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"Balls"
[[File:Balls Logo 2015|250px]]
Type Public
Industry Computer and video games
Genre Puzzle
Predecessor(s) On-Line Systems
Atari, Inc.
Blue Sky Software
OK Labs
Tiger Telematics
Successor(s) GreenyWorld Interactive
Konami
Interplay Entertainment
Founder(s) Michael Wildshill
Bill Williams
John Harris
Headquarters Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. (as of June 2015)
Key people Zeke Ruhtersford (CEO)
Revenue US$524.6 million (1999)
Net income US$827.6 million (1999)
US$102.2 million (2015, excluding the acquisitions and divestments)
Employees ~400 (May 2015)
~105 (July 2015)
Owner(s) Independent (1981-1994; 2011-2012; 2015-present)
Parent Independent (1981-1994; 2011-2012; 2015-present)
Stainton Enterprises (2015)
Apple Entertainment, Inc. (2014-2015)
Balls Corporation (2012-2014)
Fox Digital Entertainment (2006-2011)
Fox Interactive (1994-2006)
Universal Interactive Studios (1994-2000)
Divisions Robionix
Tribal Dreams
Tantrum Entertainment
Digital Mayhem
14 Degrees East
Subsidiaries view Studios

"Balls" Ltd. (formerly "Balls", LLC. and "Balls", Inc.), is an American (currently once again going multinational) video game developer, and before July 2015, licensor, publisher and distributor. Founded in 1981 by Michael Wildshill, John Harris and Bill Williams, "Balls" is best known for the Balls series and used to own/owns the license to make Greeny Phatom video games. The company is located in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

History

To see about "Balls" studios' history, go to List of acquisitions by Stainton Enterprises#History

"Balls" was founded in 1981 by Michael Wildshill (a former employee at Atari), Bill Williams and John Harris (then-employee at On-Line Systems) as a company specializing in video compression and non-linear editing systems, particularly for Acorn Archimedes computers.

Balls 1981

First logo ever used, used from 1981 to 1992

Balls logo

"Balls" logo used to 1992 to 2013

''Balls'' Logo (2014)

Early logo prototype (2014)

Balls 2013 logo

"Balls" logo used from 2013 to 2014

Balls (2013)

"Balls" logo used from 2014 to 2015

"Balls" made its first game called Balls., and made a series out of them.

In 1982, when On-Line Systems was becoming Sierra On-Line, "Balls" hired many employees from On-Line Systems. They hired employees again, this time, from Atari, in 1984, when Atari, Inc. was closing down.

"Balls" made titles for the NES, most of which were distributed by the Ertl toy company. Most of them had poorly-made boxart, some of which were developed by companies who also made unlicensed games, tons of digitized voice clips, and cheesy music.

In August 1994, "Balls" was acquired by Fox Interactive and Universal Interactive Studios, and two years later, the Geo Adventure series was made, the first game in that series marked the debut of the GeoBob Engine.

In 1995, "Balls" moved from their original headquarters in San Jose to new offices in Culver City.

In 1998, Bill Williams, the co-founder of the company, died and games released during 1998 and 1999 included a memoriam.

On August 15, 2000, "Balls" ended it's contract with and spun-off from Universal Interactive Studios, and in November 7, 2011, did the same with Fox Digital Entertainment.

On August 9, 2015, "Balls" was purchased by a group of investors lead by daughter of GP co-creator James Clayton, Erika Clayton. She announced plans to reform the company via the purchasing back of the Greeny Phatom video game rights from GreenyWorld Interactive. and new employees.

As a subsidiary of the new "Balls" Corporation (2015-present)

In September of 2015, Edward Fowly (the man who said, jokingly, "Balls" was to be closed in December 2014 because of financial difficulties) was killed in a car accident. Balls' new game, GreenyWorld-NFL Super Bowl Bash (with the NFL and Greenyworld Interactive), contained a dedication to him.

In December 4, 2015, Stainton Enterprises acquired all of OK Labs assets except for the management team of OK Labs, and the OK Labs's video game development division, both being merged to the new "Balls".

The new management team was brought on board with the old "Balls" management team and the CEO Zeke Ruthersford. "Balls" decided to start making Greeny Phatom video games again, after obtaining the license.

Failed acquisitions

In October 2013, "Balls" tried to acquire PrimeSense for $200 million and failed.

