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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES

Issue 513 Friday November 14 2008 £3.25

27 Q4 Guide: Peripherals The MCV spotlight shines on the busy and booming sector offering third-party kit for PSP, DS, PS3, Wii, PC and 360

20 Live and Kicking We talk to Microsoft about the 360’s upcoming ‘New Xbox Experience’

WITH THIS

ISSUE...

Your essential guide to Activision Blizzard’s Q4 line-up

EVERY BUYER  EVERY BRANCH  EVERY INDIE  EVERY WEEK

INCORPORATING

Apple cuts to the core iPod creator firmly pitches device as DS competitor  Retail opens its arms to gadget as a games platform

TOUCHING MOMENT: Apple has finally acknowledged the importance of games to the success of its touchscreen phone and music devices

HANDHELDS GO HEAD-TO-HEAD

DS Sales so far: 84.33 million Projected for FY08/09: 30.5 million (by April 2009) Best-selling titles: Brain Training, Nintendogs, Animal Crossing, New Super Mario Brothers, Pokémon Diamond Software distribution: Physical media (but DSi service launches soon)

by Tim Ingham & Ed Fear THE DS AND PSP are last gen platforms – and the only true next-gen portable platform is the iPod Touch. That was the message from Apple this week, as the company finally revealed its intentions to snaffle market share in the traditional gaming space – after years of fervent speculation about its plans. But, speaking exclusively to MCV, the company confessed that its new marketing campaign encourages consumers to buy iPod purely “to play our games” – and even marked the device out as a real threat to Nintendo and Sony’s handheld efforts. Greg Joswiak, head of iPod and iPhone marketing told us: “It’s not just the screens that are superior to DS – it’s the graphics capability, the computing power and the App Store distribution model. “I had an analyst tell me in September – and he was right –

that the DS is the past of gaming devices, and iPod Touch is the future of gaming devices. It certainly has our competitors scrambling in what they’re going to do in reaction to this. This product is capable of so much more, and there’s a tremendous synergy we have with the iPod Touch and game developers.”

more hardcore-focused gamers, Joswiak replied: “iPod Touch represents a more futurelooking view of gaming, so maybe it’s in a category of its own. There’s nothing else that does what it does. It’s a very interesting new entrant. I think maybe that’s a better question for [Sony and Nintendo].”

The iPod Touch is the future of gaming. It has competitors scrambling in what they are going to do in reaction. Greg Joswiak, Apple

iPod users can already download 1,500 games via Apple’s App Store – and the platform holder is doing its best to persuade traditional publishers to add a huge number over the next year. When asked if the iPod Touch was better suited to DS’s family audience or PSP’s

And UK games retail has told MCV it welcomes Apple’s intentions for games – although warned that its platform needs more key exclusive titles to encourage consumer interest. “The iPod Touch and iPhone are both fantastic gaming devices,” said Play.com head of games Gian Luzio.

“We’d be very interested in selling games for them – and that would be digitally, because it couldn’t happen any other way. “The devices just needs more games from the publishers we know and love. At the moment, it has the impression of being a bit of a cottage industry, confined to a handful of developers. But that will change. It’s starting to become apparent that iPod has real relevance for a core gaming audience.” Category buyer at Comet Debbie O’Neill added: “Given its success in MP3, I think any games console with Apple behind it could do very well. I could certainly see iPod as a serious handheld offering if they got behind it.” Gamestation already stocks iPod for its games-focused consumers. GAME would not comment on whether it has plans to introduce the device when asked by MCV.

PSP Sales so far: 30.32 million (not including Q3 2008) Projected for FY08/09: 15 million (but 16 million expected) Best-selling titles: Crisis Core: FFVII, Monster Hunter, God of War, Lumines, GTA: Liberty City Stories Software distribution: Physical media and selected titles through PlayStation Store

IPHONE/IPOD TOUCH Sales so far: Over 10 million iPhones sold Projected: 30 million iPhones sold by 2010 (iPod Touch figures unavailable) Best-selling titles: Super Monkey Ball, Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart Racing, Tap Tap Revenge, Labyrinth, Asterope Software distribution: Entirely digital through the iTunes App Store

PERSONNEL 66 RETAIL BIZ 67 NEW RELEASES 85 HIGH STREET 86 CHARTS 88

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NEWS

[LEADER] TAKING A BITE FROM APPLE’S GAME PLAN It’s easy to write off Apple’s claim that iPhone and iPod Touch ‘represent the future of games’ as the typical bluster many have come to expect from the company. But our cover story this week is the first time ever the company has publically moved to mark its territory in video games – and you should take note. Undoubtedly, Apple plans to replicate its domineering success in music with its games and software push. It’s one of the biggest music retailers in the US, having recently outstripped even WalMart’s CD sales. So given that Apple’s main strength lies in that force once characterised as a comedymoustache-twirling-villain by industry insiders – digital distribution – does retail have anything to fear from the superpower that is Apple? Not at all. Sure, the ‘infinite shelf space’ strategy boasted by iTunes and its App Store is a stark contrast to today’s Big Friday for retail, where (as we explained last week) some 50 new releases will be jostling for space in-store. But it’s this very market explosion that has caught Apple’s eye. And anyway, Apple’s focus is firmly on smaller titles that can be

Apple has built an ecosystem of physical hardware and digital software sales that pleases everyone.

disitributed within a few megabytes at a couple of quid a pop, rather than your average £40 360 title. And while Apple tells us that it thinks the iPhone and iPod Touch trumps the DS and PSP, it’s not necessarily after the same customers. As our fuller interview next week will explain, Apple isn’t necessarily chasing the dedicated gamer audience, but those who might be interested in games if persuaded – so the company is contributing to the further widening of the market. However, the people that should worry are those in charge of the digital strategies for the home consoles. Apple’s plan of attack, which mixes musthave hardware with high-class marketing and a laissez-faire content delivery pipeline with generous royalty rates, is the only digital distribution model in the games industry that seems to give a fair chance to all – retailer, publisher and developer alike. Indeed, goodwill towards iPhone games has gathered so much momentum that MCV knows one Hollywood studio’s games strategy will hinge predominantly around Apple’s hardware. Fact is, Apple has created an ecosystem of hardware and online software sales that can please everyone. That includes developers or publishers selling software through iTunes (and many of them say it is leagues ahead of Xbox Live, WiiWare, PlayStation Network and even N-Gage), through to canny games retailers selling that desirable hardware, or even iTunes gift vouchers (a tip for a Christmas point-of-sale bestseller if ever there was one). michael.french@intentmedia.co.uk

EA celebrates as FIFA 09 Title hits one million sales after enjoying most successful opening by Tim Ingham EA IS celebrating one of the most successful months in its history – after FIFA 09 hit one million UK sales in record time, and over 60,000 people attended the publisher’s landmark Be The One consumer event in London. The title hit a million after just five weeks on the UK market according to EA, besting the franchise’s previous record by a full month. The achievement means that the FIFA franchise has now sold 10 million units in the UK over the past five years. The news comes after the game enjoyed the biggestselling debut week ever for a football title. The title has also achieved the highest Metacritic average rating the FIFA series has ever seen – levelling out at 88 per cent on 360 and PS3. “We are delighted with the success of FIFA 09,” said Dan Holman, marketing manager for EA Sports. “We have continued to listen to gamers and football fans and the result has been the fastest-

We have continued to listen to gamers and football fans and the result has been the fastest-selling FIFA title ever. Dan Holman, Electronic Arts

selling FIFA game in franchise history. To sell in excess of one million copies in five weeks, beating our previous best by one month is incredible and the development team at EA

Canada deserves a lot of credit for delivering the best football game ever. “Our 10 Vs 10 online and Be a Pro modes have revolutionised the football

NCsoft West takes shape DIRK METZGER has re-joined NCsoft as vice president of marketing for NCsoft West – as the company attempts to become ‘the world’s premier’ MMO publisher. The firm consolidated its European and US subsidiaries into NCsoft West back in September in a bid to strengthen its global focus. Metzger joins from Brash Entertainment where he was worldwide marketing director. Prior to Brash he was marketing director for NCsoft Europe, and held positions at AKQA Advertising, Babel Media and Cake Marketing. “NCsoft West has made some significant changes and

‘SOFT FOCUS: Restructure made NCsoft stronger, says Metzger

the team they’ve put in place is a group of extremely smart, passionate and focused individuals,” Metzger told us. “There is no other games publisher I’d rather be working

for right now, and no MMO publisher better equipped to dominate that space. MMO gaming is still in its infancy and it’s fun to be working on the front line of an emerging market. “NCsoft West now has a much stronger global focus in all areas of the business,” he continues. “The operation run out of the Brighton office will benefit from these changes, as all strategy, support and development will have a much more cohesive global focus. This consolidation of our businesses helps NCsoft provide a more dedicated focus towards becoming the world’s premier publisher of MMOs.” NCsoft: 01273 872136

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NEWS

smashes records Christmas set to week ever for a football game in the UK

[PRE ORDERS]

drive Q4 bonanza

TOP 10

“We’re confident that this will be the biggest Q4 software sales performance in UK history,” he said. “Just looking at the installed base of the next-gen systems and the amount of heavy-hitting multi-format games coming out, it’s hard to see it going any other way. “The UK defies the economic pressure because

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR

GFK-CHARTTRACK has predicted that this year’s Christmas period will push the UK industry to its biggest Q4 ever in terms of both unit sales and value. The news comes in the week that a report from leading global sales monitor Top Global Markets showed software sales growth has flattened around the world –

360 ACTIVSION BLIZZARD

2. COD: WORLD AT WAR PS3 ............................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

3. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 PC ....................................................SEGA

4. RESISTANCE 2 + GBP 3.00 VOUCHER PS3 ..................................................SONY

5. LEFT 4 DEAD 360 ......................................................EA

genre and we are continuing to work on new ways to excite the player through authenticity and gameplay innovation.” FIFA will now be backed with a season-long PR and marketing campaign, ensuring steady sales throughout 2009 – and marking it out as a firm Christmas No.1 contender. The news comes in the week that EA celebrated a whopping attendance for its Be The One event in Trafalgar

HOLMAN: Says FIFA success is down to latest game’s quality

Square on Halloween weekend. The publisher attracted over 60,000 people to the London Games Festival fixture – over double the number it pulled in during 2007.  For our in-depth look at EA’s Be The One, turn to page 18

with just one per cent growth from Q2 to the July to September Q3 period. Japan in particular showed signs of decline, with software unit sales down 21 per cent from Q2. However, the GFKChartTrack director Dorian Bloch told MCV that the UK’s performance – with unit sales up 15 per cent on Q2 – bodes very well for publishers’ prospects during the festive season.

it’s a very, very strong gaming territory. “We fully expect UK consumers to drive sales for the full year to unprecedented heights, especially considering the line-up of exciting single and multi-format new franchises, not to mention the evergreen portfolio of Nintendo titles which have done a great job of expanding the market.” GFK-ChartTrack: 020 8741 7585

Rockstar races into UK malls ROCKSTAR is promoting its big Christmas release at shopping arcades across the UK – hitting a target audience of 4.3 million consumers. Midnight Club: Los Angeles’s eight-week shopping mall tour began at the Birmingham Bullring last month, and is still yet to reach the likes of the Newcastle Metro Centre, the Arndale Centre in Manchester and Bluewater in Kent. Rockstar has teamed up with Bauer Media to promote the tour, across brands including FHM, Kiss, Kerrang!, Zoo and Match – and temped consumers in with a competition to win a free car.

SHOPPING CLUB: The title is being shown off around the country

The publisher estimates the overall footfall it will get Midnight Club: Los Angeles in front of will top four million, all of whom will be

offered the chance to sample the game and win other prizes including T-shirts, caps, keychains, licence plate holders and seat belt covers.

General manager of Rockstar Games in Europe Neil Stephen told MCV: “This is an amazing opportunity for us to showcase the incredible gameplay and universal appeal of Midnight Club: Los Angeles to a huge number of people in addition to the loyal fan base in the lead up to Christmas. “We are extremely pleased with how well the game has been received so far and can’t wait to get even more people involved in all the excitement during the remaining stops of the tour.” Midnight Club: LA is out now on PS3, 360, with sister title LA Remix on PSP. Rockstar: 020 7751 2565

6. WOW: WRATH OF THE LICH PC ..............................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

7. ROCK BAND 2 SOLUS 360 ......................................................EA

8. WOW: WRATH OF THE LICH: LT. ED PC ..............................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

9. MIRROR’S EDGE 360 ......................................................EA

10. TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD PS3..................................................EIDOS Week ending November 8th Source: SHOPTO.COM

[MARKET VALUE]

£57.8m 50

40

30

20

10

£41.8m

£47.3m

£57.8m

1,614,665 Units

1,869,095 Units

2,225,207 Units

Week Ending October 24th

Week Ending October 31st

Week Ending November 7th

0

Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media

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NEWS

Football management comes to DS Pinnacle brings sport’s first ever strategy game to handheld with officially licenced Football League title by Tim Ingham PINNACLE is confident that its new football management game for DS – a first for the format – will be a hit at retail. Football Director is released November 28th, and is being backed by a wide-reaching, sixfigure marketing campaign. Pinnacle has secured a fiveweek dream team promo with

management game eagerly anticipated by thousands of DS owners,” Pinnacle marketing manager Oliver Birch explained to MCV. “Football Director DS is not a direct port of any of the football management PC products, instead it was built from the ground up and designed and developed specifically for the DS format.”

Football Director DS is the first and only football management game built from the ground up for DS. Oliver Birch, Pinnacle

Match magazine. Other promotions in both Four Four Two and Kick magazines are also planned. This will be bolstered with PR activity, including specialist press and online campaigns, as well as UK-wide local and regional radio promos and TV activity. “Football Director DS is the first and only football

Football Director DS was developed with Roger Womack at Sports Director and Yorkshire-based development studio Four Door Lemon. The game was created after Pinnacle signed an agreement with The Football League as an official licensee. “It has been challenging to squeeze the full depth of a

footy sim onto the DS cartridge, but these guys have achieved this without compromising the actual game play itself – quite an achievement,” added Birch.

Zoo banks on Margot ZOO DIGITAL believes the character fronting its new selfhelp title can become a household name in the UK. The publisher wants to make the protagonist of Margot’s Word Brain – released later this

“The idea is to try to turn Margot into a Mavis Beaconstyle character; someone that people will recognise and trust because they know exactly what they are going to get – fun, accessible, simple puzzles

The idea is to try to turn Margot into a Mavis beaconstyle character; someone that people will recognise.

month – to become as famous as Mavis Beacon, the figurehead character from the world-wide multi-million selling PC typing tutor.

Andy Gray, Zoo

for the whole family,” Zoo PR and marketing manager Andy Gray told MCV. “Obviously there is huge scope in the puzzle genre so

we would like to see Margot branch out into different types of games such as numbers or logic puzzles in order to build the brand.” Zoo said that unlike rival products, Margot’s Word Brain focuses on positive messaging, rather than telling the gamer that he or she is ‘stupid’. Gray explained: “It’s the kind of game that parents and children can sit around and play together, helping develop word skills, vocabulary and spelling. It will also attract people that have bought other brain training-type products, but found them frustrating for one reason or another.” Zoo: 0114 263 6030

“The quality of the product itself will ensure a hit for Pinnacle. The overwhelming feedback is that Football Director DS is a welcome addition to the huge library of

DS products already out there. The popularity of the DS is obviously a factor, but we believe this game could even drive sales of the console.” Pinnacle: 020 8309 3600

Ascaron makes Tracks for the DS PC PUBLISHER Ascaron is moving into the handheld market for the first time, with a range of DS releases this Q4. The firm told MCV that it will release two DS titles before Christmas, with two further games slated for early 2009. The Berlin-headquartered publisher had previously stuck to its PC roots, but following the changing dynamics of the German market, where console gaming is beginning to catch up with PC gaming, the

firm has entered the lucrative DS market. Point-and-click Runaway: Dream of the Turtle is the first of Ascaron’s DS releases, with critically praised TrackMania DS releasing next week on November 21st. Two more DS titles will head up Ascaron’s 2009 release schedule – Last King of Africa on DS, and Moto Racer DS, the first handheld iteration of the popular franchise. Ascaron: 01675 422331

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NEWS

TRADE BULLETIN

Activision declares War with Call of Duty marketing World at War publisher is planning to dwarf the competition with a giant campaign by Christopher Dring THE LATEST Call of Duty hits shelves today (November 14th) – and Activision has backed the release of World at War with a gargantuan marketing campaign, befitting the world’s largest video game franchise. Activision’s marketing push has included a huge TV and cinema campaign, digital activity and a massive push in both gaming and lifestyle press. And it’s obviously paid off – as Activision brand manager Simon Wells tells MCV that the title has enjoyed “unprecedented levels of excitement and interest from both consumers and retailers”. “A heavyweight brand such as Call of Duty: World at War is being appropriately supported with a heavyweight and integrated through-the-line campaign that will ensure that Call of Duty: World at War is another huge success this winter.” he told MCV.

OUT 21st NOVEMBER PC-DVD and Mac

This Parts Pack includes over 100 new creature building components and animations themed in two distinct styles: cute/cartoon and scary/monster. Similar to The Sims 2 Stuff Pack series, the Parts Pack adds new content aimed at creative users who want to further customize their creatures, and make the scariest monsters or cutest critters possible. WELLS: The Activision brand manager reveals the heavyweight marketing effort that will be behind the eagerly awaited title

“Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was groundbreaking in terms of both game quality and commercial success here in the UK and globally. Now it raises the bar again for the franchise and gamers will be treated to a high octane experience with trademark cinematic intensity, gritty authenticity and high production values.”

“COD4 broke the mould for FPS games, helping to take a genre out of a narrow hardcore market and really achieving ‘mainstream’ success. This set the bar very high, but the team is totally committed to making

Don’t miss the chance to register for PES rankings THE FIRST MCV PES Tournament of the season kicks off on the evening of Thursday, November 27th, and there’s still time to register to compete. Remember, though, you must enter as a team of two from the same company rather than as an individual. Sign up in pairs at www.pesrankings.com/industry

and the Konami team will be in touch with more details if you’re successful. The first event of the new PES season will be held at the Rex Bar in London’s Piccadilly.

It is open to all MCV’s readers, with a trophy up for grabs, as well as £300 of

Play.com vouchers and Club Wembley tickets for England Vs Ukraine in April. PES 2009 was released late last month. It went straight to the top of the UK charts and remains in the top five.

World at War even bigger. We’ve worked closely with Future, Imagine, Bauer Media, The Sun and key mainstream media owners. The game will be everywhere this winter.” Activision: 020 3060 1000

ShopTo launches new mag ONLINE RETAILER ShopTo will launch a new magazine, MCV can reveal. The 32-page free publication has been produced in association with Eurogamer. The first issue of the quarterly will arrive in the next few weeks and will reach over 50,000 readers. All Shopto.net customers will get copies. The magazine will also be available from universities, internet cafes, gyms, and included with MCV.

OUT 21st NOVEMBER Wii and Nintendo DS

Skate It unleashes the Flickit revolution on the Nintendo Wii and NDS. Use the Wii Remote or the NDS stylus to string together your sickest tricks for the ultimate line. Deepen the gameplay experience by planting your feet on the Wii Balance board. Ride with the pros, own the best spots in San Vanelona, and rake in sponsorships on your path to becoming Thrasher Magazine’s Skater of the Year.

OUT 21st NOVEMBER PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, PC-DVD, Wii, Nintendo DS

Race into an action-packed story of pursuit and betrayal. Fight off the cops and others as you chase down your prey in high-speed, high stake multi-car chases. Trust no one. Outrun everyone.

magazine.shopto.net

ea.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: VERDICT RESEARCH

Boom time In its latest report, Verdict Research reported that sales of games in the UK will this year dwarf combined revenues of music and video. In the 12 months to the end of 2008 Verdict predicted that the buoyant video games market will have grown by a massive £1.37bn at a time when the combined music & video sectors have stagnated, with growth of just £0.03bn between them. This will see the video game retail market overtake music and video to become the largest entertainment sector in the UK. As reported on MCVUK.com (03/10/08) the release, UK Music & Video 2008 and UK Video Games & Consoles Retailing 2008, predicts spending on games will rise by 42 per cent to £4.64bn this year, with sales of music and video coming in at £4.46bn. Here, Verdict presents an in-depth analysis of its findings for MCV readers…

UNPRECEDENTED BOOM IN VIDEO GAME SPENDING IN CONTRAST to music and video, the games market is proving itself the stand-out performer in a sluggish retail environment, enjoying explosive growth – at the end of which it will emerge with a larger, more significant, chunk of the retail market. “Whereas music and video has become somewhat stale, video games has enjoyed an array of technological innovation, which has widened the

market demographic enormously and driven phenomenal growth,” Matthew Piner, author of the Video Games & Consoles Retailing report told MCV. “Video games have been catapulted into the mainstream entertainment market, gaining popularity with men, women, children and families alike”. Although leading specialist GAME and a number of well-run

independents are well placed to profit on the conspicuously buoyant market, other retailers are also keen to benefit, with grocers, online retailers and selected non-specialists all ramping up their participation in the sector – often at the expense of their music and video offers. Having enjoyed a sustained period of rapid growth, when CD and DVD sales boosted incremental non-food sales

with little effort, growth of the grocer’s market share in music and video has slowed. Consequently they have reigned in their offers, normally centering them around chart titles. According to Verdict it is frequently a lucrative video games offer which has moved into this space, with grocer’s video games sales now worth more than £500m – growing from just under £100m in 2003.

DUCKING THE CRUNCH: Whilst the economy has taken a hammering, the games industry has gone from strength to strength

Koch snaps up The Game Factory Specialist childrens publisher signs to distributor for exclusive UK deal KOCH MEDIA has signed up kids games specialist The Game Factory as an exclusive client. Koch told MCV that it will take on the exclusive distribution of the publisher’s titles across the UK and Eire. Koch will handle The Game Factory’s packed line-up of releases in time to take advantage of the busy Chrismas period. Titles covered inclue Build a Bear Workshop: A Friend Fur All Seasons on Wii, Bratz Kidz Party on Wii and DS, Zenses (Ocean Edition and Rainforest Edition) on DS and Rubik’s Puzzle Word on both Wii and DS. These November releases will be joined by The Game Factory’s back-catalogue.

