Analyst Advises Activision to Acquire Rock Band

Analyst Advises Activision to Acquire Rock Band

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One of Activision's key franchises is circling the drain, and sales estimates for Guitar Hero games are getting some major pruning.

It's been on the cards for a while, but it seems like the Guitar Hero series has finally run out of steam and taken Activision's dreams of music game domination with it. According to one analyst, the situation is so bad that the only way Activision is going to get anyone to care about a new Guitar Hero game is by cutting a deal with Viacom and linking it to the Rock Band franchise.

Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz thought that interest in music games had effectively reset itself back to the levels it was at before Guitar Hero exploded onto the scene in 2006. He said that Cowen and Company had revised its sales estimate for Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, cutting it from 2.5 million US sales in the fourth quarter of 2010, to just 1 million. There was some small comfort for Activision however, although it was bittersweet at best, as Creutz said that Guitar Hero made so little difference to Activision's overall results, it was no longer a focus for investor's concerns.

I can't help but feel that Creutz is overcomplicated things. Activision could try to revitalize the Guitar Hero series with a Voltron-esque team-up with Rock Band, but it would probably be just as effective to wait a year or two before releasing another game, and try to make it a really good one. It's not wizardry or eldritch arts that make the Rock Band games score higher than the Guitar Hero games, it's that Harmonix is taking its time and isn't firing them out at a rate of at least one a year.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is available now for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii, and Rock Band 3 comes out for the same platforms plus the DS on October 26th in North America, October 28th in Australia, and October 29th in Europe.

Source: MCV

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Rock Band is still good, because it has the original GH devs...Guitar Hero has gone to shit.

Don't left Acti kill two franchises. They'd whore out GH.

Rock Band has much more varied DLC, too...It also makes songs importable between games. It has 4 spinoffs, that were all solid. LEGO Rock Band for the kids. Beatles Rock Band...for all the Beatles fans. And Green Day Rock Band. And Rock Band Unplugged for PSP...which played...oddly.

The only thing that's really killed it is the whole release an expansion every few months thing...

Just go back to 2 year dev cycles with significant changes each time.

Well maybe if they didn't pillage, loot and rape (Yo-ho me hearties!) every franchise yearly - not including extortionately priced DLC - they'd still have the chance to be on top.

How about they don't? Guitar Hero is dwindling, so rather than milk the last droplets out of the cow, we feed it lots of grass, give it some time, then, when it's Udder is fit to burst, we begin to milk it a bit.

Then we eat beef.

Calumon: Ummm... I don't understand this. I agree with Jack? Maybe? I like milk too!

Thus EA predication came true. Activision allowed one of their franchises to die a painful and slow death. Activision, you suck, not every franchise needs a yearly release game. Screw you.

Funny, they seemed so proud at how fast they could put out games compared to Rock Band, and now it's killing them.

No loss, they peaked at their first attempt with Guitar Hero 3, everything beyond that just paled in comparison, and was always at least two steps behind Rock Band innovation-wise. 'Quality is greater than Quantity' does not seem to be a concept they've been able to grasp.

I would find it hard to believe that the devs for Rock Band (the original devs behind Guitar Hero) would work or combine efforts with the publishing company that they left. Besides, since this is Acttivison, they'll probably run the current ddevs for guitar hero into the ground, and then switch to another dev team that they own.

Rock Band actually tries to innovate, and is 100x better polished.

Activision have already ruined Guitar Hero, wish they'd just keep to themselves.

Well Activision had it coming. They just shipped the same game with different songs like 4 times. Rock band has improved all the time and Harmonix has understood the importance of good DLC. I don't like the idea of this team-up. Activision should just take their time and make a good game with good chartings for a change(I mean seriously their chartings suck. I know it's a game but I would like to play something that even reminds the song).

LawlessSquirrel:
Funny, they seemed so proud at how fast they could put out games compared to Rock Band, and now it's killing them.

No loss, they peaked at their first attempt with Guitar Hero 3, everything beyond that just paled in comparison, and was always at least two steps behind Rock Band innovation-wise. 'Quality is greater than Quantity' does not seem to be a concept they've been able to grasp.

Agreed. My copy of Rock Band 2 has 200+ songs on it now...I think if Guitar Hero had concentrated more on DLC rather than investing a bunch of money into creating more games in the series, they would have made a lot more money.

As it stands, Rock Band has a TON of good DLC, and Guitar Hero has...No Doubt.

