Playboy Consolidates Online, TV; ‘Mansion’ Is Delayed

Rhett Pardon
LOS ANGELES — Playboy Enterprises Inc. on Friday said it will consolidate its existing online, TV and DVD business into a new division headquartered in Los Angeles.

Separately, Playboy announced it has delayed its launch of its first video-game release, “Playboy: The Mansion,” until next year.

The new division, Playboy Entertainment Group, is said to be an organizational-structure change that will “ensure the effective use of content across distribution platforms."

"The similarities of these businesses combined with the evolution of digital distribution platforms have created an opportunity to create a more efficient and cost effective operating structure,” said James Griffiths, who has been named president of the new Playboy Entertainment Group. “Growing consumer adoption of digital technologies, including video-on-demand and broadband, is expanding our customer base around the globe.”

With the restructuring, several key executives will change roles. Reporting to Griffiths will be Ned Nalle, president of programming, who will oversee content creation and acquisition, and Randy Nicolau, president of distribution, who will be responsible for global sales, marketing and distribution on all electronic platforms. Griffiths was previously a Playboy senior executive vice president.

“Playboy: The Mansion” in the Xbox and PlayStation 2 formats was scheduled to be on retail shelves this month, just in time for the Christmas season.

In the game, players are able to step into the virtual slippers of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, building Playboy Magazine and the Playboy Mansion into dynamic cultural icons.

The 3-D game’s environment includes the estate areas such as the Game House and the Playboy Grotto where gamers will be able to step into the role of the Playboy mogul, hosting lavish parties designed to be the envy of Hollywood.

Co-publishers Groove Games of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Arush Entertainment of Toronto said that Playboy readers spent over $300 million on video games over the last year with more than 3.1 million readers owning a video game system.

Playboy would not comment on the delay, but industry officials speculate the game would have tough competition as video games “GTA: San Andreas,” “Halo 2” and “Half-Life 2” are expected to top the charts.

Playboy now said it expects the game to be on retail shelves in the first quarter of 2005.