Peripherals firm lands in the UK

Koch Media MD Craig McNichol told MCV: “We’re immensely excited to be the new exclusive UK distributor working with The Game Factory. To be working with The Game Factory and their strong line-up is a fantastically exciting venture.” The Game Factory’s European general manager Giles Jones enthused: “I’m delighted to have reached agreement with Koch Media to distribute The Game Factory’s titles in the UK and Eire. “Koch Media offers a unique service proposition to its trade partners, and I look forward to working with them to maximise sales.”

GERMAN peripherals and accessories specialist Sunflex Europe has signed Pinnacle to distribute its range of products in the UK. Pinnacle will be the preferred distributor for Sunflex’s current and future ranges, which include products across all major formats. “Our decision to have a presence in the UK was taken because of the success of our Snakebyte and Fanatec ranges,” explained Sunflex Europe owner and MD Mike Steup. “With the appointment of Pinnacle Software as our official distributor, we look forward to entering every sector of the UK retail market.”

KOCH: 08700 270 985

Pinnacle: 020 8309 3600

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Sponsored by

TIMES ARE TORRID FOR MUSIC AND VIDEO THOUGH THE music and video sector has enjoyed a boost from the growing digital download market, general trading conditions remain challenging. Music is suffering from piracy, a continual onslaught of price deflation, intensifying

competition and the ongoing decline of physical format CD’s. While the DVD market has shown robust volume growth, value growth is impaired by falling prices and heavy discounting. “The music and video market is not just suffering

from a slowing of growth, but a massive transfer of spend to online,” says Malcolm Pinkerton, senior retail analyst at Verdict Research and author of the Music and Video report. “So in actual fact the sales via High Street shops are being hit harder.”

ENTERTAINMENT MARKETS SIZE 2002-2007

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Total Music & VideoSpending £m

Y-o-Y Growth %

4,426 4,692 4,456 4,415 4,434 4,461

8.6 6.0 -5.0 -0.9 0.4 0.6

Total Video Games Y-o-Y Growth Spending £m %

2,179 2,113 2,284 2,545 3,270 4,643

2.1 -3.0 8.1 11.4 28.5 42.0

Source: Verdict Research

RESILIENCE TO THE RECESSION AND GROWTH OF PERIPHERALS ONE SURPRISING aspect of the games market over the past year is that the more severe the economic downturn has become, the better the gaming market has performed. “Games represent a relatively cheap, but also exciting and innovative, pastime,” adds Piner. “As more people save money by staying in, a video game, although it may cost three or four times as much as a DVD

or CD, offers much more longevity and hence better value for money. Moreover, it offers a more involved and interactive form of escapist entertainment when compared to a CD or DVD.” The medium term prospects of the market are strong with the current generation of consoles set to see a peak in hardware sales across late 2008/early 2009 and then enjoying strong

software sales, driven by a widely installed console base, into the next decade. The video games accessories market is also set to continue enjoying massive growth, with sales more than doubling in 2008 and now representing more than 10 per cent of the video games sector value. Over the past few years gaming has also increasingly moved away from the traditional console and

joystick/joypad format, which has helped inrease sales. ”The Nintendo Wii’s movementbased controller has had a particular impact on the market, as has the arrival of stylus pens (for the Nintendo DS), dance mats, drum machines and microphones to play games,” concludes Piner. “Sales of these peripheral gadgets have widened interest in the sector and generated a new revenue stream.”

Training company opens doors RUNTIME TRAINING, a new firm specialising in the provision of bespoke training across all aspects of the games business from development and publishing to marketing and PR, has launched. The company's aim is to deliver tightly-focused training packages – both in-house and off-site – tailored to the needs of individuals, companies and market sectors. Runtime will use a network of specialist trainers and presenters from a variety of backgrounds to host the training and bring ‘real world’ skills to the industry. The first event, a two-day residential seminar on business development for independent game developers, is already sold out. Runtime’s forthcoming projects include a one-day session for PR

[IN BRIEF] TIGA: New research from the industry body and Wolverhampton University has revealed the games industry is short of skilled staff in all roles. TIGA stated that business-university links need to be improved and students need better information about the sector. ALTEN8: The UK developer and publisher has revealed that it has increased its workforce by a huge 300 per cent at its Luton head office. The firm states that it has plans for further expansion next year. UBISOFT: The French publisher is celebrating the release of Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party with an exclusive line of Rabbids ‘Toyz’. Four Rabbids – Assassin’s Creed Rabbid, Smile Rabbit, Splinter Cell Rabbid and Scream Rabbid – have been created by UbiArt as part of the range. EA: Need for Speed will be promoted in a live event next summer, the publisher has revealed. Hosted at Brands Hatch, Need for Speed Live 2009 will showcase entertainment, video games, music, cars and more. Dates are yet to be announced. NCSOFT: The publisher has told MCV that it’s forthcoming Aion: Tower of Eternity is going to be available in 2009, rather than Q1 2009.

TRAINING DAY: Gamble and Brennan believe that recent changes in the market require a fresh approach to training across the industry

professionals on making the most of the new media and a ‘masterclass’ event for game designers. The company is the brainchild of industry veterans Mike Gamble, formerly of Microsoft and THQ (above left), and ex-Bastion director

Ciarán Brennan. They believe that dramatic market changes have prompted the need for a new approach to training. “It has become clear to us in recent months that there is a significant need for tightlyfocused training to equip clients with resources to meet

the challenges of the 21st century video games market. We intend to meet that need,” explained Gamble. “As the market has become more mainstream, the skills required to compete have become increasingly complex.” RunTime: 020 3093 1354

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© 2008 Electronic Arts Inc. EA, the EA logo and Need for Speed are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All Rights Reserved. ‘Nissan’ and the names, logos, marks and designs of the NISSAN products are trademarks and/or intellectual property rights of NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. and used under license to Electronic Arts Inc. Porsche, the Porsche crest, 911 and Carrera are registered trademarks of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG. Licensed under certain patents. “PlayStation”, “PLAYSTATION”,“ ” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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NEWS

Casper and Bob the Builder spearhead Blast’s Christmas Value publisher puts faith in two of the best-known kid’s franchises as it gears up for fourth quarter by Jonathon Harker PUBLISHER BLAST is banking on two huge children’s licences for its releases this quarter. Bob the Builder: Festival of Fun and Casper’s Scare School: Classroom Capers are both slated for release today (Friday, November 14th). The might of the Bob the Builder licence saw it hold the second position in the pre-school boys market last year, and has consistently managed to be

“Casper and Bob the Builder are both huge brands across Europe and the popularity of the DS is at an all-time high,” Blast’s PR and marketing manager Kirsty Payne commented. “Despite the influx of releases at this time of year, we expect these games to perform really well at retail as the brands are instantly recognisable and family friendly. “We’ll support both with a press campaign with children’s competitions across the consumer press.”

Casper and Bob the Builder are both huge brands across Europe and the popularity of the DS is at an all-time high. Kirsty Payne, Blast

among the top 20 licences in the traditional toy market. Similarly, Casper the Friendly Ghost has a high level of awareness with children aged four to nine. It is that familiarity that Blast believes will be crucial in driving sales for the value priced titles.

Payne added that strong licences are invaluable in adding to a title’s appeal: “It really helps to have family friendly titles and high profile characters, as it’s such a competitive marketplace and retail space is tight – a well loved, high profile character certainly stands out.” Blast: 0845 234 4242

BLASTING INTO CHRISTMAS: The publisher’s latest Q4 features Nintendo DS titles based on two of the best-known children’s franchises in the UK

TAKE FLIGHT AND FULFIL YOUR DESTINY. Free from his imprisonment, the Dark Master unleashes his wrath upon the world, determined to bring forth a new age of darkness. As evil spreads over the world like a plague, Spyro must discover abilities beyond that of the elements and unlock the true power of the purple dragon within him if he is to stop the Dark Master and fulfil his destiny.

OUT 21ST NOVEMBER

www.spyrothedragon.com

© 2008 Sierra Entertainment, Inc. Spyro, Sierra and the Sierra logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Sierra Entertainment, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries and Activision is a registered trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. “” , ”PlayStation” and “PLAYSTATION” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies and are used under license from Microsoft. NINTENDO DS, Wii AND THE Wii LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NINTENDO. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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NEWS

EEK W E H T F O N CAMPAIG

WORLD R E D N U R E D TOMB RAI

Lara is back with a bang as Eidos rolls out one of its biggest ever marketing campaigns in support of Tomb Raider: Underworld...

SO OBVIOUS a contender for Christmas number one is Tomb Raider: Underworld that even usually off the mark bookies have it down as a likely contender for the top spot this December. In fact, it’s head-scratchingly difficult to think of many more iconic characters in the video games world, and even tougher to pick out a title more eagerly awaited with the appeal to draw in a wide range of gamers. The campaign is already well under way, with Alison Carroll’s role as the latest Lara model a highlight for many.

“We’ve been pushing out stories and videos to the community all year,” commented Eidos head of UK marketing Jon Brooke. “Now we’re moving into the key pre-release months, we are ramping up our specialist press, running advertising across print and online, and driving hype and consumer momentum. “On November 19th our first TV spot will be broadcast in the England versus Germany football match and from there the TV campaign will run right up until Christmas Day. This TV

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 21 FORMAT: PS2, PS3, 360, WII, PC PUBLISHER: EIDOS DEVELOPER: CRYSTAL DYNAMICS PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388 spend, which is supported by Microsoft, will be the single largest TV campaign that Eidos has ever put behind a game.”

Buy from:

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Marketing Activity Three-month PR Drive Two-month print campaign in women’s press Cradle of Rome & Colour Cross Two new easy to pick-up-and-play Nintendo DS games

For national account enquiries, please contact Mastertronic on: 0845 234 4242

For independent sales, please contact Advantage Distribution on: 0121 506 9585

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28 November 2008 www.HelloKittyBigCity.com Š'76, '79, '84, '88, '89, '90, '92, '93, '94, '96, '99, '02, '08 SANRIO. Empire and the 'E' are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Empire Interactive Europe Ltd. in the UK/Europe and/or other countries. Nintendo DS is a trademark of Nintendo. Š 2006 Nintendo. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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EA’S BE THE ONE

The One and THE ATTENDANCE at Arsenal’s top of the table Premiership clash with Manchester Utd last weekend was 60,106 – but that number was dwarfed by another major London event taking place a little further south. Electronic Arts’ Be The One event once again proved a real jewel in the crown of London Games Festival, as the publisher ‘took over’ Trafalgar Square for two days. There was no giant Homer Simpson this year (shame), but the centrepiece of the gargantuan construction, EA’s BattleDome, was a true giant. “It looked really stunning,” explains EA’s VP of UK & Ireland and Nordic territories Keith Ramsdale. “We packed the event with more than 150 gaming machines. There was something for everyone and that reflected well with a really broad audience.” EA had to put up with some pretty dismal weather, but still managed to draw in a massive crowd – testament both to the eye-catching nature of the setup and the growing mainstream acceptance of gaming in general. “We just wanted to ensure that anyone from the hardcore game fan to the mum, dad or novice had something they could try out and get stuck into,” add Ramsdale. “The game pods were packed all day – in spite of everything the weather threw at us. We had visitors from all over the country and some who'd come back to the event having attended last year.”

coming weeks. We had IGN on board doing a fantastic US vs UK contest on all the EA Sports titles and other media partners such as BBC Magazines on some of our casual titles. “You really get the feeling there is a tangible momentum building and solid

You get the feeling there is a tangible momentum building and strong foundations to grow the event next year. Keith Ramsdale, EA

Attendance was nearly double what EA pulled in during the same event in 2007 – a rich reward for the amount of promotion EA put into the showcase. “We had some great media partners on board this year with both XFM and Choice promoting the event in advance and broadcasting live from the event,” explains Ramsdale. “There will be more coverage appearing on the event in the

foundations to grow the event further next year. It’s absolutely right that the games industry gets behind this festival and makes a massive noise right at the start of peak selling period about everything the industry does so well. I’ve been really impressed with all the media reaction.” Of course, booking Trafalgar Square is a little harsher on the wallet than paying

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EA’s Be The One event loomed large over LGF once again this year – and the publisher could not be happier. Tim Ingham reports… BE THE ONE: HIGHLIGHTS EA showed off 25 different games at Be The One, including its current Q4 line up, and featured on-stage challenges for almost all of them on its gaming ‘BattleDome’. In between the gaming contests on pods and in the BattleDome, artists performed on stage including Kelly Rowland, McFly, Sam Beeton, The Saturdays, Natasha Bedingfield, Airbourne, MyFederation, The Automatic, Lyracis, Sway and more – all of which were brought on stage by presenters including TV’s Reggie Yates and Dave Berry. A major highlight was the Command & Conquer launch, for which EA turned the square red and had around 400 invited guests from its C&C community in the BattleDome for the filming of an exclusive Primetime TV show with special guest Gemma Atkinson.

RAMDALE ON… LGF

POLITICALLY CORRECT: Culture Minister Barbara Follett (left) joined EA’s Keith Ramsdale at the publisher’s Be The One event

for a room in a hotel. But even with the giant cost involved, EA is certain the exposure that it achieved was worth it. Every single game in of EA’s 25strong line up for Q4 was shown off (except the 18-rated Dead Space) to a broad audience – boosted by the school half-term holiday. “Trafalgar Square is a stunning location and it's absolutely right that games can take centre stage there,” concludes Ramsdale. “On top of that with dedicated TV, radio and online output from the event, it generates a lot more content than just the 64,000 ‘bums on seats’ that attend it. I’d like to think that everyone that attended had a great time and that they'll come again next year. “What’s great is that this year’s Be The One event was already attracting other brands into the gaming space. We were very pleased to work with Coke Zero, BE Broadband and DELL, all of whom were great partners for us at the event.”

As well as his role at EA, Keith Ramsdale once again held the position of chairman for LGF. Here, we quiz him on his impressions of 2009’s event… How did turnout measure compared to previous years? This year’s festival saw an increase in attendance by the general public. We estimate that around 110,000 people attended one or more of the events. How do you think LGF’s influence compares to the other London Festivals (Film, Fashion etc.)? The LGF is now in its third year, and through year on year success, it has grown to become a major cultural festival for both consumer and industry to compare with similar UK film and fashion festivals. Also, it is the only major gaming festival in the global calendar to be situated just before a primetime sales period. In the run up to Christmas it becomes a very valuable event at a commercially primed time of year. Would you like to see more major announcements/unveilings at the festival to bring the in eyes of the press – in the same way as the aforementioned industry’s do? Absolutely. More information and announcements during the festival will result in more interest from the media, more interest in the festival and, ultimately, more engagement with the gaming industry.

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NEW XBOX EXPERIENCE

NEW LOOK: The New Xbox Experience heralds the introduction of mass-market friendly Avatars. These customisable figures will be utilised in selected games and community activities

Going Live MCGILL: The Microsoft head of gaming and entertainment gives MCV a tour of the new Xbox Experience

INCREASINGLY it’s not just those block-busting triple-A exclusive software titles that sell games consoles to consumers – it’s their online offering too. With generations ever more adept with the workings and possibilities of the ‘net, it’s no longer enough to just play single player campaigns for many consumers. And it’s not just the massive demand to play online against others across the net – consumers want to be able to download demos and trailers, and go beyond gaming by customising, downloading entertainment and more. It’s probably fair to say that Xbox Live is the best known of all the consoles’ online facilities, and that’s why the new Xbox Experience, arriving next Wednesday (November 19th), is such big news for the industry. But what will the changes entail exactly, what difference will they make – and why are they coming now?

The impending New Xbox Experience launches next week. Jonathon Harker takes a look at why Live’s nip ‘n tuck is more than just skin deep…

“The New Xbox Experience (NXE) will change the way consumers interact with their Xbox 360 console,” Stephen McGill, Microsoft’s head of gaming and entertainment from the entertainment and devices division, tells MCV. “With over 14 million members connected to

behind the massive overhaul. McGill explains: “When we started out, the dashboard was designed to host around 200 pieces of content. Now we’ve got over 20,000 pieces, and the UI needed an overhaul to make the most of this. “The New Xbox Experience is very accessible and intuitive to use – consumers will be The NXE will change the way able to discover the wealth consumers interact with their of content we’ve got on 360 – it’s very accessible and the service a lot more intuitive to use. easily. The NXE will also allow users to customise Stephen McGill, Microsoft and personalise their the service, we’re providing an dashboard and Xbox Experience like enormous raft of content to users. never before.” “No other entertainment device has EYE CANDY completely refreshed the experience it One of the biggest and most obvious provides to consumers through the changes coming through from the New power of software – Xbox Live enables Xbox Experience is the visual style. us to do this for the Xbox 360 console, More pleasing to the eye and simpler to and we feel great about that,” he adds. navigate, the new look for Live also Crucially, times have changed since includes a fresh feature that is sure to Live made its first appearance on the attract column inches as well as spark Xbox 360, which is one of the reasons

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NEW XBOX EXPERIENCE the interest of the ever more crucial mass market consumers – the introduction of Avatars to Live. “We love the Avatars in NXE,” enthuses McGill. “Consumers have the chance to really customise and personalise their experience through the use of Avatars. They’ll represent the way a user is feeling, what their interests are, and what they’re currently doing.” The Avatars will feature directly in gameplay on selected games too: “They’ll be the visual representation of yourself to all of your friends, and as you know, they feature in the upcoming Scene It: Box Office Smash. They’ll also be used in a number of other upcoming titles – including A Kingdom for Keflings, and plenty more we haven’t announced yet. The response from the development community has been fantastic – third party publishers are coming to us, asking us about the Avatar

and enhance the area. McGill adds: “The NXE will absolutely improve online gaming for the better. We’ve introduced the new Party system that allows friends to connect in the dash, then move around together, sharing entertainment experiences as they go. You can have up to eight people in your party, all chatting in the dashboard. Then you all may fancy playing a game, so you all jump right into, say, Gears 2 together. You don’t have to separate up and then reconvene in the game – you all move around together.” And it is that community experience that is key to the new version: “We’re really trying to build the spirit of friends and community with the new Xbox Experience.” But it’s not just gaming that will benefit. As well as having eight people chat in your party at one time, you’ll also be able to browse photos together.

We’re really excited about the NXE and really believe it will enhance the expereince of current and new users. Stephen McGill, Microsoft

architecture, and figuring out how they can build franchises around them. “There’s also the option of using your Avatar’s head as your Gamerpic, again to really personalise your experience. Of course this isn’t compulsory, you can keep the Gamerpics you’ve already downloaded from Marketplace and continue to use them if you so wish. KEEPING SCORE

Playing online will remain a core part of Xbox Live, with the new Experience set to develop those all-important Achievements and Gamerscores. McGill informs: “Of course we know our fans feel very passionately about their Achievements and Gamerscores – as do we! The new dash allows players to share and express their Gamerscores in a much more visible way than before. You can instantly see from the browsing menu your friend’s Achievements all laid out across their recent games – it’s a more visual experience than endless lists.” GAME ON

Gaming online is something that it’s generally acknowledged by gamers that Xbox Live gets spot on, but Microsoft has taken the opportunity to tune up

“One of the party can stream their digital photos from their camera, PC, or any other USB storage device, and all of the other members of your party can view them together – all the while chatting together too.” ON THE MARKET

But it’s not just about looks, Avatars and improved online gaming. The allimportant Live Marketplace will also be enhanced, as McGill explains: “As well as hosting a wealth of content, the new UI makes finding the content that’s right for you a lot easier. Select a game image, and you’ll immediately get access to all related themes, Gamerpics, additional game content etc. When you’re browsing movies, for example, you can now view alphabetically, by genre, view New Additions, ‘What’s Hot’ and so on – everything is geared towards making the discovery of content a slicker and more accessible experience.” “I’d encourage you to go and download it on the November 19th,” McGill concludes. “As I said, we’re really excited about the NXE, and really believe it will enhance the experience of current and new users. We’re thrilled to be able to deliver it to our consumers.”

SAME OLD BRAND NEW YOU: The new Experience will see Live packed with all of the elements that made it a favourite in the first place, plus more enhanced features

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GMA WINNERS: STEVE JARRATT

A Games Media Legend The big winner at the Games Media Awards was industry veteran Steve Jarratt, who was honoured for his years of loyal service to the video games sector. Christopher Dring speaks to a gaming star… JARRATT’S CV Steve Jarratt has made quite an impact in the 20-odd-years he has spent writing about video games. Beginning on Zzap! 64 in 1987, Jarratt has launched and worked on a huge variety of publications, including the much-acclaimed Edge. Below is a run-down of the big name titles Jarratt has been involved in: Zzap!64 Staff Writer/ Deputy Editor Crash Editor CU Amiga Deputy Editor S: The Sega Mag Launch Editor Commodore Format Launch Editor Total! Launch Editor Edge Launch Editor Amiga Format Editor Official PlayStation Magazine Launch Editor T3 Launch Editor Xbox 360: The Official magazine Editor

JARRATT: “I adore video games and all those dogooding naysayers can have my joypad when they pry it from my cold, dead hands”

Were you surprised to pick up the Games Media Legend Award? When I saw Gary Penn win it last year, it dawned on me that I might be in the running at some point, but I figured I’d be after some of the other, bigger names out there. What’s the secret to your success? To be honest, I think I’ve just been on the right publications at the right time. But certainly being deeply passionate about the subject matter helps. I adore video games and all those do-gooding naysayers can have my joypad when they pry it from my cold, dead hands. Who has been the biggest influence on you? A couple of people: Gary Penn, Graeme

Official Nintendo Magazine Launch Editor-In-Chief

Kidd, Kevin Cox… they’re all old-school magazine people who cared deeply about the subject matter and instilled in me the dedication and attention to detail that makes me such a pain in the arse to work with. What has been the highlight of your career so far? I’m very proud of Commodore Format, the C64 mag which came out of nowhere to take on Zzap – a wellknown, long-established title – and destroyed it. But it has to be the launch of Edge – I’m still basking in the reflected glory all these years later. Even now it’s still a behemoth of a magazine, in size and industry clout, and will always be a great calling card for me.

I’m still basking in the reflected glory of the launch of Edge all these years later. It’s still a behemoth of a title. Steve Jarratt

How would you like to see the games media evolve moving forward? Obviously online is a major part of it now and I’m all over the games sites every day. I really enjoy things like video reviews with narration over game footage, so I’m all for more of that. Although, given the vast potential of the web, I’m still surprised to see reviews of major game releases done as three pages of copy and a half-hearted selection of grabs from Games Press. It would be great to see some of the invention of the games mags used online to present games more interestingly, more creatively and with more depth – especially given the complexity of today’s triple-A titles. (So if anyone needs my consultancy skills, I’ll happily send you a quote!)

