Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games, Inc.
Industry Video game industry
Predecessor BMG Interactive
Founded December 1998 (1998-12)
Headquarters New York City, New York, U.S.
Key people
Parent Take-Two Interactive
Subsidiaries List of subsidiaries

Rockstar Games, Inc. is an American video game publisher based in New York City. The company was established in December 1998 as a publishing subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, and as successor to BMG Interactive, a dormant video game publisher Take-Two Interactive had previously acquired the assets of. Founding members of the company were Sam and Dan Houser, Terry Donovan and Jamie King, who worked for Take-Two Interactive at the time, and of which the Houser brothers were previously executives at BMG Interactive. Since 1999, several companies acquired by or established under Take-Two Interactive became part of Rockstar Games, such as Rockstar Canada (later renamed Rockstar Toronto) 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 that context, Rockstar Games is sometimes also referred to as Rockstar New York or Rockstar NYC.

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 90 million copies since its release in September 2013, marking it one of the bestselling video games of all time. Other popular franchises published by Rockstar Games are Red Dead, Midnight Club, Max Payne and Manhunt.


In May 1998, Take-Two Interactive acquired the assets of dormant British video game publisher BMG Interactive from its parent, BMG Entertainment (in turn a Bertelsmann subsidiary), in exchange for 1.85 million shares, around 16% of the company's common stock.[1][2] Through the acquisition, Take-Two Interactive gained rights to BMG Interactive-owned intellectual properties, including Grand Theft Auto and the upcoming Space Station Silicon Valley.[3] BMG Interactive executives Sam Houser, Dan Houser and Jamie King, as well as Terry Donovan of BMG Entertainment-owned record label Arista Records, subsequently moved to New York City to work for Take-Two Interactive.[3] In December 1998, the Houser brothers, Donovan and King established Rockstar Games as a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, acting as the company's high-end publishing label.[3][4][5][6]

In January 2007, Take-Two Interactive announced that Donovan, until then managing director for Rockstar Games, left the company following a four-month leave of absence.[7] He was succeeded by Gary Dale, who became chief operating officer.[8] 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.[9][10]

As of February 2014, Rockstar Games titles have shipped more than 250 million copies,[11] the largest franchise being the Grand Theft Auto series, which alone has shipments of at least 250 million as of November 2016.[12] Grand Theft Auto V alone shipped the highest number of units within the series' and the company's history, with over 85 million copies, becoming one of the bestselling video games of all time.[13][14]

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".[15][16]

Company philosophy

In October 2011, Dan Houser told Famitsu that Rockstar Games was intentionally avoiding developing games in the first-person shooter genre, because it is "in [their] DNA to avoid doing what other companies are doing. [...] [T]he goalpoint of Rockstar [Games] is to have the players really feel what [they are] trying to do."[17][18] 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."[19]

The company has been involved with charitable work ranging from supporting Movember, offering appearances in games as a raffle prize, and charity live streams.[20][21]

Games published

Year(s) Title Developer(s)
1999–2013 Grand Theft Auto series
1999 Monster Truck Madness 64 Edge of Reality
Thrasher Presents Skate and Destroy Z-Axis
Earthworm Jim 3D (Nintendo 64; North America) VIS Entertainment
Evel Knievel Tarantula Studios
2000 Wild Metal DMA Design
Austin Powers: Oh, Behave! Tarantula Studios
Austin Powers: Welcome to My Underground Lair!
Surfing H3O Opus
2000–2002 Smuggler's Run series
2000–2008 Midnight Club series
2001 The Italian Job (PlayStation; North America) Pixelogic
Oni (PlayStation 2) Bungie West
2001–2012 Max Payne series
2002 State of Emergency (PlayStation 2, Xbox) VIS Entertainment
2003–2007 Manhunt series
  • Rockstar North (Manhunt)
  • Rockstar London (Manhunt 2)
2004–2018 Red Dead series
  • Rockstar San Diego
  • Rockstar Studios (Red Dead Redemption 2)
2005 The Warriors Rockstar Toronto
2006 Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis Rockstar San Diego
Bully Rockstar Vancouver
2009 Beaterator Rockstar Leeds
2011–2017 L.A. Noire Team Bondi
TBA Agent Rockstar North

