Scott top player in WBIE game

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Warner Bros. took a major step toward building out its video games division by appointing Ron Scott senior vp worldwide sales and distribution at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

The move signals a growing commitment by the parent company to the video game category. Scott, a former Activision executive who most recently was president of Crave Entertainment, will be responsible for building out the division's sales and distribution infrastructure.

While WBIE only has a handful of games poised for release, it will have plenty of titles to offer retailers thanks to distribution deals it has inked with such publishers as Codemasters, Brash Entertainment and Empire Interactive.

"Our strategy is to leverage the worldwide distribution infrastructure of the Warner Bros. Home Video organization -- our distribution centers, our relationships with the trade to a certain extent and our back-office staff," Scott said. "What Warner has done is layer on top of that game-specific expertise in areas such as distribution, sales, consumer marketing and PR."

In the past, Warners' games division was there primarily to leverage movie and TV properties to the interactive entertainment space, in many cases through licensing deals with outside publishers. Some of that strategy will continue, but "We're committed to developing game-specific IP," Scott said. "There's going to be a decent amount of resources brought to bear, and you'll see a ramp-up in our internally developed games over the next five years."

With music CD sales down and DVD numbers slowing, "We're seeing a lot of retailers increase their video game space, so it's a great time for Warner Bros. to be more aggressive," he said.

Scott indicated that he already has done a lot of hiring for his North American team. "Our operations in Europe, Australia and Japan are also going to be looking to add people who know how games are brought to market," he said.

As for the actual games, Scott said Looney Tunes-licensed games will be reaching the market in the fall under the WB Games brand for Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii. But Scott added that not all of its internally developed games will be aimed at a family audience, citing its acquisition of Monolith Studios, which is well know for titles aimed at the hardcore gamer.
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