Mad Catz is trying its luck with Rock Band 3 in the hopes that consumers might respond more favorably to the game this time around.
The company, which is best known for third-party game peripherals, announced earlier this week that it will handle a re-release of Rock Band 3 for the holiday-shopping season. The title, which features 83 songs, will come with a wireless keyboard controller and a wireless Fender Stratocaster Guitar controller. In addition, Mad Catz will bundle the Fender Mustang Pro-Guitar controller, which the company says, will help people learn how to play a real guitar.
Rock Band 3 launched last year. The game was universally beloved by critics, earning a score of 93 on Metacritic, a CNET sister site that aggregates game-review scores. However, consumers weren't so quick to jump on the bandwagon, and the game sat on store shelves.
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The issue was the rapid disintegration of the music-game business. According to Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, music-game sales hit an all-time high of $1.7 billion in 2008. But after that, a "virtual disintegration of interest in the music category" ensued with sales reaching just $900 million in 2009. Last year, Pachter said, sales in the music category were just $300 million.
"Over the period from 2005 to 2008, video game software sales grew by 81 percent, with the music genre accounting for one-third of the gain," Pachter wrote to investors earlier this year. "From 2008 through 2010, software sales declined by 14.9 percent, and the music genre accounted for over 80 percent of the decline."
That decline caused serious shakeups in the industry. Activision decided to put the Guitar Hero franchise on hiatus, citing declines in the industry. Harmonix, Rock Band's creator, was sold off by Viacom late last year, for a reported $50 (yes, $50) and the assumption of the developer's liabilities.
But as of late, companies are warming to the idea of bringing music games back to the industry. Aside from Mad Catz, Ubisoft is planning to launch a new game, called Rocksmith. The title, which will allow people to play with a real guitar, is scheduled to launch in October.