We all at some point plugged in Guitar Hero or sat at the drums with our friends for Rock Band, but it seems like none of that is around anymore. Rock Band and Guitar Hero each tried a comeback last year, but they only received mixed to average results. The problem? It seems like the concept could have had a great progression, but with its over saturation a few years back, it just ended up becoming a fad.
And what happens to fads? They die. That’s by definition what will happen. They have their glory and then are quickly dropped for the next big gimmick. In order to find out how this came to be, you need to take a look into what caused this failure.
For both series, they each came out with a new entry every year. Not only that, but variations of those entries (Rock Band Beatles, Guitar Hero Van Halen, Rock Band Aerosmith, etc.). It came to the point that nearly three games a year were coming out for both series. As that goes on, it isn’t hard to see that people got sick of it. Why continue to buy the same thing over and over again with slight variations in graphics and different songs?
What could have worked is if they sold less entries but consistently released track packs. This was back in the days where DLC wasn’t as popular, so track packs eventually overlapping into DLC would have been the natural progression. You have people who can buy the entry for a year or so and still be able to get all the songs they want to use.
However, while the various developers could have thought more proactively with their success, they decided to cash in as much as they could as quickly as they could, fearing when it would die. But you can’t over-saturate fearing death of an entry or a genre, what you need to do is see how you can improve it and plan a natural life for it, being more rewarding as the years go on.
If you plan a system like it’s going to die, it WILL die. And that’s not to say that any of the games that came out were bad. They functioned well and had songs everyone loved. Of course they started running thin on music when more and more entries came out, but that could still have exposed people to great unknown rock music. However, the public’s mentality was that it was the same thing with a different coat of paint. Strikingly similar to how people view games such as Call of Duty or Assassins Creed today.
And when they tried to make a comeback last year, they had a few good ideas thrown into the games, but it wasn’t nearly enough to recapture the attention of the public. Live action bandmates only seemed to raise the cheese level for Guitar Hero Live. Rock Band 4 was hurt by a weak soundtrack and bad publicity.
Hopefully as time goes on these games can reclaim their place as a giant in the gaming world. But for now, plug in your Playstation 2 and relive the nostalgia while you wait.