Guitar Hero: On Tour

Key events

Prince turned down Guitar Hero deal

Wants kids to learn to play the real thing.

Prince has said he turned down a deal to put his songs in Guitar Hero. (That's the artist formerly known as the funny symbol thing Prince, not the one who talks to plants or the one who likes to dress up as Nazis or the one who's a massive racist.)

Guitar Hero outsells Rock Band in US

Guitar Hero outsells Rock Band in US

But gap narrows as music games decline.

Investment analyst Ben Schachter of UBS has been poring over the sales figures of Guitar Hero and Rock Band in the US, and has found that the Activision Blizzard series outsold the EA games by over a million copies in November.

The picture isn't quite as clear-cut as it seems, though. Schachter - as quoted by GameSpot - found that Guitar Hero sales are in decline compared to last year, while Rock Band's are increasing sharply. Overall, the huge US market for music games created by the original Guitar Hero seems to be in decline.

Over 1.7 million Guitar Hero games of all versions and formats were sold in the US in November, of which 978,000 were copies of the latest version, Guitar Hero World Tour. This compares with 628,452 copies of Rock Band and Rock Band 2.

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Nickelback singer slams Guitar Hero

Tells "kids" to pick up a real instrument.

Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger has taken a pop at Guitar Hero, saying players would be better off learning a real instrument.

Guitar Hero: On Tour

Guitar Hero: On Tour

Stays on tour. Hopefully.

Guitar Hero and the Nintendo DS make an odd-looking couple, but the decision to produce hundreds of thousands of wacky clip-on plastic peripherals is perfectly sound. Activision and RedOctane have driven rhythm-action to unprecedented success on home consoles (over a billion dollars in revenue, for instance), and Nintendo has widened the market for handheld games with unprecedented videogame controllers. Guitar Hero: On Tour can look as silly as it likes - it's a match made in money, as the game's more than 300,000 US sales demonstrated last week.

But Guitar Hero and the Nintendo DS also make an awkward couple. The guitar peripheral is a chunk of plastic a bit like a fingerless mitten, which grips the DS by plunging a cartridge-shaped protrusion into the GameBoy slot. The DS is rotated 90 degrees and held like a book, with the touch-screen on the right-hand side for people who play guitars the traditional way, while the left hand holds it by the peripheral, which has a strap to fasten it around the hand and leave the fingers free to press the fret buttons when prompted. But the peripheral frequently slips out of the GBA cartridge slot, sometimes enough to disrupt communications and force you to reboot the game, and the strap restricts finger movement - exactly what it's there to enable. The best you can do is an uncomfortable compromise that stresses the base of your thumb.

The core Guitar Hero gameplay is intact but compromised. The top-screen shows the familiar fret-board gameplay area, with notes descending towards a line at the bottom. As notes pass through this, the player holds the corresponding fret button and uses the stylus to strum along on the touch-screen. There are only four fret buttons, compared to five on the traditional controller, but the difference is absorbed by a recalibration of the difficulty levels, which curve smoothly upwards. The problem is the strumming.

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Guitar Hero: On Tour European track list

And how it compares to the UK one.

Activision has given Eurogamer the track listing for the single French, Italian, German and Spanish "European version" of the upcoming DS version of Guitar Hero.

Rock star slags off Guitar Hero

Nothing like the real thing, says Mayer.

Guitar-playing American pop star John Mayer has had a go at Guitar Hero, arguing nothing can compare to playing a real musical instrument.

Guitar Hero: On Tour

Rock out and about.

Guitar Hero relies on three things to work: a fake guitar to strum and jump around with, a good track selection, and solid and balanced gameplay. Guitar Hero: On Tour for the DS, therefore, shouldn't work. How are you meant to get all that music on a game card? And what about the guitar? It shouldn't work, but oddly it sort of does.

Gibson launches Guitar Hero lawsuit

Gibson launches Guitar Hero lawsuit

Claims patents have been infringed.

Gibson Guitar has filed a lawsuit against Activision, claiming the Guitar Hero games infringe one of the company's patents.

According to Reuters, Gibson has a 1999 patent for technology used to simulate a musical performance. It sent a letter explaining this to Activision in January.

"Based on our preliminary analysis, the Guitar Hero software (including any expansion packs) and the guitar controller provided by Activision being used as a musical instrument (packaged with the software or sold standalone) are covered by the ... patent," the letter read.

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New Guitar Hero trademark pops up

Activision looks other way, whistling.

Activision has registered the trademark "Guitar Hero On Tour" in the US, but the publisher's British representatives had no comment to make on that this morning.

Be a Guitar Hero record breaker

Guinness needs your help.

UPDATE:The venue for the Guitar Hero record attempt has now changed and will not be HMV Oxford Street as previously reported. More news soon...

COD5, GH4 confirmed?

COD5, GH4 confirmed?

ActiBlizz deal leaks word.

Activision Blizzard has let slip word that it is working on Call of Duty 5 and Guitar Hero IV, reports.

A fact sheet on the freshly launched website unveiled the projects, which appear in the Activision "pipeline" summary.

It also talks of new Tony Hawk and James Bond games, as well as titles based on the Marvel and DreamWorks licences. Its new Bizarre Creations racing game was listed, too.

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GH3 gets Halo theme

Boosting music sales, too.

Activision has released a remix of the Halo theme for Guitar Hero III. It's now available on Live and it won't cost you a penny.

Activision confirms GH3 tracks

Activision confirms GH3 tracks

Dated for November.

Activision has finally given us a look at its song sheet for Guitar Hero III, which contains more master tracks than ever, thanks to fancy relationships with musical people.

What's more, it looks as though that leaked line-up from a couple of weeks ago wasn't far off being spot on, give or take a few licks.

The third game in the acclaimed rhythm action series has been created without usual developer Harmonix, who made new best friends with Rock Band publishers EA and MTV.

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GC: GHIII goes international

Die Toten Hosen!

Activision has revealed an international track list for Guitar Hero III, in an effort to show us that people all over the world really like it.

GC: Quiz RedOctane's Kai Huang

You call the tune.

The battle of the gaming bands is upon us. While Guitar Hero is pounding groupies backstage, biting the the bat's head off the rhythm-action genre, a cocky young upstart has emerged, threatening to topple the veteran rocker from its perch of poodle-haired posturing.