Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

Virgin Mastertronic

Virgin Mastertronic
Virgin Mastertronic
George Street
London, W1 
Year Founded:
Year Defunct:
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Virgin Mastertronic was the merger of Virgin Interactive and Mastertronic. Mastertronic was originally a publisher and distributor of low-cost ("budget") computer game software founded in 1983. At its peak the label was the dominant software publisher in the UK, a position achieved by selling cassette-based software at the £1.99 and £2.99 price-points. As well as being an exclusive wholesaler of computer games to Woolworth's, Toys "Я" Us and other leading retailers, Mastertronic sold software in outlets such as newsagents which had not been previously associated with the software market.

Later diversification included the setting up of US operations to source and distribute their software, as well as an unsuccessful arcade games division (Arcadia Systems). However, it was their decision to market the Sega Master System in the UK that ultimately proved most successful. It resulted in the Master System outselling its rival, the NES, and was cited by some as Virgin Group's reason for investing in the company (and later buying it outright).

As the budget software market declined, the Sega hardware distribution became the dominant part of the business, and the company was eventually sold (and merged into) Sega themselves.

Although the original company no longer exists, the rights to the name have been acquired by another company. The company, now known as Mastertronic Group, distribute low-cost PC software on CD-ROM. They also own the Sold Out label.