Guitar Hero Given the Axe

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.

Guitar 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.

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.



  1. Matt Whiteman says:

    Fortunately the untimely demise of Guitar Hero doesn’t necessarily mean the music video game genre is dead. Harmonix, the developer of Rock Band, Dance Central and originally Karaoke Revolution and Guitar Hero is still alive and kicking. They were recently up for sale when MTV decided to get out of the video game market. Harmonix decided to once again become an independent development house and purchased themselves from MTV’s parent company Viacom. Part of the sale included the rights to the Rock Band and Dance Central franchises, which Harmonix will continue being in possession of. While continued support for Guitar Hero has ceased, Rock Band will continue to have a constant stream of new content in the foreseeable future.

    So what’s the next big trend in gaming? Speaking specifically in the music game genre, dancing games are making a huge comeback. Franchises like Dance Central for the XBOX 360 Kinect, and Just Dance on the Wii are incredibly popular. Just Dance 2 sold 5 Million units as of last month. That’s pretty incredible for a non first party title on the Wii. Dance Central was the top selling title for the Kinect last year as well. The games are very fun and very approachable for players of all ages. Another cool twist on karaoke is coming in a few weeks as well with Yoostar 2: In The Movies. It’s like karaoke, without the singing. Players perform lines from different scene from popular Hollywood movies. The game even captures your likeness using the Kinect or Playstation Eye camera, inserting yourself into the scenes. These performances can be saved and shared online as well.

    Beyond the music game category, the areas where potentially see growth in interest this year would be the Kinect for XBOX 360, Playstation Move on the PS3, Glasses-less 3D gaming with the Nintendo 3DS portable system, socially connected gaming (IE. Facebook, Twitter), and user-generated content driven games (Little Big Planet).

  2. BennyYamma says:

    Me thinks this project cafe will finally bring good ol’ nintendo back…not more casul stuff please nintendo