Rock Band Beatles Sales Top Expectations, But Not Guitar Hero

By Nick Breckon, Sep 17, 2009 8:02pm PDT Sales of The Beatles: Rock Band are exceeding company expectations, but early indicators show Guitar Hero 5 beating the game in overall retail competition.

"Sales have exceeded our internal projections and we've sold 25 per cent of our inventory in the first week," said Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman at New York's Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, according to Gamasutra.

Meanwhile, Guitar Hero division head Dan Rosensweig claims that Activision's Guitar Hero 5 is currently outselling The Beatles four-to-one in US retail stores. The UK weekly sales chart shows that Guitar Hero 5 captured first place in its debut, with The Beatles only reaching the fourth slot on the chart.

"[The Beatles: Rock Band] did not affect our sales," said Rosensweig to the Financial Times.

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11 Threads | 25 Comments
  • One of the things I've liked about the Rock Band franchise is how it handles music better. Perhaps GH5 has gotten better but GHWT (aka GH4) just had a list of songs. Rock Band has the list but they give you the cover art, the year, and ratings for each of the instruments difficulties.

    The Guitar Hero games, since the third one, tend to focus on big huge hits whereas the Rock Band franchise tends to also include lesser known but still really good songs.

    It occurs to me though - is Rock Band the music snob of the fake plastic rock world? I've made posts here in the past about how Rock Band is the "respectful" franchise and been called out for it - could Rock Band be seen as that guy you know who mostly listens to stuff you've never of and generally looks down his nose at anything that would dane to be on the "radio"?

    I don't think Rock Band is really like that, but could that be what the perception is? Guitar Hero is the "NOW that's what I call Music!" franchise and Rock Band is the music snob? Guitar Hero is the popular, accessible magazine and Rock Band is Rolling Stone with a pretentious and antiquated view of music?

    Anyway it will be interesting to see how these things pan out long term - will groups like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and other artists with a long history tend to favor Rock Band because they saw how the Beatles were handled? Or will they see that Aerosmith made more money on GH:Aersomith than any single album in their history and go there?

  • GH5 is a good package. I didn't play enough to judge the song list, but it's full of stuff that should have already been in previous iterations:

    -3-4 guitar team play, finally. I always disliked the racket the drums (or someone trying to sing) makes
    -Good statistics for each players individually
    -Focus mode (this is GREAT, it removed the stage show from the background - some might judge this as boring, but it really helps me concentrate - I actually did much better with the game than I used to)
    -Bonus challenges with each song are a fun addition

    Having played all the GH and RB games, I think GH5 takes the "best game" trophy, and by a fairly large margin. As I said, early to judge the song list, but it did seem there was a bit of a lack of metal / heavy rock. Perhaps something for the DLC to fix.

  • Well, in all fairness to Activision here, and I haven't even played GH5, but I am confident in saying they probably shipped a better game.

    For starters, the statement "RB:Beatles is also for people other than Beatles fans", quoted by most reviewers and even some people here, is seriously questionable and a real disservice to both camps . People who don't like the music will probably never crack open the game again (or speak highly of it) because it offers nothing else - and Beatles fans want to know they are getting something special, tailored to them, not trying to appeal the masses.

    From a game play perspective, RB:B is a far inferior game to RB2 in almost every way. It's criminally short, only one notable feature was added, and the rest of the game is sacrificed in order to preserve the nostalgia and pristine presentation of the Beatles. Gone is the social goofing off at the beginning of a song, gone is the drum fills and whammy bar along with the creativeness of the players, gone is any sort of challenge, gone is the occasional fun/ny tune (sans a few drug induced lyrics) to lighten up the crowd... and the one notable feature, harmonies, is a good feature - it's just too bad it always existed with three people making their own fun by singing into one microphone.

    Add to that the high price and absolutely moronic decision to go against their own product philosophy by not allowing import into RB2 and you have a seriously flawed product to anyone but Beatles fans - and even then, Beatles fans hoping to play the best game probably see its flaws.

    The very impressive dreamscapes, settings, and history go a long way to selling the atmosphere for the band... and this may be something that Harmonix considers in the future, even for DLC - for real stage settings or MTV video like background sequences - but the bonuses in RB:B only make an exceptional Beatles product, not a Rock Band product; which is probably Harmonix's biggest mistake... forgetting that the game trumps the Beatles Experience for its players.

    Neversoft / Activision on the other hand... as egotistical as they are "The bands should pay us for the privilege of being in our game"... know exactly what they had to do with GH5... make a great game with the features their fans want - party play, avatars, etc. and they did just that. If it wasn't for the set list (and lame pricing) I probably would have picked it up.

    A rather interesting side note is when I had some people over to play RB:B we finished the game and the entire room was rather sombre and quiet... immediately after RB:B we popped in RB2 and the mood increased significantly; That says quite a bit for a game designed to be playing a social setting.