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SPECIAL FOCUS PERIPHERALS

THE WII EFFECT Nintendo’s Wii has undoubtedly breathed new life into the peripherals sector. Since the console’s inception, a plethora of Wii tennis racquets, battery packs, mats and light guns have flooded the market, and have all been huge successes for the peripherals specialists. “Nintendo have done wonders for the peripherals sector and as long as they continue to develop innovative new software, I think we will continue to benefit from add-on accessory sales,” claims Powerplay Global’s MD Andrew Shanley. “There was a time when our core business would come from cases, alternative pads and steering wheels. Now, with games such as Wii Sports, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Wii Fit, Wii Music and so on, the potential for product is massive.”

“The Nintendo Wii is an amazing example of how games can be used to drive the accessories market.” Billy Slater, Exspect Exspect’s product manager Billy Slater agrees: “The Wii is an amazing example of how games can drive the accessories market, with games such as Wii Fit, Wii Sports, and Tiger Woods there is so much choice for the gamer to enhance their experience.” Peripherals have undoubtedly become an attractive proposition for the casual Wii gamer. Many High Street stores bundle Wii accessory packs with the console for added value, whilst Nintendo releases that include peripherals, such as Wii Play, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii and Link’s Crossbow Training are regular sellouts for retail. Interactive Ideas’ Andrew Miles concludes: “The Wii has really redefined the market, linking software and peripherals to give the user a whole different experience. “With the development of new technology you can only see the interactive element of gaming being developed further with many publishers now also looking at their own branded peripherals that are integral to the games.”

Peripheral

Vision

In the first half of the year the accessories market was worth £200 million, and this Christmas could be the sector’s most lucrative yet. Christopher Dring takes a closer look at the booming peripherals space… ADD-ONS for the Wii Remote, accessories for the DS, and plenty of plastic toys for big-name titles have seen the accessories market explode. Back in the first half of 2008 sales of peripherals leapt a whopping 103 per cent compared to the same period the year before, and it’s something that has impacted every one of the specialists featured in this very issue. It’s no secret that the rise in accessories has been directly influenced by the rise in casual gaming, with a wealth of new consumers snapping up Wii golf clubs, licensed DS styluses and console skins. And it’s something the peripherals specialists have been quick to take advantage of with new products catering specifically for the casual consumer. “Whereas a hardcore gamer wouldn’t even consider buying a controller for his PS3 that wasn’t branded ‘Sony’, a casual DS gamer is more likely to go for the third party, lower priced option,” explains PowerPlay Global MD Andrew Shanley. “By definition we believe that

casual gamers are less brand loyal when it comes to the format holders and are more interested in licences that reflect their demographic.” Logic3 director Michael Kirkham feels that the casual sector has led to more variety in the accessories space: “The huge rise in casual gaming has without doubt impacted the number of peripherals becoming available as

consumer attention, and with only a limited amount of shelf space, there’s certainly a genuine risk that a new product could get lost at retail, or not even make it to stores at all. “The biggest challenge for any peripherals manufacturer at this or any time of the year for that matter, is share of voice on shelves and standing out online, and differentiating yourself from the competition,” claims The biggest challenge for any CEO of Guillemot peripherals manufacturer is Corporation Claude Guillemot. share of voice on shelves and

standing out online. Claude Guillemot, Guillemot Corporation opposed to the more standard type of accessories, such as game pads and steering wheels. For example, we currently have over 60 different accessory solutions for the Nintendo Wii alone.” Despite the success of the peripherals market, there are still plenty of challenges facing the sector as it heads into the congested Christmas period. With so many companies vying for

CONGESTED Q4

Pinpoint’s product development manager Tom Armstrong agrees: “The end of year release schedule is always packed, with top release after top release so unfortunately some shelf space casualties are made. However, we work very closely with our retailer partners to make sure our products are placed within the correct zones and product areas to maximise additional sales.” Another challenge is in getting the stock levels just right in the lead up to

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SPECIAL FOCUS PERIPHERALS Christmas, as AntiGrav boss Matt Holland explains: “Stock of key selling products will always be an issue, and it’s increasingly difficult to get firm forecasts from retailers. Everyone is nervous of having too much stock at the end of the year and this is totally understandable. “However, the risk of not having enough to fulfil orders is equally worrying for us all. It is a double edged sword that will never go away and we all have to do our best to maximise sales and minimise out of stocks.” Christmas has always been a lucrative time for peripherals. Accessories are the perfect stocking fillers for gaming fanatics, parents often pick up an extra controller or two to go with little Jimmy’s new PS3, and peripherals are the ideal products to add-value to hardware bundles. However, Meroncourt’s sales director Steve Walsh warns that with Christmas comes a deluge of cheap and poorly constructed products that are sure to disappoint.

ACCESSORIES MARKET: OPINIONS

“We believe casual gamers are less brand loyal when it comes to the format holders and peripherals – they’re more interested in licences that reflect their demographic.” ANDREW SHANLEY, POWERPLAY GLOBAL

“The huge rise in casual gaming has without doubt impacted the number of peripherals becoming available as opposed to the more standard type of accessories.” MICHAEL KIRKHAM, LOGIC3

“The end of year release schedule is always packed with top release after top release, so unfortunately some shelf space casualties are made.” TOM ARMSTRONG, PINPOINT

“Stock of key selling products will always be an issue, and it is increasingly difficulty to get firm forecasts from retailers. Everyone is nervous of having too much stock.”

A CROWDED CHRISTMAS?

“The biggest challenge for us at Christmas is competing with the usual influx of low priced, low quality accessories which emerge at this time of the year and then generally go on to disappear again by mid-January – by which time many of them have failed to live up to expectations.” Despite the concerns, the peripherals specialists are certain to enjoy their biggest year yet. There are some surefire money spinners detailed over the next 20-something pages, including some promising new peripherals from Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony. But what about the future? What can we expect to see come Christmas 2009? “We have to keep on developing products for emerging target groups,” explains Vidis managing director Morten-Stig Johansen. “The industry has focused on young, male gamers for a long time. But recent years have shown that women, children, young girls and families are all target groups with substantial purchasing power, if only you offer them products that reflect their needs.” PDP’s European category manager Wayne George concludes: “The introduction of new hardware always has a huge impact on both the peripherals market and sales, and that is why we are eagerly awaiting the European launch of Nintendo’s DSi next year.”

MATT HOLLAND, ANTIGRAV

“The biggest challenges for us at Christmas is competing with the usual influx of low priced, low quality accessories which emerge and then disappear again by mid January.” STEVE WALSH, MERONCOURT

“The industry has focused on young male gamers for a long time. But recent years have shown that women, children and families are all target groups with purchasing power.” MORTEN-STIG JOHANSEN, VIDIS

“The Wii is an amazing example of how games can drive accessories, with games like Wii Fit and Tiger Woods there is choice for the gamer to enhance their experience.” BILLY SLATER, EXSPECT

“With the development of new technology, the Wii has really redefined the market, linking software and peripherals to give the user a whole different experience.” ANDREW MILES, INTERACTIVE IDEAS

“The biggest challenge for any peripherals manufacturer at this or any time of the year, for that matter, is share of voice on shelves and standing out online.” CLAUDE GUILLEMOT, GUILLEMOT CORPORATION

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SPECIAL FOCUS: PERIPHERALS

[CONTACT] With new state of the art 13000sq ft premises and an ever-widening range, Venom has enjoyed its most successful year yet. MCV speaks to Sue Dawson about what the firm has planned for Christmas…

VENOM has one of the most attractive ranges of peripherals and accessories on the market. The firm boasts a large selection of Venom peripherals, licensed Bigben accessories and retailers’ own-branded products, and this Christmas sees the company’s strongest line-up yet. “Venom continues to offer well priced, quality peripherals across all of the platforms,” explains Venom’s sales director Sue Dawson. “Our packaging is easy to merchandise because of our universal pack sizes and instantly recognisable console colours. We listen to our retailers’ requirements and as a

result, they can achieve great margins without compromising excellence. Key lines included in Venom’s ranges of licensed and own-brand DS Lite products include the five pack of Clear Styluses, Licensed Puzzle Cases, licensed DS Lite Screen Protectors and the DS Lite Swirl Skins. All of these products are well designed and easy-touse, and are perfect stocking fillers for DS lovers. Venom also has Nintendobranded key chains, which feature Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Peach. It’s not all DS products though. The PS3 Pyramid Charger is a seriously attractive device, which allows for the

Tel: 01763 272927 www.venomuk.com charging of two PS3 pads simultaneously. Then there’s the Wii Fit Battery Pack, which is perfect for regular users of the Wii Balance Board, and the PSP hasn’t been forgotten either, with the muchsought after Flip and Play case. “The DS Lite Flip and Plays have been such a massive success and are topping ChartTrack month-on-month,” concludes Dawson. “As a result of this we are launching the PSP version. It offers stylish storage and protection whilst still leaving access to all games ports, at an affordable price.”

[CONTACT] The Gem-owned peripherals specialist Exspect is looking forward to a stellar Christmas, with its range of Wii and PlayStation 3 peripherals. MCV speaks to product manager Billy Slater…

WITH ATTRACTIVE, colourful packaging and sturdy products, the Exspect brand has become synonymous with quality. Indeed, the growth in gaming combined with the company’s growing reputation means the firm has to work overtime to cope with demand this Christmas. “All of our customers are seeing increases in their forecasts so we are doing all we can to service demand,” says product manager Billy Slater. “As challenges go, it’s a nice one to have.”

The firm’s offering this Christmas is a strong one. Exspect, like many of its rival, has a PS3 Charge Dock, but what sets it apart is the fact it can dock and charge a PSP Slim and Lite or PSP 3000 console. However, it’s with its range of Wii products that Exspect really excels. The firm has its own Wii Wheel, ideal for Mario Kart, and a Wii Rumble Gun, which works with all Wii shooters. The company also has a Wii Golf Club, and best of all a Wii Wireless Nunchuck,

Tel: 01282 684 871 www.exspect.co.uk which connects to the Wii remote with a touch of a button. “The Wii is an amazing example of how games can drive the accessories market, with games such as Wii Fit, Wii Sports, and Tiger Woods there is so much choice for the gamer to enhance their experience,” adds Slater. “I am personally looking forward to trying our new Wii Rumble Gun with Call of Duty: World at War.”

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SPECIAL FOCUS: PERIPHERALS With three top-class brands up its sleeve, Pinpoint has much to offer UK games retailers. MCV speaks to Pinpoint’s Tom Armstrong to find out more about the company’s offering… FORMED EIGHT short years ago, Pinpoint has developed its reach into the peripherals market to become a leading name in the sector. Over the years the firm has found that the worlds of peripherals and games have got ever closer, as Pinpoint’s Tom Armstrong tells MCV: “The convergence between specific games and related accessories will grow stronger. We will continue to see our company bring a varied range to market to suit our customers’ needs. “This is possible thanks to the three unique brands we have under the Pinpoint umbrella – the value proposition Enigma, the premium and innovation of Nyko and the number one care and maintenance range that is SkipDr. “These three exciting points of attack will keep Pinpoint in a unique area within the accessory space. “We will also extend our push into Europe by strengthening and adding to our distribution network.”

[CONTACT] MAGIC TRIO: Nyko, Enigma and SkipDR are part of Pinpoint’s three-pronged retail assault

Tel: 01606 558 428 www.pinpointce.co.uk

NYKO

The Nyko brand is key for Pinpoint and includes the likes of the Wii ChargeStation, a fast AC powered charging solution for Wii Remotes. Elsewhere, there’s the 360 Charge Base, a recharging solution that packs 25 hours of playback into wireless controllers, and the Wii Wing – a modern wireless spin for the classic controller.

SKIPDR

The SkipDr maintenance range includes the GameDr Premier Laser Lens Cleaner for clearing up any video game systems including PS3 and Blu-Ray players, while SkipDr Deluxe is a battery operated, easy-to-use disc repair system.

ENIGMA

The Enigma range of value products includes the Enigma Wii Console Bag, the Enigma Wii Fitness Kit and the Wii racing Wheel. These SKUs offer great incremental sale opportunities.

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SPECIAL FOCUS: PERIPHERALS [CONTACT] Tel: +49 40 51 48 40 0 www.vidis.com

Global giant Vidis has some serious gaming accessories on offer in time for Q4. MCV speaks to MD Morten-Stig Johansen… THE REACH of peripherals firm Vidis now extends to a mighty 18 countries and, with production up an eye-popping 500 per cent compared with last year’s Christmas season, the firm clearly has a lot on its plate. But you won’t hear Vidis complaining and the firm has a huge range of products that promise to be highlights at retail this Christmas. The Q4 line-up includes the HDMI 1.3b cable, which is a premium quality HDMI cable. The device is compatible with PS3, Xbox 360 and any TV set with an HDMI connector; the cable features gold-plated contacts for best-ofclass signal transmission. Also available for the Christmas rush is the Brooklyn Ultimate Mega Gaming Kit for Nintendo Wii: “The Ultimate Mega Gaming Kit includes no less than 38 individual components, so it gives gamers a full set of accessories for more

or less any application,” enthuses Vidis MD Morten-Stig Johansen. “For example, it includes various controller extensions. On top of this it offers accessories for more convenient playing and transportation. And last but not least, it includes a wide selection of tools for protecting and maintaining your console.”

Finally, the multi-tasking KeyMote is a handy peripheral on offer this Christmas, as Johansen explains: “The 3-in-1 KeyMote for PS3 is a real multitalent. It is a remote control, a keyboard and a controller. As a remote, the KeyMote lets users navigate the PS3 menu, while you can push up the top to reveal a keyboard for text input.”

[CONTACT] Powerplay Global’s lineup this Christmas should give every retailer a reason to cheer, as MD Andrew Shanley explains...

ACCESSORY manufacturer Powerplay has had a barnstorming few years, according to Andrew Shanley, Powerplay Global MD: “Peripheral based gaming is currently delivering unbelievable sales,” he tells MCV. “We have had tremendous success over the years with our Deluxe Accessory Packs for the DS Lite. We don’t believe there is another pack on the market that can beat ours in terms of value or content and we will be introducing new colours to match the different DS machines available.”

It’s not just DS lines that are forming part of Powerplay’s line-up for Q4, as Shanley elaborates: “On Wii, we will have a number of new lines to complement what we expect to be some of the best selling software titles this Christmas, including a Dance Mat for High School Musical 3: Dance, a Wireless Guitar compatible with both Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises, plus a twin pack of light swords that will add an extra bit of fun when playing Star Wars Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels.”

Tel: 01457 819900 www.power-playgroup.co.uk Powerplay also has a quirky product that is unlike anything else on the market: “We initially thought it would be a novelty product, but the Supido Race Seats have delivered some unprecedented sales this year. This innovative product provides a base for things such as steering wheels, joysticks, laptops etc. whilst still allowing you the comfort of your sofa or favourite armchair. The Supido has really caught gamers’ imaginations.”

Wireless Controller available seperately

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SPECIAL FOCUS: PERIPHERALS Value-added distributor Interactive Ideas deals with products from some of the biggest and best names in the peripherals sector. MCV takes a look at what to expect next from the specialist… FROM PC accessories, to Xbox 360, Wii and Rock Band peripherals, Interactive Ideas has some of the hottest and most-anticipated Christmas products on its books. Boasting distribution agreements with some of the biggest peripherals specialists on the market, Interactive Ideas has gone from strength-tostrength, and the firm reported record revenues in its last financial year. Interactive Ideas’ Andrew Miles feels the firm’s pro-active nature and

“We managed to achieve record revenues in our last financial year, and we currently have official distribution agreements with leading peripheral companies that include Saitek, Mad Catz, Joytech, SteelSeries, Thrustmaster, NYKO, Trust, Logic3, Cyber-E Sport, Bye Bye Standby, Cherry, Enigma, Njoy, SkipDr, Hercules, Digital Blue and Sandberg. This is as well as being a leading distributor for software companies such as Focus, Avanquest, Magix and eJay.

impressive customer service is the reason behind its success: “Interactive Ideas is a leading value-added distributor of software and technology products,” he explains. “We established ourselves in the competitive IT industry by providing excellent customer service, pro-actively working with our partners and being able to identify emerging technologies before anyone else did.”

“Top recommendations to retailers for Christmas include the Mad Catz Rock Band Fender Precision Bass and Microphone, Thrustmaster Glow Saber Duo Pack, Nyko Xbox360 Charge Base, Saitek Cyborg Keyboard and the SteelSeries Ikari Laser Mouse.”

[CONTACT] Tel: 020 8805 1000 www.interactiveideas.com

[CONTACT] Wrapstar Skins has seen huge growth this year, with a new range of console skins emerging throughout the year. MD Max Haddow tells MCV about the firm’s Christmas line-up…

THE GROWTH of casual gaming has had a big impact on Wrapstar Skins. The company’s range of products were ideally suited to this growing sector, and the firm has enjoyed big sales on the back of the casual gaming boom. “The majority of our skins are aimed more towards the casual end of the market,” MD Max Haddow tells MCV. “Our biggest and most popular sellers are designs such as Love Hearts, Puppy Love and Wood Camo. We identified and took a large market share in the casual gamers market many years ago,

and are only now looking at producing more games-specific designs aimed at the more hardcore audience.” The firm’s big Christmas range is set to include skins featuring iconic Terratag designs: “Wrapstar has teamed up with Terratag to bring to market a brand new range of skins,” enthuses Haddow. “They will be initially available for the DS Lite, the PSP and the PSP Slim priced at £5.99, but will also be appearing on the iPod Nano and the iPhone in early 2009.

Tel: 020 8309 3934 www.wrapstar-skins.com “With a style that is directly influenced by Japanese art, Terratag takes elements from Eastern and Western culture and mashes-up manga, pop art and graffiti. They have a very distinctive feel and are genuinely fresh, exciting and different – they’re a perfect fit within the existing Wrapstar portfolio. Working with Terratag also gives Wrapstar the opportunity to move into brand new markets that are outside the mainstream gaming arena.”

GAMING HAS EVOLVED nteractive ideas offer a range of advanced gaming peripherals to ensure your customers experience the full potential of their games. From the precision laser mice to gaming keyboards to guitar controllers to steering wheels and glow sabers – we have an award-winning product for all types of customer. With our second-to-none customer service, you can be sure of getting the right products on time. Call us and find out how we can help. After all, the best ideas are interactive.

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SAITEK CYBORG KEYBOARD

NYKO XBOX 360 CHARGE BASE

TRUST VIBRATION THRUSTMASTER GLOW FEEDBACK STEERING SABER DUO PACK FOR WHEEL FOR PC/PS2/PS3 WII™

STEELSERIES IKARI LASER MOUSE

MAD CATZ OFFICIAL ROCK BAND FENDER PRECISION BASS

Authorised distributor for:

SOFTWARE AND PERIPHERALS FOR EDUCATION, ENTERTAINMENT AND BUSINESS Tel: 0208 805 1000 email: sales@interactiveideas.com web: www.interactiveideas.com

For a full list of publishers and manufacturers that Interactive Ideas represent, visit www.interactiveideas.com

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SPECIAL FOCUS: PERIPHERALS Fresh-faced and ambitious ProPeripherals is planning to roll out some first rate products by dipping its toe into virtual reality early next year. CEO Mike Banks reveals his enterprising plans to MCV… PROPERIPHERALS is a new kid on the block. Fashioned by CEO Mike Banks, the firm was forged with a vision in mind of peripherals that enhance the gameplay experience. From the beginning ProPeripherals worked closely with Data Design Interactive to bring top-notch gaming peripherals with a unique appeal to the UK market. “Peripherals are not peripheral anymore,” Banks tells MCV. “They have made gaming mainstream and the rise in casual gaming has been fuelled by products like microphones, dance mats and the guitar games. These are easy to use and appeal to a new wider audience who prefer a lifelike adaptor to a button based controller. “A good peripheral adds value to the game experience and every retailer will benefit from the increased sales from a good peripheral,” he adds. ProPeripherals’ first launch is a Golf Club for the Wii. It boasts three telescopic settings which make it the

largest club in the market and the firm has even taken the canny step of bundling the peripheral with DDI Crazy Mini Golf game. Also on bundling front, ProPeripherals’ other big release for 2008 is the karaoke-inspired Microphone for Wii – which is bundled with a forthcoming Connie ‘Britain’s Got Talent Finalist’ Talbot sing-along product. And what’s next for ProPeripherals? No less than a virtual reality headset due out in Q2 2009. Supported by four exclusive titles, the product will be the first time that virtual reality has been affordable for the average consumer. Could it be the next big phenomenon for gaming? Just watch this space…

[CONTACT] BANKS: “Every retailer will benefit from the increased sales from a good peripheral”

Tel: 01384 447900 www.properipherals.com

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SPECIAL FOCUS: PERIPHERALS [CONTACT] Tel: 01923 471 000 www.logic3.com

With over 30 years’ experience, Logic3 is the oldest peripherals firm on the market. MCV speaks to Michael Kirkham on company’s latest offering…

SET UP in 1977, Logic3 began life dealing with photographic accessories before moving into the world of video game peripherals in 1983. Today Logic3 is seen as one of the largest audio and games accessories companies in the world, and provides add-ons for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PS2, PSP, Wii and DS. With an ever-growing range of console peripherals, along with a very popular range of iPod accessories, Logic3 just keeps on growing and growing. And Logic3 director Michael Kirkham believes the company has the perfect line-up of video game add-ons to stock this Christmas too:

“Logic3 is one of the oldest audio and video game accessory companies in the world,” declares Kirkham. “We pride ourselves on providing high quality products and professional services at competitive prices. Our range of accessories is continuing to evolve and grow to over 250 products. “We have recently added a Dual Charge Stand for the PlayStation 3, which allows two official Sony PS3 game controllers to be recharged using the mains power, rather than having to leave the console turned on. This, of course, is becoming more important as a power saving measure in the current climate.

