Cryptozoic Entertainment has announced an end to its exclusive distribution relationship for hobby game product with Diamond Comic Distributors and Alliance Game Distributors.  Cryptozoic game products will now be distributed by GTS Distribution and ACD Distribution in addition to Diamond-Alliance, beginning in May.

Diamond - Alliance was awarded exclusive U.S. distribution rights for all Cryptozoic products except its World of Warcraft CCG and its trading card products in early 2013 (see “Diamond-Alliance Gets Cryptozoic Exclusive”). Then in July 2013, Cryptozoic limited U.S. distribution for its entertainment trading cards to Alliance and GTS Distribution (see “Crypto Cuts Card Customers”).  The sole remaining exception, the World of Warcraft CCG, was discontinued in August 2013 (see “'WoW TCG' Calls It Quits”).

“Alliance’s overall support has really helped Cryptozoic gain greater visibility into an increased number of hobby gaming retailers,” said Cryptozoic Co-Founder and Co-CEO John Sepenuk. “As our company expands the diversity of its products, the next step is to cultivate our overall distribution platform through other organizations and accelerate future growth.”

Cryptozoic announced plans to expand into the licensed toy and collectibles market earlier this year, hiring several experienced merchandising executives (see “Schanes Joins Cryptozoic as VP” and “Cryptozoic Strengthens Merch Team”).

Since 2007, when Diamond-Alliance acquired exclusive distribution rights to WizKids products (see “WizKids Goes Exclusive”), the direction of game distribution exclusivity for the category's largest company has all been one way:  toward more exclusive distribution rights for Diamond-Alliance.  This is the first time that a company for which Diamond-Alliance had exclusive distribution rights has reversed its decision and gone back to non-exclusive distribution.  While Cyrptozoic's move is limited, adding only two distrbutors, it's a significant one.  It's yet to be seen whether this is an outlier incident or the beginning of a new trend.