Last year was the return of the rhythm games, with both Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live releasing at the tail end of 2015. While yours truly gave both games a 7/10, it appears that the outings didn't sell as well as their respective companies had hoped.
First came the news that Rock Band 4 publisher and plastic guitar manufacturer Mad Catz had some "executive and board leadership changes" with multiple board members and executives resigning from the company, including CEO Darren Richardson and Chairman of the Board John Nyholt, leading many to assume that the company had taken a hit in terms of revenue.
Sure enough, on the next day, Mad Catz announced its third quarter financial results, which were pretty mixed. While it did make a 114 per cent improvement in sales, new boss Karen McGinnis said that "Rock Band sell-through was lower than official forecast" before announcing a 37 per cent staff cut to save money. Our thoughts go out to those affected.
Not only that, but Rock Band 4's competitor Guitar Hero Live didn't do so well either, with Activision's fourth quarter financial results and an investor call last night revealing that the game suffered "lower than expected performance" before confirming that there wouldn't be another Guitar Hero game for quite a while, with the title staying as a platform rather than a sequel.
So why did 2015's rhythm game revival not go well?
Generally, it's safe to say that many people didn't want to fork out for new guitars, thanks to the rising costs of games. This affects Guitar Hero Live a little more than Rock Band, since it didn't have backward compatibility with guitars, but it's still a very big reason for both of the games' disappointing sales. With both titles not having strong tracklists and Guitar Hero Live featuring microtransactions, many people probably weren't convinced enough to stump up for them.
Rock Band 4 also had quite a few problems in Europe thanks to its failure to bring older Rock Band songs to the new game. One of the headline features for Rock Band's revival was the ability to bring songs from older games forward to the newest instalment, but SCEE's fumbling around – business as usual, there – delayed this feature for quite a while.
Guitar Hero and Rock Band owners: did you find your chosen game disappointing? If you haven't got either, what was the main reason you didn't buy it? Break your fingers playing Through the Fire and the Flames in the comments below.