Atari: ‘We’ll be a billion dollar distributor’

Namco Bandai’s investment in Infogrames’ European and Asian distribution business will create an entirely new spin-off firm that could bring up to a quarter of the European trade’s games to market.

That was the message from Infogrames CEO David Gardner as he revealed his company’s intentions to MCV.

Namco Bandai acquired a 34 per cent stake in Infogrames’ European and Asian distribution operations this week, creating a new company that will handle the distribution of both businesses’ boxed product as well as signing up other publishers’ titles.

Gardner believes that while a large portion of the company’s efforts will be dedicated to creating online social games to make Atari a leading web-based gaming presence, its distribution business can also thrive after the Namco Bandai deal.

I think it’s very interesting because thanks to this deal we’re creating a PAL market distribution force that’s largely independent,” he told MCV.

If you look at Electronic Arts or Activision, they’re too busy with their own products to properly take care of third party products.

We have the opportunity to show people that there is a high quality pan-European solution. Now we can offer the market one company, not dominated by anyone, that has a management team just focused on distribution – not getting confused by making games or any other conflicting interests. I think if you look at the total European distribution market, EA, Activision and Ubisoft probably have half.

And you’ve got the other half of the market trying to figure out how to get to retail – I think that this company should be able to get 25 per cent of that business – it should be able to, over time, become a billion dollar distribution force across Europe and PAL markets.”

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