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Report: 7 Studios To Close As Activision Realigns

Report: 7 Studios To Close As Activision Realigns

February 10, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander

February 10, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

Former staff of 7 Studios have taken to Twitter to say that their Los Angeles-based studio has been shuttered in the wake of Activision's decision to shut the door on its peripheral-equipped music game business, confirming information recently revealed to Gamasutra.

"Activision is shutting down the Guitar Hero business as of today. This includes my studio," says a tweet identified by consumer weblog Joystiq as belonging to 7 Studios associate producer Alex Beckers.

7 Studios, which Activision acquired early in 2009, recently supported Freestyle Games on DJ Hero, and its staff was also known to assist other teams within Activision on other projects.

According to the LinkedIn page of Dan Lehrich, the studio's creative director, it considered its expertise to be new music game mechanics, and it was at work on Guitar Hero VIP Pass and some unannounced iOS projects.

When Activision realigned its music game efforts in 2009 to try to slow the genre's downhill plunge, it laid off 30 staffers from 7 Studios.

Activision originally purchased 7 Studios while racing Genius Products to be the first to bring a turntable game to the market.

That acquisition soon became a factor in a legal battle between the two companies as Genius, along with turntable maker Numark, sued Activision, alleging the buy was part of a conspiracy to delay their DJ Hero rival, Scratch: The Ultimate DJ -- which 7 Studios had been building -- and steal trade secrets.

7 Studios counter-sued, alleging that Genius failed to provide adequate communication, support or materials for Scratch. Activision said it bought 7 Studios with the intention of financially rescuing the ailing developer.

Founded in 1999, the Los Angeles-based 7 Studios was one of Inc. Magazine's 500 fastest-growing companies in 2007, a year that saw median revenue of $9.4 million. It's worked on titles including including Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Shrek The Third, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow.

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