CRI Middleware Co. Ltd.

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Cri logo.png
CRI Middleware Co. Ltd.
Founded: 1988
T-series code: T-68
Merged into: Sega AM2
Headquarters: Japan

CRI Middleware Co. Ltd., formerly known as CSK Research Institute Corp. (CSK総合研究所), was set up to function as a research institute for the CSK group in 1988, whose primary holding was Sega. That year, the company developed Japan's first CD-ROM software: After Burner for the Fujitsu FM Towns console. Using its skills gained in CD-ROM technology, in 1993 the institute took part in the development of the Sega Saturn. CRI developed the Saturn's BIOS file system, development tools and supplied technical support for the system. In 1996, CRI Sofdec (formerly CRI MPEG Sofdec) and CRI ADX are developed. Apart from doing research into new media and formats and developing support tools for the software industry (mainly Sega and its third parties), it did also do some games development itself for the Sega Mega Drive, Mega-CD, Sega 32X, Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast.

On September 30, 1999, CSK sold its 100% interest in CSK Research Institute Corp. by Sega to Isao Okawa for $853 million. The sales price was based on an appraisal performed by a third party. When Sega was splitting of its divisions into separate companies in 2000, CRI merged with the AM2 division. As part of the deal, the merged company gained the rights to Shenmue series.

CRI Middleware logo.

In 2001, Sega turns to multi-platform development. As a result, when the game developers move to Sega AM2, the CRI was rebranded as the middleware developer CRI Middleware Co. Ltd. Their customers since this move have included high-profile clients such as Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Capcom, Konami, Namco Bandai Games, Atari Infogrames, Sony Computer Entertainment, Square Enix, and Bungie.

Products and services

CRIWare logo.

These products and services are now offered by CRI under the collective name of "CRIWARE".


ADX is a streamed audio format which allows for multiple audio streams, seamless looping and continuous playback (allowing two or more files to be crossfaded or played in sequence) with low, predictable CPU usage. The format uses the ADPCM framework. It is now known as CRI ADX.


Sofdec is a streamed video format supporting up to 24bit color which includes multistreaming and seamless playback with a frame rate of up to 60 frames per second. It is essentially a repackaging of MPEG-1/MPEG-2 video with CRI's proprietary ADX Codec for audio playback. It is now known as CRI Sofdec.


Clipper is an automated lip-syncing program which analyzes waveforms and outputs an appropriate lip pattern into a text file, for later substitution into the facial animations of the (in-game) speaker. It is now known as CRI Clipper.


ROFS is a file management system for handling a virtual disc image, an extension of the CD-ROM standard. It has no limitations on file name format, or number of directories or files, and has been designed with compatibility with ADX and Sofdec in mind. It is now known as CRI ROFS.

Sound Factory

Sound Factory is a GUI-based video game audio tool for effective sound design without input from programmers. It has support for the previewing and playback of generated audio. It is now known as CRI Sound Factory.

Movie Encode

Movie Encode is a video encoding service by which CRI generates Sofdec or MPEG files from other media. For a fee (designated by the length of the file to be encoded), files are converted to the desired format with the quality specified by the client. It is now known as CRI Movie Encode.


This list is incomplete; please help expand it.

External links