Interplay dumps Village Roadshow

Citing changing markets and a shifting business focus, games publisher Interplay has ended a five-year distribution relationship with Village Roadshow.

The new deal will take effect from October 1, and will see national distributor Tech Pacific take over the distributor mantle formally worn by Village Roadshow.

A Tech Pacific spokesperson said that the national distributor was excited by the new deal as it would provide an entry into a new market.

"Until now, Tech Pacific has not been very involved in games distribution and we see a lot of opportunities in this market," the spokesperson said.

Interplay takes control

Interplay managing director Tim Allison told ARN that the decision to change distributors was a strategic move.

"This has been on the cards since we began in Australia," Allison said. "We are gradually taking more control over our distribution as the market grows. We are doing the same thing in Asian markets."

He said the decision to change distributors is part of a long-term strategy which will see the games publisher take a greater measure of control over product distribution and games marketing.

Allison explained that until now the Australian market had been too small for the publisher to take over its own distribution.

"Twelve months ago it wouldn't have worked, but now the time is right."

The new distribution strategy will see Tech Pacific become the sole distributor of popular games from Interplay such as the recently released Baldurs Gate - Shadows of AMN.

Allison cited Tech Pacific's national coverage as a key determinant in Interplay's decision to offer it the deal.

"There is a lot of pressure on us to launch a product nationally on the same day," Allison said. "Tech Pacific have the infrastructure to support an Australia-wide launch, and their distribution arrangements are superb."

While Allison told ARN that there were no problems with Village Roadshow, he also confirmed that Interplay was interested in a very specific distributor relationship.

"Village Roadshow were fantastic marketers, that is what they do best, but that is not what we are looking for in a distributor any more."

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