On March 2015, it was announced that "Balls" would acquire Ace Ltd and merged Ace with Starway Games Japan, to form Star-Ace. However, on May 8, 2015, the merger was called off, reportedly due to:

  • management team at Ace Ltd strongly disapproving the idea
  • and the restruction of "Balls", which had many staff leaving to work at OK Labs, therefore "shrinking" the "Balls" company, making it almost unable to continue any businesses, acquisitions and hiring.

Ace Ltd's acquisition by "Balls" was cancelled.

Studios

Established studios

  • Robionix - The only non-game-related studio formed by "Balls". Created in May 19, 2015. It was originally set to be acquired by OK Labs. The acquisition would have been expected to close in August 2016, however it was prevented by OK Labs closing in 2015.
  • Tantrum Entertainment - an arcade-action game division, created in June 15, 2015.

Defunct

  • SIZ founded in 1994, acquired in 1997, name changed to "Balls" Studios Wellington in 1999, closed in 2001.
  • K-3 Productions founded in December 1985, acquired in 1997, disbanded in 2001, closed and trademarks retired in 2002.
  • LO Studios founded in 2003, acquired in 2005, closed in 2006.
  • "Balls" Studios Montreal, founded in 1998, closed in 2009.
  • "Balls" Studios New York, founded in 1979 as GeoLand Studios in Quincy, Massachusetts, moved to New York in 1983, acquired in 1999, name changed to "Balls" Studios New York in 2000, closed in 2011 due to financial reasons.
  • "Balls" Studios Vancouver, founded in 1997, closed in 2010, half of the BigPark's staff and the trademarks were acquired in 2012, BigPark replaced the Vancouver studio in 2013, the trademarks were sold back to Microsoft in a public aution in 2014.
  • "Balls" Studios Orlando, founded in 2001, closed in 2014.
  • "Balls" Studios Nottingham, founded in 2003, closed in 2014.
  • "Balls" Studios Birmingham, founded in 2013, closed in 2014.
  • "Balls" Studios San Diego, founded in 2008, closed in 2014.
  • "Balls" Studios Palo Alto, founded in 1995, closed in 2009.
  • "Balls" Studios Taiwan, founded in 1998, disbanded in 2003, closed and trademarks and copyright retired in 2011.
  • HenryStudios, founded in 2007 in Miami, Florida, acquired in 2011. Merged to form "Balls" Game Labs in 2015.

Departured/former first-party studios

  • Rocksteady Studios, founded and acquired in 2004, name changed to "Balls" Studios Highgate in 2005, name changed back to Rocksteady and sold to WB Games in 2009.
  • Boong.com, founded in 2009, acquired in 2013. Has offices in Redwood City, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Shanghai and Hunt Valley. Sold to OK Labs on May 6, 2015.
    • Boong Dallas, founded in 2012, acquired in 2013. Sold to EA and merged to Pogo Austin on May 6, 2015.
    • Boong Arizona, founded as Orange Box Games at Tucson, Arizona in 2005, acquired in 2013. Sold to OK Labs on May 6, 2015.
      • Boong San Diego, founded as Orange Box North in 2006, acquired in 2013. Sold to OK Labs on May 6, 2015.
  • Saturn Interactive, founded in 2007 in Dublin, acquired in 2014. Staff moved to Westlight Game Studios in 2015.
  • "Balls" Studios Dundee, founded in 2007. Sold to SnakeCore in May 2015.
  • "Balls" Studios Toronto, founded in 2008. Game development operations ceased in 2014, revived and sold to SnakeCore in May 2015.
  • "Balls" Studios New Orleans, founded in 2014, staff moved to Court Games on May 6, 2015.
  • Slik Games, founded in March 1993 in San Mateo, California, acquired on July 3, 1996. Bought for $900 million by OK Labs - Team Chu in May 10, 2015.
    • Slik Games South, established in 2003 as "Balls" Studios San Antonio. Balls Corporation renamed the studio, restructed and moved under and is now a development branch of Slik Games, as of September 2014. Now part of OK Labs - Team Chu.
    • Slik Games UK, established in 2002 as "Balls" Studios Manchester, sold to Starway Games and merged under Starway Games UK in 2014, sold and restructed under Slik Games in September 2014. Now part of OK Labs - Team Chu.
  • Starway Games UK - located at both Essex, United Kingdom. Responsible for game development, game assurance and localization. Created in 2013, bought by OK Labs - Team Chu and merged to Slik Games UK, in May 5, 2015.
  • Starway Games Japan - responsible for localization and game porting. Created in 2013, bought by OK Labs - Team Chu and merged to form Slik Games Japan, in May 5, 2015.
  • Nyriam - located at Osaka, Japan. Created in 2013, bought by OK Labs - Team Chu and merged to form Slik Games Japan, in May 5, 2015.
  • Starway Games Abu Dhabi, being the current co-owner with Abu Dhabi Media Group/Image Nation, the studio was bought from "Balls" in a public auction in June 2014. Bought by OK Labs as part of the "semi-liquidiation", in May 2015.
  • "Balls" Studios Chicago, founded in 1996. Acquired from "Balls" by and merged to GreenyWorld Interactive in June 2015.
  • Starway Games USA - the headquarters of the studio, located at Santa Monica, California. The studio is acquired and merged to GreenyWorld Interactive in June 2015.
  • Wingstar Online Studios, founded in Hunt Valley and Austin in 2014. Acquired and merged to GreenyWorld Interactive in June 2015.
  • Wingstar Studios Los Angeles, founded in Los Angeles in 2014. Merged to "Balls" in 2015.
  • Wingstar Online Studios Seoul, founded in 2014. Merged to "Balls" in 2015.
  • "Balls" Studios Riverside, founded in 2008. Merged to "Balls" in 2015.
  • "Balls" of Europe, founded in 1996. Merged to "Balls" in 2015.
  • "Balls" of Japan, founded in 1996. Merged to "Balls" in 2015.
  • Starway Games, founded in 1990, acquired in 1996. As part of the shut down of "Balls", Starway Games brand "transformed to and was re-born" as "AQ Interactive" on June 2015.
  • Westlight Game Studios, founded in 2009 in Porto Alegre, acquired by "Balls" in 2014. Acquired from "Balls" and retained by Apple Entertainment in June 2015.
  • Wingstar Studios, founded in Montréal in 2014. Brand ownership changed to Apple Entertainment in 2015, after the employees went to work at EA, GreenyWorld Interactive and OK Labs.

