Shares of Activision Blizzard took quite a beating today as the game publisher announced a weaker than anticipated guidance for its first quarter earnings.
Another surprise is that the company decided to axe its Guitar Hero franchise, Activision has disbanded the business unit and discontinued all development on its Guitar Hero game for 2011 because the firm wants to pursue games with a more reliable earning potential:
"...Due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing's Guitar Hero business unit and discontinue development on its Guitar Hero game for 2011," the company announced in its lasted earnings report. "The company also will stop development on True Crime: Hong Kong. These decisions are based on the desire to focus on the greatest opportunities that the company currently has to create the world's best interactive entertainment experiences."
This is a big move, but it's not particularly shocking. Sales of music games have been decreasing steadily, and last year's Guitar Hero 5: Warriors of Rock was a purely mediocre product. The company had not innovated the series in some time, nor has the franchise displayed the earning potential that Activision prizes.
Activision Blizzard (ATVI) shares closed today's session at $10.75 (-8.04%).