David Ward, co-founder of renowned game developer and publisher Ocean Software, has died at the age of 75.
Ward founded Ocean with Jon Woods in 1983, and the Manchester-based company – initially known as Spectrum Games – would go on to become one of the era’s biggest publishers.
Its extensive output spanned the 80s and early 90s, with a focus on arcade conversions and licensed games, including the likes of 1984’s legendary Daley Thompson’s Decathlon, and home computer versions of Batman, RoboCop, and the Addams Family.
“Sad to report that my father David Ward has died,” he wrote. “Born in 1947, he was a computer games pioneer and father of six. We had a complicated relationship and we loved each other. Will miss you Pop.”
Following the news of his death, friends, former colleagues, and peers have moved to pay tribute to Ward and celebrate his significant contributions to the industry.
“David Ward had such an effect on so many of us in the games industry,” GamesAid Trustee Gina Jackson OBE wrote on Twitter. “His impact can still be seen globally but particularly in the Manchester games scene.”
Ward, alongside Ocean co-founder Woods, were inducted into the ELSPA Hall of Fame for their contributions to the games industry in 2004.
“Many people consider Ocean Software to be pioneers who helped to transform the UK computer and video games into a real multi national business,” ELSPA director general Roger Bennett said 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.”