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Mike Wilson (CEO): Wikis


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Mike Wilson, aka Michael S. Wilson as a filmmaker, has been a computer and video game executive since 1995, when he worked at DWANGO as VP of Development for 6 months before being hired by id Software to handle marketing and start up their own self-publishing.


id Software

Mike oversaw the launches of several games (sequels and add-ons) in the Doom and Heretic/Hexen series before launching the retail shareware version of Quake via encrypted CD-ROMs and later DVDs, which (in addition to all the other major game retailers) he managed to get into 7-11 stores nationwide.

Ion Storm

Mike left id Software at the end of 1996 to join John Romero and Tom Hall in founding and launching Ion Storm, with the idea that Ion Storm would want to self-publish after their initial deal with Tomb Raider publisher Eidos Interactive. Mike was named CEO of that company in January 1997, and created an avalanche of PR for the company that year while working on the developer-publisher business plan, which was known as "Ion Strike" at the time.

In late 1997, Mike was reportedly pushed out of Ion Storm due to his volatile relationship with Eidos and Ion Storm partner Todd Porter, who became CEO upon Wilson's departure.

Gathering of Developers

Mike, along with Harry Miller, CEO of Ritual Entertainment, and several other independent development studios including 3D Realms, Epic Games, Terminal Reality, and PopTop Software, announced Gathering of Developers aka g.o.d. (and later known as GodGames), in January 1998, with a front page story in the New York Times appearing the day of launch. Gathering was painted as an artist-friendly, developer-driven publishing operation which would brand its developers above the publishing label and would permit them to own their intellectual property and thereby earn the highest royalty rates in the industry.

Funded through distribution and co-publishing deals by Take-Two Interactive, Gathering went on to publish several top-selling PC games including Railroad Tycoon 2, Stronghold, Serious Sam, Tropico, Darkstone, Mafia, and finally Max Payne, but not until it had been fully acquired by Take-Two in May 2000. Wilson and Miller negotiated a separation for themselves and almost their entire Texas-based crew from Take-Two in the summer of 2001, after losing their best friend and Gathering co-founder Doug Myres.


Wilson took 28 of the 30 Gathering employees on with him to a new startup dedicated to his lost friend, a videomagazine on DVD called SubstanceTV, which was aimed at Gen-X friendly, non-mainstream content such as music videos, short films, original short documentaries, and other content not available elsewhere. Unable to make the venture work commercially, Wilson winded it down in August 2002 after publishing seven issues.

Take-Two Interactive

Wilson was then lured back into gaming by Take-Two Interactive, who hired him as Executive Vice President of A&R, hoping he could come back to breathe some life into the label they had bought and sign on a new group of independent developers and properties. Having already started work on his first feature documentary, Wilson took up dual roles in gaming and film during 2002-2004, working for Take-Two out of a small Gathering office in Austin while producing the film Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock (released in 2006 by WEA) out of his Gone Off Deep Productions office across the hall.

Upon the completion of his contract with Take-Two (and his non-compete afterward), and the completion of the film's production, Wilson rejoined with Harry Miller in a fundraising effort to start up another independent games publisher, codenamed "God2."

Wilson completed another documentary entitled The Temple Builder during the nearly two year process it took to raise sufficient funding for "Gone Off Deep Games", which was achieved in August 2006.

Gamecock Media Group

On February 12, 2007, Mike Wilson and his partners Harry Miller and Rick Stults announced the formation of Gamecock Media Group, a new video game publisher that "they hope will act as the equivalent of an independent film company for small game developers."[1]

Gamecock was acquired by Southpeak Interactive in October 2008, after releasing several titles including Mushroom Men for Wii and Nintendo DS, Dementium: The Ward for Nintendo DS, Hail to the Chimp for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Legendary for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Stronghold: Crusader Extreme for PC, Insecticide for PC and Nintendo DS, and Fury for PC. Southpeak dissolved the brand and will release future Gamecock titles, such as Velvet Assassin and Section 8 under their own label.

Devolver Digital

In late 2008, Mike Wilson rejoined Harry Miller and several other former partners to form Devolver Digital, a producer/publisher hybrid initially working with Croteam, creators of the Serious Sam franchise that Wilson and Miller helped establish while with Gathering of Developers. Devolver's first release, Serious Sam HD:The First Encounter, came out in November of 2009 on PC and Janurary of 2010 on Xbox Live Arcade. Serious Sam HD:The Second Encounter is expected in the Spring of 2010 on PC on XBLA. The company is said to also be working with Croteam on the true sequel to the Serious Sam series, Serious Sam 3, for PC and consoles. No other titles have been announced.


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