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Activision Adds Mic, More Social Aim With DJ Hero 2

Following its promise to maintain DJ Hero as a core brand, Activision has confirmed that it'll launch a sequel to the turntable-equipped music game this fall -- one which is built out into a larger bundle.
Following its promise to maintain DJ Hero as a core brand, Activision has confirmed that it'll launch a sequel to the turntable-equipped music game this Fall. Developer FreeStyle Games, which handled the original, is back to tackle the second installment, which will feature tracks from Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kanye West and over 85 other artists, according to the company. Despite massive revenue contractions in the peripheral-equipped music genre -- once a major cash cow for Activision -- the publisher has remained committed to the segment, although it has said that it will focus more narrowly on Guitar Hero and DJ Hero. The original DJ Hero never entered the NPD's top 10 and its sales were described as "only modest." Nonetheless, owing considerably to the high price point of the turntable-controller bundle, Activision has touted the game as the top-grossing new IP of 2009. Part of the shrinkage in music game revenue over the years is that as games like Guitar Hero began to receive annual sequels, an increasing number of the addressable audience already owned instrument controllers and no longer needed to purchase bundles. Activision's fought the revenue loss by adding a full band set to Guitar Hero and unveiling a redesigned guitar controller for upcoming Warriors of Rock. Similarly, the company promises to "invite a wave of new digital disc jockeys to the turntables" by offering a "Party Bundle" containing the game, two turntable controllers and a microphone -- for which the game now adds support. Although the company didn't reveal pricing for DJ Hero 2, the original game's bundle launched at $119.99, with a special "Renegade" edition available at $199.99 -- both packages contained only one controller. Guitar Hero franchise COO David Haddad says DJ Hero 2 adds not only microphone support, but "new social game modes," angling the title as more of a party game than its predecessor. The original game's appeal may have been comparatively limited by the fact that while playing in a band is social, being a DJ is a relatively solitary pursuit. "We’re improving upon all the gameplay elements from DJ Hero that gamers loved with the all-new freestyle gameplay and a host of new multiplayer game modes," says FreeStyle creative director Jamie Jackson.

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