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Irem Software Engineering, Inc.


Based in Hakusan, Japan, Irem was founded 1974 under the name IPM (International Playing Machine). The company initially manufactured, sold, and rented arcade hardware cabinets. Their first arcade game was IPM Invader (1978). Later they shifted the focus to console game development, their most popular series being R-Type. During the mid-1990's sales became increasingly poor, eventually leading to the company's dissolution. However, on April 15, 1997 Nanao re-founded the company, which became its wholly owned subsidiary. Irem continued to develop games exclusively for home consoles.

After the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake Irem announced the cancellation of two long in development PlayStation 3 titles: Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 4 and Bumpy Trot 2. Soon afterwards Kazuma Kujo, director on both games as well as many of Irem's previous console games, left the company along with other key staff to form Granzella inc. This was followed by Irem delisting all of their PSN and XBLA games and PlayStation Home spaces, with the exception of PachiPara games. As of 2012 only Spelunker HD has been relisted due to Tozai Games, the owner of the Spelunker license, purchasing the rights from Irem.

Also Known As

  • Irem Corp. (from 1974 to 1997)
  • IPM (from 1974 to 1979) -- Former company name


Irem originally stood for "International Rental Electronics Machines", however in the mid-1980s they changed the abbreviation to mean: "Innovations in Recreational Electronic Media"

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