Guitar Hero: Gone for good or just for now?

Analysts disagree on whether Activision could have done things differently to keep rhythm series viable, but expect Tony Hawk to make an eventual return.


Activision broke up the band yesterday, officially shutting down its Guitar Hero business unit, cancelling the 2011 installment of the series and calling an end to the flow of new downloadable content for the series. Today, analysts are split on whether the franchise could have avoided this fate and if they expect Activision to eventually attempt a comeback for the series.

Proof the next album is always just a reunion away.
Proof the next album is always just a reunion away.

Speaking with GameSpot today, Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich downplayed the suggestion that Activision's enthusiastic release schedule for the series--including seven separate Hero titles in 2009 alone--contributed to its decline.

"When the first Guitar Hero was sold, the time clock of its success and ultimate demise started and there wasn't a single strategy Activision could have implemented to hinder it," Divnich said. "If Activision hadn't flooded the market, someone else would have, and the state of the music genre in 2011 would have been unchanged. There is absolutely nothing Activision nor anyone could have done to save the music genre."

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said Activision could have likely improved the Guitar Hero franchise's life span if had better managed the games' tracklists and instrument peripherals.

"The biggest flaw in the model was that the peripherals were always 'good enough,'" Pachter said, "meaning that once you bought the band kit, you didn't need to upgrade to next year's version. One of the selling points was the breadth of the music offering, and most games had 60-80 songs, so it was tough to justify buying another game when you still had 40 songs you hadn't tried on last year's version."

While Pachter believes there will always be some demand for the Rock Band and Guitar Hero style of rhythm game, it's not one he expects Activision to satisfy, saying simply, "I think Guitar Hero is gone for good."

Meanwhile, Divnich thinks the Guitar Hero franchise is not dead, but merely "hibernating."

"It may take three to five years, and likely a whole new generation of consoles, but I see a possibility of a short revival in the future," Divnich said. "Activision is a methodical company, and their continued dominance hinges on the growth of their franchises, not the decline. The resources that would have been used to create the next Guitar Hero will be best served on creating new intellectual properties."

While the pair of gaming prognosticators split on the fate of Guitar Hero, they found themselves in closer agreement on the future of the Tony Hawk franchise, which Activision also ruled out of its 2011 lineup. Pachter said the long-rolling skateboarding series is simply taking a breather, while Divnich said it would return for the next generation of consoles "at the latest."

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Avatar image for JustInTime09

or they could do a guitar hero avenged sevenfold, because i am sure that the band would love for them to make one of them

Avatar image for JustInTime09

i think since activision has been adding Rammstein into the guitar heros lately, they should make a guitar hero rammstein and that would bring them back to business, because every one i talked to said it was awesome having rammstein in guitar hero.

Avatar image for magnusm1

@Breakadawn I smella troll... or a bad GH-player.

Avatar image for Breakadawn

Good riddance. Now instead of wasting time on these god-awful games, people would actually learn how to play real instruments. It's not that hard, and it's much more satisfying.

Avatar image for HelIWithoutSin

@lazycomplife Yes, that's right. Around the time GH:Rocks the 80's came out, Harmonix was bought by MTV and EA while Red Octane and the Guitar Hero name were bought by Neversoft and Activision.

Avatar image for lazycomplife

@HelIWithoutSin Thanks for that info. I didn't know that Harmonix did the first two guitar heros. I guess it was after they got the rights to the songs from mtv that they sold the franchise and moved onto rock band?

Avatar image for badiie05

@H0rr0rG4m3r you could not have said it any better... :D

Avatar image for H0rr0rG4m3r

Guitar Hero: Iron Maiden, Guitar Hero: Megadeth, Guitar Hero: Slayer would have been epic...

Avatar image for muzza93

Make a Guitar Hero: Motley Crue and put their entire first 5 albums on it in, Make the guitar play like it played in GH3 and GET RID OF TOUCH STRIP! beast game! On With The Show

Avatar image for Eurashal

Their own fault really. They threw out like 6 games a year instead of just making DLC packs. That plus the need to release new intrument controllers with each game didn't help. In a few years time, we'll see a new GH game and then there will be more games pumped out yearly.

Avatar image for doolindesperado

Just wait a few years. At a future E3, there will be a Guitar Hero reboot.

Avatar image for sd403

Divnich: "...their continued dominance hinges on the growth of their franchises, not the decline. The resources that would have been used to create the next Guitar Hero will be best served on creating new intellectual properties." It would...but new IPs don't happen very often; they want to line their own pockets while lining the pockets of their stockholders. The money will go into yet another CoD, if anything. New IPs are considered too risky unless your an indie developer. Unless something magical happens, gaming is going to end up with terminal "sequelitis".

Avatar image for MasterFreinz

Guess I'll be using all my Guitar Hero instruments for Rock Band then.

Avatar image for MadGamer132

"dead" what it mean in gaming? wtf!

Avatar image for ethanpaige

Guitar Hero wore out it's welcome with the repeated sequels and spin offs year after year. Tony Hawk was buried by Skate, which finally gave real skaters a place to turn besides the old Thrasher. Both need a good, long time off

Avatar image for jma1024x

Whut!? OMG i love GH and can't believe they did this. This is terrible! They need to sign more artists & allow more DLC. That would make things sell better. Or just sell all future games as DD using PS3 Home or Xbox Live. what a dumb decision by Activision.

Avatar image for pokecharm

I think this has been said, but they probably made one too many, getting greedy on something that wasn't based on anything more than a peripheral. I fear that this might be the way of the dance games too...too much too soon and then there won't be a market around for it.

