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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES

Issue 515 Friday November 28 2008 £3.25 13 ‘soft focus We speak to Microsoft’s Chris Lewis and David Gosen about Xbox’s future

03 A manic Monday 23 DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL We look at one of the hardest working markets in games, profiling every pick’n’packing firm in the trade – and the extra services they offer

Online retailers prepare for the biggest day of their year

16 The Blizzard king The World Of Warcraft publisher’s Paul Sams tells all to MCV

EVERY BUYER  EVERY BRANCH  EVERY INDIE  EVERY WEEK

INCORPORATING

EUK sound as a pound as Hilco swoops for Woolies Cut-price £1 takeover bid sets distributor up to go independent – and end industry’s Christmas stock worries by Tim Ingham EUK has its fingers crossed that Woolworths will be sold to a third party this week – leaving it free to turnaround the credit insurance crisis that has threatened the Christmas takings of a third of UK retail. MCV understands that EUK is backing Hilco’s £1 bid for its parent’s retail arm – which would leave the entertainment distributor independent. Hilco has also offered to take on the majority of the Woolworths Group’s £385 million of debt – as well as its annual rent and, potentially, a pension deficit thought to stand at £58 million. EUK believes that leaving the Woolworths family would make it eligible for credit insurance cover for the first time in three months. As reported in MCV (03/10/08), publishers have had a rocky relationship with EUK ever since credit insurers Coface, Atradius and Euler

DIARY OF A DISASTER A HILCO takeover could end a troubled few months for Woolworths and EUK:

GOOD NEWS FOR PUBLISHERS: EUK says it is sure it will be granted credit insurance should Woolworths be sold

Without Woolworths, EUK wouldn’t be saddled with the problems that have seen us refused credit insurance.

Hermes all removed or reduced cover on products handled by the Middlesex business earlier this year. All three insurers saw EUK as ‘high risk’ for being part of the Woolworths Group –

EUK Insider

putting the publishing community’s supply line to Asda, WH Smith, Morrisons, Zavvi, Sainsbury's and Woolworths in jeopardy. A source close to EUK told MCV this week: “A deal with

ASDA PLANS AHEAD

WHAT FOR WOOLWORTHS NOW?

ASDA has a ‘contingency plan’ to buy direct from suppliers, should their relationship with EUK falter. But will it use this should the distributor go independent? A source at the

HILCO’S plans for Woolworths are still shrouded in mystery. The company specialises in buying near-bust businesses. Typically, it then places them into administration – and then buys back their most profitable assets. On its website, Hilco says that it “relieves senior management from the burden of managing a

supermarket simply told MCV this week that it would “do the right thing for our business”. Officially, we were offered a “no comment”.

difficult portion of its business” and “ensures an effective strategic exit [for the business]”. MCV contacted Hilco to discover what its future vision for Woolworths was, but we were met with another firm “no comment”. Woolworths would only confirm that it was in discussions with “a third party” over its potential sale.

Hilco that left EUK as independent would be very well received. It’s likely we’ll end up with some of Woolies’ debt, but it’s manageable. Without Woolworths, EUK wouldn’t be saddled with the problems that have seen us refused credit insurance.” The publishing community has also backed a Hilco buyout. The UK boss of one giant supplier told MCV: “I’m sure that EUK are popping champagne corks at the very prospect of getting rid of the Woolworths burden. “My guess is that EUK will become a smaller entity with less relevance. But they’ll still be an important part of the industry – and, most importantly, will have credit insurance. We can all sleep a lot easier if that happens.” At the time of going to press, Woolies bosses were locked in emergency meetings over the future of the business.

15/08/08: MCV reports that EUK is now seen by UK suppliers as the biggest buying power in the country – controlling around a third of all stock for Asda, Zavvi, Woolworths, Sainsburys, WH Smith and Morrisons. 17/09/08: Woolworths reports group losses of almost £100 million for the six months to the start of August. 02/10/08: MCV reports that relations between publishers and EUK are faltering, after the company is refused credit insurance. UK retail could be left with reduced stock levels for Christmas as a result. 06/10/08: Asda admits that it has a contingency plan in place to buy direct from publishers, should the relationship between EUK and games publishers become untenable. 17/10/08: Woolworths’ retail and operations director Simon Turner quits the troubled retail company. 19/11/08: It emerges that turnaround specialist Hilco has made a £1 bid for Woolies. The retailer’s biggest shareholder, Ardeshir Naghshineh, calls the offer ‘ridiculous’. 20/11/08: Hilco is reported to have tabled a revised, lastditch offer to take on up to £300 million of Woolworths debts – leaving lenders saddled with £85 million.

