Electronics Boutique buys Barrysworld

UK high street retail giant will use £400,000 purchase to expand its online channels

Electronics Boutique, the UK's largest retailer of computer software and video games, is to buy the BarrysWorld online gaming service for £400,000.

In a statement released today, Electronics Boutique said the acquisition is a further step in its strategy to expand its high street operation, where it has 300 shops, through other channels.

Electronics Boutique chief executive John Steinbrecher, said: "Up until now customers who purchased products in our stores with online gaming capabilities had to go elsewhere to experience this element of play. Electronics Boutique will now be able to provide an all-encompassing experience."

BarrysWorld was founded as a service for online gamers in early 1997 and was run wholly by enthusiasts. In April 2000 the service expanded rapidly with the help of venture capital funding but earlier this month the company entered into voluntary liquidation when it failed to secure further funds.

Before it entered into liquidation, the BarrysWorld Network of affiliate and hosted sites constituted the largest games portal in Europe.

Barrysworld cofounder Ben Lawton, better known as TedTheDog, stressed his belief in the future of online gaming. "We always believed there was a future for online gaming and the fact that over 100 companies registered their interest with the liquidator only made our belief stronger," he said in a statement, adding that: "Of course, by then it was a bit late for us."

Lawton, who said he is no longer an employee of either Barrysworld or Electronics Boutique, said the site would continue to run "with a few fundamental changes to make it pay its way".

For complete gaming news, see GameSpot UK.

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