Avatar image for otanikun

People are tired of Guitar Hero and as for Tony Hawk, those games either need to get better or just go away

Avatar image for zymbo

"The biggest flaw in the model was that the peripherals were always 'good enough,'" Pachter said, "meaning that once you bought the band kit, you didn't need to upgrade to next year's version." Yeah, thats too bad you couldn't screw your customers by making them buy more stupid plastic instruments. They basically made the same game 15 times over with Guitar Hero, Rockband and others, but that wasn't enough for them. I'm glad I play real instruments and never had a desire to play this game.

Avatar image for NoLifeGamin

It took them this LONG to realize that they already ran out of milk from Guitar Hero?

Avatar image for jadefury27

i said a year ago that they needed a break from this series and to allow some time for the series to settle and just do dlc support. some asshat told me that was stupid and the big bundles would sell year in and out. what an idiot.

Avatar image for chilly-chill

Basically releasing the same game year after year will do that to you. Koticks just humouring us while he's still determining whether or not there is still a profit margin for this game.

Avatar image for chilly-chill

I never really got into guitar hero because of the boring same generic bands. I wanted some BMTH and NOFX.

Avatar image for ACMC85

Anyone remember when Kotick was bragging about spinning it into its own console?

Avatar image for cf_Kage

They just didn't do as much as they could have done. Little Big Planet had the right idea, making content downloadable, instead of releasing a new game, until they really did need to make an important update. That would have made around 3 of the games a good choice to release. The rest could have been done during an online update. They could have also have tried releasing expansions, instead of full games, for people without an internet connection

Avatar image for Paladin_King

haha Activision. Time for more lawsuits, I guess. Gotta make that money.

Avatar image for slammann

man i remember when guitar hero 2 and 3 came out man they had the magic you would to peoples houses get together just to play but it really did die and its time had simply come

Avatar image for toxiehead

this sucks i love guitar hero with a passion, at least i still have my real fender stratocaster i can rock out on lol.

Avatar image for Expo_Smacko

Gone for good please.

Avatar image for HelIWithoutSin

@lazycomplife Just to clear things up, Harmonix created Guitar Hero I, II, and Rocks the 80's and then moved on to Rock Band.

Avatar image for packers91

hopefully Rock Band doesn't go the way of Madden after this

Avatar image for Cwagmire21

Just goes to show that its not the brand that makes games good, but the developers. Let's see if they remember this lesson down the road.

Avatar image for StJimmy15

Glad I jumped that ship. Been w/ Rock Band since day 1.

Avatar image for Fallen_Syn

Rust in Peace Guitar Hero

Avatar image for fetusfart18

Please be gone for good. The music genre isn't dead, it's just back in the hands of Harmonix, where it belongs.

Avatar image for Evz0rz

I honestly never need to see another Guitar Hero's DJ Hero that I'm sad to see go :(

Avatar image for metal_militia89

Remember who started Guitar Hero? Harmonix! After the whole change that lead Harmonix to go with MTV games which lead to Rock Band, GH was the one playing catch up.

Avatar image for steve4123456789

Didn't think Rock band would get the better in the end of this.

Avatar image for 2611mp

Good riddance! GH3 was a bit of fun back in 07 or whenever it was, but only for parties etc. It had it's day, when DJ Hero came out it was clear that the idea bag had reached the last scrap of paper left in the bottom.

Avatar image for DeViLzzz

No way this is gone for good. There always will be a market for something different and when people crave thsi type of gaming again we will see it again.

Avatar image for lazycomplife

Srsly, Guitar Hero will never beat rock band. It's sad cause they started the plastic guitar trend, but Harmonix just does things better. If ATVI wants to revive the series, they're going to need one hell of a defibrilator.

Avatar image for cr8ive

"There is absolutely nothing Activision nor anyone could have done to save the music genre.", this statement came from their DESIGN & RESEARCH analyst... and that worries me deeply. If this is the level of creativity we can expect from gaming industry for the future, then we're doomed. On the other hand, I think Jesse was just side-stepping the milking-the-genre accusations, stating that "if we didn't do it, someone else would!" and blaming the game being "developed-to-the-max", with no other ways to improve on it... Really, Jesse? ... quite a big statement for an analyst eh?

Avatar image for ash162

Might be back for the next gen of consoles. There will always be a market for games like GH

Avatar image for j-son05

not surpised its ended, but its a shame, maybe content like metallica and other should have been DL content, that way it wont have seemed to be so many variations and kill it so quick.

Avatar image for imbusydoctorwho

TBH They milked Guitar Hero too much,if they only brought out 1 main game a year it wouldn't be so bad. But also I think Warriors of Rock appealed to a different kind of audience. For most of the casual market heavy metal is probably a bit too much. But at the end of the day Jobs are lost and that's most important thing to think about.

Avatar image for ddlcpc

from activision its gone for good...........

Avatar image for CassadyH

"......someone else would have" who exactly is "someone" in this situation? The only other one is rockband and they weren't doing this. So whats he talking about? They could have kept this alive for awhile but it would have taken creativity, and activision doesn't do creativity. For example: layering other gameplay on top of the music like in amplitude.

Avatar image for gp3tron

Next...Violin Hero!!!

Avatar image for hunter_2040

I love the GH series, they're my window at what being a musician must be like (of course, as much as playing CoD to telling me what being a soldier must be like). That being said, I have to admit, that after Wold Tour, new games are just 80 track packs... and that's not what keeps a franchise alive. Could Activision be just playing hard to get with this announcement?