David Ward, co-founder of Ocean Software, has died aged 75

David Ward, co-founder of influential British developer and publisher Ocean Software, and a pioneer of game development in the UK, has died at the age of 75.

Born in 1947, Ward co-founded Ocean Software with Jon Woods in 1983 (as ‘Spectrum Games’) and would go on to become one of Europe’s biggest game publishers, creating titles such as Platoon, Top Gun and Daley Thompson’s Decathalon.

The Manchester-based company is credited for establishing much of the commercial, legal and technical framework that helped turn game creation from a hobby to a global business.

The news of Ward’s death was confirmed by his son Ben on Monday.

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In 2004, Ward and Woods were inducted into the ELSPA Hall of Fame for their contributions to the game industry.

“Many people consider Ocean Software to be pioneers who helped to transform the UK computer and video games into a real multinational business,” said ELSPA director general Roger Bennett at the time.

“Together Ward and Woods coined much of the terminology of the games industry and instigated many of its milestones, including the use of brands and franchises from traditional media and the formal processes of protecting intellectual property.”

In 1996, Ocean Software merged with Infogrames for £100 million. Ocean remained a separate division of Infogrames until 1998 when it was rebranded as Infogrames United Kindom Limited.

British games trade body UKIE said in a statement on Monday: “We’re saddened to hear of the passing of David Ward, who was the co-founder of the pioneering Manchester based games development and publishing company Ocean Software. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”

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David Ward Credits

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