20/02/2011

[TOTW] The Death of a Genre?


We all got shocked (but not surprised) by Activision pulling the plug on Guitar Hero marking the death of one of the biggest IP's of rhythm genre we known so far. With Harmonix also plunging in sales on Rock Band, are we witnessing the death of a genre? and if so, is there anyone to blame?


Guitar Hero was first published in November 8, 2005 by RedOctane and Harmonix who introduced the famous plastic guitar and at that time, most of the people were excited to be rocking in front of the TV just jamming around songs non-stop, but times changed, Harmonix separated themselves in 2007 and made Rock Band, after that Neversoft and Vicarius System took charge until 2010 where Neversoft left making Vicarius System alone in development. In the publisher area RedOctane left in 2009 making Activision its prime and only publisher. In the following years we have seen many introductions to the game, such as big (and some bad) improvements, the microphone got some attention switching the way it recorded and put your vocal cords to the test, the drums were introduced in Guitar Hero World Tour, making it a whole band package for an absurd retail price but it was worth it, only so you don't make a fool of yourself in front of your friends but to make all of your friends take part in it.



In the years to come the franchise started to get more and more exploited, where most people point to Activision money-grabbing tactics, releasing game after game which mainly didn't update its predecessor track list 100% or you needed to pay for your already payed content to be transported to the newer version, adding this to the poor music listings, poor accessory quality (yes I blame my two drums failing me, the guitar and mic dying) and worthless equipment redesigns. Seeing the future, most fans were already predicting this and either arduously leaving the genre until changes were seen or switching to RockBand which in someways started to bright more then the original star. 



In the past two years, 10 Games where released to multiple platforms (including mobile, but mainly consoles) which strained the consumer and made the market oversaturate with so many to choose, no new ideas and bad music listings plunging the franchise into a decrepit shadow of it's former self. Activision decision to "kill" the series was the next best choice of the already milked franchise but there were solutions to its problem, to extend the longevity of each game atleast by a year and a half and also taking the previous games music list to the new game "FREE", a concept still in development at Activision.



But with the canning of GH, Rock Band is free to spread its wings, but still facing tons of difficulty, whether its following some of the mistakes of GH, like some technical issues with the hardware and possibly starting to release games non-stop (hopefully not), but its also making strides into innovation like adding a piano keyboard or changing the layout of the guitar to a more real feel. But for a drummer like myself, I feel left out by playing only 4 setted key drum (unless I buy the Zion drum and thats too rich for me). 


So, even with the innovation that Rock Band is trying to survive in this world, it's going to have a really hard time, the saturation of the market is so extensive that most of its community gave up, and Rock Band's sophistication alone won't be enough to buy back the fans trust.

So for this weeks question for all you readers is, what will it take to revive this genre, or is this really the death of this genre?

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