This spring, Daniel L. Rosensweig ’83 was named CEO and president of the Guitar Hero division of gaming giant Activision Blizzard. He hit the ground running, as the company was working toward the release of not one, but three new games within the next six months.
On Sept. 1, the first of those games, Guitar Hero® 5 was released and Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal’s digital Web site, All Things Digital aired an interview with Rosensweig that she filmed while he and other Activision executives gave her a tour of the Company’s headquarters. Swisher asks him about the three new releases, his relatively new position with Activision, and what he sees as the future of the Internet and the gaming industry.
In response to Swisher’s question of where the company can go next – they’ll have guitar, band and DJ platforms by the end of the year – Rosensweig replied, “You can’t keep going with pieces of equipment… You can continue to do more with those instruments, more with the game play, more with the different genres of music, more with the social aspects of the game, more community and ability to put more music into the game. The Internet really allows you to do a whole bunch of things you really couldn’t do inside of a video game.”
The Internet is an area where Rosensweig has a wealth of experience, most recently as the COO of Yahoo! Inc.
Swisher asked how he likes the hardware space after being in the Internet space.
“I look at the Internet as a real opportunity to expand the things we can do… we think the Internet is going to be a huge advantage to us and we’re excited to take advantage of it,” he replied.
A self-proclaimed music buff and “Springsteen lunatic,” Rosensweig says “I’m extremely happy doing what I’m doing. I think interactive content is going to be the next big thing.”
During his time as a Hobart student, Rosensweig was a political science major as well as a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He studied abroad in London. Rosensweig’s accomplished professional life has been focused in media communications and Internet industries, including roles as Chief Operating Officer of Yahoo!, President of CNET, and CEO of ZDNET. While working in those roles, he created internships for HWS which provided the opportunity for a number of students to work directly with him and offered them job opportunities following graduation. He returned to campus this past November to dedicate the Rosensweig Learning Commons at HWS.
The full text of Swisher’s story and link to her videos of Activision and Rosensweig follow.
Rosensweig also appeared on FOX Business, discussing the competition between Guitar Hero and Rock Band. To watch the interview, visit the FoxBusiness site.
Wall St. Journal, All Things Digital
Guitar Hero’s Dan Rosensweig Speaks!
Kara Swisher • September 1, 2009
Yesterday, BoomTown did a tour of the Mountain View, Calif., HQ of Guitar Hero, poised for a series of launches, including the fifth version of Guitar Hero and new music games, Band Hero and DJ Hero.
While there, I also interviewed its CEO Dan Rosensweig, the well-known Silicon Valley exec who was once COO of Yahoo (YHOO) and who took over the high-profile division of Activision Blizzard (ATVI) in May in what was a bit of a surprise move into the music gaming industry.
Rosensweig had been working in private equity since his departure from Yahoo in late 2006. Previous to that, he worked at CNET Networks and Ziff-Davis.
Except that Rosensweig is a well known music fan-for example, having criss-crossed the country to see Bruce Springsteen play innumerable times-so he seems to be pretty happy with his new gig when I talked to him.
He certainly has a big job ahead, considering renewed competition from Viacom (VIA), in the form of its soon-to-be-released Beatles version of the competing Rock Band game, as well as a big slump in sales the music game category.
The question is: Can innovation keep Guitar Hero alive. So far, the reviews for the new version are strong, but whether they will translate into sales will be closely watched.
Rosensweig talked about that and more in this video interview.