In 1988 Blue Byte‘s founder, Thomas Hertzler and a fellow colleague employed at the German development company, Rainbow Arts, decided that their talents for game design and programming should be put to the test and employed more directly torwards achieving their own personal goals. And so they formed Blue Byte Software.
The pair decided that home gamers were long overdue a first class sports title. Drawing upon their design and programming experience, Blue Byte created Pro Tennis Tour, a fast action tennis simulation for the Super NES.
Published under license by Ubi Soft of France, the title was an immediate hit and the early principles for Blue Byte‘s long term success were established:
- Individuality in game design and excellence in gameplay
- The need for well managed, "in house"development resources
- "no compromise"sales, marketing and production qualities
- An international perspective to product development
Following a number of subsequent successes, Thomas Hertzler, decided in 1991 to take the bold step towards Blue Byte marketing and publishing its own titles. This proved a turning point for the company, in adding the necessary sales, marketing and distribution infrastructure that matched the quality of its development facilities.
Developing by now, mainly for the home computer market, Blue Byte released, in this initial year, the first editions of its two "signature" series - Battle Isle and The Settlers.
Each was borne out of different aspects of Blue Byte's new found strength. The Amiga hit, Battle Isle, was wholly developed in-house. Meanwhile, The Settlers, submitted by an external developer, was brought to success through the growing expertise of the company‘s marketing organization and the influence of its rapidly expanding distribution network, building partnerships throughout the world.
The experience of these first two published titles set the pattern for the ensuing growth of Blue Byte and established the ethos by which Thomas Hertzler has continued to develop the company. This has been to actively encourage and establish partnerships in the development and distribution of the company‘s products, and to build a strong internal infrastructure by which the company can retain control, or at the very least maintain direction, in all matters.
Early in this ’independent‘ phase the company recognised that, in spite of its position in the European arena, the demands of a rapidly growing global industry required that if Blue Byte was to retain a position of significance, it too must acquire a global presence. Building out from its headquarters in Germany, the company established an international office in the United States in 1995. In the Summer of 1998, Blue Byte took another bold step of relocating its operations in the U.S. from Chicago, Illinois, to new facilities in Austin, Texas. The move was very much motivated by the growing gaming development community and infrastructure based in and around Austin and Blue Byte‘s aspiration to stay at the leading edge in gaming design and internet technology.
Blue Byte's European office has offered the company access to many of the world‘s export territories, as well as the distributors that service those markets. While the U.S. represents not only the world‘s largest single market for PC products, it is also the home of invention and sets the trend for much of the technology that is the future of the industry.
These two offices work together to provide Blue Byte with a coherent and effective policy of globalization. The company maintains a state-of-the-art development facility, manned by a team of 20, at its headquarters in Germany. Blue Byte also works with independent developers in other countries - Germany, USA, Turkey and Czech Republic naming a few, to either publish products or complete projects. In bringing products to market, Blue Byte blends the experience of the sales, marketing and public relations teams in each of its offices, with a network of distribution and licensing partnerships. From Iceland to Australia, from Korea to Brazil, it ensures that customers throughout the world have access to Blue Byte products.
As Blue Byte looks back on 11 years of excellence in the computer games industry, it can be proud of overcoming many of the challenges it has had to face. The company can draw upon that experience and success to keep on creating the milestones and delivering its unique hallmark of independence, for years to come.
Most recently; Blue Byte has turned its attention to the emergent online and network gaming sectors, seeking to extend the traditional single player challenge into a wider embracing multiplayer experience. The company‘s key launches for 1999 and beyond reflect its continued commitment to providing alternative and innovative styles of entertainment and gameplay, harnessing the latest advances in technology.
Software Highlights from Credited Titles
Blue Byte's first work that SPOnG is aware of is the 1988 title, "Pro Tennis Tour" (SNES).
The company has been involved titles released on the PC, Wii, PS3, DS/DSi, iPad, Power Mac, SNES, Amiga, Mac, C64, Spectrum 48K and Amstrad CPC. Of these, "Settlers: Heritage of Kings" (PC) and "The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom" (PC) have been best selling titles.
The company's most recent involvement was on the 2019 release "ANNO 1800" (PC).
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