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MicroProse Software, Inc.

Overview

MicroProse Software, Inc. was founded by Sid Meier and Bill Stealey in 1982, after the two had met working at General Instrument, a large electronic component manufacturer. They shared a passion for games, and Meier would design the games while Stealey would take care of marketing and administrative duties.

In the initial years, the company focused on combat flight simulators and military strategy games. 1990 marked an important turning point with the release of Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon, the first non-destructive god game for the company. This contrasted with the military-oriented view of the other founder, Bill Stealey, who wanted to enter the market of home game consoles and arcade video games, which Sid Meier did not like. In the meantime, Stealey had bought out Meier and Sid Meier had become a private contractor, working exclusively for the company. He received money up front, more when the game delivered and royalties on each sold copy. MicroProse continued to back Sid Meier's games, yet they wanted him to work on other types of games as well, delaying the release of Sid Meier's Civilization, which Sid was working on most of the time. When the game was finally released, favorable reviews and some great marketing by Fred Schmidt, VP Marketing, gave the game a major boost, surprising management and the creators themselves.

In the meantime, the firm was sinking into a hole of debt. They released 2 arcade games in the 1990s which did not fare well, leading to an IPO for cash. In 1993, Stealey approached Gilman Louie, head of Spectrum Holobyte, Inc., and asked him to buy MicroProse rather than letting it fall into unknown hands. After the acquisition, eventually Bill Stealey left and founded Interactive Magic, Sid Meier joined Firaxis Games. The company operated well for while under new management, but the new products were delayed. At the end of 1998 the company was acquired by Hasbro Interactive. The company name ceased to exist as a label when Hasbro was acquired by Infogrames in 2001.

The company used the publishing label Microplay Software for externally-developed games.

Trivia

Location and contact information in March 1995:

MicroProse Inc.
180 Lakefront Drive
Hunt Valley, MD 21030-2245
Tel: 410-771-0440

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