Rockstar is a household name in the gaming industry. It’s one of the biggest gaming companies in the sector, and it has the earnings to prove it. In addition, it has a unique history that sets it out from the rest and a franchise of games that lives up to players’ expectations. It’s the perfect game developer and publisher-made manifest.
The revenue of Rockstar is in the high billions. It has made $6 billion from GTA V alone, and it has many other games in its repertoire. But this gaming company’s success didn’t just happen overnight. It was built after many years of hard work and dedication to its craft.
Rockstar didn’t start as a known brand in gaming as Electronic Arts did. It didn’t even create with the Rockstar name. In 1984, developers Russell Kay, David Jones, Steve Hammond, and many others started Acme Software. They developed video games that didn’t sell well and didn’t get that much attention. So after three years, they renamed the brand to DMA Design, and their first success came in this company. And interestingly enough, it didn’t have the framework of the Grand Theft Auto Series. It was instead a puzzle-strategy video game.
Lemmings (1991) was the first game that DMA Design created that sold over a million copies worldwide. Specifically, it sold 15 million copies, a milestone that was unheard of at the time. But it was a puzzle-strategy game, a genre that Rockstar completely removed from its identity. However, the success of Lemmings spawned its most successful game ever: Grand Theft Auto.
The GTA Franchise
The GTA franchise has made the most money for Rockstar, with GTA V, the recent title in the series, pulling in almost a billion sales annually. However, the success of GTA and if Rockstar didn’t come from fame alone. The game itself is good, and it showcases the strengths of Rockstar, the first of which is its ability to optimize games.
If you’re releasing an open-world game, your game mustn’t suffer from performance issues. So if you’ve played some Rockstar games before, you know that you can play most of their games using any gaming PC setup. A well-optimized game means better accessibility, and an accessible game can quickly sell millions of copies in its debut release. This is why the company also spends millions on marketing.
A Good Face
It’s estimated that Rockstar spends about $200 million annually on marketing. That’s about 10% to 20% of their reported revenue among shareholders. It’s a pretty significant risk to spend this much, but it paid off.
Because of this much spending, the company was able to showcase its games better than its competitors. They can also reach people from far away places and convert them to loyal customers. Moreover, they have developed a good face in the gaming community. Sure, many claim them to be a big cash cow that haggles players for their money, but the quality of their products has always been good and worthy of consumer spending.
Story for the Ages
The quality of your games is essential if you want people to spend money on them. Some concentrate on the presentation, while others concentrate on gameplay. For Rockstar, the story plays a bigger role among all of these.
Since many of the games produced by Rockstar are morally and ethically questioned, they have to make their story more captivating. Take Red Dead Redemption 2, for example. You have to take control of a member of a notorious gang and do criminal activities in the late 1890s. If your character isn’t likable, he’ll be a faceless criminal grunt in a shootout, and not many players would like that.
Thankfully, Arthur Morgan is easily one of the most recognizable characters in gaming because of the superb writing that came alongside his character. Despite being a criminal, many empathized with him because of his humanity and struggled to live a different life.
Many of Rockstar’s games have these kinds of stories. Sure, most of their characters are deviants, but they are deviants that have interesting stories that we can all empathize with.
Rockstar’s success didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of time and determination, as well as a lot of trial and error, for them to get to this point. They’re a company that continues to improve upon its previous mistakes. It’s also a company that’s willing to take a risk when everyone’s taking a step back. It’s an unapologetic company that takes control of its destiny and has led itself to success because of it.