“Guitar Hero” And “Rock Band” May Not Be Selling Great, But They’re Selling Better Than Most New Albums

noah | November 14, 2008 5:00 am

Retail sales fell by a record amount last month across the board, although for the most part, the video game industry did OK. But it’s the part of the video game industry that didn’t do OK that might cause some consternation among certain Idolator readers–none of the Guitar Hero or Rock Band titles landed in October’s top 10. “The performance of the broader music genre as well as key new music genre releases ‘Guitar Hero World Tour’ and ‘Rock Band 2’ were probably the most negative data points of last night’s release,” an analyst wrote upon reviewing video-game-related data from the NPD Group, and the stock prices for both Activision (which publishes Guitar Hero and EA (Rock Band suffered today. But is there more to that story? Another analyst thinks so:

BIZ: There are no Guitar Hero or Rock Band SKUs in the top 10. How did these fare? Is the higher pricing on these games finally becoming an issue for the publishers?

Frazier: Given how well GH3 did at launch last year, there was bound to be some extra scrutiny on these new releases. While not living up to last year’s launch, Guitar Hero World Tour sold a very strong 534K units at an average retail price of $126. Not shabby! And Rock Band 2 has sold 600K since its release so I’d say the genre is holding up quite well. These will make great gift-giving items over the next two months as well.

GHWT was released on Oct. 26, which means its October sales figures are only for the month’s last six days–so basically it outsold most albums that were available to consumers in that time period, despite a much higher sale price. Still, it’s probably not all that surprising that Harmonix is slashing the price on its original Rock Band bundle, if only in the interest of moving units.

Big Drop In Retail Sales In October [NYT]Sector Snap: Activision, EA decline [AP]NPD: Wii, Fable II Fuel Sales of $1.31 Billion in October for U.S Game Industry [GameDaily]