Thursday, December 17, 2020

Trip Hawkins and Electronic Arts

Trip Hawkins at a 1985 episode of The Computer ChroniclesWilliam Murray Hawkins III, better known as Trip Hawkins, is an American entrepreneur. He founded the company Electronic Arts in 1982, as well as The 3DO Company and the Digital Chocolate company in later years. He was added to The Hall Of Fame in 2005.

Hawkins was fan of Strat-O-Matic Football started as teenager to produce a knock-off version of it, lending $5000 from his father to finance it. But his business failed. When he received his first computer he created a digital football game. He later designed his undergraduate major at Harvard University in Applied Game Theory and Strategy.

1982 Hawkins was Director of Strategy and Marketing at Apple and left the company to found the video game publisher Electronic Arts, which is successful to this day. The company enjoyed may years as a leader in video game publishing ad produced iconic games like the Madden NFL series of football games after signing with John Madden as consultant and spokesman for Electronic Arts.

When SEGA release the Genesis he saw his opportunity. He didn't want to sign with Nintendo due to its strict licensing policy. He instead hired reverse engineers to create unofficial games for the SEGA Genesis console. Hawkins eventually revealed his intentions to sell his research to SEGA's competitors unless they made him an official partner. SEGA agreed.

Watch a young Trip Hawkins in a segment of the 1985 Computer Chronicles TV show's double feature episode Slowdown Part II

Although remaining chair of EA's board Hawkins made a transition in 1991 to form 3DO, a video game company. When the 3DO console was released in 1993 it was the most powerful gaming device of its day. He eventually resigned from EA's board of directors in 1994. But sales were poor, probably due to the high price. Hopes were further damaged a year later with the arrival of the SONY PlayStation and SEGA Saturn, which were more powerful and still retailed cheaper. 1996 3DO stopped the production of the console and transitioned to be a pure game developer. The company went bust 2003.

2003 Hawkins founded the Digital Chocolate company but stepped down as CEO in 2012. Hawkins lives in Santa Barbara, CA, and was a professor of entrepreneurship and leadership at the University of California from 2016 to 2019.

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