Introversion Software

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Introversion Software Ltd.
Industry Computer and video game industry
Founded 2001
Headquarters Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England
Key people
Chris Delay
Mark Morris
Thomas Arundel
Products Uplink, Darwinia, DEFCON, Multiwinia, Subversion, Prison Architect
Number of employees

Introversion Software is a British video game developer based in Walton-on-Thames.


The company was founded in 2001 by three friends, Chris Delay, Mark Morris, and Thomas Arundel, who met as undergraduates at Imperial College London.[2] The company originally labelled itself 'the last of the bedroom programmers' due to the trio working out of their homes - they finally moved into an office when working on their fourth game, Multiwinia. Their first released game, Uplink, was programmed and designed almost exclusively by Chris, while Mark and Tom handled marketing, materials and the other 'business' elements. Their small initial investment enabled them to buy CD-Rs and printer cartridges. Early copies of the game were handmade. The company was able to fully make back their investment within a few hours of accepting orders. A large community formed and the team, along with a new programmer Andy Bainbridge, started work on two new games.

Darwinia was released to much critical acclaim and was eventually re-released via Steam on 14 December 2005 (Uplink has also since joined Darwinia on Steam, as of summer 2006). On 29 September 2006, Introversion Software launched its third game, DEFCON. Shortly after, Introversion had measured their bandwidth in terabytes for the first time. Soon after the release of DEFCON Introversion began work on a fourth game called Subversion.[3] Their next game, however, was Multiwinia, a multiplayer follow up to Darwinia, and was released on 19 September 2008. Sales have so far failed to live up to the example set by DEFCON, despite that the game was received well by the community and indie gamers alike[who?].

Darwinia and Multiwinia were eventually ported for the Xbox 360. This resulted in the eventual release of Darwinia+, which included both games, to the Xbox Live Arcade on 10 February 2008

Introversion has a relatively small, but dedicated, following.

Delay of Subversion and announcement of Prison Architect[edit]

After the release of Multiwinia in 2008, Introversion then announced the commencement of working on a game called Subversion in December of that year.[3] This was followed by a series of blog-posts about the development of the game and its procedurally generated urban areas[4]

Financial history[edit]

After a low-key launch, the critical and (relative) commercial success of Uplink flushed Introversion with success. A visit to E3 2002 saw the team 'rinse £10k in a week on speedboats and fast cars', but regret soon set in as they watched their income steadily decline, since 'in the games industry, you make 75% of your total revenue for the product in the first 6 months'.[5] By Christmas 2002, then-publisher, Strategy First, had stopped paying royalties for Uplink (they would later file a Consumer Proposal AKA Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, but were then acquired by Silverstar Holdings in early 2005); even with the cash flow from direct sales, Introversion ran out of money in the middle of 2003.[5] The company hovered on the edge of bankruptcy, with the team selling most of their worldly goods, as their second project and only hope for funds -- Darwinia -- 'slipped relentlessly'.[5]

Darwinia was eventually released in March 2005, but despite a strong opening weekend, sales soon slipped too low to sustain the company. Within six months, the developers were back on UK government benefits until November, when they contacted Valve Corporation 'on a whim' [6] to try to set up a digital distribution deal on their Steam platform. Valve responded enthusiastically and, following a 14 December 2005 online launch, digital sales (which exposed the game to a new, global audience) kept the company going through to the release of their third game, DEFCON.

On 15 September 2006, the day DEFCON pre-orders were made available, Introversion spent their last £1500. Fortuitously, the game 'did much much better than [they] ever imagined' and funds for at least the forthcoming twelve months quickly rolled in to replace it. Seemingly financially secure, the company place their eventual success largely at Valve's feet: 'Steam has made Introversion a commercial success', Tom Arundel is quoted saying.[7]

By early 2010 the company was back in dire straits. After spending over a year porting Darwinia+ to the Xbox 360, the game was not successful at launch. "It just really bombed. We missed the entire audience, I think," Director Mark Morris said.[8] The launch was in fact so poor, the company was able to tell in the first 10 minutes that it would not make enough money to save the company.[8] At this time the company was so deeply in debt that by continuing operation the Directors faced criminal prosecution under the UK's insolvency law.[8] "Tom (Arundel) spent a lot of time in those final days genuinely convinced that we were trading insolvently, probably trading insolvently, which is a criminal offense. So he was arguing that we needed to stop immediately, completely down tools, or there was a very real possibility that we would face prosecution."[8]

Slowly Introversion's fortunes changed again. In the Summer of 2010 the company was able to add Steam achievements to DEFCON which resulted in the game being prominently featured in a sale.[8] Morris credits the $250,000 generated by the Steam promotion as saving the company.[9] Later, Introversion's games were featured in a Humble Indie Bundle that launched in November 2011. This "Humble Introversion Bundle" sold 190,261 bundles and generated $779,026.33. Introversion is using the money for the ongoing development of their upcoming game Prison Architect.[10]

The Alpha version of Prison Architect has currently generated just over $11,000,000 for Introversion.[11]



  1. ^ "Prison game sparks controversy". Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
  2. ^ "Introversion Software . About Us". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  3. ^ a b c "Introversion • View topic - It's all in your head, Part 1". 2006-12-19. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  4. ^ "Introversion HumBundle And Hunt Updates". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  5. ^ a b c "Becoming a proper company....," Tom, Introversion staff.
  6. ^ "Introversion talk Steam". The Steam Review. 15 July 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  7. ^ Hyman, Paul (March 2007). "State of the Industry: Digital Distribution". Game Developer (CMP Group). p. 14. 
  8. ^ a b c d e
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Introversion • View topic - Number of players : Doubled". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  11. ^ "Prison Architect pre-orders $1M". 
  12. ^ "'Last of the Bedroom Programmers' Announce Multiwinia on PC" from Introversion's press release Introversion Announces Multiwinia, 27 February 2007, 2:57 p.m.
  13. ^ "'Welcome to Paradise' Announce official name"
  14. ^ "Darwinia+ - Development Blog"
  15. ^ Welsh, Oli. "Rezzed Sessions: Why Subversion sucked and Prison Architect won't". Eurogamer. 
  16. ^ Introversion Blog

External links[edit]