Last updated
RedOctane, Inc.
Type Subsidiary
Industry Video games
Founded1999;22 years ago (1999)
Founders Kai Huang
Charles Huang
DefunctFebruary 11, 2010 (2010-02-11)
Key people
Kai Huang (CEO and Co-Founder),
Charles Huang (COO and Co-Founder)

Kelly Sumner (Chief Executive Officer)

Jack McCauley (Head of R&D)
Parent Activision

RedOctane, Inc. was an American electronic entertainment company best known for producing the Guitar Hero series, beginning in November 2005. RedOctane became a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision in 2006. In February 2010, Activision closed the RedOctane division.


RedOctane was founded in 1999 by the brothers Kai Huang and Charles Huang. They got their beginnings operating the world's first online video game rental service, called WebGameZone. They soon began to create game accessories such as the Red Octane Ignition dance mat, joysticks, and other accessories to build upon already-existing musical games. After soon realizing that their game accessories were tied to the launch dates of the games they were producing for, Red Octane began producing games. Their first original game was a PlayStation 2 port of Roxor Games' arcade rhythm game In the Groove . [1]

RedOctane teamed with developer Harmonix Music Systems to release Guitar Hero in November 2005 for the PlayStation 2. The game was successful and RedOctane had Jack McCauley design more sophisticated hardware for a sequel, which they released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360. [2] [3]

In May 2006, video game publisher Activision announced plans to acquire RedOctane, completing the deal on June 6, 2006. [4] Activision reportedly paid RedOctane $99.9 million in cash and common stock in the acquisition. [5] [6] Activision acquired McCauley's consulting company, R0R3 Devices, at the same time.

After the Activision buy-out and a split from Harmonix, who went on to develop competing game Rock Band , RedOctane utilized Activision owned Neversoft, the team responsible for the Tony Hawk skateboarding video game franchise, to take the helm on Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock , [7] which became available in November 2007.

Gaming news site Kotaku called Guitar Hero an "instant cult classic". In its 26 first months after release, Guitar Hero generated over $1B in sales. [8]

RedOctane released Guitar Hero World Tour in October 2008.

On February 11, 2010, Activision announced the closure of their RedOctane division. [9]

Related Research Articles

Activision American video game publisher

Activision Publishing, Inc. is an American video game publisher based in Santa Monica, California. It currently serves as the publishing business for its parent company, Activision Blizzard, and consists of several subsidiary studios. Activision is one of the largest third-party video game publishers in the world and was the top United States publisher in 2016.

Harmonix Music Systems, Inc., doing business as Harmonix, is an American video game development company based in Boston, Massachusetts, best known for its music video games.

Neversoft American video game developer

Neversoft Entertainment, Inc. was an American video game developer, founded in July 1994 by Joel Jewett, Mick West and Chris Ward. Neversoft was known for the Spider-Man video game as well as the Tony Hawk's and Guitar Hero video game franchises. The company was acquired by Activision in October 1999. Their last game was the Extinction mode of Call of Duty: Ghosts, and the studio merged with Infinity Ward, a primary developer on the Call of Duty franchise, on May 3, 2014 and was made defunct on July 10, 2014.

Rhythm game Genre of music-themed action video game

Rhythm game or rhythm action is a genre of music-themed action video game that challenges a player's sense of rhythm. Games in the genre typically focus on dance or the simulated performance of musical instruments, and require players to press buttons in a sequence dictated on the screen. Many rhythm games include multiplayer modes in which players compete for the highest score or cooperate as a simulated musical ensemble. While conventional game controllers may be used as input devices, rhythm games often feature novel game controllers that emulate musical instruments. Certain dance-based games require the player to physically dance on a mat, with pressure-sensitive pads acting as the input device.

<i>Guitar Hero</i> (video game) 2005 music rhythm video game

Guitar Hero is a 2005 music rhythm video game developed by Harmonix and published by RedOctane for the PlayStation 2. It is the first main installment in the Guitar Hero series. Guitar Hero was released in November 2005 in North America, April 2006 in Europe and June 2006 in Australia. The game's development was a result of collaboration between RedOctane and Harmonix to bring a Guitar Freaks-like game to United States.

<i>Guitar Hero II</i> 2006 video game

Guitar Hero II is a music rhythm video game developed by Harmonix and published by RedOctane for the PlayStation 2 and Activision for the Xbox 360. It is the second main installment in the Guitar Hero series and is the sequel to 2005's Guitar Hero. It was first released for the PlayStation 2 in November 2006, and then for the Xbox 360 in April 2007, with additional content not originally in the PlayStation 2 version.

The Ant Commandos, Inc. (TAC) is a designer, manufacturer and distributor of peripherals and accessories for video game consoles based out of Chino, California. Their flagship products are a line of corded and wireless guitar controllers for the PlayStation 2 music video game, Guitar Hero.

<i>Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s</i> 2007 video game

Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s is a music rhythm game and the third installment in the popular Guitar Hero series. It was released in July 2007 in North America and Europe, and in August 2007 in Australia.

Guitar Hero is a series of music rhythm game video games first released in 2005, in which players use a guitar-shaped game controller to simulate playing primarily lead, bass guitar, and rhythm guitar across numerous songs. Players match notes that scroll on-screen to colored fret buttons on the controller, strumming the controller in time to the music in order to score points, and keep the virtual audience excited. The games attempt to mimic many features of playing a real guitar, including the use of fast-fingering hammer-ons and pull-offs and the use of the whammy bar to alter the pitch of notes. Most games support single player modes, typically a Career mode to play through all the songs in the game, and both competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes. With the introduction of Guitar Hero World Tour in 2008, the game includes support for a four-player band including vocals and drums. The series initially used mostly cover versions of songs created by WaveGroup Sound, but most recent titles feature soundtracks that are fully master recordings, and in some cases, special re-recordings, of the songs. Later titles in the series feature support for downloadable content in the form of new songs.

