For the last 24 hours it seems that everywhere you look people are mourning the cancellation of the Guitar Hero series. People everywhere are tweeting, posting, and blogging their favorite memories and highlights from the years of plastic guitar shredding. Myself on the other hand, also a devout music game player, I think that Guitar Hero is everything that is wrong with video games today and it should have been put out of its misery a long time ago.
Before you jump on the “yeah, music games suck” bandwagon, I assure you that it’s not what I meant. What I was actually referring to (which the Hero series is more than guilty of) is the disgusting level of market oversaturation its created over the years. With so many iterations (with little to NO innovation between them) in such a small release window it was simply bound to fail. Then on top of all that, with all of those releases (12 f*cking games in 5 years) you weren’t able to keep the songs you purchased (on disc) and play them in the next title that followed. When the cash grab titles were released (Aerosmith, Metallica, Van Halen, Etc.) you could only play those songs included on the disc and whatever you had as DLC.
The genre as a whole has become less and less profitable with every passing year. According to Gamasutra, in 2008 music games generated almost a billion dollars then took a 46% dive in 2009. Last year they barely eclipsed the 200 million mark. It doesn’t take a Charles Schwab financial planner to realize that this train has left the station. And really when you think about it, where the hell would they take the series anyway? It’s at the point where the next only option would be something along the lines of “Guitar Hero: Call of Duty Edition”, and honestly I wouldn’t have put it passed them.
The real story behind all of this is how this is affecting the people that create these titles. Yesterday it was reported that although Activision saw a boost in its 4th quarter revenue, it didn’t get the numbers it was anticipating and because of it they’re doing some restructuring to the company which is leading to game development cancellations (SEE: Above) and the laying off of 500 people. I hope nothing but the best for these people and that they land back on their feet, but I don’t feel the same about the Guitar Hero series.
F*ck you Guitar Hero, you’re everything that’s wrong with games today. I beg you, please don’t ever come back.