Despite sales falling in 2009 for music rhythm games, Harmonix CEO claims that the best days of the genre are yet to come.
According to the NPD group, the sales of music games dropped 46 percent from 2008 to 2009. The genre still earned over $1.09 billion in the U.S. alone and trailed only the first person shooter as the best selling genre last year. Those figures, as well innovations such as the Rock Band Network, Alex Rigopulos founder and CEO of Harmonix believes that games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero have not yet peaked in popularity. But will the genre have another hit like Guitar Hero III, the second best selling game of all time?
"I absolutely do not believe that rhythm-action gaming has reached its peak," he told Edge magazine. "Of course, 2009 was a tough year with the recession, which especially affects music games given the relatively high price point of instrument bundles. But in the long term, people's passion for music isn't going away, and rhythm gaming will continue to provide people with a deeper level of engagement with the music they love. So, yes, I do think that future music games will exceed the sales success of the last generation."
While I'm not sure that recession woes are the true reason why music games didn't sell as well in 2009, Rigopulos has a point that people's love of music is not diminishing any time soon. He sees growth in opening up the tools which allow artists to create playable versions of their songs as the next big thing.
"User-generated content will be absolutely critical to the ongoing success of the genre, I think," said Rigopulos. "To be clear, though, when I talk about 'users' in this context, I don't necessarily mean end-users or players. I'm talking about a huge community of power-users - skilled music creators - providing their music to the audience. The launch of the Rock Band Network will be our next 'defining moment'."
The mystique of music games has declined but Rigopulos seems to think that the genre will be around for a long time.
We need something to do with those plastic guitars, I suppose.