Catapult Entertainment and Blockbuster Video Announce National Roll-out of XBAND
Successful sell-through program prompts immediate expansion of video game network
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (August 10, 1995)...On the heels of a highly successful five-city test, Catapult Entertainment and Blockbuster Video today announced plans to expand their XBAND Video Game Network sell-through program to all Blockbuster Video stores in the U.S. Catapult will additionally increase the number of toy and software specialty stores, bringing the number of retail outlets carrying XBAND to approximately 4500. Catapult plans to have XBAND for Sega Genesis and Super NES on-shelf throughout the U.S. the week of October 2.
XBAND is the only low cost video game network that offers subscribers the ability to compete head-to-head -- in real time from different locations -- playing popular 16-bit titles over a standard telephone line. XBAND carries a $19.99 MSRP and a two-tiered pricing for subscription fees of either $4.95/month for 50 credits or $9.95/month for unlimited play. The first month on the XBAND Network is free and play unlimited.
"The XBAND program has been one of the most successful sell-through efforts in Blockbuster Video history," said Mike van der Kieft, Director of Business Development at Blockbuster. "A revolutionary gaming product like XBAND coupled with aggressive in-store activities helped to produce the excellent results in the test markets. We fully expect to replicate this on a national level."
"Blockbuster's involvement with Catapult is a win-win situation," said Gerry Geddis, President of Blockbuster Video. "We feel the 16-bit market will continue to be very robust and the inclusion of XBAND at Blockbuster definitely extends and enhances its life and, naturally, interest in cartridge rentals."
To support the national roll out, Catapult will execute a turn-key employee training program for all retailers in addition to working with Blockbuster to refine point-of-purchase displays for stores nationwide. Blockbuster in-store merchandising will consist of four foot dedicated areas with die cut headers and four shelves for product. Additionally, Catapult has created a two-minute video that demonstrates the product and will be offered as a free rental.
"Increased consumer understanding and subsequent acceptance of XBAND indicates the mass market potential of our product," stated Adam Grosser, President and CEO of Catapult. "Today, our members average 20 hours per month on the network; this includes 120 game challenges and 80 mail messages in that thirty day period. This, combined with a remarkably low churn, demonstrates that gamers definitely thrive on the competition and interaction that only XBAND delivers."
The company also plans a series of online and in-store co-marketing promotions with software publishers, game magazines and Blockbuster Entertainment.
In addition to the variety of games XBAND offers to Genesis and Super NES players today, Catapult expects to introduce support for a number of games later this year including Killer Instinct, Weapon Lord and Mortal Kombat 3. XBAND currently supports Mortal Kombat II, Madden NFL '95, NHL '95 and Super Street Fighter II for both systems. Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and NBA Live '95 are also available for Sega and NBA Jam Tournament Edition for Super NES.
This fall, Catapult will offer XBAND for the PC as well as introduce XBAND for the Super Famicom platform in Japan. XBAND will be available for certain next generation platforms in 1996.
Blockbuster Entertainment Group, a unit of Viacom Inc., is a worldwide leader in entertainment retailing, television and film production, live entertainment and premium television. The Group's operations include Blockbuster Video, Blockbuster Music, Showtime Networks Inc., Spelling Entertainment, Discovery Zone and Paramount Parks.
Catapult Entertainment, Inc. was formed to create premier products and services to support networked real time interactive entertainment. Founded by senior executives from Sony Pictures Entertainment, General Magic, T*HQ and Apple Computer, Inc., Catapult is a private company based in Cupertino, California.
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