Christian Gloe: We have completely restructured and expanded our operation in Europe. Traditionally, cdv was known as a German-based PC centric publisher; now we have products across all platforms with dedicated offices in the key territories. We have established offices in Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary and this year we entered the French market by investing in cdv Madrics Media.
We’re now setting up in the UK. This all adds to the successful operation we have had in the USA for some time, making cdv a true global player.
What are your immediate UK plans?
Arne Peters: The set up of the UK operation is now underway and is being headed up by David Walker, with Matthew Walker handling marketing. They both have extensive knowledge of the UK market so we expect them to make an immediate impact. Our activities here will reflect the importance of the UK and we’ll be able to disclose more of those details soon.
What does cdv offer that a traditional publisher doesn’t?
AP: The key to what we are able to offer is complete flexibility, not only in terms of publishing and distribution, but also in how we finance and profit share with our partners. We’re able to offer a full service model where our partners are able to choose which parts they wish to use, be it publishing, distribution, financing, sales, marketing, PR, or all of these. This flexibility is something that typically the larger publishers are either unable or unwilling to offer, giving cdv a competitive edge.
Can you provide examples of what that entails?
AP: In Germany we’re handling the distribution and trade marketing of the DS title Clever! It’s developed by German publisher SevenOne Intermedia – part of the large television group ProSieben/Sat1, but we are localising it elsewhere in Europe under the name of Mr Physics and we’ll also handle the publishing side of things. One model does not suit all developers and publishing partners, so the flexibility we are able to offer is proving attractive to those who want to have more say in how they put a product to market.
What’s the deal with Gamecock?
AP: We recently signed the European distribution rights to the Gamecock portfolio. Our agreement covering marketing, licensing and distribution. Gamecock will handle the publishing side of things, again highlighting the flexible nature of agreements we are putting in place. The Gamecock catalogue covers all major platforms with innovative titles like Mushroom Men, Hail to the Chimp and Velvet Assassin for release this year so we’re delighted to be working with them.
And what are your longer term plans?
CG: The expansion of the European operation is almost complete. We’re currently talking to a number of large US and Asian developers and publishers with regards to handling their products in Europe and similarly to European companies to bring their products to the US market. It’s clear that many developers are looking for a flexible approach and more control over their IP, so this is what we are offering.
What can we expect from the UK office?
David Walker: cdv has European wide plans to offer developers and publishers a flexible route to market, allowing them to choose the level of control they want over how their products are put to market. Our office is being set up to execute this model in the UK.
We have a portfolio of products to put to market this year so this will be our key focus to start with. In order to ensure that we handle these successfully, we are out sourcing the key functions whilst we set up the UK operation as it will not be feasible to get everything up and running whilst we plan for the release of these titles. It’s going to be a busy six months as we set the foundations.
So who will UK retailers deal with as you set things up?
DW: Mastertronic is handling all of our sales, primary distribution and finance until the end of the year. They have an excellent set up that accommodates all of our needs and their extensive account base will ensure that every retailer will be able to get access to our line up. We will of course work closely with Mastertronic and their accounts to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
How are the products shaping up?
Matthew Walker: The Gamecock products provide the bulk of our new releases this year and we’re very happy with the quality of the games they’re developing. Titles such as Mushroom Men, Hail to the Chimp and Velvet Assassin will all provide gamers with new and original content, something that is generally lacking with most new releases these days.
The first product we have is Stronghold Crusader Extreme on PC, the next iteration in the multi-million selling Stronghold franchise, which will provide us with an excellent start in the UK with consistent revenue over a prolonged period. Gamecock have already started marketing all of the titles, so we’re now developing and executing these plans and Indigo Pearl are looking after all aspects of PR.
In addition to the Gamecock titles we also have new products from other partners such as Mr Physics on Nintendo DS. There are few Nintendo DS products aimed at the boys’ market so we think that Mr Physics can help fill that gap and we’ll be announcing more titles over the coming months.
What future plans do you have?
DW: We plan to have a fully functional UK operation by the end of 2008. Then we’ll recruit new employees in key areas and look to move most processes in house. We already have premises in Queen’s Park, where we’ll be able to effectively handle future products and those we already have.
Finally, the Walker Brothers? Aren’t you a pop group from the ‘60s?
MW: Hmm, not the first time we’ve heard that one and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Rest assured, having the Walker surname will not be a pre-requisite to coming to work at cdv. Although we both have brothers who might disagree with that!...