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Spectrum HoloByte

From Sega Retro

SpectrumHolobyte logo.png
Fast facts on Spectrum HoloByte
Founded: 1982
Defunct: 1999
T-series code: T-124
Merged with: Nexa, MicroProse, SimTex
Merged into: Hasbro Interactive
Headquarters: Alameda, CA, USA

Spectrum HoloByte Inc. was founded in 1982 and incorporated in 1983 in the state of California. The company employed over 325 people and became successful in the development of games for the PC home computer. Their best selling games were the Falcon fighter-plane flight simulations. They were the first to bring Tetris to gamers outside the Soviet Union and Sokoban to gamers outside Japan. It was also the distributor for Domark games before Domark set up its own US operations in San Mateo, California.

In 1991 Spectrum HoloByte was purchased by UK media baron Robert Maxwell along with another game developer, Nexa. Both were listed as divisions of Sphere Inc. When Maxwell died in November 1991 (presumed to have fallen overboard from his luxury yacht), chaos ensued for all of the Maxwell companies, including Sphere. Gilman Louie, who founded Nexa Corporation, kept the company afloat after the Maxwell turmoil and changed the name to Spectrum Holobyte in September 1992.

The company was publicly held and traded on the NASDAQ National Market exchange under the symbol SBYT. Its five development studios were located in Alameda, California; Hunt Valley, Maryland; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; and Chipping Sodbury, England. They also had a division in Germany, Spectrum Holobyte GmbH.

In 1993 the company acquired MicroProse, and then SimTex Inc. in 1995. In 1996, all of its products were consolidated underneath the MicroProse banner. Spectrum HoloByte Japan was one of their subsidiaries and eventually became MicroProse Japan K.K. Their Chipping Sodbury, England, subsidiary became MicroProse Ltd. (aka MicroProse-Spectrum HoloByte UK-Europe) and their German division was renamed MicroProse-Spectrum Holobyte GmbH.

The remnants of Spectrum HoloByte disappeared completely when MicroProse merged with Hasbro Interactive in 1998, and their headquarters and studio in Alameda, California, closed in 1999.

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