Guitar Hero World Tour is the first game in the series to let players create their own original music, which can then be uploaded to GH Tunes, Activision’s online service for sharing user-created music. It doesn’t sound like any great shakes right now – Fidgit describes it as “a wasteland of ‘customsongs’ that users didn’t even bother to rename before uploading them and maybe the odd WANTACHIEVEMENT” – but to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, it’s a potential goldmine.
“In just 10 days, our GH Tunes has attracted over 25,000 user-generated songs, which means we will likely have up to 100,000 songs by the year-end,” Kotick said during Activision’s second quarter earnings call for the fiscal year (transcribed at Seeking Alpha). “These songs are easily downloaded by consumers and the ability to offer these songs on a subscription basis may very well result the newest subscription opportunity in our portfolio.”
It’s an interesting concept, and I suppose props are due Mr. Kotick for his truffle hog-like ability to sniff out money just about everywhere he looks, but I have to wonder if this particular idea really has legs. If, as Fidgit says, the vast majority of user-created content on GH Tunes is garbage, then who’s going to pay for it? And if Activision devotes the resources necessary to ensure that only worthwhile material gets posted, which would almost certainly result in a deathly thin selection of music on the service, then won’t most users simply choose to blow their money on official DLC instead? It’s the inevitable conundrum of charging for user-generated content: The little bit of it that isn’t total crap isn’t worth paying for.