OverviewThe company name Williams Electronics, Inc. was used since at least 1967 on flyers for electro-mechanic arcade machines. It is unknown to what exact entity this refers to as Williams Electronics, Inc. was incorporated in 1974 (Illinois). This may originate from the purchase of Williams Manufacturing by Seeburg Corporation in 1964. The name was changed to WMS Industries Inc. in 1987, shortly after Williams Electronic Games Inc. was formed to take over the arcade and pinball business.
WMS Industries and Williams Electronic Games Inc. made headline news with their $8 million acquisition of Bally Midway Manufacturing Co., Inc. in 1988. The purchase included all of Bally Midway's coin-operated amusement game manufacturing business. More importantly for the videogame industry, it also included Midway, which had become very successful in the development of coin-operated arcade games as well as videogames. Midway Manufacturing Company was incorporated and added to the WMS group of subsidiaries at this time. In 1992, Williams began to manufacture pinball machines with the Bally name after acquiring the exclusive name rights.
In 1994, WMS Industry purchased
Then in 1996 WMS Industries acquired Time-Warner Interactive Inc., which included Atari Games. It is believed that this purchase kick-started the 1996 formation of Midway Home Entertainment Inc., a division of Midway Games Inc. Williams Entertainment Inc. was merged into the new corporation and an Atari Games Division was formed. In 1998 Midway Games Inc. was spun off and sold to its stockholders to become independently owned and operated.
In Oct. 1999, WMS Industries announced to shut down all pinball operations and the Atari Games division to focus on slot machine development.
Contributed by Robert Morgan (1059) on Nov 17, 1999. [revised by : Игги Друге (46428), Jeanne (76516) and Patrick Bregger (210512)].