Activision, the video games publisher behind the Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises have announced that both games are to be axed due to disappointing sales.
The company released a statement this week saying: "Due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing's Guitar Hero business unit and discontinue development on its Guitar Hero game for 2011”.
The Guitar Hero series of games became hugely popular upon release in 2005 across several gaming platforms. They were a key milestone in the evolution of social gaming and integration between the music and video game industries, going on to sell more than 25 million units worldwide.
The rhythm action game featured licensed tracks from hundreds of artists over several years including Nirvana, Coldplay and The White Stripes, with entire stand-alone games built around the Metallica and Aerosmith back catalogues.
Seemingly a fad rather than a phenomenon, the decline of interest in music games became more evident in the last couple of years, especially with a ‘Rock Band’ Beatles game released in late 2009 failing to reach expected sales despite a huge amount of hype and marketing spend.
The original audiences of such games have most likely migrated to more portable and affordable versions of such games and apps available on the iPhone, enjoying the music interaction elements of such software without having to purchase expensive plastic peripheral instruments.
Games such as Guitar Hero were touted as potentially major revenue streams for artists through royalty payments and sync deals but it seems to be game over for this once great white hope.