Well, ladies and gents, it would seem as though the heyday of plastic instruments (and their associated games) might finally be appearing in our rear-view mirror. It was bound to happen, eventually.
The beginning of the end, so to speak, seemed to be when Harmonix -- the developer that founded both Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises -- was put up on the chopping block by Viacom late last year. Harmonix elected to, in effect, purchase itself, and remains an independent entity that continues to churn out Rock Band DLC at a regular clip.
Couple that with today's news that Activision is not only canceling the 2011 installment of the Guitar Hero franchise (which it's owned since 2006), but is pursuing the "discontinuation of the development of all music-based games," due to "anticipation of a continuing weak environment for casual and music-based games," and the trend couldn't be more obvious.
Don't get me wrong. I still fire up Rock Band on a semi-regular basis, and it still does an exceptional job of making someone who can't play any real instruments (like myself) feel like a rock star. Granted, it's been three years since I've purchased a plastic guitar. If peripheral sales are built into your expected profit margin, factors like a plateauing or declining user-base and making an increasingly iterative product make it harder to meet those numbers each year.
And, in case you missed it: