2009 was a disastrous year for music games. With Activision churning out five or six games a year, they tried to get as many people playing some sort of music game, whether it was Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero or Guitar Hero: Modern hits (not to mention Guitar Hero: Van Halen, among others). It’s obvious that they over saturated the genre, and confused the crap out of the people trying to decide what to buy.

Guitar Hero World Tour

So those people turned to Rock Band 2, which is a much more simple purchase. In 2009, Harmonix continued to release downloadable songs onto their in-game store, hitting over 1000 before the year turned over. They refrained from releasing a new branch to Rock Band (besides The Beetles: Rockband, but it was an exception) and to focus on getting many downloadable songs out as possible (and it showed).

Rock Band 2

Then 2010 rolls along, specifically this current month. Activision cuts Guitar Hero III, 5 and World Tours makers, Neversoft, in half and announces that Guitar Hero 6 will be their last game in the Guitar Hero series (it’s unknown if they will shut down). Red Octane, the peripheral maker for all the Guitar Hero games, was shut down completely. And, in March, the contract that Viacom (the company that owns MTV, MTV Games, Harmonix, and Rock Band) has with EA to allow Harmonix to make games that EA publishes, expires at the end of their fiscal year. It’s already been stated that Rock Band: Green Day will be published by EA and created by Harmonix. But what then?

We know only two things: 1. Rock Band: Green Day will be coming out, as will 2. Guitar Hero 6. Those two facts are the only things that are solid. The future for the music games looks very dim. I still believe that it is entirely Activisions fault for pushing so many bloody games at us all the time, games which continually got worse.

But alas, we can only hope that Harmonix, no matter what happens, will continue to push downloadable content out the window, because that is the only thing I’ve been buying for months and months (since I purchase Guitar Hero World Tour for 10$ used).

The music genre won’t die for fans for years to come; we’ve created too big of a fan base. But, the companies are coming very close to ending the genre forever, or at least for a few years until it can get a reboot. Does it really need a reboot though? We should just slow down on the full retail games and focus on getting as many very popular songs onto the game though downloadable content. Listen, Activision, stop at Guitar Hero 6. NO MORE FULL GAMES. Just create a online music store with songs that are available in World Tour and Guitar Hero 5 (a backwards compatibility problem other Guitar Hero games had) and you’ll get your fan base back.

I hope the music genre doesn’t die; I love it. But from where I’m sitting, it looks very bleak.