Tony Goodman

Last updated
Tony Goodman
Nationality American
Other namesTony Allen Goodman
Known for Video game development

Tony Goodman is an American video game executive and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Ensemble Studios and Robot Entertainment.


Ensemble Corporation

In 1989, Tony Allen Goodman founded Ensemble Corporation, an information technology consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas with friends John Boog-Scott, John Calhoun, and Thad Chapman. The company "developed its own management and reporting software suite named Command Center, among other products" [1] and quickly grew. Under Goodman's leadership, Ensemble Corporation was one of America's fastest-growing companies ranked by the Inc. 500 from 1992–1997, growing to more than 100 employees. [2] The company was ranked #339 in the Inc. 500 in its final year of independence, 1997. [3] Ensemble Corporation was then acquired on 6 April 1998 by USWeb Corporation., [4] however Goodman had started a side project that wasn't included in the deal in 1995, called Ensemble Studios.

Ensemble Studios

In January 1995 while serving as CEO of Ensemble Corporation, Goodman co-founded Ensemble Studios together with his brother Rick Goodman and John Boog-Scott, while running Ensemble Corporation. Ensemble Studios was formally incorporated in February 1996 and Goodman served as CEO and art director while running the business side of both Ensemble companies with Boog-Scott. After the acquisition of Ensemble Corporation, Goodman stayed with the game-focused spin-off to pursue his passion for games. Soon thereafter, Goodman hired Bruce Shelley, a longtime friend, whom he "met at a board game club at the University of Virginia" [5]

Ensemble Studios released two full titles and two expansions during this period: Age of Empires (1997); Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome (1998); Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (1999); Age of Empires II: The Conquerors (2000).

On 1 May 2001 Microsoft acquired Ensemble Studios as well as the company's intellectual property. Stuart Moulder, general manager of the Games Division at Microsoft commented on the acquisition stating, "The depth of talent and the leadership of Tony Goodman is a winning combination, and this acquisition will help strengthen our mutual commitment to remaining a PC games industry leader." [6]

Microsoft Years

While at Microsoft, Goodman served as the studio director at Ensemble Studios. Goodman served in this role until the studio was closed by Microsoft on 29 January 2009 following the completion of Halo Wars. [7] "After the closure, the Ensemble leadership team will form a new studio and has agreed to provide ongoing support for Halo Wars as well as work on other projects with Microsoft Game Studios. [7]

During this period, the studio shipped five titles: Age of Mythology (2002), Age of Mythology: The Titans (2003), Age of Empires III (2005), Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs (2006), Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties (2007), and Halo Wars (2009). [8]

Goodman, "left behind a tradition of entrepreneurship. Goodman founded Robot Entertainment the next month. Several startups arose from the ashes, spearheaded by former employees, including Bonfire Studios, Newtoy, Windstorm Studios, Pixelocity, Fuzzy Cube, and GRL Games." [9]

Robot Entertainment

In 2009, Goodman was the founding CEO of Robot Entertainment when the company defined its strategy to work on smaller original IP titles. Robot finished up the work on Halo Wars after the closing of Ensemble Studios and was the original developer of Age of Empires Online. In February 2009, days after Robot Entertainment was announced, Goodman presented his old friend, Bruce Shelley with the AIAS Hall of Fame Award at the 2009 DICE Summit in Las Vegas. [10]

Goodman left Robot Entertainment to pursue a new venture in the games industry in mid-2010. Goodman was quoted as saying, "My contributions as CEO at Robot were completed after we successfully transitioned from a vision to a flourishing game studio." [11]


On 17 July 2012, Goodman announced the founding of his newest company, PeopleFun (stylized as peoplefün), [12] along with John Boog-Scott, co-founder of Ensemble Corporation and Ensemble Studios, Angelo Laudon, who was employee No. 1 at Ensemble Studios and lead programmer on the Age of Empires engine; and Leon Campise, a serial entrepreneur in the technology space.

PeopleFun will focus on making games for iOS and Android that are character driven franchises instead of large games such as those created at Ensemble. [13]

On 13 September 2012, PeopleFun launched its first mobile game, Word Chums, [14] a word game for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices. The game is the first appearance of the character franchise "The Chums".

Related Research Articles

Ensemble Studios was an American video game developer. It was founded by Tony Goodman in 1994 and incorporated the following year. It borrowed the name of Ensemble Corporation, a consulting firm founded by Goodman in 1990. It was acquired by Microsoft in 2001 and operated as an internal studio until 2009, when its development capabilities were officially disbanded. Ensemble developed many real-time strategy games, including the Age of Empires game series, Age of Mythology, and Halo Wars. In addition to game development, Ensemble Studios also made the Genie Game Engine used in Age of Empires, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, and Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds. The studio sold 20 million games and was worth an estimated $500 million.

Xbox Game Studios American video game company

Xbox Game Studios is an American video game publisher and division of Microsoft based in Redmond, Washington. It was established in March 2000, spun out from an internal Games Group, for the development and publishing of video games for Microsoft Windows. It has since expanded to include games and other interactive entertainment for the namesake Xbox platforms, Windows Mobile and other mobile platforms, and web-based portals. As the studio grew, it has acquired and relinquished ownership of several other studios, and is the parent organization of fifteen other studios.