“Driving games are still a large part of the market so steering wheels still form an important part of our range, and we have new devices including a Bluetooth wheel for Nintendo’s Wii and 3-in-1 Wheels for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and PC. “Audio products are also still very important to our business. We have the SoundStation for PSP, which is compatible with the new PSP 3000, and we also have the SoundStation3 for PS3, which incorporates the latest in aesthetic design. Finally, we are currently working on a range of accessories for the new DSi, which will be ready for launch.”

[CONTACT] info@impgaming.co.uk www.impgaming.co.uk

iMP Gaming has developed quite a name for itself over the 20 years it has been in business. Managing director Dean Harvey gives MCV a run-down of the firm’s hottest Christmas properties…

WHEN IT comes to next-gen peripherals, look no further than iMP Gaming. The company has products covering DS, Wii, PS3, PSP and 360, and is already developing accessories for Nintendo’s upcoming DSi. “iMP currently has a 13-in-1 Travel Kit and 4-in-1 Starter Kit in production for DSi, available in black and white,” explains iMP managing director Dean Harvey. “There will also be a new version of the Go! iMP Pro Case for DSi, which will also be available at launch.”

The firm also has some exciting products in store for Christmas, including the 13-in-1 Travel Pack for DS Lite, Wii Maracas and cases for DS Lite and PSP Slim and Lite. “Designed to complement the current DS Lite and PSP console colours, the new Go! iMP Pro V range provides a secure and stylish case for your DS or PSP,” enthuses Harvey. “Both designs feature pockets for games and the DS version also includes a colour coded stylus. They are

available in black, white and pink for PSP and black, white, pink, red, turquoise and green for DS Lite. “As for the maracas, these are designed for use with Samba De Amigo and provide a real shaker sound and can be used with the Wii Remote and Nunchuck, or two Wii Remotes. “Finally, the 13-in-1 Travel Pack for DS Lite includes console case, screen protectors, car charger, earphones, four styluses and four game cases.”

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SPECIAL FOCUS: PERIPHERALS [CONTACT] Tel: 01908 336530 www.madcatz.com

MadCatz’ three new licensed Rock Band peripherals are set for a major boost with EA’s release of the game’s second installment. We take a look at the trio…

XBOX 360 OFFICIALLY LICENSED FENDER PRECISION BASS GUITAR

XBOX 360 OFFICIALLY LICENSED ROCK BAND PREMIUM M.I.C

XBOX 360 OFFICIALLY LICENSED ROCK BAND PORTABLE DRUM KIT

The first and only dedicated Bass Guitar available, the officially licensed Fender Precision Bass delivers a highly realistic and authentic experience and is compatible with Rock Band, Rock Band 2 and other popular music titles. The unique and patent pending Mad Catz ‘Split Strum Bar’ makes plucking and strumming easier, more precise and more authentic, while premium quality Fret Buttons ensure that both bass and lead guitar tracks will be more fun and accurate than ever before.

Introducing another world first from Mad Catz. The Premium M.I.C (Microphone with Integrated Controller) is the first microphone to incorporate essential controller functions on to the neck of the mic itself. Featuring the Xbox Guide Button, D-Pad and a full array of Action Buttons, gamers can now sing to their favourite tracks on Rock Band and Rock Band 2 without the need for a separate controller. Complete with a soft rubber finish and premium quality components, there’s no better choice for aspiring singers this Christmas.

Save precious space at retail, at home and on the go with the Portable Drum Kit from Mad Catz. Playable in virtually any environment with a flat surface, the Portable Drum Kit features full size Drum Pads that stack up and fold away, vastly reducing space and clutter. Complete with detachable Drum Sticks, a sturdy ‘fold-away’ Kick Pedal and a mini Navigation Panel, the Portable Drum Kit delivers the full size drum experience in a small, yet powerful package.

[CONTACT] Tel: 01204 369 220 www.4gamers.net

With more licences than you can shake a Simpsons-branded DS stylus at, A4T has had a bonzer 12 months. MCV takes a look at what has gone into a smash-hit year for the firm…

IT HAS been an eventful and highly successful 12 months for Accessories4Technology – a year that has seen the firm launch the Official Nintendo 2.1 speaker system for Wii and continue to cement its position as one of the market leaders in the peripherals sector. A4T’s winner of a year has been achieved through a long line of licensed products with some of the biggest names in the business, including Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Lego Indy, Star Wars and of course, Sony and Nintendo.

NEW 4 RETAIL

This season, if you will, A4T has updated its best-selling 4Gamers and The Simpsons ranges, reflecting the key market and backed by the firm’s commitment to quality product and great packaging in-store. Also this season, A4T has unveiled its innovative Glo4Fun range to retail, not just in the UK, but also in Germany and France. The firm will be following it up with new lines for the ever popular Guitar Hero World Tour licence, and

with new ranges as part of a new deal with media giant Nickelodeon. The deal will see lines introduced using the frankly massive Dora the Explorer and Go Diego Go licences. A4T tells MCV that the past successful 12 months are just the beginning for the firm, with many new initiatives and licence partnerships in the proverbial pipeline.

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SPECIAL FOCUS: PERIPHERALS [CONTACT] Tel: 020 8309 3600 (Pinnacle) www.sunflex-europe.com

Sunflex’s three-pronged assault on the peripherals space is powered by leading brands Snakebyte, Fanatec and Zero G. MCV finds out more about the company’s ever-expanding line-up… SUNFLEX’S peripherals range totals over 55 products and covers every platform, according to the firm. The Snakebyte, Fanatec and Zero G ranges feature innovative peripherals and accessories, which are available in the UK through Pinnacle Software. SNAKEBYTE

Targeting those sought-after prosumers, the Snakebyte range offers a line-up of

products for the PC, home console and handheld platforms. The best selling Snakebyte products include the Wii XS Wireless Pack and the Wii XS Starter Pack. The range has also come in for critical praise too – the premium cables for home consoles have won multiple awards across Europe. Also part of the Snakebyte array are accessories and peripherals for gamers both young and old, from the DS Lite Puppy Pouch to

the Play & Charge Kit for the Wii Balance Board. There’s a little something for everyone. FANATEC

Affluent gamers are catered for with the high-end Fanatec range. The big Fantec release this year is the licensed Fanatec PC Porsche Wheel Carrera for the PC and PlayStation 3, which is set for release soon.

ZERO G

Zero G is Sunflex’s brand for first party licensed peripherals. The Zero G Wireless and Motion PS2 controllers notched up a whopping 200,000 sales in continental Europe last year, and that success will be followed up with an EA collaboration for the Need for Speed Undercover Zero G Motion Controller bundle, available on day one of the game’s release.

MCV speaks to Blaze Europe MD Jason Cooper to find out more about the latest ranges coming from the fiery firm this Christmas... ONE OF Blaze’s best-known peripherals, the Mega Drive Handheld, is going to be one of the company’s biggest products this Christmas, according to Blaze Europe MD Jason Cooper: “We believe we have created the ideal casual games product with the release of our MegaDrive Handheld, with 20 retro MegaDrive games. The handheld, combined with our other plug-and-play products, are the only products that High Street outlets can benefit from the casual gaming boom.” The Handheld LCD MegaDrive houses some of Sega’s best known classic titles, including Sonic and Knuckles, Golden Axe, Shinobi, Ecco the Dolphin, Columns and 15 more retro titles. Modestly priced at £29.99, Blaze assures us that the device will be one of this Christmas’ most wanted gifts.

Also on the Sega scene, Blaze offers two other MegaDrive plug-and-play products, one designed for single player and one for multiplayer. Both versions contain 10 classic MegaDrive titles including the popular Sonic and Knuckles, Golden Axe 2, Columns 3 and Altered Beast. But it’s not all Sega retro action from Blaze – the firm also has its stalwart Xploder products for PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii, which are still selling strongly according to the firm. The Xploder devices allow gamers to download and transfer cheat saves, while also converting and sharing the latest media for the big three consoles.

[CONTACT] Tel: 01302 325225 www.xploder.net

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Limited Edition

Wireless Guitars for Wii, PS2 & PS3

Call – 01785 816858 or email sales@antigrav-media.co.uk

www.antigrav-media.co.uk

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Games include: Sonic & Knuckles, Ecco, Golden Axe, Alex Kidd, Alien Storm, Altered Beast, Arrow Flash, Columns III, Crack Down, Decap Attack, Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Eswat, Ecco Jnr, Shinobi III, Flicky, Gain Ground, Jewel Master, Kid Chameleon, Sonic Spinball, Shadow Dancer

BLAZE LCD Megadrive Handheld with 20 games ONLY £29.99

BLAZE Twin Player Plug & Play Pack with 10 games ONLY £19.99 Games include: Sonic & Knuckles, Golden Axe II, Alien Storm, Altered Beast, Columns III, Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Flicky, Gain Ground, Kid Chameleon, Sonic Spinball

Available NOW! Tel: +44 (0)1302 325225, Email: sales@blazeeurope.com BLAZE Europe Ltd, Unit 15, Shaw Wood Business Park, Shaw Wood Way, Doncaster DN2 5TB BLAZE Europe Ltd recognise all game & product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective publishers, manufacturers or licensees.

www.segaretro.net

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SPECIAL FOCUS: PERIPHERALS

[CONTACT] Tel: 01785 816858 www.antigrav-media.co.uk

The latest company on the UK peripherals scene is specialist distributor AntiGrav. Managing director Matt Holland tells MCV about his rapidly growing company…

UNDER THE watchful eye of the experienced Matt Holland, AntiGrav Media is quickly becoming one of the biggest distributors of peripherals and accessories in the UK. The company has an exciting range of products on its books in time for the lucrative Christmas period, after securing agreements with the likes of PlaySeats, Datel, Bigben, Gioteck, PDP, Hori and Venom. And the distributor is always on the look-out for potential new partners in order to bolster its line-up.

“We are lucky to work with the best peripherals manufacturers in the world and it is always exciting to launch new products with them,” says Holland. “So far we have seen massive sales of 3D Character Stylus, Magic Stylus, Wii Fit Yoga Mat, Wireless Guitars for Wii, PS2 and PS3, Dual Charge Stations for Xbox 360 and PS3, as well as the top-selling DS Lite Flip and Play Console Case. Being first to market with Wii Maracas gave us a lead and sales have been impressive. And the launch of

the 3D Pokémon Stylus from PDP is perfect timing for Q4, and only goes to show the popularity of the franchise. “Games and accessories that work together are also making a big impact on sales,” he continues. “For example our Officially Licensed Rock Band Drum Silencers from PDP are flying with the upcoming launch of Rock Band 2, and the sales of Wii Fit Silicon Covers from Bigben fluctuate as Wii Fit stock becomes available.”

Get on the Case!

Protect your DS® Lite and PSP® with the stylish Go! iMP Pro V Case.

DS® Lite version features:

PSP® version features:

t Quality design – looks good and protects your console. t Colour coded to your DS®. t Cut-out for easy stylus removal. t Three handy game pockets. t Includes Free colour coded stylus. t Available in Black, White, Pink, Red, Green and Turquoise.

t Quality design – looks good and protects your console. t Colour coded. t 2 UMD pockets. t Compatible with 2000 and 3000 series PSP®. t Available in Black, White and Pink.

...coming soon for DSi® Contact: info@impgaming.co.uk +44 (0)7527 464656 Also available from iMP Gaming

Source and Supply Accessory Solutions – Please contact iMP to discuss your branded or OEM requirements. All names and logos are acknowledged as trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners

G A M I N G

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SPECIAL FOCUS: PERIPHERALS The console and computer skin specialist has enjoyed massive growth this year, and business is really picking up as Christmas approaches. Sales director Alex Knowlden gives us a run-down on the future of Wrappz…

[CONTACT] THAT’S A WRAPPZ: Knowlden is excited by the firm’s new ‘Create Your Own’ software

DESPITE only being a year old, Wrappz has made a big impact in the console skin market. Produced by Undercover Design, Wrappz’s range of designs are ideal for iPods, laptops, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii and DS. And the firm boasts big name clients including Disney, Sony, Amazon, Play.com and Carphone Warehouse. Wrappz has also recently unveiled its Create Your Own software tool, which allows customers to upload their own images or photos and use them in their own designs.

Tel: 020 8462 9146 www.wrappz.com

“Wrappz is one of the fastest moving peripherals in the UK with over 500,000 units produced and sold within our last quarter and orders for over one million units next quarter,” says Undercover Design’s sales director Alex Knowlden. “We are aiming to sell well over four million units by the end of 2009. “We are reacting to the changing audience by constantly updating our designs, bringing in more exclusive ranges and by producing for all the latest consoles as they evolve.

“We have already reacted to what we believe the next stage of the peripherals market is by investing over £30,000 into a powerful Create Your Own tool. Our new software on our website allows the end user to create and manipulate their images by adding text, colours and much more. “Our biggest challenge for Christmas is the short lead times,” concludes Knowlden. “But with our technologies and streamlined production we are exceeding expectations.”

Alongside the wealth of new third party peripherals, Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony have also unveiled top products to sell during the key Christmas period. MCV takes a closer look… WII SPEAK Nintendo Koch: 08700 270 985

SET FOR release alongside Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City, Nintendo’s Wii Speak will be available both separately and bundled with the game. The Wii Speak is a microphone accessory for Nintendo’s Wii that is connected to the machine via a USB cable. The device can also be placed

PLAYTV Sony Centresoft: 0121 625 3388

PLAYTV is the latest must-have peripheral from Sony for PS3. The device allows gamers to watch, pause and record free-to-air digital television. It also lets viewers record one channel while watching another, and features a full programme guide, where users can schedule recordings for the following week.

WIRELESS MICROPHONES BIG BUTTON WIRELESS PADS XBOX LIVE VISION Microsoft Gem: 01279 822822

WITH A concentrated push into family gaming, Microsoft has a host of new titles set to make use of the company’s ever-popular peripherals. Lips, Microsoft’s answer to SingStar, features the firm’s latest accessory: wireless microphones. Two of these devices will come bundled with the game, and

besides the TV, allowing everyone in the room to speak at once. Along with the upcoming Animal Crossing, Wii Speak will also be compatible with the Wii Speak channel, which can be downloaded via the Wii Shop. The Wii Speak accessory is due for release on December 5th.

The device also works with the PlayStation Portable. Gamers can use Remote Play with the console as long as they are near a wireless internet connection, allowing them to watch live TV, record programmes and organise their media library on the PSP. The device is available now, and has an RRP of £69.99. feature motion-sensing technology. Also coming this month is You’re In The Movies, which makes full use of the Xbox Live Vision camera. And finally, Microsoft’s latest Scene It game is out today (November 14th), which once again makes use of the first party’s Big Button Controllers. An impressive line-up.

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MCV 14/11/08 55

MCV INTERVIEW BRIAN ANDERSEN, MAD CATZ EUROPE GENERAL MANAGER

‘Catz eyes What are the biggest challenges in the peripherals market in preparing for Christmas? Christmas is obviously our busiest period so we face many challenges, ensuring we keep retailers, gamers and shareholders happy. Fortunately, we face similar issues each and every year so we’re well versed in the complex nature of the season. A key line for us this holiday will be our range of licensed Rock Band accessories. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the franchise in the States, we are working tirelessly to ensure that fulfillment across key European territories is handled professionally and efficiently, which is proving to be logistically challenging. I’m pleased to say, however, that we are confident on meeting demand.

The holiday season is traditionally a strong period for accessory sales, with many friends and relatives choosing accessories as gifting purchases over games due to their relatively safe and generic nature. Are you having to find accessories targeted at new audiences with the rise in casual gaming? Without sounding facetious, I would like to remind our customers that Mad Catz design and produce the vast majority of our own accessories in house without having to ‘find’ accessories to satiate an audience. That being said I think it’s fair to say that the market has certainly enjoyed sustained growth and expansion due to the rise in casual gaming, something we at Mad Catz welcome as it opens up an entirely

Innovation and quality are key to distinguishing yourself and to stimulating the market. Brian Andersen, Mad Catz

It’s also key that our relationships with buyers are maintained to a high level during this busy period, ensuring that orders are placed well in advance to avoid last minute panic and disappointment. Forecasting accurately is essential to ensure timely fulfillment with popular SKUs such as our Wii Fit range and licensed product ranges. Does the amount of games available on the market impact the peripherals sector? If the amount of games hitting the market impacts the business at all, I would say it would be in a positive way for Mad Catz. We have long recognised the importance of licensed product and this holiday we have the Gears of War 2 licence, the Rock Band licence, Manchester United and Liverpool licences and Groovy Chick for female gamers. I think it’s fair to say that our line-up of licensed product is both broad and ambitious in scope, thus key titles this season should aid sell-through.

Mad Catz continues to dominate the third-party peripheral market, and is making much more of a name for itself in Europe these days. Here, territory boss Brian Andersen tells all…

new demographic to tap. The traditional gamer hasn’t simply disappeared, however, and we strongly believe in continuing to innovate for all sectors of the market. One particular area of the casual gaming market which continues to enjoy sustained popularity is the music genre, with Rock Band 2 on the horizon and Rock Band 1 finding a new audience amongst Wii and PlayStation 3 gamers. As mentioned previously, we are fortunate to hold the official licence to produce Rock Band 1 and 2 accessories, and the first wave of products are enjoying phenomenal interest amongst both consumers and retail. Products like our Fender Precision Bass Guitar show just how much innovation we are able to introduce in this sector and that casual gaming need not limit creativity.

ANDERSEN: “Our line-up of licensed product is both broad and ambitious in scope”

What do you view as the next step for the accessories/peripherals market? The market will continue to evolve just as first party hardware and software continues to. However, I think it foolhardy to attempt to predict the exact nature of what shape our industry will take as so much of what we do is dictated by consumer trends. I am confident, however, that innovation and

quality are key to distinguishing yourself from the competition and to stimulating the market. We continue to research new technologies and explore previously untapped sectors of the market in which to expand. We believe that with world class engineers and developers located in key global territories, we are uniquely placed to enjoy sustained and organic growth and look forward to sharing our new products with MCV throughout 2009 and beyond.

LIGHTHOUSE INTERACTIVE PRESENTS: “This is probably the best WW2 tank game we’ve had in a long time.” - SimHQ.com -

95% “Just be prepared – the fact that I’m writing this at four in the morning… is evidence of how easily this game can destroy your sleep-cycle.” - GameShark -

“ You’ll find Ship Simulator 2008 to be an entertaining and relaxing armchair adventure.” - Worthplaying -

Order now! Contact your Pinnacle account manager for more information MCV-Spread.indd 3

07-11-2008 12:30:52

OUT NOW

WWII BATTLE TANKS: T-34 VS. TIGER

A unique tank simulation game focusing on the gritty realism of battle as well as authentic historical representation of environments and vehicles. Genre: Tank Simulation | Platform: PC DVD-ROM | SRP: £ 29.99 | Barcode: 8717.66.227.0710 | PEGI Rating: 16+

OUT NOW

SWORD OF THE STARS: A MURDER OF CROWS

The second official Add-On to Sword of the Stars. A ghost from the past returns to the galaxy in the form of the manipulative Morrigi. Adapt or be destroyed. Genre: 4X Space Strategy | Platform: PC DVD-ROM | SRP: £ 19.99 | Barcode: 8717.66.227.0833 | PEGI Rating: 7+

OUT NOW

SHIP SIMULATOR 2008 COLLECTOR’S EDITION

Ship Simulator 2008 Collector’s Edition includes Ship Simulator 2008 and the official Add-On: New Horizons, a 68 page Captain’s Journal and the’Making of’ Video. Genre: Simulation | Platform: PC DVD-ROM | SRP: £ 29.99 | Barcode: 8717.66.227.0826 | PEGI Rating: 3+

STEEL FURY: KHARKOV 1942

DECEMBER ‘08

Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942 is based on real-life events that took place in 1942. During a German counter attack, three Soviet Armies were surrounded and were forced to fight. Genre: Tank Simulation | Platform: PC DVD-ROM | SRP: £ 29.99 | Barcode: 8717.66.227.0741 | PEGI Rating: 16+

OUT NOW

RHIANNON: CURSE OF THE FOUR BRANCHES

Welcome to the Celtic fringes of Britain; a place where myth and magic spill into reality, threatening the sanity of a teenage girl named Rhiannon. Genre: Adventure | Platform: PC DVD-ROM | SRP: £ 19.99 | Barcode: 8717.66.227.0840 | PEGI Rating: 12+

NOVEMBER ‘08

NIKOPOL: SECRETS OF THE IMMORTALS

Paris 2023: After a 30-year hibernation in space, Alcide Nikopol returns to earth. His mission is to find his father and prevent him from carrying out his plans. Genre: Adventure | Platform: PC DVD-ROM | SRP: £ 19.99 | Barcode: 8717.66.227.0895 | PEGI Rating: 12+

MARKETING: - print advertising - bannering - retail trade marketing - PR - direct mail - merchandising - contests

“I can’t stop playing it! This is one of the most intense WW2 tankgames I’ve ever played.” - SimHQ -

90% “Original in its choice of story, enjoyable in its detail, challenging in its puzzles, technically rock solid.” - Gameboomers -

82% - “One of the best looking 3D adventure games I’ve seen.” - IGN -

on 0208 309 3934 or email pinn.team@pinnacle-software.co.uk MCV-Spread.indd 4

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FANTASY PUBLISHER: PART TWO

MCV’s dream team:

Europe

We’ve carefully mulled over which individuals our perfect publishing house would employ – on a global, European and UK level. In the second of three features, we present MCV’s ‘fantasy team’ for our European office…

EUROPEAN MD: CHRIS DEERING If Ken Kutaragi (our global chairman in last week’s list) is the global ‘Father of PlayStation’, then Chris Deering is most certainly its cool uncle. It’s little wonder we picked him as an MCV Legend. Put simply, PSOne and PS2 share an installed base of over 40 million in PAL territories alone. And that’s in no small part due to Deering. From his role as VP of marketing at Atari 20 years ago, he has consistently turned everything he touches to gold – and never been frightened by the cutting edge. One of Deering’s less talked-about attributes is his ability to cut costs; and we’d be only too happy to give him the power he needed to do so. When he became outright president of Sony Europe in 2004, he almost immediately reduced fixed overheads by $250 million. That sort of money can go a long way elsewhere. His current role at Codemasters – and positions on the Board of IGA, Handheld Learning and more – keeps him very active within the industry, so we could snap him up without any fear that he’d lost any of his legendary list of contacts. In for a second interview: Yves Guillemot, David Reeves, Gerhard Florin, Joerg Trouvain, Mike Hayes

