Skip to main content

Activision finally kills Guitar Hero

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Andrew Couts
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Features Editor for Digital Trends, Andrew Couts covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on…
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 is getting a new mode and overhauled DMZ in Season 3
Characters parachuting in Warzone 2.0 Season 3.

Activision published a massive new blog post highlighting what to expect from Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Season 3. The upcoming season, which will launch on April 12, has plenty in store, including new Warzone 2.0 modes, a DMZ overhaul, new weapons, and plenty of additional features.

On the Warzone 2.0 side of things, expect the new Al Mazrah Massive Resurgence mode to drop as soon as the season begins. This will allow players to respawn continuously as long as at least one player on a team remains alive on Al Mazrah, just like Ashika Island. You can also look forward to Plunder and Warzone Ranked to launch as part of the midseason update later on.

Read more
U.K. wants Call of Duty removed from Microsoft’s Activision acquisition
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.

Microsoft has hit a major roadblock in its attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard, as the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has determined that the deal "could harm U.K. gamers." For the deal to go through, the CWA is suggesting some major concessions, like Activision Blizzard divesting in the Call of Duty or Activision segments of its business ahead of the acquisition.
A notice of possible remedies document asks Activision Blizzard to do one of the following three things if it doesn't want the acquisition to be potentially prohibited. 

"Divestiture of the business associated with Call of Duty."
"Divestiture of the Activision segment of Activision Blizzard, Inc., which would include the business associated with Call of Duty."
"Divestiture of the Activision segment and the Blizzard segment of Activision Blizzard Inc., which would include the business associated with Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, among other titles."

Read more
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 Season 2 will finally fix its looting system
Characters shooting enemies in Warzone 2.0.

After a two-week delay, Activision will finally release Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 Season 2 on February 15. Ahead of its release, Activision published a new blog post detailing what to expect from Season 2. Most notably, Season 2 will completely change how looting and inventory management works in Warzone 2.0, hopefully fixing one of the most heavily criticized things about the game.

Now, instead of the menu system featured since launch, Warzone 2.0 will work similarly to the first installment: loot will now drop to the ground in a pile. This willstreamline the looting process, allowing players to grab items much faster. In addition, Medium and Large Backpacks are being removed entirely, only allowing the use of Small Backpacks for the duration of the match. This will not only improve how players collect loot, but will also prevent players from hoarding Self-Revive Kits and other items.

Read more