Popularity & The Big Cash Conundrum
Now the thing about capitalism is that if businesses see someone else doing a thing that earns them a hell of a lot of money, they are going to copy it to hopefully also cash in; they say capitalism breeds innovation, they are idiots.
Because Guitar Hero had become a confident sleeper hit and was just seemingly forever on the up, countless other developers and companies hopped on the rhythm game trend. The biggest rival to Guitar Hero was probably Rock Band, a game developed by the same people that brought us the first Guitar Hero game: Harmonix.
Harmonix may have developed the first Guitar Hero but it was published by RedOctane, and in 2006 RedOctane was bought by Activision, whilst Harmonix was purchased by MTV Networks. Because of this changing of hands, Harmonix was no longer involved in the Guitar Hero franchise (that instead came under a branch of Activision called Neversoft), and rather fittingly moved on to Rock Band.
It’s not surprising then that Activision went on to call Rock Band an imitation, a less-good rip-off of the legendary Guitar Hero. The obvious response to that is, ‘duh’, but that’s neither here nor there. The point was that two huge companies were now occupying the very popular space of rhythm games - and many more were to join.
And here we encounter the first step in Guitar Hero’s walk to the pit of irrelevance: oversaturation.