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Music Media Entertainment Games

Music Game Genre On the Decline 225

After enjoying several years of popularity, music games seem to be drawing less and less interest from gamers lately. Guitar Hero and Rock Band titles have been conspicuously absent from a list of the 20 best-selling software titles in the past two months, and one report estimates that revenue from those games has dropped by almost half. Analyst Jesse Divnich suggests that there's no longer much room for dramatic improvements in game play, saying, "it would be erroneous to assume that any franchise or brand can grow unless it brings something new to the table. After a while, utility to the gamer will diminish and he/she will surely move on." Nevertheless, the companies are happy to continue to rely on DLC sales while working on new releases. Harmonix is showing off a trailer and a partial set list for The Beatles: Rock Band, and Neversoft has detailed a number of new features and tracks for Guitar Hero 5.
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Music Game Genre On the Decline

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  • And as usual... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) * <> on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:05PM (#28783857) Homepage Journal

    Some innovative company will emerge with a new concept nobody's thought about, and we'll be hooked on that for a while.

    There is no "perfection". There are only new concepts, and there's an unlimited supply of them.

  • Too much cost... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Last_Available_Usern ( 756093 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:08PM (#28783901)
    It doesn't help that the controllers cost an arm and a leg. In tough economic times, if I have to choose between 3 or 4 games and one game with it's proprietary controllers....guess what, I'm getting the former.
  • by Klobbersaurus ( 796024 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:08PM (#28783907)
    Guitar hero needs more Buckethead, less Elton John.
  • by RedK ( 112790 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:10PM (#28783933)
    What's been released in the last 2 months ? Guitar Hero : Smash hits ? It's basically a rehash of already released content, you can't expect record sales from that. The last big release in the genre was Guitar Hero : World Tour/Rock Band 2, and that was late last year. Big article about nothing if you ask me.
  • Good riddance. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FiloEleven ( 602040 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:12PM (#28783955)

    Don't get me wrong--I enjoy extended Guitar Hero sessions with friends as much as the next guy, so I'm glad it exists. But it seems to me that if you're interested enough in playing music to spend hours on a simplified simulator, you might as well buy a cheap guitar / bass / drum kit and do it for real. It's not quite as easy, but it's far more rewarding and you aren't limited to playing other people's songs.

  • I wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:12PM (#28783959) Homepage

    Gee, think that might have anything to do with flooding the market with sequel after sequel until nobody can keep track of them any more?

  • DJ Hero (Score:3, Insightful)

    by werdnapk ( 706357 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:13PM (#28783969)

    DJ Hero [] looks to be the newest addition to freshen up the genre.

    I'm not sure people will find it as "accessible" as guitar hero though due simply to the fact that almost everyone young and old understands the concept of a guitar.

  • by Piata ( 927858 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:13PM (#28783985)

    Activision especially has been milking this market for a while with new Guitar Hero packages yearly. Harmonix seems to be much more focused on quality vs quantity and also focused more on DLC than retail goods. In the end I think Activision is going to be hit the hardest by this as they've been pushing new instruments and Guitar Hero games yearly. There's only so many times people will upgrade their plastic instruments before the market is saturated.

    Plus, there's also the fact that you can go out and buy a real guitar for twice the price of one of these sets and develop a real skill with a real instrument that if properly maintained will last a life time.

  • Non-story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Amphetam1ne ( 1042020 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:23PM (#28784153)

    Anyone else thinking that sales are down because there is only a finite market for music based games and it's much closer to saturation point now than it was when the last batch of good games were released? GH Metalica is really only a purchase if you're a metalica fan, while GH Greatest/Smash Hits has had lack-luster reviews and will largely only get a purchase from the hardcore fans and those new to the series that didn't get to play GH1/2/3/80's.

    RB Beatles and GH5 are slated for September release and have now been out of the top 20 for 2 months. How exactly is the last major game release of a developer dropping out of the top 20 just 4 months before the release of their next major title a "decline"? Most development studios would make blood sacrafices to be in the top 20 that long!

    Filler article for the summer games-news drought.

  • Re:Good riddance. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fulminata ( 999320 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:35PM (#28784349)
    Why does someone always bring this up? It's a game, not a simulator!

    If I wanted to learn how to play a guitar, then I'd pick up a guitar. I just want to have some fun with my friends playing a game that happens to include music we like.

    Please, stop acting as if people are using these games as a substitute for playing music, they're not. If all the music games were to suddenly disappear overnight, people would not go out and buy real instruments, they'd simply play a different game.
  • Re:Sell out!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gizzmonic ( 412910 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:40PM (#28784433) Homepage Journal

    1) MTV doesn't play music.

    2)Are you seriously implying that the Who, Nirvana, Elvis Costello etc are MTV bands? Or the obscure stuff Bikini Kill, the Libyans, etc? So, they have a Panic at the Disco song, there's 70+ other tracks. Don't pick that song if you don't like it.

    You're a whiner!

