Ubisoft says the Just Dance series won't burn out over annual sequels because it's more like a sports game franchise than a conventional music game.
"The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long," Bobby Kotick said, gazing with a father's love at the fast-fading Guitar Hero franchise. "And you have burned so very, very brightly!" And then he jammed his thumbs in its eyes and took a $50 million writedown! Or something like that, anyway; the details may be a bit off but the bottom line is that after a few years of heavy sequelization, the Guitar Hero franchise, and music games in general, crashed down as rapidly as they'd risen to the top of the game industry.
But even though we're already up to Just Dance 4 plus a couple of packaged DLC releases, Ubisoft says the dance franchise that debuted in 2009 is different enough from Guitar Hero that annual sequels won't bring it down.
"Not publishing Just Dance 4 would be leaving money on the table, but there's no reason to not publish it - we believe in it and we feel like there's no reason we shouldn't do it. So it's about annualizing it. It's about making it the top dance game for yet another year," Ubisoft Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Tony Key told a-list daily.
"As far as brand burnout, it's not a trend, it's a reflection of what's happening in pop culture - as it evolves, so does the brand," he continued. "I would rather not compare it to Guitar Hero; Just Dance is about the latest trends, and Guitar Hero is about great classic rock. I'd rather compare it to a sports franchise - every entry evolves the franchise and changes the roster, and that's what Just Dance does, and every year we're successful. It's not burnout we're worried about and we put a lot of work into keeping it fresh. It's more a console tradition now and we're the number one selling game on Kinect. So long as motion control is used on consoles, I think there's a place for Just Dance."
The man's got a point. Classic rock is a stratified genre, while the focus on new music in Just Dance can, in theory at least, attract new users as old ones fall away. The one weakness, as Key noted, is the reliance on motion-based controls. It's a better system than the purpose-built controllers required by the previous generation of music games but if motion controls don't feature prominently in the next consoles from Microsoft and Sony and the Wii U proves to be a bust, Just Dance may not prove to be quite as Madden-like as Ubisoft hopes.
Source: a-list daily