RedOctane once a major distributor and manufacturer of third party Dance Dance Revolution mats is now targeting The Ant Commandos for selling third party Guitar Hero accessories. The Ant Commandos aren’t taking this lying down they placed a counter suit against Activision and RedOctane for copying their Magical Guitar controller, which was designed in 1999 for Guitar Freaks. We had a chance to speak to Abby Olivia, the PR Manager for the company about the litigation, Topway and the possibility of future guitar games.
Siliconera: How long have you been making third party Guitar Hero controllers?
Abby: The Ant Commandos came out with the “shredder” designed for younger children earlier this year. The “freedom wireless” and Rocking V controllers came out this summer, maybe in August. The Magical Guitar controller was manufactured and designed by Topway. Our designs essentially came from Topway.
Let me get this straight, RedOctane bought a bunch of Magical Guitar controllers?
Topway developed and designed the Magical Guitar in 1999. Topway is in China and so is their factory. A few times in 2001 and again in 2004 parties that represented RedOctane visited Topway. They asked questions about the magical guitar controller. Between 2K2-2K4 RedOctane purchased several hundred controllers and the Gibson SG controller came out in 2005.
Were they invited?
You know I’m not sure. I don’t know who initiated the contact.
Was the Magical Guitar patented in the USA?
No it was not. It was sold in the USA with Topway as the distributor.
One of the claims in the suit against the Ant Commandos is that your line of guitar controllers don’t activate star power consistently, what do you have to say about that?
Well hmm… I think what I would have to say to that is that I don’t know that RedOctane is specifically is pertaining too I can tell you our shredder controller has a different activation by shaking it instead of tilting it to work better for children. The freedom wireless and rocking guitar controllers have tilt function on them. We don’t just design our games just for Guitar Hero.
Wait not just Guitar Hero? What other games do they work on?
Future market games.
I can’t comment on that at this time.
How have the sales been on the GuitarMania controller?
I think they’re huge. (We requested sales data about the controllers, which we’re working on getting for the future.)