Michael S. Wilson (born 1970), is an American business executive, video game producer, and film-maker. Beginning his career at DWANGO as Vice President of Development before being hired to lead marketing and publishing at id Software in 1995, Wilson has subsequently co-founded multiple independent video game publishers, including Gathering of Developers, Gamecock Media Group, Devolver Digital, and Good Shepherd Entertainment.
Wilson began his career in his early 20s as Vice President of Development for DWANGO, an early online gaming service based in the United States, which pioneered the use of a nationwide network of dial-up servers to host multiplayer sessions of Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow, Heretic, and other video game titles.
Wilson joined id Software in 1995 to help lead marketing for the company's gaming catalog, and subsequently oversaw the launches of several prominent games in id's line-up, including new installments of the Doom and Heretic/Hexen franchises.
Wilson also led the launch of the retail shareware version of Quake through use of encrypted CD-ROMs. According to David Kushner in Masters of Doom, this was a strategic miscalculation, initially formulated as an attack on id Software's publisher at the time, GT Interactive. When the encryption used by the software backing the id STUFF digital catalog was cracked and a keygen known as qcrack was created, the entire catalog of id Software's games was suddenly widely available without a purchase being required. id Software also had trouble managing the release, without a sufficient staff to handle order fulfillment and tracking.:180-181
Wilson was heavily involved in the participation of id Software in Microsoft's 1995 Judgment Day event. Again according to Masters of Doom, Alex St. John could not have called id at a better time since to Wilson, "life was a party that never died." Wilson would create an enthusiastic press release for id Software, stating, "We are leading Microsoft down the highway to Hell.":160-161 During the finals of the attached Deathmatch '95 tournament, a Dallas-local three-man industrial band who were friends of Wilson, Society of the Damned, played while dressed as the Pope, Jesus, and Satan.:162 According to St. John, their style was so harsh, and their presentation so blasphemous, that the Microsoft PR team had finally had enough, and they directed two security guards to storm the stage and shut off the band's equipment during performance of the song "Gods of Fear".:162
Wilson left id Software at the end of 1996 to join John Romero and Tom Hall for the launch of the game development company, Ion Storm. Wilson served as CEO from December 1996 to the end of 1997. Wilson spearheaded the infamous 1997 print advertisement for Daikatana with the slogan "John Romero's about to make you his bitch," which upset many people and damaged Romero's reputation significantly. Wilson and other executives exited Ion Storm following a public conflict with another partner in the company, Todd Porter, who became CEO after Wilson's departure.
- This article incorporates text from the open-content Wikipedia online encyclopedia article Mike Wilson (executive).
- Biederman, Christine (14 January 1999). "Stormy Weather." Dallas Observer (archived 🏛).
- Will (5 April 2018). "DWANGO and DOOM - History of Gaming." Fully Gaming. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- Kushner, David. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture. Random House, 2003. pp. 160-162, 180-181.
- Reparaz, Mikel (21 March 2007). "The Top 7... PR disasters." GamesRadar+ (archived 🏛). Retrieved 2 December 2021.
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