Layoffs at Activision After Guitar Hero, Skylanders Underperform

"We are refocusing to better align with Activision's long-term priorities."

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Following the news last week that Guitar Hero Live and Skylanders SuperChargers underperformed, Activision has now confirmed that it's implemented a round of layoffs. It is not immediately clear which office or offices were impacted, but Game Informer reports that Activision's Minneapolis studio was hit.

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"As announced on our earnings call, our games for core audiences did extremely well, but the casual audience has not yet emerged on next-gen consoles," an Activision spokesperson told Game Informer. "So we are refocusing to better align with Activision's long-term priorities because, as always, our strategy evolves to keep us ahead of a rapidly changing industry.

"We are working with those impacted by the changes to offer outplacement services and support."

Guitar Hero Live and Skylander SuperChargers "performed weaker than expected," Activision said as part of its latest earnings report. The publisher said the downturn for SuperChargers was largely the result of "greater competition" in the toys-to-life genre, presumably referencing Disney Infinity, Lego Dimensions, and Nintendo's Amiibo. Activision also said SuperChargers and Guitar Hero Live struggled as a result of "the casual audience's shift to mobile devices."

As Game Informer points out, Activision Blizzard is making moves of late. Some of its new areas of focus include the mobile space with the acquisition of Candy Crush developer King, while the company also recently announced plans for movies and TV shows. Additionally, Activision Blizzard has acquired Major League Gaming, furthering its push into the competitive gaming market by creating the "ESPN of Esports."

During the earnings call, Activision also said it does not plan to ship a new Guitar Hero game for the newest generation of consoles. Instead, like Harmonix is doing with Rock Band 4, Activision will continually launch new content for Guitar Hero Live through updates. A new Skylanders game is coming this year, but though no other details on the game were made available when it was announced last week.

In other Activision console gaming news, Modern Warfare creator Infinity Ward will launch a new "innovative" Call of Duty game this year. Additionally, Destiny is getting a "large" expansion this year, with a sequel coming in 2017.

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LordOssiss

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Of course Guitar Hero underperformed.
You make the moronic, asinine mistake of putting fucking dubstep in a guitar simulator.
As for Skylanders, even the kids will get pissed off at you if they have to keep buying new games and toys.What, you thought that releasing a new game every year was a good idea? Even Assassin's Creed is taking a break from that bullshittery.

Activision: Governed By Asshats

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Flyin3lvl

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""Activision also said SuperChargers and Guitar Hero Live struggled as a result of "the casual audience's shift to mobile devices."" *shakes fist*

"damn you casuals""

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devink32

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I really hope the under-performance of Skylanders brings back Spyro.

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rikku45

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Are people bored of skylanders or did they finally see how silly the concept was?

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LouiXIII

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That sucks

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CapmJim

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Edited By CapmJim

I'm not surprised Skylanders and Guitar Hero under performed

For Guitar Hero and Rock band as well i think the music genre is pretty much still dead. Rock Band at least let people use their old DLC but i don't think people were interested in learning a new guitar and new game. The game was kind of fun though, at least the demo.

Skylanders i heard was the weakest Skylanders game to date, and the vehicles, people just didn't dig collecting them compared to the more interesting characters or giants. I thought the giants and swap force gimmicks were cool. Trap Team and Vehicles seem lame. Then you have Disney Infinity releasing Star Wars content on the heels of a new Star Wars movie. Finally Lego Dimensions has the Lego branding and is just a great game. No wonder Skylanders is struggling when the other two are doing so well.

I do feel for the people laid off, that really sucks.

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Hurvl

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Edited By Hurvl

"Oh no, expensive plastic toys are not as profitable anymore (possibly because of a saturated market)! Whatever should we do now?"

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hystavito

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Edited By hystavito

@Hurvl: Make more toys and make the next game barely work at all unless you buy lots of the new toys! :)

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pboontap

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well no one saw this coming........

