Although Robert Stein is undeniably the reason Soviet-hailing Tetris became known in the West in the first place, he never really managed to land its global licensing rights despite his best efforts. That’s because, as carefully chronicled in Apple TV+’s original biographical drama ‘Tetris,’ there were a lot of competitive offers on the table for the Russians, and he simply could not keep up. So now, if you just wish to learn more about his background, his connection with this video game, his intriguing career trajectory, as well as his ultimate net worth, we’ve got the crucial details for you.
How Did Robert Stein Earn His Money?
It was reportedly in 1956 that Robert left his homeland of Hungary in search of better opportunities for not just himself but also his tight-knit family, only to end up in England within a few months. The truth is he then spent the ensuing year and a half working several odd jobs while moving from one place to another to save as much as possible, helping him finally secure a base home in 1958. Yet it was not until the late 1970s that he decided to combine his interest in games with his passion for computer science, leading to him landing a job as a chess computers salesperson at SciSys.
As per reports, Robert actually climbed the corporate ladder quickly, making it clear he could build incredible connections and maintain genuine relationships, all the while establishing aspirations. He thus launched his own software publishing company in England called Andromeda Software upon realizing he needed a secure platform to distribute the lucrative games he had been finding. However, the Jewish dissident’s outlet wasn’t entirely functional until he finalized a collaboration with Hungarian game development business Novotrade — together, they proved invincible.
After all, by the time early 1988 rolled around, Robert had managed to distribute 70 games using Hungarian resources alone, only to discover Tetris during a routine visit to the nation. ”This company had a lab where they were developing all sorts of things, and they wanted to show me scientific, sophisticated products,” he once said. ”But I looked over in a corner and said, ‘What the hell is this, jumping up and down on the I.B.M. PC screen?’ They said, ‘Oh, it’s just a game.'” They evidently didn’t realize this simple puzzle’s potential, but he instantly did, driving him to try and obtain its rights.
Robert did legally manage to license the game from Soviet Russia before sublicensing it, yet it didn’t pan out in the way he’d hoped as his contracts were not entirely permissive of his methods. Plus, the fact he hadn’t received any payments from his clients to forward to the communist nation affected his standing as well, especially as Andromeda was more of a paper firm by this point. He hence lost Tetris’ personal computer rights in 1990 for failure to make the decided-upon payments in a timely manner, and then he lost its overall arcade rights for the same reason two years later.
Robert Stein’s Net Worth at the Time of His Death
According to reports, Robert never got over losing Tetris since he believes it slipped right out of his hands through no fault of his own, but he still continued to license other games until he retired for good. Moreover, it has been suggested that while Soviet inventor Alexey Pajitnov and Dutch-born distributor Henk Rogers both earn millions from the game to this day, he made out with merely $150,000-$200,000. Nevertheless, his long last career, his involvement in the distribution of other projects, as well as his assets do indicate his net worth at the time of his death in 2018 was close to $2 million.