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The Music Game Is Dead (Long Live The Music Game?)

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There once was a time when music games were the biggest - and in some cases best - thing to happen to the video game industry. Oh, how those times have changed.

Gamasutra's chart fiend Matt Matthews has got hold of the revenue generated by the sale of music games over the past three years, and the decline in the genre is staggering.


In 2008, music games - think series like Rock Band, Guitar Hero, SingStar & DJ Hero - made over $1.6 billion. In 2009, that dropped by almost half, down to $870 million, and in 2010, well...things are looking even worse.

From January through to October, music games have yet to break the $250 million mark. Which considering this is a year which has seen Rock Band 3 (which is a great game), a new Guitar Hero game and a new DJ Hero title is dismal reading.


Sure, some of that comes from the fact people invested in the more expensive instrument bundles early on, then only bought subsequent standalone games. And both Rock Band 2 and DJ Hero 2 haven't been out that long. But only some, especially when you consider DJ Hero 2 sold only 59,000 copies in October.

These numbers don't lie. The music genre as we know it i- a chart-topping juggernaut capable of supporting the high manufacturing costs of all those instruments - is dead. Many consumers have obviously lost interest. All those plastic instruments that took up a bunch of space, cost a ton of money and had you playing the same "hit the buttons in time with the coloured dot" game over and over for 3-4 years have clearly had their time in the sun.

The future of the genre, it seems, lies in games that are slimmer. That are just games, that you buy, and can play, without the need for dedicated, proprietary controllers. The runaway success of Just Dance on the Wii is one example of this, as is the early success of Dance Central on Kinect.


Which has fans of dancing and singing covered, but you have to wonder what Kinect can possibly do for lovers of music that's a little heavier. Air Guitar Hero, perhaps? Stranger things have happened.

Analysis: U.S. Music Game Sales Have Dropped Fivefold Since 2008 [Gamasutra] [image]