Activision Discontinues Guitar Hero, Lays Off Employees
It appears hard times have fallen on Activision. Following its quarterly financial report and fiscal earnings conference call, the company has revealed its plans to discontinue its Guitar Hero series of video games due to the franchise’s declining sales. Developers Vicarious Visions and Freestyle Games, both of which are subsidiaries of Activision and have contributed titles to the Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises respectively, have been hit with “severe layoffs” following this report.
Despite these financial setbacks, the company claims it was the number one publisher in North America and Europe in 2010, riding primarily on the strength of Call of Duty: Black Ops and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
Also of note, Activision has revealed its plans to put a greater emphasis on its Call of Duty franchise, further proving the publisher has not learned the dangers of oversaturation. The music genre appears to have all but collapsed under its own weight– you may remember reports late last year of Viacom selling Rock Band developer Harmonix for a price of $50. This, coupled with the news of Guitar Hero’s discontinuation, indicates the general public has become disillusioned with music titles after a glut of similar products has crowded store shelves for years following the genre’s rise to prominence. Activision’s exact plans are yet unknown, but it must tread carefully lest it run another lucrative series into the ground.
Pro Evolution Makes 3DS Launch, Jumps the Gun a Bit
Earlier today, Konami announced the final release date for its upcoming 3DS project, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D. The title is officially slated to hit stores in North America on March 25, two days before the launch of the system itself. This makes it one of a handful of titles that have been confirmed to appear alongside the platform immediately upon its release. Unlike Europe, which has recently received a complete list of all the software that will be available for the handheld on day one, the exact details of 3DS’s American release have yet to be finalized; however, it will very likely be similar to the European launch.
According to Konami, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D utilizes 3DS’s auto-stereoscopic effect to “[give] real depth to its many searching passes, long crosses, and interplay of passes.” The title also boasts a “Player camera” feature that allows the gamer to “see their teammates making runs in the channels and moving into space,” offering a level of immersion impossible on other consoles.
Source: Konami press release
Game & Watch: Ball, DS Pouches Added to Club Nintendo
Two snazzy new rewards have been added to Club Nintendo today. The first, a reissue of Game & Watch: Ball, is an exact working replica of the one originally released 200 years ago in 1980. The game features everyone’s favorite monochromatic hero Mr. Game & Watch doing what he does best: moving slowly. The objective is to keep the balls in the air for as long as you can, moving Mr. G’s left and right arms to juggle them as they come down.
The second new item is a reversible carrying pouch for any variation of DS hardware. The pouch comes in two colors (red and blue) and features “one of three surprise 2-D Mario label designs.”
Game & Watch: Ball is available for a bank-busting 1200 coins, while the reversible DS pouches can be purchased for a comparatively-scant 250.