Logan Westbrook:
It's not wizardry or eldritch arts that make the Rock Band games score higher than the Guitar Hero games, it's that Harmonix is taking its time and isn't firing them out at a rate of at least one a year.

Harmonix is absolutely crapping out games at least once a year.

2007 - Rock Band
2008 - Rock Band 2
2009 - Lego Rock Band, The Beatles Rock Band, Rock Band Unplugged, Rock Band Mobile, Rock Band iOS
2010 - Green Day Rock Band, Rock Band 3

That's some pretty solid milking right there. Not as bad as Guitar Hero obviously but still pretty solid milking.

And anyway, Rock Band will be in the same place as Guitar Hero pretty soon. There's only so much you can do with a giant quick time event as your only gameplay mechanic. Rock Band 3's silly "we can teach you to play for realz!" gimmick is only going to prolong the inevitable.

I do enjoy Rock Band a lot better and I don't want to see Activision acquiring it. Seriously its doing great on it own with only three real games and two spin offs for The Beatles and Green Day thats pretty damn good so far.

I figured it was going to come down to whomever added real-guitar capability to their game who would eventually take this race. Still doesn't make me feel like playing it regularly though.

Xzi:

LawlessSquirrel:
Funny, they seemed so proud at how fast they could put out games compared to Rock Band, and now it's killing them.

No loss, they peaked at their first attempt with Guitar Hero 3, everything beyond that just paled in comparison, and was always at least two steps behind Rock Band innovation-wise. 'Quality is greater than Quantity' does not seem to be a concept they've been able to grasp.

Agreed. My copy of Rock Band 2 has 200+ songs on it now...I think if Guitar Hero had concentrated more on DLC rather than investing a bunch of money into creating more games in the series, they would have made a lot more money.

As it stands, Rock Band has a TON of good DLC, and Guitar Hero has...No Doubt.

Heh, I think Rock Band has No Doubt too. Kinda amusing that Rock Band still has Guitar Hero beat for song variety, despite the huge difference in released games. All the better that you can pick and choose from the 700+ songs instead of being stuck with a bunch you have to pay for to get what you want.

No Rock Band 2 here yet, sadly. Is the only area where Guitar Hero can be dominating...it's easier to pay for a game that you can get than one you can't. Still, fingers crossed Rock Band 3 makes it down here. The Pro Instruments are example enough of how one series has evolved while the other has fallen behind.

mjc0961:

Logan Westbrook:
It's not wizardry or eldritch arts that make the Rock Band games score higher than the Guitar Hero games, it's that Harmonix is taking its time and isn't firing them out at a rate of at least one a year.

Harmonix is absolutely crapping out games at least once a year.

2007 - Rock Band
2008 - Rock Band 2
2009 - Lego Rock Band, The Beatles Rock Band, Rock Band Unplugged, Rock Band Mobile, Rock Band iOS
2010 - Green Day Rock Band, Rock Band 3

That's some pretty solid milking right there. Not as bad as Guitar Hero obviously but still pretty solid milking.

And anyway, Rock Band will be in the same place as Guitar Hero pretty soon. There's only so much you can do with a giant quick time event as your only gameplay mechanic. Rock Band 3's silly "we can teach you to play for realz!" gimmick is only going to prolong the inevitable.

That's basically it right there. Both sides are cranking out the games, but what it really boils down to is the DLC. Rock Band is streaks ahead of GH on that front. And that's the only reason why I have abandoned GH for RB.

I very much doubt Harmonix would work with Activision again as much as I doubt that EA would let go of their place as the game's distributor. Shooting a game every other month killed Guitar Hero and with the way the CoD franchise is going I doubt that series is going to last much longer as well.

I've never played one of those fake-instrument music games, so I'm surprised to read that the original Guitar Hero came out only four years ago. There's been five of them, plus a few non-numbered sequels! They really beat that one into the ground!

American business-people are stupid. Their entire training seems to go into raping the goose that laid the golden egg until it drops dead of exhaustion and degradation.

If Activision tries to ruin Rock Band like they ruined Guitar Hero, I will burn their headquarters to the ground.

Yes, make your series better by buying the same series again from the same developers that you got it from AGAIN in hopes of making huge amounts of money by milking it dry AGAIN.

Does anybody else see the flaw in logic?

Logan Westbrook:
It's not wizardry or eldritch arts that make the Rock Band games score higher than the Guitar Hero games, it's that Harmonix is taking its time and isn't firing them out at a rate of at least one a year.

