The American publishers Electronic Arts (EA) was founded in 1982 by Trip Hawkins. Previously employed by Apple, Hawkins left – taking a number of other Apple employees – to establish an independent publisher supporting the many talented but unknown “software artists”. EA’s plan developed by Hawkins and later refined by Larry Probst who joined the company in 1984 was to sell directly to retailers rather than work through a third party. To get this plan working in the 1980s EA fiercely promote their artists and shared a sizeable amount of profits with them. As the startup EA did not have enough properties of their own to establish their market foothold EA would sell their services to other publishers. Gaining success in the market with titles such as “Seven Cities of Gold”, “Bard’s Tale” and “Starflight” EA started to seek out particular markets including sports simulation which perhaps drew their attention to Micro Forté’s “America’s Cup Challenge” game.
Despite EA’s early stated commitment to being a publisher for independent developers in 1987 they established their own development studio. Gaining some success with their own games in 1990 they embarked on developing for Sega’s new console. Not wishing to pay Sega’s licensing fees they created their own version of the Sega Cartridge. After some legal to and froing a deal was struck and EA was permitted to develop their cartridges for the Sega Master System. Trip Hawkins moved on from EA in 1991 leaving Probst in charge. Probst developed EA’s lucrative model of repacking the same sports titles each year.
References: Rossel Waugh, Eric-Jon, “A Short History of Electronic Arts”, Business Week, August 24, 2006, Accessed 15 October 2013