Acclaim: back from the dead

Former Activision exec will launch new company with old name; business model to focus on bringing Asian MMOs to North America and Europe.

Although the official announcement isn't scheduled for weeks, a clear picture of Howard Marks' new company has formed. Ironically, the new company will have an old name--that of Acclaim Games.

Marks picked up the Acclaim name shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy in September 2004. Marks secured the rights to the name for a reported $100,000.

According to a job listing for the new company, Acclaim Games will "be the first US major brand to bring some of the most successful online games in the world, specifically designed to meet the community and multiplayer experience that the 36 million U.S. tweens and the 41 million European tweens want." (Tweens are typically defined as children aged 9 to 13.)

Marks is no stranger to the game business. While a student at the University of Michigan, Marks and roommate Bobby Kotick started Arktronics, a software development company that created business-application technology for the Apple II platform.

Then, in 1991, the two bought a 30 percent interest in an ailing game publisher, Activision. The company was in a precarious financial state and the two investors took the company through bankruptcy proceedings and then rebuilt it from the ground up. Now, the game maker is considered the second-biggest third-party publisher in America, after Electronic Arts.

Of course, Bobby Kotick is now Activision's CEO. Marks remained with the company in an executive role until late 1997. Marks founded business-application software company eMinds in February 1998.

Today, Marks hopes to introduce casual MMO PC games, a genre that is wildly popular in Asia, to stateside gamers.

Acclaim's products will be based on the microtransaction-based business model made popular by Korean titles like Go Pets, Kart Racer, and Hangame. Marks has said "these small content transactions are a proven model for millions of gamers in Asia and is directly analogous to the explosive $4 billion worldwide ring tone and wallpaper mobile phone market mainly consumed by the 8-16 group [in the US and Europe]."

The company will license game content from Korea, then localize and support it for Western markets. Its launch title will be B.O.U.T., a "robot fighting game" for PCs with "an incredibly easy interface," according to Acclaim. The title is currently owned and operated (in Korea) by Seoul-based publisher NHN Corporation. NHN is widely credited with pioneering the micropayment strategy almost four years ago.

B.O.U.T. will be a free game that will entice gamers to buy from among 15,000-plus in-game robot parts using real-world cash. Parts can then be used and combined by gamers to make their robots better fighters.

At the recent G-Star game summit in Korea, NHN president Whee-Young Choi said that B.O.U.T. will mark the "starting line" of collaboration between Korean and US companies. He also alluded to B.O.U.T. having an anime component, though he offered no specifics.

Expect Marks and Acclaim Games to launch its lineup of casual, item-based games sometime next year.

42 Comments

  • Mr_1234Anderson

    Posted Mar 23, 2007 10:39 pm PT

    yes

  • korlor

    Posted Feb 23, 2007 1:45 pm PT

    Acclaim made good games welcome back

  • comthitnuong

    Posted Jul 7, 2006 11:30 am PT

    asian mmos... isnt like japan the only people who make games

  • Reaper07

    Posted Apr 8, 2006 5:37 am PT

    I hope they continue the Extreme-G series. I love those games.

  • SonicRaptor

    Posted Dec 10, 2005 10:38 am PT

    Out of all the names you could have chosed, you go with a company that released so many crummy games it died beneath the pile of them? Seriously, I was glad Acclaim died because there was no good there anymore.

  • Promhoma

    Posted Dec 9, 2005 11:26 pm PT

    Please die again Acclaim, no one likes you anymore.

  • GreyFoxV1

    Posted Dec 9, 2005 12:23 pm PT

    Acclaim is back?!? Theres some good news!

  • chrisdojo

    Posted Dec 9, 2005 10:16 am PT

    MMO....booom

  • ZEELIX

    Posted Dec 9, 2005 9:34 am PT

    wait it said for that mech game "real" money. i hate annual/extra fees thats just a rip off.. ughghghg

  • remage

    Posted Dec 9, 2005 8:27 am PT

    what about that ! are they gonna rise their nes vintage games from dead too,
    how sweet would it be to see Double Dragon or the endless and forgotten Legendary Guardian? Imagine...

  • Igiss

    Posted Dec 9, 2005 2:56 am PT

    Not the most successful purchase for $100.000. Interesting how much will the name cost after Acclaim's next bankruptcy.

  • ewjim

    Posted Dec 9, 2005 2:12 am PT

    So they used "Phenix Down" or "Revive"?!?

  • Meta_Knight

    Posted Dec 9, 2005 2:12 am PT

    I hope they keep the cool Acclaim logo and maybe something can be done with TUROK!