If you actually think it's that simple (and I grant that you probably don't), you don't understand that RB is actually progressing towards the goals of the original masters thesis project that started BOTH franchises. The original thesis was about discovering not only a new way for people to interact with music, but also new ways to close the loop and open up access to playing music. REALLY playing it. That sort of compelling vision shining through a quality product is what draws people and keeps them, not the frequency of releases. Hell, just look at the DLC venues; Rock Band has actually been doing weekly releases of new content. Consumers OBVIOUSLY like a la carte music titles better than monolithic blocs. If GH had even ONCE acted like they really supported DLC for their franchise, instead of each release being a reason to abondon already purchased content, maybe they wouldn't be atrophying so fast.

And Rock Band, in just a few iterations, has pretty much finished the job it started with Guitar Hero, but for some reason didn't feel it could complete under the Activision roof. I bet that part has much more to do with one group embracing the core vision and being determined to follow through no matter what the dollar suits said, and the other team tacking on anything to seem like they even HAD a vision, all for the money suits.

When it comes to music, and music games it seems, the one with soul is the one to back. Rock Band, by virtue of possessing any soul in the first place, will hold this crown for a good while.

LawlessSquirrel:
Heh, I think Rock Band has No Doubt too.

It does. The whole Greatest Hits collection, in fact.

This scares me, because Activision has the money and its not practical to assume Harmonix will stand on principle and not sell out. I do hope, however, that Guitar Hero just dies and Harmonix becomes sole ruler of the music game genre, since I trust them as a company to do what's best for everyone.

Played one GH or RB game? Played them all.

That doesn't make sense. The only things RB has going for it is lots of DLC, good-ish online play, and awesome vocals. GH (especially GH6) is better in every single other way as a game. Most likely because RB is a casual series.
At least GH is made with "quality over quantity" in mind. Not as much fun having a ton of songs if the charts aren't that great to play.
Now RB is turning more into a teaching guide than a game. That's making it harder to compare the two.

cononking:

mjc0961:

Logan Westbrook:
It's not wizardry or eldritch arts that make the Rock Band games score higher than the Guitar Hero games, it's that Harmonix is taking its time and isn't firing them out at a rate of at least one a year.

Harmonix is absolutely crapping out games at least once a year.

2007 - Rock Band
2008 - Rock Band 2
2009 - Lego Rock Band, The Beatles Rock Band, Rock Band Unplugged, Rock Band Mobile, Rock Band iOS
2010 - Green Day Rock Band, Rock Band 3

That's some pretty solid milking right there. Not as bad as Guitar Hero obviously but still pretty solid milking.

And anyway, Rock Band will be in the same place as Guitar Hero pretty soon. There's only so much you can do with a giant quick time event as your only gameplay mechanic. Rock Band 3's silly "we can teach you to play for realz!" gimmick is only going to prolong the inevitable.

That's basically it right there. Both sides are cranking out the games, but what it really boils down to is the DLC. Rock Band is streaks ahead of GH on that front. And that's the only reason why I have abandoned GH for RB.

Keep in mind that the Rhythm Action genre has been based around that same "giant quick time event as your only gameplay mechanic" with moderate success and a cult following since 1998. Same very shallow game concept with tons of variations on it, mainly in different controllers I can think of 10 different controllers released before Guitar Hero that each have their own cult following. These games are ridiculously shallow, but there's a chunk of players that thoroughly enjoy it.

The Rock Band 3 mode that teaches you how to play is actually a good use of technology. For drums and keyboard in particular it's relatively easy to use a midi interface to detect what's being played and give feedback on it. Further more the games consist of reading scrolling simplified tablature, so if they remove the simplified part its that much closer to the real thing. I don't know how receptive people will be to this concept, but they had a mode in RB2 that taught real beats so I assume that was well received enough to warrant pro mode.

Frankly I'm excited about this. I have no interest or desire in learning Guitar Bass or Keyboard and I'm a good enough drummer that I'd benefit less from this mode than I would from just getting sheet music. However, this a good step for educational gaming. It's taking a game that has already proved popular and adding an educational element.

That's freaking awesome!

HahaahAHAHAHahAHHAHHHAHAaHHAHHAHAAHahHAHHHahahhHaAhahahhaHAHahahahhaahhAAHAHhhaahaHHAahAahAaaahhhhAAHAHAHHAAAHAHHAAHHAHaHAHHAHAHaHAHHAhaaHHAAHahahahahahAHAHAHAHhhhaahahAAHHHAAHAHHAHAaHhHHa

There you go Bobby!!! Everyone thought it, everyone called it, everyone warned you, but you still went ahead and made it.
You burned your own franchise into the ground and have no one to blame but yourself. You are a terrible CEO for thinking that this highly unsustainable model would work out in the end.

