I predict failure (compared to revenue from previous versions): Rock Band 3 uses “real” guitar and keyboard.
Guitar Hero worked because it was just hard enough to appeal to everyone who always wished they’d learned guitar, as well as all the people who already knew how to play guitar (but not video games). They found the sweet spot that captured gamers and non-gamers.
Rock Band 3 is only going to appeal to hard-core gamers who also happen to be able to play a real instrument. See I Fight Dragons (love them, btw).
Classic case of an incumbent riding a decaying product line all the way to the grave. They’re so focused on trying to recapture their glory days, they’re blind to opportunities on the periphery.
What could the guitar-game companies have done instead? Two ideas, based on the strategy of exploiting second-order effects:
- Capitalize on the growth in mobile apps and tie it back to your core (console games): an iOS and/or Android app that uses WiFi to act as a controller for existing games.
- Capitalize on the trend of all-things-social, and keep people coming back with game mechanics: Something like Garageband that makes it easy to create/record/share your own music, but with some strong gaming elements (e.g. submit songs for peer rating, prizes for highest-rated). Garageband with some social gaming elements.