Ariolasoft, later United Software was a German producer, publisher and distributor of software, especially video and computer games in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Company History

Division of Ariola

The origins of the company lie later in 1982, when the Bertelsmann group, decided to establish a separate department for the distribution of video games with his record label Ariola. Starting with the exclusive sale of Atari VCS titles of the American developer and publisher Activision brought Ariolasoft from 1983 many console games on the German market. With advent of 8-bit computer, most notably the Commodore C64, Ariolasoft quickly grew into it in the computer game market. The major American publisher Electronic Arts and Brøderbund talked to this time no branch offices in Europe, leaving the marketing of their products, therefore, a local supplier, in addition to other increasingly Ariolasoft. In addition, published Ariolasoft on behalf of COSMI, Starlight software, Synapse Software, HESware, Creative Software, and others.

The distribution of software especially repackaging and transfer to different media, such as 3 "diskette or Datasette was required at that time. Ariolasoft took part but also even the porting to other platforms, especially on the popular strong in Europe as Amstrad CPC Amstrad CPC or Sinclair ZX Spectrum and promoted their own developers. Among the best known self-publishing of this period include the Hanseatic trading simulation and text - graphic adventure " Ooze ".

About the computer games business, the company expanded in the summer of 1986 to its catalog software for home users as Printmaster by Brøderbund and the popular Electronic Arts Deluxe series from Deluxe Paint, Deluxe Print Deluxe and video for the Commodore Amiga. A spreadsheet program called CALKIT, Bygraph for displaying graphical charts and newsroom, a text editor were planned.

Ariolasoft GmbH

In 1986, Bertelsmann decided to separate the software range from the music business Ariola and to become independent and legally by establishing the Ariolasoft GmbH under the managing director Hans -Joachim Krusche.

The end of 1986 sought SEGA for distributors for the simultaneous launch of its Master System in North America and Europe. For Germany Ariolasoft was the first company with which this agreement has been found. Before the year started the campaign and some German magazines was the first opportunity to see the new console and some games for it. By 1988, sales in Germany but ran much worse on Ariolasoft, as in the UK market very successful Mastertronic, so that the contract was not renewed with Ariolasoft.

In 1988, the market share in Germany was already at about 45 percent. Until the implementation of the single European market at the beginning of the year 1993, a market share of 70 percent should be achieved. The branch Ariolasoft UK, opened under the leadership of former CBS manager Ashley Gray and Frank Brunger 1984, but was closed under the direction of Willi Carmincke in the spring of 1988. The sales figures were even three years after its launch in the UK far below expectations and the promising market for 16- bit computer has been estimated in Germany to three times the size of the English.

In 1989, the label " Art Edition " was launched for the distribution of own productions with the developers Ralf Glau, Holger Paulsen and Harald Uenzelmann. In 1990 Ariolasoft was on the German market leader in sales of game software. Along with the competitors Rushware and U.S. Gold Tiled you from 90 percent of the market.

United Software GmbH

In 1990, Bertelsmann divisions software and computer games to a large extent. The Ariolasoft GmbH was sold through a management buyout to its managing director Hans -Joachim Krusche. Outside of the Bertelsmann group was allowed the trademark name Ariola no longer be used. The company therefore decided on a name change to United Software GmbH. This was intended to express the variety of international companies, such as Cinemaware, FTL Games, Grand Slam Entertainment, Hewson Consultants, Ocean Software and Sierra Entertainment, for their games, the company recently worked.

United Software was acquired by MicroProse Germany 1993. In 1998, its acquisition of Hasbro, 2001 by Infogrames, who then renamed the Atari 2003.

Distribution label

The British Ariolasoft UK Ltd.. published numerous games not only under its own label, but also about

  • 39 Steps ( Bride of Frankenstein, Len Deighton 's Blitzkrieg: The Game - From the ..., They Stole a Million )
  • REAKTÖR software ( Centurions: Power X Treme Challenge of the Gobots, colonial power, Mountie Mick's Death Ride, The Rubicon Alliance)
  • Viz Design ( Frankenstein Jnr., And Werewolves of London).

Released Games

( incomplete selection )