|Successor||Williams Entertainment (1994–1996) |
Midway Home Entertainment (1996–2009)
Tradewest Games Holding
|Fate||Merged into Williams and later Midway|
|Headquarters||Corsicana, TX, USA|
|Leland Cook, founder|
Byron Cook, co-founder
John Rowe, co-founder
Tradewest was an American video game company based in Corsicana, Texas that produced numerous games in the 1980s and early 1990s. The company was the publisher of the Battletoads and Double Dragon series in North America and the PAL region.
The name was revived in August 2009 by Midway Games's former European subsidiaries which rebranded themselves as Tradewest. They inherited the name from the American parent company which had owned the Tradewest trademark since 1996.
Tradewest was founded in 1985 by Leland Cook, his son Byron Cook, and John Rowe. Tradewest started out by manufacturing SNK's Alpha Mission arcade game in the United States, followed by Ikari Warriors and Victory Road before shifting away from the coin-op arcade game business to concentrate on the home console market.
In 1987, Tradewest purchased Cinematronics, a video game developer and manufacturer based in El Cajon, California, whose previous games included Dragon's Lair and Space Ace, and renamed it The Leland Corporation. John Rowe was chosen to run the El Cajon office as he already had a successful history in video games as executive vice-president of SNK's U.S division.
Tradewest operated three companies: Tradewest, Inc, Tradewest International and The Leland Corporation. It released video games in the late 1980s and early 1990s for consoles mainly from Nintendo and Sega.
In 1994, Tradewest was unsuccessfully sued by Philips Corporation and Lockheed Sanders for an alleged patent infringement in the art of an arcade video game.
Tradewest was acquired in April 1994 by WMS Industries, who owned Midway Games. Tradewest was reorganized as Williams Entertainment, Inc. with Rowe and the two Cooks as its heads, thus signaling the end of Tradewest. Operating as a sister division to Midway, Williams Entertainment was used to enter to the home video game console market, allowing WMS to publish home games directly without having to rely on other publishers, such as Acclaim Entertainment, which had held a right-of-first-refusal license to Midway games.
In 1996, Williams Entertainment was placed directly under the control of Midway, who renamed the division Midway Home Entertainment, Inc.. Both the Corsicana, Texas, facility and a new R&D facility in San Diego (replacing the El Cajon location) remained open within Midway, who continued to employ Byron Cook (who became president of Midway Home Entertainment) and John Rowe (who became Vice-Chairman and Director of Product Development). The division developed and published games during the fifth and sixth console generation.
Byron Cook resigned from Midway in 2001. The following year, Midway's head office in Chicago shut down the Corsicana location. John Rowe became the president and CEO of High Moon Studios (formerly Sammy Studios).
15 years after the original American company dissolved, the Tradewest name was revived in Europe in 2009 by the former Midway UK and France publishing divisions following a management buyout.
On August 19, 2009, Midway Games Ltd (founded in 1999 in London as the English subsidiary of Midway Games Inc) and Midway Games SAS (founded in 2005 in Paris as the French subsidiary of Midway Games Inc) were sold to Spiess Media Holding UG, owned by Martin Spiess (the former head of Midway Games Ltd). A new German holding company, Tradewest Games Holding, was created to own the former Midway subsidiaries, which also took the Tradewest name.
Tradewest Games Holding, along with its subsidiaries, vanished in 2013.[clarification needed]