Turntablist franchise cancelled due to “decline in demand for peripheral-based music games.”
Activision Blizzard has confirmed that music franchise DJ Hero is being cancelled as the publisher closes down its Guitar Hero business unit, which includes the turntablist rhythm-action series.
Speaking during an investor call following the publication of its latest financial results, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said: “Despite a remarkable 92 rating on DJ Hero 2, a well-regarded Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, as well as a 90-plus release from our most direct competitor, demand for peripheral-based music games declined at a dramatic pace.
"Given the considerable licensing and manufacturing costs associated with this genre, we simply can’t make these games profitably based on current markets and demand."
It is unclear what effect this will have on DJ Hero’s developer, the UK studio FreeStyle Games. The developer posted on Twitter last night to say: “Thank you all for your messages of support. They do mean a lot to us. It’s early days and we will keep you posted.”
While Activision confirmed it was to trim 500 staff, cutting its workforce by 7 per cent, it also implied the series would continue in some form through DLC.
Hirshberg said: “What we’ll do is focus our time and money on marketing and supporting our strong catalogue of titles and downloadable content, especially for new consumers as the install base for hardware continues to grow.”
The critical reception afforded DJ Hero 2 in particular – we awarded it 8 out of 10, saying “FreeStyle’s is now the only Hero that matters”, and gave the original the same score – makes its cancellation as puzzling as it is disappointing.
While music game revenues have surely dropped in recent years that can largely be explained by over-saturation breeding apathy. DJ Hero was a unique presence in a market dominated by guitars.
Activision has also cancelled True Crime: Hong Kong and said there will be no Tony Hawk release in 2011. The publisher reported record earnings and a 370 per cent jump in annual profits in the calendar year 2010.
UPDATE: FreeStyle Games has issued a short press release attributed to founders David Osbourn, Chris Lee and Jamie Jackson, according to VG247. "We’re actively working with Activision on various options going forward for the studio," it says. "No decisions have been taken at this stage.
"We appreciate everyone’s support through this process and will be as open and transparent as possible as soon as we know more."