MARKETING DIRECTOR: MARTIN SPIESS Midway’s success in Europe in recent years has put its US division to shame – and the full responsibility has sat on international executive VP Spiess’ shoulders. Since joining Midway in 2005, the firm’s European revenues have nearly doubled – thanks to his intricate knowledge of such an intricate market. During this time, Spiess has also established an additional Midway office in Paris, France, to work with UK and German infrastructure in further developing pan-European channels. In recent times, he has shown how his marketing background has gifted him with enviable expertise: not least by making dramatic strides in the Eastern European market – and beating his rivals to the punch. Second interview: Laurent Fischer, David Gosen, Keely Brenner, Larry Sparks

SALES DIRECTOR: ROY CAMPBELL A true natural born salesman, Roy Campbell has previously been described by this very publication as: ‘Gifted with more than a little charm and a Scottish canniness that lets you know he’s a deal-maker without resorting to the Del Boy flannel so prevalent amongst the rest of his generation.’ He may be head honcho at THQ these days, but the natural sales brilliance described above still very much exists. So long as we could secure his services (not an easy task, considering he’s now pretty much part of the furniture at his current employers), we’d be able to tap into a rich history that includes spells as UK sales director during Ocean’s glory years, and MD of Infogrames. Second interview: Ray Maguire, Keith Ramsdale, Bob Burridge, Rob Cooper

BRAND MANAGER: GARY SIMS Activision’s golden boy can currently do no wrong. As it stands, ‘Mr. Guitar Hero’ is in charge of the biggestselling franchise of 2008, according to his employers – showing exactly the sort of commitment and ability that can turn a well-liked brand into a household name. The stats speak for themselves: projected year-on-year growth of 400 per cent for a series that’s already accrued over $1 billion in revenues. Sims now has the task of ramping up that breakneck success, and he’s already doing so with gusto (no-one in their right mind is not aware that a new GH: World Tour, is out now). And Sims handling of the brand’s expansion into other areas – including add-ons, toys and books – is a lesson in how to push a franchise’s potential beyond the boundaries of our burgeoning industry. Second interview: Stuart Lang, Jon Murphy, Mike Eglington

HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS: NICK GRANGE Grange’s five years at Microsoft saw him play a vital role in quickly and efficiently banishing any idea of Xbox and 360 being created and run by a faceless, uncaring corporation – instead bringing a unique passion to the public face of the console. His dealing with difficulties – not least manufacturing and warranty issues with the console’s ‘red ring of death’ – was a masterclass, and calmed a UK press that had started chomping at the bit for perceived ‘justice’. In addition, he oversaw the successful releases of many top-selling Microsoft titles such as Project Gotham Racing 3, Gears of War and both Halo 2 and 3. His background as EA PR manager, combined with current spot as European PR manager for Activision, shows he’s got what it takes to handle press relations at the biggest third-party publishers in the land. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve. Sign here, please sir… Second interview: Lidia Rumley, Tiffany Steckler, Shelley Pearce

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SONIC TEAM: Q&A

Super

Sonic Sonic Team has been hard at work on the latest title in its collection, Sonic Unleashed. Here, producer Akinori Nishiyama tells MCV all about the studio’s hopes… How does Sonic: Unleashed improve upon or differ from Sonic’s first foray onto next-gen? The original Sonic The Hedgehog was a side-scrolling/2D action game, but with the release of Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast, the game had evolved into a real action game in which he runs around in a 3D environment. Traditionally, with each new game in the Sonic series, there have been new features added by introducing new characters, but changes to Sonic were kept to a minimum. Moving on from the past series, to offer the best Sonic gameplay, Sonic Unleashed aims to merge the dynamics of 3D and the speed of 2D and to allow Sonic to new moves – both in speed and combat. Sega has admitted that its recent Sonic titles have sometimes failed to meet expectations. Do you think Sonic Unleashed will change this? As mentioned, we take the past developments and opinions from various parties in consideration. Sonic Unleashed is structured to offer users a unique experience and exciting gameplay. Some say you’ve ‘lost’ Sonic fans in recent years who used to be in love with the franchise. Do you agree – and how can this game help to win them back? Since it is a long-running series, it is natural that fans change over the years, but this goes for other popular characters too. It is always a shame to see fans leave, though.

With Sonic Unleashed, we used the 3D for the graphic expression but the gameplay maintains 2D action game elements. In addition, we also empowered Sonic with new abilities to surprise the users and ensure they have an unforgettable experience. Overall, would you say you are trying to escape Sonic’s glorious past – or embrace it? Of course we do respect past Sonic games. However, video game-making should not limit itself to be a nostalgic obsession. In Japan there is this old saying: “On ko chi shin,” which means: “To find the new by cherishing the old

– Sonic Unleashed offers different content for each console between 360, PS3, Wii and PS2. In other words, each hardware format is a natural fit for Sonic – cheesy, I know!

It’s a shame to see Sonic fans leave. But it’s natural that fans of any longrunning series change. Akinori Nishiyama, Sonic Team

knowledge.” We take the good elements from the past and by advancing it, we get something new. That is our attitude towards the game production. And we intend to keep researching and experimenting new directions. Creators always need to be a step ahead of the expectations of the customers.

What’s more important to you – good review scores or to be embraced by the ‘family gamer?’ I don’t think they necessarily go against each other. It’s important to try and appeal to both groups.

Which console is the most natural fit for Sonic? We always develop games to suit advantages of each console. That is true this time too

How difficult is it to develop a game like this on both next-gen consoles, Wii and PS2? Does it put an additional strain on resources? My short answer is ‘yes’. Developing next-gen console software is very difficult and

franchises. We haven’t pushed forward new IPs as much as we want to recently, which is a shame. As you mentioned, stepping into the unexplored area has a sense of excitement which you

would never get from cherishing the heritage.” Sonic Team had a US studio until early this year. When asked if the two bases effectively collaborated on projects, he adds:

multi-platform development is also challenging, too. You previously worked on the PS2 game of Astro Boy – are there any other licences that you'd like to work with? There are all kinds of people in the Sonic Team, and they all have unique backgrounds before they joined. So I can’t speak for all of them. But for me personally, I was involved in making a game based on a movie in the genesis days and manga-based game production in the Sega Saturn era. Many Japanese developers are talking about a gap between them and studios in the West – is that something that Sonic Team has felt? Of course I feel some cultural differences between Japan and the West. However, by closely working with the ex-USA team, the Overseas Department within Sega Headquarters, and of course Sega of Europe and Sega of America, we will continue to offer world-class contents.

BRANCHING OUT Sonic Team also works on non-Sonic games like Phantasy Star and Puyo Pop. Of balancing the studio’s workload, Nishiyama says: “Those titles have a very long history as they are important Sega

“Sonic Team USA are now reunited with the rest of Sonic Team. Even in their US days, though, we used to collaborate a lot. We would keep close communication via telephone, email or video conferences.”

MOVE TO MIDDLE-EARTH...

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

O F F I C I A L E X PA N S I O N T O T H E C R I T I C A L LY A C C L A I M E D P C G A M E O F T H E Y E A R * T H E L O R D O F T H E R I N G S O N L I N E TM : S H A D O W S O F A N G M A R TM !

01279 822822

FOR MORE GAME INFORMATION VISIT TM

www.lotro-europe.com

THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE™ interactive video game © 2008 Turbine, Inc. and patents pending. All rights reserved. Middle-Earth Poster Map © 2007 The Saul Zaentz Company, d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises (SZC), under license to Turbine, Inc. All rights reserved. “The Lord of the Rings Online”, “Mines of Moria”, “Shadows of Angmar”, The Watcher logo, “Conquer the World Beneath”, “The Lord of the Rings”, and the names of the characters, events, items and places therein are trademarks or registered trademarks of SZC under license to Turbine, Inc. Turbine and the Turbine logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Turbine, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other jurisdictions. Codemasters is a registered trademark owned by The Codemasters Software Company Limited and the Codemasters Online Gaming logo is a trademark owned by The Codemasters Software Company Limited. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. *‘PC game of the year’ XXV golden Joystick awards 2007.

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Pop Star Guitar is a music-based rhythm-action game for tweens and teens in which the player adopts the role of a lead guitarist forming a band, helping band-members to become stars and eventually winning the “Battle of the Bands” worldwide contest.

FEATURES • Single player Career Mode • Single player and multi-player side games • 60 pop songs, including masters performed by the original artist • 12 playable characters (6 male / 6 female) • Form your own band and customize your band’s look • 25 visually stunning venues • 20 lead guitars, 20 bass guitars, 20 rhythm guitars, 10 Drum Sets • 3 Difficulty Levels – Easy, Medium and Hard • Exclusive to the Wii – “AirG™” included inside each box

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PERSONNEL

Disney unveils European PR team Button takes on CRM role at HMV  Sunflex secures industry veteran  New product director at GAME

DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS  The High School Musical publisher has revealed its full European PR team. BEN LAWRENCE has left his position at Activision to take up the role of European PR manager. Lawrence implemented PR strategies for

the entire LucasArts range, including the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. CANDICE GERSUN has joined DIS as European associate PR manager. Gersun previously worked in South Africa as PR manager for video game importer and

distributor Megaron. Finally, EMILY WOOLLISCROFT has signed up as PR admin intern. Woolliscroft is currently studying public relations at Bournemouth University and is working at Disney in her third year placement.

HMV  The retailer has recruited MATT BUTTON as head of CRM (Customer Relationships Marketing). Buttonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s key tasks includes bringing together HMV.com and the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rewards scheme to support online and retail sales. He will report to Graham Sim. SUNFLEX  The peripherals and accessories manufacturer has secured PAUL REBHAN as their UK representative. Rebhan was previously the managing director of Novalogic, and has held

managing positions at In2Games, Guildsoft, Trebor (Cadbury Schweppes) and Phillip Morris amogst others. GAME  Retail veteran JOHN DEVON has joined GAME as product director. Devon joins the firm from Amazon, where he worked as DVD trading director. He has also held roles at Virgin, Woolworths and WH Smiths. At GAME, Devon will be responsible for buying, preowned and merchandising space, and will report to GAME MD TRICIA BRENNAN.

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RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES  PRICE CHECK  CHARTS  NEW RELEASES

WITH THIS ISSUE... We take an in-depth look at Call Of Duty: World At War and more of Activision’s Q4 line-up...

ALSO THIS WEEK... LIPS P70 Microsoft lets Xbox 360 owners enjoy a spot of karaoke RESISTANCE 2 P72 The sequel to Sony’s alien-bothering PS3 FPS arrives at retail for Christmas LEFT 4 DEAD P74 EA publishes Half Life developer Valve’s new zombie-based FPS ANIMAL CROSSING: CITY FOLK P76 The game that takes advantage of the new Wii Speak peripheral arrives NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER P78 The latest in EA’s popular racing series shoots for the Xmas No.1 spot

MK VS DC UNIVERSE Midway brings back Mortal Kombat with a twist that should attract many new fans to the franchise Pages 68-69

WORLDTOUR.GUITARHERO.COM

CRADLE OF ROME P80 Rising Star begins a new assault on the casual games market AS SEEN ON TV P82 Koch’s television show range features Deal Or No Deal and Golden Balls

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RETAILBIZ: RECOMMENDED 68 MCV 14/11/08

Midway has enriched the MK world with the introduction of history’s finest superheroes – and supervillains. Rob Power gets showered in claret...

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BACK IN the heady days of the Sega out there, the internet went crazy. Mega Drive, there was only one game Interest in the series has been that really laid the smack down, and completely rejuvenated. that game was Mortal Kombat. The DC Universe holds some of the There was really nothing else like it; biggest and best comic book characters before the ex-arcade title made its way out there, with names such as into the world of console gaming, Superman and Batman surely enough to nobody had really thought about, say, give anyone an idea of the sort of coding a move into a fight game where legends we can expect to see in this you could literally rip out your crossover title. It’s a huge deal, opponent’s spine – or throw their something that fans of both franchises lifeless corpse onto an evil row of will be keen to get hold of and, spikes. Mortal Kombat was dark, brooding, One of the reasons we’ve utterly brutal, completely managed to keep Mortal ruthless and, consequently, Kombat selling is because we massively popular. introduce new ideas. Over time, Mortal Kombat grew to become a Ed Boon, Midway mainstay of the gaming world. Those with a penchant for titles importantly, it’s packed full of enough that involved copious amounts of recognisable names and faces for regular bloodletting, extreme violence and a raft folk who know nothing of the of highly stylised and individual intricacies of the comic book world. characters flocked to it. And with the In short, it’s a great idea and one that blue-rinse brigade’s horrified reaction has already begun to take off. “We’ve soon dying down, the series talked about teaming up Mortal Kombat experienced widespread success – with another for brand over ten years,” enough to justify numerous sequels, a reveals Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed film, comic and endless additional spinBoon “Nothing really became of the offs. So, when Midway announced it team-ups we pursued. So after would be pitching its much-loved Armageddon we were all ready to start Mortal Kombat characters up against the next M-rated MK game when the some of the biggest superhero names DC opportunity was presented to us. A

REVOLVING GORE: Midway knows fans of MK enjoy the odd splatter of blood – and it hasn’t disappointed

number of people on the MK team are huge comic book fans. I personally grew up reading comic books and clearly remember when the Superman vs Spiderman comic came out. I freaked out because a crossover was something I never thought I’d see. It was one of the big ‘events’ and to this day I have that – very worn – comic in my office at work. Needless to say the idea of crossing over our universe with the DC universe was something that excited us and we really wanted to do something different for the next gen debut of Mortal Kombat. So the more we thought about it, the more excited we got – and we decided this would be a great match-up game to do.” Sending Mortal Kombat off in a brand new, completely unchartered direction, this title already looks set to rejuvenate the series and bring it to the attention of a whole new fanbase. “I feel like change is necessary for any series to continue selling respectable numbers after doing many sequels,” continues Boon. “One of the reasons we’ve managed to keep Mortal Kombat selling well for so long has been because we always try to introduce something new to each MK game. This is going to be the first Mortal Kombat game on the latest

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MIX ’N’ MATCH: The might of Sub-Zero and Scorpion face Batman and The Joker in MK vs. DC Universe

generation of game consoles so we knew we had to do something big this time. I’m sure the next Mortal Kombat game will have something dramatically different than this one.” KLASSY KOMBAT

Getting involved with all things DC led to its own set of complications – namely, how can a series so used to being up to its elbows in blood and guts reconcile itself with a set of characters that never kill in pursuit of victory? Fatalities, long a favourite aspect of Mortal Kombat for many fans, has had to be toned down for a start, and there have been other changes besides. “We certainly had to get used to the DC Universe,” says Boon. “But at the same time we never expected to have Superman tear someone’s arms off. The DC Heroes don’t kill and we knew that before we even signed up for this deal. Still it was challenging to maintain the Mortal Kombat feel while staying within a Teen rating.” The appeal of making this title is an obvious one – many of the huge array of cult characters that populate both worlds are massively popular in their

own right – and giving players a chance to get to grips with them in a beat-em-up setting is one that is just too good to miss.“The DC Universe brand really does help to open new opportunities and bring in a whole new audience to the Mortal Kombat experience,” comments Mortal Kombat brand manager Mark Cook. “Characters like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Joker – and environments like Gotham City and Metropolis – are iconic and inspiring, and the Mortal Kombat world offers a unique experience to interact with them. Following on from the success of The Dark Knight film release, the world of Batman in particular is receiving a lot of interest from new channels.” As is befitting what is clearly going to be a big hitter for Midway, you can expect a marketing blitz and enough giddy excitement from an extensive fanboy following to make the whole thing a high profile proposition. “We have Midway’s biggest ever campaign and spend to look forward to this holiday season,” continues Cook. “We kicked off a broad reach cinema

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 21 FORMATS: PS3/360 PUBLISHER: MIDWAY DEVELOPER: MIDWAY PRICE: £44.99 PS3 & £39.99 XB360 DISTRIBUTOR: TRILOGY CONTACT: 0845 456 6400

campaign at the end of August, running through launch. This has been complemented with a huge outdoor presence. London Underground advertising, as well as promotion in nationwide phone kiosks and lifts throughout major shopping centres will ensure our release window will be surrounded by MK hype. “A comprehensive lifestyle and specialist print campaign is up and running, with some bespoke and targeted online creative to reinforce our message. To top this off we have a Kiss FM promotion running around launch, hosted by prime time hosts Rickie and Melvin, and a rich PR campaign running from launch and culminating in a huge presence at this year’s MCM Expo.” As one of the biggest comic book brands in the world smashes into a gaming franchise with a hefty following of its own, there are going to be a lot of eager gamers out there looking to get themselves up to their elbows in the blood of their rivals.

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Microsoft launches into the karaoke gaming craze with its voicerewarding game Lips. Rob Power warbles his way to victory...

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OVER THE last few years, it has become perfectly acceptable to sit down in front of the TV and listen to someone singing Maria Carey. Badly. Every weekend, X Factor tells thousands of tone-deaf karaoke fiends across the country that success is merely an audition away, that anyone can do it and, yes, it could be you. Girls with all the vocal talent of a rutting moose have become convinced, thanks to a storming closing time rendition of Hero rapturously received by the inebriated punters at the Dog and Duck, that fame and worldwide renown is not only achievable but a given. All this has been compounded by the endless interest the great British public has in watching people embarrass themselves – as well as a remarkable ability to close down its hearing faculties. Wading into the fray, the games industry has recently undergone a revolution in allowing your average

gamer to live out rock and roll-based fantasies in the comfort of their own homes – where Freddy Mercury-style strutting can be pulled off with a panache rarely achieved at the karaoke machine after seven pints of premium strength European lager. SingStar was the first to make the living room a venue, and since then the rest of the

The two microphones can be used as percussion as players work their way through a huge set list.

band has been given its time to shine, thanks to Guitar Hero and latterly Rock Band. Lips is the latest to join in the fun, and has plenty going for it to give fans of the console-connected microphone another opportunity to step up to the front man role. With respected Japanese developer and rhythm game specialist iNis behind

it, Lips has pedigree, and thanks to a huge set list and a couple of innovative features, it looks to be a good shout for solid sales on the 360. Complete with wireless motion sensitive microphones, Lips gives players the chance to tap into a huge variety of songs both on the disc and from their own music collections. InIS founder and musical gaming legend Keiichi Yano is behind the development, a fact that will resonate with many who have been closely watching the ongoing growth of this sector. Generally regarded as the man that gifted the world the first rhythm-based guitar game Gitaroo Man, his association with this title gives it that all-important credibility and the promise that Lips will be hugely playable and highly addictive. The two wireless microphones, replete with interactive motion sensors and shiny lights, respond to the singers’ actions and can be used as percussion as players work their way through the

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ON SONG: Microsoft is hoping to pull in an audience of all ages with Lips

huge set list that is included with the game – a list that includes everyone from Rihanna to the Ramones, with something for everyone. The game itself echoes similar titles – singalong to the track, and be rated on your performance. Up to two players can also join in, using standard 360 controllers to join in with the rhythm aspect of the game through a series of tambourines, claps and cowbells, meaning that Lips is about more than simply watching your deluded mates howl their way through the classic hits (which are accompanied by their original music videos). SING WHEN YOU’RE WINNING

Various different modes include Vocal Fighters, which pits singers against each other in a duel to win the most fans (the loser is booed off, which is a nice touch) and Time Bomb, where players must perform well in order to prevent said weapon exploding. A Couples’ mode is also included, in which a suitably loved-up pair can duet and see

PLAY LIST: Lips contains tracks from a gamut of artists including Duffy and The Ramones

their on-screen characters smooch their way through the song when notes are hit and gestures towards each other made with the nicely responsive microphones. Perhaps the finest selling point of Lips lies in its ability to give players a chance to sing along with music of their own choosing. Players can connect up their iPods or other MP3 players, and thanks to a bit of in-game wizardy, can sing along to their own music (with vocal reduction, so that it doesn’t sound like you’re trying to drown out your heroes). Players are scored on this as if it were a normal part of the game. An obviously great addition, having the capability to deal with the demands of those who simply don’t want to sing along to Chris Martin makes this a title for the more discerning household singer. Credible karaoke for the terminally cool, if you will. Additionally, through the Xbox Live Marketplace, players can download current hits and expand their music libraries with their picks from the current crop of pop darlings.

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 21 FORMATS: 360 PUBLISHER: MICROSOFT DEVELOPER: INIS PRICE: £49.99 DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 01279 822822

Any title which gives a large swathe of people the chance to make a drunken jackass of themselves in the company of close friends and family should be encouraged, that goes without saying. Throw in a nifty pair of microphones and the seemingly endless ability to update the track listing with whatever takes your fancy, and you’ve got a hit on your hands. There is a huge amount of enthusiasm for these sort of titles, and this Christmas the land is going to be awash with caterwauling shower-singers as they and their families get down to a bit of serious singing. With the likes of Rock Band and Guitar Hero not to the taste of everybody, Lips should soon be kissing hello to retail success.

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As a launch title on the PS3, alternate history alien splat-fest Resistance: Fall of Man won plenty of praise. Can its sequel cement the series as PS3’s top franchise? Rob Power enters another world...

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LAUNCHED WITH the PS3, the twisted 1950’s history, the Resistance: Fall of Man was a big hit for mysterious Chimera and the unique Sony. Based in Britain in 1951, the weaponry, but this time it’s bigger, more game told a story of what would happen polished and set in the sprawling vistas if the world came under attack from of America.” blood-thirsty aliens. Having experienced an awful lot of Now the game is back, this time set popularity online with the first title, in the good ol’ US, in the snappily-titled Insomniac is determined to keep things Resistance 2. that way. “Fall of Man was a runaway Picking up where the first game left success online, which we are very off, once again we have lead character Nathan With an engaging campaign, Hale fighting his way and unprecedented through piles of enemy multiplayer modes, Resistance corpses, this time with 2 is a must-have FPS. the help of super soldiers David Wilson, SCEE known as Sentinals. “Resistance: Fall of Man as a PS3 launch title was a very proud of,” continues Wilson. “Insomniac accessible game and for many worked hard on making the online PlayStation fans, was their first foray interface user-friendly, with in-game into the FPS genre, certainly messaging, dedicated servers and great competitively online,” comments SCEE community and clan features. The game head of UK PR David Wilson. “With itself was received very well by our Resistance 2 we’ve kept the DNA that consumers as it matched players based worked so well for the first game, the on their online experience and ability. It easy-to-play, hard-to-master gameplay, was great for newcomers.”

