Cryo Interactive Entertainment was a French video game development and publishing company founded in 1990, but existing unofficially since 1989 as a developer group under the name Cryo.
Cryo was formed by members of ERE Informatique who left Infogrames (proprietor of ERE since 1986) – among these were Philippe Ulrich, Rémi Herbulot and Jean-Martial Lefranc.
The first game developed under the Cryo Interactive moniker was the hit Dune, which granted the newly formed software company both publicity and funding for further games under Virgin until 1996, when Cryo started self-publishing inside the European market, and in North America through then partially owned Canadian publisher DreamCatcher Interactive.
Cryo made its name mostly through adaptations of already existing stories (such as Riverworld, based on Philip José Farmer's novel and Ubik by Philip K. Dick) or those based on historical scenarios (like KGB, a game set days before the dissolution of the Soviet Union and several games based in Ancient Egypt, Qing Dynasty's China and Louis XIV's France, developed with Cryo's Omni3D engine). Although most of the post-Virgin games managed to capture and stay true to the original settings, poor interfaces and the lack of worldwide distribution turned little profit from each game.
By 1997, Cryo had experienced success in the US and France, and wanted to expand into Japan. They had focused their efforts on the US because it was a big market, and experienced difficulties in Japan due to changing distributors between games. They considered creating different sets of characters for the three markets, and setting up a US-based subsidiary.
A Cryo Interactive subsidiary called Cryo Networks, aimed at developing and publishing online applications exclusively, was established in December 1997. Aside from online multiplayer games (Deo Gratias, FireTeam, Treasure Hunt 2001, Mankind and Scotland Yard being some of the titles released under this label), Cryo Networks also maintained a proprietary online multimedia development framework named SCOL (Standard Cryo On Line).