Yesterday, Activision announced the discontinuation of Guitar Hero Live’s GHTV online service later this December. GHTV was Activision’s approach to Guitar Hero DLC, but the news highlights Guitar Hero Live’s failure to reboot the series. The service offered over 200 songs at launch, and even more today, available for play through microtransactions. With a live rotation channel, envisioned to act like MTV or Countdown, players could earn “Plays” to access songs from the On Demand library. Players also had the option to purchase a “Party Pass” to access all features for 24 hours.
Activision are terminating the service on December 1, 2018. All of the features are still available through to November 30. This includes content for the Premium Shows, unspent Hero Cash and use of the Mobile app. However, as of today, the Guitar Hero Live app is no longer available on the Apple App Store. Players with the app still on their device can access it, assuming they don’t delete it or update their phone. Activision have also deactivated all in-game purchases and microtransactions. While the songs on the game disk are still accessible, this is a significant blow to Guitar Hero Live.
Guitar Hero Live, and the shutdown of GHTV, highlights Activision’s unfortunate failure in rebooting the franchise. With a new controller, a six year hiatus, and GHTV revamping the DLC issues of the series, Guitar Hero Live had promise. However, mixed reviews, with many criticising the use of Pop and EDM music for a guitar game, led to poor sales. With GHTV shutting down, not only does Guitar Hero Live lose the essential feature that gave it replayablity and longevity, but also it looks like the final nail in the coffin for the series.
The decline of rhythm games began long before the launch of Guitar Hero Live, and rival Rock Band 4. Prior to Guitar Hero’s six year hiatus, an oversaturation of the market meant no one could keep up with the latest release. Too many titles, like numerous released between Guitar Hero and Rock band, the band specific games like Rock Band Beatles or the gimicky one-off releases like DJ Hero, led to this. However DLC was another issue, with each new title flooding the Xbox and PSN stores with individual $3 songs. The revival of rhythm games with Guitar Hero Live was short lived.
With the GHTV service shutting down, hopefully this will lead Activision back to the drawing board to reinvent the dead genre.