The founder, CEO and chairman of Creative Technologies, Sim Wong Hoo, has passed away peacefully at the age of 67. He had created Creative Labs' Sound Blaster.
It may sound strange to our younger readers, but there was a time when computer audio was not a key feature. 20 years ago if you wanted to connect headphones or speakers that could play more than just beeps, you probably needed a sound card!! .
And at that time, no sound card was more famous and successful than Creative Labs' Sound Blaster. In its 30-year history, it managed to sell over 400 million pieces.
In the era before Windows 95 and DirectX, few words in PC gaming were as important as the phrase “Sound Blaster compatible". Being compatible with the Sound Blaster sound card meant that players could hear dogs barking in a game (like in Wolfenstein 3D) or hear the synthesizer voice in Dr. Sbaitso, where you can play it online and today.
The company achieved huge success in the field of MP3 players with the Creative series Nomad in the upcoming years, while Zen and successfully sued Apple over its iPod, receiving a settlement 100 million dollars.
The Sound Blaster's success did not come immediately. First, Sim set out to build an entire computer that could talk, according to news reports from Bloomberg and New York Times, in 1993 and 1994.
He founded Creative Technologies in Singapore in 1981, and yet it wasn't until 1986 (two years after Steve Jobs made the Macintosh talk for himself) had sold so few of the company's computers that the engineers on staff had reportedly been reduced to a bare minimum.
But when they took their PC sound card, the Cubic CT, to a computer show in the United States, the company hit its stride. “The money they made selling a few hundred cards was the same as they had made so far with the computers.
Creative's first sound card, before it realized that PC gamers would become its biggest audience, was sold as the Creative Music System. In 1987, the Sierra On-Line took the gaming industry by storm releasing King's Quest IV with a real soundtrack, designed to play on early sound cards such as AdLib and the Roland MT-32. Sierra On-Line advertised these sound cards in their own game catalog.
Creative in 1988 took a share of this sales campaign by rebranding their card as “Game Blaster”.
And in 1989, the company's first Sound Blaster added a dedicated game port to connect a joystick. A joystick port would then have to be purchased separately by PC gamers, so this helped make the Sound Blaster look like a great deal over the AdLib.
Sim's determination and success made him an icon of Singaporean startup companies, as Creative became the first Singaporean company to be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
The company never lost its glamour. Even as computers began to play quality audio on their own, as every modern motherboard comes with built-in audio, Creative kept gamers interested with features like the Sound Blaster Crystallizer, or Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro.
In recent years, the name Creative has been successfully associated with other computer accessories, such as speakers (like the Sound Blaster Katana), headphones, web cameras, sound cards (if you want more than the motherboard offers), drawing pens, etc.
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A little tweaking of the article title from Greative to Creative, and it's perfect