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History

The company that would eventually become Krome Studios started life as several Australian splinter companies, founded years apart.

Melbourne House was founded in the UK in 1978 as Melbourne House--for the purpose of publishing books--by Australian ex-pats Alfred Milgrom and Naomi Besen. Seeing the success of the burgeoning video game industry in the US and Japan, they retooled that business plan in 1980 to involve localization and importation of US games for the UK market. Fortuitously, soon after the announcement of this change, the Sinclair ZX80 was released. Milgrom jumped on this opportunity by writing a book for the home computer market and distributing it through his own company. The book was a success, and it convinced the two founders that they could make money by focusing entirely on the video game market.

The founders returned to Melbourne and founded Beam Software in late 1980 to localize and import US games to a largely-untapped Australian market (essentially the same business plan as Melbourne House, minus the book publishing). 1981 was largely spent publishing software for the VIC-20 and Sinclair ZX81, but in 1982 Beam released its first in-house production The Hobbit for the newly-released ZX Spectrum. The Spectrum would go on to become one of the most popular video game platforms in UK/Australian history, and The Hobbit would eventually go on to become one of the best-sellers for the Spectrum. This early success cemented the company's market position, and allowed the company to hire more programmers for in-house games.

By 1987, the company was entirely focused on Beam's work importing and creating video games for the English-speaking market, and it jettisoned the Melbourne House name to Mastertronic. Beam also made history in this year by becoming the second non-Japanese company to receive a developer license for the NES, in exchange for promising Nintendo that it would discontinue the sales of its (extremely unauthorized) NES development system.

In 1988, the mega-media conglomerate Virgin Group purchased Mastertronic, obtaining Melbourne House in the deal. However, Virgin already had a strong name-brand in its Virgin Games label, and they shuttered Melbourne House entirely.

1996 saw Beam Software make two major corporate changes, by both becoming the first publicly-listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange under the name Beam International Ltd., and re-registering the trade name "Melbourne House," which Virgin had allowed to lapse.

Just three years later, in 1999, Beam International sold all of its game development and publishing operations--which now consisted of over 130 employees in a number of offices--to Infogrames. The studio was renamed Infogrames Melbourne House. At the same time, Krome Studios was founded by Steve Stamatiadis and Robert Walsh for the purposes of developing a one-off PC surfing game. However, the company was able to expand rapidly due to both a vast field of local programmers and Australia's relative paucity of video game development companies (and--at least in part--due to management mistakes at Beam).

Beleaguered Infogrames embarked on a large internal rebranding effort in 2003, changing its name to Atari, and Infogrames Melbourne House therefore became Atari Melbourne House... for all of three years, when it was purchased by upstart rival Krome. This made Krome the largest video game development company in Australia, rivaled only by much-smaller development houses like Team Bondi. It has continued localizing and releasing games locally, while developing one or two in-house titles per year.

In 2010, Krome scored what seemed to be a coup when it announced it had licensed a large number of classic games for the PC/360-exclusive Game Room platform.

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