Activision Abused Guitar Hero, Says Former Publisher

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Activision Abused Guitar Hero, Says Former Publisher

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Activision should have nurtured Guitar Hero, says the series' original publisher, rather than trying to make a quick buck.

Kelly Sumner, former head of RedOctane, says that Activision has been a very poor steward of the Guitar Hero franchise, and basically destroyed it by trying to squeeze too much out of it, too quickly. RedOctane was the original publisher of the Guitar Hero games, until it was acquired by Activision in 2006.

In an interview with MCV, Sumner said that not every game had the potential to become a billion dollar franchise, but wondered if that wasn't all that Activision was really interested in. He said that he didn't see any reason why the franchise couldn't continue, but didn't think that Activision wouldn't sell anyone the brand. He thought that if another publisher was able to find success with the series, it would prove that the problem had been Activision all along,and that was something that Activision wasn't about to let happen.

He thought that Activision should have aped Take Two's handling of the Grand Theft Auto series. Rather than launch game after game, Take Two had nurtured the franchise for ten years, leaving it strong and healthy. Sumner's thoughts on the demise of the Guitar Hero franchise echo many others who think that Activision mismanaged the series, resulting in a difficult climate for all music games.

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened to the Guitar Hero series if it had mirrored the evolution of its chief competitor, Rock Band, a little more closely. Rock Band saw regular - almost yearly - releases, but far fewer of them and much better support for each release. It's hard to imagine it could have ended worse for the franchise, and hopefully, if Activision does bring the series back in the future - which CEO Bobby Kotick said was possible - it will take the Rock Band route.

Source: via CVG

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Therein lies the biggest criticism of Activision. From what I've seen, RedOctane speaks the truth. It's a shame that Activision's greed has almost killed the music game genre, and has destroyed several otherwise brilliant franchises. It's things like this that make people think they're the ones who will next crash the industry.

Activation beating a franchise to death? Never, they take good care of their franchises. Now if you'll excuse me I must ride my unicorn to the sherbet kingdom to meet the gumdrop king.

Are you listening to this, Take Two? I sure hope so...

LawlessSquirrel:
Therein lies the biggest criticism of Activision. From what I've seen, RedOctane speaks the truth. It's a shame that Activision's greed has almost killed the music game genre, and has destroyed several otherwise brilliant franchises. It's things like this that make people think they're the ones who will next crash the industry.

And now there sights are set on take two

Yeah... does he know Activision's business strategy?
Milking a franchise to the point of death, that's kinda their thing.

I don't doubt that Guitar Hero will make a comeback, I do strogly doubt that its comeback will take the Rock Band route.
I'm calling it now, in maybe a year it'll return in a greatest hits collection (another one) and then the franchise will continue to be milked until even the marrow in its bones are gone.

Hit the nail on the head much? Seriously game developers, take note. There is only so much we are willing to spend on games. You are not invincible!

There we go, that's the way we do it, the good thing about Take Two is they'll polish a game to a good standered before sale, instead of Activision's way of making it barely playable, even with faulty peripherals.

Wow, really?! In other news: Shooters have guns in them, and Duke Nukem goes to a strip club!

Lets be frank; from a technical standpoint, it isn't hard at all to create one of these games (if the numerous knockoff programs online are any indication); the graphical detail is mostly irrelevant (since you have to remain focused on the notes) and largely of poor/mediocre quality anyway.
So that means the hardest part of creating these titles is securing the licensing for the songs. Lawyer-legwork ahoy!

By this reasoning, it's possible that Activision intended to capitalize on the limited number of exclusive popular songs they could before Rock Band got to them.
(Given that Guitar Hero 1 and 2 took most of the popularly-recognizable classics, that number was already considerably diminished when Rock Band came around).

So, in their fervor to capitalize on what remained, they effectively wrung the market dry.

This explains, in part, why Guitar Hero (and by extension, the rhythm-game genre) burned out as quickly as it did.

and people wonder why i hate activision

Absolutely nobody is surprised.

This is what Activision does. Get IPs -> Run them to the ground. Standard MO.

digital warrior:
Activation beating a franchise to death? Never, they take good care of their franchises. Now if you'll excuse me I must ride my unicorn to the sherbet kingdom to meet the gumdrop king.

take me with you

Zvarri! The truth has once again been elegantly revealed to me. This guy can only be...

The Master Of The Obvious!

Atmos Duality:
Lets be frank; from a technical standpoint, it isn't hard at all to create one of these games (if the numerous knockoff programs online are any indication); the graphical detail is mostly irrelevant (since you have to remain focused on the notes) and largely of poor/mediocre quality anyway.
So that means the hardest part of creating these titles is securing the licensing for the songs. Lawyer-legwork ahoy!

By this reasoning, it's possible that Activision intended to capitalize on the limited number of exclusive popular songs they could before Rock Band got to them.
(Given that Guitar Hero 1 and 2 took most of the popularly-recognizable classics, that number was already considerably diminished when Rock Band came around).

So, in their fervor to capitalize on what remained, they effectively wrung the market dry.

This explains, in part, why Guitar Hero (and by extension, the rhythm-game genre) burned out as quickly as it did.

This seems like a pretty good explanation. I know myself I never really felt much need for buying more games, as the gameplay is the same, just different songs.

Not a lot of room for improvement in the genre.

Wow, i think Kelly Summer just owned Activision. This is their primary, in fact their only strategy...squeeze a franchise until nothing is left then drop kick it into oblivion. Be nice if they learned from this but yeah, not likely to happen.

Kotic's buisiness strategy makes me think he's only there to make as much from the flagship titles as he can and when they're all run into the ground he'll just leave, taking all his millions with him... The man is a fucking parasite.

