Activision may have a slight problem on its hands what with Guitar Hero: World Tour not selling too well. The latest numbers, as one analyst from Electronic Entertainment Design and Research has interpreted for us, suggest that Guitar Hero sales may have peaked. (Please note the distinction between Guitar Hero and “music games;” no one is saying that music games are dead.)
This is the bad news, as articulated by the analyst:
Currently, we expect unit sales to decline by more than 50 percent series-over-series for November. This is coming off the October month where series-over-series units declined by more than 60 percent.
A couple reasons for this, maybe. (Who knows for real, in other words.) One is that Rock Band 2 has been reviewed more favorably than GH:WT, suggesting that it’s the better game. (Doug essentially says the same thing in his comparison between the two.) When forced to chose between the two (“you can only have one game this year for Christmas, son, seeing as though mommy and daddy are out of work now”), the rational person is going to pick the better game. Let’s not forget that many stores were selling Guitar Hero 3 cheaply on Black Friday, which could have eaten into GH:WT‘s sales. It could also be that GH fans put a premium on guitar play rather than the whole “we’re a fake band, together!” camaraderie of GH:WT.
But what Activision must be terribly afraid of is that people are tiring of the Guitar Hero franchise. Considering that the company’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, sees the Guitar Hero franchise as a cash machine—the low sales of Mirror’s Edge will only reinforce, unfortunately, the notion that new IPs aren’t worth big publisher’s time—news that sales have slowed won’t be too well received. Also, he killed the Ghostbusters game, which, as a child of the late 1980s and early 1990s I cannot agree with.
But like I said, who knows. It could just be that people don’t have as much disposable income anymore, and spending $200 on a video game is no longer a viable option for many people.