“Guitar Hero” Creators: “Sure, Let’s Go Head To Head With iTunes”

Dan Gibson | July 11, 2008 - 11:30 am

stillscary.jpgAs probably could have been predicted, the folks behind Guitar Hero are looking for ways to make a bit more cash off their massive success catering to frustrated music fans. If people will buy a game dedicated to Aerosmith, surely they’re willing to buy anything with the Guitar Hero brand slapped on. So why not take on the most powerful music retailer in the country?

No one would deny the new CEO of Activision Blizzard is a pretty powerful guy right now, but he might be slightly mistaken on what the next logical step for his company might be.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Bobby Kotick, chief executive of the new company, said creating a Guitar Hero online music platform was “the natural evolution” of a franchise that has sold close to 20m units and generated $1bn in revenues.

“I don’t think there have been a lot of credible alternatives to iTunes, but Guitar Hero certainly has that potential,” he said, adding players could already download “note tracks” to use while playing the game….

The merger of Activision with Vivendi Games completed on Thursday. The new company would benefit from Vivendi’s ownership of Universal Music and of payment and processing capability in “virtually every country”, said Jean-Bernard Levy, Vivendi chief executive.

“These are all the things that enable you to be a successful competitor [to iTunes],” Mr Kotick added.

While Universal’s relationship with iTunes is certainly rocky, are the only things a company needs to compete with iTunes a familiar brand and worldwide processing capability? I downloaded Dr. Mario to my Wii, but that doesn’t mean I want to buy start buying all my music from Nintendo in the near future.

Activision is at least rumored to still have a shot at a Beatles version of Guitar Hero, and I suppose if digital rights to the Beatles catalog could be negotiated into the deal, they might have some raison d’etre. But it seems like a long tough road to take on iTunes at this point, especially when there’s significant competition to your signature product. (Rock Band–remember that?) Maybe it would be best to stick to one thing at a time.

Guitar Hero aims to take on iTunes
[Financial Times]