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The Electronics Boutique plc Acquisition of On-line Gaming Service

Added: (Tue Feb 27 2001)

Pressbox (Press Release) - 27th February, 2001

The Electronics Boutique plc

Acquisition of On-line Gaming Service

Electronics Boutique, the UK’s largest retailer of computer software and video games, announced today the acquisition of the assets of the BarrysWorld on-line gaming service.

BarrysWorld was founded as a service for on-line gamers in early 1997 and was run wholly by enthusiasts. In April 2000 venture capital funding was received and the service was rapidly expanded with heavy investment in additional hosting capacity, staffing and marketing. Necessary further funding was not available and, in February of this year, the company entered into voluntary liquidation.

This acquisition is a further step in Electronics Boutique’s stated strategy to leverage the inherent strengths of its high street market leadership through measured expansion in other channels. The company is ideally positioned to promote the service through its 300 strong retail chain throughout the UK and also via its existing websites.

Electronics Boutique has adopted a measured approach to its investment in new media. This is a natural enhancement to this strategy and allows Electronics Boutique to extend its current consumer offering.

Through its experience and knowledge of the gaming industry Electronics Boutique can seamlessly adapt the Barrysworld business model into its own consumer solution.

John Steinbrecher, Chief Executive, said:

“This latest announcement further strengthens our position as the UK’s No 1 specialist for computer software and video games.

On-line gaming compliments our existing business and we are delighted to be able to bring this additional service to our customers. Up until now customers who purchased products in our stores with on-line gaming capabilities had to go elsewhere to experience this element of play. Electronics Boutique will now be able to provide an all encompassing experience.”

For further information please contact:-

Martin Long, Dave Evans,
Jo Taylor
Electronics Boutique
01344 464040

Nic Bennett, Ben Foster
Financial Dynamics
0207 831 3113

About BarrysWorld

BarrysWorld was founded as a service for on-line gamers in early 1997 and run wholly by enthusiasts. In April 2000 it raised venture capital and the management team became full time. In February of this year, Stephen Katz of Fisher Partners was appointed as Liquidator of BarrysWorld Limited.

Prior to entering into liquidation, BarrysWorld’s home and owned affiliate sites attracted 1.7m page views a month and 20,000 unique individuals a day. Membership, allowing users to access richer services, stood at over 50,000 registered customers, increasing by 1,500 individuals and 300 teams a week. The wider network of hosted sites attracted 158m pages views a month from 160,000 individuals a day, making the BarrysWorld Network the largest games portal in Europe with a user base to compete with many of the leading lifestyle portals.

Through its bespoke management platform BarrysWorld operated 380 logical game servers shared between public servers, league servers and hourly and monthly bookable servers, dealing with over 5,000 unique players per day. BarrysWorld operated the largest games server farm in Europe, accommodating more players, allowing for higher quality game play, than any other comparable service.

BarrysWorld provided the most respected and popular leagues in the UK, providing organised gaming for 600 teams with 100’s on waiting lists to join. The Teams Directory at BarrysWorld contained nearly 4,000 teams from across the globe, making BarrysWorld the largest provider of organised online tournaments and leagues in Europe.

BarrysWorld was in the process of finalising development of its pay-per-play and subscription based billing engine, BarryBank, allowing the monetarisation of any of it’s services from the network or application level. This allowed for services to be charged out individually or gathered into any appropriate group of complementing services allowing for micro billing on a level never before made available within an online games service.

About Electronics Boutique

Electronics Boutique Plc is the leading retailer of computer software and video games in the UK. It currently trades from over 300 stores under the ‘Electronics Boutique’ and ‘GAME’ brands in the UK and Eire. It also has four ‘GAME’ branded stores in Sweden. The Company operates two e-commerce websites through its wholly owned subsidiary EB Media, www.eb.uk.com and www.game.uk.com. EB Media has commercial partnerships with several of the UK’s largest online services, including AOL, MSN and Yahoo! and digital TV partnerships with NTL and Sky on Open, the interactive shopping portal.

Electronics Boutique Plc is focused on the high street, EB Media’s remit covers all new commerce channels beyond retail, including mail order, Internet e-commerce, digital TV and management of Electronics Boutique’s digital channel strategy.

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