Guitar Hero Failed Due To Lack Of "Nourishment And Care"
The title of the article at Forbes is, "Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick: How to be an Innovator." ...do with that what you will.
Anyway, Kotick spoke about the rise and fall of the Guitar Hero franchise, which went from being a $2 billion franchise in 2007 to being unprofitable in 2010. The series spawned plenty of titles, along with the DJ Hero spin-off. After explaining why Activision purchased developer RedOctane, Kotick said he thought gamers would want to "unleash their inner rock star." And that proved true. But he believes they strayed from the path with DJ Hero:
"And in hindsight, if you step back –and it really would have been a simple thing to do– we should have said, ‘Well, how many people really want to unleash their inner DJ?’ And then out of the people who do want to unleash their inner DJ, how many want to do it in the context of a game where you earn points, versus just taking a DJ deck or tools on their Macintosh and actually being a DJ? And it turns out it’s a very small market."
Of course, both DJ Hero titles were greeted with immense critical acclaim; they just didn't sell very well. And Kotick says they "abandoned a bit of the innovation that was required in the Guitar Hero franchise." Finished Kotick:
"Guitar Hero became unsuccessful because it didn’t have any nourishment and care. So we made what I think was exactly the right decision last year. We said you know what, we need to regain our audience interest, and we really need to deliver inspired innovation. So we’re going to take the products out of the market, and we’re not going to tell anybody what we’re doing for awhile, but we’re going to stop selling Guitar Hero altogether. And then we’re going to go back to the studios and we’re going to use new studios and reinvent Guitar Hero. And so that’s what we’re doing with it now."
The question is, how much innovation would've been required to keep the franchise from feeling stale? And Kotick didn't mention the onslaught of expensive bundles and the numerous products each year with "Hero" in the title. Evidently, he doesn't think over-saturation was an issue... And by the way, Activision plans to bring back Guitar Hero at some point in the future. Big surprise, eh?
7/21/2011 8:39:02 PM John Shepard