Prima Games is the largest publishing company of video game strategy guides in the United States based in Roseville, California. Formerly, Prima was an imprint of Dorling Kindersley, a division of Penguin Random House, and produced print strategy guides, featuring in-depth walkthroughs for completing games, with other information such as character sheets and move charts.. Prima was acquired by Asteri Holdings in March 2019, which will transition the business to provide strategy guides in online form only alongside other gaming news.
|Parent company||Asteri Holdings|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||Roseville, California, U.S.|
|Fiction genres||Video game strategy guides|
The company has produced over 1,400 titles and boasts over 90 million strategy guides in print. In 2005, Prima introduced electronic distribution of gaming guides. For some guides, like Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, it worked directly with the developers themselves in producing the guide.
Prima Publishing was a small publisher working out of a residential-style home office in Roseville, California when in 1990 its owner, Ben Dominitz, contracted with author Rusel DeMaria to create a video game strategy guide imprint, initially called "The Secrets of the Games". At the time, DeMaria was senior editor for PC Games magazine and on the staff of GamePro. The initial contract called for five books - the first ones being Nintendo Games Secrets, Sega Genesis Games Secrets, Turbografx Games Secrets, Game Boy Games Secrets and The Official Lucasfilm Games Air Combat Strategies Book.
Notable titles included Myst: The Official Strategy Guide, which sold in excess of 1.25 million copies in all versions, The 7th Guest: The Official Strategy Guide, X-Wing: The Official Strategy Guide, TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide, Secret of Mana Game Secrets, Prince of Persia: The Official Strategy Guide, a special Sonic the Hedgehog book for Sony and two Earthworm Jim strategy guides. DeMaria served as the principal author and creative director of Secrets of the Games between 1990 and 1996. He also was the editor on several books by other authors.
In 2006, Prima Games undertook an effort to revolutionize the quality of MMORPG strategy guides. Historically those had largely consisted of charts of data, maps and basic instructions. What they were lacking was expert strategy content. Prima engaged the online gaming community known as The Syndicate (www.LLTS.org) who was very large, well known and well connected with developers. That partnership resulted in a shift in how strategy guides were written. They began to be less of a data dump and more of a deep strategy. Examples of this can be seen in the LOTRO, Pirates of the Burning Seas, Vanguard, Warhammer Online and other similar guides from 2006 through 2009.
In 2009, Prima Games decided to take the expert strategy concept an additional step. First, they hired The Syndicate (its own independent studio) in place of a specific author. The guides would be written from the ground up solely by The Syndicate. They filled the role of writer, author, project management and editor. Second, the scope of the guides they worked on was expanded from just MMOs to include FPS, RTS and RPG games.
In 2010, Prima started selling their strategy guides on Steam.
In 2013, Prima parent company Penguin Group merged with Random House, owner of competing strategy guide imprint BradyGames, to form Penguin Random House. On June 1, 2015, it was announced that the two imprints would merge, and continue to operate solely under the Prima Games brand.
Penguin Random House announced in November 2018 that it has decided to close Prima Games by Q2 2019. However, by March 14, 2019, the division was acquired by Asteri Holdings, which will shutter the print operations and instead have Prima provide game strategy guides in online form as well as expanding into gaming news.
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- Slead, Evan (November 8, 2018). "Strategy guide publisher Prima Games is shutting down". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
- Sinclair, Brendan (March 14, 2019). "Asteri acquires Prima Games". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved March 14, 2019.