  • frsty13

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 9:43 pm PT

    As much as I hate to say it, I doubt it XND. Why won't anyone pick up The Red Star!?!

  • forever_blank

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 5:53 pm PT

    My Soul Finds Respite, *Some*, In Knowing That The Acclaim Soul Lives On

  • XND

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 5:45 pm PT

    Will the game Redstar be resurrected?

  • bdub20791

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 5:09 pm PT

    NO!!!!!!! STAY DEAD!!!!!!

  • woohooforme

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 5:09 pm PT

    If only this meant Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3..

  • ranger_waha

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 4:17 pm PT

    A game for impressionable youth where you can only do well by buying parts with real money? So the rich kid will constantly be owning? I smell fairness....

  • Eribuster_basic

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 3:27 pm PT

    Acclaim... Back from the dead to bring you the grind. How about some FlyFF?

  • Neoyamaneko

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:47 pm PT

    1) Let Ack-Lame DIE.

    2) Korean MMOs, with the exception of the NCSoft ones (except Lineage 2), are shallow and exploitable due to all the bugs in them. In the West, only anime fans or people suffering from "Asianitis" would find any pleasure in them.

  • unrealylife

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:46 pm PT

    what the hell, I hope this doesn't work. they awol for a reason.

  • zmaster200x

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:46 pm PT

    cool idea... but it wont work, why buy expensive parts, when you can just buy a whole pack in an expansion pak?

  • MasterMarcus

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:42 pm PT

    hmmm, another body swap for the ''unkillable'' name that is Acclaim. Let's hope for solid reigns this time.

  • dmfreak

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:41 pm PT

    although it's great to have acclaim back, i agree with you guys for saying that bringing MMOG to the US and UK market is a bad idea. here are some dudes saying why MMOG from asia (especially korea) die:

    1. too samey with other mmorpgs (guild wars is probably the one with the most innovations as far as i know)
    2. buggy as hell (sure it's got patches, but after you patch, a new one comes out and you have to patch again, which can be tiresome).
    3. money sucker (i don't like the idea of spending money for just leveling up my avatar).
    4. gets boring once you get used to it (leveling up will be a chore in no time).
    5. hackers (with every new cheat protection procedure introduced, somehow these bastards get through the line).
    6. major changes in the game that affects negatively on certain characters (i.e. mercenary skills of dealer toned down in pROSE).

  • owner211

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:34 pm PT

    TUROK!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • LordOfMidnight

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:30 pm PT

    Let's hope the name has a better life the second time around.

  • ruination

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:24 pm PT

    I guess they had an extra green mushroom up there sleeves.

  • Daphnes_Hyrule

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:24 pm PT

    I'm sure people will like the Korean games. Ragnorok Online seems pretty popular...

  • 2ez24get

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:17 pm PT

    Omfg gameofthering! You rock! I pray to got they make Fur Fighters 2. I loooooved the first one. And being Russian, I was kinda anticipating The Red Star, even with that whole parallel universe.

  • BigC43

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:11 pm PT

    I wonder if Acclaim will pick up The Red Star again...

  • gameofthering

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:08 pm PT

    Since Acclaim are back from the dead i hope they make fur fighters 2.

  • BassClefBomber

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:06 pm PT

    American gamers liked the Kingdom Under Fire games didn't they? Wasn't that Korean? I liked it...

  • someguy99

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 2:05 pm PT

    Cool idea (i love robots)

  • j14rk1n

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 1:58 pm PT

    It's like Atari. Same name, different company.

  • Zero_Fate_

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 1:57 pm PT

    Acclaim + Korea = BAD.

    So be it but I dont think that American gamers will have any interest in Korean titles.

  • remaGloohcSdlO

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 1:55 pm PT

    Acclaim has been around a long while... we'll see what this latest news will bring. Hopefully some quality.

  • KingKobra2K2

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 1:54 pm PT

    Wait, the article said that the games will be free? Well, at least we know B.O.U.T. will be free. Will they really be able to make a profit relying on people to use real cash to buy in game enhancements? I know that it works in Asia, specifically South Korea, but I don't think it would work in the US.

  • veratronator

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 1:51 pm PT

    lol your not first you got played acclaim is back from the dead who really cares the only games they bring out are wrestling and motocross and turok which is the worst game ever so Koen-Rio you didnt make first hahaha again.

  • Koen-Rio

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 1:43 pm PT

    ahh my reign of terror is over b4 it began

  • Koen-Rio

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 1:42 pm PT

    [This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

  • Donkeljohn

    Posted Dec 8, 2005 1:41 pm PT

    Does that mean they will be importing a Korean Zombie game? . . . back fromt he dead. *Snicker* Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

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