Useful Notes / 3DO Interactive Multiplayer

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The 3DO, released by the now-defunct 3DO Company in 1993, was an attempt to create a standardized video game console format. The 3DO Company was founded by Trip Hawkins, the founder of Electronic Arts, which he left to form 3DO.

The system was unique in that it wasn't manufactured by the parent company. Instead, 3DO licensed the blueprints to various manufacturers, which provided their own versions of the console. Panasonic was the first, with Goldstar (LG) and Sanyo providing their own versions later.

Despite a great deal of hype (to the point that it was named Time Magazine's "1994 Product of the Year") and graphics far superior to anything else at the time short of the LaserActive, the 3DO never took off. The console launched with a price of $700, making it one of the most expensive systems of all time note , and the early games squandered the system's impressive specs on Full Motion Video. And like many other early CD based games, the complete lack of copy protection made it ridiculously easy to pirate its games, which didn't do the underselling console any favors profit wise.

Nevertheless, 3DO's very liberal licensing policy gave the system a surprisingly large number of third-party productions (if heavily variable in quality), with Crystal Dynamics, 3DO themselves, and Electronic Arts releasing some very solid titles. However, this didn't save it from the hype for the superior Sega Saturn and PlayStation systems just around the corner, and the 3DO format died a quick death after a much-hyped 64-bit add-on called the "M2" ended up being unceremoniously cancelled by its buyer.

3DO tried to rebrand itself as a third-party developer (much like the Sega of today), but a lack of quality control due to a failed game development strategy led to them going bankrupt in 2003.

Videos of various games with commentary by former 3DO Company employees ewhac and gammadev can be found here.


  • CPU: 32-bit ARM60, 12.5 Mhz, with math coprocessor.
  • GPU: Two custom video coprocessors.
  • Sound: Custom DSP.

  • 2MB main memory.
  • 1MB video memory.
  • 32K battery-backed saved game memory.

  • 640*480 resolution.
  • 24-bit color.

  • 16-bit stereo or surround sound.


Exclusive titles and Multi-Platform games that started here:



Alternative Title(s): Three DO Interactive Multiplayer