Hudson Soft

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Hudson Soft Company, Limited
Native name
株式会社ハドソン
Kabushiki gaisha Hadoson Sofuto
Kabushiki gaisha
Subsidiary
Traded as JASDAQ4822
Industry Video game industry
Fate Merged into Konami Digital Entertainment [1]
Successor Konami Digital Entertainment
Founded May 18, 1973; 44 years ago (1973-05-18)
Founders Yuji Kudo
Hiroshi Kudo
Defunct March 1, 2012
Headquarters Midtown Tower, Tokyo Midtown
Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo
Key people
Takahashi Meijin
Akira Sakuma
Kazuhiko Uehara (President 2011‒2012)
Products List of Hudson Soft games
TurboGrafx-16
TurboExpress
PC-FX
Total equity Decrease ¥300 million (July 2011) [2]
Number of employees
421 (March 2011) [3]
Parent Konami
Website www.hudson.co.jp

Hudson Soft Co., Ltd (株式会社ハドソン, Kabushiki gaisha Hadoson Sofuto), commonly known by its brand name Hudson, was a Japanese video game company that released numerous games for video game consoles, home computers and mobile phones, mainly from the 1980s to the 2000s. It was headquartered in the Midtown Tower in Tokyo Midtown, Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo, Japan, with an additional office in the Hudson Building in Sapporo.[4]

Hudson Soft was founded on May 18, 1973. Initially, it dealt with personal computer products, but later expanded to the development and publishing of video games, mobile content, video game peripherals and music recording. Primarily a video game publisher, it internally developed many of the video games it published, as well as a few published by other companies. It is known for series such as Bomberman, Adventure Island, Bloody Roar, and Bonk.[5]

Hudson Soft made the TurboGrafx-16 in association with NEC, to compete against Nintendo, Sega, and SNK, while continuing making games on other platforms, as a second-party developer.

Hudson Soft ceased to exist as a company on March 1, 2012, and merged with Konami Digital Entertainment who was the surviving entity.[6] Products and services will continue to be provided under the Hudson brand through Konami.[7]

History[edit]

Hudson Soft Ltd. was founded in Toyohira-ku, Sapporo, Japan on May 18, 1973 by brothers Yuji and Hiroshi Kudo. The founders grew up admiring trains, and named the business after their favorite, the Hudson locomotives (called the "4-6-4", and especially Japanese C62).

Hudson began as a amateur radio shop called CQ Hudson (CQハドソン), selling radio telecommunications devices and art photographs. Yuji Kudo had originally planned to start a coffee shop, but there was already one in the same building, thus the decision to change to a wireless radio shop at the eleventh hour. Although both Kudos had university education, neither had studied in business management. That factor combined with the difficulty to find trustworthy people to accompany the Kudos in their venture, meant that Hudson Soft was almost always in the red each month during its era exclusively as a radio shop.

In September 1975, Hudson Soft began selling personal computer-related products and in March 1978 started developing and selling video game packages.[8] At that time, many amateur radio shops were switching to the sales of personal computers because they deal with the same electronic equipment. CQ Hudson would continue to operate for decades in Sapporo until Hudson Soft closed the shop in May 2001.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hudson Soft favored a quantity over quality approach for the marketing of video games.[9] At one point, the company released up to 30 different computer software per month; none of which were hugely successful.[9] Things changed in late 1983, when Hudson started to prioritize quality over quantity.[9] Hudson became Nintendo's first third-party software vendor for the Family Computer and its title for this console, Lode Runner, sold 1.2 million units after its 1984 release.[10]

The business continued developing video games on the Famicom and computer platforms (MSX, NEC PC-8801, ZX Spectrum, among others), and was reorganized as Hudson Soft Co., Ltd. in July 1985.[10] A caravan was held at sixty venues throughout Japan, a first for the video game industry.[10] Bomberman was released in December of this year on the Famicom and was considered a "big hit" by Hudson Soft.[11]

In July 1987, Hudson developed the "C62 System" and collaborated with NEC to develop the PC Engine video game console. It achieved a second-best success to Famicom in Japan, but its release as the TurboGrafx-16 in North America had less market share than Nintendo's new Super NES, Sega's new Genesis, or SNK's Neo Geo AES. 1990, Hudson Soft developed and published video games for an array of systems. In 1994, the 32-bit semiconductor chip "HuC62" was independently developed by Hudson and used in NEC's PC-FX video game console.

