Every big company was once a dream, a small company started by dreamers and visionaries. These self-starters probably thought of high limit blackjack but were probably quite focused on gaining ground for their businesses. Let’s take a look at some of the backstory of these gaming giants.
Once upon a time, the Guillemot family was into the farming industry. All five sons were involved in the business before they went to university. Christian, Claude, Gerard, Michel, and Yves went to university and got more business experience, which they applied to the family business. When the farming industry slowed down, the brothers thought of selling other products to farmers. Then, they got into computers. They imported computer hardware and software from the UK and sold them nationwide. By then, they established Guillemot Informatique. By 1986, the company was already earning almost USD 7 million. They then realized that video games would become a lucrative business and quickly got involved in video game development. In March 1986, they founded Ubi Soft, which refers to ubiquitous software, in a small village in Brittany. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The world would not have known Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon had it not been for Nintendo, one of the world’s largest and oldest gaming company in the industry. Nintendo has been around for more than a century, starting as a playing card company in 1889. Founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi in Kyoto, the company originally manufactured handmade hanafuda playing cards. By 1949, the company officially used the name Nintendo Karuta Co., Ltd. in Japan and Nintendo Playing Card Co. abroad. Nintendo literally means “leave luck to heaven” or “the temple of the free hanafuda.” In 1956, Fusajiro’s grandson, Hiroshi, went to the US to meet with the US Playing Card Company. This became a turning point for the company as Hiroshi recognized that his company has to diversify to grow. In 1966, they tried their hand in the toy industry. They gained some ground but still could not overtake Bandai and Tomy. By 1973, they forayed into the family entertainment market. In 1974, they started distributing game consoles. The following year, they got into video arcade games. They established their success with the Game and Watch console, created and designed by Gunpei Yokoi in 1980. But it wasn’t until 1981 when Nintendo launched Donkey Kong did their fortune change dramatically, thanks to the game designed and created by Shigeru Miyamoto. Since then, Nintendo has become one of the most influential companies in the industry.
In 1982, then Apple Director for Product Marketing Trip Hawkins sought funding for a business venture he wanted to pursue. After getting his startup capital, he founded Amazin’ Software. Eventually, they renamed the company to Electronic Arts. EA promoted games for Commodore Amiga and later outsourced the development of video games for the Commodore Amiga. Unfortunately it was not all a bed of roses. While business was doing well, EA had trouble with some of their external game developers, sometimes missing deadlines or not following EA’s directions. This pushed EA to look at developing games internally. So in 1987 they finally launched their first internally developed game called Skate or Die!. They continued to partner with other companies in publishing video games. Much of their success can be attributed to publishing video games for different platforms and “multi-year franchises.”