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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Guitar Hero Division Gets The Axe

Posted by Earnest "Nex" Cavalli on Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 2:31 PM

What the hell was I thinking with that headline?
  • Gene Simmons? KISS, maybe? Who knows?
  • What the hell was I thinking with that headline?

Mega-publisher Activision has disbanded its Guitar Hero division following an extended period of declining series sales and what Eurogamer calls "severe layoffs" at DJ Hero developer Freestyle Games.

Normally I wouldn't cover the Gamasutra beat here on Blogtown, but the dissolution of the Guitar Hero division goes beyond simple "huge publisher shuts down big name game development division." Guitar Hero was the series that really started the music gaming revolution — all three of you suddenly angry Guitar Freaks fans can sit the hell down — and while Activision's mishandling of Guitar Hero creator Harmonix could best be described as "dumb as shit," the result was the creation of Rock Band, a move that further strengthened the genre.

Industry followers can likely cite any number of reasons for Activision's sudden lack of faith in Guitar Hero (please feel free to do so in the comments), and while my personal favorite, that "the publisher oversaturated the market by releasing new Guitar Hero games with bullshit gimmicks that no one asked for" is directly supported by the poor sales of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, I think the more important point is what this means for music games as a whole.

Is the genre now owned, lock, stock and barrel by Harmonix and the Rock Band series? Are rhythm games on the way out completely? Is this simply another side effect of the collapsing world economy (and wasn't this recession thing supposed to be over already)?

What do you guys think? Offer your best ideas for what exactly this means in the comments.

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