1C warns UK retailers off Russian market

Russian publishing powerhouse-cum-specialist-retailer 1C has told the likes of GAME and Gamestation to forget about a move into the Russian market.

1C’s international sales boss Nikolay Baryshnikov admitted that it would not be impossible” for a UK specialist to make it in the territory, but told MCV that tax impediments and strong competition make the vast country a super complicated” territory.

1C has 34 of its own stores within Russia, and specialises in PC games. Its main competitors are giant hypermarkets such as Soyuz, M-video, Auchan and MediaMarket.

This country is very difficult,” said Baryshnikov. You have to be totally local and know how to work within the tax system. Western specialist retailers’ only entry point is to come here and buy a chain.

It is not impossible for them to make it here, but super complicated. If I were GAME or Gamestop I would do Western Europe first. Rules are very easy and transparent in other parts of Europe, though Russia is of course a very attractive market. If big players do come here, it would hopefully be good for the market.”

The Russian games market is estimated to have been worth $370m in 2007, up from $194.4m in 2006.

1C last month signed an exclusive deal with Cooking Mama publisher 505 Games. 1C titles being published in the UK via 505 this year will include Cyrostasis, Rig’n’Roll, Necrovision and Death Track.

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