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Yesterday during an analyst conference, Activision CEO Mike Griffith announced that the publisher is going to refocus its rhythm games into two main franchises, Guitar Hero and DJ Hero. According to Griffith, this will help Activision reach a “broader audience.”

In 2010 Activision plans to release less than ten music game SKUs. While that still sounds like a lot, it’s not even half of what 2009 saw. Griffith explained, “This year, fewer SKUs will service a broader audience.”

To clarify each SKU refers to one retail package. For example a new Guitar Hero released on both Xbox 360 and PS3 counts as two SKUs. Also different packages, like a Guitar Hero game plus guitar controller versus just the Guitar Hero game, counts as two different SKUs.

Out of the ten SKUs planned for 2010, almost all of those will be various packages of Guitar Hero and DJ Hero titles. One reason for the cut back on SKUs is that Activision will no longer release Guitar Hero games on the PS2. According to Activision the PS2 no longer generates the sales numbers to make it a valid platform.

Personally I think this is great news. My biggest problem with rhythm games is just that the market is over saturated. We don’t need three different Guitar Hero games in one year, all of which using the same technology. I mean if you’re going to release three games, all in the same genre, in the same year, you better hope there are some significant improvements with each release. Hopefully there is a correlation between cutting down on the number of games and an improvement in overall quality of the experience they offer.

What do you guys think? Will cutting down on the number of Guitar Hero games help improve sales numbers or quality?


  1. I think this is great news. Making less over the same amount of time leaves more time to tweak what needs to be fixed, and just create an overall better game. I think this is a great decision on Activision’s part, and hopefully the quality of these games mirrors the time spent on them.

  2. Quality over quantity. It’s a much better way to approach rhythm games now, especially for how disappointing DJ Hero was in terms of sales.

  3. It sounds good, but I wonder if the damage has been done, so to speak? I have a feeling that Rhythm games will turn out like Mega Man games, eventually; people love them, so we got a million-billion of them. Then, everyone got tired of them, so they started only making one every few years or so. Way down the line, when everyone has had time to become less angry, someone will put out a retro-revival of the rhythm game series, and everyone will herald its glorious return.

    If it happens this way, just remember: You heard it here first!

  4. Translation : We have one fewer giant piles of money in the vault than we did last year. This scares and angers us.

    It’s a good thing, as was mentioned above — now the devs will be able to focus more on innovation and rich content… and coming up with a lower difficulty setting that even Shawn can beat.

  5. I think that the entire Guitar Hero franchise could take all of 2010 off and no one would even notice. I have already told myself that I’m not buying a single rhythm game this year, and I plan to stick to that resolution.

  6. I still don’t get why they force us to buy new rhythm games. They should go almost completely digital and offer a subscription format for the weekly DLC. The graphics never change that much and all you need to replace/buy are the new instruments.

  7. The peripheral set for these rhythm games are expensive enough to justify making a console specifically for rhythm games.

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