Activision CEO Bobby Kotick says the company is reinventing the Guitar Hero series after taking its eye off the ball in the music genre.
The exec told Forbes that excitement about the newer DJ Hero franchise - "a passion project" that was a commercial disappointment - led the company to neglect Guitar Hero.
"It was one of those things where we were resting on the idea that one of the essential fantasies of video games is to unleash your inner rock star," he said. "So we went off on a passion project that had a point of differentiation -which is called DJ Hero."
In hindsight, Kotick said the move was a mistake.
"We should have said, 'Well, how many people really want to unleash their inner DJ?' And then out of the people who do want to unleash their inner DJ, how many want to do it in the context of a game where you earn points, versus just taking a DJ deck or tools on their Macintosh and actually being a DJ? And it turns out it's a very small market.
"At the same time we were so excited about going down this new direction with DJ Hero, I think we abandoned a bit of the innovation that was required in the Guitar Hero franchise. And so it was the double whammy of DJ Hero was unsuccessful, and then Guitar Hero became unsuccessful because it didn't have any nourishment and care."
Based on the developments, Kotick said it was "exactly the right decision" to disband the Guitar Hero business unit.
"We said you know what, we need to regain our audience interest, and we really need to deliver inspired innovation. So we're going to take the products out of the market, and we're not going to tell anybody what we're doing for awhile, but we're going to stop selling Guitar Hero altogether. And then we're going to go back to the studios and we're going to use new studios and reinvent Guitar Hero. And so that's what we're doing with it now."