Guitar Hero publisher Red Octane believes there's quite a bit of life left in the music game genre, and DJ Hero may just prove that.
Music games have been so successful in the last five years or so that it's not hard to imagine that they'll eventually start losing steam. Nothing lasts forever - look at fighting games in the 16-bit era or the Wii...oh wait, forget that last part. After all, now that we've got full-on band and even DJ games, where is there to go next? Dijireedoo Hero?
Guitar Hero publisher RedOctane thinks otherwise. Co-founder Kai Huang remarked at the MI6 marketing conference that the genre is "not a fad" and that it's got plenty more potential to expand (and, no doubt, plenty of money to make). What RedOctane and its peers have produced to date, Huang says, is just "the beginning of a huge category."
The key to expanding that category in the near future, Huang believes, is RedOctane's next new venture: DJ Hero. According to Huang, over half of the people interested in DJ Hero have never even bought a music game, presumably because they were never interested in the music involved. Now, DJ Hero has the potential to widen the music game audience and, at the same time, expose people to whatever style of music DJ Hero will focus on, which he didn't go into details about.
I don't doubt that the music game genre has some longevity, but I'm not sure DJ Hero is going to be as huge a success as Huang thinks it will be. If the rumors about which artists will star in the game are true, there's no doubt that serious music fans may stand up and take notice of the game, but at the same time, the name "DJ Shadow" doesn't really ring out in the mainstream like Ozzy Osbourne or Metallica. Then again nobody thought a game packaged with a plastic toy guitar would become a pop culture phenomenon, so we'll just have to wait and see.