The 3DO Company
The final logo used from 1997 until May 2003.
|Headquarters||Redwood City, California, U.S.|
|Trip Hawkins, RJ Mical|
|Subsidiaries||New World Computing|
The 3DO Company (formerly THDO on the NASDAQ stock exchange), also known as 3DO (short for three-dimensional operating system), was an American video game company. It was founded in 1991 under the name SMSG, Inc. (for San Mateo Software Group) by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, in a partnership with seven companies including LG, Matsushita (now Panasonic), AT&T Corporation, MCA, Time Warner, and Electronic Arts itself. After 3DO's flagship video game console, the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, failed in the marketplace, the company exited the hardware business and became a third-party video game developer. It went bankrupt in 2003 due to poor sales of its games. Its headquarters were in Redwood City, California in the San Francisco Bay Area.
When the company was first founded, its original objective was to create a next-generation CD-based video game system called the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, which would be manufactured by various partners and licensees; 3DO would collect a royalty on each console sold and on each game manufactured. For game publishers, 3DO's $3 royalty per sold game was very low compared to the royalties Nintendo and Sega collected from game sales on their consoles. The launch of the console in October 1993 was well-promoted, with a great deal of attention in the mass media as part of the "multimedia wave" in the computer world.
The 3DO console launched in October 1993 at the price of $699. Poor console and game sales trumped the enticingly low royalty rate and proved a fatal flaw. While 3DO's business model attracted game publishers with its low royalty rates, it resulted in the console selling for a price higher than the SNES and Sega Genesis combined, hampering sales. While companies that manufactured and sold their own consoles could sell them, at a loss, for a competitive price, making up for lost profit through royalties collected from game publishers, the 3DO's manufacturers, not collecting any money from game publishers, and owing royalties to the 3DO Company, had to sell the console for a profit, resulting in high prices. As the console failed to compete with its cheaper competitors, game developers and publishers, while initially attracted by low royalties, dropped support for the console as its games failed to sell. Stock in the 3DO Company dropped from over $37 per share in November 1993 to $23 per share in late December. Though the company's financial figures dramatically improved in the fiscal year ending March 1995, with revenues nearly triple that of the previous fiscal year, they were still operating at a loss. The console's prospects continued to improve through the first half of 1995 with a number of critical success, including winning the 1995 European Computer Trade Show award for best hardware. In January 1996, The 3DO Company sold its next generation console, M2, to Matsushita. Thanks in part to revenues from the sale of M2 technology to Matsushita and other licensees, in the first quarter of 1996 the 3DO Company turned a profit for the first time since it was founded, with a net income of $1.2 million. In early 1996, the company changed its business to develop and publish games for other game consoles and PC.
After selling the M2 technology to Matsushita, the company acquired Cyclone Studios, Archetype Interactive and New World Computing. The company's biggest hit was its series of Army Men games, featuring generic green plastic soldier toys. Its Might and Magic and especially Heroes of Might and Magic series from subsidiary New World Computing were perhaps the most popular among their games at the time of release. During the late 1990s, the company published one of the first 3D MMORPGs: Meridian 59, which survives to this day in 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 without pay, 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 $405,000 for rights to some old brands and the company's "Internet patent portfolio". Hawkins went on to found Digital Chocolate, a mobile-based gaming company.
