No More Windmills: Activision Kills 'Guitar Hero' : The Record It seems guns sell better than guitars. The game's maker will shut down production of the franchise.
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No More Windmills: Activision Kills 'Guitar Hero'

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No More Windmills: Activision Kills 'Guitar Hero'

No More Windmills: Activision Kills 'Guitar Hero'

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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It's the end of an era - well, maybe not an era, but the video game that has taken over living rooms across the country, "Guitar Hero," is heading into retirement.

It will stay on shelves for now, but the company that makes the game announced that there will be no more new editions.

"Guitar Hero" was introduced in 2005, and as NPR's Felix Contreras reports, it helped build a new generation of classic rock fans.

(Soundbite of music)

FELIX CONTRERAS: After creating more than a dozen versions of the game, Activision Blizzard Inc. announced the "Guitar Hero" franchise has been losing money. It racked up about $1.7 billion dollars in just three years, but eventually the market became saturated.

Mr. MICHAEL PACHTER (Research Analyst, Wedbush Securities): Anyone who has a console who wants "Guitar Hero" has it.

CONTRERAS: Michael Pachter is a research analyst for Wedbush Securities.

Mr. PACHTER: So the only real market opportunity is new console purchasers, and the company looked at that and said it doesn't make sense to keep a staff of 250 people full time trying to build new iterations of the game when we're not going to sell very many units.

CONTRERAS: So Guitar Hero will go the way of "Pac Man."

Mr. PACHTER. And it'll be something that, you know, our kids talk about how their parents used to play this funky old game, "Guitar Hero," like I remember my dad playing "Pong."

(Soundbite of song, "Iron Man")

CONTRERAS: "Guitar Hero" also helped create interest in bands that probably hadn't seen new revenue streams since they put away their leather pants. The game created an unlikely new fan base for bands like The Ramones, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith and Van Halen. Mike McGuire is vice president of research for Gartner's Media Industries.

Mr. MIKE McGUIRE (Vice President of Research, Gartner's Media Industries): Prior to that game, they would have thought: Jeez, Dad, don't break out the old CD or, God forbid, the record collection.

CONTRERAS: But what was once square is now cool.

Mr. McGUIRE: There's a whole host of, I'm sure, young guitar players now, heard about and maybe discovered a lot of new material and music with that particular game.

(Soundbite of song, "I Wanna Be Sedated")

THE RAMONES: (Singing) Twenty-twenty-twenty-four hours to go. I wanna be sedated. Nothin' to do, nowhere to go, I wanna be sedated.

CONTRERAS: It's still too soon to look for discarded guitars and microphones at neighborhood yard sales. While there will not be new versions of the games, Activision will continue to make the instruments. And with a library of over 1,000 songs there's still lots of opportunities get our rock star on.

Felix Contreras, NPR News.

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