Taito was originally established in 1953 by Russian-Jewish businessman Michael Kogan
in Tokyo as Taito Trading Company
. The company started importing, leasing, and later developing amusement machines in the 1960s. The company's current name of Taito Corporation
was adopted in 1972. Taito was among the first makers of electronic games, selling their own Pong
clone in 1973.
The company became a major player in 1978 after the enormous success of Space Invaders
, and continues to be involved in a wide variety of arcade and home game development to this day. Two North American divisions were later started, Taito America
in Wheeling, IL in 1979, and later Taito Software
in North Vancouver, BC in 1988. Both companies were closed in 1995 as the company focused its efforts on the domestic Japanese market, licensing its titles to other publishers such as Acclaim for international markets.
In August 2005, it was announced that Square Enix
had made a bid to take majority ownership of Taito. The deal was approved and completed by the end of September, making Taito a wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix.
Founded by a Russian, Taito was the first Japanese maker of vodka.