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  • GH5 Loses September, Van Halen in Jeopardy

    Posted on October 26th, 2009 Simon 2 comments

    guitar-hero-van-halen[1] September’s launch of Guitar Hero 5 was bungled, and sales figures have recently shown that overwhelmingly, music game fans chose The Beatles: Rock Band in September.  Has Activision also ruined any chance of success for their upcoming Guitar Hero: Van Halen game?

    Activision is a company that is well known for their public relations antics, and their CEO is one of the more controversial personalities in the game industry.  Shortly after Guitar Hero 5’s launch in September, the public relations arm of the company quite firmly proclaimed their product launch was the top, and even exclaimed that they had outsold their competitor by a 4 to 1 margin.  Unfortunately the final number from the month do not support any of those claims, and worse yet, are exactly the opposite.

    Even some of the highlights of the game, the ‘celebrity’ renderings, were not without fault.  Immediately after launch reports surfaced that one of the celebrity avatars could be fully unlocked from their own music tracks, and made to sing any song in the catalog.  The Kurt Cobain debacle, to which Activision was equally quick to assert their innocence, that they in fact had signed contracts that stated his likeness was to be a ‘fully playable character’.   The surviving members of Nirvana are currently pleading with the publisher to lock the feature in a future update, but Activision has made no indication that they are going to make that happen.   Admittedly, I was entertained by the “Bon Jovi” stylings of Kurt Cobain’s avatar, but ultimately disgusted that they would take a beloved rock icon like Cobain and completely trash him like that.

    The disappointing (or predictable, if you’re Harmonix) sales performance and cold reception of Guitar Hero 5  have put further doubt on the commercial success of their next title, Guitar Hero: Van Halen.  The title so far has only been available for free, for those customers in the USA who purchased GH5 and the title has already been delivered to them.  For anyone who did not purchase Guitar Hero 5, the game is promised to be in stores in December at full price.

    Well Activision, here is the elephant in the room:  nobody is going to buy Guitar Hero: Van Halen.  Here’s why.  The band Van Halen, although certainly very famous worldwide, has almost all of their game-playing fan base in the USA (in my opinion).  Activision must have realized early on that people in Asia are not going to get excited about playing the music of Eddie Van Halen and company.   One could also argue that anyone who purchased GH5 would probably also purchase GH: VH, and also that if you didn’t buy GH5, you probably aren’t going to be excited about GH: VH.   Simply put, Guitar-Hero-Van-Halen fans all got in at the right time, and got the free copy when they bought GH5.

    With the December retail launch of Van Halen coming up, its not clear who they expect to buy this game.   Given Shawn’s first impressions, as an international customer who did not get it for free, I will not be buying it.  I am sure that if you listen to the PR team at Activision, it will probably outsell every game ever created to date.


    2 responses to “GH5 Loses September, Van Halen in Jeopardy” RSS icon

    • Wow, you made a good point about the “elephant in the room” that I didn’t think about. It’s got terrible reviews so far (see IGN’s review), and those who REALLY wanted it (i.e. their target market) would have gotten it for free with the release of GH5. Besides skinning a few characters and charting all the Van Halen songs, I’m assuming they didn’t sink a whole lot of money into it, but I think they’re still going to have a problem turning a profit on this one.

    • Here’s my response to this quote “Has Activision also ruined any chance of success for their upcoming Guitar Hero: Van Halen game?”

      My answer is yes, no, and maybe. 🙂 After buying, playing, and disliking GH:WT, I had no intention of buying GH5. Then, after the announcement of “Buy GH5, get GH:VH for FREE”, I figured, $30 per game…that’s a hell of a deal. So, Activision got $60 from me they would have never gotten previously.

      Now, would I have bought GH:VH by itself, has this deal not popped up? That, I do not know. I apparenlty am the only music gamer that LOVES old Van Halen. I wouls have been tempted to buy the game, but I don’t know if I would have done it. I also LOVE Metallica, and did not buy GH:M.

      I’m thinking that I would not have purchased GH5 by itself, or GH:VH by itself. To be honest, I wasn’t going to get TB:RB either….but had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket.

      To sum up, I do not like band-centric games. I do not like the Guitar Hero game experience (although I do like the 5 drums, sliding guitar solos, and party play).

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