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 hank_101

I bet sales are going to go up with Christmas coming up soon.

Avatar image for auron_16

i agree with jim_shorts

Avatar image for jim_shorts

Times are tough. People just don't have the money to buy a $180 game anymore.

Avatar image for mikemaj82

why? haha because Rock Band sucks. that's why.

Avatar image for SocialAnXieTy

How is GH:WT beating RB2? Aside from the open-note gameplay on the Bass, it's just a water-downed version of the first Rock Band. Damn it, conformity sucks.

Avatar image for FTrain08

What's funny is that Harmonix made the first Guitar Hero and the first Rock Band. They just expanded their formula under a different name.

Avatar image for SSBFan12

Man I remember the first ever Guitar Hero game. I just can't believe the game is one of the best selling.

Avatar image for h4xx0rz

This isn't exactly hard to accomplish, considering that Wii sales were the highest for Guitar Hero, and World Tour is out for all systems, including PC and Mac versions, yet fail to mention that Rock Band 2 isn't even OUT for the Wii yet, and the PS3 version was late.

Avatar image for wiiplay1

Oh, and when will some people stop their addiction to Guitar Hero? Rock Band 2 isn't a rip-off of another game. It's original and better. Over 1/2 of this crowd falling Guitar Hero needs to try Rock Band; it'll make their lives better.

Avatar image for wiiplay1

Yes, but who is the copycat? Yeah, GH. Rock Band doesn't seem as put-together-in-a-few-weeks as GHIV is. But yes, they are both better than Rock Revolution.

Avatar image for VirginBoy92

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

Avatar image for kodmani

rock revolution pwns both guitar hero world tour and rockband ! ( being sarcastic)

Avatar image for Garren666

I don't mind if EA decides to release a new RB game disc every year (as long as they don't keep making new peripherals for it), but only as long as it makes big differences between them and include a plethora of new songs ranging a broad scope of genres and bands. The differences between RB1, and RB2 are quite apparent. The world tour mode is far more accessible due to being able to play it alone, there are more outfit pieces to purchase, more venues, challenges that adapt to the DLC you get, the online "Battle of the Bands". If they make new innovations between each iteration I don't mind if they make new disc games, as long as they aren't dedicated to a single band, I will never buy one of those.

Avatar image for Lex_Luthor_XLII

Yeah ctg!! Forget system wars, let's get even more focused, and have similar game wars on single consoles. Jeez man, grow up.

Avatar image for Mikethechimp

Another bad title selling more than a better one due to conformity. When will teens stop following the crowd and get their heads out their asses..

Avatar image for Arch649

I haven't played World Tour yet, but I have it on my Gamefly que. Till then I'm happy with Rock Band 2.

Avatar image for UFO2012

Playing guitar with a controller what's fun about that!?

Avatar image for Sins-of-Mosin

I'm mad that they removed controller support for playing the guitar. Instead of a bunch of us buying just the game, none of us did because we aren't over paying for a lame guitar.

Avatar image for 100000

Guitar Hero's interface (since guitar hero 3) is better , that is all I can say.

Avatar image for ctg867

Wow, what a bias article. I love how they start of with combined sales figures for World Tour, then in the sub-title and article casually forget to mention how they outsold Rock Band 2 3:1 in units. And get this, their 2:1 revenue stat comes from the EXACT SAME QUOTE as the 3:1 units stat. << LINK REMOVED >> Seriously GameSpot what the ****? They casually mention how the units of RB games was "fewer" then the units of GH games, but then note how RB had a "massive increase". Then they go onto say how awful the revenue and unit decrease for GH is, blowing things way out of proportion. Hey, maybe revenue was down because the GH fanbase was already so huge that so many of them just bought the game itself and not a bundle. Maybe that has something to with that whole 3:1 ratio. It sold "just" 978k units. Sorry, I didn't realize that almost selling a million units in a month is worth prefacing with an "only". It's not just what you write, it's what you omit. And it's not just what you write, it's how you say it. From Tor's choice of vocabulary you can obviously tell he's putting at the very least some personal opinion into a news article that is deserving of absolutely none. I don't come to news articles looking for the author's opinion of a game laced between all the text. I come here for a ****ing news article. Get a grip.

Avatar image for Englando_IV

Kind of annoying that a familiar title can be the cause of so many sales.

Avatar image for 2bitSmOkEy

@viewtifuljon111 how is this not "gimmicky crap". ok its "appealing gimmicky crap that has tread the exact same path as the wii aka riding pop culture for all its worth". gimmicky crap is gimmicky crap at the end of the day.

Avatar image for Gamer_4_Fun

I am surprised to actually learn this.... I thought Rock Band with its better 'non-ripoff' approach should catch more buyers.

Avatar image for Um_Wut

this is completely absurd rock band is miles better. MILES!

Avatar image for Port5

I still like those games...they are always the best to play when you have four friends around. I wasn't impressed with GHIV though. Rock Band has become a far more superior game. I am done buying GH - Rock Band Rules!

Avatar image for Bdjohnst

I think both games should take a break for a two years or so, then make them again. People don't have enough money to keep buying these rhythm games every time they come out. Plus, if they keep making them every year, they might start running out of songs and the franchise would loose its edge after a few more years. Plus, in two more years the technology could be different and the developer could put in more time and make their games truly unique.

Avatar image for MajorBrian

I didnt buy the new guitar hero right away because I was not pleased with GH3. I'll get world tour eventually but not right away.

Avatar image for viewtifuljon111

@xenon I would agree that "gimmicky crap" is killing the industry, but I would not agree that rhythm games are "gimmicky crap". I have probably put in over 100 hours on GH 1 & 2 and Rock Band over the years. However, as I previously mentioned, I would agree that gimmicky crap like Wii Music, Wii Play, etc is ruining the industry.

