ROCKSTAR GAMES Why would a games company want to call themselves Rockstar?TASK: What words do you associate with this word? tinyurl.com/rockstarword
Rockstar Games• Games publisher and developer.• Established in 1998 by five Brits.• Subsidiary of US game publishers Take Two.• Headquarters in New York• Most famous by the Grand Theft Auto series.
How it was formed• BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group) created a games publishing division called BMG Interactive. Pandemonium 2 for the PlayStation (1997) Three Lions for the PlayStation (1998)
Grand Theft Auto • Released for the PC in 1997 and PS in 1998 • Developed by DMA Design • City based, top down action game that gave the player real freedom • Controversial content used to sell the game • Sold 1 million
GTA’s Significance• Ground breaking freedom• Adult content and 18 certificate - designed for ‘mature gamer’• Provocative marketing• BMG’s Interactive most successful game• BMG’s IP.
• 1998 - BMG sell Interactive division to New York games publishers Take Two Interactive.• BMG Interactive employees Sam Houser, Dan Houser, Jamie King, Terry Donovan and Gary Foreman pitch the idea of creating ‘cool’ gaming publishing label.• Rockstar Games created in 1998.• Described as Take Two’s ‘high-end video game publishing division’.
The big idea• “Above all, I wanted to start a label for the games industry like the labels you saw in the record industry. At that time, games were positioned as either toys or bits of technology. But I was interested in a hip, happening label, more about lifestyle, not toys or technology. A valid form of entertainment. Take-Two said off you go.” Sam Houser, 2000
Sam Houser• Founding member and President of Rockstar• Born 1972• Join BMG record group at 17• Worked in A&R and • Applied skills learnt Marketing in the recording• Join BMG Interactive industry in the games industry• Worked on original • Obsessed with Grand Theft Auto details
The plan• Make a games brand that was ‘cool’• Create games that would appeal to wider audience - people with interest in films, music and popular culture• Deliver integrity between design, product and marketing.• Apply development and marketing strategies used in other areas of entertainment
DMA Design• Established in 1988 in Dundee to make games for the Amiga• First success space called Blood Money• Huge success with Lemmings – sold 20 million units on 21 different formats• Made Uni-racers for N64, caught attention of Nintendo.• Developed Body Harvest for N64 launch.
Race N Chase• Top down, city based cops and robbers game• Became Grand Theft Auto and was published by BMG Interactive• Gremlin bought DMA, who were then themselve bought out by Infogrames but due to BMG link, DMA weren’t part of the deal
GTA 2 and beyond• Released GTA: London 1969 in 1999 followed by GTA 2 which sold 2 million copies.• Developed and released GTA 3 as DMA Design• After the successful release of GTA 3 Rockstar Game bought DMA, renamed them Rockstar North and moved the studios to Edinburgh
Student Case Study• In pairs, choose a game from the Rockstar catalogue (not GTAIV) and begin your own case study.• Include information on the production, marketing, distribution and consumption of this game.
Things to include:• Where it was developed (which Rockstar division), what were the cultural influences/references? Dates it was released and on what consoles?• How it was marketed? Look at the posters, cover art and trailers and analyse them in the context of Rockstar’s reputation for provocative marketing. Is there a website for the game, what kind of things are on the website? Is there a relationship between this and other brands?• How it was distributed and previewed. Where was it made available? Online only or in shops? Are there gameplay previews?• How it was received by critics and gamers? Look for games reviews and pick out some key quotes regarding the games USP. Who is the target audience and how can you tell? How many units did it sell and how much money has it made Rockstar?Work in pairs and construct a Powerpoint to be presented