Rockstar Games doesn't see why only the kids should have all the video game fun. The company, a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive Software, is a publisher of mature-rated video games including the hugely popular Grand Theft Auto series. Other series titles from the game studio include Midnight Club, Red Dead, Manhunt, and Max Payne. Rockstar Games' titles are available for major gaming platforms, including Sony's Playstation, Microsoft's Xbox, and Nintendo's Wii, as well as for PCs and portable devices such as the Playstation Portable and Nintendo DS. Parent Take-Two does over half of its business in the US; Europe and the Asia Pacific region are its other key markets.
Rockstar's crown jewel is the Grand Theft Auto franchise, which has parlayed a heavy dose of adult themes and violent content into record-breaking sales. Revenue hasn't been hurt by either the heavy criticism leveled at the series by prominent figures including Hillary Clinton or lawsuits that claim the game inspired real-life criminal rampages. The most recent addition to the series, Grand Theft Auto IV, made various sales records in the video game industry following its debut in 2010, including most sales on its first day of release (3.7 million copies) and grossing more than $500 million in revenue in its first week.
Red Dead Redemption was the developer's 2010 follow-up to 2004's Red Dead Revolver, winning more than 100 game-of-the-year awards and selling more than 8.5 million copies worldwide. Although it was only released for the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, those sales translated into it being the industry's #5 best-selling video game title for the year.
Despite this, total company sales slipped in 2010. Rockstar continues to develop sequels for Grand Theft Auto and some of its other franchises as well as high-margin downloadable add-on content, which it sells to extend customer interest in existing titles.
Rockstar added to its game lineup in 2011 with the release of LA Noire, a crime thriller set in post-war Los Angeles. The next major release in the pipeline is the third installment of the Max Payne series.
Not all of parent Take-Two's game development occurs at Rockstar, however, as the company also operates the 2K Games subsidiary, which has developed games including Civilization IV, BioShock, and the long-awaited Duke Nukem Forever (released in 2011).
The Rockstar Games label was founded in 1998 and has grown in recent years when many of the video game publishers that Take-Two acquired were rolled into the operations of Rockstar. Game studios that have been acquired by Take-Two and merged into Rockstar include Mobius Entertainment, Mad Doc Software, Angel Studios, and Barking Dog Studios. – less