Ultra (company)

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Ultra's logo.

Ultra Software Corporation, usually branded as Ultra Games, or just Ultra was a American shell company created by Konami which existed from 1988 and to 1992. Konami created the company to bypass a publishing restriction put in place by Nintendo of America. A similar company called Palcom was created in Europe for the same reason. After the release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, NoA lifted the publishing restriction in and Konami folded Ultra.

The publishing restriction preventing companies from publishing more than five games a year on the Nintendo Entertainment System. NoA created this rule as an attempt to prevent another video game crash like the one seen in 1983. By limiting a company to only five games a year, NoA believed that companies would work especially hard to create good games since they only had five chances to recoup their expenses each year. Because Konami had a head start in Japan they had a back-catalog of games they wanted to publish onto the NES, as well as the new games they were developing, so they created Ultra as a second company licensed through NoA so they could published ten games a year instead of just five. When Konami didn't have ten games to publish in a year, they used their additional slots to publish games from other developers including Electronic Arts, MicroProse, Interplay, Beam Software, and a few others.

Ultra introduced several franchises to the US that would go on to be extremely popular including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Metal Gear.

When Ultra first existed, I was unaware that they were just a shell company for Konami and viewed them as a completely company. However, I think I was tipped off when I saw a TMNT handheld game which was sold by Konami, not Ultra.

Games

Here are some of the games Ultra published that are important to me.

Media

Links