PERSONNEL 46 RETAIL BIZ 47 NEW RELEASES 53 HIGH STREET 54 CHARTS 56

4 MCV 28/11/08

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NEWS

[LEADER]

Online retail braced for

A CHILL WIND THERE HAS been a lot of talk lately – and yes, we’ve printed a good wodge of it – that the games industry is immune to recession. Recent developments, from the paring down of local offices for some publishers to consolidation at a higher level, have proven otherwise. We speculated a few weeks ago that studio cutbacks at EA and THQ could just be those companies’ own realignments. But with developers across the world chopping staff numbers – usually the first indication of belt-tightening – talk of ‘new strategies’ (fancy talk for ‘a shorter payroll’) suggests that signs aren’t good. Indeed, we might be heading for a bumper Q4, but it’s what happens in Q1 and Q2 2009 that will have to prove the games industry’s might. And currently, no matter how big or small the flutter you might be having on the Christmas No. 1 game, all other bets are probably off.

We might be heading for a bumper Q4, but it is Q1 and Q2 2009 that will have to prove the industry’s might.

SOUND AS A POUND?

On a related theme, the collapse of the Woolworths business, and it’s potential bargain bin £1 sell-off, is undoubtedly bad news for the health of the High Street. Of course, EUK’s bid to go it alone will actually be good news for publishers, given that a huge chunk of the games market’s buying force remains intact. But let’s not forget that this still means question marks remain over the jobs of the 30,000 staff at Woolies stores and its HQ.

NINTENDON'T HAVE IT IN STOCK It was close to impossible for me to pick up the excellent Professor Layton and the Curious Village as a Christmas gift this weekend. It was sold out almost everywhere I looked. As with Wii Fit, it’s another classic example of a great Nintendo product selling out instantly – and rightly so. But is it also an indication of the perils this DS boom has brought to market? Nintendo isn’t the only company whose games get onto shelves only to vanish just a short while later – in fact, some publishers have told MCV that manufacturing demands are so high they are having to slip titles into early ‘09, missing the Christmas rush. Is this another brewing cloud, or just a storm in a tea cup? Let’s hope the big gaming story of recent years – the rise and rise and rise of the DS – isn’t being a victim of its own success…

Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk

Huge sales spikes expected on key dates of December 1st and 8th by Christopher Dring LEADING ONLINE retailers are gearing up for two of the biggest days of sales in history – with huge game promotions running on Monday December 1st and 8th. According to the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), e-tail is set to see a year-on-year sales jump of 15 per cent. And IMRG director of operations

about their Christmas shop, and is the best time to buy so that gifts will arrive on time.” Smith also claimed that IMRG clients in the video game sector have enjoyed ‘above average’ growth this quarter, with online giant Play.com expecting games sales to leap 120 per cent – with huge promotions running from 1st. “Last year December 6th was the biggest day for online

December 8th will be the biggest shopping day online, with a huge sales jump on December 1st too. David Smith, IMRG

David Smith told MCV that online sales will peak a week on Monday: “We’ve calculated that December 8th will be the biggest shopping day online, although there will be a huge sales jump on Monday December 1st too,” said Smith. “Traditionally the second Monday in December has seen the most growth as it’s when most consumers are thinking

shopping with Play.com taking over 600 orders per minute at peak and this year we expect this to double,” enthused Play.com MD Stuart Rowe. “This year the games category has been the fastest growing area for us and we’ve put together some great offers for Monday with the help of our publishing partners and we will smash all previous sales records.”

GAME.co.uk also expects a big online sales boost: “We’re used to major surges in traffic and are prepared to deliver the normal efficient service on the 8th for all our visitors,” said GAME’s online MD Alex Croft. “We’re committed to giving value for customers and will continue to offer our excellent Special Offers and Deals of the Week. We will also launch a promo before December 8th.”

