Midway Games, Inc., (NYSE: MWY) is a video game developer and publisher for the international console, handheld and computer markets. Although Midway Games began as a manufacturer of amusement park equipment, the company broke into the video game market in the '70s when it formed a partnership with Taito.
Midway Games Background
Between 1978 and 1991, Midway Games got the chance to license and distribute "Space Invaders," "Pac-Man" and "Ms. Pac-Man," which became instant hits and still live on as hits no matter what system they are played on and no matter how many sequels and spin-offs get created.
Midway Games continued to gain success through the '80s and '90s by concentrating on arcade machines, pinball games and video games. In 1996, Midway Games (through its holding company WMS Industries) purchased Time-Warner Interactive, which was integrated with Atari Games and soon changed to Midway Games West to distinguish itself from the Atari company.
In the early 2000s, Midway Games slumped. Midway Games has stopped development of arcade machines and shut down Midway Games West. In 2004, Midway Games began purchasing small independent video game companies to fortify its library of games with innovation and high quality. Currently, Midway Games has multi-million dollar revenue losses, but with a few new ideas and the recent success of Nintendo, Midway Games has a chance to return to the success similar to that in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Offerings of Midway Games
Midway Games produces games that create nostalgia. They are fun and bring you back to the arcade high from yesteryear. "Pac-Man" is probably the most recognized character of all time and "Mortal Kombat" is still a popular fighting franchise that has a humongous fan base. Many Midway Games are the sort that you can just hop right into without muddling through the instructions; the characters are well-known, the story is familiar and the gameplay remains true to the series. This is what sets Midway Games apart from the other, more modern gaming companies because while they innovate success through new ideas, Midway Games successfully creates new ideas on its existing core products and franchises.
Two games could bring back Midway Games even more success: the highly anticipated "This is Vegas," a "Sin City Sim" that is already getting great reviews, and "Blitz II," the long-awaited sequel in its more-than-plain-old football series.
Despite the influx of new games, people – including myself – still pine for the simple arcade games like "Joust" and "Gauntlet." These types of games epitomize what gaming is all about: continuous gameplay and the need to play just one more time.
The Future of Midway Games
Midway Games always seems to be getting back to the basics in terms of its video games. When things in the gaming market get tough, Midway Games goes back to the roots of pure arcade enjoyment and finds moderate success again. If Midway Games stays consistent with its originality, even when releasing another game in a timeless franchise like "Mortal Kombat" or "Pac-Man," then there is no reason Midway Games should not be in the top 10 of gaming companies.
The year 2008 could go either way for Midway Games. In March, CEO David Zucker announced that a "casual games portal" is in development that could bring back even more nostalgia for old school gamers. Midway Games still has ownership of domains for those retro games so it would be easy for Midway Games to woo nostalgic gamers. That same month, David Zucker resigned and Matt Booty took over day-to-day operations in the interim.
With "Unreal Tournament 3" capturing early success, Midway Games has the beginnings of a good revenue-generating year. It appears that Midway Games will rely on some of its familiar franchises to revive the company: "NBA Ballers," "Mortal Kombat," "Myst" and "Cruisin' USA" are all finding homes on the current systems.