Trip Hawkins – Wikipedia

American businessman

William Murray “Trip” Hawkins III (born December 28, 1953) is an American entrepreneur and founder of Electronic Arts, The 3DO Company, and Digital Chocolate.

A fan of the Strat-O-Matic Football pen and paper games, Hawkins started his first business as a teenager trying to create a knockoff version. He borrowed $5,000 from his father to start up the venture and advertised his game in NFL Game Programs, but the business failed. Eventually, he received his first computer and became interested in creating a digital football game, because it would allow players to avoid the challenging math of the game were all handled internally.[3]
he designed his own undergraduate major at Harvard University in Strategy and Applied Game Theory.[4]

Around this time, in 1975, Hawkins estimated that it would take home computer saturation seven years to make a viable career out of game design.[3] He was the Director of Strategy and Marketing at Apple Computer in 1982 when he left to found Electronic Arts (EA), a video game publisher. EA 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.[5] One of his first big wins was to sign John Madden on as a spokesperson and a consultant to his company’s football game which would eventually lead to the popular Madden NFL series of video games.[3]

At this point, Electronic Arts was a computer software company which did not want to deal with Nintendo’s strict licensing policies. He saw his opportunity when Sega released the Genesis. Not wanting to pay licensing fees, he hired a team to reverse engineer the system for his company to make unlicensed games on it. Hawkins eventually revealed his intentions to Sega, while offering a partnership to combat Nintendo telling them, “You can sue, but we did the tech fair and square and have great lawyers. So make us an official licensee. And give us a reduced rate.” Sega, anticipating that Hawkins would sell his research to other third-party companies, agreed and made them a partner.[3]

Though he remained chair of the board, he 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 launched at an expensive US$599 (equivalent to about $1,200 in 2021),[6] compared to other major systems 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[7] 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”.[8]

In 1996, 3DO stopped developing the system and transitioned into a video game developer, making games for the PlayStation, PC, and other consoles.[9] While remaining chairman and CEO of the company, Hawkins took on the additional role of creative director.[10] Hawkins focused on branding and 6–to–9–month production timetables for games. As a result, quality and sales suffered. 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. The defunct company sold most of its intellectual property, including the Might and Magic franchise, to publisher Ubisoft, while Trip Hawkins retained ownership of the 3DO console hardware and software.

In late 2003, Hawkins launched a new video game development company called Digital Chocolate. The company focused on developing games for handheld devices. He stepped down from the CEO position at Digital Chocolate in May, 2012.[11]

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.[12]

On March 20, 2013, NativeX, a mobile ad technology platform for games, announced Trip Hawkins as a senior advisor to their board of directors.[13][14] Hawkins also joined the advisory board at Skillz, a mobile eSports platform, as a strategic advisor in December 2014.[15]

His newest startup, If You Can Company, aims to foster social and emotional development 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.[16]

Hawkins lives in Santa Barbara, California where he served from 2016–2019 as a professor of entrepreneurship and leadership at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In 2005, Hawkins became the eighth person to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.[17]


  1. ^ Trip Hawkins, MBA ’78 from
  2. ^ “D.I.C.E Special Awards”. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d HRUBY, Patrick. “OTL:The Franchise”. ESPN. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  4. ^ William M. ‘Trip’ Hawkins III interview from
  5. ^ “How to Get a Job in the Game Industry”. Next Generation. No. 16. Imagine Media. April 1996. p. 35. 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.
  6. ^ Ramsay, M. (2012). Trip Hawkins. Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play (pp. 1-15). New York: Apress.
  7. ^ “The “Other” System”. GamePro. No. 87. IDG. December 1995. pp. 204–6. $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.
  8. ^ “75 Power Players: The Evangelist”. Next Generation. No. 11. Imagine Media. November 1995. p. 56.
  9. ^ “The World According to Trip”. Next Generation. No. 22. Imagine Media. October 1996. pp. 6–12, 159, 161, 163, 165.
  10. ^ “3DO Company Restructures to Focus on Internet Games”. GamePro. No. 99. IDG. December 1996. p. 32.
  11. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (May 27, 2012). “Digital Chocolate Downsizing? Founder Trip Hawkins Out As CEO; Reports Of Layoffs, Marc Metis As Interim CEO”. TechCrunch.
  12. ^ EA founder believes Extreme Reality holds key to better motion control, Tracey Lien, Oct 11, 2012
  13. ^ Takahashi, Dean (March 20, 2013). “W3i rebrands as NativeX and launches native advertising”. VentureBeat. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  14. ^ “NativeX, Formerly W3i, Launches New Platform to Help Developers Better Monetize With Innovative Native Advertising”. March 20, 2013. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  15. ^ “Trip Hawkins joins mobile esports platform Skillz”. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  16. ^ Takahashi, Dean (December 15, 2013). “Trip Hawkins’ new game helps kids learn about their feelings”. VentureBeat. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  17. ^ Adams, David (January 31, 2005). “Trip Hawkings added to Hall of Fame”. IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved January 2, 2017.

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