MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
"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.
MICHAEL PACHTER: Anyone who has a console who wants "Guitar Hero" has it.
CONTRERAS: Michael Pachter is a research analyst for Wedbush Securities.
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: 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.
MIKE MCGUIRE: 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.
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: Felix Contreras, NPR News.
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