Spectrum HoloByte

From Sega Retro


SpectrumHolobyte logo.png
Spectrum HoloByte
Founded: 1982
Defunct: 1999
T-series code: T-124
2061 Challenger Dr., Alameda, California, 94501, United States[1]

Spectrum HoloByte, Inc. was an American video game developer which specialized in simulation games, most notably the Falcon series of combat flight simulators. Founded in 1982, the company produced a number of titles for Sega video game systems.


Founded by Jeff Sauter, Phil Adam and Mike Franklin in 1982 (and officially incorporated the following year), Spectrum HoloByte began its existence primarily developing video games for personal computers. The company eventually found a niche in the combat flight simulator market with their popular Falcon series, but gained the most notoriety with their 1988 home computer release of Tetris, the first version of the game to be published outside of the Soviet Union. Spectrum HoloByte was also the distributor of British publisher Domark's games before that company established its American branch in San Mateo, California.

Spectrum HoloByte was publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the symbol SBYT, and eventually established a number of external development studios: the company ran divisions in Alameda, California, Hunt Valley, Maryland, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Austin, Texas, Chipping Sodbury, England, Japan, and Germany.


Main article: Sphere.

In early 1987, Spectrum HoloByte and Nexa Corporation were acquired by British print publisher Pergamon Press and merged into a new company, Sphere, with its games generally still marketed under the Spectrum HoloByte name.[2]

After the death of Pergamon Press founder Robert Maxwell in November 1991, the publisher's subsidiaries encountered significant financial difficulties in the inter-business conflicts and infighting that followed. Regardless, Nexa Corporation founder Gilman Louie was able to keep Sphere in business, and in September 1992 established the company as an independent entity; in the process, the company was renamed back to Spectrum HoloByte.

Company (later)

In December 1993, Spectrum HoloByte merged with MicroProse[3], and three years later further consolidated and rebranded the entirety of its products under the MicroProse banner; a number of its subsidiaries were rebranded as well, with some retaining the name Spectrum HoloByte in their titles depending on the brand familiarity of their local markets.

In 1998, MicroProse was acquired and merged into Hasbro Interactive. The company's Alameda studio later closed in 1999, and Spectrum HoloByte formally ceased to exist.


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