4 Things to Know Before Buying the New 'Guitar Hero' Game

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Activision Reveals Guitar Hero Live's GHTV At E3 2015 In Los Angeles
Rachel Murray/Getty Images for ActivisionConvention goers enjoy Activisions Guitar Hero Live booth at E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in June.
The days of video gamers flying through the frets of plastic guitars are back. Activision Blizzard (ATVI) released "Guitar Hero Live" on Tuesday, trying to breathe new life into the once-popular franchise.

It's been five years since Activision Blizzard last put out a "Guitar Hero" game, and naturally folks will be skeptical about investing $100 in the new game, which includes the software and redesigned guitar controller.

Let's go over a few things that may be rolling around your head as you decide whether you want to hop back onto the "Guitar Hero" franchise.

1. Your Old Guitars Won't Work

If you were a fan of the original series, there's a good chance that you still have one if not more of the early guitar controllers around. Unfortunately, they're only decorative at this point, unless you want to fire up your old "Guitar Hero" games. "Guitar Hero Live" comes with an all-new controller with six buttons on the frets. Your old guitar is not compatible with the new game. Sorry.

2. Guitar Hero TV Is Your Friend

There are dozens of tracks included in the game, and that should be enough to entertain your faux-strumming needs for some time. However, the real adventure awaits online, where Guitar Hero TV -- a platform that offers hundreds of playable songs -- is where things really get interesting.

Basic access to Guitar Hero TV is free. However, if you want to cherry-pick songs to keep playing or take advantage of premium content offerings, you will have to make some in-game purchases. In short, if you can resist the features that will cost you money, it does enhance the disc-based game.

3. Double Your Pleasure for $50 More

If you plan on jamming with a friend, there is a $150 bundle that includes two of the wireless guitar controllers. Activision Blizzard isn't selling individual guitar controllers just yet, but one would think that they will cost slightly more than $50 if the bundle is being promoted as a value at $150 compared to $100 for the one-controller version.

If you need an extra controller for a friend -- or maybe when you get angry and go all Pete Townshend on your first plastic guitar -- the dual-guitar bundle could be the better investment.

4. Activision Blizzard Discontinued Guitar Hero Once ...

It's easy to buy into the refreshed platform, and the new ad with Lenny Kravitz and James Franco jamming to the new game is going to generate some initial buzz. However, keep in mind that this was the same franchise that Activision Blizzard temporarily discontinued five years ago. The first game came out in 2005. Sales peaked in 2008. By 2010 it was the end of an era.

Activision Blizzard will naturally nix this franchise again if it's not selling briskly, and even if it does come back in a few years, we already saw that Activision Blizzard isn't afraid of making older guitar controllers incompatible. Make the investment based on the included tracks and the current state of Guitar Hero TV. Don't count on the music living on forever.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Activision Blizzard. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days, and check out our free report for one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.
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