In a relatively disappointing showing compared to its predecessors but strong enough to beat rival Rock Band, Guitar Hero: World Tour sold half as well as Guitar Hero III and failed to crack the top ten best-selling games of October.
In its first week, Guitar Hero: World Tour sold an impressive 534,000 copies over four consoles and eleven separate store-keeping units (SKUs) including different peripherals, generating $67.3 million in revenue for publisher Activision. Profitable numbers, but it pales in comparison to the success of its predecessor Guitar Hero 3, which sold 1.39 million copies, earning $115 million.
Despite doubling Harmonix's Rock Band 2's 238,000 units sold, World Tour was unable to earn a spot in the top ten selling October games in the latest NPD release. This is likely due to the sheer amount of different bundles for multiple systems, resulting in no single package selling a spectacular amount.
The decreased year-to-year sales could be explained by the fact that the full World Tour experience, complete with drums, guitar and microphone costs $189.99. Due to the price hikes, fewer people purchased World Tour but paid 50 percent more ($82 for Guitar Hero 3 and $122 for World Tour).
Slowing sales could become a serious issue for Activision, which seems intent on iterating on Guitar Hero until every gaming groupie the series has has been tapped. If the big-budget music games could take a year off to build deep downloadable content catalogs, gamers would remain interested in the genre without feeling tired of the brands.