Viacom vidgame unit scores Vivendi deal

Cyberbiz Brief

Viacom vidgame unit Simon & Schuster Interactive has signed a two-year distribution deal with Vivendi Universal Publishing for massively multiplayer title “Eve Online,” recently released Xbox hit “Outlaw Golf” and other top releases.

Pact succeeds a previous S&SI joint venture that started with Davidson, an interactive entertainment company subsequently acquired by a Vivendi corporate predecessor. That agreement had mostly centered on value-priced, broad-market titles such as those based on “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and parody title “Deer Avenger.”

New deal involves several of S&SI’s more ambitious titles scheduled for release over the next two years, with the possibility that others may be added. Both sides said the deal will take advantage of the distribution muscle Viv U has developed for its own game divisions — Blizzard Entertainment, Universal Interactive and Sierra — and such partners as Interplay.

“The quality of Simon & Schuster’s product roster is right in line with the caliber of our games portfolio, so we have high ex-pectations for this partnership,” said VU Games senior VP of marketing and sales Philip W. O’Neil.

S&SI prexy Gilles Dana credited the Viv U network with the quick success of “Outlaw Golf,” which has become a bestseller on Microsoft’s Xbox vidgame console.

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