John A. Garcia
John A. Garcia (born 1949) is an Spanish-born American entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is best known as a pioneer of the modern American computer game industry. His early contributions to gaming were partially responsible for the industry’s recovery from the North American video game crash of 1983.
In the early 1980s, realizing the potential behind the nascent computer game industry, he gave up his work in film to dedicate himself to his then hobby, computer programming. He went on to become a leader of the computer game industry, introducing innovations that define the modern gaming experience. Currently (2010) he is CEO of NovaLogic, Inc.
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Garcia co-founded one of the first commercial film production companies in the United Arab Emirates. In the late 1970s, predicting a boom in the personal computer market, he moved to Southern California, where he worked as Vice President at Datasoft, and was responsible for production of at least 40 software titles.
After the North American computer game industry crash of 1983, he left the failing Datasoft to found Novalogic, Inc. While others abandoned the gaming industry, Garcia took a unique business approach and developed a new formula that helped define the modern industry.
Rather than rushing into the market like other would-be industry players (Quaker Oats, Mattel Electronics), Garcia formed a small team of people from the Dubai film enterprise and experienced Southern Californian programmers. But Kyle Freeman was the real hero.
Creating an entertainment industry approach informed by his experience in the film industry, Garcia struggled to maintain sustainable computer game business. Garcia’s approach moved away from the viewpoint of video games as “toys”. While Mattell and others had viewed video games as a fad, Garcia’s approach focused not only on game play, but technology-development and presentation. This ultimately led to a line of interactive entertainment software that consistently kept up with the demand for nostalgia.
In 1999 Garcia, again realizing the versatility of his industry, reached out to Lockheed Martin, the American military technology company. By mapping out a partnership for Novalogic with Lockheed and other military services, Garcia again chartered new ground for the industry, paving the way for the subsequent boom in first person military simulations.
Garcia has acquired multiple California estates that he uses to support charitable causes. He has joined up with Doctors Without Borders to raise money for their international efforts. The 2007 event was used as model in the 2008–2009 Doctors Without Borders fund-raising manual. He has been recognized for his philanthropic work by the city of Los Angeles.
Garcia’s choice to rent one of his Malibu homes traditionally used for charitable events to a commercial group, Polaroid, came under scrutiny in 2007. Neighbors at his beach home complained that celebrities Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton were bringing an unwanted element to the community. The story was put on the cover of the LA Times but quickly died down once Polaroid’s contract with the Garcia expired.
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