Curtain comes down on iconic ‘Guitar Hero’ game

The days of pretending to be a guitar hero are over. Activision Blizzard, the company behind the popular music videogame “Guitar Hero”, has announced an end to the game that launched a thousand solos.

Originally developed by independent studio RedOctane in collaboration with Harmonix in 2005, the game was one of the first ground-breaking games of the 21st century, and became iconic for a generation brought up on videogames that relied mostly on guns and violence.

But it appears that music and gaming is not a marriage made to last. The last year saw losses for Harmonix, which was sold by Viacom to shareholders. Then MTV Games, which collaborated with Harmonix on Rock Band, was shut down. Guitar Heroes: Warriors of Rock, the sixth title in the series, received less than impressive reviews and even less impressive sales.

“Due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing’s ‘Guitar Hero’ business unit and discontinue development of (the game) for 2011,” Activision said while announcing its latest quarterly fiscal results.

The Southern California-based company, also responsible for “Call of Duty”, has revealed plans for a seven percent reduction in staff, with members of the “Guitar Hero” team being among about 500 workers that will be dismissed. After reporting its US$233-million loss on net revenue of US$1.43-billion in the final three months of 2010, it finished the year with a net profit of US$418-million on annual net revenue of US$4.45-billion.

Activision said it remained devoted to upcoming titles for the blockbuster “Call of Duty” battle franchise.

The company also planned to continue investing in online games and digital distribution, which have been gaining popularity worldwide.

Activision isn’t going to stop actually selling Guitar Hero titles any time soon so there is still time to pull a Brian May, Jimi Hendrix or B.B King.

The death of the game is now trending on Twitter under the hashtag RIPGuitarhero.



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