I have an XBox 360. Guitar Hero II was an interesting idea when it came out, and although I am not a musician or even musically inclined, I bought it. The best game I've ever played (at the time). Fun, good music, gameplay, you name it.
Guitar Hero III came out in late 2007, as did Rock Band. Both were even bigger hits, the ground being laid by Guitar Hero II. I ended up buying both.
That's a lot of money on three video games, as each comes with its own instrument controllers.
And here's the kicker: I've since spent additional money on Amazon MP3 buying up the songs I like from the games (some of which I have never heard before). In addition, my six year old son now has an interest in music and wants to learn to play guitar.
So why is Gibson continuing to sue to stop sales of Guitar Hero?. It's irrelevant whether Guitar Hero infringes on one of Gibson's patents; Activision and retailers are creating a demand for Gibson guitars. Their innovative games are helping Gibson, and Gibson wants to stop that? Really? I understand Gibson is simply trying to position itself for a share of Guitar Hero (and I assume RockBand) profits. Still, it seems like they should be taking a more partnership approach rather than an aggressive stance.
I also think this highlights the problem in our patent system. Harmonix and Activision bore the risk of bringing these games to market, including developing new types of controllers for the games. While someone like Gibson bears some costs in developing intellectual property, it's the companies that launch products that bear more risk. Sure, in some industries developing technology is a huge investment.
The patent system should protect those that invest significantly at a high risk of not getting a return. Any other use case is simply gaming the system. At the expense of our market and our customers.
Are you missing out on high return opportunities because you can't see the forest through the trees?