Guitar Hero World Tour sells 978K in Nov.

UBS reports Activision beat Rock Band 2-to-1 in November rhythm-game revenues--but 30.8% year-on-year earnings slide despite product doubling rings alarm bells.


This week brought some good news for Activision: Guitar Hero World Tour was November's top music game. Though NPD hasn't released any specific sales figures other than the Wii version's 475,000-unit tally, UBS analyst Ben Schachter provided a rundown of the Guitar Hero franchise's sales for the month. He also tabulated the combined sales of Electronic Arts, MTV Games, and Harmonix's rival series, Rock Band.

How much juice does Guitar Hero have left in it?
How much juice does Guitar Hero have left in it?

According to Schachter, just more than 1.7 million Guitar Hero games were sold in the US during November 2008, a 25.3 percent decrease from the nearly 2.3 million of the year prior. All Rock Band games, by contrast, sold fewer units by comparison--just 628,452--but saw a massive 64.7 percent increase in sales from the year before.

However, the disparity between the two franchises narrows when only revenue is considered. Guitar Hero games generated $145.9 million in the US last month, down 19.5 percent from November 2007's $181.1 million. However, thanks to an installed base of instruments, Rock Band games didn't see that much of an uptick, rising just 9.7 percent to $68.7 million during the month.

Although impressive, Rock Band and Guitar Hero's combined $214.6 million haul was actually a 12 percent slide from November 2007. More disturbing for Activision is the steep decline in both revenues and units for the Guitar Hero franchise. In November 2007, Guitar Hero III's six SKUs--or individual retail-product configurations--generated 1.9 million units in sales, amounting to a combined $158.8 million. In October 2008, Guitar Hero World Tour sold just 978,000 units, minting $109.8 million.

Though Schachter blames the lower number in part on constrained supply, he echoed a colleague's concerns that this downward trend is a sign that the rhythm game market may be saturated. "This will fuel concerns that the genre is past its peak," he said in a note to investors. "With Activision and others sure to bring new innovation to the genre next year, we can't count it out, but it almost certainly won't be the growth driver it has been over the past two years."

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Avatar image for misfitgamespa

Lets not forget the differences in the economy between last year and this year...the money just isn't there to spend...200 dollars for the complete set is hard to come by this year...The should slow down on releasing the big sets and release less inexpensive sets like Rocks the 80's and GH needs to release track packs.

Avatar image for Media_Mind

too bad their drums don't work

Avatar image for BLuFAlc0n

@macacd ..since more people own it, possibly Wii Play is better than Fallout 3! (only joking). But Super Mario Bros. (NES) is better than both! and it sold more!

Avatar image for -Nintendude-

How much did Rock Band 1 sell during 1 month after it was released? btw, why does the title say Nov. even though it says October in the text?

Avatar image for SocialAnXieTy

I seen someone say Rock Revolution was better than GH:WT, I s'pose just out of spite. While I agree that RB2 is a much better game than GH:WT, that's just stupid to say. Stop your biased ways and have an open mind, for God's sake.

Avatar image for Autolycus

drums in real life = loud. drums in video games = dont...

Avatar image for allotheabove123

never played rock band and never will im just loyal to the brand

Avatar image for jtthegame316

gutiar hero is awesome.

Avatar image for grigjd3

This stuff is far too expensive to buy a new one each year.

Avatar image for 4quarters

Compare the "deluxe" editions including drums and I'll bet Rock Band whipped GH!! There is no "cheap" version of Rock Band for the cheap parent to buy. You're either all in or not with Rock Band and the consistently good weekly downloadable content is better. I still play my GH but not as much. I'd like to see REAL unlockable videos or live footage of these bands after you get a 5 star song, that would be cool and give you incentive to play more!!

Avatar image for hoboman2

i don't think music games are dying. i think they are getting stale. what else can they add? they have it all! Make your own music, customize characters, what else is there? all they can do is add more songs, maybe a few new modes. Eventually they will hit a creative wall. new instruments will only be liked by those who like the real ones. like a keyboard. if Rock band or Guitar Hero come up with something new that's not predictable, it will be the better of the two games

Avatar image for Raging-Cashew

i like guitar hero better just because of the music studio alone. it is simply awesome and unlimited amout of songs for free

Avatar image for otanikun

Woot. Quite honestly it's all just literally fun and games, I don't care whom out sells who, but I'm a fan of Guitar Hero period and I'll never abandon my brand.

