­čÉ│ Moby v2024.06.07

MicroProse Software, Inc.

Moby ID: 10

AKA +
  • Infogrames North America (Hunt Valley Studio) (from 2001 to 2003)
  • Atari (Hunt Valley Studio) (from 2003 to 2003-11-05)

Overview edit · view history

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 in 1994. After a major staff cut in 1996 and consolidation of internal studios (including the disbanding of the MPS Labs division), Sid Meier left the company with Brian Reynolds and Jeff Briggs and founded Firaxis Games. Soon afterwards, Spectrum Holobyte would rename itself MicroProse (possibly known internally as MicroProse Alameda).

Noted legal issues occurred in 1997 over the Civilization license, as the company Avalon Hill published the board game of the same name in North America. MicroProse would acquire the board game's rightsholder, Hartland Trefoil, on 2 December 1997, solidifying their ownership of the license. However, at the same time, they would dispute with Activision due to the latter's Civilization: Call to Power game that was in development. The issue was settled on 14 July 1998, permitting Activision to use the Civilization name for only one game and preventing Avalon Hill any further licensing.

On 5 October 1997, GT Interactive approached to acquire MicroProse, but the deal was cancelled on 5 December 1997 over disagreements in handling financial compensations to developers. On 12 August 1998, the company received a tender offer for acquisition by Hasbro Interactive, which was completed on 15 September 1998. The company name was retained under Hasbro Interactive's ownership. On 7 December 1999, the Alameda and Chapel Hill studios were shut down as part of Hasbro Interactive's restructuring; they were working on Master of Magic 2 and X-COM: Genesis, respectively, both of which were cancelled.

MicroProse ceased to exist as a label when Hasbro was acquired by Infogrames in 2001. However, the internal development studio in Hunt Valley would release two more games, X-COM: Enforcer and Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes, before closing on 5 November 2003.

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

The name and brand were acquired by Interactive Game Group in 2007, eventually bought and reused by MicroProse Software Pty Ltd as of 2019. They would only acquire select intellectual properties of the original MicroProse (including Carrier Command, B-17 Flying Fortress and eventually Falcon).

Credited on 209 Games from 1982 to 2024

Displaying most recent · View all

Gunship + Gunship 2000 (2024 on Windows)
Silent Service 1+2 (2014 on Windows, Linux, Macintosh)
Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes (2003 on Xbox)
X-COM: Enforcer (2001 on Windows)
RollerCoaster Tycoon: Gold Edition (2000 on Windows, Xbox)
B-17 Flying Fortress: The Mighty 8th! (2000 on Windows)
Starship Troopers (2000 on Windows)
Avalon Hill's Squad Leader (2000 on Windows)
Mech Collection (2000 on Windows)
Gunship! (2000 on Windows)
Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim (2000 on Windows, Macintosh)
Risk II (2000 on Windows, Macintosh)
Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim (Limited Edition) (2000 on Windows)
Spirit of Speed 1937 (1999 on Windows, Dreamcast)
Avalon Hill's Diplomacy (1999 on Windows)
X-COM: Collector's Edition (1999 on Windows)
GP 500 (1999 on Windows)
Mech Commander: Gold (1999 on Windows)
Civilization II: Test of Time (1999 on Windows)
MechWarrior 3 (1999 on Windows)

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History +

November 5, 2003

The last remaining MicroProse studio, located in Hunt Valley, Baltimore, is closed down by Atari, Inc., after completing the game Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes.

2001

MicroProse formally ceases to exist as a label after Infogrames takes over Hasbro Interactive. Hasbro Interactive products have been relabelled Infogrames Interactive. One example was the re-release of European Air War. MicroProse's development operation would be referred to merely as the "Hunt Valley Studio".

December 2000

Infogrames announced definitive plans to buy out Hasbro Interactive, thus gaining control over MicroProse.

December 7, 1999

Chapel Hill studio in North Carolina and Alameda studios in California of MicroProse were closed by Hasbro Interactive.

September 15, 1998

Hasbro Interactive completes acquisition of MicroProse.

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Trivia +

One of their earlier slogans was

"The action is simulated. The excitement is real!"

Address and contact information ca. 1983:

MicroProse Software 10616 Beaver Dam Road Hunt Valley, MD 21030 (301) 667-1151

Address and contact information ca. 1985 to 1987:

MicroProse Software 120 Lakefront Drive Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030 301-667-1151

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