Empire Interactive Europe Ltd.


Empire Interactive Europe Ltd. was co-founded as Empire Software in 1987 by Simon Jeffrey and Ian Higgins in the United Kingdom.

The company had a long and illustrious history and remained at the forefront of computer games development and publication for over a decade. Empire began by publishing, developing and distributing PC games and then added console games to their catalog later.

The world recognized the Empire Interactive Entertainment publishing brand as the collective name of the company, when in reality the entity responsible for the releases was Empire Interactive Europe Ltd., the company name adopted about the same time the brand was created in 1989. However, the name Empire Software continued to be used as late as 1994 to identify the company on game packaging.

Empire Interactive had several budget labels used mostly for re-packaging and re-publishing earlier released games. Fair Game was used in the 1990's, but the mainstay of the company was their lucrative Xplosiv label which was started in 2000 and remained popular.

Major changes took place in 2000 with a restructuring of the company. Parent company Empire Interactive PLC (formerly Merithope Limited and Entertainment International plc) was re-registered, renamed and joined the Alternative Investment Market of London Stock Exchange in July.

The company had operations in every major territory in the world, and a staff dedicated to each key link in the publishing and distribution chain. However, all development of products took place through Empire Interactive Europe Limited. European sales and distribution were the responsibility of four staff members based in this office in London, its head office. A further team of five designers organized the localisation of all software and marketing materials, translation being sub-contracted to external translators. The majority of Empire's UK sales were made directly to retailers.

Subsidiaries in the Empire Group were located in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Distributors in Australia and South Africa sold its titles under the Empire Interactive Entertainment label in those countries. In the United States, publishing and distribution was handled by sister company Empire Interactive Inc. which had several locations.

Acquisitions and merges in Empire's history include Oxford Enterprises, Cunning Developments and Razorworks, all of which became internal development studios. (Empire Oxford may have been comprised of employees from several of these acquired companies.) Empire also acquired Rowan Software.

In 2004, the company also used the names Empire Interactive Ltd. and Empire Publishing Ltd.

In 2006 the entire Empire Group was acquired by Silverstar Holdings, an acquisition company based in the United Kingdom which also owned Strategy First. In 2008 founder Ian Higgins, then the CEO, left Empire. A year later, in May 2009, Empire entered into administration and closed down.

Within days of the closing, Zoo Publishing, Inc. announced a deal with New World IP, LLC to license, publish, and distribute the catalog of video game software previously published and developed by Empire Interactive Europe Ltd. This agreement allows Zoo Publishing the ability to re-release previous Empire titles, to port previously released games to new platforms, and to create new gaming content from existing Empire intellectual property.

Contributed by Xoleras (67028) on Oct 09, 2009. [revised by : Jeanne (76644)].