Interplay dumps Village for Tech Pac

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.

Interplay vice-president Tim Allason told ARN that the decision to change distributors was a strategic move.

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

According to Allason, 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.

He 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."

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

Allason 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," Allason said. "Tech Pacific have the infrastructure to support an Australia-wide launch and their distribution arrangements are superb."

While Allason 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, which is what they do best, but that is not what we are looking for in a distributor any more."