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Nival Interactive Moves To North America And Goes Console

by Rainier on March 14, 2006 @ 5:47 a.m. PST

Nival Interactive today announced it has established its global headquarters in the United States and recruited an executive management team comprised of American video game industry professionals, including Kevin Bachus, co-creator of Microsoft's Xbox, as chief executive officer. Nival plans to expand into the console and mobile games market.

The company's new leadership based in Los Angeles, CA, is moving Nival beyond its dominance in the PC market, where it has developed 15 successful and profitable games over the past decade, into globally relevant, high quality console, video and mobile games and outsourced asset production. The company will combine proven U.S. creative and management resources with exceptional development talent in lower cost regions of the world. By using these "reverse outsourcing" techniques, the lead designers, art directors and programmers based in Los Angeles, along with the company's 300 overseas developers in five development studios, assure Nival's partners that the company's products will rival those developed anywhere in the world. Further, the company is able to leverage its excess capacity to offer outsourcing work to its partners while simultaneously developing its own games in concert with leading worldwide game publishers.

"During its ten year history Nival Interactive has already established itself as a highly praised developer of successful PC games. By marrying Western creative, production and management capabilities with Eastern execution skills and expertise, we will bring products to our partners that are high in quality and global commercial appeal, but low in risk," said Kevin Bachus, CEO of Nival.

Bachus is perhaps best known as one of the group of four individuals at Microsoft Corporation to conceive of the Xbox video game system. With his experience as Microsoft's first director of third-party relations for the Xbox along with his subsequent history of entrepreneurship, Bachus was the ideal choice to lead Nival in the formation of new publishing and content partnerships while guiding Nival's development capabilities onto multiple game platforms. Bachus has also held executive positions at Infinium Labs and Capital Entertainment Group, a company he co-founded. Sergey Orlovskiy, who founded Nival in 1996, will remain Nival's president and will work side-by- side with Bachus to deliver outstanding, world-class products. One of the best-known figures in Russian game development, Orlovskiy has assembled award- winning creative and technical teams in Eastern Europe and has grown Nival into the largest game development company in Russia.

"The Eastern European game development market is seeing a surge in quality and quantity of product along with a corresponding increase in revenues," said Orlovskiy. "With the addition of our new U.S. headquarters team, we are well positioned to expand opportunities for Nival Interactive as well as for partnering companies who are looking to develop AAA content cost-effectively on diverse platforms. We also plan to continue our strategic growth and increase our production capacity through the creation and acquisition of additional development studios around the world."

Nival Interactive's majority shareholder is Ener1 Group, a privately held, global investment and advisory firm with offices in the U.S. and Moscow. The firm has been at the forefront of finding undervalued opportunities in Russia and the Ukraine, where it continues to invest in companies with competitive advantages and proprietary technologies that can be successfully commercialized worldwide.

"In a market where profits are flat and competition cutthroat, product development done in Russia can be a competitive advantage: one that yields lower production costs over one's home territory, yet high product quality," says Charles Gassenheimer, Ener1 Group's CEO. "With our new top-notch U.S. management team in place guiding our large, highly-skilled talent pool in Russia, Nival is the ideal partner for global PC, console and mobile game publishers."

Rounding out Nival's management team is William Petro, producer of over 50 games across all major video game platforms during his 20+ year career, and Anthony Jacobson, an early leader in the field of video game intellectual property development. As vice president of production, Petro will be responsible for managing the company's many PC and video game console development studios around the world. Before coming to Nival, Petro was the senior vice president of production at Sega, where he oversaw more than 20 games ranging from small pick-up titles to multi-million dollar projects for next-generation video game systems, such as Xbox 360 and PlayStation3. Petro has also held management positions at Atari, Konami Digital Entertainment and Westwood Studios, a division of Electronic Arts. Jacobson joins Nival as vice president of marketing and business development, leveraging the extensive work with intellectual properties he gained as the CEO of both Mauretania Import Export Company and Carbon6. Jacobson will focus on establishing new partnerships for Nival in both the video game industry and the broader entertainment industries, drawing upon the myriad film and television contacts made during his tenure at Creative Planet and William Morris Agency.

Along with the company's expansion into the market for console game development, Nival will concurrently grow its wireless division. Doug Dyer, one of the pioneers in the field of wireless game publishing, will be leading Nival's mobile efforts where he will utilize the extensive expertise he gained while creating mobile entertainment businesses for Warner Bros. and THQ, Inc. While at Warner Bros., Dyer led the company's newly established Wireless group, overseeing its growing domestic and international businesses. Under his direction, Warner Bros. Online expanded its wireless business beyond licensing to take a more active role in developing, producing, publishing and marketing its own content to mobile operators and handset manufacturers. Prior to joining Warner Bros., Doug was General Manager of THQ Wireless, a division that he created. As such, Dyer was personally responsible for starting and building the company's global operations and worldwide wireless publishing capabilities.

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