The 3DO Company

From Academic Kids

The 3DO Company (formerly THDO on the NASDAQ stock exchange) was founded in 1991 under the name SMSG, Inc. by Electronic Arts co-founder Trip Hawkins in a partnership with seven other companies, including Matsushita, AT&T, MCA, Time Warner, and Electronic Arts. The company's original objective was to create a next-generation, CD-based video game system which would be manufactured by various partners and licensees; 3DO would collect a royalty on each console sold and on each game manufactured. To game publishers, the low $3 royalty rate per game was a better deal than the higher royalties paid to Nintendo and Sega when making games for those consoles. The launch of the platform in October, 1993 was well-promoted, with a great deal of press attention in the mass media as part of the "multimedia wave" in the computer world at the time.

Unfortunately the 3DO console itself was priced at $700, and the promised "early adopters" never showed up to purchase mass quantities of games. The quality of 3DO games was perceived as low, on the whole. When the Sony PlayStation appeared in 1994 with its hardware 3D graphics support and its outstanding game software, it smashed all remaining hopes for the 3DO console. In 1996, The 3DO Company sold its console rights to Matsushita and changed its business to develop and publish games for the PlayStation as well as other game consoles and PCs.

After abandoning the 3DO console, the company's biggest hit was its series of Army Men games, featuring the generic green plastic soldier toys that had been re-popularized by the unrelated movie Toy Story. Its Might and Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic series from subsidiary New World Computing were also popular and lucrative for the company. During the late 1990s, the company published one of the first 3D MMORPGs: Meridian 59, which survives on to this day at the hands of some of the game's original developers.

After struggling for several years, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2003. Employees were laid off, and the company's game brands and other intellectual properties were sold to rivals like Microsoft, Namco, Crave, and Ubisoft, and also to founder Trip Hawkins, who paid US$405,000 for rights to some older brands and the company's "Internet patent portfolio".de:3do ja:3DO


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