Square Enix diversifies SQUARE ENIX'S Europe and North America boss John Yamamoto has told MCV that the trade should ‘expect the unexpected’ from the Japanese firm as it looks to publish titles outside its RPG comfort zone. The firm has already signed up a strategy game, Supreme Commander 2, from American independent studio Gas Powered Games and formed a digital download team in LA. But it is looking to Europe for new content, too. “By focusing on a global approach to the market, it is essential to work with Western studios that are able to create games targeted primarily for a Western audience. While the

SQUARE ENIX: Yamamoto speaks

titles developed out of Square Enix Japan are of a high quality, we are aware that not all of them have an appeal to Western users,” Yamamoto explained to MCV.

“We see great opportunities in the European and US markets, both of which are expected to see sustainable growth. The decision to create alliances with studios like Gas Powered is crucial to our strategy to strengthen the company in all global markets.” Yamamoto recently established a business development team that will seek out new business opportunities for both the European and US divisions. “We are excited about what the future holds for Square Enix and will be working very closely together to create premium titles that go beyond what users expect from us.”

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NEWS

‘Mega Mondays’ Vivendi vets to  Play anticipates 120 per cent sales jump

[PRE ORDERS]

boost Blizzard UK

TOP 10 ANIMAL CROSSING: GO TO THE CITY

ANOTHER MANIC MONDAY? Online retailers are preparing for two huge sales days in December

WII NINTENDO

2. RESISTANCE 2 PS3 ..................................................SONY

3. PRINCE OF PERSIA MMO GIANT Blizzard has established a dedicated UK team, appointing two former Vivendi staff to support its future plans. Former managing director of Vivendi George Georgiou (above, left) will become

E-TAIL GETS VAT BOOST The 2.5 per cent this week slashed from VAT should also provide a big boost to retail in the run-up to Christmas. Despite the expected Q4 growth, many online retailers were reporting that their October sales were below projections. However, IMRG director of operations David Smith believes consumer confidence

will rally following the Government’s latest tax plans. “For October we only saw growth of 13.3 per cent, and we were concerned that sales wouldn’t match our 15 per cent growth projections,” explained Smith. “But now the Chancellor has cut VAT, we expect there to be a slow build in consumer confidence in the run-up to Christmas.”

of Warcraft firm to ramp up its UK activity. Blizzard COO Paul Sams explained:. “We now have a number of Blizzard-specific people in the UK that work in the Activision offices but report to us.

We’re excited and are fortunate to have a spectacular team that has joined Blizzard in the UK. Paul Sams, Blizzard

360 ..............................................UBISOFT

4. PRINCE OF PERSIA PS3 ..............................................UBISOFT

5. GRAND THEFT AUTO IV PC ............................................ROCKSTAR

6. SONIC UNLEASHED 360 ..................................................SEGA

7. SONIC UNLEASHED PS2 ......................................................EA

8. WII SPEAK WII ............................................NINTENDO

“We’re pretty excited about it and are fortunate to have a spectacular team that has joined the Blizzard team in the UK.”  Read the full interview with Sams on page 16.

9. ANIMAL CROSSING: LET’S GO TO THE CITY (INCLUDING WII SPEAK)

2m sales sprint for Mario & Sonic

[MARKET VALUE]

MARIO & SONIC At The Olympic Games is creeping towards two million sales in the UK – and is still flying out of stores over a year after it was released. Sega has even recently given the title an outside shot at Christmas No.1, after it appeared in TV ads from the likes of HMV and GAME as part of bargain Wii bundles. Sega has told MCV that lifetime sales currently stand at nearly 1.3 million on Wii and 460,000 on DS. “Our aim is to hit two million by the end of 2008,” Sega UK sales director John Clark told MCV. “Only Wii Play has more lifetime sales

director of marketing for UK and Ireland. Meanwhile Jonnie Bryant (above, right) has become PR manager. A senior Blizzard exec told MCV that the merger paved the way for the World

MARATHON EFFORT: Can the title pass the two million hurdle?

on Wii which tells its own story. And so far this year M&S has only been outsold on Wii by Wii Fit, Wii Play and Mario Kart Wii.

“On Nintendo DS it’s the biggest full price title of the year so far, and is second only to Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training for all price points.

