2005 – Guitar Hero
Behind The Music: Not heard of Guitar Hero? What planet have you been living on? It’s a $2 billion franchise that’s sold over 25 million units worldwide and spawned piles of spin-offs including dedicated tributes to bands like Aerosmith and Metallica, not to mention the likes of Band Hero and DJ Hero. The series also scored chart-topping adaptations for nearly every platform from Nintendo DS to mobile phones, once enjoyed a cult-like following amongst teens and twenty-somethings and even boasts entire South Park episodes devoted to its charms. That said, the dynamo which sparked an entire industry was once just a risky, unproven gamble from RedOctane, a little-known manufacturer of dance pad peripherals and dabbler in online video game rentals.
Why It Rocks: Guitar Hero turned the nation’s youth into drooling vidiots, single-handedly built today’s fastest-growing game category and potentially helped save rock through the sale of online music. But despite being directly responsible for the last decade’s fastest-growing (and collapsing) gaming genre, the title once hailed as the music industry’s possible savior has sadly been placed on temporary hiatus by now-owner Activision. Thankfully, there’s still hope for a rebirth via online, social and downloadable platforms.
Did You Know… In a list of top grossing games published since 1995 released by NPD in March 2011, Guitar Hero 3: Legends Of Rock came out on top with life-to-date sales of $830.9 million – more than the Call of Duty games – and that’s not including revenues earned from additional downloadable content.