List of The 3DO Company games
|3DO Games: Decathlon|
|Army Men||PC version.|
|Army Men: Air Attack||Army Men: Air Combat (on N64)||PC, Nintendo 64, and PlayStation version.|
|Army Men: Air Attack 2||Army Men: Air Attack - Blade's Revenge (in EU)|
|Army Men: Air Combat - The Elite Missions|
|Army Men: Air Tactics|
|Army Men: Green Rogue||Army Men: Omega Soldier (in EU)|
|Army Men: Sarge's Heroes|
|Army Men: Sarge's Heroes 2||Nintendo 64, PlayStation, and PlayStation 2 version.|
|Army Men: Toys in Space||Army Men in Space (in EU)|
|Army Men: World War|
|Army Men: World War - Final Front||Army Men: Lock 'n' Load (in EU)|
|Army Men: World War - Land, Sea, Air|
|Army Men: World War - Team Assault|
|Army Men 3D|
|Army Men II||PC version.|
|BattleTanx||Nintendo 64 version.|
|BattleTanx: Global Assault|
|Crusaders of Might and Magic|
|Family Game Pack Royale||Family Game Pack (on PS)|
|Godai Elemental Force|
|Groovy Bunch of Games|
|Gulf War: Operation Desert Hammer|
|High Heat Major League Baseball 2002||PC, PlayStation, and PlayStation 2 version.|
|High Heat Major League Baseball 2003||PC and PlayStation 2 version.|
|High Heat Major League Baseball 2004|
|Jonny Moseley Mad Trix||PlayStation 2 version.|
|Meridian 59: Vale of Sorrow|
|Portal Runner||PlayStation 2 version.|
|Sammy Sosa High Heat Baseball 2001|
|Sammy Sosa Softball Slam|
|Vegas Games 2000||Midnight in Vegas (in EU)||PlayStation version.|
|Warriors of Might and Magic||PC, PlayStation, and PlayStation 2 version.|
|WarJetz||World Destruction League: WarJetz|
|World Destruction League: Thunder Tanks||PlayStation and PlayStation 2 version.|
|Action Man: Destruction X||Blitz Games||Yes||PS only|
|Alex Ferguson's Player Manager 2001||ANCO||No||Yes|
|Army Men||Digital Eclipse||Yes||Yes||Game Boy Color version.|
|Army Men: Air Combat||Fluid Studios||Yes||Yes||Game Boy Color version.|
|Army Men: Operation Green||Pocket Studios||Yes||Yes|
|Army Men: RTS||Pandemic||Yes||PC & PS2||The GameCube version was co-produced with Coyote Developments Ltd..|
|Army Men: Sarge's Heroes 2||GameBrains/3d6 Games||Yes||Yes||Game Boy Color version.|
|Army Men: Turf Wars||Mobius Entertainment||Yes||No|
|Army Men 2||Digital Eclipse||Yes||Yes||Game Boy Color version.|
|Army Men Advance||DC Studios||Yes||Yes|
|Aqua Aqua||Zed Two||Yes||No|
|Arcomage||New World Computing||Yes||No|
|BattleTanx||Lucky Chicken Games||Yes||Yes||Game Boy Color version.|
|Chaos Overlords||Stick Man Games||Yes||Yes|
|Cubix: Robots for Everyone - Clash 'n Bash||Human Soft||Yes||No|
|Cubix: Robots for Everyone - Race 'n Robots||Blitz Games||Yes||PS only|
|Cubix: Robots for Everyone - Showdown||Blitz Games||Yes||No|
|Gobs of Games||2n Productions||Yes||Yes||Also known as Games Frenzy in Europe.|
|Heroes Chronicles series||New World Computing||Yes||Yes|
|Heroes of Might and Magic (Game Boy Color)||KnowWonder Digital
|Heroes of Might and Magic: Quest for the Dragon
|New World Computing||Yes||Yes|
|Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars||New World Computing||Yes||No|
|Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Price of Loyalty||Cyberlore Studios||Yes||No|
|Heroes of Might and Magic III||New World Computing||Yes||Yes||Also known as Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia.|
|Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddon's Blade||New World Computing||Yes||No|
|Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Shadow of Death||New World Computing||Yes||No|
|Heroes of Might and Magic IV||New World Computing||Yes||Yes|
|Heroes of Might and Magic IV: The Gathering Storm||New World Computing||Yes||No|
|Heroes of Might and Magic IV: Winds of War||New World Computing||Yes||No|
|High Heat Baseball 1999||Team .366||Yes||No|
|High Heat Baseball 2000||Team .366||Yes||No|
|High Heat Major League Baseball 2002||Mobius Entertainment||Yes||Yes||Game Boy Advance version.|
|High Heat Major League Baseball 2003||Mobius Entertainment||Yes||Yes||Game Boy Advance version.|
|Jonny Moseley Mad Trix||GFX Construction/RTG
|Yes||Yes||Game Boy Advance version.|