In-house development groups

Main article(s): List of development groups of "Balls"

Games featuring Geo Guy

Announcements

"Balls" plans to make mobile games

When the developers heard that Nintendo is announcing to make mobile games, they decide to do it to. Their first mobile game was "Greeny Phatom Kindle", which is playable on the Kindle. Their fanbase was excited about this announcement, they can't wait to play games like Greeny Phatom: The Video Game on their devices.

On May 6, 2015, Apple Entertainment moved all the "Balls" mobile staff to Vigil Games, and closed the mobile division of "Balls". In September 2015, Apple Entertainment merged Vigil Games and THQ to "Balls" and moved the staffs to there, reviving the mobile division.

Trivia

Main article: "Balls"/Trivia

"Balls" studios
Balls Logo 2015
Main studios
"Balls" (E)
Established studios (E)
"Balls" Studios Chicago | "Balls" Studios Riverside

Acquired studios (A)
Slik Games

Upcoming Studios

Publishing (P)
"Balls" | Balls Indipendent Games (E) (X) | Midway Amusement Games (A) (X) | ASC Games (A) (X) (former publisher) | Volatile Games (A) (X) (former main studio)
Technology studios/Research and development facilities (T)
Quality Assurance (closed in July 30, 2014)
"Balls" Quality Assurance Studio 1/"Balls" QA Novato (closed in July 30, 2014)
Testing Centers (closed in July 30, 2014)
"Balls" Beta Testing Studios USA (closed in July 30, 2014)
Software Planning Group (merged to Mango and Game Analysis & Bug Club Group)
"Balls" SP UI Development Group (console interface development group) (merged to Mango) | "Balls" SP Sound Orchestra (responsible for music and sound development and design for the projects that includes any "Balls" Software Planning Group's contributions, now merged to Game Analysis & Bug Club Group) | "Balls" SP Software Development Group (responsible for developing software from the handheld console titles with partner developers, merged to Game Analysis & Bug Club Group)

Tech Dev & System Dev Group (merged to Mango and "Balls" Game Analysis & Bug Club Group)
"Balls" TDG Designer & Enviroment Group (responsible for SDK manufacturing, development and design, experimental technologies and other respective development kits like GeoBob Engine) (merged to Mango) | "Balls" TDG Technical Support Group (merged to Mango)| "Balls" TDG Service Database Group (formed to provide digital entertainment as a service for owners of any "Balls" software or hardware) (merged to Mango) | "Balls" TDG Mechanical Group (responsible for developing software titles and peripheral (peripheral group merged with Mango), rest of the group merged to Game Analysis and Bug Club Group) | "Balls" TDG Hardware Development Laboratory Group (creation of various software technologies, hardware tools, and development kits with new members and engineers) (merged to Game Analysis & Bug Club Group and Mango)

