Activision finally kills Guitar Hero

Well, that was fun while it lasted: After nearly six years of faux axe shredding, Activision Blizzard has decided to send its Guitar Hero franchise up a stairway to heaven.

“Due to continued declines in the music genre,” the video game publisher said in its December Quarter and Calendar Year 2010 Financial Results release, “the company will disband Activision Publishing’s Guitar Hero business unit and discontinue development on its Guitar Hero game for 2011…These decisions are based on the desire to focus on the greatest opportunities that the company currently has to create the world’s best interactive entertainment experiences.”

Activision will also discontinue production of True Crime: Hong Kong. So, sorry to all four of you who were looking forward to a sequel to that.

The decision to close shop on the Guitar Hero unit follows dismal holiday sales figures Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock — the fourteenth iteration of the game. Activision also says its Guitar Hero games, once the most successful titles in gaming, were simply too expensive to produce  — a taxing process that involved an endless string of licensing fees for music and the cost of manufacturing pricey items like giant plastic guitar and microphone controllers.

“In retrospect, it was a $3 billion or more business that everybody needed to buy, so they did, but they only needed to buy it once,” analyst Michael Pachter tells the Associated Press. “It’s much like Wii Fit. Once you have it, you don’t need to buy another one.”

The death of the music-centric video game seems to be a trend in the industry. Guitar Hero‘s demise follows Viacom’s unloading of Rock Band developer Harmonix late last year.

The disintegration of the Guitar Hero arm will require the loss of about 500 Activision jobs, the company says. (Activision Publishing employs about 7,000 people overall.) They also say, however, that those people will be replaced by new hires elsewhere in the company, which will refocus its efforts on social and online games.

That’s not to say Activision is doing poorly, by any means. The company also publishes Call of Duty: Black Ops, which had made a whopping $1 billion before the end of last year. As you probably already know, Activision Blizzard also publishes a little game franchise known as World of Warcraft. So, there’s always that.


Treyarch takes over 2020 Call of Duty, will make Black Ops 5

Treyarch is taking over development for the 2020 Call of Duty, which will be Black Ops 5, Kotaku reported. Raven was initially leading the project alongside Sledgehammer, but the two studios frequently got into arguments.

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.

World of Warcraft Classic beta testers confusing old-school features for bugs

Blizzard released a "not a bug" list for World of Warcraft Classic, as beta testers apparently kept reporting intended features. The list includes the "Your skill in Protection increased to 15" message that appears upon leveling up.

Next Apex Legends patch will fix Gibraltar’s sticky shield and hit registration

Respawn is set to roll out a new patch for Apex Legends early this week. The update will look to fix several issues in the game, including Gibraltar's sticky shield, the Fortified passive ability, and incorrect hit registration.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

Need a new Switch game? These will scratch the itch without emptying your wallet

Besides its great AAA games, the Nintendo Switch also has plenty of cheaper options. Here are some great Nintendo Switch games under $20, including some new versions of old classics.
Emerging Tech

How Super Mario, Magic: The Gathering, and PowerPoint are low-key supercomputers

What if the creators of Super Mario World, PowerPoint, and even Magic: The Gathering had accidentally created tools hiding a general-purpose computer in plain sight? Turns out they have.

Red Dead Online poker missing in some parts of the world due to gambling laws

The massive update for Red Dead Online as it left beta added poker, among many other things, to the online component of Red Dead Redemption 2. Some players can't access the card game though, due to the gambling laws of their country.

Minecraft may be best-selling video game in history with 176 million copies sold

Minecraft has sold more than 176 million copies since it was launched 10 years ago, across all platforms where it is available. The milestone may make it the best-selling video game in history.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 publisher opts out of Epic Games store sale

Epic Games launched its first major sale and made the decision to cover the cost of discounts, but a couple of publishers opted out anyway. One withdrawal, involving Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, seems to be rooted in a…

More than 40 studios at Ubisoft are working on improving accessibility in games

Ubisoft's accessibility project manager David Tisserand shared details on a new accessibility initiative during Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Here's what's to come in the future from the company.

From platforms to games, here's how Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce size up

Google Stadia will have some stiff competition in Microsoft's Project xCloud, but that isn't the only game streaming service. We compared Google Stadia vs. Nvidia GeForce Now to see the differences and features.

Apex Legends patch waves goodbye to Gibraltoad, addresses hit-detection issues

It has been quiet for a while, but the Apex Legends developers are gearing up for a patch update in the coming weeks. A Respawn employee took to Reddit to share the planned changes for the next major patch.

PlayStation Productions is taking inspiration from Disney’s Marvel films

Sony announced PlayStation Productions, a studio dedicated to bringing the gaming properties to film and television. The new studio is aiming to model things after Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe.