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Rocket Science Games

From Sega Retro

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Fast facts on Rocket Science Games
Founded: 1993
Defunct: 1997
T-series code: T-153
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA, USA

Rocket Science Games was a video game developer that created games for consoles and computers from 1993 to 1997. The company was responsible for games such as Obsidian, Rocket Jockey, and Loadstar.

History

Founded by Steven Gary Blank and Peter Barrett in 1993, Rocket Science Games receiving $12 million in funding from Sega Enterprises and the Bertelsmann Music Group in May 1994[1], they became RSG's North American and European publishers, respectively. Founded at the height of the FMV video game craze of the '90s, their first three games utilized the technology heavily; but as a backlash grew against the technology, the games received mixed reviews and their fortunes suffered due to poor sales, they shifted away from consoles and FMV to concentrate on more traditional PC games.

After the disappointing sales of their early games they received much needed funds from SegaSoft, who then became the sole publisher for their titles in development. Sega canceled about half of the titles RSG was working on to reduce costs and speed up releases, this had a noticeable negative effect on their quality however. Rocket Jockey shipped missing LAN support that had been heavily promoted to the press and was even advertised on the box; it wouldn't be patched into the game for several months. Obsidian also suffered quality problems, as it had several bugs present at the time of its release that prevented completion of the game. Unfortunately, while some of their SegaSoft games were critically acclaimed, none of them did particularly well financially, and unable to secure additional funding, RSG was forced to close down in 1997.

About a year before closing its doors, in February 1996, RSG announced a partnership with CyberCash, Inc. to launch a virtual arcade service based on micropayments. CyberCash, a virtual currency company, would provide the financial infrastructure for the arcade and use it to jump-start their micropayment "electronic coin service". This announcement was heavily circulated by the media and, along with several other micro payment based services, was heralded as the next big thing in Internet commerce. The unnamed service was never given a firm launch date nor were any specific titles mentioned. After the initial flurry of excitement the partnership failed to produce any further announcements and the service was never heard from again. It may have been a casualty of the cuts SegaSoft's made later that same year when they acquired RSG. Later SegaSoft partnered with CyberCash and used their micropayment system, now named the CyberCoin service, for their Heat.net online gaming service. Heat.net was shut down in 2000 when SegaSoft was restructured into Sega.com and CyberCash filed for bankruptcy a year later.

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