2005 – Guitar Hero
Behind The Music: Not heard of Guitar Hero? What planet have you been living on? It’s a $2 billion franchise that’s sold over 25 million units worldwide and spawned piles of spin-offs including dedicated tributes to bands like Aerosmith and Metallica, not to mention the likes of Band Hero and DJ Hero. The series also scored chart-topping adaptations for nearly every platform from Nintendo DS to mobile phones, once enjoyed a cult-like following amongst teens and twenty-somethings and even boasts entire South Park episodes devoted to its charms. That said then, you could be forgiven for forgetting that prior to launch, the dynamo which sparked an entire industry was once just a risky, unproven gamble from RedOctane, a little-known manufacturer of dance pad peripherals and dabbler in online video game rentals.
Why It Rocks: Guitar Hero turned the nation’s youth into drooling vidiots, single-handedly built today’s fastest-growing game category and potentially helped save rock through the sale of online music. But despite being directly responsible for the last decade’s fastest-growing (and collapsing) gaming genre, the title once-hailed as the music industry’s possible savior has sadly been placed on temporary hiatus by now-owner Activision. While the publisher insists that reports of the franchise’s death have been greatly exaggerated though, it’s still sad to see the former king of the castle being left to rot in the dungeon. Thankfully, there’s still hope for a rebirth via online, social and downloadable platforms.
Did You Know… In a list of top grossing games published since 1995 released by NPD in March 2011, Guitar Hero 3: Legends Of Rock came out on top with life-to-date sales of $830.9 million—more than the Call of Duty games—and that’s not including revenues earned from additional downloadable content.