Earlier this week, Forbes writer Peter C. Beller made a tit of himself when he swallowed some Activision PR and reprinted it in his article on Bobby Kotick. Today, surprisingly, he stands by it.
To recap, in the original piece, Beller called Rock Band a "shameless knockoff" of Guitar Hero, seemingly oblivious of the fact Harmonix designed both games, and equally oblivious of the fact Guitar Hero World Tour is itself a "shameless knockoff" of Harmonix's own Rock Band.
Explaining himself to GameDaily, Beller writes:
My terming Rock Band a "shameless knockoff" of Guitar Hero was based on the fact that it came out after Guitar Hero and sported very obvious similarities with Guitar Hero, including color-coded prompts moving onscreen along a fret board. It even accepted the same Guitar Hero guitar controller, I believe.
If you define knockoff as "a copy or imitation of someone or something popular" the way Merriam-Webster does, then I think Rock Band fits the bill nicely.
I was aware that Harmonix designed both but Redoctane, then Activision, actually owned the game. When Harmonix sold to MTV and produced Rock Band it appears likely they took their know-how from Guitar Hero to create Rock Band along a similar vein. Which is a better game? Not for me to decide.
The point I was trying to make was that just because Bobby Kotick spent $100M for Guitar Hero, or has a long-running skateboarding franchise, doesn't mean he can churn out sequels without the threat of competition. More broadly, creative talent, on which the industry depends, is quick to migrate to where it feels most appreciated and remunerated.
So...not much of an explanation at all, then.
Media Coverage: The Press Responds [GameDaily]