“There are a team of people constantly evaluating where sales should be, and the marketing has been linked well to drive this. “We have advertised on television four times; the launch of the Wii format, the launch of the DS, the spring and autumn campaigns. This is a first for Sega.” Of the new bundles, Clark added: “Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games on Wii has been achieving in excess of a 30 per cent attach rate. “Working closely with retail has been key to driving this attach rate and will continue to be key throughout the peak period.”

WII ............................................NINTENDO

10. SONIC UNLEASHED WII ..................................................SONY Week ending November 15th Source: SHOPTO.COM

£75m 70

60

50

40

30

20

10

£57.8m

£77.9m

£75m

2,225,207 Units

3,041,931 Units

3,043,323 Units

Week Ending November 15th

Week Ending November 22nd

0 Week Ending November 8th

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

6 MCV 28/11/08

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NEWS

Xbox teams with MySpace and Channel 4 for TV show Christmas concert show will underline 360’s position in music and entertainment space, says McGill by Michael French MICROSOFT has told MCV that its 360 marketing will get ‘louder and louder’ over the next month, culminating in a partnership with MySpace and Channel 4 to host a special prime-time music show airing on TV at Christmas. Xbox Presents Campfire Sessions will be supported by the social networking site and 4 Music, and is to be filmed in mid-December featuring a selection of 2008’s headline music acts. A competition will offer a select number of Xbox owners the chance to attend the filming, with the final show getting a Channel 4 airing on December 28th at 10pm. The partnership is just one part of Microsoft’s ongoing bid to crank up the message that

the Xbox 360 is a music and movies devices as well as a games one, and is an extension of Microsoft’s widereaching ‘Live Your Moment’ TV campaign.

X ON FIRE: Microsoft’s head of gaming Stephen McGill says the Campfire Sessions show will prove Xbox’s place in the wider entertainment world

as Gears of War 2 and Fable II – but also changing people’s perceptions, and proving that Xbox 360 makes a great present for friends or for family.”

We’re proving that we still have games for gamers, and also proving that Xbox 360 is great for friends and family. Stephen McGill, Microsoft

“With the New Xbox Experience we’re not only creating a more intuitive experience with a very rich set of features for core gamers, but also drawing in lots of options when it comes to movies and music,” Microsoft’s head of gaming and entertainment Stephen McGill told MCV. “We’re proving that we still have games for gamers, such

The partnership is also a key example of how important TV ads have become to the games industry, he added: “TV has become really significant for us. People are staying in more rather than going out given the current climate, which makes TV and radio a great medium to reach people.” www.myspace.com /xboxcampfire

Tesco Grabs Cartoon Network PC games SUPER BUDGET publisher GrabIt has launched its second wave of exclusive Tesco games based on hugely popular Cartoon Network properties. Released under the names Candy Capers, Power Pack, Toon Tastic and Fun Factory, each pack features 19 games plus six bonus cartoons, and includes leading franchises such as Ben 10, The Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Dexter and Johnny Bravo. Each set is priced at £9.71, and GrabIt MD Steve Tranter feels that these entertainment packs can help breathe new life into the PC sector. “With 19 games and almost two hours of cartoon bonus material, this is a fantastic value proposition for the purchaser and

a good return on investment for the retailer,” he enthused. “With 25 pieces of content in each pack, it works out as about 40 pence per game or cartoon.” GRABIT: The publishers second wave of Tesco-exclusive titles release next year

“We believe that the PC retail space is under severe pressure and it is only through innovations such as this that we can help stimulate PC sales and obtain increased space in stores. “Tesco are the perfect retailer for us as they are receptive to

innovative concepts and can see the value in bespoke product development. “And Cartoon Network has been an amazing partner, especially in the provision of bonus cartoons – which undoubtedly has helped in securing retail space by making this a true entertainment pack while also strengthening the value proposition.” The Tesco range marks the first of many new Entertainment Packs that will be rolled out in the New Year. GrabIt, which currently enjoys a partnership with publisher Ubisoft, has indicated that it is in discussions with other publishers and retailers regarding future collaborations and initiatives. Grabit: 01495 292 288

