Activision 'Pushed DJ Hero Down Our Throats'
The Guitar Hero franchise is sadly missed after Activision's shock franchise cull... but in an extraordinarily candid interview, controversial CEO Bobby Kotick has admitted that they simply stopped listening to consumers during the launch of DJ Hero. More interestingly, an unnamed studio is exploring new technology and prototypes for the series revival.
Speaking to Forbes, Kotick defended his decision to shut down the Guitar Hero franchise, but explained that their focus on DJ Hero stopped them from innovating enough to keep Guitar Hero relevant. In effect, they 'pushed DJ Hero down our throats' while taking their eye of their more mainstream series.
Well [in the case of DJ Hero] they didn’t want what we gave them. We pushed it down their throats.
These are the hardest failures, when you put your heart and soul into it and you deliver an extraordinarily well received game, and nobody shows up to buy it. So that’s what happened with DJ Hero. At the same time we were so excited about going down this new direction with DJ Hero, I think we abandoned a bit of the innovation that was required in the Guitar Hero franchise.
And so it was the double whammy of DJ Hero was unsuccessful, and then Guitar Hero became unsuccessful because it didn't have any nourishment and care. So we made what I think was exactly the right decision last year [to cease development].
DJ Hero was a fantastic game with an excellent peripheral, mind, but there's no denying that miserable sales figures dogged what should have been a triumphant release.
However, Kotick also confirmed that an in-house studio is currently exploring new "technology pathways" and ways of bringing Guitar Hero back.
We said, you know what, we need to regain our audience interest, and we really need to deliver inspired innovation. So we're going to take the products out of the market, and we're not going to tell anybody what we're doing for awhile, but we're going to stop selling Guitar Hero altogether.
Then we also let the studio –there’s a studio that’s now assigned to this project– we let them explore technology pathways, and so they’ll do a variety of different prototypes.
Whether or not this is on the up and up or just a clever ploy to force lower music licensing fees out of record labels remains to be seen... but we'll keep you posted.