Activision kills off Guitar Hero

Activision Blizzard has pulled the plug on Guitar Hero, announcing that it’s to close the unit responsible for the music game.

The latest version – Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, released last year – achieved poor sales figures, and the company says it can no longer make it profitable. DJ Hero is also for the chop.

And so is the True Crime series. Despite having been shown off at various events, the company’s decided that True Crime: Hong Kong just wasn’t going to be good enough.

“We are sorry we did not get a chance to complete this project with Activision, but we understand why. We are both committed to doing quality games and nothing less,” says United Front, the Canadian studio responsible for the game. 

“Maybe we will have a chance to work together in the future, but in the meantime we are setting our creative sights on a different horizon.”

Because of these and other cutbacks, Activision is set to slash 500 jobs across the company, it warned, as it posted 2010 earnings slightly up on the previous year’s at $4.4 billion, thanks largely to sales of World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.

“Activision Blizzard’s key franchises have larger audience bases than ever before, and we continue to see significantly enhanced user activity and engagement for our expanding online communities,” said CEO Robert Kotick.

“Notably, since Call of Duty: Black Ops was launched in November, players have spent an average of 52 minutes per day playing online, roughly equivalent to the 55 minutes that the average user spends each day on Facebook. As of February 2, 2011, more than 27 million gamers have played Call of Duty games online, logging more than two billion hours, or the equivalent of more than 229,000 years of gameplay.”