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NEWS

TRADE BULLETIN

Activision guns for Christmas dominance Publisher aims for Xmas top spot – as it takes 38 per cent of market in monster week by Tim Ingham THIRTY-EIGHT PER CENT of all cash handed over for games in the UK last week was for Activision Blizzard titles – and now the firm is going all out for Christmas number one. The publisher smashed records by taking the top two spots in the GFK-ChartTrack All Formats Top 40 in week 46, with Call Of Duty: World At War and World Of Warcraft: Wrath Of The Lich King. The firm’s Guitar Hero: World Tour also had a standout week too, jumping from No. 17 to No. 6, while COD performed admirably this week, topping the Chart again. “We’ve put high expectations on Call Of Duty, and thankfully it’s exceeded those,” Brown told MCV. “We calculate that we took 38 per cent of all revenues in the most competitive week of the year, which is amazing for us.

OUT 23rd JANUARY 2009 Wii and Nintendo DS

Venture into the wild world of animals like never before. Embrace all the adventure, fun, and mischief that await you in the vast forest. Make your wild animals happy and maintain a forest that lets them flourish as you venture further into the forest than you’ve ever been before! Engage wild animals, experience life in the forest, and let your creativity run wild in SimAnimals™.

CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE? Activision Blizzard has its sights on the Xmas charts

“We were number one last year with Modern Warfare and we’d been truly delighted to be there this year. We’ve seen COD4 stay in the charts for a year – and that’s now the objective for World At War.”

Call of Duty 4 was in the charts for a year – and that’s now the objective for World at War. Andrew Brown, Activision Blizzard

GFK ChartTrack told MCV that an “almost unheard of” 101 games were released in

the week – making the market share even more impressive. Activision: 020 3060 1000

Ben Walker heads up new Sega trio ATARI MARKETEER Ben Walker has joined Sega alongside two other new recruits for the firm. Walker joins the UK marketing team at Sega Europe as senior product manager. He leaves Atari after 13 years at the company. Most recently, Walker launched Family Trainer on Wii. He will now report to Sara Grover, Sega’s UK marketing director. At the publisher, he will be working on titles developed by Platinum Games, including MadWorld and Bayonetta as well as the recently announced The Conduit from High Voltage.

SEGA’S NEW LINE-UP: New recruits Ben Walker (left), Jamie Nason (centre) and Kate Billingham (right) join the publisher’s European and UK branches

Elsewhere, Jamie Nason has joined the UK Sales team at Sega as senior national account manager, reporting into sales director John Clark. He previously worked at Ubisoft for seven years, specialising in

the grocery sector – and will now manage Sega’s Tesco, BlockBuster and Toys R Us retail accounts. Kate Billingham has also joined the Sega UK team as junior marketing and PR

executive. A former Ubisoft ‘Frag Doll’, she will report directly to Stefan McGarry, with a strong focus on online community and forum building.

OUT 20th FEBRUARY 2009 PC-DVD

The Sims 3 allows you to immerse your unique Sims in an open living neighbourhood right outside their door. Sims can go beyond the boundaries of their home lot, and immerse themselves in an open environment, interacting with other Sims using the new deeper personality system.

COMING 2009 PS3 and Xbox 360

It’s been 5 long years since your “mysterious” disappearance from the skate scene, and in your absence things most definitely have changed. A megacorporation has changed the face of city - now it’s up to you to fight back and help re-build the skate scene in New San Vanelona.

Sega: 020 8995 3399

ea.com

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NEWS

Fresh blood sign up with Intent Media MCV, Develop and CasualGaming.biz boosted with new recruits INTENT MEDIA has grown its team of trade journalists further with the hiring of Will Freeman and James Batchelor. Former InStock features writer Freeman joins the publisher of MCV as staff writer for sister magazine Develop, plus websites MCVUK.com, Developmag.com and CasualGaming.biz. He has previously written for Videogamer.com, IGN, The Daily Sport and Viz. He’s also a regular contributor to The Observer, providing games reviews every week. Batchelor, former staff writer on InStock, will become staff writer on MCV. Both start working with Intent Media on December 1st.

