Kelly Summer, CEO of RedOctane, spoke with MCV about the fall of Guitar Hero and the eventual decision on Activision’s part to cancel the series entirely. RedOctane were the original publishers of Guitar Hero until they were picked up by Activision in 2006 and then shut down four years later.
Summer cites Guitar Hero‘s initial success on, basically, two factors. According to Summer, “Everybody wants to be a rock star and there was nothing like this on the market at the time.” He’s absolutely right. Right from its first release, Guitar Hero was a smashing success. It brought the music gaming genre directly into everyone’s living room, and it did so quickly.
But how did that turn sour in such a short span of time? Summer explains that Activision tried to get too much out of Guitar Hero too soon. This bit’s been glaringly obvious to fans of the music genre ever since the publisher ramped up production of software and peripherals in order to push out more than 15 versions of the game in the span of five years. Summer elaborates that there’s still plenty of room for proper growth from the franchise:
“They tried to get too much out of the franchise too quickly. They abused it…There’s no reason why Guitar Hero cannot continue. It’s a great product.
My gut tells me there is still a significant market for Guitar Hero. Not every game can be a billion dollar franchise, but maybe that’s what Activision wants. I’d be surprised if they sold the brand as it’d prove to the world there is still a market for this product and show them up…”
And my gut tells me Summer’s right. The Guitar Hero brand is still a trusted one with excellent market penetration. Everyone gets it, they understand the franchise. Give the game the right developer and publisher with an intent to make it the best possible music genre entry and the franchise could be back with a vengance.
But, as Summer indicates, that probably won’t happen.