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Midway achieved European sales goal ahead of schedule, says Zucker

Midway's CEO David Zucker has said that Stranglehold has provided the company with an indication of its return on investment in European sales and distribution

Midway's CEO David Zucker has said that Stranglehold has provided the company with an indication of its return on investment in European sales and distribution.

"If you go back a couple of years ago, we were getting less than 20 per cent of our sales out of Europe," Zucker said. "Our goal was to get to 35 per cent in 2008."

"We've gotten there this year. We've got a strong team over there."

Stranglehold has been a top-ten selling Xbox 360 title in the UK since its launch, according to Chart Trak data. Zucker said that it has also done very well in France, Germany, Italy and other territories.

He noted that Midway went direct into Germany and France about two years ago, and has always been direct in the UK. Those three territories combined represent almost 70 per cent of European sales, Zucker said.

"With our European distribution now in place, we feel really good about our ability to perform there looking ahead to 2008."

Although the company has been struggling, Zucker said that the infrastructure is in place for a turnaround.

During the past few years, the company has invested over USD 100 million in a standardised next-gen technology platform built around the Unreal Engine 3.

"We wanted to make sure that we avoided the mistake of reinventing technology for the same functionality," he said.

Midway's CEO again pointed to Stranglehold as an example of the company's 'distributed development methodology.' Although the game was developed by the flagship Chicago studio, the audio was done at the Austin, Texas studio, and many of the special effects were done by the Seattle, Washington studio.

The Stranglehold team is now helping the Newcastle studio working on the Wheelman title, something that is only possible because Midway's studios are using the same underlying technology and code base.

The primary advantage to shared technology is lower cost of development for the second batch of next-gen titles.

"But, more importantly," Zucker added, "our teams will be able to spend more time doing the things that matter to sales - which is improving the quality of the game, gameplay, level design - and less time on reinventing technology as we go forward."

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Mark Androvich

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