Games distributor profiles

MCV takes a closer look at some of the leading video game suppliers, with an update on what each company has achieved over the past year.

Koch Media

Established: 1994
Key goods: Games, DVDs, software
Staff: 350Based: Basingstoke, Hampshire
Key territories: UK, Benelux, Nordic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, North America
Contact: 01256 385200

Ever since its impressive trailer went live, Dead Island was destined to be a hit new video game IP.

But arguably it achieved far higher levels of success than expected. The Xbox 360 and PS3 game went straight to No.1 in the charts last September, selling out in several retailers and maintaining a strong price point way beyond release.The game was released under Koch Media’s publishing division Deep Silver.

In terms of our publishing label it really does demonstrate that we can take a new IP to market and fully establish a No.1 selling game,” Koch MD Craig McNicol tells MCV.

From a PR persecutive Deep Silver really is on the map for having a successful new IP. We followed it with the quirk that is Catherine, where the mass market coverage we gained was enormous. There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon for Deep Silver.”

If anything, Dead Island proves that Koch has the tools to publish and supply a successful product, even in a struggling games retail environment. And this is something it says it can achieve for other publishers, too, helping toalleviate risk during a tough economic climate.

McNicol adds: I imagine our biggest challenge is to be seen as a credible alternative to publishers thinking of setting up their own operations. Why do that in this uncertain market?”

Koch has also been ramping up the DVD side of its business over the past year, opening a new office in London with a dedicated sales, marketing, PR and distribution team in place. It says DVDs offer an ideal margin maker for stores.

McNicol says: The demand for DVDs is a much larger window than it is for games. The consumer is much more likely to purchase spontaneously and this decision to do so could be driven simply by the packaging or the price point.

The opportunities for raising awareness are also unique as demonstrated by us bringing Will Ferrell over in November and having him appear on shows like BBC Breakfast, The One Show and Chris Moyles’ Quiz Night. That star quality brings huge awareness to a product.

We will continue to grow the DVD side of the business and look to bring new and established IPs back to market.”


Established: 1984
Key goods: Games, consoles, accessories, consumer electronics
Staff: 250 in the UK,200 overseas
Based: Altham, Harlow, Hong Kong, Stoke, Raunds, Paris
Contact: 01279 822800

Distributor and retail services provider Gem is one of the more multi-faceted suppliers in the UK?games industry.

The company has its Gem Logistics arm, offering third-party deliveries for games, music and film products, as well as Gem Creative, an in-house design agency. Then there is its accessories manufacturing division Exspect, a dedicated Retail Support Services unit and now a digitaldistribution arm.

Gem acquired the latter, Ztorm, last month, allowing the boxed goods expert to move into downloads.

The mix of services and operations within Gem enable us to offer full service solutions to suppliers, enabling them to get their product to market in the most cost effective way,” says group strategic development director Alex Croft.

And to retailers, we enable them to sell a broad and diverse range of products and services. Gem is evolving to become more than a distributor, through the establishment and growth of several new business units.”

UK general manager Darren Houghton adds: We are always looking to evolve our business to keep us on pace with the fast-changing market within which we operate, as well as keeping us ahead of our competition. I think we do both very well indeed. The recent acquisition of Ztorm is a perfect example of this – building a digital proposition to support our physical goods business.”

Gem is keen to stress the set of solutions offered within its Gem Logistics division. It says it can manage the ‘complete supply chain, to any worldwide destination, whether it’s a distribution centre, individual store or even the consumer’s letterbox’.

Key customers already include 505 Games, Take-Two, Xbox, Codemasters and Ministry of Sound.

Croft says: We have customers to support with a fantastic range of existing and new products and services and we don’t intend to disappoint. A collaborative partnership is a stronger one and that’s always been our mantra and I believe it’s also the reason why our partners remain loyal to us.”

Link Distribution

Established: 2007
Key goods: Consoles, games, accessories
Staff: 14
Based: Bradford and London
Key territories: UK, Europe
Contact: 01274 684 668

In the space of five years Link Distribution has become a fast-growing supplier of boxed games to over 60 countries worldwide.The company acquired A Game Distribution last October, helping it double its warehouse capacity, achieve a 115 per cent growth in sales and take on five new staff to up its headcount to 14.

Staff at A Game will continue to work in their London office which is now responsible for sales and purchasing at Link, while the Bradford office looks after finance and warehousing.

Link’s international trade manager Adam Harris tells MCV: We have gone from strength to strength and seen strong growth in our independent sector sales. [The acquisition] has also expanded our supply chain tremendously and opened doors to new product lines and operational systems.”

Link also says it wants to continue in this upward direction and focus on growing its business in the year ahead.

We are dedicated to the games market and are keen to establish ourselves as not only specialists, but experts in our sector,” adds Harris.We’re looking to build on our growth achieved in 2011. We are not expecting to expand our team this year, however we feel we have great potential to gain a foothold with new releases and expand our digital goods distribution services. We’re hopeful the market takes to the two new platforms, PS Vita and Wii U.”

Contact Sales

Established: 1997
Key goods: PC games,simulation peripherals
Staff: 10Based: Banbury, Oxfordshire
Key territories: UK, Europe, Middle East, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia
Contact: 01869 338833

For fifteen years Contact Sales has stuck to what it does best – providing products for the simulation games fanatic.

Look past the specialist names of games such as Farming Simulator, Stone Quarry Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and Underground Mining Simulator, and you’ll find quality titles that have a very real, very dedicated fanbase.

As well as publishing PC games under its Excalibur, First Class Simulations and Extra Play labels, Contact Sales also distributes specialist peri

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