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Chewbacca72

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Rock Band live underperforming was as surprising as Ricky Martin coming out. Who could have predicted hipsters performing Minipop songs would have flopped. Maybe try ROCK SONGS next time.

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DawgByte2

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I don't know why Guitar Hero Live was well received by critics.
In all honestly, it looked like crap. I liked animated scene. They needed something much different to bring back players... much different.

Skylanders? That market is WAY oversaturated now. Keep releasing a new one every year, it's going to bite you in the behind.
Disney, Nintendo, & now LEGO... it'd cost literally a small fortune (many thousands) if you got every character for every game.

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MAXTHUNDER99

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@DawgByte2: Don't forget Hasbro as well.

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PinchySkree

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The only long term priority they have is milking as much money from idiots as possible.

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GirlUSoCrazy

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Edited By GirlUSoCrazy

@PinchySkree: Honestly that's every company. Some company's products happen to align more with consumers' perceived value than others.

When they feel in a dominant position they will give you less, when they feel they need to break into a market they will give you more. As they grow their presence in a market they will inevitably give less overall value until a certain threshold breaks and they start losing enough customers. Of course at first they will go through some slight of hand where they have sales or bonuses or just some spin to convince people to stay.

This is all companies. If you feel you're getting a good value, it will only last until it grows enough. If it doesn't grow then it won't be worth it to keep up for long.

Good value doesn't last. Consumers are opportunistic and so are companies, it's a constant struggle.

Lock-in is a strategy. Exclusives (the next real Mario is only on Nintendo), holding your game library ransom with DRM (you will always need Steam installed), locking you into physical items like amiibos (if you don't have games to go with them you're wasting money, if you don't have amiibo you can't access that dungeon tho), holding you to one platform (because your app/game purchases only work on iOS or Android)...

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JDlok

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Good. I hope this whole corporation and all of these greedy developers all die off so good, creative games can be made again that we can all enjoy.

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yukushi

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Activision you have nobody to blame put yourself greed blinded your vision you put out so many of these music games that people got tired of it and stop buying it now you are trying to resurrect it but its too late, call of duty is still selling but the sales keeping declining this means you are not growing the franchise you are slowly killing it,

Stop giving people the same thing every year take a page out of grand theft autos book now that is a franchise that keeps growing and its being around since 1997.

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Thanatos2k

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Activision killed the music game genre, and Skylanders is a scam. Good to see their cynical cash grabs failing.

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BeantownSean

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Edited By BeantownSean

Skylanders Giants was a lot of fun to play with my son, but series is such a rip-off, needing a new portal and Starter-Pack for every game.

Luckily, I was able to find him a Sypro Adventures Disc without having to buy the complete Starter Pack

Are any of the newer portals interchangeable at all?

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dlCHIEF58

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@beantownsean: Actually that is not entirely true. Spyro's Adventure and Giants used the exact same portal. Both Swap Force and Trap Team required new portals, but all would play the previous versions of the game on the same platform if I remember correctly. Superchargers would work with any of the Portals of Power from any of the previous games on the same platform.

So in order to get the most compatibility, the Trap Team Portal of Power seems to be the way to go.

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BeantownSean

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Edited By BeantownSean

@dlCHIEF58:

Yeah, I was aware of that and did play Spyro with the Giants Portal, which is why I bought just the Spyro Disc.

We bought Giants first, then Spyro which is why I only needed the disc.

Also...the discs are typically not sold separately, so if the game is new it'll be next to impossible finding a disc.

I have seen replacement discs, but I don't know how readily available these are at launch.

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Isaacfalls

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No surprise here - Guitar Hero sucked so bad.

I bought the game for 80$ and literally sold it the next day.

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jcharp

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I think I heard that the latest Disney Infinity under-performed as well. I wonder if this is a sign that those kinds of games are losing popularity.

As for Guitar Hero Live, that just looked awful.

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