Game Analysis & Bug Club Group
"Balls" GAB Development Group (see note 1)| "Balls" GAB UI/Sound Group (aids in music and sound effect creation and in UI and special effect creation) (merged to Mango) | "Balls" GAB Bug Club (responsible for debugging) | "Balls" GAB Music Group (created out of "Balls" SP Sound Orchestra and the former GAB group, GAB UI/Sound Group)

Integrated Research & Engineering Group (merged to Mango)
"Balls" IRE Planning Group | "Balls" IRE Technology & Mechanical Group | "Balls" IRE Industrial Group
(all IRE studios are responsible for associated peripherals)

European Research Group (merged to "Balls" Studios Montreal)

"Balls" ERG Middleware Group | "Balls" ERG Video Codec Group
(responsible for various software technologies such as video compression and middleware)

Network Business & Service Group (merged to "Balls" Studios Montreal)
"Balls" NBS Operation Group (responsible for operations of multiplayer/co-op servers of "Balls" games)

Manufacturers and it's factories
Mango (A) (Shanghai/Kuala Lumpur)
Former Studios
Defunct studios (X)
K2 Productions (A) | LO Studios (A) | SIZ (E) | "Balls" Studios Chapel Hill (E) | "Balls" Studios Alameda (E) | "Balls" Studios Chipping Sodbury (E) | "Balls" R&D Studios Cologne/QA Germany Team (E) (T) | "Balls" Studios Lyon/BIS ("Balls" Integration Studio) (E) (T) | "Balls" Casual Entertainment (E) | Mythic Entertainment (A) | "Balls" Studios Chertsey (E) | "Balls" Studios Victory (A) | "Balls" Studios Baltimore (E) | Kesmai (A) | It's BIG | FRED Publishing (A) | "Balls" Studios Buenos Aires (E) | "Balls" Studios Santiago (E) | "Balls" Studios Shanghai (E) | "Balls" Studios Mexico (E) | "Balls" Studios San Francisco (2008-2010) (E) | "Balls" Studios Quebec (1997-2004) (E) | "Balls" Studios Köln (1999-2001) (E) | "Balls" Studios Noida (2007-2009) (E) | "Balls" Studios Venezuela (2001-2002) (E) | "Balls" Studios New York (E) | Red Eagle Games (A) | Planet Ghost Corp (A) | "Balls" Studios Valencia (2003-June 2014) (E) | Ubisoft Blue Byte (2011-June 2014) (A) | Harmonix (2009-June 2014) (A) | "Balls" Studios Taiwan (2012-June 2014) (E) | Ubisoft Bucharest/Fun Labs (2012-June 2014) (A) | "Balls" Studios Sofia (E) | "Balls" Studios Casablanca (E) | "Balls" Studios Lisbon (E) | "Balls" Studios Warsaw (E) | "Balls" Studios Medellin (E) | "Balls" Studios Bogota (E) | "Balls" Studios Taunton (E) | "Balls" Studios Valletta (E) | "Balls" Studios Eugene (E) | "Balls" Studios Szczecin (E) | "Balls" Studios Mexicali (E) | "Balls" Studios Johannesburg (E) | "Balls" Studios Hong Kong (E) | "Balls" Studios Madrid (E) | "Balls" Studios Las Vegas (E)/"Balls" Quality Assurance Studio 1/"Balls" QA Las Vegas (E) (Quality Assurance) | "Balls" Studios Hanoi (E) | "Balls" Studios Kharkov (E) | "Balls" Studios Da Nang (E) | Rockstar Vienna (A) (liquidated in June 2014) | Mad Doc Software (A) (liquidated in June 2014) | Sunflowers (A) (liquidated in June 2014) | Gamelion Bydgoszcz (A) (liquidated in June 2014) | Infrogames Sheffield House (A) (liquidated in June 2014) | 7 Studios (A) (liquidated in June 2014) | Kush Games (A) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Budapest (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Bristol (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Cheltenham (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | Gameloft Studio New Delhi (A) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Copenhagen (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Prague (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Dubai (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Canberra (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Chengdu (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Zurich (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Teesside (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | UTV Ignition Entertainment (A) (merged to "Balls") | UTV True Games (A) (merged to "Balls") | UTV Indiagames.com (A) (merged to "Balls" Indipendent Games and "Balls") | PopCap Games (A) | Terminal Reality (A) | Infrogames Entertainment SA (A) | Krisalis Software (A) | "Balls" Studios Kuala Lumpur (E) (merged to Mango) | "Balls" Studios Cluj (E) (merged to Mango) | Pandemic Studios Brisbane (A) | Ready At Dawn Studios (A) | War Drum Studios (A) | Westlake Interactive (A) | Crytek Ukraine (A) | Red Storm Entertainment (A) | "Balls" Studios Frankfurt (E) | "Balls" Studios Milan (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Oxford (E) (liquidated in June 2014) | "Balls" Studios Orlando (E) | "Balls" Studios Nottingham (E) | Carbonated Games (A) | "Balls" Studios Newcastle (E) | ASC Games (A) (P) | EA Romania (Bucharest) (A) ("Balls" Mobile brand was discontinued)| Volatile Games (A; former publisher/main studio) | "Balls" Studios Wakefield, "Balls" Studios Belarus, "Balls" Studios Auckland, "Balls" Studios Barcelona, "Balls" Studios Dublin (E), AsiaSoft/Sanuk Software, Melboure House/Krome Studios, Ignition Texas, Ignition Tokyo, 2K Marin, 4J Studios (A) (closed in July 2014) | "Balls" Engineering, Manufacturing and Customer Service (Ulm/Chennai) (E) (closed in July 30, 2014; after it's console was cancelled) | Midway Amusement Games, Sega AM2/Overworks (A) (P) ("Balls" discontinued "Balls" R&D Amusement games and stopped focusing on arcade games in July 31st, 2014) | "Balls" Studios Birmingham, "Balls" Studios San Diego (E), Psygnosis Camden Studio (A) (closed in August 2014) | "Balls" Studios New Orleans (E), "Balls" Studios Dundee (E), "Balls" Studios Toronto (E), Wingstar Studios Los Angeles (E), Wingstar Online Studios Austin ∙ Seoul ∙ Hunt Valley (E), Slik Games South (A), Slik Games UK (A), Starway Games (A), Balls Indipendent Games (E), Slik Games (A), Wingstar Studios (E) (Merged to Apple Entertainment in May 2015)

