CEO Bobby Kotick talks about the problems facing Guitar Hero, and innovation in games.
Talking about innovation in games, Bobby Kotick, CEO of mega-publisher Activision, has admitted that this was something that was lost as the Guitar Hero franchise grew.
"[We] were so excited about going down this new direction with DJ Hero, I think we abandoned a bit of the innovation that was required in the Guitar Hero franchise." he told Forbes.
Activision will now "use new studios and reinvent Guitar Hero." Kotick explained that people didn't want 80s heavy metal music in Guitar Hero, and that the biggest request was actually for 70s rock legends Led Zeppelin - a deal that the company simply couldn't make happen.
Kotick had a lot to say on the subject of innovation.
"The most important thing we do to encourage innovation is give people the freedom to fail." he said. "And I think you can articulate that and establish that as a value in a lot of different ways. I don't want to say celebrate the failures, but in a lot of respects it's sort of that."
"One thing that probably is unique at Activision is that we really spend a lot of time up front with our audiences, and in big quantities and with a very thoughtful process, to really try and draw out from them what it is that they would like to play. So we have a pretty good sense going in what the expectation of the audience is. And if we disappoint that expectation, I think we are a very good learning organisation, really digging deep into understanding why it didn't work."
Guitar Hero has been off the radar for a little while now, but let's hope this 'learning' of which Kotick speaks holds some truth. I'm really not sure what I'd want from a new Guitar Hero game, but Activision does need to reinvent the wheel somehow - a task easier said than done.