Activision adressing Guitar Hero drum 'issues'

[UPDATE] Following early adopter outcry, publisher admits "isolated manufacturing issue" causing sensitivity problems with World Tour percussion; tuning kit on the way.

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Last year, MTV Games and Harmonix shook up the Guitar Hero-led rhythm genre with Rock Band, a game that added a microphone and drum kit to the guitar-centric proceedings. However, the launch wasn't without its fair share of problems, given that many new owners encountered a bevy of issues with their hardware, ranging from busted strum bars on the guitars to shoddy kick pedals on the drums.

It now appears as if Activision Blizzard is taking more cues from its rival than just a new instrument loadout. After the launch of Guitar Hero World Tour over the weekend, early adopters flocked to RedOctane's message boards to file their grievances about faulty equipment.

One of the more prevalent topics pertains to the new drum kit, which sports three drum pads, two cymbal inputs, and a kick pedal. According to many posters, the red drum pad and the yellow cymbal, both located on the left side of the peripheral, either fail to register hits after only a few uses or will activate only when the inputs are struck in a certain way. Another oft-posted issue claims that the drum pads are too sensitive, and in particular that striking one will often activate another. Reported problems do not appear to be limited to a single platform.

Several do-it-yourself adopters who opted to gut their drum kits returned reports that the peripheral manufacturers failed to properly secure the wires. A few of these posters offered moderately technical solutions (some with photos) to fix the problem. It should be noted that these fixes are far from definitive and may void Activision's hardware warranty.

Currently, Activision offers a 90-day limited hardware warranty, whereby it will "replace, free of charge, such hardware discovered to be defective within such period as long as the hardware is still being manufactured by Activision." The publisher's hardware warranty does not explicitly state that shipping charges will be covered, a fact that has caused a measure of outcry on RedOctane's forums.

[UPDATE] Last night, Activision released an official statement addressing complaints made by those having issues with the sensitivity of their drum kits.

"We have learned that certain drum controllers manufactured for Guitar Hero World Tour have sensitivity issues," reads the statement. "We believe that these controllers are limited to ones in the earlier manufacturing stages. While we believe that this was an isolated manufacturing issue, we are stepping our efforts to randomly test our drum controllers so customers can be assured they work properly. In the event any consumers do experience problems with their drum controllers associated with sensitivity issues, we are offering a drum tuning kit that will enable players to fully optimize their drums."

"Our goal would be to immediately address any hardware issues Guitar Hero World Tour players have with the game. Consumers should visit the Activision Publishing customer support Web site at www.activision.com/ support website or call 310-255-2050 in the U.S. where a customer care representative will assist them. Activision is fully committed to the highest quality manufacturing standards, and to satisfying every Guitar Hero World Tour fan so they can enjoy the best musical gaming experience ever created."

The publisher did not address what steps, if any, it would be taking to address wiring-related problems with the drum kit. Activision had not responded to GameSpot's follow-up inquiry as of press time.

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