Warwickshire-based publisher Codemasters has announced today that it's handing sales and distribution duties over to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe for the upcoming launch of Colin McRae: Dirt 2 on both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable in PAL territories, with the exception of Spain, Australia, and New Zealand.
Codemasters will continue to distribute the game on the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and DS, and PC and confirmed to GameSpot UK that Atari will be distributing Dirt 2 in the two southern nations, while existing US distributor Warner Bros. will handle those duties stateside. This isn't the first time SCEE has taken over the distribution duties of a third-party title, with Atari granting Sony an exclusive four-month distribution deal for Ghostbusters: The Video Game on the PS3 earlier this year.
According to a statement issued today, "The arrangement sees SCEE performing sales and distribution for both the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and PlayStation Portable system editions of the much anticipated off-road racing game." According to Codemasters, the combined download figures for the demo on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 are close to reaching the one million mark.
When asked to clarify why Codemasters had reached this decision, a spokesperson told GameSpot UK that the agreement "Represents an opportunity for a great partnership with the platform holder throughout its PAL network, especially at a time when Dirt 2's launch coincides with the release window for the new PS3 console." While Dirt 2's launch might complement Sony's PS3 strategy, it may face some stiff competition from Sony's internal studios when it comes to the PSP, with MotorStorm Arctic Edge and Gran Turismo to be released in the UK on September 18 and September 25, respectively.
Despite reports that it has already gone on sale in North America, the new PS3 Slim is due to launch on September 1 in the US and UK, with the rest of Europe following on September 3. Dirt 2 will be released on the PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii and DS in the UK on September 11; Europe on September 10; and North America on September 8. As previously reported by GameSpot, Codemasters has reconfirmed that the PC version in on track for a December release, in order to take advantage of DirectX 11 support.