I couldn’t resist that pun, even if I am hardly the first to make it. (More likely, one of the last!)
When Activision Blizzard announced its fourth quarter financials for 2010, they took the opportunity to say that further development of the Guitar Hero franchise is being halted. Lackluster sales and a decline in the overall popularity of the music games genre as a whole are given as cause.
SAD TO SEE YOU GO, HERO
Guitar Hero has been a mainstay in library games programming for several years, so this will have an impact on what we do. You’ll certainly be able to continue offering GH and RockBand successfully for a little while longer. However, you’ll want to be watching for the next big game too, if your players are coming for the hottest and newest. Once a franchise is shelved like this, interest quickly wanes.
This is just a fact of life when dealing with console and video games. After a time, they get played out. Are you still getting players to show up for Dance Dance Revolution? Probably not.
MOVING RIGHT ALONG
What’s the next big thing? If I knew, I’d be buying stock. As it is, let me recommend thinking beyond, behind, and around the “hawtness.” Look into some of the games that allow players and fans to contribute to the whole experience by designing playable levels for sharing with others: Little Big Planet or Scratch come to mind. Broaden the appeal by having an art or fanfic writing contest, letting your patrons share their love for the heroic adventurers they’ve played in games of their own. Explore some of the gateway board games I’ve talked about in recent print columns (LJ, November and January). Maybe it’s time to start thinking about an ARG (alternate reality game) in your library, using some of Jane McGonigal’s ideas about how to make the whole world better through games. Librarybazaar blogger Fiacre has some fabulous ideas to get you started.
Sometimes a little change is good.