Avatar image for uwiwami

@dmish82 I may be whining. Im whining at Rockband fanboys who think nothing else is better than rockband

Avatar image for knuckles10001

Who really cares rock band and guitar hero suck compared to the real thing, I bored of GH3 so much. Besides I play keyboard guitars are common now nearlly everyone wants to play one, its lame..why can't they include a different instrument on these games a keyboard would but nice but also something else!saxophone,trumbone whatever there cool and different.

Avatar image for Gorilla97

music has been a form of entertainment for quite awhile now ~ only for thousands and thousands of years. there will always be love for it. so, i doubt the rythem-based games have reached their peak. one thing the article fails to mention is who is buying these games ~ actual gamers or uninformed parents thinking that's the one their kid wants? it being christmas time, i'd bet on the latter.

Avatar image for Autolycus

@chaosbrigade WHatever dude, I play with my pet rock everyday....

Avatar image for Timstuff

Harmonix has a better business model than Activision. They know that their software sales aren't going to be through the roof forever, so they smartly chose to build their business model around a solid downloadable content platform that is compatible across the whole series. As long as Harmonix keeps the DLC coming, people will keep downloading it, and they'll keep making money. Harmonix came up with a much better cash cow concept than Activision, and I bet they'll be able to milk theirs for a lot longer as a result.

Avatar image for Sevey13

@macacd You are trying WAY to hard to force a comparison. You simply can't compare two totally different games like Fallout and Wii Play. You are correct that sales numbers are not a great indication of game quality: crap games like the recent MoH and Bond games may sell well, while really good games like LOTROnline or Puzzle Quest fly under the radar. On the other hand we are talking about a very locked market. There are only two viable series in this genre and they are GH and RB. One is selling more. One is more popular. Doesn't mean it's better (altough IMO it is), just more popular.

Avatar image for chaosbrigade

Yea this just proved my prediction is correct. The current rock sensation is pretty much the same as the DDR phenomenon almost a decade ago, but just like all fads, they eventually die.

Avatar image for dmish82

@uwiwami No, you're getting thumbs downs because you're whining.

Avatar image for rivendell916

Just as your comment was meant to express your opinion, the thumbs down and thumbs and up is there to express our opinion on your comment.

Avatar image for uwiwami

would everyone stop putting a thumbs down if one of the people who post have an opinion. Just because someone prefers a different game to you theres no need to give them a thumbs down. I, prefer Guitar Hero. And now that i've said that, this is gonna get loads of thumbs down

Avatar image for ParisSun

Will be so funny when people are left with all thes guitars and drum sets and nothing to do with them.

Avatar image for Autolycus

I wont purchase it until their fix their laggy drums.

Avatar image for CharlieFubar

The fad is dying out...

Avatar image for gameking5000

I like Wii Music better than all of them. Guitar Hero is 2nd best for me than Rock band

Avatar image for insanitycheck3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for xblane

The thing I notice most is ppl walking around complaining that they can't buy a copy of GHWT because there is none in stock

Avatar image for macacd

@BLuFAlc0n. The only thing this article proves is that GH sold more than Rock Band. It doesn't make it better. Does the fact that wiiplay sold more than fallout3 in november mean wiiplay is a better game?

Avatar image for BLuFAlc0n

GH is BETTER Than RB, and this article PROVES IT!

Avatar image for Sondre123

I think that one of the reasons for GH's good sales are the fact that RB1 didnt come out i europe and australia before over an half a year after its us release. At the same time as RB1 really was launched in europe, RB 2 was all ready ready for release in us.. and with gh releasing just a couple of months later, more people waited too see what thay would buy. Here inn europe RB2 was released almost at the same time as GH, and because many people still had not played RB1, they maybe decided to buy GH. I know several people who bought GH and later regrets not getting RB instead.

Avatar image for howrah

i love rock band so much my ankle was swollen finished it on expert on drums baby!. the only good gh games are 1 and 2 !

Avatar image for Lucidmike78

Just bought RB2 Special Edition for the XBOX 360 for $109 at Toys R Us, and they gave me a $25 gift certificate. Deal is good till monday! Lets see GTWT match that!

Avatar image for MarioMainic

Rock Band 1 took 1 year to get to australia.

