|Traded as||NASDAQ: AKLM|
|Defunct||September 1, 2004|
|Headquarters||Glen Cove, New York, U.S.|
|Greg Fischbach, CEO|
|Products||Video games, comic books|
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||Iguana Entertainment, Probe Entertainment, Sculptured Software, Valiant Comics|
Acclaim Entertainment (stylized as A«laim) was an American video game developer and publisher. It developed, published, marketed and distributed interactive entertainment software for a variety of hardware platforms, including Mega Drive/Genesis, Saturn, Dreamcast, and Game Gear, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super NES, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance, PlayStation and PlayStation 2, Xbox, personal computer systems and arcade games. They also released video games for the Master System in Europe.
After Acclaim Entertainment's 2004 demise, the Acclaim brand and logotype were purchased by the unrelated company Acclaim Games (defunct from August 27, 2010). Canadian video game publisher Throwback Entertainment acquired more than 150 titles from Acclaim's video game library. In July 2010, WeGo Interactive Co., Ltd., based in Seoul, South Korea, purchased all IP related with Re-Volt, RC Revenge Pro, RC De GO from Throwback Entertainment.
Founded in 1987 as a Delaware corporation, Acclaim maintained operations in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Australia, and Japan. In its initial years, Acclaim was exclusively a video game publisher, either farming out the creation of its video games to external developers or localizing existing video games from overseas. But as it grew, it purchased some independent studios, including Iguana Entertainment of Austin, Texas; Probe Entertainment of London, England; and Sculptured Software of Salt Lake City, Utah.
The name of the company was picked because it had to be alphabetically above the co-founder's former place of employment, Activision, and also had to be alphabetically above Accolade (another company formed by ex-Activision employees). This was a common formula for picking names of new companies that were founded by ex-Activision employees (the founders of Activision used this formula when they left Atari).
Many of Acclaim's products used licenses from popular comics, television series and movies. They were also responsible for the ports of many of Midway's arcade games in the early to mid-1990s, including the Mortal Kombat series. They also published some games from other companies that at the time of publication didn't have an American branch, such as Technōs Japan's Double Dragon II: The Revenge and Taito's Bust-a-Move series.
In the 1990s, Sunsoft joined forces with Acclaim Entertainment to handle ad sales rights to Sunsoft's video games for game consoles.
The waning of the arcade game industry, coupled with some poor sales and public enthusiasm from several key titles led to the eventual loss of many of their licenses. One result of this was their late refactoring of the Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX series.
In June 1994, the company switched from video gaming to a media conglomerate.
Through much of the 1990s Acclaim were one of the most successful publishers of console video games in the world. In the financial year ending August 1994 they saw a profit of $481 million, and exceeded this figure the following year.
In 1995, the company acquired Sculptured Software, Iguana Entertainment and Probe Entertainment and the companies switched to the first-party development studio, known as Acclaim Studios from 1999 to 2004. The company also had a motion capture studio built into their headquarters, making them the first video game company to have an in-house motion capture studio.
A less significant aspect of Acclaim's business was the development and publication of strategy guides relating to their software products and the issuance of "special edition" comic magazines, via Acclaim Comics, to support the more lucrative brand names. Lastly, they created the ASF/AMC motion capture format which is still in use in the industry today.
Acclaim enjoyed a long relationship with the World Wrestling Federation dating back to 1988's WWF WrestleMania. However, after failing to match the success of World Championship Wrestling's THQ/AKI games amidst the Monday Night Wars, the WWF unexpectedly defected to THQ in 1999. Acclaim then picked up the license to Extreme Championship Wrestling and released two games for the company. ECW declared bankruptcy in 2001 while still owing Acclaim money. The game publisher would release three wrestling titles under the Legends of Wrestling banner in the throes of its final years.
In May, 2002 Acclaim bought most of the assets of the Software Creations studio and established a new development company, known as Acclaim Studios Manchester. In December 2002, Acclaim closed its Salt Lake City studio (formerly veteran developer Sculptured Software).
