Following in the footsteps of all the best bands, Activision today announced the break up of its Guitar Hero franchise. Although the game dominated the music genre when it first debuted six years ago, recent sales for the series plummeted, causing the company to pull the plug and end production.
This is a big turnaround for the game, which was an instant hit in 2005 and dominated all of the major consoles. Two years later, the series made the leap to the portable gaming market and debuted for the Nintendo DS and Apple's iPhone and iPod touch.
However, the game's success ultimately became its downfall, as spin-offs, upgrades, and competing games flooded the market. The Wall Street Journal reports that while Guitar Hero made about $1.7 billion revenue in 2008, that number sank to about $300 million last year.
Our own deal archives show a significant price drop for Guitar Hero games. In 2007, dealnews listed roughly 55 Hero deals with holiday pricing for Guitar Hero III (with a bundled wireless guitar) hovering between $80 to $100. In contrast, we listed about 70 Hero-based deals in 2010 — a sign that this franchise had over-saturated the market with versions like Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, Guitar Hero Aerosmith, and Guitar Hero 5. Pricing also dropped. Some titles, such as Guitar Hero Smash Hits, went for as little as $8.
All of this is a good sign for bargain hunters who can expect to find even more Guitar Hero deals in the near future. (Keep an eye on our video games section for current and future deals.)
Activision will continue to support and sell Hero games and accessories including DLC track and mix packs, however there will be no production of new ones. For more information, visit Activision's Guitar Hero FAQ page.