Avatar image for Sagacious_Tien

They have over-saturated the market, but it is still a consistent seller and there will be more Guitar Hero.

Avatar image for Little_Socrates

The fact that it's only 2:1 this year is huge. Good job, Harmonix. You're turning your product well. Although, seriously, I'm starting to feel bad that the Aussies are just getting RB1, are paying more than us, and won't see RB2 for awhile. This is pretty much the one thing I'm not happy about in the way you're running the game. Well, that, and your divergence from rock. This week's Country Pack is a total sellout move.

Avatar image for stories84

Go for the developer with the innovation and track record: Harmonix. Rock Band all the way, unfortunately, Activision has the name with Guitar Hero.

Avatar image for Sevey13

Also, and this is a general comment to posters native English-speaking peeps (those of you who use the forum as a practice grounds for discussion and writing in English because it is not your first language, disregard this part), please feel free to use the period. ---> .

Avatar image for Sevey13

@mynamesdenvrmax Ok. I'm gonna take this one apart a bit. " Rock Band is so much better. I wish id never bought the band bundle of this. I sold the drums quickly since they completely sucked." What sucked about t he drums? Was it the lack of sensitivity? Because Activision has set up provisions to fix that problem if you would take a moment and research these things. "And if id known that id not enjoy the game after beating it, id have sold it all."  What is different about the endgame between RB and GH? Seriously. Once you beat both games and unlock and play through all the songs, that's about it. I'm not quite sure what you were expecting. BOTH GAMES ARE IDENTICAL in this manner. If you hate GH so much because it doesn't have some big spectacular ending, then why are you so enamored with RB? "The Rock Band drums are much better, I've got 2 cymbals and a second bass pedal. I'll be adding another cymbal tuesday. If GHWT would work with those cymbals id play it more." So explain this to me: You spent a ton of money money on RB and GH...then decided you didn't like the way the drums were with GH so you sold them...then you turned around and spent even MORE money to make your RB drums look and work like the ones on GH? What was the point of that? Was it the sensitivity issues a few of the GH drums have had? Because, as I said earlier, a quick check on the GH Support webpage would tell you all you need to know about how to fix that problem. "They seriously lack DLC, and that whole checking for downloadable content crap gets SO annoying." How do they lack DLC? GHTunes gives almost unlimited possibilities for absolutely free DLC. Why are you checking for DLC on the game? Again, two seconds on the GH website or Wikipedia would tell you exactly what songs are available and what are on the docket. What's the problem there?

Avatar image for dmish82

GH = Junk It was great that it revolutionized music games, but it's done nothing since. It's the same thing, year after year. The band mode is garbage in World Tour but everyone is still buying it b/c of the name. Urghhhhhh.

Avatar image for Sevey13

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for tunit000

Rockband is better than Guitar Hero. This is just the for the month of Nov. anyways. GH plays more like a video game, RB is a complete musical experience!

Avatar image for MarioMainic

Gh is much better cause you have guitar battles and there a touch senseative section on the new guitars. Gh is eailer and then rock band so it has a name for it self. and the lastest 1 has all master recordings so what if it has a mic and drums if they copyied off rockband . Yeah and gh will sell over 1m before chritmas so huh beat that its duobleing reck band everytime.

Avatar image for Sk8ter_213

i'm sticking with the Guitar Hero franch, didn't care too much about rock band, i still haven't even played Rock Band 1

Avatar image for OGNeo69

I'll try and not bite at the bait but I will say that once you do some workaround for the drums GHWT and hopefully do not have any other instrument de-functions, the rest of the game is excellent with not a single dubbed track. Also, when you get the chance to do some GHtrackin it is quite amazing. There is some great talent out there and the user friendliness of it keeps ya rockin your own personal jams endlessly. GL all.

Avatar image for mynamesdenvrmax

Rock Band is so much better. I wish id never bought the band bundle of this. I sold the drums quickly since they completely sucked. And if id known that id not enjoy the game after beating it, id have sold it all. The Rock Band drums are much better, I've got 2 cymbals and a second bass pedal. I'll be adding another cymbal tuesday. If GHWT would work with those cymbals id play it more. They seriously lack DLC, and that whole checking for downloadable content crap gets SO annoying.

Avatar image for maverick_76

I just got the first Rock Band. On sale baby!

Avatar image for EdibleFood

Rock band is still miles better