Acclaim suffered financial problems in 2004, the result of poor sales of its video game titles. This resulted in the closure of Acclaim Studios Cheltenham and Acclaim Studios Manchester in England and other places and their filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, leaving many employees unpaid. Amongst the titles under development at the UK studios were Emergency Mayhem, Kung Faux and Made Man.
On September 1, 2004, Acclaim filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York, which would virtually annihilate their company in liquidating all possible assets to pay off their debt which reportedly tops USD$100 million.
An attempt to reopen the Cheltenham and Manchester studios in October 2004 (under the new name Exclaim) failed due to legal wrangling over IP, with both the US and UK administrators claiming rights.
In August 2005, former Activision executive Howard Marks purchased the name "Acclaim" for a reported $100,000. In the beginning of 2006, Marks formed a new company called Acclaim Games. According to a job listing for the company, Acclaim Games was aimed at the US and UK preteen multiplayer markets. However, the second iteration of Acclaim did not go well due to connectivity and payment issues for their online games, along with a lack of action against dishonest players, earning that iteration of the company an "F" grade from the Los Angeles/Southern California Better Business Bureau.
In 2006, Throwback Entertainment, a video game company that had once considered acquiring Acclaim Entertainment, announced that it had purchased more than 50 of Acclaim's games, and vowed to bring such titles as Re-Volt, Extreme-G, Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance, Vexx, Fur Fighters and many other franchises into the next generation and beyond.
In July 2010, WeGo Interactive Co., Ltd., based in Seoul, South Korea, acquired all IP related with Re-Volt, RC Revenge Pro, RC De Go from Throwback Entertainment.
During Acclaim's decline towards bankruptcy, Steve Perry, an executive from the company's British division, made several controversial business and marketing decisions. One example was a promise that a US$10,000 (£6000) prize would be awarded to UK parents who would name their baby "Turok", to promote the release of Turok: Evolution. Another was an attempt to buy advertising space on actual tombstones for Shadow Man: 2econd Coming.
In the stateside, Acclaim suffered multiple lawsuits, a portion of them with former partners.
In the last iteration of the BMX series, BMX XXX, semi-nude, nude and pornographic content (e.g., full motion video of strippers and nude female riders) was added in hopes of boosting sales. However, like most of Acclaim's video games during its final years, BMX XXX sold poorly, and was derided for its sexual content and poor gameplay. Dave Mirra himself publicly disowned the game, stating that he was not involved in the decision to include nudity, and he sued Acclaim for fear of being associated with BMX XXX.
Another lawsuit was from Acclaim's own investors, claiming that Acclaim management had published misleading financial reports.
In 1997, two years after its acquisition of Sculptured Software, during which it offered employees what looked like iron-clad contracts and stock that would be vested over the course of the contracts, Acclaim terminated about half of the staff of the Salt Lake City studio, violating its own contract terms. The lay-off came abruptly to the point that the employees had to choose between taking a reasonable severance package (whose terms altered several times during the initial weeks after the layoff) and not suing, or join the other creditors and sue, but lose their severance packages. In 2007, one of numerous class action suits filed on behalf of stockholders was won, allowing some of the employees to realize a return on some of the stock that had been vested.
- Acclaim Comics in New York, New York, founded in 1989 as Valiant Comics, acquired in June 1994.
- Acclaim Studios Austin, founded Sunnyvale, California as Iguana Entertainment on August 14, 1991, acquired 1995.
- Acclaim Studios Cheltenham in Croydon, England, founded as Probe Software in 1984, acquired October 10, 1995.
- Acclaim Studios Manchester in Manchester, England, founded as Software Creations (UK) in 1987, acquired May, 2002.
- Acclaim Studios Salt Lake City, founded as Sculptured Software in 1984, acquired October 9, 1995.
- Acclaim Studios Teesside, founded Teesside, England as Optimus Software in 1988, acquired by Iguana Entertainment in 1993, subsequently acquired by Acclaim in 1995.
- Arena Entertainment, founded as Mirrorsoft, acquired in 1992, discontinued in 1994.
