Activision (ATVI) and Harmonix (VIA) have a complicated and confusing relationship. One of them makes “Guitar Hero” (Activision) and the other makes “Rock Band” (Harmonix), two strikingly similar games whose main difference was that “Rock Band” allowed users to play the faux drums and sing into a microphone. That relationship just got a lot more confusing, because Activision announced today that “Guitar Hero: World Tour,” would allow users to play the drums and sing into a microphone.
But the tangled past of both games doesn’t end there: Harmonix originally developed “Guitar Hero” for publisher RedOctane. But in 2006, MTV Networks bought Harmonix and Activision bought RedOctane. Activision got the rights to “Guitar Hero” and Harmonix developed “Rock Band.”
This further move toward “Rock Band” is probably a good move on Activision’s part – they want to protect “Guitar Hero,” which was one of the bestselling games in the US last year, and is consistently in the top 10 bestselling games every month. “Guitar Hero” dominates the newer “Rock Band” at retail, but wants to be sure it cuts off the rival game at the knees.
Just take a look at the drum sets from the new “Guitar Hero,” and from “Rock Band.”
Guitar Hero: World Tour (from Joystiq)