The Day the Music Died

Following the trend of 3rd Quarter shakeups by major game developers for the year, Activision announces that it can no longer financially support certain games with particularly expensive licenses and development.

As such, Guitar Hero and DJ Hero, this is your death knell.

Last month, Activision made a move that suggested they may be looking to reorganize the company and its assets;  they closed Bizarre Creations, most famous as the developers of Project Gotham Racing and Blur. Bizarre had just been purchased back in 2007 by Activision, and the decision seems to have been spurred by the weak sales of 007: Bloodstone. The closure has had many smaller developers now glad they didn’t sell their assets to the publishing behemoth, and has many other proprietary developers sweating.

This week, Activision held a press conference to speak about the direction of the company and its other properties. Of all major developers/publishers, Activision had one of the strongest years. EA cut their earnings projections drastically, and Square-Enix had a disasterous year, yet in Q3, Activision tripled their previous year, and blasted past industry predictions, mostly due to the success of World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and of course Starcraft 2.

Despite these stellar earnings, Activision looks to the future with a cautious eye, an interesting move for a company known, in recent years, for tossing its weight around at the top of the industry (we’re looking at you, E3 concert extravaganza).

They announced Wednesday the 9th the scrapping of one of their major titles, as well as the closure of another property altogether. True Crime: Streets of Hong Kong has been cancelled, dead before it hit the ground. Additionally, both Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises have been put on hold indefinitely. Activision maintains the rights to the IPs for the game, and developing studios Vicarious Visions and FreeStyleGames are likely to be suffering from layoffs.

A press release accounting for the demise of the once mighty Guitar Hero franchise states that ” We simply cannot make these games profitable, given the current market.” They expressed a desire to focus their development funds back into Blizzard, Call of Duty, and a new IP from Bungie. Also mirroring EA’s statements last month, Activision expressed a desire to develop and promote more in the market of downloadable and net based properties, presumably with an eye on XBLA and iPhone markets.

Begin Editorial Mode:

Even if the market was flooded with music games there for a while, you couldn’t help but have fun with them. Rock Band is the king of the castle now, but even its IP was recently sold, and its future uncertain for the moment. I know that I, personally, played the hell out of Guitar Hero 3 in its day, and had a lot of fond memories using it to lure gamer girls back to my lair… but that’s a whole other article.

Padinga offers its condolences to any who’s job was affected by the cancellations. Thanks for the memories.

  • RurouniQ

    I knew I should have picked up DJ Hero when it mattered…

  • Mecha

    Bah the genre was getting stale anyway. What we need is Parappa the Rapper 3 god dammit!!!

  • Andrew Allen

    I think it has just as much to do with the marketplace as Activision. No one longs to see them chastised for the evil of their ways more than I, but the simple truth is that music games were voted off the island by the consumer before anyone else.

  • Maul

    This is true. But really, its too bad, and has more to do with saturation than lack of quality. Rock Band 3 was awesome, and the Pro instruments added a new layer to that game that was, frankly, pretty amazing.

    Still, GH had a solid 5 years. I guess thats all one can ask for in today’s media world.

  • jenJEN

    I prefer Rock Band anyway.