|Jumpgate: The Reconstruction Initiative||NetDevil||Yes||No|
|Legends of Might and Magic||New World Computing||Yes||Yes|
|Meridian 59||Archetype Interactive||Yes||No||First edition of the game (1995).|
|Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven||New World Computing||Yes||No|
|Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor||New World Computing||Yes||Yes|
|Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer||New World Computing||Yes||Yes|
|Might and Magic IX||New World Computing||Yes||Yes|
|Player Manager 2000||ANCO||No||Yes|
|Portal Runner||Handheld Games||Yes||No||Game Boy Color version.|
|Requiem: Avenging Angel||Cyclone Studios||Yes||No|
|Spaceward Ho! IV||GhostNose Software
(Delta Tao licensed)
|Sven-Göran Eriksson's World Cup Challenge||ANCO||No||Yes||PlayStation and PlayStation 2 version.|
|Sven-Göran Eriksson's World Cup Manager||ANCO||No||Yes||PlayStation and PlayStation 2 version.|
|TOCA Championship Racing||Codemasters||Yes||No|
|Uprising: Join or Die||Cyclone Studios||Yes||No|
|Uprising 2: Lead and Destroy||Cyclone Studios||Yes||No|
|Uprising X||Cyclone Studios||Yes||No|
|Vegas Games||Digital Eclipse||Yes||Yes||Game Boy Color version.|
|Vegas Games 2000||New World Computing||Yes||No||PC version. Also known as Vegas Games: Midnight Madness.|
|Warriors of Might and Magic||Climax||Yes||Yes||Game Boy Color version.|
|World Destruction League: Thunder Tanks||Sunset Entertainment||Yes||Yes||Game Boy Color version.|
- Army Men: Arcade Blasts
- Army Men: Platoon Command
- The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Distributed (U.S. only)
- Pinball Builder: A Construction Kit for Windows
- Pinball Gold Pack
3DO Rating System
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The 3DO Rating System was a rating system created by The 3DO Company and used on games released for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. The rating system, which went into use in March 1994, uses the following four categories:
- E - Everyone
- 12 - Guidance for age 12 & under
- 17 - Guidance for age 17 & under
- AO - Adults Only
These ratings would appear on the lower front and back of the packaging, while the back of the packaging also specified what content was present in the game. In late 1994, the majority of 3DO's competitors signed on with a new rating system from the Entertainment Software Rating Board; despite this, the 3DO Company opted to continue providing their own rating system, leaving publishers of 3DO games to decide whether to use the 3DO Rating System or the new ESRB ratings. The 3DO rating for each game was designated voluntarily by the game's publisher, in contrast to the ESRB ratings, which were determined independently by the ESRB.
- "Legal notices." 3DO Company. March 31, 2001. Retrieved on November 3, 2012. "The 3DO Company, 100 Cardinal Way, Redwood City, CA 94063."
- Ramsay, M. (2012). Trip Hawkins. Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play (pp. 1-15). New York: Apress.
- Matthews, Will (December 2013). "Ahead of its Time: A 3DO Retrospective". Retro Gamer. Imagine Publishing (122): 18–29.
- "3DO Sales Slow, Stock Suffers". GamePro. IDG (66): 186. March 1994.
- "Tough Year for 3DO". GamePro. IDG (84): 138–140. September 1995.
- "PlayStation Dominates European Show". Next Generation. Imagine Media (6): 14. June 1995.
- "Tidbits". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (84): 15. July 1996.
- Sherman, Christopher (February 1996). "Movers & Shakers". Next Generation. No. 14. Imagine Media. p. 25.
It wasn't by mistake that 3DO's first acquisition since its sale of its M2 technology to Matsushita is designed to pump up Studio 3DO, the company's software arm. The move continues the diversification of The 3DO Company, the once-only licensor of gaming technology, into a software development house.
- Becker, David (May 29, 2003). "3DO files for bankruptcy". CNET. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
- "Rated E". GamePro (57). IDG. April 1994. p. 174.
- "Hey, How Do You Rate?". GamePro (68). IDG. March 1995. p. 10.