Vivendi’s French evolution

What is the thinking behind the recent re-jig of your managerial structure?

We have re-organised Europe under a single leadership. The UK is a critical market for us so it is important that we continue to invest, especially on the console side of things.

We want to continue to invest in the leadership team as well, and make sure we have someone that can take us to the next level. We want to make sure the management in the UK is very strong, and when we are ready to announce further news then you can be sure that you will be the first to hear about it.

Do you think this puts Vivendi in a greater position of strength?

When we look at our product portfolio, we have a very strong line-up and we need to look at the execution of how we release these products. It’s not one market in particular, it is everywhere. We are really looking at stepping up in industry terms. We want to be very creative and aggressive locally with what we do.

Are there particular formats that Vivendi is focusing on going forward in terms of game releases?

When we make decisions on which formats to release games on, we make them very early on.

We are in partnership with all the platform holders and we are working very closely with all of them as we want to be a strong multi-platform player. For us, it is important to build relationships and understand every platform’s potential. There is not one platform that we can say we are going after in particular, they are all very important parts of our portfolio.

We are more fragmented on platforms than we ever have been, as there are so many different opportunities out there. In our development efforts we have all the platforms involved so we look forward to the growth of installed bases on all the new consoles.

Everybody benefits when there are successful consoles out there – as to when the sales milestones are hit, it is always a moving target. So you can see titles coming in later – we have TimeShift coming a year later than expected – so it has the chance to take advantage of a stronger installed base.

Are you looking to expand your development capability in order to take advantage of the increasing opportunities in the marketplace?

Like most leading publishers we are always looking. In terms of resources and how we grow there are always an number of options we are looking at. The goal for us is to come out with the best possible products – we have always believed that the best games company is the one that makes the best games. We already have strong internal studios and partners who are helping us to lift the quality of our games further – you can see that with the accolades we are getting for something like World in Conflict.

What are your thoughts on the run-in to Christmas now that GTA IV has been delayed?

We hope that the Euros and Pounds that were going to be spent on GTA will be spent on other games – there’s a lot of great games coming out in that quarter and that’s good for the industry.

But it must be said that we’ve been successful at launching product outside that Christmas window – if you look at this year we launched World Of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. We really believe in working with retail all year round, but it just sometimes happens that product is ready in Q4 and this is also the case this year.

What do you feel are the key elements you must focus on to ensure a successful Q4?

UK retail remains very important to us and this will be reflected in our activities this Q4 and into 2008. When you look at the Vivendi Games line up over the next 18 months, while the products are very much global their appeal is particularly appropriate for a UK audience.

I want to emphasise that when you look at the line-up there’s a great opportunites for us in the UK market – we are a global company but I think we have the titles that will do particularly well in that market. We’re very excited looking forward to the end of ’07 and into ’08 as our commitment to the UK is stronger than ever.

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