Flash of Steel header image 2

The Slitherine/Matrix Merger

May 10th, 2010 by Troy Goodfellow · 5 Comments · Industry, Matrix, Slitherine

My life has been a bit of a mess lately, so this is my first opportunity to post on last week’s big strategy business move. From the press release:

Slitherine Ltd and Matrix Games today announced that they have signed a comprehensive agreement to merge the companies creating the world’s largest wargaming specialist publisher. Both Brands have strong identities and core values and these will be maintained to provide maximum enjoyment and added value to all customers.

Slitherine is best known as a developer. They’ve made the Legion family of games (Legion, Chariots of War, Spartan, Legion Arena) and are a co-developer of Field of Glory, my current wargame girlfriend. Matrix, of course, is the big publisher in this area and has published many of Slitherine’s games. Slitherine is a publisher, too, but on a much smaller scale.

The big difference is geography. Matrix is American and Slitherine is British. A merger gives each easier access to the other market. I asked both sides for comment and Slitherine’s Chairman, JD McNeill, took the opportunity to speak to what this merger means.

The management team has a wealth of experience and knowledge in the Wargames and History world and each member of the new combined board of directors has a very specific role to play revolving around their various skill sets and experience. This has always been an issue for both companies in the past, we just never had the time or the band width to chase the extra opportunities. With the new structure we all slot very nicely into our specific roles and responsibilities and we are very excited by this.

Both companies will continue their trading activities as before and individual opportunities will be evaluated to see where they sit best. Matrix is second to none in the PC Digital Distribution market and works closely with some of the best developers in this field. Slitherine has pioneered taking the Wargames Genre to the new platforms and so we see the combined benefits as a huge opportunity for growth. Our focus groups and forums tell us that there is a strong desire for our sort of products out there which is simply not being met by the traditional retail models.

Another advantage of this deal is that Slitherine now have a US headquarters which is a fundamental requirement to gain publisher licensing status with console platform owners. We are already licensed publishers with Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft in Europe and the rest of the world and the new move will enable us to pursue this status in the USA. For Matrix it will create far greater exposure to the European markets and the possibility to localise and sell their games into all European territories. We also understand that a number of the developers are keen to explore the possibilities of taking their games to the various console platforms that might suit their titles.

Field of Glory would work great on a console, by the way.


5 Comments so far ↓

  • Hudsopn

    I hope they merge the sites so that gamers are not split between two discussion boards. And now I can stop downloading two seperate versions of Commander: Europe at War maybe?

  • Jon F

    Seems like a good merger, if unexpected. I’m not seeing a real downside. Slitherine has made some quality if flawed games. I haven’t tried Field of Glory yet and really need to. Matrix I’ve never had issues with either and I like their serial key only DRM.

    Seems like the move could help both companies and the customers.

  • Nikolaj

    I still don’t quite understand why the merger happened. To get access to each other markets? Surely, Matrix already has access to the British market, and Slitherine had access to NA via Matrix.

    Not that it really matters that much to me, since I never played any of Slitherine’s games.

  • JonathanStrange

    I thought Slitherine’s Chairman very clear as to the reasons. It will be interesting to see if the theoretical advantage of a combined team trading ideas and expertise regarding the local markets will generate more efficiency and profits. Presumably they hope to do better than just having their products sold on each other’s websites – if the Chairman’s comments can be put to practical use.

  • salwon

    Bottom line it for me: does this mean Battles from the Bulge will be out sooner or later?