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Basic Information
1982 as MicroProse Software, Inc., 2007 as Microprose Systems LLC.
video games, consumer electronics
Consumer electronics, video game
MicroProse's former headquarters at 180 Lakefront Drive in Hunt Valley, Maryland

MicroProse, as a corporation and brand name, has been owned by several entities since its original founding by Sid Meier and Bill Stealey in 1982, as Microprose Software.

Founding of MicroProse Software Inc.[edit | edit source]

Main article: Microprose Software

Founded in 1982 by Bill Stealey and Sid Meier, Microprose Software, Inc was primarily known as a publisher of flight, military simulation, and strategy titles for home computers, with titles such as Airborne Ranger, Pirates!, F-15 Strike Eagle, Gunship, Spitfire Ace, Hellcat Ace, Railroad Tycoon, and Civilization.

MicroProse Software Inc., in an attempt to diversify without changing their name, created two labels, MicroStyle in the UK, and MicroPlay in the US. This label released games like Rick Dangerous 2 (platform game), Stunt Car Racer (arcade racing) and Xenophobe (action/arcade).

Under Spectrum HoloByte[edit | edit source]

In 1993, MicroProse Software Inc. was acquired by Spectrum HoloByte, another game company. In 1994, Bill Stealey departed MicroProse Software and Spectrum HoloByte agreed to buy out his shares. Bill Stealey went on to found Interactive Magic, another simulation software company. Both MicroProse Software Inc. and Spectrum HoloByte continued as separate brands until 1996. In 1996, Spectrum HoloByte, to reduce costs, started cutting a majority of the MicroProse Software Inc. staff. Soon after, it consolidated all of its titles under the MicroProse brand (essentially renaming itself MicroProse). Sid Meier and Jeff Briggs departed the company after the staff cut, forming a new company called Firaxis Games. Brian Reynolds, who designed Civilization II, also moved to Firaxis. A core group of artists, designers, and programmers left MicroProse UK to join Psygnosis, which opened an office in Stroud, UK, specifically to attract ex-MicroProse employees.

Under Hasbro Interactive[edit | edit source]

In 1998, the MicroProse and properties were acquired for USD$70 million in cash by Hasbro and then merged with Hasbro Interactive.[1] At that time MicroProse's staff cost $20 million a year.[2]

At the time of Hasbro's acquisition, MicroProse had 343 employees, including 135 at Alameda, CA. Besides the development studio in Alameda, MicroProse had three other studios: Hunt Valley, MD; Chapel Hill, NC; and Chipping Sodbury, England. In December 1999, Hasbro Interactive closed down former MicroProse studios in Alameda, California and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.[3][4]

Under Infogrames[edit | edit source]

In January 2001, after French game publisher Infogrames Entertainment SA (IESA) took over Hasbro Interactive for $100 million,[5] MicroProse ceased to exist. Its latest title in the US, European Air War, was reissued with Infogrames' logo instead of the MicroProse logo. The last new game released with the MicroProse name was the UK version of Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix 4, in late 2002. Infogrames shut down the former MicroProse studio in Chipping Sodbury, United Kingdom in September 2002.[6] Hasbro Interactive was renamed to Infogrames Interactive and then to Atari Interactive.[7]

Under the Interactive Game Group[edit | edit source]

Main article: Microprose Systems

In summer 2007[citation needed] Interactive Game Group acquired the MicroProse brand from Atari Interactive, Inc, which filed for transfer of trademark protection on December 27, 2007.[8] Interactive Game Group then shared a percentage of the MicroProse brand to I-Drs At in January 2008.[9][10] Claims as to what titles and other intellectual properties were also acquired by the Interactive Game Group from Infogrames remain unverified, and the last verified owner of Microprose properties is Infogrames.[11] The Interactive Game Group then licensed the brand MicroProse to the Legacy Engineering Group, which used the license to form MicroProse Systems, a company that sold consumer electronics from February 2008 to the second half of 2008 when the partnership fell apart forcing the company Microprose Systems to be rebranded as Legacy Consumer Electronics.[citation needed]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Secinfo.com, Hasbro quarterly report for 9/27/98 from SEC Info
  2. MBA.tuck.dartmouth.edu, Hasbro Interactive study from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth (PDF)
  3. Query.NYtimes.com, "Hasbro to Cut 20% of Its Jobs and Take $97 Million Charge", from The New York Times
  4. Gamasutra.com, "Hasbro Restructures" from Gamasutra NewsWire (December 7, 1999)
  5. Query.NYtimes.com "Company News; Hasbro Completes Sale of Interactive Business" from The New York Times
  6. Gamespot.com, "Infogrames closes UK MicroProse studio", from GameSpot
  7. Allgame.com ((( Atari Interactive, Inc. > Overview )))
  8. Assignments.uspto.gov
  9. Assignments.uspto.gov
  10. Assignments.uspto.gov
  11. Gamasutra.com