Can Rock Band/Guitar Hero Be Successful Again? Analysts Weigh In

New guitar games are rumored to be in development for Xbox One and PlayStation 4; here's what analysts are saying.

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As rumors about the possible revival of the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises continue to swirl, a number of analysts--along with Guitar Hero's co-creator Charles Huang--have now weighed in with their thoughts about the business opportunity of getting the band back together.

GamesIndustry International polled a series of analysts on the subject. They seemed to agree that, while the guitar game business might not fully return to its former glory, there is a market for such games. New games in the Rock Band and Guitar Hero are rumored to launch for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this fall.

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"I don't see the Guitar Hero/Rock Band music genre coming back strong," independent analyst Billy Pidgeon said. "Success is possible, but expectations should be low, as while these games will sell again, the sales volume will be much smaller. Value-pricing the hardware and software would help, and it might also help if last generation peripherals were supported for gameplay on current generation systems."

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said guitar games represented a $2 billion market in 2008--during the glory days of Guitar Hero and Rock Band--but today would only amount to around $200 million.

"The games are old enough that they might be ready for a re-fresh, and I would imagine there is room for both to succeed if they don't oversaturate the way they did last time," he said.

Patrick Walker, of industry research firm EEDAR, also chimed in. He said that while it would be difficult for guitar games to match their initial success (after all, the novelty effect of being a rockstar in your living room has likely worn off), he does think that new Guitar Hero and Rock Band games could succeed today.

"There is definitely an opportunity for a revival of the music genre considering the strong sales of the next generation consoles, the relative health of the overall economy compared to when the music genre initially faded, the broad appeal of the genre, and the marketing and IP power of the companies in the space," he said.

Huang said the market for console music games faces a number of headwinds. One such potential problem, he said, is that guitar games tend to attract a casual audience; these players have since gravitated toward mobile gaming, Huang explained. Second, Huang said he foresees a pricing challenge. Some people might be turned off from a pricey guitar bundle when they have so many less expensive gaming options available to them on other platforms.

Of course, neither Harmonix nor Activision have actually announced new Rock Band or Guitar Hero games. As such, we don't know what form new games in the series might take. You can also bet that, if Harmonix and Activision are indeed working on new music games, they are also considering these concerns and others.

For its part, Harmonix has suggested that the plastic guitar peripherals and DLC songs you already own could carry forward to a new game in the series, something fans are probably happy to hear. And Activision has made it clear that it is thinking of new and innovative ways to "reinvent" Guitar Hero.

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Avatar image for sonicblast19

Analysts aka people who are extremely well paid to predict shit that ain't going to happen.

Avatar image for Reap3r_X17

I'd buy a new Guitar Hero, personally. As long as they don't pull what they did with all the band-specific Guitar Hero games the last time around. "Look! Guitar Hero 3! Oh! Wait! Aerosmith! Beatles! Etc!" Just give me a regular Guitar Hero again with a huge variety of music instead of trying to milk it and I'll be all for it. :P

Avatar image for imajinn

Years later and we are still reading "Michael Pachter says" articles?

Avatar image for deathstream

Cost of entry is the biggest factor. We a new console generation that went cheap because of a slow-growing economy. Will people be willing to shell out for instruments again? Does anyone still have their old ones?

If you get past that barrier, I think they can find success. Create a base product to last the generation and rely on new tracks and cosmetic upgrades to fund the game.

Making the software F2P might be enough to make the initial cost palatable.

Avatar image for drocdoc

I'm using "guitarbots" (like a rock smith type game) on my ipad to teach me how to play the guitar. So if activision can make use of real guitars then I'm all for it.

Avatar image for Megavideogamer

Guitar Hero should not return until the 10th Generation of videogame consoles. By then memories of the 7th Gen glory days of Guitar Hero will have faded.

Avatar image for nousername66

Nah I cant see it coming back strong, it was a good fad while it lasted though and quite fun

Avatar image for gamerx614

also, make sure to put in some Earth Wind and Fire.

Avatar image for Unholy123

Lemme save you some time.

No give it another 4 years before trying to bring back the simon says of toys

Avatar image for drysprocket

I think it's time to bring it back- and no, it will never be the fad that it once was. But that's a good thing. I really like the genre, and miss drinking and playing to Muse.

Just knock off the nickel and diming us with extra songs, and you may even get me back....I mean it though.

Avatar image for BrunetteGuard07

<< LINK REMOVED >> How can they nickel and dime us with optional songs? Think of the song licensing costs. If they were planning on going bankrupt then maybe they'd give them away for free. You're not forced to buy the extra stuff, it's offered for those that can/want to purchase it. This goes for any game. Better that way then releasing 5 games a year, and you can make your playlist more customized since you pick the songs. Rock Band all the way!

