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Kotick:  Guitar Hero  Song Creator Might Be Our 'Newest Subscription Opportunity'
Kotick: Guitar Hero Song Creator Might Be Our 'Newest Subscription Opportunity' Exclusive
November 6, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander

November 6, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC, Exclusive

Having gained a stable subscription revenue base from World of Warcraft, Activision Blizzard may look to monetize some of its other titles through subscriptions -- like Guitar Hero, CEO Bobby Kotick said today.

Activision Blizzard beat estimates to the tune of $711 million in revenues for its first quarter as a combined company, the company revealed today.

Anticipating investor concerns about an uncertain economy, president and CEO Bobby Kotick reassured them on the company's results call that stable subscription revenue from World Of Warcraft "gives us advantages over many of our competitors -- especially as we enter the holidays."

And Kotick added that the just-launched Guitar Hero: World Tour's song creation utility's early success might end up as a new revenue source.

Kotick says that there are now 25,000 user generated tunes that have been created for the game, and projected "up to 100,000 songs" by the end of this year.

"The ability to offer these songs on a subscription basis may very well result in the newest subscription opportunity in our portfolio," he said.

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David Saunders
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Yay! I can't WAIT to pay for user generated stuff! If only LBP, Spore, facebook, and youtube would take money for me using user generated content, then all my dreams would come true!

Carlo Delallana
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Will the "game designers" (GH players and musicians) get a cut of the subscription since they're technically creating the content?

George Brauneck
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Let me see if I got this right:

-We buy your game.

-We make our own songs.

-we pay you to use songs we make.


I'm gonna pretend I didn't read that.

Jamie Mann
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If a song is played in the forest, does anyone hear it?

The key isn't how many songs are created: it's how many are listened to. There could be 10'000'000 songs clogging up the interwebs, but if only 10 of them are ever listened to, it's a failed exercise.

There's also the "new toy" factor: how many people are responsible for the 25'000 songs (I'd guess around 10'000) and how many will return to make more songs once the novelty has worn off?

Jeremy Johnston
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I have a marvelous idea! How about we also charge people to unlock instruments in the song creator. That way we can make money off of the people creating the songs, too!

And how about we charge a monthly fee for other downloadable content! You can buy the REM pack coming out this week, and you can use it for a whole month! Then, you can continue to use it as long as you pay your monthly 5 dollar fee!

They'll be raking in the cash!

Carlo Delallana
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I thought about this some more and a subscription model might keep cover songs from being pulled from the service.

Sure there will be original songs up there but I would assume that most players who will attempt creating a song will likely cover music they love. The music biz would get a cut of the subscription pie and hopefully keep the "cease and desist" letters from flying all over the place. Then again i'm not sure how the copyright laws work in terms of cover songs.

Allen Seitz
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Why stop there? Charge us $60 for the disc, then another $15/mo to play. And you can't play if you can't log in. Anything can be a subscription.

Traditionally, a subscription has bought you live support, server fees, and access to constantly evolving content. Arguably, all three of these are still true with Mr. Kotick's idea. But I think he sees subscriptions as just a way to charge more money.

Raphael Santos
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Businessmen are going to kill this industry... this article sounds so "EA"...

EA already killed Command&Conquer, Battlefield, Sim Theme * series and others... now its Activision turn doing the same with Guitar Hero, and possibly Starcraft 2?

"a subscription basis may very well result in the newest subscription opportunity in our portfolio" - Oh, customer base couldn't be happier

Michael Gooch
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I have to wonder if he was just sitting in a small dark room when he thought of this, completly disconnected from the outside world.

While there can be lots of good user created content, there is lots of junk as well. I could not see very many people paying for it. But this was probably just a small idea he was pondering, nothing more.

George Brauneck
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My question is this: How do you justify charging customers for a service they'd happily provide themselves? If the music and film industries have learned anything, it's that people don't need any help sharing things they enjoy.

With most games, you can find a wealth of user-created content on community websites, including mods, maps, models, and the like for free.

In my mind, when the user creates his own content to enrich your game, he should have the right to distribute it as he pleases. It's a good system for all parties, and shouldn't be capitalized on.