  • by LockeOnLogic ( 723968 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:41PM (#28784453)
    I'm a musician, I've been playing for as long as I can remember. And all my musician jackass friends snidely say this exact same thing to people who are good at rock band, and it has started to irritate me. Guitar hero is not playing music, and the skills do not transfer as people seem to think. Pressing buttons while holding your hands in a similar position as when playing a guitar gives you zero indication of musical ability or any positive benefit for your playing. It only shows you can move your fingers in time with a beat, but thats where the similarity ends. Its like me saying "oh fly fishing you wave a big wooden stick and baseball you do the same! Fisherman should be good at baseball!"

    Don't get me wrong, I think these games are fun as hell even though I don't own them. I love when a friend has rock band and we all knock back a few and rock out, cheap easy fun. But don't dellude yourself, rock band will do little to lessen the years it takes to be able to play live with people and not make horrible noise. That being said, I respect people who are really good at it becase although i'm a pretty decent guitarist, I can't do those nutso songs on expert. And my friends are wrong to presume I should be able to.
  • DDR (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:59PM (#28784771) Homepage

    Same thing happened with DDR. I love it, and there will always be a hardcore group of DDR players. But the market is saturated, and it isn't new anymore, so sales won't continue to climb forever.

  • Re:Good riddance. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Clovis42 ( 1229086 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:04PM (#28784859)

    you might as well buy a cheap guitar / bass / drum kit and do it for real.

    No. I don't want to learn how to play a guitar. I'm not musically talented at all, but I can do pretty good on Expert in the games. This is fun. I get to listen to and experience the music in a fun way. To learn guitar would take forever, and I would never be very good at it. It doesn't matter how much time I spend on guitar games; I'm only doing it to have fun. Why not tell FPS players to quit wasting their time and join the army??

  • by SQLGuru ( 980662 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:26PM (#28785213) Journal

    The thing about it, though is it opens up different markets. My family likes Rock Band well enough (enough that we bought Rock Band 2 as well), but they never got into the game as much because they had to play *ROCK* songs. If there were a POP band game, they'd play more. The don't like the content of RB or GH as much.

    Just because the song wasn't originally played with those instruments, I'm sure they could make up something for you to do while the song plays because really all the game is about is pushing the right buttons in time with the music.....sort of like playing Track & Field at a slower beat. It's just the layout of the buttons that makes it feel like you are playing music instead of sprinting the 100m dash.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:27PM (#28785223)

    *snicker* Oh, man. The desperate, flailing responses to this ought to achieve EPIC levels of hilarity. Here goes...

    Could you define "serious" in terms of music games? Judging by your list of games, it has to be some combination of... let's see... inaccessibility to the US general public (either by gameplay, taste in music selection, and/or import restrictions)? Obscurity? Lower sales? Less popularity in the obviously oh-so-unhip US? J-Poppiness? Is it the J-Pop? It's the J-Pop, isn't it? The more Japanese and less American something is, the better it is by default, right? Ever since the lawsuit, ITG (er... ITG2? Why only 2?) was allowed onto your list, right?

  • by Gizzmonic ( 412910 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @03:42PM (#28786337) Homepage Journal

    No we need way more Candle in the Wind! Which version? How about all of them! Genius idea! A Guitar Hero game featuring songs with absolutely no guitar playing at all, or the shittiest, most talentless jerk-offs out there able to pound out the same three note chord bar after bar! AWESOME!

    The Elton John song is "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)", which has a pretty juicy guitar part, if I do say so myself. Guitar Hero is about pretending to be a rock star, not a musical virtuoso. The audience of people who can tolerate Robert Fripp solos is much smaller than those who can enjoy a simple AC/DC track. And out of those Robert Fripp fans, most of them are going to say "Get a real instrument instead of pretending to play a solo on a plastic toy." So, from a financial standpoint, does it make sense to target these people?

    Don't know what exactly you have against technically proficient players, and I'm not sure when being able to play an instrument well became something to despise.

    It became "something to despise" when technically proficient, soulless players sucked all the fun out of rock 'n' roll and turned it into something more pretentious ballet (which btw was invented so that aristocrats could look at girls in skimpy clothes, funny what we consider high art these days).

    It's a good thing there's such diversity in music today. Those of us who appreciate talented musicians can listen to them, while those who enjoy the absolute shit put out by people who cannot even call themselves musicians any more (they're "artists") because they have less to do with the actual music than my bowel movements have an abundance to choose from, even if most of it sounds the same.

    So you must love Kenny G more than Charlie Parker, right? Robert Fripp more than Chuck Berry? Some no-name fusion jazz drummer more than Keith Moon? After all, boring, masturbatory soloing is what people with sophisticated tastes like yourself just love. God forbid those artists be accountable to an audience! It's not like they're entertainers, that would be beneath them.

    Anyway, back to Rock Band, a great deal of people like catchy songs, whether they're simple or complex. A small amount of people appreciate technically complicated music for its own sake. They usually work at coffee shops or Guitar Center and scowl at everyone, then wonder why everyone hates them. Which would audience would you target your music-based at?

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.