The 3DO Company
|Founded||September 12, 1991|
|Defunct||May 28, 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, was an American video game company. It was founded in 1991 by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, in a partnership with seven other companies. 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.
Trip Hawkins wanted to get into the hardware market after the software market exploded with interest thanks to his involvement at Electronic Arts. 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 US$699 (equivalent to $1,300 in 2021). 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 exclusive rights to its next generation console, M2, to Matsushita for $100 million. 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. Over the second half of 1996, the company restructured to focus on software development and online gaming, in the process cutting its staff from 450 to 300 employees. President Hugh Martin was given full operating control, while Hawkins remained with the company as chairman, CEO, and creative director.
I no longer own any 3DO IP, don't keep track of it and don't personally know any owners. Finding it would be like discovering the Ark of the Covenant! Nearly 30 years ago Matsushita and Samsung bought the system and hardware IP and the people involved then have retired. 3DO game software IP was auctioned off in 2003. Microsoft bought High Heat Baseball, Ubisoft bought Might and Magic. I believe Army Men is now owned by Take Two. Mystery solved?
— Trip Hawkins, Founder EA & 3DO
After selling the M2 technology to Matsushita, the company acquired Cyclone Studios, New World Computing, and Archetype Interactive. 3DO established a new office in Redmond, Washington devoted to PC games development, with Tony Garcia as its head. In mid-1997 it sold off its hardware business to Samsung for $20 million, making a final break from its origins as a console developer.
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.
The company's game brands and other intellectual properties were sold to rivals like Microsoft (High Heat Baseball), Namco (Street Racing Syndicate), Take-Two Interactive (Army Men) and Ubisoft (Heroes of Might and Magic). Founder Trip Hawkins paid $405,000 for rights to some old brands and the company's "Internet patent portfolio".
In April 2020, over 30 of the company's titles were purchased from Prism Entertainment by Ziggurat Interactive.
List of games
|Action Man: Destruction X||Blitz Games||No||Yes||Licensed from Hasbro Interactive.|
|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|
|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||Möbius 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|
|BattleSport||Cyclone Studios||Yes||Yes||Other releases than the 3DO published by Acclaim|
|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||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||Yes||Yes|
|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||Yes||Yes|
|Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Shadow of Death||Yes||Yes|
|Heroes of Might and Magic IV||Yes||Yes|
|Heroes of Might and Magic IV: The Gathering Storm||Yes||Yes|
|Heroes of Might and Magic IV: Winds of War||Yes||Yes|
|High Heat Baseball 1999||Team .366||Yes||No|
|High Heat Baseball 2000||Yes||No|
|High Heat Major League Baseball 2002||Möbius Entertainment||Yes||Yes||Game Boy Advance version.|
|High Heat Major League Baseball 2003||Yes||Yes|
|The Horde (video game)||Crystal Dynamics||Yes||Yes||MS-DOS, Sega Saturn and FM Towns|
|Jonny Moseley Mad Trix||GFX Construction/RTG
|Yes||Yes||Game Boy Advance version.|
|Jumpgate: The Reconstruction Initiative||NetDevil||Yes||No|
|Killing Time||Studio3DO||Yes||No||3DO version - 1995|
|Logicware||Yes||No||PC & Mac ported version for Mac & PC/Win95; small print release on Mac and an even smaller print-run on PC/Win95|
|Legends of Might and Magic||New World Computing||Yes||Yes|
|Meridian 59||Archetype Interactive||Yes||No||First edition of the game (1996).|
|Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven||New World Computing||Yes||No|
|Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor||Yes||Yes|
|Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer||Yes||Yes|
|Might and Magic IX||Yes||Yes|
|Player Manager 2000||ANCO||No||Yes|
|Phoenix 3||Gray Matter Studios||Yes||No|
|Portal Runner||Handheld Games||Yes||No||Game Boy Color version.|
|Requiem: Avenging Angel||Cyclone Studios||Yes||No|
|Snow Job||Ix Entertainment||Yes||Yes|
|Soccer Kid||Team17||Yes||No||3DO version only - 1994. Original game made by Krisalis.|
|Spaceward Ho! IV||GhostNose Software
(Delta Tao licensed)
|Star Fighter||Krisalis||Yes||No||3DO version only developed by Tim Parry and Andrew Hutchings, and original game developed by Fednet Software. Ports developed and published by Acclaim Entertainment and in Europe by Telstar. Also known as Star Fighter 3000.|
|Sven-Göran Eriksson's World Cup Challenge||ANCO||No||Yes||PlayStation and PlayStation 2 version.|
|Sven-Göran Eriksson's World Cup Manager||No||Yes|
|The Need for Speed||Electronic Arts||Yes||Yes|
|TOCA Championship Racing||Codemasters||Yes||No|
|Uprising: Join or Die||Cyclone Studios||Yes||No|
|Uprising 2: Lead and Destroy||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|
- 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
This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2007)
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.
- "Business Search - Business Entities - Business Programs | California Secretary of State". businesssearch.sos.ca.gov.
- "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. No. 66. IDG. March 1994. p. 186.
- "Tough Year for 3DO". GamePro. No. 84. IDG. September 1995. pp. 138–140.
- "PlayStation Dominates European Show". Next Generation. No. 6. Imagine Media. June 1995. p. 14.
- "Deal Propels M2 into System Wars". GamePro. No. 89. IDG. February 1996. pp. 16–17.
- "Tidbits". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 84. Ziff Davis. July 1996. p. 15.
- "Tidbits". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 88. Ziff Davis. November 1996. p. 21.
- "3DO Company Restructures to Focus on Internet Games". GamePro. No. 99. IDG. December 1996. p. 32.
- "Where Did 3DO Go?". May 4, 2020. Archived from the original on October 1, 2021. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- 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.
- "The World According to Trip". Next Generation. No. 22. Imagine Media. October 1996. p. 159.
- Svenson, Christian (October 1996). "3DO Renaissance Continues". Next Generation. No. 22. Imagine Media. p. 26.
- "News Bits". GamePro. No. 108. IDG. September 1997. p. 22.
- Becker, David (May 29, 2003). "3DO files for bankruptcy". CNET. Archived from the original on October 1, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- "Namco, Ubisoft and MS carve up 3DO assets".
- Taylor, Haydn (April 27, 2020). "Ziggurat Interactive acquires 3DO Game Company portfolio". GamesIndustry.biz. Archived from the original on October 1, 2021. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
- "Rated E". GamePro. No. 67. IDG. April 1994. p. 174.
- "Hey, How Do You Rate?". GamePro. No. 78. IDG. March 1995. p. 10.