The changes have been rung in for this sequel, with plenty of new beasties on hand to blast through, whilst massive new structures and plot devices drive the story on through a storm of blown up alien chunks. “The single-player campaign differs in two fundamental ways to the original game,” says Wilson. “The first is the scale of the thing. Not just in terms of the physical size of the levels and their design – it’s enormous – but also in terms of some of the giant creatures you will have to battle with – we’re talking skyscrapertall Leviathans here. “The second thing is the variety of the gameplay style and thus the dramatic pace of the narrative and your emotional response to the challenge. Some challenges are frantic non-stop shooting and evading of overwhelming odds. Others are slower paced strategic edge-of-the-seat tension waiting for the slightest noise or sign of movement that might just give you a

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chance to kill a cloaked Chameleon before it leaps at you.” MARKETING RESISTANCE

A big release for the PS3, Resistance 2 has a suitably impressive marketing plan in place. “Like all of our first party games, Resistance 2 will benefit from a massive budget,” adds Wilson. “The campaign will encompass several consumer touch points. We’ve got a fantastic ad for the cinema, which I’m particularly proud of. We’ve also secured a really exciting campaign with Current TV, where we invite the community to create and submit a 60 second trailer for Resistance 2. You can see some of the submissions at current.com/Resistance2. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Gamers are a creative bunch; as you look on YouTube gamers are always creating trailers. This way we get to reward them for their efforts. “We’ve produced an eight-page newspaper too, which is written as if it’s 1953 and the Chimera have attacked

PUSHING BOUNDARIES: One notable aspect of Resistance 2 is the stunning visuals, which really pushes the power of the PS3

the US, that will be inserted into over 500,000 targeted publications as well as being distributed at events and sampling activities. It’s a great piece of communication and a good way for existing and prospective fans to catch up on what’s happened since Fall of Man. We’re putting together a sampling experience in London, allowing our community to come down and be some of the first to play the finished code. We’ve also got traditional, targeted press and online advertising throughout and after launch.” Expectations for Resistance 2 are high, and rightly so. The first title was a huge favourite amongst the Sony elite, especially in the UK, and with the second game Sony looks to have yet another major franchise on its hands. “Well, the original did extremely well as a launch title and as far as I’m aware, the UK was the only region where it wasn’t outsold by the amazing MotorStorm, another one of our launch titles,” says Wilson. “We had a tie-ratio which meant pretty much one in every

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 14 FORMATS: PS3 PUBLISHER: SONY DEVELOPER: INSOMNIAC GAMES PRICE: £44.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

two people who owned a PlayStation 3 in the UK also owned Resistance: Fall of Man. It’s also done reasonably well as a Platinum title. “With that in mind, there’s a huge amount of PlayStation consumers who have experienced and enjoyed the IP, and we expect most of these fans to grab Resistance 2. More than that, however, we also hope to widen the market even further. I believe the awesome Call of Duty 4 has migrated a lot of gamers into the FPS genre, and between the engaging and deep narrative of the campaign mode, unprecedented co-operative multiplayer mode and epic competitive multiplayer mode, Resistance 2 will be a must-have FPS for everyone.”

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With the public’s insatiable appetite for the walking dead continuing unabated, we sent Rob Power to do his best zombie impression and find out about Valve’s latest...

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NO MATTER how many different variations on the theme developers or script-writers can dream up, nobody ever gets bored of zombies. There is so much scope in a tale of zombie survival, and so much fun to be had destroying the hapless undead as they slowly moan (or terrifyingly sprint, depending on your zombie title/flick of choice) their way round the place that new angles can always be found. In fact, to coincide with Halloween this year, the Charlie Brooker-created Dead Set gave another fresh take on the zombie holocaust, whilst Valve’s new multiplayer FPS Left 4 Dead also aims to bring something new to what is now a familiar scenario. As anyone who has seen Shaun of the Dead will know, having a posse of key anti-zombie personnel around you at all times is of critical importance if

survival is to be on the cards. You can’t do it on your own, no matter what countless ‘one man against the world’ survival titles might have taught you. Left 4 Dead acknowledges the debt that we all owe our fellow man if we

offers our band of intrepid survivors a chance to kick ass and take names in all manner of exotic locales. “Set in the immediate aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, L4D offers four expansive movie campaigns,” explains EA Partners marketing manager Guy Perkins. “Each Anticipation is indeed high challenges you and your fellow survivors to battle and Valve has already put the thousands of swarming game in players hands to zombies as you travel show how fun L4D really is. across the rooftops of an Guy Perkins, EA abandoned metropolis, through rural ghost towns and pitchare to get through what is clearly going black forests.” to be a very bad day at the office when Keeping things interesting, the init arrives. Up to four players can get game AI dictates just how difficult themselves down and dirty with the things are going to get for players as zombie nation here, with a heavy they progress through each stage by emphasis placed on teamwork in order monitoring how well they’re to get through. performing, with the intention being The game itself is centred around that the same scenario is never four distinct sections, each of which encountered twice. Repeated play is

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therefore in store for those of us – and there are many – who simply can’t get enough of shooting up those uglylooking dead guys. “Left 4 Dead offers intense four-player co-op gameplay, whether with other human players or bots,” continues Perkins. “The AI director continually monitors how you play and adjusts the scenario accordingly, sending the appropriate amount of enemies your way in any given situation depending on how well you are performing. The director will also vary the location and number of weapon and health kit pick-up points. This means that although the levels never change, the game will never play the same. “You can also play four versus four, with one team playing as the survivors and the other as the ‘boss infected’. At the end of each mission, the teams swap and play as the other side. There are four campaigns in co-op and two in

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RELEASED: NOVEMBER 21 FORMATS: PC, 360 PUBLISHER: VALVE DEVELOPER: AKELLA PRICE: £34.99 (PC) £49.99 (360) DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

versus mode. Zombies run very fast and they’re smart, offering a very different challenge to a traditionally slow, lumbering enemy. The survivors can carry guns, explosive devices and health kits and points can be earned as much from killing zombies as healing and protecting team mates.” GORE BLIMEY

The much-vaunted multiplayer co-op looks to be a big selling point, aimed squarely at gamers who have felt let down by poor AI or ill conceived controls that haven’t allowed them to make the most of that all-important

piece of cover. Getting the message out to players that Left 4 Dead is something worth getting excited about has led to Valve showing off its wares early. This strategy has paid off, with interest running high for the title. “Anticipation is indeed high,” says Perkins. “Valve has made absolutely sure that the game has been in players’ hands for a long time now, probably the first time they have done this, to show how much fun L4D really is.” Released to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Half-Life, EA is clearly attempting to place Left 4 Dead in the same league. “Valve has a great pedigree, with an incredibly high review score average across all of its previous titles,” says Perkins. “We thoroughly expect L4D will revolutionise multi-player co-op just as Counterstrike defined online deathmatch.” EA has put together a suitably heavyweight marketing campaign to accompany Left 4 Dead, combining a longrunning web presence with a large number of in-store campaigns. “We have a protracted and heavy online and print programme designed to hit core gamers with a real push on site skin takeovers,” says Perkins. “We also have a high impact outdoor presence in high footfall areas In London such as Underground and train stations, and we are also working on a significant in-store campaign, and a demo will be available for PC and via Xbox Live marketplace on November 11th.” Bringing a fresh slant to the genre, Left 4 Dead puts emphasis on multiplayer teamwork and intelligent AI – and has been designed to give players a bit more to get their teeth into than simply gunning down thousands of zombies. It certainly has plenty going for it to justify the purchase amongst other FPS titles at retail this Q4, and has character in spades, combining the key elements we all want from our zombie kill-a-thons. Put simply, it’s got a quality storyline, intense atmospherics – and heaps of dirty, bloodloving enemies there for the taking.

MEAN STREETS: A whole host of nasties are waiting for gamers in the dark and spooky streets of Left 4 Dead

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Animal Crossing finally makes its way to the Wii and takes a trip into the City. MCV tags along to uncover what it is about the franchise that makes it so devilishly popular...

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ANIMAL CROSSING first came to life in the guise of Animal Forest on N64 in 2001. Sadly that version never made it to the UK, and gamers had to wait until 2004 for Animal Crossing to finally hit the GameCube. Two years later Animal Crossing: Wild World came to the Nintendo DS and from that point the series became a phenomenon in its own right – pulling in gamers, children and, most tellingly, the then untapped female gamer market. In fact the DS version was something of a revolution with a new 3D look, touch screen tech and the chance for gamers to use the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to visit their friends’ towns and villages. But enough history, let’s crack onto the present – this Christmas the franchise makes its Wii debut with a new adventure in a brand new world in Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City. “The concept is simple – live your life in Animal Crossing. Some would

compare its overall concept to The Sims series. However its real time gameplay, unique characters and ‘calendarised’ series of events give this title its unique appeal as a non-traditional simulation game,” junior product manager Zoe Cooper tells MCV. “Animal Crossing also offers the additional appeal of being socially responsible as it gives everyone a taste of real life ‘grown up’

egg hunt in the spring, go fishing or visit the beach in the summer and then look forward to Halloween and fireworks as the nights draw in. Cooper continues: “The software offers you the total freedom to create your own bespoke gaming experience and for the gamer the appeal lies in collecting, buying and selling rare items, spending hours building up a home, furniture and wildlife collections, chatting to Animal Crossing has the fellow residents and same broad appeal of many catching every Wii releases and is more scheduled appearance and event in the hope of accessible than ever. picking up a rare item or Zoe Cooper, Nintendo event. The more casual responsibilities, such as paying off your user can enjoy a much more relaxed mortgage, and decorating and furnishing gameplay experience; dipping in and out your house.” of the game, customising their home, Players work to create their own chatting to friends and visiting friends’ world where they are permanently on towns – just using the game to escape holiday and concerned only with the from everyday life.” fun things in life. They can build a But how will the Wii version of the snowman in the winter, exchange game differ from the DS edition? Over presents at Christmas, go on an Easter to Cooper: “Animal Crossing: Let’s Go

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ANIMAL MAGIC A marketing campaign befitting of the massive title has been rolled out by Nintendo, encompassing a broad range of channels: TV The TV campaign will offer creatives that shows off exactly how much fun all the new features of Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City can be. Starting on November 24th, this four-week campaign will consist of more than 800 TVRs, and will be targeting a broad audience – from kids, to teen girls, to families. The 20-second and 30-second slots will demonstrate the DS connectivity, the all new Wii Speak functionality and the vast customisation features of this triple-A release. Online The online campaign will kick off on November 24th and will take the great new features into the world of online, through expandable banners and takeovers, across all major gaming sites, including IGN, Gamespot and CVG, showing off the online functions, and DS connectivity, as well as teen sites, including Get Lippy, TMF and T4, where it will show off the customisation, and real-time chat to be had through Wii Speak. The online media campaign will deliver more than 120,000,000 impressions, over four weeks. At the core of the campaign will be a unique Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City homepage, hosted by Bebo, a location where customisation, and social online activity is key. The Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City homepage will also host an exclusive Animal Crossing competition, giving every visitor the chance to win great prizes as they unlock the keys to the city of Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City and embark on a treasure hunt to win great online game discounts, and exclusive Animal Crossing goodies. Tour There will be a major marketing and sampling campaign for the title too, as Ben Taylor, Nintendo’s senior trade marketing and promotions marketing manager, tells MCV: “We have given special consideration to sampling Animal Crossing as part of our Christmas tour to really help bring to life the totally new way you can play and communicate online. Similarly with trade marketing we have wanted to bring to life the fantastic environment of the villages in which the game player lives and hopefully it looks as charming and attractive as the

ANIMAL ANTICS: The round-faced inhabitants of Animal Crossing get their long-awaited Wii debut next month

To The City will have the familiar surrounding you have experienced in the DS version, and even some familiar faces, with Tom Nook, Blathers and Mr Rossetti all making a come back in the Wii version.” Crucially though, Cooper says that new experiences will be a major part of the title: “Looking beyond these familiar faces and the green town where you make your home, there are many more new and exciting experiences to be had on the Wii version, enabled by features such as Wii Speak microphone which looks set to revolutionise online gaming, the all-new city and the DS connectivity. “The city gives everyone the chance to enhance their life in Animal Crossing, meet new characters, visit the theatre, beauty salon or the auction house that all utilise WiiConnect24, allowing you to buy and sell with people all over the world. “As well as the city, you can now share your town with up to four friends or family at a time through Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

“Wii Speak will ensure that you can now chat in real time with your friends and family as you visit each others’ towns – and everyone can join the conversation,” Cooper adds.

RELEASED: DECEMBER 5 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: NINTENDO DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PRICE: £39.99

TALK TO THE ANIMALS

DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH

Central to the experience is building relationships – both with the other animals in the town and with other players in the game. Friendships can be established through favours, gifts, letters and messages, as a whole community eventually emerges and develops; all as different as the people that make them. “As well as these new functions, there are an array of new characters to be met, new events in the calendar and the yellow bus – your key to the city.” Online will also be a key element of the title, offering the game more depth, colour and quirky gameplay. Online enhancements combined with Wii Speak make Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City a more social experience amongst friends and families.

CONTACT: 08700 270 985

Huge mass market appeal is going to be a key factor for the title and it’s something that the title thankfully has in spades: “Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City offers the same broad appeal of so many of the Wii releases we have seen over the last two years. “As well as having a heritage with the gaming audience who dedicate their time to collecting and selling rare items and paying off their mortgage so they can begin customising their house, this latest version on Wii will offer accessible controls to the more casual gamer and multi-player functions that mean all the family can experience Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City,” Cooper concludes.

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RELEASED: NOVEMBER 21 FORMATS: PSP/PS2/360/PS3/DS/WII/PC PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS DEVELOPER: ELECTRONIC ARTS PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

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The 12th title in the tricked-out street racer series to hit the shelves is released just in time for Christmas. Rob Power speculates on whether Need for Speed Undercover will finish in pole position… AS LONG as there are people like Jeremy Clarkson in the world – people who think it’s a good idea to drive a lorry at speed into a brick wall – there will always be a demand for street racing titles: especially ones with as much weight behind them as the Need for Speed series. The latest incarnation makes it a dozen NFS titles, with no end in sight. And all the signs are that Undercover is going to be the best yet. EA has taken a lot longer than usual putting the title together, and purports to have gone back to basics: returning the franchise to its street racer roots and bringing back some of the features that so riled fans when they were left out of Need for Speed Pro Street, such as the free roam race mode. “Conversely it’s a return to the core values of Need For Speed,” says product manager Kevin Flynn. “The cops are

“Players can go deep undercover, and race into an action-packed story of pursuit and betrayal,” continues Flynn. “They must take on jobs and compete in races to prove themselves as they infiltrate and take down an international crime syndicate. “Highway Battle allows players to fight off the cops and others as they take down their prey in high-speed, high stake multicar chases. New and vastly improved AI mechanics mean more aggressive and intelligent cops focused on taking players out fast and by any means necessary.” SPEED DEMONS

Meanwhile, an all-new system – the Heroic driving engine – brings an extra little piece of driving fantasy to the proceedings, allowing players to get to grips with some pretty impressive moves. “The Heroic Driving Engine allows the player to race with an unprecedented

Retailers want to back winners. Need For Speed is the racing game hit buyers pick up for Christmas. Kevin Flynn, EA

back, the chase is back and it’s exactly what the fans wanted. We’ve taken the key advancements from ProStreet – damage, physics engine – and added that to the spirit and ethos that has made NFS the biggest driving game franchise there is. There’s also the introduction of genuine, world-class cinematic production values which really drive the storyline within the game.” NEED ALL ABOUT IT

So essentially we’re looking at the best bits from the series so far combined with some serious storytelling devices, which should lead to success for NFS. A raft of new features tie in with both the plot and give players an excuse to do a bit of gratuitous smashing up of police cars. This points towards the sort of things racing game enthusiasts can really get into character for – dangerous stuff that wouldn’t want performed in your mum’s Corsa with the shopping in the back, but are clearly an awful lot of fun on the small screen.”

level of control,” continues Flynn. “It empowers the player to pull off heroic driving moves with ease (J-turns, 180’s 360’s, etc.).” Thanks to its many years’ service amongst racing fans, Need for Speed is a title that guarantees shelf space at most retailers. “In the current climate retail understandably wants to back the winners, the sequels that bring success and drive customers in store,” says Flynn. “Need for Speed is such a title – it’s the racing game hit buyers pick up for Christmas and Undercover will only complement those needs – from both the retailers and the fans.” The release is also backed up with a marketing plan that includes a large scale print and TV presence. “ATL plans are in place as you’d expect for such a prestige releases” continues Flynn. “It’s a huge unmissable campaign and covers traditional and innovative media outlets from TV and cinema to Digital Escalator Panels and Lovefilm envelopes.”

BURN, BABY BURN: EA has backed the release with a large-scale marketing campaign

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Et tu Rising Star? The publisher joins the casual market with Rome flavoured Jewel Master on DS. Jonathon Harker dons his toga, all in the name of gaming…

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 21

YOU MAY have noticed that MCV’s casual titles, not least Cradle of Rome: been banging on about casual gaming “Half the Rising Star office is made of quite a bit recently. And, we have to casual gamers and they’d become admit, a part of you might ask: “Why are obsessed by two or three of the titles we they blathering on about that again?” Put were evaluating. Sometimes it’s difficult simpy, because publishers, retailers and, to see what’s under your nose but it was most importantly, consumers are getting evident from their abandonment of into casual in a very big way indeed. Cradle Of Rome is one of the The latest publisher to most successful ‘matchget to grips with the three’ games ever, and is zeitgeist is Rising Star. As revealed in MCV (26/09) enhanced by the DS. the fresh-faced firm is Martin DeFries, Rising Star launching a casual range including Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome Nintendogs and Kawashima that we and Colour Cross this year, followed by had some compelling products that arcade-style shooter XG Blast in January could be added to our line-up.” next year. Those may be bold words, but Rising Martin Defries, MD and COO of Star has good reason to be confident, as Rising Star, reveals that the firm’s office Defries explains: “Cradle of Rome is one has taken a personal interest in the new of the most successful download ‘match-

DEVELOPER: CARASUS MEDIA

three’ games ever, and delivers more as a DS game with its stylus interaction.” As the title suggests, Cradle of Rome invites gamers to take part in the birth of the mighty Roman Empire. Players recreate the legendary city using that ‘match-three’ puzzle mechanic, meaning they swap two adjacent squares around to create a row of three or more. Unlike other similar games, in Cradle of Rome gamers have to gather as many resources as possible before the timer runs out. Resources mean gamers can build Rome ever faster, all the way up from a lowly saw mill to actual historic monuments like the Arch of Titus, the Temples of Venus and Saturn and even the mighty Coliseum itself. A casual gaming fun history lesson, if you will.

FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: RISING STAR PRICE: £24.99 DISTRIBUTOR: MASTERTRONIC CONTACT: 01582 433 700

From Berlin-based developer Cerasus Media, the title has already seen the light of day on the PC, where it enjoyed solid success – which Rising Star is hoping will be replicated – or even surpassed – on the handy Nintendo DS format. With 20 historical sites, 100 fantastic levels and highly addictive gameplay, the new iteration certainly has the potential to achieve that feat. Cradle of Rome marks just the beginning for Rising Star’s foray into the growing casual market, as Defries explains: “In early 2009 we will announce a number of quirky titles from Japan which will pepper the Rising Star release schedule – proving we are the home for Japanese games in Europe.”

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LucasArts and the LucasArts logo are trademarks of LucasďŹ lm Ltd. Š 2008 LucasďŹ lm Entertainment Company Ltd. or LucasďŹ lm Ltd. & TM as indicated. All rights reserved. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;â&#x20AC;&#x2122;, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;PLAYSTATIONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;PlayStationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and PSP are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. NINTENDO DS, Wii AND THE Wii LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NINTENDO. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved. Xbox360ÂŽ, PLAYSTATIONÂŽ3 - BBFC 12+ : PlayStationÂŽ2, PlayStationÂŽ Portable, Wiiâ&#x201E;˘ - PEGI 16+ : Nintendo DSâ&#x201E;˘ - PEGI 12+

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STEP IN: The latest Deal Or No Deal game invites fans to step into the show.

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 14 FORMATS: Wii, DS PUBLISHER: MINDSCAPE DEVELOPER: MINDSCAPE PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 0870 027 6510

The world of daytime television returns to consoles this month with Koch’s As Seen On TV series. Rob Power pulls a sickie...

THERE ARE many reasons to take a The rise of this TV phenomenon has day off work. Some simply like to lie in given the industry an idea format to bed because they can, marvelling at the replicate in game form. And not only is fact that they are still in their pants Deal Or No Deal engaging and easy to while the rest of the world slavishly understand, it has also been a major clocks in for another day’s soulless grind success for all involved, including Noel at the office. For others, the ‘sickie’ is a Edmonds and his imaginary banker chance to get themselves organised, friend. wash the car or sort out that rash. Deal or No Deal has been a A recurring theme sensation for Endemol, with from the home bound – versions found in 68 be they students or the countries and has become a terminally lazy, the selfpart of popular culture. employed or the genuinely ill – is a limitless love of daytime television. Deal Or No Deal has already made a One of the kings of daytime TV is successful transition onto the interactive non-other than Noel Edmonds and the DVD format (and was a big hit last hugely popular Deal Or No Deal. Christmas) and onto pub quiz machines Versions of the Endemol TV is shown too. So it’s with this success in mind in over 68 different countries and has that Mindscape and Koch have brought even become a part of popular culture, it back to the Wii and the DS platforms with references appearing in Family to give us all another thing to argue Guy, The OC, Meet The Spartans and with our families about over the festive Saturday Night Live. holiday period.

