In 2006, Activision bought Red Octane, publisher of Guitar Hero, resulting in series developer Harmonix launching the rival game Rock Band and starting one of the uglier public feuds in gaming. Today, Activision's CEO said shunning Harmonix was a mistake.
"When we were buying Guitar Hero, or buying Red Octane, the makers of Guitar Hero, we knew about Harmonix," Activision's Bobby Kotick said today during a surprisingly warm and self-deprecating speech made at the DICE gaming convention. "We had always known them as sort of somewhat a failed developer of music games. They always had really great ideas but nothing that was really commercially viable until Guitar Hero. And [we thought], it's a good piece of software, and if we gave it to [Activision-owned Tony Hawk development studio] Neversoft, they'd knock the ball out of the park with this.