Activision hit with layoffs; Skylanders, Guitar Hero devs affected

We recently told you how Rock Band 4 wasn’t quite the great big hit Harmonix and publisher Mad Catz had hoped for. Though sales, they says, were “strong,” they weren’t enough to boost profits, and its development and the manufacture of all of those fake plastic instruments has left Mad Catz in dire financial straits.

It seems, perhaps, that the other famous music rhythm game hasn’t exactly re-ignited the genre either. Guitar Hero Live was released on old and new consoles last year in October. With a brand new guitar controller and a new way of playing, Guitar Hero Live was met with critical acclaim.

Even our own review was positive.

“Guitar Hero Live provides a whole new experience to veterans, yet manages to be accessible enough for those who are only just starting their digital rock careers. It’s a solid title, though the streaming service GHTV could use some tweaking to make the game an absolute must-have.”

It was enough to convince me to shell out the R1699 asking price for the game, because I’ve always enjoyed a spot of Guitar Hero.

I have played it twice. In the end, I found the whole thing uninteresting. So, it seems, did many of the general populace. Perhaps people really aren’t ready for music rhythm games to return.

According to Kotaku, Activision’s been hit with a round of layoffs – and their sources say that Guitar Hero Live developer FreeStyleGames has been hit hardest. That’s unfortunate for FreeStyleGames, who’ve always seemed a lovely bunch of chaps. Also hit? Skylanders and the studios that make those games. Apparently it’s because the casual audience hasn’t quite adopted the new consoles just yet.

“As announced on our earnings call, our games for core audiences did extremely well, but the casual audience has not yet emerged on next gen consoles,” an Activision spokesperson said. “So we are refocusing to better align with Activision’s long-term priorities because, as always, our strategy evolves to keep us ahead of a rapidly-changing industry. We are working with those impacted by the changes to offer outplacement services and support.”

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