METALLICA, VAN HALEN Can't Stop Music Video Game Slide

The Pulse of Radio reports: Sales for music-based video games, including titles focused on METALLICA, VAN HALEN and THE BEATLES, took a dive in 2009 and show no immediate signs of reviving, according to The Wrap. While overall video game sales were off, industry analyst The NPD Group reported that sales for the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises were down 36 percent in 2009 from the previous year, with copies sold plunging from over 25 million units in 2008 to less than 16 million last year. While the business earned $1.6 billion in 2008, it made less than $900 million just 12 months later.

New titles issued in 2009 included Guitar Hero: Metallica, Rock Band: The Beatles, Guitar Hero V and Guitar Hero: Van Halen.

THE BEATLES' Rock Band game sold only 1.2 million copies, far less than the more than two million that Rock Band 2 moved.

Guitar Hero: Metallica has sold just 1.5 million copies, while the VAN HALEN edition hasn't even reached 250,000 copies sold, although that has only been out since early December.

METALLICA's James Hetfield told The Pulse of Radio last year why his band decided to embrace the video game format. "A lot of kids that maybe wanted to play guitar, or even, especially adults that wanted to play guitar and never did, they're getting a chance to somewhat live a little bit of that in their living room or whatever it is," he said. "And it's a good way to get your music out there. With all the big record stores closing up, getting music to people, it's getting a little limiting. But there are many places, new places to explore, and one of them is Guitar Hero."

Hetfield may have been too optimistic about video games being the new way to get music to people. Other titles, like Guitar Hero V, DJ Hero, and Lego Rock Band have all more or less bombed.

Industry analyst Michael Pachter told The Wrap, "The issue with music games was how fast they grew. They penetrated the installed base so fast that their growth was unsustainable."

More new products are on the way, including game apps for the iPhone, a new game called Power Gig, and on June 10, Rock Band: Green Day.

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