In 2004, Hudson started a joint venture with Flying Tiger Entertainment for 25 titles. [12]

Hudson Soft's head office was transferred to Tokyo in 2005. The Sapporo headquarters remained in operation as a secondary office.

Hudson Soft lost several key people starting in the mid-2000s. Co-founder Hiroshi Kudo left the company in November 2004 following financial losses.[13] Shinichi Nakamoto, who was with the company since 1978 and creator of the Bomberman series, followed suit in 2006. Veteran Takahashi Meijin resigned in May 2011; he had joined Hudson Soft in 1982.[14] Around 2010-2011, many employees migrated to Nintendo's restructured Nd Cube studio which is headed by Hidetoshi Endo, himself a former Hudson Soft President.

Relation with Konami[edit]

The relation between Hudson Soft and Konami can be traced at least as early as 1985, when Hudson ported Konami's arcade game Pooyan to the MSX and Famicom. Furthermore, Konami was a third party licensee for Hudson Soft's PC Engine in Japan. But the acquisition process of Hudson Soft by Konami would only begin in 2001.

Hudson Soft was severely hit by the collapse of its main bank Hokkaido Takushoku. Seeking new financing alternatives, Hudson Soft entered the stock market for the first time in December 2000, listing on the NASDAQ Japan Exchange. This led to Konami purchasing a stock allocation of 5.6 million shares in August 2001, becoming the company's largest shareholder. Within the terms of this purchase, Hudson acquired the Sapporo division of Konami Computer Entertainment Studio, renaming it Hudson Studio.[15]

In April 2005, capital was increased via an allocation of 3 million shares from a third party. Konami Corporation, holding 53.99% of all Hudson stock, became Hudson's majority shareholder and parent company.[13] Hudson Soft continued to be a video game publisher, but working closely with Konami who became Hudson's distributor in Japan.[16]

In April 2011, Hudson Soft turned a wholly owned subsidiary of Konami.[17][18] The subsidiary in California, Hudson Entertainment, was liquidated in the process. [19]

On March 1, 2012, Hudson Soft officially ceased to exist as it merged with Konami Digital Entertainment, with its music business being absorbed into KME Corporation.[6][7] The move was not a unilateral decision from Konami, but rather a voluntary merger agreed by the two companies during a board meeting held on January 12, 2012.[17][20][21] The main reason for the dissolution of Hudson Soft is the consolidation of the operations of Hudson and Konami into a single company.[7]

Despite the demise of Hudson Soft, Konami had intended for products and services to continue being developed and offered under the Hudson brand.[21] The Hudson website was even initially retained and maintained by Konami.[22] In practice, however, there was no significant action from Konami with the Hudson brand, save for some re-releases on the Virtual Console and PlayStation Store. By early 2014, Konami had retired the Hudson website.[23]

Caravan competitions[edit]

Hudson held the Summer Caravan video gaming competitions where many top-level performers could compete for champion. From 1985 until 1992 (Later caravans were less popular, less periodic, and using less punishing games were more casual than the more competing games) the Caravan was a hallmark of Hudson's popularity. Many games were released with the Caravan competition in mind, with the Star Soldier series having two-minute and five-minute modes built into the cartridges as symbols of the competitive nature that they were inspired from.