Departured studios (-)
"Balls" R&D Studios Macclesfield (now as Chillingo) (E) (1999-2004) | "Balls" Studios Highgate (2004-2009) (now owned by WB Games) | "Balls" Studios Seoul, EA Salt Lake, Crytek Istanbul, "Balls" Studios London, "Balls" Studios Bangalore, Beijing Perfect World, Team Bondi, Zynga With Friends, Irrational Games, Wild Needle/RedOctane, Overkill Software/GRIN, Fishlabs Entertainment, "Balls" Studios Annecy (sold and merged to UltraNitro Studios in 2014) | "Balls" Studios Nagoya, "Balls" Studios Saigon, "Balls" Studios Manchester, "Balls" Studios Jakarta, "Balls" Studios Makati, "Balls" Studios Abu Dhabi (bought by Starway Games in 2014) | "Balls" Studios Moulineaux, "Balls" Studios Shenzhen, Ubisoft Sao Paulo, Ubisoft Pune/Gameloft Pune, Turbine, Lucasfilm Animation Game Group/Lucasfilm Animation Singapore Game Group/Lucasarts Singapore, THQ Digital Studios UK, EA Phenomic, Related Designs, "Balls" Studios Hangzhou/2K China, Crytek Black Sea (acquired by Geoshea Games, Co.) | Treyarch (A) (half of the Treayarch studio was acquired by "Balls" from Activision in June 2012; the studio was bought back by Activision) | Visceral Games, Criterion Games (A) (bought back by EA) | NG:DEV.TEAM (bought by SnakeCore) | BigPark (formerly "Balls" Studios Vancouver, staff and co-owning rights to trademarks sold back to Microsoft Studios) | Yager Development (spun-off in August 2014)|"Balls" Game Labs (E) (became OK Labs in 2015)

Note 1: In 2014, the GAB Comprehensive Group merged with TDG Mechanical Group's "software group", TDG Hardware Development Group's "software technology" and "hardware tool" groups and SP Software Development Group to form GAB Development Group