Koch’s As Seen On TV series is exactly that: a smattering of titles that give players the chance to step into their TVs in what is a hugely lucrative and successful market, especially at this time of year. Deal or No Deal: The Banker is Back! continues in a similar vein to the show. It’s a game based around boxes, for those who have never seen it. Each contestant has a smashing looking red box, within which is an amount of money ranging from a penny through to a whopping (that’s right, whopping) £250,000. The contestant in the hot seat must guess their way round the boxes, picking which ones to choose using lucky numbers, birthdays, necromancy or any other random system for choosing a number between one or 20 that will help them win their way to a big cash prize. All of this is made more interesting by the addition of a chap who is on the end of the

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BALLS OF FURY: Jasper Carrott’s Golden Balls TV show has been a huge hit for ITV

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 14 FORMATS: Wii, DS PUBLISHER: MINDSCAPE DEVELOPER: MINDSCAPE PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 0870 027 6510

phone to big Noel, and claims to be a banker. After every round, the banker offers the contestant an amount of money for the box they have (which isn’t opened until the end). And as the game progresses, things get tense, people who have never met hold hands, and everybody gets very excited as players get closer to claiming that ‘lifechanging’ sum of money. In the DS and Wii versions, the game plays out much like the TV show, with the added bonus that players can unlock 12 of the banker’s Magic Secrets and earn his respect in order to influence his offer on their box. Gamers can also play as the banker and must do their best to get the best deal possible for that iconic red box. GOLDEN BALLS

Next up in Koch’s series of titles is Jasper Carrot’s nicely-titled Golden Balls. If you’ve never seen the show, it’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions and is a genuinely gripping experience.

In the game four players battle it out over shiney golden balls. 100 of these balls can be found in the Golden Bank, and each ball is worth a different cash amount (some as little as £10, others thousands of pounds). The job of the player is to win five of these balls at the end of the show in order to claim a big cash prize, which could be as high as £200,000. Of course it’s not quite as simple as all that. For starters you must get rid of the opposing players, and make a series of key decisions in the Bin or Win and Split or Steal rounds, which adds extra spice to proceedings. Like Deal or No Deal, Golden Balls has been a massive hit for Endemol and ITV. The very first show pulled in over 1.6 million viewers, growing to two million and seriously denting the viewing figures of BBC 2’s The Weakest Link and Channel 4’s Richard and Judy. The programme has just enjoyed a third

successful series, with a fourth scheduled to run from January 2009. No matter what your opinion may be on daytime television, or whether you watch them or not, it can’t be underestimated how popular they are. These game shows regularly pull in millions of viewers who would love the opportunity to get themselves involved

which just goes to show the massmarket casual appeal these titles have. Koch and Mindscape’s new range of titles are family games that will benefit from being officially tied in with such shows, and are simple enough to pick up and play, with everyone from nightmare tantrum teen to gin-soaked granny being able to throw themselves into the thick of it and negotiate a deal with the Golden Balls has been a banker or connive their massive hit for Endemol, with way to a big win as Jasper the first show pulling in over Carrot looks on. 1.6 million viewers, rising to As Seen On TV from two million. Koch is certain to be a big hit for the firm, and it doesn’t end with Noel and Jasper either, with their favourite shows on a belly with the upcoming arrivals of Are You full of turkey and Christmas goodwill. Smarter Than a Ten Year Old on DS In fact, just walk into your local pub and Professor Heniz Wolff’s Gravity on and have a look at the most popular Wii and DS. games on offer on the quiz machines. The moral of this story is to never The likes of Who Wants To Be A underestimate the power of TV, Millionaire, Golden Balls and Deal or especially the shows that are on before No Deal are regular features at the top, many of us have even finished work.

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Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more

New RPG sensation to hit retail Square Enix’s highly-anticipated Xbox 360 RPG The Last Remnant gets its worldwide release next week and is sure to be a big hit with the hardcore, as is the latest entry in the world-beating Pokémon franchise: Shadows of Almia... TITLE

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MMORPG

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NOVEMBER 18th Everquest II: The Shadow Odyssey

NOVEMBER 20th The Last Remnant

NOVEMBER 21st Barbie Fashion Show: An Eye for Style Barbie Horse Adventures: Summer Camp Clever Kids: Farmyard Fun Clever Kids: Pirates Disney Sing it! Hasbro Family Game Night Hello Baby! High School Musical 3: Senior Year DANCE! Imagine Gymnast Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome Left 4 Dead Legendary: The Box Lips LocoRoco 2 Lost in Blue - Shipwrecked Metal Slug 7 MK vs DC Universe Mushroom Men My Dog Coach: Understand your Dog with Cesar Millan My Horse and Me 2 Naruto The Broken Road Need For Speed: Undercover Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir Expansion Pack Petz: Monkey Madness Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia Rapala's Fishing Frenzy Sam Power: Fire Fighter Sam Power: Handy Man Sam Power: Policeman Shrek's Carnival Craze SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 (16 in 1) Spore Creepy and Cute Pac Super Pick Ups The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon Tony Hawk's: Motion World Championship Off Road Racing

NOVEMBER 28th 757 Captain Age of Empires Babies Party Baby Life Buzz! Brainbender Clever Kids: Farmyard Fun Clever Kids: Pirates Disney Sing It: High School Musical 3 Senior Year Ellen Whitaker's Horse Life Freddi Fish 1: Case Of The Missing Kelp Seeds International Athletics

MUSTSTOCK .....................THE LAST REMNANT Released: November 20th Format: Xbox 360 Publisher: Square Enix Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388

Created using the Unreal engine, and aimed at both a Western and Japanese audience, Square Enix’s The Last Remnant gets a worldwide release next Thursday. The game has received a lot of press hype, and is certain to be a big hit.

MUSTSTOCK ......POKEMON RANGER: SHADOWS Released: November 21st Format: DS Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Koch Contact: 0870 027 6510

The record-breaking pocket monsters are back on the DS in the follow-up to 2007’s Pokémon Ranger. Shadows of Almia is set to feature over 270 pocket monsters and has already sold over half a million in Japan. So look forward to similar success next week.

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INDIES BOOSTED BY NEW RELEASE FALLOUT BASED on a classic series, developed by the talented minds behind Oblivion, and backed with a huge £2.5 UK marketing campaign, Bethesda’s Fallout 3 was always going to be a smash hit. The press certainly liked it, with the game averaging 93 per cent on Metacritic. And the public did too, with the title topping the Indie Charts with over 14 per cent of the week’s sales. And that’s despite Sainsbury’s £29 offer (see Price Check).

“Both Quantum of Solace and Fallout 3 make for yet another hardcore-friendly top 20 in this week’s indie charts.”

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Also sneaking into the charts is Activision-Blizzard’s debut 007 outing, Quantum of Solace. The title currently occupies sixth and tenth position, but with the movie just out, indies can expect the game’s success to continue in the weeks to come. Both Quantum and Fallout make for yet another hardcorefriendly Top 20, with the only other new entry being EA’s latest Command and Conquer, which arrives in 12th position. It’s been a busy few weeks for retailers everywhere. FIFA, Pro Evo, Dead Space, Fable II, Saints Row II and Far Cry II have made for a hugely successful October, and next week’s Indie Charts will see the arrival of Microsoft’s epic Gears of War II, which goes head-to-head with Sony’s groundbreaking LittleBigPlanet. It’ll certainly make for interesting viewing – especially if Activision-Blizzard can upset the odds with its highly anticipated Guitar Hero: World Tour. chris.dring@intentmedia.co.uk

week MCV visits the Isle of Wight to speak to FROM THE FRONTLINE This Ian Wilkinson of independent Outland… What’s unique about Outland? We sell a huge variety of stock, from Atari to PlayStation 3. It’s the only way we can compete with the big retailers like Woolworths or Tesco. What’s been the biggest challenge for your store? Space. We sell so much stock that it is a challenge to fit everything in, and we often just sell products through Amazon. But a big challenge has been competing with the big boys. When I started up we did 150 units of the latest Metal Gear Solid game, but nowadays a similar title will only sell 35 copies. And this is because so many shops sell games these days, from petrol stations to supermarkets.

What’s been performing particularly well for you recently? Fable II has done very well, and has been our bestseller since GTA IV. But usually we don’t sell a huge amount of any one thing. What has performed below expectations? We only did five units of FIFA ’09, but that was probably because it was really cheap elsewhere. Which company provides the best POS? Centresoft is the best in this department, because they offer a lot of incentives for us to do big window displays. Saying that, Gem, Koch, etc, also do a good job.

TO TAKE PART PLEASE CONTACT: CHRIS.DRING@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

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Get Football Manager 2009 for PC and Mac online and gamers will receive a free Football Manager-branded mini-mouse.

It’s been ten years since Nintendo’s pocket monsters first stunned the UK gaming scene, spawning a series of successful toys, games, films and cards. And ever since that time canny retailers have stocked up on Pokémon accessories to capitalise on each new release. The latest game set to arrive on DS later this month is Pokémon Ranger: Shadow of

Almia, so now’s the time to stock up on some tie-in accessories. One such product is the Pokémon Character Stylus available from PDP. The colourful products boast a matching wrist strap and a Pokémon and Pokéball design. Characters include Pikachu, Piplup, Turtwif and Chimchar and are priced at £9.99. AntiGrav: 01785 816858

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DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS

NINTENDO

KONAMI

13

8

LEGO BATMAN DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360

14

6

FAR CRY 2 PC, PS3, 360

15

18

MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES Wii, DS

16

4

FABLE II 360

17

NEW

GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR

18

11

MIDNIGHT CLUB: LOS ANGELES PS3, 360

ROCKSTAR

19

16

CARNIVAL: FUN FAIR GAMES Wii, DS

2K GAMES

20

29

HSM 3: SENIOR YEAR DS

PSP

RELEASE SCHEDULE Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Fracture Rapala’s Fishing Frenzy Spider-Man: Web of Shadows Transformers Animated Crash Bandicoot Mind Over Mutants Quantum of Solace World of Warcraft Wrath Of The Lich King Call of Duty: World of War Guitar Hero On Tour Decades Guitar Hero World Tour Software only Guitar Hero World Tour Solo Guitar Pack & Software Guitar Hero World Tour Complete Band Pack & Software Kung Fu Panda - Legendary Warriors Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels Star Wars The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance Barbie Fashion Show: An Eye for Style Barbie Horse Adventures: Summer Camp Guitar Hero World Tour Complete Band Pack & Software Shrek’s Carnival Craze Spyro Dawn Of The Dragon Tony Hawk's Motion World Championship Off Road Racing Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

DEVELOPER: EPIC GAMES PUBLISHER: MICROSOFT

NINTENDO

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

NEW

FORMAT: XBOX 360

NINTENDO

1 2 3 4

GEARS OF WAR 2

LAST WEEK

NINTENDO

TITLE

1 THIS WEEK

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009

NEW

[2]

NINTENDO

MORE BRAIN TRAINING BIG BRAIN ACADEMY MARIO KART DS MYSIMS KINGDOM LEGO BATMAN

PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TOP 40ALL

PUBLISHER

PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE

[ENTERTAINMENT - FULL PRICE]

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

WARNER BROS. UBISOFT

PS3, WII, 360, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

TITLE

PUBLISHER

FIFA ‘09

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

LEGO BATMAN WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2007 PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 MIDNIGHT CLUB: LA REMIX STAR WARS: FORCE UNLEASHED LEGO INDIANA JONES MANHUNT 2 TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR ‘09 CRISIS CORE: FINAL FANTASY VII

2 NEW

3 4 5 7 6 8

DISNEY

[FULL PRICE]

1 NEW

SEGA MICROSOFT

DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA WARNER BROS. THQ KONAMI ROCKSTAR LUCASARTS LUCASARTS ROCKSTAR EA SQUARE ENIX

OUT NOW WWW.CALLOFDUTY.COM

© 2008 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision and Call of Duty are registered trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. ‘’, ‘PlayStation’ and ‘PLAYSTATION’ are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. NINTENDO DS, Wii AND THE Wii LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NINTENDO. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved. Activision makes no guarantees regarding the availability of online play, and may modify or discontinue online service in its discretion without notice, including for example, ceasing online service for economic reasons due to a limited number of players continuing to make use of the service over time.

88,89 MCV513_final:46-47 MCV405

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RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 14/11/08 89

L FORMATS Highest New Entry

21

10

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

Highest Top 40 Climber

SAINTS ROW 2 PC, PS3, 360

THQ

22

25

MYSIMS KINGDOM Wii, DS

23

28

MORE TOUCHMASTER DS

24

15

C&C: RED ALERT 3 PC

25

38

NINTENDOGS: LAB & FRIENDS DS

26

30

MORE BRAIN TRAINING DS

NINTENDO

27

RE

BIG BRAIN ACADEMY DS, Wii

NINTENDO

28

20

BEN 10: PROTECTOR OF EARTH PSP, DS, PS2, Wii

29

NEW

MOTORSTORM: PACIFIC RIFT PS3

30

NEW

TOM CLANCY’S ENDWAR DS, PS3, 360, PSP

31

17

STAR WARS: UNLEASHED DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360

32

12

DEAD SPACE PC, PS3, 360

33

19

TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR ‘09 PS2, PSP, PS3, Wii, 360

34

23

MARIO KART DS DS

35

26

WALL  E Wii, PS3, PS2, 360, DS, PSP, PC

THQ

36

RE

SEGA SUPERSTARS TENNIS DS, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360

SEGA

37

RE

GRAN TURISMO 5: PROLOGUE PS3

SONY

38

31

FAMILY TRAINER Wii

ATARI

39

24

BIG BEACH SPORTS Wii

40

37

FAMILY SKI Wii

PC CD-ROM THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TITLE

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

FALLOUT 3 FAR CRY 2 SPORE FIFA MANAGER ‘09 THE SIMS 2: APARTMENT LIFE THE SIMS 2: DOUBLE DELUXE DEAD SPACE SACRED 2: FALLEN ANGEL WOW: BATTLECHEST

RE

TITLE

PUBLISHER

1

LITTLEBIGPLANET

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

FIFA ‘09 FALLOUT 3 WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 QUANTUM OF SOLACE MOTORSTORM: PACIFIC RIFT PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 MIDNIGHT CLUB: LOS ANGELES FAR CRY 2 SAINTS ROW 2

3 1 NEW

5 NEW

4 6 2 7

DEVELOPER: SONY PUBLISHER: SONY EA BETHESDA THQ ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SONY KONAMI ROCKSTAR UBISOFT THQ

NINTENDO

WII

D3P

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

SONY UBISOFT LUCASARTS EA EA NINTENDO

THQ

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA BETHESDA UBISOFT EA EA EA EA EA KOCH MEDIA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

PUBLISHER

1

MARIO KART WII

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

WII FIT WII PLAY MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES CARNIVAL: FUN FAIR GAMES FAMILY TRAINER BIG BEACH SPORTS FAMILY SKI MORE GAME PARTY FIFA ‘09

1 3 6 4 9 8 10 41 5

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

XBOX 360

[FULL PRICE]

C&C: RED ALERT 3

13

EA

NINTENDO

1 1 3 4 5 6 7 8

EA MIDWAY

[FULL PRICE]

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TITLE

GEARS OF WAR 2

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

FALLOUT 3 FIFA ‘09 FABLE II WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 QUANTUM OF SOLACE FAR CRY 2 MIDNIGHT CLUB: LOS ANGELES GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009

“RAISES THE BAR FOR ALL WAR GAMES” 10/10 PSW

NEW

7 4 9 NEW

6

NINTENDO SEGA 2K GAMES ATARI THQ NINTENDO MIDWAY EA

[FULL PRICE]

1 1 3 2

NINTENDO

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: EPIC GAMES PUBLISHER: MICROSOFT BETHESDA EA MICROSOFT THQ ACTIVISION BLIZZARD UBISOFT ROCKSTAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD KONAMI

[SOURCE]

PS3

(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack

WEEK ENDING 08/11/08

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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISTRIBUTION

DIRECTORY KEY CONTACTS

CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL SERVICES Wrapstar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0)7778 204970 DISTRIBUTION Creative Distribution . . . . 020 8664 3456 Gem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 Ideal Software . . . . . . . . . . . 01767 689 720 Keyne Distribution . . . . . . . . . 0870 1216051 Logic3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471 000 Meroncourt . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01462 680060 Music Express . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0113 234 4112 GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR Total Console Repair Ltd . . 087 19 18 17 21

LOCALISATION Absolute Quality . . . . . . . . . 0141 220 5600 Partnertrans . . . . . . . . +49 (0)2104 172660 Testronic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 653 722 Universally Speaking. . . . . . . 01480 210621 STORE FITTINGS AMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01924 507 217 DISC REPAIR Scratch Busters . . . . . . . . . . 01992 535 701 TDR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01202 489 500 Perfect Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . 020 8778 5164 RTI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01895 252 191

Gem Creative Get your message out Gem Creative offer retail specific design and production support including trade & consumer advertising campaigns, Point of Sale, marketing collateral, repackaging, bundling and concept solutions.

Contact Neil Handa Gem Distribution Ltd St George House Parkway Harlow Business Park Harlow Essex CM19 5QF 01279 822822 www.gem.co.uk POS

Packaging

Publishing

One integrated solution Flyers

Brochures

Trade PR

Media Buying

GEM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.gem.co.uk

CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL SERVICES

DISTRIBUTION

WRAPSTAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 7778 204970 . . . . . . . . www.wrapstar-skins.com

IDEAL SOFTWARE . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1767 689720 . . . . . . . . . . www.idealsoftware.net

DISTRIBUTION

DISTRIBUTION

Keyne Distribution "Looking for a new reliable supplier! Look no further!"  Software and hardware distributor  All top platform new releases in stock  Flexible next day delivery to the UK and most European destinations  Over 500 different products in stock at all times  Terms of trading will be 30 days on insured Customers  Shipping is by Customers account, or on our UPS - Fedex or DHL account.  The fastest growing independent distributor in the United Kingdom

Tel: 0870 1216051 Fax: 0870 1216053 Email: phil@keynedistribution.co.uk Unit C105, MKTWO Business Centre, 1-6 Barton Road, Water Eaton Ind Est, Milton Keynes, MK2 3HU

CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION. . . . 0208 6643456 . . . . www.creativedistribution.co.uk

KEYNE DISTRIBUTION . . . . . . . . 0870 1216051. . . . . . . phil@keynedistribution.co.uk

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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISTRIBUTION

EDITORIAL PLANNER Some of the special issues coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the market... FRIDAY NOVEMBER 28th

DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL FOCUS MCV takes an in-depth look at the big issues involved in the everimportant distribution sector. We speak to the major players about the future of the supply chain, and how they will be tackling the challenges ahead for the distribution side of the games trade. There’s also a comprehensive run-down of Christmas opening hours – enjoy! FRIDAY NOVEMBER 28th

TERRITORY REPORT: SPAIN MCV investigates the gaming market in Spain and Portugal with an indepth territory report. Boasting a significant ex-pat community and decreasing product costs in the sector, these southern European countries are expected to see increased growth in the near future. MCV speaks to local industry faces and analysts for a detailed look at the present and future of video gaming in the territories. FRIDAY DECEMBER 5th

CHRISTMAS MARKETING SPECIAL With the battle for Christmas number one well and truly in full swing by early December, we report on how platform holders, publishers and retailers are attempting to get the upper hand through marketing their wares. Expect interviews with key marketing players and a look at the most effective campaigns from years gone by. Who are you backing to take the top spot? FRIDAY DECEMBER 12th

TERRITORY REPORT: ITALY Italy isn’t all about pizza, pasta and gondolas – it’s got a burgeoning games market too. The Italian video game sector has grown steadily over the past few years, and MCV will take a closer look at the territory following its first Video Game Developers Conference, which kicks off in Milan. FRIDAY DECEMBER 12th

ANNUAL RETAIL SURVEY MCV publishes the results of its annual retailer survey, quizzing a huge number of retailers for their views on 2008. We’ll ask retailers which products have been key, how confident they are in their business and their thoughts on what the next 12 months have in store. FRIDAY DECEMBER 19th

REVIEW OF THE YEAR With what is surely the biggest year ever for the video games trade drawing to a close, there is plenty to talk about in MCV’s Review of the Year. We take a look back at the stories that rocked the industry and examine the highs and the lows of 2008. We’ll also take a look at what the trade believes 2009 has got in store for gaming. FRIDAY JANUARY 9th

50 THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2009 Let’s face it, the post-Christmas hangover that we call New Year can be a touch depressing, but there’s no need to be a miserable old sod – there’s plenty coming up. To prove it MCV will list 50 things to look forward to in 2009. And if you’ve got any suggestions, why not let us know?

FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT:

JONATHON.HARKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . www.uksales@logic3.com

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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR SUPPORT YOUR PRINT ADVERTISING WITH AN

ONLINE PRESENCE Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month. STUDIOS 7 Seas Tech ..................................................www.7seastech.com Atomic Planet...........................................+44 (0) 1642 871 100 Blitz Games Studios..................................+44 (0) 1926 880 000 Broadsword Interactive ..............................+44 (0) 1970 626299 Creative North ...........................................+44 (0)1484 487904 Fuse Games ..........................................careers@fusegames.com Oxygen ....................................................+44 (0) 1933 446437 Realtime Worlds.......................................+44 (0) 1382 202 821 Stainless Games...................................jobs@stainlessgames.com Strawdog Studio.......................................+44 (0) 1332 258 862

£450 PER MONTH SITE WIDE BUTTON Size: 300x100 pixels File type: Animated Flash swf or animated gif

£550 PER MONTH TOP 4 BUTTON PLUS EMAIL NEWSFLASH Size: 140x120 pixels File type: Static jpeg or animated gif

TOOLS bluegfx ....................................................+44 (0) 1483 467 200 Epic Games ....................................................+1 919 870 1516 Fork Particle ...............................................00 (1) 925 417 1785 Natural Motion ..........................................+44 (0)1865 250575 SERVICES 3D Creation Studio ..................................+44 (0) 151 236 9992 Absolute Quality .......................................+44 (0)141 220 5600 Air Studios ...............................................+44 (0) 207 794 0660 Cadjobs .........................................................+31 107 504 588 Datascope ...............................................+44 (0) 20 7580 6018 Partnertrans .............................................+49 (0) 2104 172 660 Philips amBX .......................................................www.ambx.com Testronic Labs ...........................................+44 (0)1753 653 722 Tsunami Sounds.......................................+44 (0) 207 350 2828 Universally Speaking ................................+44 (0) 1480 210 621 COURSES Goldsmiths ................................................+44 (0)20 70785052 University of Hull......................................+44 (0) 1482 465 951 To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and every week in MCV) contact jaspreet.kandola@intentmedia.co.uk. All subscription requests should go to mcv.subscriptions@c-cms.com

DISTRIBUTION

For further online advertising information please contact

Lesley.Blumson@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535647

MCVUK.COM March ‘08 Page Views 471,735 Sessions served 304,870 Unique Visitors 215,754

Feb ‘08 404,964 242,537 163,712

www.mcvuk.com MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk

MCV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01992 535647 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.mcvuk.com

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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR

Insider’s | Guide

TOTAL CONSOLE REPAIR . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21. . . . . www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk LOCALISATION

This week’s Insider’s Guide interviewee is Gareth Spencer of Dischromatics…

ABSOLUTE QUALITY . . . . . . +44 (0)141 220 5600 . . . . . www.absolutequality.co.uk LOCALISATION

Could you tell us a little about Dischromatics? Dischromatics was formed in 1989 and at that time was the only company in the world with the ability to print directly onto the surface of 5.25 inch floppy disks. We’ve kept pace with the market, moving on to 3.5 inch disk printing and copying, and building PCs, networks and websites before returning to our roots in duplicating and printing CDs and DVDs. Do you have any expansion plans? In terms of physical expansion, not yet. However we’re always looking to increase our range of services and have already added USB key duplication and printing recently. In the near future we hope to install new automated inkjet CD/DVD printers and a high quality digital press to ensure we can produce our CD and DVD inserts on-site and have control

PARTNERTRANS . . . . . . . . . +49 (0)2104 172660. . . . . . . . . . . www.partnertrans.com

over their quality and availability, dramatically reducing the lead times for our clients for fully packed product. What’s the best thing about your job? Personally, my job is so varied in terms of running the company and dealing with everything from accounting issues through to negotiating with clients and suppliers that it is impossible to get bored. Aside from that, each job and each customer is different and has different needs, which keeps us on our toes. The challenges we face and the numerous facets of the job mean we never stop learning, collectively and individually. Any funny office stories to share with MCV readers? I don’t think my description of my Christmas dancing would really do it justice – and I’m not supplying any photos either.

