Hits Won’t Save Music Video Games From Decline
EA's worldwide music executive Steve Schnur thinks that all the music-based video game genre needs to get it out of its sales slump is one big hit. "The video game industry is no different than the movie, music, or television business," Schnur said.
"One big hit will change everything. And at EA, new hits are on the way." If you've ever read Steve Knopper's book Appetite For Self-Destruction, which apparently Schnur hasn't yet, you would recall that Knopper refutes this claim. Hits won't save everything. There's no doubt in my mind that EA has great music-based games on the way. However, a hit won't magically save the genre. Everyone who ever wanted one has already spent their money. Fans aren't exactly looking to dust another piece of plastic junk. The market is saturated. Mass-consumers aren't coming back. Owning Guitar Hero came into its prime a few years ago.
Everyone in college flocked to be a part of the pop culture trend, which could be summed up as slamming Busch Light and playing Sum 41's "Fat Lip" worse than they do. To most of the college-aged population, Guitar Hero was nothing more than something to do at a party. It was the middle ground between Beer Pong and avoiding talking to strangers. They bought the game so they could practice and not look like an idiot in front of their drunken friends when they played it.
Maybe EA can hook another swath of college goers back into this time-honored tradition, but like Knopper suggests, I wouldn't count on hits alone. He writes:
"He's wrong. Everything has changed. Thriller won't save the record business this time. Thinking differently will... continuing to build an entire business that relies on another Thriller is simply not viable. Hits are getting smaller and smaller, and they just don't have the healing power that they had in 1982. Whether this reality finally prompts record executives to overhaul their business model in some profitable new ways or destroys their entire business, buggy-whip style, remains to be seen." (Read on.)