Hawkins in 2013
William Murray Hawkins III|
December 28, 1953
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Stanford University (M.B.A.)
|Employer||University of California, Santa Barbara|
Founding Electronic Arts|
|Board member of||Electronic Arts (EA)|
|Awards||AIAS Hall of Fame Award (2005)|
Hawkins was the Director of Strategy and Marketing at Apple Computer in 1982 when he left to found Electronic Arts (EA), a video game publisher. Electronic Arts was successful for many years under his leadership. He has been credited with spearheading the games industry's evolution from simple one-person creations to complex team projects during this time.
Though he remained chair of the board, Hawkins transitioned from EA in 1991 to form 3DO, a video game console company. He resigned from the board of EA in July, 1994. Meanwhile, 3DO was formed in partnership with several other companies including EA. Upon its release in 1993, the 3DO was the most powerful video game console at the time. It was also expensive at launch, initially costing US$599, compared to other major systems retailing for under $200. Sales were poor due to its exorbitant price and weak games that relied excessively on full motion video sequences (which were state-of-the-art for the time) at the expense of gameplay. Hopes for the system were further damaged in 1994 with the arrival of the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn, both of which were more expensive than the 3DO but had more modern hardware and stronger first party support. While acknowledging the 3DO's failure in the marketplace, Next Generation listed Hawkins in their "75 Most Important People in the Games Industry of 1995", calling him "one of the game market's visionaries."
In 1996, 3DO stopped developing the system and transitioned into a video game developer, making games for the PlayStation, PC and other consoles. While remaining chairman and CEO of the company, Hawkins took on the additional role of creative director. Hawkins decided to make branding a focus and 6-to-9-month production timetables for games. As a result, quality suffered as did sales. Hawkins had used cash reserves to bail out the failing company before, but declined to do so a final time. Due to poor sales of its titles, it went bankrupt in May 2003. 3DO is now out of business. The defunct company sold most of its intellectual property, including the Might and Magic franchise, to publisher Ubisoft, whereas Trip Hawkins owns the 3DO console hardware and software.
In late 2003, Hawkins launched a new video game development company called Digital Chocolate. The company focuses on developing games for handheld devices. He stepped down from the CEO position at Digital Chocolate in May, 2012.
In 2012, Hawkins joined the board of directors of Israeli technology company Extreme Reality, which is working on developing motion control software that can read a person's movement in 3D, but which only requires a 2D camera.
On March 20, 2013, NativeX, a mobile ad technology platform for games, announced Trip Hawkins as a senior advisor to their board of directors. Hawkins also joined the advisory board at Skillz, a mobile eSports platform, as a strategic advisor in December 2014.
His new startup, If You Can, aims to foster social and emotional development (SEL) in children, teaching compassion and anti-bullying lessons. Their first game, "IF...", uses a free-to-play model and is meant for teachers and students in an educational environment.
In 2016, Hawkins joined University of California, Santa Barbara as Professor of Practice in the Technology Management Program. He currently instructs an undergraduate course titled "Entrepreneurship" and co-teaches a graduate Project and Leadership Practicum course with Professor Dave Seibold.
Then along came Trip Hawkins and Electronics Arts. ... Hawkins envisioned a new paradigm for software development that would bring together teams of artists, each focusing on their particular specialty (design, art, programming), leaving the marketing and sales to others.
$299 gets you a [3DO] with two pack-in games and RF capability. In contrast, Saturns and PlayStations cost $349 with one pack-in and no RF output.