<i>Rock Band</i> (video game) 2007 music video game

Rock Band is a music video game developed by Harmonix, published by MTV Games and distributed by Electronic Arts. It is the first title in the Rock Band series. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions were released in North America on November 20, 2007, while the PlayStation 2 version was released on December 18, 2007 and the Wii version on June 22, 2008. Harmonix previously developed the first two games in the Guitar Hero series, which popularized gameplay of rock music with guitar-shaped controllers. After development of the series was shifted to Neversoft, Harmonix conceived Rock Band as a new title that would offer multi-instrument gameplay.

<i>Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock</i> 2007 video game

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is a music rhythm video game developed by Neversoft and published by Activision. It is the third main installment in the Guitar Hero series. It is the first game in the series to be developed by Neversoft after Activision's acquisition of RedOctane and MTV Games' purchase of Harmonix, the previous development studio for the series. The game was released worldwide for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 in October 2007, with Budcat Creations assisting Neversoft on developing the PlayStation 2 port and Vicarious Visions solely developing on the Wii port respectively. Aspyr published the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X versions of the game, releasing them later in 2007.

<i>Guitar Hero World Tour</i> 2008 video game

Guitar Hero World Tour is a music rhythm video game developed by Neversoft and published by Activision. It is the fourth main installment in the Guitar Hero series. The game was launched in North America in October 2008 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 consoles, and a month later for Europe and Australia. A version of World Tour for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X was later released by Aspyr.

<i>Guitar Hero: Aerosmith</i> 2008 video game

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is a 2008 music rhythm video game developed by Neversoft and published by Activision. It was released on the PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 consoles, with Budcat Creations solely developing the PlayStation 2 port, Vicarious Visions solely developing the Wii port, and Aspyr solely publishing the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X ports. The game was released on June 26, 2008 in Europe, on June 29, 2008 in North America, August 6, 2008 in Australia and October 9, 2008 in Japan. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith sold as both a bundle with a specially designed guitar controller as well as a game-only package.

<i>Rock Band</i> Series of music video games

Rock Band is a series of rhythm games developed by Harmonix, principally for home video game consoles. Based on their previous development work from the Guitar Hero series, the main Rock Band games has players use game controllers modeled after musical instruments and microphones to perform the lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums and vocal parts of numerous licensed songs across a wide range of genres though mostly focusing on rock music by matching scrolling musical notes patterns shown on screen. Certain games support the use of "Pro" instruments that require special controllers that more closely mimic the playing of real instruments, providing a higher challenge to players. Players are scored for successfully-hit notes, while may fail a song if they miss too many notes. The series has featured numerous game modes, and supports both local and online multiplayer modes where up to four players in most modes can perform together.

<i>DJ Hero</i> 2009 video game

DJ Hero is a music video game, developed by FreeStyleGames and published by Activision as a rhythm game spin-off of the Guitar Hero franchise. It was released on October 27, 2009 in North America and on October 29, 2009 in Europe. The game is based on turntablism, the act of creating a new musical work from one or more previously recorded songs using record players and sound effect generators, and features 94 remixes of two different songs from a selection of over 100 different songs across numerous genres.

<i>Guitar Hero: Van Halen</i> 2009 video game

Guitar Hero: Van Halen is a music rhythm video game developed by Underground Development and published by Activision. It is the third game in the Guitar Hero series to focus on the career and songs of one rock band, Van Halen, following Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero: Metallica. The game was released in retail for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii systems on December 22, 2009, in North America, and in February 2010 for PAL regions. However, as part of a promotion with Guitar Hero 5, the game was shipped to Guitar Hero 5 purchasers in North America prior to its retail release. The game features 25 songs from Van Halen along with 19 additional songs from selected artists that have been inspired by the group.

Cultural impact of the <i>Guitar Hero</i> series

Guitar Hero is a series of rhythm video games published by Activision in which players use guitar-shaped controllers to mimic the playing of numerous popular rock music songs in a score attack gameplay; later games in the series have included support for both drums and vocals and playing as a full band. With over $2 billion in total sales worldwide, the game series has made a significant cultural impact, becoming a "cultural phenomenon" and recognizable in the popular culture. The series has been found to influence younger players into learning real instruments and has found application within the health care industry to help recovering patients.


  1. "RedOctane, Inc. (Company) - Giant Bomb". Retrieved 2016-04-27.
  2. Stevens, Jim (2008-10-16). "More guitar hero world tour tidbits". Mercury News . Retrieved 2010-09-22.
  3. Petersen, Brittany (2009-01-28). "The History Leading Up to Guitar Hero". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  4. "Activision Paid $100 mln for RedOctane". Next Generation. Archived from the original on 2012-09-05.
  5. Miller, Ross. "Activision paid nearly $100 million for Red Octane". Joystiq . Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  6. "Activision Buys RedOctane for $99.9M". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  7. Ostroff, Joshua (2007). "Battle of the Virtual Bands". Exclaim! Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
  8. "Guitar Hero Goes $1 Billion". Kotaku.
  9. Chris Pereira. "Original Guitar Hero Publisher RedOctane Shut Down". Archived from the original on 2013-01-01.