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Activision talks Bizarre closure, cancellations

Activision talks Bizarre closure, cancellations

Becoming the world's largest video game publisher is no easy task, demanding tough decisions in a constantly evolving market. Behind many of those savvy (and arguably unsavory) decisions are people like Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. His recent interview with Joystiq illuminates some of the company's recent decisions, some which attracted the ire of the gaming community.

Perhaps the most unpopular of those decisions was the one to shutter Bizzare Creations. However, Hirshberg explains that their demise was a product of their specialty. "The thing that Bizarre is best at and what they're known for and what their signature is is in the racing world," Hirshberg said. "And the decision had as much to do with our assessment of what was happening to the racing genre as it had to do with anything specific to Bizarre. We just didn't think that was the best place for us to put our competitive energies. The racing genre had shrunk, pretty precipitously." Read more »

""What we couldn't afford to continue doing was putting out iterative improvements of the same ..."
- radioactivez0r    See all 16 comments

Guitar Hero done with DLC after April

Guitar Hero done with DLC after April

The Guitar Hero series has already lived a bit past its expiration date, but the downloadable content train has finally come to an official end now that the April track pack is out. Activision community manager Dan Amrich noted on the PlayStation Blog, "With the release of April’s downloadable Track Packs, Guitar Hero as a franchise goes on vacation until further notice." Amrich is also giving away a Guitar Hero time capsule with goodies from the series.

In the comments, Amrich notes to one user that the packs will still be available for download anytime, so fans who are extremely late to the party can still dive in and choose from all the assorted pieces of DLC thus far. We just won't see any new track packs hitting in the coming months. Read more »

"Next year, I expect they'll announce how they're relaunching the Guitar Hero franchise and make ..."
- HisDivineOrder    See all 8 comments

Guitar Hero only 'on hiatus,' True Crime: Hong Kong cancellation explained

Guitar Hero only 'on hiatus,' True Crime: Hong Kong cancellation explained

In February, monolithic publisher Activision announced that it was closing its music games division and cancelling True Crime: Hong Kong. While the former was not entirely unexpected due to the crowded rhythm game market, the latter was a little surprising. Speaking to recently, Activision's VP of developer relations and acquisitions Dan Winters explained a little more.

Read more »

"I'd rather play a new True Crime then either Tony Hawk or Guitar Hero at this point.... And did ..."
- agentboolen    See all 12 comments

7 Studios Staff Reports Closure, Layoffs at Vicarious Visions, FreeStyleGames Fate Still Uncertain

Activision's Q4 2010 earnings call yesterday revealed big changes to its music game stable -- namely the cancellation of any music games this year. Today, we're slowly seeing pieces of the fallout from that decision become clear.

7 Studios, the Los Angeles developer and pinch-hitter for the Guitar Hero division, has been shut down according to Joystiq. Various staff members tweeted that the studio closed last night. One unnamed source claimed that half of the staff had been let go with 60 days severance pay, while the other half will remain employees for the next 120 days to resolve a legal dispute with the creators of Scratch: The Ultimate DJ. Read more »

"God, I cant wait to see this happen to CoD, 3 years from now."
- The_Turbinator    See all 10 comments

Evening Reading

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. Read more »

- duffman03    See all 2502 comments

Activision Cancels True Crime: Hong Kong and Planned 2011 Guitar Hero Title

Activision has just announced it has halted development on the open-world, action title True Crime: Hong Kong and a new game in the Guitar Hero franchise.

According to the release, Activision has decided to disband its Guitar Hero-specific business unit and cancel development on a Guitar Hero title slated for release later this year "due to continued declines in the music genre." Read more »

"Nooooooooooooo! That's literally what I said when I heard this. Usually canceled games aren't ..."
- Talondesigns    See all 19 comments

Guitar Hero Released on iPhone, iPod touch

Extending its Rock Band rivalry to the iPhone and iPod touch, Activision today released Guitar Hero to the iTunes App Store. Developed by Guitar Hero Nintendo DS maker Vicarious Visions, the game is also compatible with, but not optimized for, iPad.

Read more »

"At an initial cost of $3, the only ones who should feel hooked and gutted are iPhone wielding ..."
- angry jellyfish    See all 3 comments

Activision's Revenues Mostly Based Upon Three Properties

Inside the same SEC filing that included information about an investigation into "breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward", Kotaku noticed an interesting bit of information about Activision Blizzard's 2009 profits.

