Virgin Interactive

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Virgin Interactive Ltd.

legal form Virgin Group subsidiary
founding 1983 (as Virgin Games)
resolution 1999 takeover by Titus Interactive

2003 (renamed Avalon Interactive)

Seat 2 Kensington Square, London ,United KingdomUnited Kingdom
management Nick Alexander (Founder, Division Director)
sales US $ 212.2 million (1995)
Branch Software development

Virgin Interactive Ltd. was a successful and influential publisher of computer games in the UK . The company was founded in early 1983 under the name Virgin Games as a subsidiary of Richard Branson's Virgin Group . In 1999 the company was taken over by the French publisher Titus Interactive , whereupon it was renamed Avalon Interactive on July 1, 2003 .

The most famous games were The 7th Guest (1993), Cool Spot (1994) and Resident Evil (1996).

The company sold games and a. for the PC , the Amiga , the C64 , Mega Drive , Super Nintendo and Playstation . It helped many companies to succeed.


The division was built up in 1983 by Nick Alexander, then 27 years old.

Virgin Mastertronic

In 1987 Virgin Games acquired shares in the publisher Mastertronic , who at the time was the exclusive distributor for Sega's console Master System in the UK. Virgin Games later merged with Mastertronic and operated as Virgin Mastertronic for a few years . During this time, software development was based in the subsidiary Virgin Games.

The sale of Sega products developed successfully and could be expanded step by step. In 1988 the company also received the distribution rights for France and Germany, and in 1989 the rights for the entire European distribution. The annual profit of £ 8 million for 1990 and total sales of £ 100 million in 1991 were for the most part generated by Sega products.

In 1991 Sega took direct control of the distribution of their hardware and software and paid £ 30 million for that division. Publishing and game development remained as Virgin Games in the Virgin Group and were additionally given the rights to publish games for Sega consoles without the usual limits.

US activities

Martin Alper , who had come to Virgin through the Mastertronic merger, took care of the activities in the USA. The year 1990 was well advanced when Alper signed a contract with two Virgin employees Graeme Devine and Rob Landeros to develop the CD-ROM game The 7th Guest outside the company. In 1993, 7th Guest was released and a great success.

In 1992 the Las Vegas-based developer Westwood Studios was integrated into the company.

Change of ownership

Blockbuster initially took over 19.9% ​​of the company's shares in January 1994.

After the Viacom-Paramount-Blockbuster merger in February 1994 and further exchanges of company shares, Virgin Interactive was majority owned from mid-1994 by the listed Spelling Entertainment Group , which in turn belonged to the Viacom media group .

Virgin Interactive was not profitable in 1995: with sales of US $ 212.2 million, losses of US $ 14.8 million were incurred.

In August 1998, it was announced that Electronic Arts would take over Westwood Studios and Virgins Studio in Irvine, California with 60 employees for a total of $ 122.5 million. Spelling had previously searched unsuccessfully for a buyer for the entire Virgin Interactive division for about a year.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ( Memento from December 21, 1996 in the Internet Archive )
  2. ^ Robert M. Grant, Kent E. Neupert: Virgin History. In: Cases in Contemporary Strategy Analysis. Third Illustrated Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, Massachusetts 2003, ISBN 1-4051-1180-1 , pages 293-295. (English, digitized via Google Books)
  3. Virgin Gets on Vidgame Bandwagon. In: Billboard, March 5, 1983, p. 9. (English)
  4. Thorsten Wiesner: Virgin Interactive is now called Avalon Interactive . July 7, 2003. Retrieved on 2011-16-02.
  5. Nick Alexander interview ( Memento from January 14, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) on, conducted by Ken Horowitz, September 17, 2008. (English)
  6. ^ A b c d e Mary Fagan: Virgin in Software Deal with Japanese. In: The Independent. London, July 13, 1991, p. 21. (English)
  7. ^ Anthony Guter: A History of Mastertronic. ( Memento of the original from August 30, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. April 2004. (English)
  8. a b History. In: Inside Multimedia, August 31, 1998. (English)
  9. Geoff Keighley: Haunted Glory. The Rise and Fall of Trilobyte., date unknown, part 1.2. (English)
  10. Garaldine Manufacturer: Viacom is Winner Over QVC in Fight to Get Paramount. In: New York Times, February 16, 1994. (English)
  11. ^ Robert Liu: Viacom Keeping Blockbuster. From:, March 31, 1998. (accessed October 8, 2010)
  12. ^ Spelling Entertainment. In: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 35. St. James Press 2001, ISBN 1-55862-394-9 . (English, accessed online on October 9, 2010)
  13. a b Chris Morris: EA Buys Westwood. From:, August 17, 1998. (accessed October 8, 2010)