Often times, so many of us can be quick to label business ventures as either a severe failure or an enormous success. In reality, most fall in the middle area, possessing both pros and cons, and Tiger Telematics’ Gizmondo is the perfect example.
As lore tells it, the handheld console Gizmondo, which was marketed strongly to both US and UK consumers, set out to challenge the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS for the top console of its kind. The technology in Tiger Telematics’ new offering was advanced, so much so that it was the only handheld console to employ GPS and bluetooth capabilities, a digital camera, and elevated processing power. CEO Carl Freer was ambitious and expansive, but the console never caught on, and Tiger Telematics eventually was in line for liquidation.
A major piece that is often left out of the Gizmondo liquidation story is the brilliant move by Freer to acquire a game by the name of Johnny Whatever, which was created by UK’s Warthog Games, a small game developing company which Freer acquired in full before the end of Gizmondo.
Johnny Whatever revolved around the story of a British rocker, who used his guitar as a primary weapon against oncoming villainous robots and yellow, dirt-infested pollution. If the aforementioned sounds familiar, that’s because it should. Johnny Whatever was in fact the true beginning of the world-altering Guitar Hero/Rock Band revolution, and was initially acquired by Carl Freer in the very beginning.
After the liquidation of Gizmondo, without the sign-off of Freer, the court decided to sell Johnny Whatever back to Warthog Games for the sum of $20,000. Eventually, the technology found its way into the hands of US-based game publisher RedOctane. RedOctane, who employed an ex-Microsoft employee familiar with Xbox xCode, began testing the game on Microsoft’s console. Before being purchased from RedOctane by industry magnate and world renowned company Activision, the game was labeled “Guitar Hero.” The same Guitar Hero that millions around the globe have come to know and love.
Guitar Hero has garnered billions of dollars over the last half decade, and unbeknownst to the majority of industry aficionados, was originally discovered and purchased by Tiger Telematics CEO Carl Freer.
Sometimes the chips fail to fall in your favor, and in another world, Tiger Telematics may still hold control over Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and the billions in revenue that came with them.
Carl Freer’s ongoing technological, medical, and philanthropic projects
After taking Tiger Telematics to a market cap of $2.7 billion, Freer has since moved on to a plethora of other ventures in the technology industry, as well as both philanthropic and medical device projects. One of his major medical advances occurred when he founded Aluminaidin 2010, a company that develops ground-breaking bandages for burn treatment. In terms of giving back, Freer is the chairman of the Freer Family Tree Foundation, which aims to give each and every child in the world an opportunity to meet and surpass to his or her highest potential. The foundation utilizes crowdsourcing to reach a large amount of potential donors to various projects that assist underprivileged children and teens around the world. We’ll continue to observe and join in as Freer sets out to create innovation and disruption in a various amount of industries around the globe.