Hudson Soft Company, Limited, commonly known by its brand name Hudson, was a Japanese video game publisher. It was headquartered in the Midtown Tower in Tokyo Midtown, Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo, Japan, with an additional office in the Hudson Building in Sapporo.
Hudson Soft was founded on May 18, 1973. Initially, it dealt with personal computer products, but later expanded to the development and publishing of video games, mobile content, video game peripherals and music recording.
Hudson Soft ceased to exist as a company on March 1, 2012 and was merged with Konami Digital Entertainment. Products and services will continue to be provided under the Hudson brand through Konami.
Hudson Soft Ltd. was founded in Sapporo, Japan on May 18, 1973 by brothers Yuji and Hiroshi Kudo. The founders grew up admiring trains, and named the business after their favorite, the Hudson locomotives. Hudson began as a shop called CQ Hudson (CQハドソン), selling radio telecommunications devices and art photographs. In September 1975, Hudson Soft began selling personal computer-related products, and in March 1978 started developing and selling video game packages.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hudson Soft favored a quantity over quality approach for the marketing of video games. At one point, the company released up to 30 different computer softwares per month; none of which were hugely successful. Things changed in late 1983, when Hudson started to prioritize quality over quantity. Hudson became Nintendo's first third-party software vendor for the Famicom and its title for this console, Lode Runner, sold 1.2 million units after its 1984 release.
The business continued developing video games on the Famicom and computer platforms and was reorganized as Hudson Soft Co., Ltd. in July 1985.A caravan was held at sixty venues throughout Japan, a first for the video game industry. Bomberman was released in December of this year on the Famicom and was considered a "big hit" by Hudson Soft.
In July 1987, Hudson developed the "C62 System" and collaborated with NEC to develop the PC Engine video game console. It achieved a second-best success to Famicom in Japan, but its release as the TurboGrafx-16 in North America had less market share than Nintendo's new Super Nintendo or Sega's new Genesis. Throughout 1990, Hudson Soft developed and published video games for an array of systems. In 1994, the 32-bit semiconductor chip "HuC62" was independently developed by Hudson and used in NEC's PC-FX video game console.
Hudson Soft's head office was transferred to Tokyo in 2005. But the original Sapporo headquarters remained in operation as a secondary office. Hudson Soft lost several key people starting in the mid-2000s. Co-founder Hiroshi Kudo left the company in November 2004 following financial losses. Shinichi Nakamoto, who was with the company since 1978 and creator of the Bomberman series, followed suit in 2006. Veteran Takahashi Meijin resigned in May 2011; he had joined Hudson Soft in 1982. Around 2010-2011, many employees migrated to Nintendo's restructured Nd Cube studio which is headed by Hidetoshi Endo, himself a former Hudson Soft President.