Caliostro:
Absolutely nobody is surprised.

This is what Activision does. Get IPs -> Run them to the ground. Standard MO.

To be fair, the Hero franchise was only the second time they did this. The first time was Tony Hawk.

But at this point it does seem to be the established pattern. Call of Duty certainly seems to be the next product in the cycle but the problem is Activision doesn't have a new rising star in the Stables.

Congrats, Lieutenant obvious, you've just been promoted to CAPTIAN!!!

I hate how it takes someone like this to make a problem apparent in the industry.

To most people it's blatantly obvious that Activision have been milking their franchises to death. The same is happening to CoD, with each instalment I'm hearing more and more people disappointed.

digital warrior:
Activation beating a franchise to death? Never, they take good care of their franchises. Now if you'll excuse me I must ride my unicorn to the sherbet kingdom to meet the gumdrop king.

I'll bring the fairy dust.

Activision wasn't alone in flooding the market. Rock Band wasn't much better and the entire music game genre worked together to bury itself.

OR Activision did exactly what they intended to do, and all the should have could have and would haves wouldn't change their decision one bit. Obviously they intended to just totally strip mine the guitar rhythm games while they were around, because they saw them for the fad that they were, and understood that they couldn't possibly last.
And you can't possibly blame the fact that people became tired of banging on a plastic toy guitar on Activision either.

Don't get me wrong, I have no love for Activision or their methods, and I don't even buy their products, but like it or not as a business strategy what they did is sound and Activision is very good at making money.

Well, how is this news exactly? Activision doesn't know how to handle a franchise? SHOCK AND HORROR! I never would've thought that!

I noticed this about 2 years ago around the time of Guitar Hero 2 or 3 (lost track), it was obvious even then that they shat out a new disk and set of guitars milking the music gamescow to emaciation, while Rock Band delicately crafted cheese from a softly milked cow, but Guitar Hero still managed to spoil most of it.

googleback:
Kotic's buisiness strategy makes me think he's only there to make as much from the flagship titles as he can and when they're all run into the ground he'll just leave, taking all his millions with him... The man is a fucking parasite.

Ignoring Blizzard's contributions to the corporation (and ironically, their opposing business strategy of creating titles that have exceptional appeal and sales in the LONG RUN), this is probably Activision's ultimate fate.
Kotick will keep investors pleased just long enough to destroy existing markets without contributing towards finding new territory.
Furthermore, it's possible that Activision will go the EA-route by buying out prior competition and running their products into the ground too with extraordinary sequel-exploitation.

The process might be long and painful though; it took over a decade for EA to start falling apart. It will probably take either a massive internal struggle or sudden plunge in marginal profits to bring Activision down, and they still have Blizzard to feed off of in the meantime (of course, if Blizzard's end of the company continues to post consistent profit and Activision's doesn't, I'm sure we will all know whose side the wind will be on that day when the investors come a-knockin).

Logan Westbrook:
Rock Band saw regular - almost yearly - releases, but far fewer of them and much better support for each release.

And yet each release wasn't as good at Guitar Hero. Odd.

OT: This is just perfect. More fuel for mindless GH hatred. -_-

Madmanonfire:

Logan Westbrook:
Rock Band saw regular - almost yearly - releases, but far fewer of them and much better support for each release.

And yet each release wasn't as good at Guitar Hero. Odd.

OT: This is just perfect. More fuel for mindless GH hatred. -_-

I'm a little confused here. Are you saying that Rock Band was never as good as the original Guitar Hero, or that the Rock Band series was never as good as the Guitar Hero series?

Atmos Duality:
\
The process might be long and painful though; it took over a decade for EA to start falling apart. It will probably take either a massive internal struggle or sudden plunge in marginal profits to bring Activision down, and they still have Blizzard to feed off of in the meantime (of course, if Blizzard's end of the company continues to post consistent profit and Activision's doesn't, I'm sure we will all know whose side the wind will be on that day when the investors come a-knockin).

I wonder when Blizzard' contract with Activision runs out. I feel like they could do just as well on their own at this point.

Stating the obvious. Fun. We all know Activision milked the brand beyond belief.

In other news, the sky is blue. Film at 11.

And then Blizzard turned everything around by buying Activision. <_<

I'm going to have to file this one right next to 'Activision isn't planning to cancel Call of Duty franchise' for most obvious story.

Though the last paragraph I find interesting, because I have always felt the opposite. If Activision tried less to be like Rock Band, maybe they would have done better. When the schism first appeared I really hoped that Rock Band would be the fun four instrument party game while Guitar Hero would remain the single player (or co-op, if you really want) game with emphasis on impressive, wild, guitar-centric songs. I still play the first few guitar heroes on a regular basis, but with World Tour the solo factor went out the window. Eye of the Tiger is a fine song, but on guitar? That is boring as hell.

It's not like Activision's business practices are anything secret. Why did RedOctane allow themselves to get bought out by Activision in the first place? That appears to be the catalyst in this situation.

The Wykydtron:
Zvarri! The truth has once again been elegantly revealed to me. This guy can only be...

The Master Of The Obvious!

image

Has it really been revealed until this picture? HAS IT?

Logan Westbrook:
He thought that Activision should have aped Take Two's handling of the Grand Theft Auto series. Rather than launch game after game, Take Two had nurtured the franchise for ten years, leaving it strong and healthy. Sumner's thoughts on the demise of the Guitar Hero franchise echo many others who think that Activision mismanaged the series, resulting in a difficult climate for all music games.

That seems a bit unsporting to use Take Two and GTA as a comparison considering the rumors flying around that Activision might acquire them and then ruin the hell out of GTA. I'm just going to go curl into a ball in that corner over there and weep at the possibility of that happening now...

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