Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. (アクレイム) was founded in 1987 as a Delaware corporation. Over the next 17 years, the company became a leading worldwide developer, publisher and mass marketer. The company's headquarters were located in Glen Cove, New York, and their common stock publicly traded on the US Stock Exchange (NASDAQ symbol AKLM).
The name of the company was picked because it had to be alphabetically above the co-founder's former place of employment, Activision, and also had to be alphabetically above Accolade (another company formed by ex-Activision employees). This was a common formula for picking names of new companies that were founded by ex-Activision employees (the founders of Activision used this formula when they left Atari).
Many of Acclaim's products were licensed titles: games based on comics, television series (including wrestling shows and cartoons) and movies. They were also responsible for the ports of many of Midway's arcade games in the early-to-mid 1990s, including the Mortal Kombat series. They also published some games from other companies that at the time of publication didn't have an American branch, such as Technos Japan's Double Dragon and Taito's Bust-A-Move series. Several games in the Acclaim catalog are frequently cited as among the worst of all time, a fact that has continued to earn it the derision of gamers and gaming media. Flying Edge was a division of Acclaim that published Acclaim's games for Sega consoles. The Flying Edge name was used from 1991 to 1994. Due to contractual issues with Nintendo during the NES era, this new division was specifically created for publishing games under the Sega brand.
In the 1990s, Acclaim purchased a great number of third-party developers, including Arena Entertainment, Sculptured Software, Iguana Entertainment, Probe Software, and Software Creations. Through their subsidiaries in North America, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, and Australia, Acclaim distributed their software products directly to retailers and other outlets. They also utilized regional distributors in Japan and the Pacific Rim to distribute software within those geographic areas. In addition, Acclaim was the distributor for other publishers worldwide. A smaller portion of their business included publishing gaming strategy guides and issuing "special edition" comic magazines to support brands they owned.
The demise of Acclaim Entertainment began in 2003 when the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) began an investigation into several video game companies, including Acclaim. Lawsuits were filed in March 2003 against Acclaim in US District Court alleging "violations against the Securities Exchange Act of 1934". In June 2003, CEO Gregory Fischbach stepped down as chief executive and was replaced by President Rodney Cousens. The end of Acclaim came when they filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. All divisions and studios were closed and assets liquidated by the end of 2004. Legal battles were fought in various courts all the way into mid-2007.
However, the name Acclaim did not die immediately. During the liquidation period in Sept. 2004, former Activision CEO Howard Marks purchased the "Acclaim" name and the logo for a reported $100,000. Then in 2006, he and Neil Malhotra created a new company: Acclaim Games, with an entirely new focus on Massive Multiplayer Online Games. This new company was acquired on May 2010 by online game developer Playdom and closed by them three months later, killing the Acclaim name for good.