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Activision CFO:  Guitar Hero  Lacked 'Nurturing, Care'
Activision CFO: Guitar Hero Lacked 'Nurturing, Care'
September 8, 2011 | By Kris Graft

CFO Thomas Tippl said he's proud that Activision was able to turn its Guitar Hero franchise into one of the best-selling video game series of all time, turning it from a $13 million business to a $1 billion phenomenon.

But after the bottom fell out of the peripheral-based music genre a few years ago, Activision decided earlier this year to dissolve its Guitar Hero business. And at New York's City's Citi 2011 Conference this morning, Tippl admitted the publisher lost its way with the former top-selling franchise.

"Guitar Hero probably didn't receive the amount of nurturing and care that it needed to maintain that position," he said. "And I think there were a number of good lessons to be learned."

"There were a number of elements to the franchise, as well as our relationship with the providers of the music, that didn't make it conducive to make the digital transition," he added.

As the peripheral-based music genre fell precipitously, Activision was accused of oversaturating the market with too frequent Guitar Hero releases. The publisher said in April this year that the series is not finished, but simply on hiatus.

"If we come back, and when we come back, with a reinvented Guitar Hero experience, I think all of that will have to be taken into account," Tippl said. "Clearly, consumers still have a lot of love for the brand."

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Todd Boyd
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Why not just accept that the genre moved beyond its prime? I honestly doubt there's much you could have done to the Guitar Hero franchise to actually push it FORWARD.

Martain Chandler
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They squeezed that mother for every ounce of cash they could. Strike while the iron is hot and the customers are hungry. Nothing wrong with it. It had a great run.

Also, hats off to them for dealing with the hassle of music licencing. The RIAA should give them an award. Music content providers grudgingly agree the world did not come to a end.

So give it nice burial with full honors, guys.

Nick Kinsman
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I look at Guitar Hero, and I look at Rock Band, and I just see worlds of difference, even if we only talk about the guitar side.

It's nice to see them saying, "Maybe we didn't do all that we could have" because I agree with that sentiment. However I also agree with Todd - there's not exactly a ton you can do to revolutionize pressing the buttons on a plastic controller. DDR hasn't done a lot across its life either, and while it hasn't subsided I'd say it certainly never hit the same highs as Guitar Hero either. Interesting contrast ... Maybe it deserves some analysis?

Tiago Rodrigues
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I think that may be exactly the lessons he is referring to. Perhaps turning GH into a long-running franchise with a solid fanbase (like DDR) would have been better than sucking it dry in a couple of years?

Even if there isn't much that could be done to push it forward, I honestly believe the "peripheral-based music genre" has the potential of really sticking with the gaming industry for a long, long time, as opposed to being a short lived novelty.

Joe McGinn
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Yeah it was a fad in every way. Nothing could have sustained it, people only have so much interest in toy guitars.

(Having said that, one of the other big publishers is making a guitar game for real guitars - that is going to be smoking hot!)

Fred Marcoux
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That would be Ubisoft, with game called ''Rocksmith''

Edward Estrada
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Nevermind that that was already done in Rock Band 3 almost a year ago.