Mastertronic will live on: UK publisher wins backing for all-digital future

The modern-day Mastertronic logo.

In a time before Steam, Mastertronic were the kings of the budget boxed PC game – but eventually, that dependency on retail threatened to yank them backwards over a cliff. The UK publisher had to lay off staff, and only today has learned its fate: creditors have unanimously voted to let Mastertronic attempt to rock the coach forwards into a better future.

“I am very pleased to say that at noon today we were given another chance by our creditors and every single one of them has voted to support us,” wrote Mastertronic CEO Andy Payne in a Develop blog.

“To be fair, I don’t see this as anything to be proud of,” he added. “After all we got ourselves in a mess and have caused our creditors, many of whom are or were friends, a load of discomfort. But it feels like a win after all these months of turmoil and turbulence.”

Mastertronic faced administration and the possibility of bankruptcy after its toughest year yet. The boxed games industry, once the company’s most reliable source of income through brands like Sold Out and M.A.D., had become a huge expense.

A round of layoffs has reduced Mastertronic to a single office. Their future now lies in serving developers as a digital publisher.

“We could have simply thrown the towel in, but that is not the Mastertronic way,” said Payne. “For those of us left in the team, we have a pretty big task ahead, to rally and rebuild our reputation. But right now we are hoping to be judged not by the height we have fallen, but by the depth from which we will climb.”

There’s a thread on the forums dedicated to memories of the budget boxed games Mastertronic used to publish. Here’s to another 30 years, eh?