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Guitar Hero Reaching Critical Mass?

All good things must come to an end, and sales for Guitar Hero: World Tour may have reached their zenith.

For the last several years, Guitar Hero has dominated the console gaming scene. Selling millions of copies over five different consoles, the Harmonix-developed franchise (now developed by Activision's Neversoft and RedOctane) , has brought many who were not considered "gamers" into the gaming world.

However, with the newest offering Guitar Hero: World Tour now seeing less than stellar sales figures, many are predicting that the Guitar Hero franchise has reached its zenith, and may be at the top of a downswing.

According to Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich, unit sales of the newest offering are expected slide more than 50 percent in November, on top of sales that declined 60 percent in October. Originally, sales of World Tour were hampered by supply issues, but now the game and its hefty $189 price tag (which includes a microphone, guitar and basic drum kit) , is selling below its MSRP on eBay and similar sites.

While sales may be down, don’t expect Guitar Hero to disappear anytime soon. "We expect Guitar Hero and Rock Band releases for the next 10 years as they will always have a large and loyal market base, " said Divnich. "Just as Dance Dance Revolution is still today a very profitable franchise for Konami, even though that series reached its peak a long time ago. "

While Activision’s golden egg may be losing its luster, Electronic Arts is in an even worse position. With sales of Mirror’s Edge and Need for Speed: Undercover not meeting expectations, many are expecting another round of layoffs from the gaming giant. THQ is also in dire straits, with its big fourth quarter title, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw, expected to post disappointing sales figures. In any event, it seems as though the gaming industry is temporarily trapped in the shadow of a global recession.