By Jared Newman | Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm
Having milked the music game genre with endless iterations on Guitar Hero, Activision is bailing out.
Activision announced that it has dissolved its Guitar Hero business unit and cancelled development on a Guitar Hero game that was supposed to launch this year. The publisher blamed declining sales in the music genre as a whole.
The decline of music games has been a long time coming. Two years ago, PaidContent noted that the music games genre underperformed in 2008 compared to the previous year. Instead of innovating with must-have hardware, publishers Activision and MTV Games oversaturated the market with spin-offs like Band Hero, Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits, Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero: Van Halen, Beatles: Rock Band, Lego Rock Band and Rock Band Unplugged.
By the end of 2009, analysts predicted that music games would never achieve their former glory.
On the bright side, music-based video games aren’t completely dead. Dance Central is one of the most popular games for Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensing camera, and Tap Tap Revenge 4 continues to dominate the iPhone app charts. Rock Band developer Harmonix, which MTV Games sold to private investors earlier this month, may return to its earlier franchises Frequency and Amplitude, which focused on electronica and didn’t require expensive guitar-shaped controllers.
In other words, there’s still a market for games that celebrate music, even if they don’t involve big plastic peripherals.