Games publishers are once again looking to third-party distributors to service the Australian market, with two high-profile names pulling out of the distribution of games in as many weeks.
Hot on the heels of Roadshow Interactive's closure, 15 sales staff from Acclaim have been given their marching orders as part of a company restructure, prompting the resignation of managing director Mike Fegan. Although Acclaim's Australasian office is still operating in Melbourne, its remaining staff will now concentrate on marketing initiatives. Distribution of its product line will shift to a third-party distributor, rumoured to be Queensland's All Interactive.
"We are going to go with a different distribution structure, which is still being finalised," said Acclaim communications controller Daniel Armstrong. "The market is fairly tight at the moment and we've done it to increase efficiency."
The plan was a directive from head office that had been in the pipeline for the last six months, Armstrong said.
Acclaim's reasoning is similar to Roadshow's in that the resources needed to service retailers around Australia have a major impact on the bottom line.
"It is the way most publishers operate anyway and it gives us a chance to concentrate on marketing. It's been an unwieldy business model -- the number of hands on deck and infrastructure involved made it very cumbersome."
It's a far cry from 18 months ago, when in the wake of the Dataflow collapse, international publishers rushed to set up their own local distribution networks and mega-companies such as Vivendi set up their own Australian operations.
Read about the changing face of the software channel in this week's ARN, out on Wednesday.