DWANGO, the Dial Up Wide Area Network Games Operation (originally Doom Wide-Area Network Game Organization), was an early fee-based multiplayer server for Doom, Doom II and Heretic. It was created in early 1994 by Bob Huntley and Kee Kimbrell in Houston, Texas. The first version was released with the shareware release of Heretic.
Since it predated widespread consumer access to the Internet, players had to dial long distance to Houston. Even so, it was wildly popular, and the creators reaped a healthy profit from the subscription fees. By early 1995, ten thousand subscribers were paying $9.95 a month, some calling from as far as Italy and Australia.
About this time, Huntley and Kimbrell decided they should expand, and began setting up a franchising system. They charged a flat fee of $35,000 to set up a server, and would let the franchisee keep the rest of the profits. In four months, they set up 22 servers across the country.
With the advent of Quake came multiplayer across the Internet, and DWANGO, which had started to dwindle by late 1995, was all but dead after its release. It was formally shut down in 1998.
DWANGO's legacy includes the semi-official DWANGO map packs created by various authors. Compiled into collections by Lance "Aikman" Lancaster, an employee of DWANGO's hosting provider IVS, they are still used today by DM players.