SIGNED UP: Former InStock writers Will Freeman (left) and James Batchelor (right) will support MCV, Develop and CasualGaming.biz

“Will and James join us at an exciting time for the Intent Media games team,” commented MCV, Develop and CasualGaming.biz editorin-chief Michael French. “We continue to lead the market with unrivaled

Centresoft and PDQ go green

GREEN FINGERS: PDQ’s Andrew Waterhouse (left) picks up the ISO 14001 certificate from CCAS MD Tony Brachmanski

Distributor Centresoft and sister company PDQ were rewarded last week for its efforts to protect the environment. The two firms received an ISO 14001, which is granted to companies who use environmentally friendly processes and systems. “We were finding that more of our clients were

expecting their service providers to act in an environmentally friendly way,” commented PDQ MD Andrew Waterhouse. “It’s a great sign that the industry is not just about selling games at all costs but cares about the impact to the environment as well.” CentreSoft: 0121 625 3388

coverage of the UK video games industry across our three brands. Having Will Freeman and James Batchelor on board will further strengthen that position amongst the UK’s trade community.”

Pinpoint unveils new Starpex guitar range WITH BOTH Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band performing rock miracles at retail, accessory specialist Pinpoint has launched the new Strapex guitar controller for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2. The controller is compatible with all the Guitar Hero and Rock Band titles, with 360 and Wii editions set to launch in the near future. “With the continued success of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band series, it’s a great time to launch this

product into an unfulfilled area of the market,” said Pinpoint product manager Tom Armstrong. “Initially, we have selected a limited number of retailer partners to launch the product due to the exclusive and desirable nature of the item. We will be extending the range steadily with new colours and Wii and 360 versions.” The device is a full sized wood model, with wireless capabilites, and has an SRP of £149.99. Pinpoint: 01606 558 428

New community site GameBosh hits web INTERACTIVE TELECOM, the firm behind Cheats Unlimited and Mobile Games Unlimited is forging ahead in its growth strategy with the creation of new community website GameBosh.com. Promising an avant-garde look at the world of gaming, the site is compiled by experts with over 10 years of experience writing about video games. GameBosh.com will include news, reviews and features, with a focus on community. The site coincides with a change in site owner Interactive Telecom, which has just been renamed as ICE (Interactive Community Entertainment) Games Limited, reflecting the change in the nature of the business from telecoms to online.

HALTON: ‘We’ve got more community sites coming soon’

“As part of the company’s aggressive growth policy, GameBosh.com will build upon the community grown from Interactive Telecom’s Cheats Unlimited and Mobile Games Unlimited websites,” ICE Games director Michael Halton told MCV. “By linking

all three sites through their content, the community is sure to expand further as we head into 2009. “What helps make it unique is the fact that it is linked to our other websites and communities, and we are looking to put a human slant on gaming with the avantgarde nature of the new website. “This is a major extension for us and it’s part of our growth strategy and we’re performing really well at the moment with some tremendous growth in all areas of our business. “We’re not stopping here either. We’ve got more websites planned within the community – watch this space,” Halton added. www.GameBosh.com

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NEWS

Sonic marketing boom set to boost Sega’s Christmas Sega unleashes huge seven-week advertising blitz in support of latest Sonic adventure by Jonathon Harker SEGA has revealed details of a lengthy seven-week marketing campaign to launch its multiplatform adventure Sonic Unleashed. With the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS2 versions on sale today (28/11), and the PS3 version to follow in December, Sega hopes Unleashed will follow in the footsteps of the chart-topping Mario and Sonic at the Olympics Games – which will also be marketed heavily in the run up to Christmas. Sonic Unleashed will be supported at retail with eye-catching POS and instore advertising, and will also receive coverage in print with a three-month campaign hitting lifestyle and specialist press. Online, Sega will be targeting specialist and children’s websites, while Sonic Unleashed will also be

promoted in a huge terrestrial and satellite TV campaign, appearing around highly rated shows like The X Factor, Hollyoaks, Heroes and The Simpsons and on channels ITV1, Channel 4, Jetix, MTV, E4, Fiver and Nickelodeon. The title will also have a presence in an outdoor ad campaign in over 20 of the

largest UK shopping centres and on cinema screens. “We are supporting the latest Sonic release with a

[IN BRIEF] ASCARON: The publisher will be getting its teeth into PC retail with A Vampyre Story, releasing this Q4. UBISOFT: A collector’s edition of forthcoming Prince of Persia will be exclusively available from Play.com, the publisher has revealed. ACTIVISION: The publisher’s massively successful Call of Duty: World at War is now available to gamers on digital download via Steam. Can it repeat its retail success digitally?