  • 1985 - Star Force for the Famicom became the first game featured for the summer competitions held within Japan.
  • 1986 - Star Soldier for the Famicom became the second competition game.
  • 1987 - Starship Hector (In Japan, simply Hector '87) was the third and last Famicom game featured as the Hudson Caravan moved onto the newer PC Engine. The first three were reproduced in Hudson Caravan Collection for the Super Famicom and Hudson Best Collection for the Game Boy Advance
  • 1988 - Power League (World Class Baseball in the USA) became the first PC Engine competition game, unusual for the competition being a sports game rather than a shooter.
  • 1989 - Gunhed (Blazing Lazers) for the PC Engine was the competition game. A small number of cartridges were produced for the competition under the name Gunhed Taikai (Special Edition) and are very rare and expensive for the most hardcore of collectors to find.
  • 1990 - Super Star Soldier for the PC Engine
  • 1991- Final Soldier for the PC Engine
  • 1992 - Soldier Blade for the PC Engine would be the last of the popular caravan competitions as later events were held using the more casual Bomberman and other games fittingly popular at the time. The PC Engine games from '90, '91, and '92 were re-released as the PC Engine Best Collection - Soldier Collection for the PSP.[24]

Subsidiaries[edit]

Hudson Studio[edit]

It was a division made by acquiring Konami Computer Entertainment Studio's Sapporo division.

On 2001-07-26, Hudson Soft announced the acquisition of the Sapporo division of Konami Computer Entertainment Studio.[25]

Hudson Soft USA[edit]

With headquarters in South San Francisco,[26] Hudson Soft USA was Hudson Soft's previous North American publishing division operated from 1988 to 1995. It had published video games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super NES and Game Boy.[27]

In late 1995 Hudson Soft USA sold off the rights for all its yet-to-be-released games to Acclaim Entertainment and moved its headquarters to Seattle, Washington.[28] It closed down by the end of that year, and was replaced by Hudson Entertainment, Inc. in 2003.[29]

Hudson Entertainment, Inc.[edit]

It was Hudson Soft's North American publishing division from 2003 to 2011. In November 2003, Hudson established Hudson Entertainment, Inc. as a wholly owned subsidiary in San Mateo, California.[30] It entered as a video game publisher for mobile content, but expanded into console video games in 2007.[31]

On July 23, 2003, Hudson Soft announced it had started its North American mobile phone Java game service, GameMaster which was created by Flying Tiger, for AT&T's mMode, and NTT DoCoMo effective on July 28, 2003.[32]

Hudson Entertainment ceased operations on March 31, 2011.[33]

Hudson Music Entertainment[edit]

Hudson Soft's music recording label unit. Absorbed on March 1, 2012 into KME Corporation, the music subsidiary of Konami Digital Entertainment.[6]

Video game releases[edit]

Hudson Soft is responsible for series such as Bomberman, Bonk, and Adventure Island.

Hudson also released long-running video game series in Japan. Far East of Eden was a classic RPG set in a fictional era with Japanese themes. The series was up to number 4 when Hudson was absorbed into Konami, and was considered a hit in Japan. The second version of the game was widely regarded as one of the best RPGs ever released, ranked 12th by Famitsu among all games released in Japan. Hudson Soft also created the long-running and critically acclaimed game Momotaro Dentetsu, a board game with locomotive themes. The comical game had 16 installments released in Japan. Before its absorption, Hudson had re-released some of its first hit games for the GameCube in Japan, including Adventure Island, Star Soldier, and Lode Runner.

Hudson had a long history of creating games for other publishers. The most notable of these were the Mario Party series, created for Nintendo. They developed the first eight console installments and spin-offs; however, Mario Party 9 and all games after that have been developed by Nintendo subsidiary Nd Cube, which consists of many former Hudson employees. Hudson also developed Fuzion Frenzy 2 for Microsoft, which was released for the Xbox 360 in January 2007.