What game series are you planning to burn next Bobby?

mjc0961:

Logan Westbrook:
It's not wizardry or eldritch arts that make the Rock Band games score higher than the Guitar Hero games, it's that Harmonix is taking its time and isn't firing them out at a rate of at least one a year.

Harmonix is absolutely crapping out games at least once a year.

2007 - Rock Band
2008 - Rock Band 2
2009 - Lego Rock Band, The Beatles Rock Band, Rock Band Unplugged, Rock Band Mobile, Rock Band iOS
2010 - Green Day Rock Band, Rock Band 3

That's some pretty solid milking right there. Not as bad as Guitar Hero obviously but still pretty solid milking.

And anyway, Rock Band will be in the same place as Guitar Hero pretty soon. There's only so much you can do with a giant quick time event as your only gameplay mechanic. Rock Band 3's silly "we can teach you to play for realz!" gimmick is only going to prolong the inevitable.

Harmonix is the biggest distributor of DLC for any platform, any game, world-wide. They've got a solid business model & aren't going anywhere any time soon.

Jack and Calumon:
How about they don't? Guitar Hero is dwindling, so rather than milk the last droplets out of the cow, we feed it lots of grass, give it some time, then, when it's Udder is fit to burst, we begin to milk it a bit.

Then we eat beef.

Calumon: Ummm... I don't understand this. I agree with Jack? Maybe? I like milk too!

I'm sorry, but I just have to ask.
How does eating the cow fit into the analogy in the context of videogames? O_o

OT: Meh, they can do whatever they like. I've got the only rhythm game I'll ever need: Rock Band: Beatles.

NO, NO, NO!

Just give the Guitar Hero trademark and licenses back to Harmonix! They know what they are doing.

Andronicus:

Jack and Calumon:
How about they don't? Guitar Hero is dwindling, so rather than milk the last droplets out of the cow, we feed it lots of grass, give it some time, then, when it's Udder is fit to burst, we begin to milk it a bit.

Then we eat beef.

Calumon: Ummm... I don't understand this. I agree with Jack? Maybe? I like milk too!

I'm sorry, but I just have to ask.
How does eating the cow fit into the analogy in the context of videogames? O_o

It's putting the franchise to bed. Can't milk a cow in your stomach.

Calumon: Awww... but I wanted some more milk!

Jack and Calumon:

Andronicus:

Jack and Calumon:
How about they don't? Guitar Hero is dwindling, so rather than milk the last droplets out of the cow, we feed it lots of grass, give it some time, then, when it's Udder is fit to burst, we begin to milk it a bit.

Then we eat beef.

Calumon: Ummm... I don't understand this. I agree with Jack? Maybe? I like milk too!

I'm sorry, but I just have to ask.
How does eating the cow fit into the analogy in the context of videogames? O_o

It's putting the franchise to bed. Can't milk a cow in your stomach.

Calumon: Awww... but I wanted some more milk!

I get that killing the cash cow would be putting it to bed, but cutting up the actual cow, throwing it on a barbecue and eating the remains? Sounds more like you're suggesting Activision cut up the part making the milk (in the case of "Warriors of Rock", Neversoft), give them a solid grilling for their milk becoming stale and old, consume them and shit them out the other end. Actually, that sounds exactly like something Activision would do.

Apparently, all this exam revision is making my neurons fire off in unexpected and slightly disturbing directions...

I can't see how bringing the two franchises together will make them more popular. Whats happened is that nobody cares anymore. They throttled the genre with mediocre cash-grabs that didn't (really) bring anything new to the table. And now everybody has been there, done that, and if they still care enough, they go back and play their favourite again when they get the pangs, like I do. Personally, I think the gimmick of plastic guitars and flashing lights in your living room is over. It had a good run, a better run than I would have thought it was capable of achieving, but like all fads, its died down. My 2 cents.

Jack and Calumon:
How about they don't? Guitar Hero is dwindling, so rather than milk the last droplets out of the cow, we feed it lots of grass, give it some time, then, when it's Udder is fit to burst, we begin to milk it a bit.

Then we eat beef.

Calumon: Ummm... I don't understand this. I agree with Jack? Maybe? I like milk too!

Hmmm... I do like beef.

Innovation and variety beat out churning out quantity? Color me shocked. Or don't. I kind of saw it coming.

 

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