Unreal (1998)

Whats the last game you played? Did the company develop their own engine? No? Chances are, its based off the Unreal physics engine, which is used to develop hundreds of games per year. Tim Sweeney developed the engine in his garage for three years until it was picked up by GT Interactive and was made into the game Unreal. Unreal was a window for people to see how accurate physics could be displayed in real time, making it extremely well received.

Quake (1996)

If you have ever played a first person shooter online, you largely owe it to this series. With tight controls and fast paced combat, it revolutionized the FPS genre, but what is especially important is its multiplayer, with concepts nearly every multiplayer FPS draws from today, such as matchmaking, load-outs, respawns, CTF, and company based servers, instead of making it the players responsibility to set-up their own multiplayer. None of this would have been possible without the help of GT interactive.

Duke Nukem (1996)

Hell yeah! In a time when Mario was criticized for being too violent, and Pokemon was considered satanic by some, no one expected ID software to release a game that was so sexually charged and brutally violent. Duke Nukem sold so well that it proved gamers were ready to grow up, and have mature content in their games, changing the landscape of what could be expected in a video game intended for adults.

History..

GT(Good Times) Interactive Software Corporation was established in the US as a publisher and distributor of video games, that included TV as well as PC games. The different subsidiaries of GT Interactive software are Humongous Entertainment, Reflections Interactive, Legend Entertainment and Cavedog Entertainment.

In 1993, GT Interactive was founded as a division of GoodTimes Home video, which was actually a video-tape distributor and was owned by the Cayre family. Ron Chaimowitz was it’s President and co-founder. The first year itself saw the huge success of it’s first shareware titled ‘Doom’, which eventually managed to sell more than 2.9 milion copies. And the revenue of GT Interactive reached $10.3 million in the year of it’s establishment.

In 1994, GT Interactive reached new heights as it’s revenue soared to almost 880% and reached $101 million while it’s net profit reached $18 million. In the same year, GT Interactive partnered with Id Software and registered it’s second hit with ‘Doom II: Hell on Earth’, that had a sell out of over two million copies.

In 1995, it started setting up of exhibitions at K-Mart and Walmart of relatively low cost software. After that, GT Interactive signed an agreement along with Walmart which made it an exclusive software supplier for Walmart which meant that no other software developer could sell in a Walmart without first dealing with GT Interactive.

In February 1996, an agreement between GT Interactive and Target (chain of discount stores) was signed as a result of which GT Interactive had become the primary supplier of consumer software to all of Target’s stores (675 in all). In June 1996, GT Interactive acquired WizardWorks (developer of ‘Deer Hunter’) for about 2.4 million shares. Then it also acquired FormGen for about $17 million. However, the most noteworthy achievement came in July 1996, when Humongous Entertainment was acquired for $76 million. In November, 1996, GT Interactive acquired Warner Interactive for about $6.3 million and with that, GT Interactive stepped into the software markets of Europe.

In January 1997, GT Interactive bought a European software publisher ‘One Stop’ for $800,000 and in October of the same year, the game developer ‘SingleTrac’ was bought for 14.7 million. However, the GT Interactive suffered loss of $25 million because in March 1997, it ceased to be an exclusive software distributor for Walmart, who made the decision to buy software directly from the publishers.

In May 1998, ‘Unreal’ was published by GT Interactive with over 800,000 copies sold in the first ten months. In October 1998, ‘Deer Hunter II’ also coincidentally managed to sold over 800,000 copies. In November, 1998, the ‘One Zero Media’ was acquired by GT Interactive for $17.2 million and with that, GT Interactive became the first game publisher who also owned an entertainment website on Internet.

In 1999, GT Interactive suffered first quarter loss of around $90 million owing to restructuring costs. Consequently, the CEO Ron Chaimowitz was replaced. Games sales fell in 1999 relatively in comparison to 1998. In June 1998, GT Interactive announced the possibility of a merger or sale of the company. Consequently, if fired about 650 employees who belonged mostly to it’s distribution section. In December 1999, GT Interactive was acquired by Infogrames Entertainment, SA and as a result, it’s name was changed to ‘Infogrames Inc’. After four years in 2003, it was again renamed to ‘Atari Inc.’