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Music Game Makers: Genre Hasn't Topped Out, More To Come

Last year, sales in the rhythm/music genre plunged 46% due to what most analysts are calling an over-saturation of the market and perhaps declining interest in the fad.

But according to Harmonix, the genre hasn't topped out just yet; it's all about user-generated content. In speaking to Edge Online, Harmonix founder and CEO Alex Rigopulos says we haven't yet seen the best and most profitable years in the music genre. So don't you worry about that lesser sales number in 2009. Said Rigopulos:

"I absolutely do not believe that rhythm-action gaming has reached its peak. Of course, 2009 was a tough year with the recession, which especially affects music games given the relatively high price point of instrument bundles. But in the long term, people’s passion for music isn’t going away, and rhythm gaming will continue to provide people with a deeper level of engagement with the music they love. So, yes, I do think that future music games will exceed the sales success of the last generation."

At the same time, one might have to admit that Guitar Hero has already seen its heyday; Neversoft project director Brian Bright admits it'll be awfully difficult to top the sales performance of Guitar Hero III. After all, we're talking about the second-best selling video game in the US in the past 15 years. Said Bright:

"As far as sales exceeding GHIII’s in the future, only time will tell, but it’s a tall order. I think user-created content is key to the evolution. If you can’t create or edit licensed music due to copyright laws then you’re limited to pretending to play someone else’s music. I think the key is to create music, but make it compelling to create, so the game is in the creation, not the playback."

Rigopulos agrees with this assertion and says user-generated content will be "critical" in the future and adds that he's not only talking about "end-users or players;" he's also referring to "a huge community of power-users - skilled music creators - providing their music to the audience." Rigopulos lastly mentions the upcoming Rock Band Network as an example of such growth. We'll have to see how things go in 2010 but it's difficult to deny the ongoing popularity of the acclaimed Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises.

1/25/2010 10:51:42 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (22 posts)

Highlander
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 11:06:10 AM
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Considering the attitude of some proefssional rock musicians to players (should I say pretenders?) or Guitar Hero and the like, I am not sure how 'user generated' content is going to work out. While I am sure that there are more talented people out there than we know of, the absolute majority of players of these games have no reason whatsoever - beyond play - to step in front of a crowd (even a virtual one) and blast out a tune.

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D1g1tal5torm
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 11:16:41 AM
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this genre hass maxed out, and will only see the majority of it's sales from dlc.

As for the peripherals, most people who are after this game type already have what they need.

I understand why devs try to push the periphs out, but they're going a bit over the top now, I mean - skateboards? w tf ?

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D1g1tal5torm
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 11:18:13 AM
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More on topic user-gen content.

Either it's going to be cack, or infringe copyright.

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mexgeo86
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 11:30:07 AM
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the only plus I'd see to the network would be if users managed to create charts for popular songs that haven't made their way via an installment or DLC; although I don't know if there would be copyright issues along with that.

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CH1N00K
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 11:40:27 AM
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I bought one music genre game (RB)for my GF to play when we have friends over. It's a good social game (like the Wii! :D) But for the most part I curse at the fact that there are these stupid peripherals collecting dust and cluttering up my house. I won't be buying another one, so for me, the music genre is dead.

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fuk u
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 11:47:36 AM
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if there is a program in the game that allows you to create your very own music and then be able to play it and post it online for others to check out and rate... i can see it working, other than that maybe a few more Guitar Heros with new artists and DLC to go along with it. this franchise has got a bright future and DJ hero is just begining. I for one do not like Guitar Hero but DJhero.. that is pretty damn fun.

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CH1N00K
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 12:32:20 PM

Doesn't one of the GH's do that? I thought there was something on there about a Jam session or something where you could post your music online. I don't remember though

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SvenMD
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 12:33:56 PM
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I thought these games were alot of fun.... but I do think the genre has peaked.

My friends and I still like to get the band together sometimes and jam, but I think the idea (and novelty) has worn off.

The good thing for these companies is that there is an enormous library of songs out there... and some people will continue to buy into them for at least another year or so.

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BeezleDrop
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 12:55:16 PM
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Rock band in my opinion, made overall better Rhythm based games. They had better visuals, better music(generally), and waaay better animations. If Rock band stops this Lego rubbish then adds few more titles, they should be sufficient.

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jaybiv
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 1:14:58 PM
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This guy has to believe the genre is not dead otherwise it wouldn't make sense to keep it going. The genre will continue to go, but I think it will fall back into a smaller niche, and I think last year's sales is the beginning of that movement. The good thing is that they can still push out DLC to get rejuvenate buyers who have tired of the games.