- Acclaim Max Sports, launched in 2000, Renamed AKA Acclaim in 2002
- Acclaim Sports, Launched in 1997, discontinued in 2003
- AKA Acclaim (Athletes Kick Ass), launched in 2002, discontinued in 2003
- Club Acclaim, launched in 1999, discontinued in 2004
- Flying Edge in Glen Cove, New York, started in 1991, discontinued in 1994.
- LJN, founded in 1970, acquired in 1988, closed in 1994. Brand briefly revived in 2000.
Acclaim had its headquarters in One Acclaim Plaza, located in Glen Cove, New York. Acclaim bought the 3 story, 65,000 square feet (6,000 m2), Class A office building in 1994 for $4 million. Acclaim was originally located in the hamlet of Oyster Bay in the Town of Oyster Bay. It originally occupied a one-room office in Oyster Bay. At a later time it occupied a brick structure with two stories.
- "L.I. @ WORK; Acclaim Entertainment: Back in the Groove". New York Times. 2003-03-31. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "Throwback Press Release: Re-Volt Sale". Throwback Entertainment. 2011-02-23. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
- "Acclaim Entertainment- History Re-Volt Sale". Acclaim Entertainment. 2003. Archived from the original on 2003-08-01. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "Acclaim to Buy Iguana". New York Times. 1994-12-21. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "Acclaim to acquire world's largest independent entertainment software developers; company to purchase both Probe and Sculptured Software in stock swaps. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. 1995-10-10. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- "Activision Publishing, Inc. - MobyGames". MobyGames. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
- "75 Power Players". Next Generation. Imagine Media (11): 68. November 1995.
- Sherman, Christopher (January 1996). "Acclaim Acquires Probe and Sculptured, Bolsters Talent Pool". Next Generation. Imagine Media (13): 25.
The acquisitions, which bring an additional 250 programmers, musicians, graphic artists, and engineers, follow Acclaim's purchase of Iguana Entertainment earlier this year.
- "Hooray for Hollywood! Acclaim Studios". GamePro. IDG (82): 28–29. July 1995.
- "Acclaim ASF/AMC". Cs.wisc.edu. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- McLaughlin, Rus IGN Presents the History of Wrestling Games IGN (November 12, 2008). Retrieved on 2-03-11.
- Johnson, Bobbie (June 24, 2008). "Fergus McGovern: From games whizzkid to multimillionaire". The Inquirer. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
- "Software Creations Ltd". MobyGames. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- Varanini, Giancarlo. "Acclaim closes Salt Lake City studio". GameSpot.
- McKenna, Aaron (July 21, 2005). "Acclaim Entertainment sold for scrap". The Inquirer. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
- "Acclaim Games Incorporated Business Review in Beverly Hills, CA". La.bbb.org. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- Sinclair, Brendan (2006-07-10). "Q&A: Throwback CEO Thomas Maduri". GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
- "'Turok' maker plays the name game". CNET. 2002-08-27. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "Olsen Twins Sue Acclaim Over Royalties". Los Angeles Times. 2004-04-27. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "L.I.@WORK". New York Times. 2003-11-03. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "Headquarters." Acclaim Entertainment. June 23, 2000. Retrieved on July 8, 2010.
- "Acclaim buys Glen Cove site." Real Estate Weekly. July 20, 1994. Retrieved on July 8, 2010.
- Standard and Poor's Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives, Volume 1. Standard & Poor's, 1995. Page listing Acclaim. Retrieved from Google Books on July 8, 2010. "ACCLAIM ENTERTAINMENT INC. (See Corporate Information Section) 71 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay, NY 11771"
- Pederson, James P. International Directory of Company Histories, Volume 24. St. James Press, 1998. Approx. Pages 3-7-ish. Retrieved from Google Books on July 8, 2010. ISBN 1-55862-365-5, ISBN 978-1-55862-365-1 "Acclaim went from a shoestring budget and one-room office in Oyster Bay, to a two-story brick structure,"