Activision unshackles platform gaming with untethered systems

San Francisco, Calif. Activision has confirmed plans to develop game titles – such as Guitar Hero – that can be played without the use of a console or PC. According to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, the advent of high-end televisions with 1080p video capabilities has made such an option “only a question of time.”

“I think what the untethered Guitar Hero does is it maybe equals the playing field a little bit more and gives you leverage with first parties on downloadable content and the business model,” Kotick told IGN. “But you should expect to see many of our products to be playable on the television independent of a console.”

However, EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich noted that independent gaming systems designed to bypass consoles and PCs have been around since the early 2000’s.

“Namco, Intellivision, and Atari have all released ‘Plug and Play’ gaming devices that allow consumers to play some of our industry’s classics right through the television,” Divnich told TG Daily. “In these products, the controller acts as both the input device and video processor. These Plug and Play devices have been incredibly successful, selling millions worldwide.”

Divnich explained that Guitar Hero and Rock Band were one of the “primary catalysts” behind the game industry’s growth over the last three years.

“Guitar Hero introduced the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 to millions of consumers who would otherwise not have purchased the consoles. In many cases, consumer’s sole purpose for buying a Wii was just to play Guitar Hero or Rock Band,” opined Divnich.

“Spending nearly $400 just to play one game seems somewhat steep, but many did it, and one could only imagine how many more would have jumped into the music peripheral craze if the price of entry were lower. That is what Activision is attempting to do, lower the price of entry into the category. I am unaware of the possible price points for a Plug and Play Guitar Hero product, but it would most certainly be cheaper than a Wii + Band Kit combination.”

Divnich also commented on Kotick’s remarks about cloud gaming and how Activision could offer its support for technologies that shift power back to publishers.

“I do not think Guitar Hero based products will be popular in the early phases of cloud based gaming platforms. We are still at least five years away, if not more, from consumers accepting this technology as a standard,” added Divnich.