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SympoziumPawa
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 3:48:48 PM

The DLC has been poor for Guitar Hero, the 3rd easily had the best but I find the prices of Guitar Hero DLC are too expensive compared to Rock Band.

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Alienange
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 1:24:15 PM
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Of course it hasn't reached it's peak. We haven't gotten our PS3 DDR yet.

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BikerSaint
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 1:33:53 PM
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If I'm gonna spend money on a lot of plasticware, I'd rather join a frigging Tupperware party!

At least Tup's useful, timeless, and will still be around working, long, long, after GH, RB, & DJH are dead & buried.

But maybe I'm just being too down on them.
I'm sure they'll probably get recycled into something extremely useful that we all need anyway....like "next gen" plastic toilet paper roll holders.

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SympoziumPawa
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 3:45:23 PM

But Rock Band is fun!! it can go if it doesn't get Rising Force or a Joe Satriani Album buts that just wishful demands

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gumbi
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 1:35:59 PM
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I have to admit, I love RB. It's such a great party game, but I rarely find myself playing solo. I'd rather grab my Squire and practice some real riffs.

I doubt the rhythm/action game genre will die anytime soon, but the 'I'm a rock star playing my plastic instruments' genre has certainly peaked.

And I just can't even conceive of how user generated content would work. Drums... sure, I guess you've got the basics of what you'd need (very basics). But how can you write music, real guitar music, with 5 buttons? I can't imagine what the interface would be like, but I guess that's why I'm not a game developer and Harmonix is. Hopefully they come up with something cool.

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SympoziumPawa
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 3:41:42 PM
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User created content would be great if the sound was accurate thier simply needs to be well detailed differences in how a guitar will play I'd love to create music which sounds similar to Luca Turilli & Yngwie Malmsteen neo classical guitar styles.

Could the guitars feature strings instead of the 5 coloured buttons?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 5:53:43 PM
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Fail.

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Superman915
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 6:11:41 PM
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the only music games I will ever buy are.

A. an Rock Band with the Red Hot Chili Peppers
B. A Singstar with Michael Jackson.
C. An update to Bust A Groove, or hell even a PSN release.

Enough of my friends have RB, so if i ever have the need to play it, I can. DJ Hero looks fun, but not $100 fun.

Last edited by Superman915 on 1/25/2010 6:12:43 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 7:31:10 PM
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These games suck and the people that continue to purchase them are no better than the wii crowd.

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Imagi
Monday, January 25, 2010 @ 7:40:58 PM
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I love rhythm-action games (never owned any recent Guitar/Band hero etc games though) Activisions onslaught has saturated the market, with a non stop flow just helping to kill the genre.

I hope they don't kill it completely as I miss the rhythm-action games of past the likes of Space Channel 5, Rez, Samba De Amigo and those games with dance mats, (I have never played one of the dance mat games but would like a go)

Singstar is great and hope it has not been sullied but Activision antics.

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___________
Tuesday, January 26, 2010 @ 1:50:36 AM
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o dear god thats all i need.
but than what do you expect? these things are flying off the shelf at a rate to put wii sports to shame!
i cant go to the shops without seeing someone walking out with either band hero or DJ hero its INFURIATING!
only music rhythm game i will ever buy is if they did a HD, trophy remake of GH 1,2,3 on one disk kinda like the GOW collection.
otherwise there never getting my money again.
people complain about the saturation of the market, but do they do anything about it?
nope, just like the PC idiots they bitched and bitched and bitched about MW2, but than it still sold extremely well.
it would be interesting to see a percentage of how many people who bitched and said im not buying it actually did.
50 bucks says that would at least be in the 40s range.
bitching is not going to do anything, you have to vote with your money.
keep buying it and it will never change, stop buying it and maybe, just maybe it will get through their thick skulls.
and thats a big maybe since its activision were talking about.
the hitler of video games.

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556pineapple
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 @ 11:06:12 AM
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Speaking as a real musician/composer, the idea of user-generated content seems like the way to go for the genre. Unfortunately, GH's Studio just plain sucks, and the RBN isn't available to PS3 users. If they want this to take off, they really need to improve the interfaces, and start including everyone.

Partly due to the fact that I am a real musician, I had the tendency of ignoring these games for the first couple years. I only really became interested in them about a year ago, so I haven't tired of them yet. I see it as more of a way to interact with the music you like. It's a relaxing, casual experience that I find a lot of fun. It will never replace playing real instruments, but the RBN seems to find a way of combining the real with the game. If I could use the RBN without having to buy a 52.4%-failure-rate-box 360, I'd join up and start writing music.

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