A significant portion of our revenues has historically been derived from products based on a relatively small number of popular franchises and these products are responsible for a disproportionately high percentage of our profits. For example, our top three franchises, Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, and World of Warcraft, accounted for approximately 68% of our net revenues for the year ended December 31, 2009.
Read more »

"EA in my eyes has come a long way (DLC aside). Blizzard's name is tarnished in my eyes. It's ..."
- YummiGummi    See all 39 comments

Activision CEO Admits They 'Missed' by Letting Guitar Hero Creators Harmonix Get Away

Related Topics – Guitar Hero, DICE

Delivering his keynote at DICE ("Activision CEO: We Should Have Partnered With Harmonix" on Game|Life and "DICE 2010: Kotick Talks Passion For Industry, Debuts Indie Contest" on Gamasutra), Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick addressed the company's acquisition moves and motives. Among these, he talked about their making the wrong choice from the partnership between Harmonix and Red Octane that created Guitar Hero and lamented in hindsight their not better recognizing the talent involved.

Read more »

"Isn't he (unfortunately) running Activision-Blizzard? No amount of sucking he does can stop ..."
- HisDivineOrder    See all 61 comments

No More Guitar Hero Games on PlayStation 2

Marking the end of an era, there will be no new Guitar Hero games released on PlayStation 2 in 2010, Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith has revealed.

The popular series premiered on PlayStation 2 in November 2005.

Speaking to investors, Griffith explained that the company will be targeting current generation hardware iterations--Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3--for this year's efforts, which include an all-new Guitar Hero entry and the expected DJ Hero sequel.

Read more »

"I think the big reason it shocks me as being 4 years is that we have had 5 full GH games and ..."
- TheDaFox    See all 5 comments

Pink Floyd Not Ruling Out Rhythm Games

Related Topics – Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Top Spin 3

The BBC reports that Pink Floyd has "has not ruled out working on" a rhythm game though Floyd drummer Nick Mason is none too fond of the genre, Kotaku spotted.

"It irritates me having watched my kids do it - if they spent as much time practising the guitar as learning how to press the buttons they'd be damn good by now," said Mason. Read more »

"I love Floyd but i'm not sure their kindof music would translate well to a rhythm game"
- gyokuro    See all 83 comments

Activision CEO on Plans to 'Take All the Fun Out of Making Video Games,' Go Beyond Consoles

Occassionally villified Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has made another revelation bound to spark some interesting conversation, admitting that "the goal that I had [at Activision]...about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games."

The comment came during a Deutsche Bank Securities Technology Conference attended by GameSpot, during which Kotick spoke rather frankly regarding the company's culture, future and focus on profit. Read more »

"Because id had NOTHING to secure revenue until they finish their latest-greates PoS techdemo."
-    See all 156 comments

Analyst: Guitar Hero 'Has Not Peaked'

While relatively sluggish sales of Guitar Hero World Tour has some convinced that the music game series has peaked, Signal Hills analyst Todd Greenwald disagrees.

"Guitar Hero sell-through [is] a bit soft, but not a disaster," he explained to Edge. "Despite this 'weakness,' we disagree strongly with those who contend that Guitar Hero is a 'fad,' or that the franchise peaked last year with [Guitar Hero III]." Read more »

"Guitar Hero sales have peaked? Maybe what has peaked is people's demand for plastic ..."
- Aztiel    See all 17 comments

Real Band Uses Guitar Hero Instruments

Sure, Rock Band and Guitar Hero have inspired many to take the leap into learning a real-life instrument, but that didn't appeal to electro-rockers The Guitar Zeros.

Instead, they opted to craft custom software for use with Guitar Hero instruments that, according to Current, allows them to create "thousands of sounds" and songs. Read more »

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Metallica Drummer Responds to Retail-vs-Guitar Hero Sound Quality Feud

"Listen, I can't keep up with this shit," complained Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich in response to the internet pointing out that the Guitar Hero III DLC version of the band's new album Death Magnetic is of better quality than the CD on store shelves.

Speaking to Blender, Ulrich sounded much more educated on the issue than he gave himself credit for. "You gotta remember, when we put out '...And Justice for All,' people were going, 'What happened to these guys, this record? ... It sounds like it was recorded in a fuckin' garage on an eight-track.' And now '...And Justice for All' is sort of the seminal Metallica record that supposedly influenced a whole generation of death-metal bands." Read more »

"OK, lets bring it back to the OP's topic: "So... they are okay with it being uber compressed ..."
- yAak    See all 96 comments

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