Rock Band, Guitar Hero Revenues Down 49%

The bubble had to burst sooner or later. Digging through some NPD numbers from the past few months, Gamasutra's Matt Matthews has found that the amount of money made from copies of Rock Band and Guitar Hero is down 49%.

That's compared to the revenue collected from sales of retail copies of both titles at the same time last year. There are a number of very good reasons for this: games have been heavily discounted in recent months as they age/take up floor space, and an increasing number of competing SKUs - we're looking at you, Activision - have diluted the marketplace.

So this is bad news, right? Well, it's bad if you're Activision, the publishers of Guitar Hero. See, the sales of physical copies of these games tells only half the story.

MTV are making a ton of money off Rock Band DLC. The sale of over 40 million tracks since launch has helped the franchise pull in over a billion dollars. So a decline in boxed copies of Rock Band hurts, sure, but Harmonix's commitment to a constant stream of downloadable content is translating into a constant stream of revenue for MTV Games.

But Guitar Hero? Well, Activision seem to prefer packaging content at retail (Guitar Hero Metallica & Aerosmith, for example), and are either unwilling or unable to match Rock Band's DLC output, offering only three tracks here, three tracks there. Which means a downturn in retail revenue hurts Activision a lot more than it hurts MTV Games.

Analysis: Guitar Hero/Rock Band Retail Sales Down By Half [Gamasutra]


    Maybe Rock Band would see more retail revenue if they frigg'n released the RB2 instruments in PAL countries already! I've been waiting to replace my nearly-broken drums since RB2 was released in England.

      Um, the RB2 instrument pack is available everywhere in Australia, and we are PAL all the way...

        ...they are Rock band 1 Kits Pedro. Australia doesn't have Rock Band 2 yet.

    Well a few issues. The price of both bundles in RB1 & 2 and GH: WT and GH:3 have all been reduced. They are a year old now.

    They are getting ready for newer releases. But this graph may show over a year of just in 2009. Not everyone goes and buys the whole new bundle and sometimes JUST the game or JUST the guitar & game and not the whole set.

    Rock Band, yes, would make more if they released there product properly. Being, at the same time on all consoles in all areas of the globe perhaps. Or do a console timed-exclusive but at least release it world-wide like that. AUS are still waiting for RB:2 and its been over a year since the US got it. Not only that, Rock Band don't exactly update there hardware like Guitar Hero do with drums & guitars, but Rock Band is still the better half.

    I think people are just realizing, its too expensive to be buying a bundle or new guitar every year when its over $150. Especially if its exactly the same as last years. The Beatles is probably going to be good & sell very well. But not earn half as much if they do it a bit better, lower the price and make the equipment more appealing.

    Maybe it would really help if they just released some songs that we have actually heard of and want to play!

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