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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR LOCALISATION

DISC REPAIR

TESTRONIC LABORATORIES . . . +44 (0) 1753 653 722. . . . www.testroniclabs.com

SCRATCHBUSTERS . . . . . . . . . 01992 535701 . . . . . . . . . . . www.scratchbusters.co.uk

LOCALISATION

DISC REPAIR

We’ll make sure your disc repair is up to scratch With TDR, you’ve a tried and tested way to increase your disc repair business and generate extra turnover and profit as a result. Call or visit our website to Venmill Buffer find out more. from £1595

01202 489 500

www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING . . . . . . . 01480 210621 . . . . . . . . . . . www.usspeaking.com

TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

STORE FITTINGS

DISC REPAIR

HIGH PERFORMANCE OPTICAL DISC REPAIR SYSTEMS Eco Senior Fully Automatic Repair System

Eco Smart

Entry Level Repair System

Call 01895 252191 for Introductory Offers Eco Master

50 disc Automatic Repair System

AMA DISPLAYS . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1924 507217 . . . . . . . . . www.ama-displays.co.uk

www.rtico.com RTI-inbox@rtiuk.co.uk

High Speed Optical Disc Inspection System

RTI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01895 252191 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.rtico.com

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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISC REPAIR

DISC-GO-DEVIL Only

£666 Plus VAT

DIARY DATES ‘08 From the MCV PES Industry Tournament to the Develop Quiz, here are all the essential industry dates to stick in your diary…

NOVEMBER MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL GAME SUMMIT 2008 Tuesday, November 18th Montreal, Canada www.sijm.ca/2008/en GAME CONNECT ASIA PACIFIC Wednesday, November 19thNovember 22nd Hilton Brisbane, Queensland, Australia www.gameconnectap.com AMERICA’S VIDEO GAMES EXPO Friday, November 21st Pennsylvania Convention Center www.videogame.net

DECEMBER

HELL OF A PRICE FOR A WICKED MACHINE.

THE DEVELOP QUIZ Wednesday, December 10th AKA Bar, London orlaith.kennedy@intentmedia.co.uk

MCV PES INDUSTRY RANKINGS Thursday, November 27th Rex Cinema, Soho pesrankings.com/ industry Konami is now accepting teams interested in looking into the whites of their opponents’ eyes at the latest MCV PES Industry Tournament. It is open to all MCV readers although, of course, there is a strict limit on the number of teams that can be granted a starting place. You must enter in teams of two and you must work for the same company. Head to the site above for more...

Introducing the new Disc-Go-Devil - a stunning price-performance breakthrough in disc repair. O O O O

O

One-stage, fully automated repair Simple to use Small and robust History function for accurate monitoring of usage 30 day money-back guarantee and 1 year warranty as standard

JANUARY CES INTERNATIONAL 2009 Thursday, January 8thJanuary 10th Las Vegas, USA www.CESweb.org

FEBRUARY INTERNATIONAL MOBILE GAMES AWARDS Wednesday, February 18th Barcelona, Spain www.imgawards.com

JULY

01202 489 500 www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk/devil

TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

DEVELOP CONFERENCE 2009 Tuesday, July 14thJuly 16th Brighton, UK www.develop-conference.com

MCV/XBOX 360 PUB QUIZ Wednesday, December 3rd AKA Bar, London dave.roberts@ intentmedia.co.uk

MCV provides retailers, suppliers and media the chance to show off their general knowledge skills in an appropriate arena for our industry – the local pub. There will be thousands of pounds worth of prizes up for grabs to the best performers on the night, as well as loads of topnotch booze and food.

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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 96 MCV 14/11/08

WWW.MCVUK.COM

International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA

CYPRUS

All Interactive.................Helensvale Town Centre

Gibareio.............................................................Nicosia

GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD AFA INTERACTIVE 66 Hughes Street, Mile End, South Australia 5031 Tel: +61 8823 41355

1 Alkaiou Street / Office 1 / Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus tel. +357 22 666612 www.greatgames.com.cy

GERMANY

Coop Italia..........................................Sesto F.NO (FI) Digital Bros spa................................................Milano Leader Spa.................................Gazzada Schianno Newave Italia...................................................Firenze Promovideo SRL ...........................................Senago

DTP ENTERTAINMENT AG Goldbekplatz 3-5, 22303 Hamburg, Germany Tel: +49 (0)40 66 99 10 0 Fax: +49 (0)40 66 99 10 10 email: s.lass@dtp-entertainment.com Web: www.dtp-entertainment.com

DENMARK

GREECE

QVS ENTERTAINMENT TRADING APS Stenholm 1, 9400, Norresundby, Denmark Phone: +45 70277640 Fax: +45 70277650 email: sales@entertainment-trading.com Web www.entertainment-trading.com

THQ AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND & ASIA. Asia Pacific HQ - Level 8/606 St.Kilda Rd, Melbourne, Vic, Australia, 3004 Web: asiapac-sales@thq.com Tel: +6139573.9203

Gameworld BV............................Capelle A/D Ijssel Micromedia BV...........................................Nijmegen Favour Games..................................................Tilburg Rigu Sound B.V................2153 GB Nieuw Vennep

NEW ZEALAND Groß Electronic .......................................Rohrnbach Otto Group ...................................................Hamburg Playcom Software Vertriebs .......................Erfurt Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel.....................Erfurt

Australia email: paulelliot@qvsoftware.com.au Web: www.qvsoftware.com.au Tel: 61 2 9748 2555

NETHERLANDS

Centric ...............................................................Athens Nortec Multimedia.........................................Athens Zegetron S.A....................................................Athens

Gamewizz..........................................................Albany

NORWAY Pan Vision Norway.....................................Trollasen MPX.no .......................................................Sandefjord Platekompaniet....................................................Oslo Massemedia AS...........................................Notteroy Pan Vision Norway..............................................Oslo

POLAND

HUNGARY

CD Projekt Sp. z o.o......................................Warsaw

Antec .............................................................Budapest

COMGAME 576 LTD GATEWAY DISTRIBUTION APS Gateway Distribution ApS +44 1279 408 665 (UK) +45 7026 0870 (DK) dt@gatewaydistribution.dk www.gatewaydistribution.dk

1042 Budapest, Arpad UT 112, Hungary Tel: +36 1 369 2686 Fax: +36 1 272 0109 Email: bzsolt@576.hu Web: www.576.hu

ICELAND Sena ................................................................Reykavik

Red Ant...................................Baulkham Hills, NSW

AUSTRIA

ESTONIA

Koch Media GmbH...............................Rottenmann Play Art Multimedia Handels GmbH....Rankweil

Andrico ..............................................................Tallinn

TECHLAND Sp. z.o.o. Kazmierza Wlk 27, 50-077 Wroclaw, Poland Email: business@techland.pl Web: www.techland.pl Tel: +48 71 341 76 95 Fax: +48 71 343 98 96

PORTUGAL ecofilmes...............................Sao Joao Da Madeira

INDIA TM

BELGIUM Horelec S.A. ...........................................Bruxelles CLD Distribution S.A. .........................Fernelmont

BENELUX

FINLAND Panvision Oy.......................................................Turku

FRANCE EMC GROUPE CASINO..........Croissy Beaubourg

Contact Data......................................................Breda

INNELEC MULTIMEDIA GAMEWORLD Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel Tel: +31 10 298 3838 Web: rishi@gameworld.nl

45 rue Delizy, 93692 PANTIN Cedex France Email purchase: f_alglave@innelec.com Email export sales: g_armspach@innelec.com Tel: 00.33.1.48.10.55.55

MILESTONE INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE LIMITED

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE

Pramukh Plaza, 2nd Floor, Cardinal Gracious Road, Chakala, Andheri East, Mumbai 400 099, INDIA. Tel: +91 22 28203319 Fax: +91 22 28203334 email: distribution@milestoneinteractive.com website: www.milestoneinteractive.com

Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034, Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 Web: distributioninteractive@ planetadeagostini.es

ISRAEL Hed-Arzi......................................................Or-Yehuda

ITALY Cidiverte Spa ...............................................Gallarate

v.2 PLAY. LDA Studio Office Marquês de Pombal – Avenida de Loulé nº 123 1069-152 Lisbon, Portugal Tel. 00351 21 31 46 51 0 Fax 00351 21 31 61 12 5

TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE

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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 14/11/08 97

The International Distribution Guide is dedicated to promoting companies outside of the UK. If you are looking for new customers overseas, then look no further...

RUSSIA

SWEDEN Bergsala AB............................................Kungsbacka Panvision....................................................Stockholm SIBA AB ...................................................Gothenburg

SWITZERLAND ABC Software GmbH.......................................Buchs

AKELLA 12/1 Bolshaya Novodmitrovskaya st., 127015, Moscow, Russia Phone: +7 (495) 363-4612 Fax: +7 (495) 363-4615 http://en.akella.com Hitzona.............................................................Moscow Noviy Disk .......................................................Moscow Soft Club..........................................................Moscow Vellod...................................................................Mitishi

SINGAPORE Replay Interactive....................................Singapore

SOUTH AFRICA

TURKEY ARAL Import..................................................Istanbul Nortec Eurasia...............................................Istanbul

UNITED STATES BASCO, INC. 118-21 Queens Boulevard, Suite 509, Forest Hills, NY 11375 Tel: +001 917 627 3000 Fax: 1-718-228-4401 email: sales@bascogames.com Web: www.bascogames.com

MAREK TYMINSKI: The City Interactive CEO reveals the firm’s move into the Spanish video games market

Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg Nu Metro Interactive ......................Johannesburg

SPAIN Ardistel. S.L..................................................Zaragoza Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID Lamee Software S.L. .....................................Madrid

DREAMGEAR, LLC

FRIENDWARE

20001 S. Western Ave. Torrance, CA 90501 Phone: 310-222-5522 x 111 Fax: 310-222-5577 Contact: Moris Mirzadeh Email: moris@dreamgear.net

Marques de Monteagudo 18, 28028 Madrid, Spain email: juan.bustamante@friendware.es

U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC. 16700 Schoenborn St. #2 North Hills, CA. 91343 Tel: +1 818 920 9393 info@usgamesdist.com www.usgamesdist.com

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034, Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 Web: distributioninteractive@ planetadeagostini.es

UAE Red Entertainment Distribution ..................Dubai

PLUTO GAMES VIRGIN PLAY Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11, 28046 Madrid, Spain Tel: +34 91 789 35 50 Web: www.virginplay.es DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona

PO Box 10705, Office 103-104 Emirates Islamic Bank Building,Dubai, UAE. www.pluto-games.com Tel: +971 4261 8111 Fax: +971 4261 8112

Modern Pluto Trading LLC...............Saudi Arabia NXT Global LLC .................................................Dubai Pluto Derinton Games LLC............................Egypt

INTERNATIONAL NEWS CITY INTERACTIVE has revealed that it will be focusing on the Spanish market with the launch of brand new offices in Madrid. Forming part of the publisher’s development of its international business, the Polishheadquartered firm already has offices in the UK, Peru and the US. “It’s unthinkable that a company doesn’t consider our market as a priority aim,” City Interactive Spain MD Vicente M Gómez asserted. “City Interactive has launched in Spain with the clear desire of turning into a solid and trustworthy ally for the trade channel and the rest of stakeholders implicated, contributing with the years of experience that our team have in the video games sector. “We have just arrived and we would like to stay here for a long time,” Gómez added. The publisher, which was formed via the amalgamation of a publishing house and two studios

a mere six years ago, has a distribution network that reaches into more than 40 countries around the globe. The busy firm ramped up its UK efforts via a distribution deal this year with Pinnacle – and the release of an array of mid and budget priced titles including Terrorist Takedown and Sniper. Marek Tyminski, president and CEO of the City Interactive management Board, explained the philosophy driving the publisher’s growth across the continent: “We are looking to expand our business in Europe and Spain is our natural next step forward for City Interactive. “Considering its market size, and that fact that consumption of the Spanish industry of video games reached around e1.5 million during the last fiscal year – a figure that represents a notable increase on the previous year – added to interest from Spanish gamers, we are confident that our office in Madrid will be a success story.”

PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

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MCV FORUM

‘Good PC DRM can ensure strong sales’ Sega’s Alan Pritchard explains to retailers why the innovative new Football Manager features an equally clever copy protection. Plus, one reader clarifies the versatility of pre-owned, while another cries foul over recent EA/Disney acquisition speculation… WE HAVE written to each of our retail partners to advise them that Sega and Sports Interactive have integrated a new copy protection system into this year’s release of Football Manager 2009, released today. The new system, developed by Uniloc, means that consumers will be unable to activate the copy protection on the game until midnight on the night before the intended launch date. Prior to this time, installation and activation of the game will not be possible. Football Manager 2009 is set to feature a vast array of all new features including, for the first time ever, a full 3D view of the world famous Football Manager match engine. Football Manager Handheld 2009 for Sony PSP is also set for release on the same day

CLEVER MANAGEMENT: Pritchard says Football Manager’s copy protection discourages piracy

and sees the debut of a 2D match engine for the handheld franchise. The advent of the 3D match engine in Football Manager 2009 marks the most significant evolution in the series’ recent history, and we’re confident that sales will reflect that. However, with increased demand comes a greater risk of piracy, so we have a

responsibility to safeguard those sales by doing everything we can to give retail the peace of mind that any impact to retail sales will be reduced. That’s where Uniloc come in. We know that software piracy causes unquantifiable problems. In the past, we have experienced issues on Football Manager that have necessitated bringing the release date

forward at the last minute. By partnering with Uniloc, we are not only taking steps to review and upgrade our copy protection, but this approach also means that there will be no benefit to the consumer to source unofficial product ahead of the street date. Alan Pritchard, Managing Director, SEGA Europe North

Mickey Mouse speculation Response to MCVuk.com story 'Could EA be a target for Disney?', November 3rd.

LATEST NEWS STRAIGHT TO YOUR MOBILE Bookmark us in your phone:

MOBILE.MCVUK.COM

STOCK IN a company rises: “Ooh, someone knows something I don’t. Must be a

bid about to happen,” speculates everyone. Stock in a company falls: “Ooh, cheap at the price. Must be a bid about to be happen,” speculates everyone. Disney buying EA made sense last year, five years ago,

ten years ago. It still makes sense today. But this story from the Wall Street Journal sounds like wishful thinking to me. Nicholas Lovell, Analyst

Missing the point on pre-owned I’VE JUST read an article in November 7th's issue relating to rise of pre-owned (‘The pre-owned boom’) and am wondering where you get your information from? “Meanwhile, HMV’s unique offer is that consumers can use trade-in credit against anything else in store, be it DVD, CD or even concert tickets.” Having been a customer and employee of various retailers mentioned in the article, I'm very aware that GAME, Gamestation and Blockbuster all allow customers to trade-in credit against anything else in store, and have done so for many years. How can you class this as a unique offer from HMV? Perhaps they uniquely sell concert tickets, but if so, why not rave about Blockbuster ‘uniquely selling popcorn’ or Gamestation ‘uniquely selling remote controlled Mario Kart toys’. Surely an industry magazine such as yourselves would bother to do a little bit of homework before they make unfounded statements? Malcolm Cooper

True, other stores (including Blockbuster, whose bigger stores sell even sat-navs) let you trade games in for a slightly diverse range of products. But HMV’s offer is designed to be ultra-flexible – that was their point, and ours too. After all, someone is more likely to visit their stores to trade in a bunch (if not all) of their games for some DVDs and Take That tickets, rather than hand over their Xbox 360 collection for a hundred bags of popcorn and a tub of Häagen-Dazs.

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OFF THE RECORD This week, former indie poster boy Preston tries his hand at Guitar Hero World Tour – as industry boys put him to shame. Elsewhere, 505 Games takes over the wettest corner of Trafalgar Square and Sega gets bloody for Halloween...

PIC OF THE WEEK He was once the ‘nu-mod’ scene’s great white hope. He even had a self-styled, polo shirt-decked ‘army’ swigging and bellowing their way through his gigs. Then, of course, came Celebrity Big Brother and a sham marriage to a girl who makes Kit-Kats looks like MENSA members. Bloody Preston. Could he finally have recovered some cool with this Guitar Hero: World Tour promotional event in London last week? Well, almost. But when you’ve got industry tykes like Simon Byron (right) and Chandra Nair (top right) making you look bad, it might be time to crawl back to the house OK! paid for.

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CATCH THEM

IF YOU CAN… We might like to think we’ve cracked ‘video games for everyone’, but there are plenty out there who still think DS is something that needs to be treated by a doctor. Here we profile a section of society that don’t ‘get it’ – and are simply never likely to...

DOLPHIN THE CITY 505 Games filled Trafalgar Square’s famous fountains with blow-up marine life for the launch of My Pet Dolphin 2 on DS last month. The beady-eyed little blighters helped attract many a family to give the game a try. We hung around all day to see some bouyant animal reproduction in action. This photo was the closest we got.

‘THE HOBO’ He remembers the heyday of Space Invader-era gaming, but these days the closest he gets to an arcade is crouching under one when it’s raining... at least until he gets moved on. He’s aware of GTA, but thinks it’s all poppycock: he reckons that if you were on the streets for that long, you’d have to find something a little more titillating than digital bullets and simulated sex to fend off the cold, lonely nights. And that you couldn’t go that long outdoors without pissing your trousers. Loves: White Lightning, charity, blocking out the memories Hates: Snow, rain, little oiks paying £50 for a plastic box Marketing says: “Our

value DS range is perfect for anyone both on a budget – and on the go!” He says: “Big

Issue?”

READ ALL ABOUT IT When will the national newspapers get a grip on games – and stop talking nonsense? Here’s this week’s worst offender…

Jonathan ‘Wossy’ Ross has been playing computer games non-stop since he was suspended by the Beeb last week for making obscene phone calls. The Daily Star, 08/11/08

WHAT WERE THEY

THINKING!? The unbelievable truth is that someone, somewhere thought these visionary gems were going to end up being a classic title: No.5: Rise Of The Robots 2: Resurrection YEAR: 1996 FORMAT: PC, PSOne, Saturn So you’ve made the shittest beat-‘em-up in history. For a comparatively ludicrous amount of money. You even paid Brian May to write a soundtrack for it. (Why? Just why?) The title is so bad, gamers have adopted it as a quick analogy for anything that enjoys fevered hype – then ends up broken and unplayable. What do you do? Of course! You make a sequel. No, no, and thrice, no.

HOUSE OF THE READ

Sega held a ‘bloody’ good Halloween party to raise hype for the release of next year’s House Of The Dead: Overkill in Kensington at the end of last month. Specialist and consumer media members were treated to blood, snake charmers, a painted dwarf and a crazy doctor. Which sounds less ‘nightmarish’ and more ‘average Saturday night in Hertfordshire’ to us. Judging by the photographic evidence, however, a hoot was had by all. Until the undead starting feasting on the flesh of the living, obviously...

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SI X

A GA CT M IVI ES S ! ION

To celebrate the launch of these major Christmas releases, Activision is giving away a copy of each game featured below. To stand a chance of winning, simply answer this question...

WHAT’S THE NAME OF THE JEDI KNIGHT WHO STARS IN THE CLONE WARS? A. ANAKIN SKYWALKER B. DARTH MAUL C. RAMEKINS FLYTALKER

SEND YOUR ANSWER TO ACTIVISION@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK EDITORIAL: 01992 535646



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MCV, Intent Media, Saxon House, 6a St. Andrew Street, Hertford SG14 1JA. Managing Director/Publisher: Stuart Dinsey Stuart.Dinsey@intentmedia.co.uk Telephone: 01992 535688

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MCV is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation and the Periodical Publishers Association. Membership of the ABC and PPA provides our advertising partners with confidence in our circulation statements. For the 12 months ending December 2007, MCV had an average weekly net circulation of 9,086. MCV’s circulation is 100 per cent named and zero per cent duplicated.

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS United Kingdom £150 l Europe £175 l Rest of the World £250 To order your subscription via Visa, Mastercard, Switch or AMEX or to make changes to your subscription details, contact mcv.subscriptions@c-cms.com or call 01580 883848.

SAXON HOUSE, 6A ST. ANDREW STREET, HERTFORD, HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND SG14 1JA Intent Media specialises in trade titles for entertainment and leisure markets. As well as MCV, Intent publishes PC Retail for retailers and suppliers to the computer trade, Develop Magazine for games programmers, producers and artists, ToyNews for all sectors of the toy industry and Mobile Entertainment.

Intent has also recently launched BikeBiz and MI Pro. www.intentmedia.co.uk

ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2008

MCV has an exclusive media partnership with Famitsu - Japan’s leading video games analyst and news source


MCV Issue 513, November 14th 2008