Russian publisher 1C Company has signed a deal for the exclusive rights to distribute Electronic Arts PC and console games in Russia and CIS countries.
The primary reason for the deal though is said to be to expand the market for games in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the largest in the area after Russia itself.
The deal will also see EA's PC games being distributed in economy jewel packs in Russia, with Crysis: Warhead
, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
and NHL 09
all planned to be released in the format this autumn.
1C Company has seen rapid expansion in recent months, most recently in its acquisition of rival publisher and distributer Buka
The company has also acquired Russian developer Ino-Co, the studio behind the Star Wolves
and Fantasy Wars
PC franchises, and Akella’s “Sea Dog” in-house development studio.
"[The] choice of 1C as our strategic partner is not a random decision,” said Peter Laughton, EA vice president and general manager of Central and Eastern Europe. ”Nowadays 1C is a key player on the distribution market of PC games in jewels. Due to its professionalism this company gained high business reputation and we are interested in long-term and mutually profitable relations."
"The agreement signed is an unprecedented event for Russian market. World's leading publisher will unite its strength with the largest Russian software company. We greet Electronic Arts' initiative to distribute games in economy packs", said Nikolay Baryshnikov, international sales director for 1C Company.