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Harmonix CEO: Music Game Decline Wasn’t Activision’s Fault

Rock Band 3

Harmonix’s co-founder reminisces on what could have triggered both Guitar Hero and Rock Band’s falls from grace while vaguely teasing that either could come back.

Polygon reports that Alex Rigopulos, CEO and co-founder of Harmonix, answered many fans’ questions in regards to Rock Band and Guitar Hero’s futures in a Reddit AMA. Rigopulos explains that Activision’s decision to flood the market with a multitude of Guitar Hero titles and peripheral offerings in a short time does not necessarily explain the fall of music game genre, especially considering its relatively quick rise to success. In particular, Rigopulos speculates that the cost of these titles and peripherals, along with the timeliness of their releases, played a major role in genre’s steep decline.

“I think there’s probably some truth to the notion that Activision ‘over-published’ Guitar Hero,” Rigopulos said. “Reality is always more complicated than this.”

In the Reddit thread, Rigopulos claims that music games and their particular accessories were “the most expensive video games on the market during a brutal recession.” He also explains that the both Rock Band and Guitar Hero failed to innovate and alluded that their sequels were merely changes in presentation along with updated track lists.

“I also don’t think that either GH or RB delivered enough (or the right kind of) evolution of the experience in the years that followed the initial releases — something we hope to address at some point in the next outing,” Rigopulos posted. Unfortunately, he does not go on to clarify what he meant by “next outing,” whether it is a new entry of one of these franchises or a new instrument-based music game altogether.

Rigopulos mentions that music-based games need to evolve in order to stay relevant in the face of the ongoing changes of pop culture, and that it’s his company’s job to figure out how to do that. For now, Harmonix is working on the Kinect-based Fantasia: Music Evolved and Chroma, its music-based FPS. Harmonix has also launched a Kickstarter campaign to try and raise the $755,000 needed to fund the creation of its next Amplitude title.

Next: Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Trailer

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