An even more peculiar example of Hudson developing a game for another publisher is Bomberman 64: The Second Attack. Unlike the two previous game for the Nintendo 64, which were all published by Nintendo, this one was published by Vatical Entertainment.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Corporate History". Konami. Retrieved 2012-12-31. 
  2. ^ https://wayback.archive.org/web/20110813213441/http://www.hudson.co.jp/koukoku/bn2011/110704.pdf
  3. ^ https://wayback.archive.org/web/20111220173531/http://www.hudson.co.jp:80/profile.html
  4. ^ "Corporate overview." Hudson Soft. Retrieved on July 12, 2010.
  5. ^ "List of Hudson Soft Co. Ltd. Developed Games". allgame.com. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c https://toushi.kankei.me/c/3807/d/S000A38P
  7. ^ a b c "株式会社コナミデジタルエンタテインメントとの合併について". Konami Digital Entertainment. 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  8. ^ McFerran, Damien (2008). "Hudson Profile — Part 1 (RG)" (PDF). Issue 66. Retro Gamer Magazine. pp. 68–73. Retrieved 2011-01-19. 
  9. ^ a b c "Oh!FM-7:ハドソンソフト". Retrieved 2012-12-31. 
  10. ^ a b c "Company history (archives)". Hudson Soft. 2005. Archived from the original on April 7, 2005. Retrieved 2012-12-31. 
  11. ^ McFerran, Damien (2009). "Hudson Profile — Part 2 (RG)" (PDF). Issue 67. Retro Gamer Magazine. pp. 44–49. Retrieved 2011-01-19. 
  12. ^ "Hudson Entertainment Media Center". wayback.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2004-04-11. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  13. ^ a b Carless, Simon (April 11, 2005). "Konami Gets Hudson Soft As Subsidiary". Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  14. ^ Newton, James (May 23, 2011). "16-Shot Legend Takahashi Meijin Leaves Hudson". Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  15. ^ "株式会社コナミデジタルエンタテインメント" (PDF). www.hudson.co.jp. Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  16. ^ http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/130001/hudsons_revenge__looking_forward_.php?page=2
  17. ^ a b https://www.gamebusiness.jp/article/2012/01/17/5227.html
  18. ^ "Konami acquiring Hudson". GameSpot. Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  19. ^ http://ca.ign.com/articles/2011/02/08/hudson-entertainment-is-no-more
  20. ^ "Hudson Ceases to Exist on March 1". Andriasang. Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  21. ^ a b Culafi, Alex (January 18, 2012). "Hudson Soft Being Absorbed by Konami". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Hudson Soft - Official website". Konami Digital Entertainment. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2017. 
  23. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140101000000*/www.hudson.jp
  24. ^ "Caravan / Summer Carnival @ Magweasel". Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  25. ^ "株式会社コナミデジタルエンタテインメント" (PDF). www.hudson.co.jp. Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  26. ^ "KIDS' GIFTS: A NINTENDO NIGHTMARE BAD-BOY VIDEO GAMES HAVE PARENTS, MAKERS TALKING MODERATION." San Jose Mercury News. December 20, 1992. 1A Front. Retrieved on July 12, 2010. "Hudson Soft USA Inc. of South San Francisco..."
  27. ^ "Hudson Soft's US arm closing". GameFAQS. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  28. ^ "News Bits". GamePro. No. 90. IDG. March 1996. p. 17. 
  29. ^ Thorsen, Tor (February 9, 2011). "Hudson Soft's US arm closing". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on February 13, 2011. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  30. ^ "株式会社コナミデジタルエンタテインメント" (PDF). www.hudson.co.jp. Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  31. ^ "Hudson Soft Company Information". GameFaqs. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  32. ^ ハドソン、米国での携帯電話向けコンテンツ事業に参入 7月28日より、AT&T ワイヤレスにJavaゲーム5タイトル提供
  33. ^ "Hudson - Corporate - Office". 2011-07-22. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved 2016-03-25. 

External links[edit]