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Kotick: Focus On  DJ Hero  Was A Mistake

Kotick: Focus On DJ Hero Was A Mistake

July 21, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

Looking back on Activision's time at the top of the rhythm game market, company CEO Bobby Kotick said it was a mistake to divert some focus away from Guitar Hero and towards the new DJ Hero franchise.

In an interview with Forbes, Kotick recalls DJ Hero as a "passion project" that didn't really pay enough attention to the needs and desires of the market.

"We should have said, 'Well, how many people really want to unleash their inner DJ?'" he said. "And then out of the people who do want to unleash their inner DJ, how many want to do it in the context of a game where you earn points, versus just taking a DJ deck or tools on their Macintosh and actually being a DJ? And it turns out it's a very small market."

Kotick said seeing DJ Hero fail despite critical acclaim and a marketing plan that "pushed it down their throats" was one of the "hardest failures" for him.

What's more, the DJ Hero effort took focus away from the "nourishment and care" needed to innovate the Guitar Hero brand, leading to what Kotick considers "exactly the right decision" to dissolve the brand earlier this year.

Elsewhere in the interview, Kotick also attributes the decline of Guitar Hero partially to music licensing issues outside of his control.

"It was very clear people didn't want more '80s heavy metal music," he said. "But what they wanted was very difficult for us to get from the music companies. ... The number one thing that our audiences wanted in Guitar Hero was Led Zeppelin. But we couldn't get Led Zeppelin to consent to give us the rights."

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