Activision hit with layoffs; Skylanders, Guitar Hero devs affected

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We recently told you how Rock Band 4 wasn’t quite the great big hit Harmonix and publisher Mad Catz had hoped for. Though sales, they says, were “strong,” they weren’t enough to boost profits, and its development and the manufacture of all of those fake plastic instruments has left Mad Catz in dire financial straits.

It seems, perhaps, that the other famous music rhythm game hasn’t exactly re-ignited the genre either. Guitar Hero Live was released on old and new consoles last year in October. With a brand new guitar controller and a new way of playing, Guitar Hero Live was met with critical acclaim.

Even our own review was positive.

“Guitar Hero Live provides a whole new experience to veterans, yet manages to be accessible enough for those who are only just starting their digital rock careers. It’s a solid title, though the streaming service GHTV could use some tweaking to make the game an absolute must-have.”

It was enough to convince me to shell out the R1699 asking price for the game, because I’ve always enjoyed a spot of Guitar Hero.

I have played it twice. In the end, I found the whole thing uninteresting. So, it seems, did many of the general populace. Perhaps people really aren’t ready for music rhythm games to return.

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According to Kotaku, Activision’s been hit with a round of layoffs – and their sources say that Guitar Hero Live developer FreeStyleGames has been hit hardest. That’s unfortunate for FreeStyleGames, who’ve always seemed a lovely bunch of chaps. Also hit? Skylanders and the studios that make those games. Apparently it’s because the casual audience hasn’t quite adopted the new consoles just yet.

“As announced on our earnings call, our games for core audiences did extremely well, but the casual audience has not yet emerged on next gen consoles,” an Activision spokesperson said. “So we are refocusing to better align with Activision’s long-term priorities because, as always, our strategy evolves to keep us ahead of a rapidly-changing industry. We are working with those impacted by the changes to offer outplacement services and support.”

Last Updated: February 16, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Pieter Kruger

    “Apparently it’s because the casual audience hasn’t quite adopted the new consoles just yet”……..with 30m PS4’s sold I STRONGLY disagree!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      lol

    • Hammersteyn

      LOL!

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      OH you!

      • Pieter Kruger

        It’s sad I know, but the poor attach rate is proof that PS4 is the new casual gamers go to console….????

    • HairyEwok

      I think it’s more the case that people can’t justify the price on the game which you have to pay to play certain songs (which is the best songs) anyway.

      • Pieter Kruger

        Just buy a real guitar at cash crusaders for less……????

        • And put it on a stand in the corner of the house, and hope to glob no one asks you to play a song.

  • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

    At R1700, you could buy a (MASSIVELY) entry level electric guitar with Rocksmith 2014, and become a proper Rock god, depending on whether you nail the Dimebag Darrel songs, also RS 2014 has been out on the new consoles for way longer than Rock band or (Air) Guitar Hero, which gives it a bit of a lead especially to those that actually like playing with the instruments rather than getting exposed to the sound of a 486DX2 keyboard being clacka’d to death by the worlds fastest type writer…

    • Captain JJ ‘saurus

      This ^
      Except that with R1700 you can buy a pretty decent guitar if you buy second-hand, which is totally recommended since there are so many kids who buy guitars, use them twice then sell them.

      • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

        I saw a guy sell a Warwick Streamer bass(which usually retail for anything above R15k) at a cash crusaders once, unfortunately I didn’t have the cash on, otherwise I’d have bought it from him, he walked out with something like R2k, I was quite upset…

        • Captain JJ ‘saurus

          That’s my point right there.
          For around 2k you can buy an excellent guitar. Not an entry level.
          I got my Jackson Rhoads for R2k at a cash converters.

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            What!? That’s insane!! It is sad though to think that people would sell a Jackson at a cash crusaders store, but thinking about it, how much would the music shop have given him?

          • Captain JJ ‘saurus

            Yea man. True that.
            But it takes some hunting sometimes to find those gems.

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            Yep! I paid just under R5k for my Les Paul Custom with gold hardware a few years ago, I don’t think I’ll ever find a deal like that again…

          • Mossel

            Gibson or Epiphone? Either way that’s a good deal!

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            Epiphone, still, if you do the setup right you can make her sound really good…

          • Mossel

            I also have an Epiphone, so not hating on it at all haha! Yeah she screams hard if you press the right buttons…

          • Captain JJ ‘saurus

            Yea man.
            Got my Ibanez RGA 7-string for 4. Great deal too.

  • oVg

    Guitar Hero Devs get the axe. Can somebody please remind me what year it is again?

  • oVg

    Its simple, make the new gen game COMPATIBLE with the old guitars. NOOOOOOoooooooo!!!!!! we need to sell more useless peripherals at double the price. GITS.

    • Captain JJ ‘saurus

      My guitar is perfectly compatible with every amp I’ve ever owned since I was 15.

      • oVg

        I have to give ACTIVISION KUDOS on the durability of those Fisher Price looking plastic guitars. Rince and I hammered the shit out them and they still work. Metallica FTW.

  • Captain JJ ‘saurus

    Guitar Hero veterans
    That’s like first place in a pushbike race.

    • oVg

      Shows you how times have changed. The last time I googled Fire Through the Flames world record, Youtube did not cut out the music for royalty issues. The Golden Age of Social media is over.

      • Captain JJ ‘saurus

        Yea man.

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