Avatar image for Ex1st3nz

They can easily. I mean the only reason Rock Band ended was because Harmonix optionally ceased to make more but continued to support DLC for many years. Guitar Hero only ended because it was milked to the ground a mistake I don't think Activision are likely to make again. The only reason the genre went away was not due to lack of popularity, but more because trends moved on and evolving the genre was likely proving difficult. I think enough time has passed though for both franchises to make a return and for gamers to be willing to fork out on more plastic instruments, the genre will return just as strong as it was when it bowed out.

Avatar image for fig56

I remember playing Guitar Hero on the DS. Now that was a strange. only 4 buttons I think, and your hands hurt like a mofo after a short while. They did have a decent song selection though.

Avatar image for brimmul777

Please.................A new AC/DC Rock Band.

Avatar image for humdingermarkie

Anything's better than Rocksmith. What kind of dumb... we're playing Guitar Hero because we don't want to play real instruments, how is that not clear?

Avatar image for AyatollaofRnR

<< LINK REMOVED >> Those people have had their fun and moved on. I think the RockSmith approach is the way to go.

Avatar image for humdingermarkie


Probably why the DLC store is still bumping with purchases.

Avatar image for Boddicker

Games like Rocksmith that actually teach you to play guitar I'm still hoping catch on.

You can go to any pawn shop and pick up a quality beginner electric guitar/bass for ~$80-120..

Avatar image for alaskancrab

<< LINK REMOVED >> playing Rocksmith for 1.5 years. Progressed so much thanks to that game. Makes practicing so much fun. Especially feels cool when you can pick up a totally new song and get like 90% mastery first time through, the flipside is that I don't get the same recall as I would as if I had learned it from TAB.

Avatar image for coolmanmick

<< LINK REMOVED >> That's my kind of game now! Prefer to use the real guitars. I enjoyed the plastic back in their time but have moved on since. Not only get to learn how to play it but having 6 strings and a lot of frets makes it more challenging too. Would love to see some more instruments. A violin would be awesome! Always wanted to pick one of those up. Maybe a keyboard too!

Avatar image for raikiry

Of course it can be successful, it all depends on the music you put in your game... choose some classics make it timeless and add some new songs from The Heavy... just to spice things up. (and to make it the -what? 5th game that has songs from them... \m/ <,<

Avatar image for rolla020980


That was really the downfall of Guitar Hero. They put in songs no one knew or liked, and then put in keyboard heavy songs that made you play keyboard solos on the guitar controller. I liked GH: Metallica the best, but Metallica is my favorite all time band. Other than that GH2 or 3 was probably my favorite... never having played the original. I was good too... I won a few local GH tournaments.

Oh and the microphone killed it too. It was too sensitive. No one can sing well enough without autotune to help them. My question on a game like that is: Can the programmers do it? If not, then you did something wrong.

I did enjoy the drums... outside of the double bass.

Avatar image for zeek_fox


I played RB3 at a friend's place (don't have it myself, just GH3+WT on the Wii) and got a 98% on expert singing "Mud on the Tires" in one attempt. Microphone didn't seem to be a problem for me.

I hope the library of songs is expanded as well. What turned me off of Guitar Hero was that I didn't like enough of the music, but I'm not as much into rock, so that's mostly on me. Later Rock Band titles did add some country that I really like though, so I'm hoping more of that shows up as the series reboots.

Avatar image for Shantmaster_K

I hope not. It's been gone for years and it still feels like overkill.

Avatar image for Kinguard73

I loved it but the instruments were too expensive. I just bought a mic and called it a day. I mean they need to make those instruments cheaper.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld

When GH came out for the ps2 - it was like a breathe of fresh air. You could not play the thing without having a smile on your face the whole time, who cares if you look dumb when your having this much fun.

But after a few games the franchise began to breakdown, with the number one problem: the music stopped matching the graphics on the screen. The first couple of games it was amazingly cool as you truly felt in rhythm with the game and songs, songs that were rhythmically perfect for a video game. After a while it was just a high speed electronic Simon game while playing a song in the background. There was no correlation between the song and button prompts on screen.

That was the next problem: the songs... Rock or guitar songs stopped being the focus and britney spears and modern day synthesized songs were added on - it was stupid. The market was also flooded and saturated to the point of it becoming valueless. I really loved the rock band game Beatles, and saw how you could play along with history and its band, but the costs of the Beatles set was just too high and or the game did not have enough content to justify it.

IF they brought the game series back here are a few things they need to do:

-song selection, not every song is meant to be put on this type of game- take 'im just a girl by No Doubt" a wonderful song and wonderful group, but its harmony does not translate well to someone following along with guitar. Or worse when all you had were 'cover band' songs that just were soo gaggy.

-cheaper, better made guitars, It is nice that they would make a Gibson replica, but after huge costs in licensing fees and costs of cosmetic construction, you were left with a flimsy peripheral that would break or wear out in less then a week. The first guitar hero peripheral for the ps2 was the best, tough as nails, cheap, and accurate for a very long time.

-After the 6th gen game, more and more people were playing their games on flatscreen like LED, lcd, plasma - and the game had terrible sync ing problems or latency issues. They tried adding in sync tests, but no two people are alike, nor were the screens. They need a better way.

