Rockstar Games, Inc. is an American video game publisher based in New York City. The company was established in December 1998 as a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, using the assets Take-Two had previously acquired from BMG Interactive. Founding members of the company were Sam and Dan Houser, Terry Donovan and Jamie King, who worked for Take-Two at the time, and of which the Houser brothers were previously executives at BMG Interactive. Sam Houser heads the studio as president.
Since 1999, several companies acquired by or established under Take-Two have become part of Rockstar Games, such as Rockstar Canada becoming the first one in 1999, and Rockstar India the most recent in 2016. All companies organized under Rockstar Games bear the "Rockstar" name and logo. In this context, Rockstar Games is sometimes also referred to as Rockstar New York, Rockstar NY or Rockstar NYC. Rockstar Games also sports a motion capture studio in Bethpage, New York.
Rockstar Games predominantly publishes games in the action-adventure genre, while racing games also saw success for the company. One of such action-adventure game franchises is Grand Theft Auto, which Rockstar Games took over from BMG Interactive, which published the series' original 1997 entry. The most recent game in the series, Grand Theft Auto V, has shipped over 110 million copies since its release in September 2013, making it one of the best-selling video games of all time. Other popular franchises published by Rockstar Games are Red Dead, Midnight Club, Max Payne and Manhunt.
HistoryOn March 12, 1998, Take-Two Interactive announced its acquisition of the assets of dormant British video game publisher BMG Interactive from BMG Entertainment. In exchange, Take-Two was to issue 1.85 million shares of its common stock to BMG Entertainment. Through this acquisition, Take-Two obtained several of BMG Interactive's former intellectual properties, including DMA Design's Grand Theft Auto and Space Station Silicon Valley. The deal was announced to have closed on March 25. Three BMG Interactive executives—Sam Houser, Dan Houser, and Jamie King—as well as Terry Donovan of BMG Entertainment's Arista Records record label, subsequently moved to New York City to work for Take-Two Interactive. In a restructuring announced that April, Sam Houser was appointed as Take-Two's "vice president of worldwide product development". In December 1998, the Houser brothers, Donovan and King established Rockstar Games as the "high-end" publishing label of Take-Two. The formation was formally announced on January 22, 1999.
In January 2007, Take-Two announced that Donovan, until then managing director for Rockstar Games, had left the company following a four-month leave of absence. He was succeeded by Gary Dale, who became chief operating officer. Dale previously worked with the Houser brothers and King at BMG Interactive, but left the company when it was acquired by Take-Two Interactive, and joined Capcom's European operations as managing director in 2003.
As of February 2014, Rockstar Games titles have shipped more than 250 million copies, the largest franchise being the Grand Theft Auto series, which alone has shipments of at least 250 million as of November 2016. Grand Theft Auto V shipped the highest number of units within the series' and the company's history, with over 110 million copies, becoming one of the bestselling video games of all time.
At the British Academy Video Games Awards in March 2014, Rockstar Games was honored with the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award for "creating intricately layered interactive worlds that have kept the company at the forefront of the gaming industry for over a decade, both critically and commercially". Jennifer Kolbe, who started at the front desk of Take-Two, acts as Rockstar Games' head of publishing and oversees all development studios. Simon Ramsey is the company's head of PR and communications.
In May 2019, Rockstar Games announced that they were acquiring Dhruva Interactive from Starbreeze Studios for, with the sale being finalized later that month and the Dhruva team merged into Rockstar India.
In September 2019, Rockstar Games announced that they had released their own game launcher, a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications service. After having taken an extended break following the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 in early 2019, Dan Houser left Rockstar Games on March 11, 2020.
Company philosophyIn October 2011, Dan Houser told Famitsu that Rockstar Games was intentionally avoiding developing games in the first-person shooter genre, because "it is in our DNA to avoid doing what other companies are doing the goalpoint of Rockstar is to have the players really feel what we're trying to do." Houser went on to say "Our games up to now have been different from any genre that existed at the time; we made new genres by ourselves with games like the GTA series. We didn't rely on testimonials in a business textbook to do what we've done. If we make the sort of games we want to play, then we believe people are going to buy them."
The company has been involved with charitable work ranging from supporting Movember, offering appearances in games as a raffle prize, and charity live streams.
SubsidiariesRockstar Games operates eight studios and an international publishing subsidiary. Where multiple Rockstar studios headed development efforts for a game, "Rockstar Studios" is named as the developer.
|Rockstar India||Bangalore||2016||—||Daniel Smith heads the studio as general manager.|
|Rockstar International||London||2003||—||The international publishing headquarters for Rockstar Games. Located in the same offices as Rockstar London.|
|Rockstar Leeds||Leeds||1997||2004||Created ', ' and '. Also ported L.A. Noire to Microsoft Windows.|
|Rockstar Lincoln||Lincoln||1992||2002||Dedicated quality assurance and localization house for games published by Rockstar Games.|
|Rockstar London||London||2005||—||Completed the development on Manhunt 2 and '. Located in the same offices as Rockstar International.|
|1999||2008||Responsible for '.|
|Rockstar North||Edinburgh||1987||2002||Responsible for Manhunt and the Grand Theft Auto series.|
|Rockstar San Diego||Carlsbad, California||1984||2002||Responsible for the Red Dead, Smuggler's Run and Midnight Club series. Also houses RAGE Technology Group, an in-house game engine team that is responsible for the development and maintenance of the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine.|
|Rockstar Toronto||Oakville, Ontario||1981||1999||Responsible for The Warriors. Also developed Microsoft Windows ports for Grand Theft Auto IV, ', , and Grand Theft Auto V.|