<i>Age of Empires II</i> 1999 real-time strategy video game

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is a real-time strategy video game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft. Released in 1999 for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh, it is the second game in the Age of Empires series. The Age of Kings is set in the Middle Ages and contains thirteen playable civilizations. Players aim to gather resources, which they use to build towns, create armies, and defeat their enemies. There are five historically based campaigns, which constrict the player to specialized and story-backed conditions. There are three additional single-player game modes, and multiplayer is supported.

Halo is an American military science fiction media franchise managed and developed by 343 Industries and published by Xbox Game Studios. The franchise and its early main installments were originally developed by Bungie. The central focus of the franchise builds off the experiences of Master Chief John-117, one of a group of supersoldiers codenamed Spartans, and his artificial intelligence (AI) companion, Cortana.

Seamus Blackley

Jonathan "Seamus" Blackley is an American video game designer and former agent with Creative Artists Agency representing video game creators. He is best known for creating and designing the Original Xbox in 2001.

<i>Age of Empires III</i> 2005 real-time strategy video game

Age of Empires III is a real-time strategy video game developed by Microsoft Corporation's Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The Mac version was ported over and developed and published by Destineer's MacSoft. The PC version was released on October 18, 2005 in North America and November 4, 2005 in Europe, while the Mac version was released on November 21, 2006 in North America and September 29, 2006 in Europe. An N-Gage version of the game developed by Glu Mobile was released on April 28, 2009. It is the third game of the Age of Empires series and the sequel to Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. A remaster titled Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition was released on October 15, 2020. Its successor, Age of Empires IV is under development.

<i>Age of Empires</i> Real-time strategy video game series

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Rick Goodman American video game developer (born 1955)

Rick Goodman is a video game designer and the founder and owner of the now-defunct Stainless Steel Studios. He is best known for the RTS games he designed, such as Age of Empires and Empire Earth.

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Joseph Staten

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Genie Engine

The Genie Engine is a game engine developed by Ensemble Studios and used in several computer games, such as Age of Empires, Age of Empires II and its expansions and Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds. Some of those games have been ported to the Apple Mac.

Robot Entertainment is a video game development and publishing company created by the founders of the defunct Ensemble Studios, after being shut down by Microsoft. Other members of the company founded another studio, Bonfire Studios. Robot Entertainment was responsible for maintaining and updating Halo Wars until February 28, 2010, when Microsoft Studios assumed control of the game servers and updates. Also, in January 2011, Microsoft Studios took over updates and servers for Age of Empires III. Robot Entertainment have since released games including Orcs Must Die!, Orcs Must Die! 2, Hero Academy, Echo Prime, Orcs Must Die! Unchained and Hero Academy 2.

<i>Halo Wars</i> 2009 real-time strategy video game

Halo Wars is a real-time strategy (RTS) video game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360 video game console. It was released in Australia on February 26, 2009; in Europe on February 27; and in North America on March 3. The game is set in the science fiction universe of the Halo series in the year 2531, 21 years before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. The player leads human soldiers aboard the warship Spirit of Fire in an effort to stop an ancient fleet of ships from falling into the hands of the genocidal alien Covenant.

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Hero Academy was a two-player turn-based tactics video game created by the developer Robot Entertainment, known for their previous series Orcs Must Die!. The game was first released for the iPhone iOS platform on January 11, 2012, with ports later being released for the Microsoft Windows, OS X and Android platforms. In the game, players take turns moving units on a board and attacking enemy units with the objective of being the first to destroy the other player's crystal or eliminate all of the other player's units. The game received generally favorable reviews from critics. In his review for Ars Technica, Andrew Webster noted that the gameplay was simple and easy to learn, but that the game also offered a satisfying depth within each turn. The game also features cross platform play across all installed platforms. A sequel to the game was launched in January 2018. On January 9, 2019, Robot Entertainment announced in a blog post that Hero Academy and its sequel would cease operations on April 8, 2019 as one had been long defunct and its sequel had been operating at a financial loss for several months.

Bonnie Ross is an American video game developer who is Corporate Vice President at Xbox Game Studios. Ross established and is the head of 343 Industries, a subsidiary studio that manages the Halo video game franchise.


  1. or empty |title= (help)
  2. GameAspect . Retrieved 27 May 2012.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. "Ensemble Corporation Inc. 500 profile". 1997. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  4. "USWeb to Acquire Dallas-based Ensemble Corporation Leading Internet Professional Services Firm to Expand Southwest Presence". 6 April 1997. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  5. Ramsay, Morgan (2012-04-23). "Ensemble Studios: From Beginning to End, An Excerpt from Gamers at Work" . Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  6. "Microsoft Reaches Agreement to Acquire Ensemble Studios". 3 May 2001. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  7. 1 2 Remo, Chris (9 September 2008). "Confirmed: Ensemble Studios To Close After Halo Wars Completion" . Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  8. "MobyGames". MobyGames. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  9. Ramsay, Morgan (2012-04-23). "Ensemble Studios From Beginning to End" . Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  10. "Tony Goodman hands Bruce the AIAS Hall of Fame award".
  11. Ramsay, Morgan (23 April 2012). "Ensemble Studios: From Beginning to End, An Excerpt from Gamers at Work" . Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  12. "Games Industry Legend Tony Goodman Announces Newest Game Company, PeopleFun (GameIndustryWire)" . Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  13. Takahashi, Dean. "Microsoft veteran starts PeopleFun mobile game startup" . Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  14. "PeopleFun Announces Word Chums, First Mobile Game for iOS (MobileGameWire)". 13 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.