There's nothing quite like a soul-crushing stadium rock anthem when you want to bring an audience to its feet -- or to breathe life into an earnings report.
Riding a heavy metal wave of Guitar Hero III success, Activision
This should surprise absolutely nobody who has paid any attention to video games and their makers over the past year or so. Guitar Hero has become a cultural phenomenon -- we don't have to just play air guitar for Uncle Timmy anymore, because now we can get instant feedback on that performance from a gadget, a game, and a scoring system. Schweeeeet!
There's going to be an encore to this gig, of course. Activision CEO Robert Kotick noted that "Europe continues to track one year behind North America," which sets the stage for fresh growth in another major market next year. And one of the reasons behind Activision's merger with Vivendi's video game unit is that it comes with distribution channels into karaoke-crazy Asia, where Guitar Hero I is yet to be launched. So far, this franchise is the business equivalent of Metallica -- a mainly North American act with some European elements.
There's a rival rockapalooza across the tracks. EA only distributes Rock Band, which sold 1.5 million units between its release in that cold November rain and the end of a long December. Viacom
Activision can rock this joint for a long time, like Old Man Petty did at the Super Bowl. The Viacom upstart wants to be the next jukebox hero. Both belong in your record collec ... um, portfolio.
Activision and Electronic Arts have one more thing in common -- they're both Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. See how all the picks help the newsletter service beat the market with a free 30-day trial.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is working on a guitar controller for its trusty old Dreamcast.