Publisher and distributor Infogrames will begin moving the distribution of Hasbro software to the OziSoft banner over the next few months following the acquisition of games publisher Hasbro Interactive.
The move comes just months after distribution giant Tech Pacific announced it would distribute Hasbro software to retailers, focusing on broadening the market to smaller and independent resellers.
Hasbro is currently in discussions with its other current distribution partner, Acclaim Entertainment, to switch distribution over to OziSoft by March 1, although an agreement has not been finalised. Acclaim's account was due for a review mid-2001.
"We are working amicably behind the scenes with Acclaim to reach an agreement," Infogrames Asia-Pacific CEO Julian White told ARN. "Resellers can still buy product from the distributors and we will honour our agreements until we can sit down and talk about taking the product in-house."
Infogrames signed a deal with Hasbro to purchase Hasbro Interactive in December last year. With the agreement newly finalised, the company is now looking at how to integrate the products in the market. Infogrames has taken on all of Hasbro Interactive's assets, including Atari and MicroProse. It has also acquired Games.com and a licensing agreement to develop and publish games on current and future Hasbro properties.
White said Infogrames would try its utmost to keep Hasbro products flowing through the channel.
"We will try not to hold up the flow of product, but retailers need to understand there could be hold-ups during the transitional period."
The acquisition follows an industry-wide trend of consolidation. Last year, the company merged with distributor GT Interactive, taking on the company's software catalogue and about 50 employees.
White believes the new acquisition will allow the company to operate more effectively.
"It is about utilising efficiencies," he said. "And it offers cost savings to retailers because they are dealing with less suppliers, so they have fewer accounts payable and delivery hassles, and they don't have to deal with as many salespeople."
While consolidation is an increasing concern within the channel, White said no one could afford to become complacent in today's climate.
"No company can be too arrogant to think they have enough market to do whatever they want," he said. "There are always competing companies coming up behind you. I think there is enough competition in Australia to keep companies honest," he said, adding government bodies such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commision (ACCC) were also keeping a constant vigil.