-Song meant for the game- songs with appropriate rhythms and no long breaks, NO COVER band songs, and no pop songs with very little guitar in it.

The guitar hero game can come back, but needs to come back to the simple version first launched on the ps2.

Avatar image for rolla020980


I still don't think they need game after game. TBH, if they released a new game with a good batch of songs and a good quality controller (Like you mentioned... I had the 360 version and the original wired guitar lasted forever. I think it was the same design as the PS2 one) and they release the entire bundle for $60 it would be worth it.

After that, no new games. Release song packs. No region is alike in popular music. You can't release a guitar hero game in California and New York without people disagreeing on what songs they like let alone releasing it in California and Germany.If they do song packs, then they don't have to try to be all inclusive like the absolutely horrendous GH World Tour. Instead they can cater to each region independently while still offering all song packs worldwide. Some will just be more popular in different areas and if you don't like a particular group or genre, then you can skip that one.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I think that song packs were part of the problem though, if they sold decent DLC songs that included graphics to match. Also many of the songs were throwaway, take Tom Sawyer or rocket man, or american pie, or queen - it doesn't matter where you live, if you love rock everyone will love those songs even in other countries.

They just took songs and added button presses that had nothing to do with the song.

Avatar image for Keaze_

I've been wanting to buy one to play with my wife, we used to have a lot of fun with that together, years ago, but you can't find them anywhere. The only thing to worry about is the current popular music. What is there going to be in new guitar heroes? Justin bieber, beyonce, katy perry, one direction, nicki minaj, etc. Not really interested.

Avatar image for Ex1st3nz

<< LINK REMOVED >> They can pull from a very large pool of music without even touching what is popular as what is popular isn't really guitar driven.

I mean if they want to pull from modern metal they could get a plethora of bands together such as;

- Machine Head - Architects - Avenged Sevenfold - Beartooth - Black Veil Brides - Comeback Kid - Every Time I Die - Five Finger Death Punch - Killer Be Killed - Of Mice And Men - Protest The Hero - Slipknot -

They don't just have to have an all metal selection as that could be overbearing on players that want more variety, so they could then pull from some rock bands like;

- Arctic Monkeys - Queens of the Stone Age - Young Guns - Slaves - Letlive. - Glamour of the Kill - frnkiero and the cellabration - Fair To Midland - Dinosaur Pile-Up - Death From Above 1979 - Blues Pills - Alien Ant Farm -

Then of course add in classic bands and artists like;

- Metallica - The Clash - Judas Priest - Queen - Dire Straits - Jimi Hendrix - Lynyrd Skynyrd - Eagles - The Who - Led Zeppelin - The Rolling Stones - Pink Floyd - Creedence Clearwater Revival - Blue Oyster Cult - Heart - The Doors -

Licencing is the only issue they have as the music is there without ever touching Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Katy Perry lol..

Avatar image for raikiry

<< LINK REMOVED >> Macklemore, The Heavy, Die Arzte, Arctic Monkeys... there are plenty of new bands/singers... aaand I think you can jam in some Katy Perry in there, she has some good songs.

Avatar image for Suaron_x

What I read: Blah, blah, blah, another CEO blaming mobile gaming for their declining market base, blah, blah, blah.

Avatar image for Hekteur

<< LINK REMOVED >> That's why you should never skim-read news and get as much info as you can. You'd understand things much better!

Avatar image for Suaron_x

<< LINK REMOVED >> I didn't skim read. That's my take on the whole article.

Avatar image for swantn5

ya know im all for people learning how to play guitar but guitar hero/rock band isnt a proper way to go geeze you think a dead ip like syphon filter would come back but nope this hater sees guitar hero/rockband coming back

Avatar image for Hekteur

<< LINK REMOVED >> That's because learning guitar isn't RB/GH's point. Just as much as war games don't teach you real military skills, Football games don't make you a super sport athlete, etc... No one is playing GH or RB in actual hope of becoming a guitar legend.

Avatar image for leviathanwing

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> you say that... but ive actually been told by people that it was in fact like playing guitar... yeah, ive got the rocksmith and no they are wrong and delusional but they arent 'no one'.

Avatar image for DragonessAthena

I was buying them up whenever they came out, except for the band-specific ones. Keep up with the DLC and just a normal game and you'll have people buying them. Start getting all dumb and releasing one band only games, then you're just wasting money.

Avatar image for SkytheWiz1

I'd still be playing mine, if my drum set hadn't been $12 worth of plastic with an $80 price tag.

I don't know if I'd buy another game.

Avatar image for Hekteur

<< LINK REMOVED >> You stopped playing something you like because someday you decided you paid too much for it? That sound like the weirdest reason to stop using something ever...

Avatar image for leviathanwing

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> i was under the impression by his 'plastic' comment that it in fact broke... just like a 12 dollar piece of plastic bought for 80 dollars should or would.

Avatar image for irishrizo

how about a new PaRappa the Rapper

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