Avatar image for Savvy30039

A part of me wonders if GH sales are down from last year because people wanted to play Guitar Hero For the guitar, not the entire band. I'm not keen on singing, and the drums would take up too much space in my small apartment, so that was a big deciding factor in my purchase of GH3 instead of Rock Band last year. The cheaper price tag was certainly a plus as well, as not all gamers are rolling in the dough, especially with the economy being what it is this year.

Avatar image for Khoo1992

Okay, let Guitar Hero go hiatus for at least 2 years, then make it again

Avatar image for Amir29

Really? This wasn't already obvious? What do you expect when you come out with 6 SKUs in one year? In no other form of media (Books, Film, Games, or music) have we seen such saturation by it's creator. The key (in my opinion) here, is to stick exclusively to digital downloads on the consoles' respective networks. Thus, the development teams will have more time to come up with new and fresh ideas to keep the ball rolling. It's not good business to expect people to pay triple the cost of the average game to get the same thing they played the year before.

Avatar image for mjk400

Hey guys who really cares. Guitar hero has it out for all 4 systems and Rock Band 2 has it out for only 2. Once Rock Band 2 comes out for the Wii and ps2 they are going to start selling like crazy. Most people own a Wii and Rock Band 2 is not even out for it yet.

Avatar image for DaSlyOne

Wow! Shocking news here - sales of expensive games take a downturn in a tanking economy. Nothing right now is going to be "the growth driver it has has been over the past two years", regardless if the rhythm game market is saturated or not. UBS has a bunch of genius' working for them.

Avatar image for MaddenBowler10

None of this matters to me......

Avatar image for mjk400

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

Avatar image for flameducky

Guitar Hero is running out of juice. It was innovative at first, but with all the rip-offs, it's losing sales.

Avatar image for Merl57

well maybe they shouldn't rush their games and spend more time on them

Avatar image for 2bitSmOkEy

anyone that buys any of these rhythm games is getting ripped off hardcore. what a huge gimmick. omg im going to hit buttons on my plastic guitar in sync with a beat and pay insane amounts of money to do it!!!!!!!!!! omg i have to buy this years 16th iteration of guitar hero it has my favorite band in it!!!! omg i have to download these new songs even though they are 20 bucks!!! sorry /rant off but this trend is enraging.

Avatar image for Pinkyimp

After RB2 and GHWT, there should be no more of these games, it should all just be DLC from here on out, the instruments are fine, just improve the songs and leave it alone. but knowing GH, they'll probably make a game for every band in existance.

Avatar image for stranger12343

@viewtiful_jay You won't even buy Brutal Legend, Dead Space, or the console versions of Valve games (If your PC isn't good enough to run them on the PC) just because they're made by EA? Sure they aren't the best publisher, but that really shouldn't stop you from buying a good game.

Avatar image for viewtiful_jay

Yes, the rhythm game market is oversaturated. In the course of a year, there were 5 Guitar Hero games released - GH3, GH: On Tour, GH: Aerosmith, GH: World Tour, and GH: On Tour Decades. I don't care how much "demand" there is for your prodcut, Activision's business model of pumping out sequel after sequel gets a little old, especially when there are several minor revisions of the same game within a year. As for Rock Band, I actually like they approach things. Sure, release a new game every year, but at least they keep a steady stream of DLC coming, which almost makes the sequel a moot point. The only bad thing with RB is that it's made by EA, and I won't buy anything they sell anymore, just on principle. Then if you really wannna get into it, there are all kinds of GH/RB knockoffs starting to roll out, which just makes it worse.

Avatar image for iuns

As many others have said, they need to stop just realising the same game over and over, changing a couple of songs with each realse!

Avatar image for Xenon-

Am I the only one who thinks that gimmicky crap like this is killing the gaming industry?

Avatar image for MonkeyWrench127

I think now the instruments are set in stone... what I'd like to see is not a new game every year, but expanding the DLC a LOT more (ESPECIALLY in the case of Guitar Hero, release all these band exclusive games as big expansions for the main games) and I'd love to see extra additions, such as backup singing and rhythm guitar where available...

Avatar image for osxgp

Maybe sales are down because people are tired of the same game with different songs? All I know is that both games are fun, but I don't see how much more innovation can be put into either game. Then again, Madden is the same game year after year and it continues to sell. Hmmm.

Avatar image for noelveiga

The plastic market is saturated and should focus on setting instrument standards instead of adding new gimmiks. At this point, the rythm game biz needs to move towards software. We all have our drums and guitars, now scale back on that and focus on DLC.

Avatar image for KyoValdez

What happen to the robot and Jesus story?

Avatar image for ALLoY1717

@ jinzo9988 Two things, the first being that maybe, just maybe Harmonix did take inspration from Konami's earlier rhythm games. however if we linked all games like this we would still be refering to all FPS's as Doom clones and open world games as GTA clones. Just because you have a game within the same genre and a game that came before it doesn't mean it was a rip off. And make a side note of the fact it is obvious that Konami can't be trusted to make instrument based rhythm games now. Secondly, just because there is the addition of vocals doesn't limit the songs that can be released for Guitar Hero. Who cares if the track is vocaless that didn't stop Harmonix releasing YYZ on Rock Band now did it. You just add a disclaimer bring the fact to people attention before downloading the track.

Avatar image for ALLoY1717

The rhythm market is not saturated. There are only 2 music games Rock Band and Guitar Hero all the other die out, do you really expect to see another Rock Revolution? The reason for the slide? I dont know, could it have anything to do with the fact that everyone has 2-3 Guitars by now. The lose in sales is due to people buying just the game and not the set.