Is it Time for Music Rhythm Games to Become Popular Again?

March 9, 2020 by Mobile Beat

It’s surprising to think that more than a decade ago, some of the biggest releases were in the Guitar

Hero and Rock Band series, and getting friends around for some hilariously bad singing was a part of your weekend plans. Broom cupboards were filled to the brim with plastic guitars and easily broken drum kits, and getting everyone in the living room in a way that you could all see the TV took the logistical skills of a forklift driver. The world’s biggest musicians also saw “being in a music game” as one of the greatest parts of their success. Forget sold-out stadium tours, if gamers were spending their weekends trying to get three stars on a song you made, that’s how you knew you were famous.

In a Canadian survey of the most popular video games for Canadian gamers, the top six genres were action, sports, strategy, casual, RPG, and battle royale. 40% of the most popular games are fantasy titles and 23.3% are about war. What you won’t see anywhere in that survey is “music rhythm” game, as what was once one of the biggest genres in the world has nearly completely faded. These games aren’t half as popular any more though it may be time for them to grow again.

Why Did Music Games Stop Becoming Popular?

In 2010, Guitar Hero sales hit $2 billion, which made it the third game series to reach that sum. The Rock Band series also had sales of over $1 billion. However, things had begun to change for the two series in early 2009 after the financial crash. Gamers felt that they could no longer afford to buy each new Guitar Hero and Rock Band release. The games and their instruments were often expensive, and a full set of band controllers could cost $200.

The number of these games may have also been a reason they became less popular. Between 2005 and 2010, six new Guitar Hero games were released on consoles. The games are enjoyable but as gameplay didn’t change much, gamers may have felt that there was no need to keep buying them each year.

Who Could Star in a Music Game?

Something that Guitar Hero and Rock Band did well is with their music choice. The games managed to choose a variety of new rock hits as well as older rock songs that everyone knows the words to. The last Guitar Hero game was released in 2015 and so many new music acts have had success since then; however, there are some easy choices.

Following the success of standalone titles like The Beatles: Rock Band, future games could easily cover the discographies of other legends such as Motörhead, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, all of which would surely help revitalize this gaming genre.

Could Music Games Become Popular on Consoles?

One of the biggest things stopping music games from potentially becoming popular on consoles again is that gamers have been enjoying music games on mobile. All of the best music games on mobile, such as Deemo and Lanota, are free to play. Console gamers probably aren’t going to want to pay for a game and the controllers when they could get an enjoyable music game for free on their mobile phone.

It’s unclear if series like Guitar Hero and Rock Band will try to come back again as it seems that gamers have mostly found other ways to enjoy music and games. Developers are unlikely to spend money releasing these titles without knowing that they’ll be successful.

Filed Under: Playlists, Songs & Music Charts