guitar Hero 5 sold 499,000 copies in its debut month, despite being part of a saturated slate of seven Guitar Hero games to hit stores that year; Warriors of Rock and DJ Hero 2 are the only games in the franchise hitting shelves this year.
In 2008, the US rhythm game genre pulled in $1.66 billion in retail sales. Last year, it plummeted to $876 million. That $780 million shortfall accounted for the majority of the overall industry's slide for the year. Combined PC, console, and handheld software sales for 2009 were down roughly $1.2 billion for the year to $10.5 billion, according to NPD figures.
Fortunately, the flagging genre's hopes aren't entirely hinging on the performance of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. Activision's DJ Hero 2 will be released next week, with MTV Games' Rock Band 3 hitting shelves the week after that.