Films produced

Year Title Genre
1999 GTA 2: The Movie Crime drama
2004 The Football Factory Drama
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – The Introduction Crime drama
2005 Sunday Driver Documentary
2010 Red Dead Redemption: The Man from Blackwater Western drama



Logo Name Location Years Notes
RAGE Technology Group Carlsbad, California, U.S. 2004–present In-house game engine team at Rockstar San Diego. Responsible for the development and maintenance of the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine.
Rockstar India Bangalore, India 2016–present Works in conjunction with the Rockstar Dedicated Unit at Technicolor India.
Rockstar International London, England 2003–present The international publishing headquarters for Rockstar Games. Located in the same offices as Rockstar London.
Rockstar Leeds Leeds, England 2004–present Created Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories. Also ported L.A. Noire to Microsoft Windows.
Rockstar Lincoln Lincoln, England 2002–present Dedicated quality assurance and localization house for games published by Rockstar Games.
Rockstar London London, England 2005–present Completed the development on Manhunt 2 and Midnight Club: L.A. Remix. Located in the same offices as Rockstar International.
Rockstar New England Ballardvale, Massachusetts, U.S. 2008–present Responsible for Bully: Scholarship Edition.
Rockstar North Edinburgh, Scotland 2002–present Rockstar Games' largest developer. Responsible for Manhunt and the Grand Theft Auto series.[23]
Rockstar San Diego Carlsbad, California, U.S. 2002–present Responsible for the Red Dead, Smuggler's Run and Midnight Club series.
Rockstar Toronto Oakville, Ontario, Canada 1999–present Responsible for The Warriors. Also developed Microsoft Windows ports for Grand Theft Auto IV, The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony, and Grand Theft Auto V.


Logo Name Location Years Notes
Rockstar Vancouver Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 2002–2012 Responsible for Bully. Merged into Rockstar Toronto in July 2012.
Rockstar Vienna Vienna, Austria 2003–2006 Porting house with a focus on Xbox. Closed down in May 2006, during the development of Manhunt 2, which was transferred to Rockstar London.



Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) is a game engine developed by the Rockstar San Diego-internal RAGE Technology Group, created to facilitate game development on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, OS X and Wii systems.

Social Club

Rockstar Games Social Club is an online gaming service created by Rockstar Games for authentication and multiplayer applications within their games.


  1. Until 2002 as DMA Design.
  2. Until 2002 as Angel Studios.
  3. Rockstar Studios was a collaborative effort between Rockstar Vancouver, Rockstar London, Rockstar Toronto, Rockstar New England, Rockstar San Diego, Rockstar Leeds and Rockstar North.[22]


  3. 1 2 3 "ROCKSTAR GAMES: Multimedia Designers". Design Museum. Archived from the original on September 27, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  4. "Sam Houser: His-Story". Develop. August 15, 2008. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  5. "GTA, Rockstar co-founding brothers squeeze into Britain's 1,000 richest people list with £90 million". GameSpot. Archived from the original on July 10, 2017.
  7. Sinclair, Brendan (January 12, 2007). "Terry Donovan leaves Rockstar". GameSpot. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  8. "Capcom exec leaves to join Rockstar". GameSpot. Archived from the original on June 22, 2017.
  11. "Rockstar titles have now shipped 250 million copies to date". GameSpot. February 4, 2014. Archived from the original on February 7, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  12. Cragg, Oliver (November 3, 2016). "Grand Theft Auto life-time sales hit 250 million, GTA 5 and GTA Online ships 70 million units". International Business Times. Archived from the original on February 7, 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  13. Tassi, Paul. "Here Are The Five Best-Selling Video Games Of All Time". Forbes. Archived from the original on February 7, 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  14. Sirani, Jordan (November 7, 2017). "GTA 5 Has Sold-In 85 Million Copies". IGN. Archived from the original on November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  20. Purchese, Robert (October 26, 2009). "Rockstar sponsors Movember charity". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  21. "Rockstar offers game appearance prize for charity". Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  22. Rockstar Studios (May 15, 2012). Max Payne 3. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Rockstar Games. Level/area: Credits.
  23. "Inside Rockstar North – Part 2: The Studio". Archived from the original on February 26, 2017.
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