|Sierra On-Line #32 |
Games developed: 50
Games published: 94
Period: 1982 - 2004
From the indispensable Adventureland:
"In 1978, Ken and Roberta Williams founded On-Line Systems. The company changed its name to Sierra On-Line in 1980.
Their early games, up to Time Zone and Softporn Adventure, were made under the On-Line Systems name. All the adventure games that were originally marketed under On-line Systems came in small square folders in ziploc bags. They were rereleased as by SierraVenture in 1982 and had much more professional-looking folders (approximately 8" X 11"). The action/arcade games were released under SierraVision for a while. Some of the earlier games like Mystery House, Wizard and the Princess and Cranston Manor, have been released with more different cover art variations than you'd care to know [all of them were published on the PC by IBM].
All the SierraVenture games were written using different frameworks. Starting with King's Quest, Sierra started using a common interpreter called AGI which made their games much more portable.
Their "enhanced versions" and presumably later releases as well are written in a programming language called SCI (Sierra's Creative Interpreter)."
Sierra's most popular series, King's Quest, earned international recognition and numerous industry awards. To date the series has sold more than 3 million copies, making Roberta Williams one of the best-selling computer game designers in the industry.
In 1989, Sierra went public. By fiscal year 1995 (ending March 31, 1995), revenues exceeded $80 million and Sierra's staff grew to more than 700 employees. With the acquisitions of several software publishers and the opening of international offices in Japan and England, Sierra has become a major worldwide publisher with distribution in more than 50 countries.
Sierra then went on a buying spree in mid-90s, acquiring Dynamix, Bright Star Technologies, Coktel Vision, Green Thumb Software, Arion software, Impressions Software, Papyrus Design Group, SubLogic, Berkeley Systems, and finally Headgate in 1997. Their development section was spun off as Yosemite Entertainment and originally killed off in 1999, but it was later bought by Codemasters and is still in business.
As a publishing house, Sierra is still very much in business, even though it has changed hands several times. It was originally privately owned under Ken Williams, then sold to Cendant, and is now owned by Havas Interactive.
Related companies: Impressions, Dynamix, Coktel Vision, Synergistic Software, Game Arts, IBM, Evryware, Codemasters, SubLogic, Jeff Tunnell ProductionsRelated companies: Impressions Dynamix Coktel Vision Synergistic Software Game Arts IBM