When Guitar Hero 3 launched last year it was an immediate success, selling out at a fairly quick pace throughout the holiday season. Following just behind it was Rock Band, selling very well, but not nearly as quickly as Guitar Hero. So far, all versions of Guitar Hero III have sold about 9.1M copies, versus just roughly 1.5M for Rock Band. Of course, part of the discrepancy lies in the fact that Rock Band launched on two platforms while Guitar Hero 3 launched on four, but that is about to be remedied with Harmonix's recent announcement of Rock Band for Wii.
While Rock Band was a more ambitious game and representative of an evolution of the music game, it did seem like Activision may have made the right choice in buying the Guitar Hero publisher (and thus the Guitar Hero brand), but not the developer. With so much brand awareness already built into Guitar Hero, was there any way that Harmonix could possibly top the original creation that it no longer owned the rights to?