Despite the high profile releases of The Beatles: Rock Band, DJ Hero and new installments of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, profits from music video games have dropped to half of their 2008 highs. According to Reuters, music video games are expected to gross about $700 million in 2009, compared to the $1.4 billion companies raked in last year.
The Beatles: Rock Band was one of the most anticipated video games of all time, but Reuters reports it sold around 800,000 copies, missing the million sales mark it was expected to break in its first month in stores. Critics gave the game high marks, but the title was released in the midst of the recession, and the core Beatles audience of baby boomers aren't known for being hard-core gamers. TB:RB also carried a high cost: purchasing the game as well as its limited-edition instruments and trio of microphones cost upwards of $500.
Even more disappointing, despite having Eminem and Jay-Z as pitchmen, was DJ Hero. According to Reuters, DJ Hero was expected to sell 1.6 million units by year's end, but that figure was slashed to 600,000 after the game only sold 123K copies out of the gate.
Despite a Kurt Cobain avatar controversy, Guitar Hero 5 managed to sell at a similar pace of its predecessor Guitar Hero: World Tour, moving 499,000 copies across all platforms in its first month. GH:WT sold 534,000 copies in October 2008.
How flooded was the market in '09? The Beatles: Rock Band, DJ Hero, Band Hero, Guitar Hero 5, Guitar Hero: Metallica, Lego Bock Band, Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits, Rock Band Unplugged and Guitar Hero: Smash Hits were all released this year. Guitar Hero: Van Halen hits stores today. Green Day: Rock Band is due next year, andRoger Daltrey has hinted at a Who edition of the game, as well.