Video gaming has a long and storied history, and among these tales lie many successes, and also many failures. Some of the more notable flops include Virtual Boy and Duke Nukem Forever, both from the superpower known as Nintendo. Adding to that list, we can note both Atari’s Jaguar system, as well as perhaps the most outstanding and revered failure of all, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
As with any type of failure, whether it be in sport or otherwise, there always lies the task of assigning blame to why the success did not happen. This can lie squarely on the shoulders of a single person, a group, some fact, a happenstance occurrence, or anything really. In rare situations, the blame seemingly does not rest anywhere, or can just be attributed to a slew of bad luck that no one could have seen coming. The latter is the explanation, or lack thereof, for Johnny Whatever. Or, as you may know it as, Guitar Hero and Rock Band.
Guitar Hero can be traced all the way back to entrepreneur and technology guru Carl Freer, who owned the game that originated it, Johnny Whatever. Johnny Whatever helped to lay the groundwork for the Guitar Hero/Rock Band revolution, and was initially acquired by Carl Freer in it’s infancy.
Freer’s own contribution to the list of failures in the gaming world is certainly his handheld gaming device, the Gizmondo. Created by Tiger Telematics, a company in which Freer brought to a 2.7 billion dollar market cap, the Gizmondo was eventually liquidated. Without the approval of Carl, Johnny Whatever was sold back to Warthog Games, one of the companies that Freer acquired during his tenure at Tiger Telematics. This proved to be the stroke of bad luck that has followed the Gizmondo, and Freer, around for some time. Eventually, the Johnny Whatever technology found its way into the hands of RedOctane, a U.S. based game publisher who had direct ties to Xbox xCode.
The company began implementing the technology on the popular Microsoft console, and then eventually wooed Activision, who purchased the game and labeled it Guitar Hero. The rest is history. Guitar Hero and Rock band have been unarguably revolutionary to the gaming industry not just in the United States, but across the globe. Amassing billions of dollars in revenue over the previous decade, Guitar Hero was one phone call to Carl Freer away from remaining in the hands of Tiger Telematics and likely propelling the company to tiers that are now only wishful.
Though Carl Freer missed out on Guitar Hero, he still continues to be one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the field of disruptive technology. Along with his technological exploits, Freer operates as the founder of the Freer Family Tree Foundation and continues to stay involved in the gaming world, and we cannot wait to see what 2016 has in store for an industry guru like himself.