New E-Book Explores the Rise and Fall of the Music Game Genre

A new book being released today talks to the creators of Guitar Hero and Rock Band to find out why the industry hit such a sour note after one year of off-the-charts revenues.

At their height, music-related games generated an estimated $1.7 billion in revenues in 2008. Families all over America were rocking out in their living rooms with plastic guitars and drum sets to everyone from the Beatles to Aerosmith.

But less than three years later, the leaders in the space were canceling new products and slashing production.

In late 2010, slowing sales of Rock Band led Viacom to sell maker Harmonix and close the MTV Games publishing division, and a few months later, Activision Blizzard canceled Guitar Hero.

The book, called “Music Games Rock: Rhythm Gaming’s Greatest Hits of All Time,” is by Scott Steinberg and is available via download for a number of e-readers at It is free on the Web, or costs $2.99 for the Kindle.

Steinberg is the CEO of TechSavvy Global, a technology and video game consulting firm, and previously wrote the book “Get Rich Playing Games.”

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus