Activision: “Nothing but love” for Harmonix, key to revitalizing Guitar Hero is innovation

Thursday, 9th December 2010 06:58 GMT By Nathan Grayson


Rock Band, Guitar Hero, how about tossing aside your grudges and getting the old band back together?

Wait, Power Gig, what are you doing here? No, you’re not invited. Stay away! Shoo!

During an interview with IndustryGamers, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg was asked about his thoughts on potentially burying the hatchet with Harmonix and giving the recently forsaken developer back its old plastic axe.

“I can’t comment on that, for obvious reasons. I can tell you I’ve got a ton of respect for Harmonix, and I agree with everything you’ve said about them. They’re a hell of a developer, and very innovative, and I’ve got nothing but love for them. As a fan, I can certainly say they are a great developer and they’ve done a great job in this space,” he said.

Harmonix, of course, was the original brain behind Guitar Hero – before Activision acquired Red Octane and put Neversoft behind the wheel instead.

Speaking of Guitar Hero, Hirshberg didn’t try to hide the fact that the franchise seems to have entered its Fat Elvis stage as of late.

“It’s no secret that not just Guitar Hero, but also Rock Band, and the music category in general, do not have the same mass appeal today that they did a few years ago,” he confessed. “That said, I think that we would be foolish to not try and build on the strength of the Guitar Hero brand, because as you said, it’s a pretty strong brand with great recognition and great likability, and there’s a lot to work with there.”

“I think the road to rejuvenating that category goes through innovation.”

“I just think we need to escalate the experience for people and innovate. I think the genre is still fairly new, and so I think it’s probably time for us to really look at what the next level looks like for that genre,” he concluded.

To those about to publish games about those about to pretend to rock, we salute you.



  1. JimFear666

    lol … guitar hero and innovation dont go well together. Im sure that they will still continu to copy rb and the next guitar hero will have real guitat and keyboard like rb.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. typeface

    Hate them or love them or be indifferent, Activision are the only ones who are between profit and break-even still for music game franchises.
    It would make sense if they bought Harmonix, not to mention they’d have access to UMG’s music library for a nominal free since they’re part of that juggernaut called Vivendi-Universal. Viacom just didn’t have enough licenses to be bought that it would be profitable. Only others who could still be profitable are companies like Sony, WB or maybe EMI if they wanted to enter the games industry.
    Anyone else buying it really will have to waste a lot of money on the catalogue.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Crysis

    Hmm, I see Sony buying them out, well Sony is the second-largest global recorded music company, so obtaining licenses is no problem, Sony already has experiance with Singstar so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to mix all that waith Harmonix’s talent, & Sony’s already established franchise, Singstar, but they should change the name of it since it won’t be all about the vocals, but the music too next time.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. typeface

    @3 actually you might be onto something. We know that Harmonix worked a lot with London Studio (the singstar devs) and also the eyetoy team during the PS2 era. Not to mention that Sony Music Entertainment might actually be the number 1 label with UMG close behind/slightly ahead (it’s uncertain) and the others are a bit further back (based on 2009 figures).

    #4 4 years ago

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