fantastic seven-week marketing campaign from launch, encompassing all key media channels focusing on family, kids and gifting audiences for the Christmas purchasing season,” explained Sega UK’s senior product manager Joanne Fawell. “Alongside this we have an integrated in-store campaign to drive home the

message that Sonic Unleashed is a must have gift purchase this Christmas. “The introduction of the Werehog gives a new facet to the Sonic franchise. The combat and puzzle elements combined with the super sonic speed provide a fantastic combination of gameplay,” Fawell added. Sega: 020 8995 3399

US distributor targets UK AMERICAN PERIPHERALS distributor dreamGEAR is sizing up the UK and is set to bring a new line of products to European shores. DreamGEAR, recognised as one of the top 300 fastest growing US firms by Entrepreneur Magazine, provides video game and MP3 accessories. The firm already holds strong relationships with major US retailers, including GameStop, Amazon and Wal Mart, and with the brand firmly established in the States, dreamGEAR is ready to enter the UK and European market. “Games, iPod and MP3 continue to experience sharp growth trends in the US and

Sponsored by

Having established the dreamGEAR and i.Sound brands in the US, we’re poised to the same in the UK. Richard Weston, dreamGEAR

worldwide,” dreamGEAR chief operating officer Richard Weston told MCV. “Having established the dreamGEAR and i.Sound brands in every major retailer in the US, we are poised to do the same in the UK and EU. “dreamGEAR brings together over 50 years of experience in the consumer electronics, entertainment and software industries. dreamGEAR has great relationships with major US retailers and distributors, with high quality products and competitive pricing combined with innovative designs.” dreamGEAR: +1 310 222 5522

LUCASARTS: Star Was: The Force Unleashed now has a costume pack available for download, which the publisher hopes will boost the title with further sales. ELSPA: The trade body has, with the assistance of the Wolverhampton Trading Standards, brought another serial video games pirate to justice. The Dudley man racked up £1 million which he spent on, among other things, breast enlargements for his girlfriend, and has landed a three-year jail term for his misdemeanours. ROCKSTAR: Ending months of internet speculation, Rockstar has finally confirmed that its first episode of downloadable content for GTA IV will be available next year, on February 17th.

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K E E W E H T F O CAMPAIGN

EAMS R D Y T I C G I :B HELLO KITTY

The Japanese phenomenon Hello Kitty makes her way to DS this week, and publisher Empire has a suitably heavyweight marketing campaign running in support…

ONLINE: A big part of the Hello Kitty campaign takes place online, with a dedicated website and banners on girls lifestyle portals. Hello Kitty fansites and blogs are also being targted with game news and new imagery.

NINTENDO CHANNEL: Hello Kitty: Big City Dreams will feature on the Nintendo website and the Nintendo Channel, complete with dedicated areas filled with trailers and images.

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 28 FORMAT: DS PUBLISHER: EMPIRE PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9590

LOVE FILM: Empire has partnered with LoveFilm in a Direct Mail campaign. The campaign will feature ‘bright and fun’ inserts in envelopes, that will direct consumers to the Hello Kitty game website. The campaign wll target children’s, family and teen movies and will run during the busy December period. Empire is also running banners across the LoveFilm website.

campaign, with Hello Kitty featuring on the front cover, in a full double page spread and the character is also sponsoring the competition section. Girl Gamer is inserted into Mizz, Bliss and online with Official Nintendo. Hello Kitty: Big City Dreams will also feature as a poster in NG Kids. Empire is also targeting other girls publications with preand post-release advertorial and competitions.

PRINT: Empire has targeted Future’s Girl Gamer for its print

TELEVISON: After Christmas, advertising will run across major children’s TV channels.

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MCV 28/11/08 13

MCV INTERVIEW: DAVID GOSEN & CHRIS LEWIS, VP INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS & VP OF STRATEGIC MARKETING, INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT DIVISION, EMEA, MICROSOFT

The X Men After Xbox 360 surged past seven million sales in Europe and hosted the launch of Live’s New Xbox Experience, Microsoft’s EMEA entertainment bosses have good reason to smile. But this headline-grabbing success certainly doesn’t mean they’re resting on their laurels, as they explain to Tim Ingham…

ALL SMILES: David Gosen (left) and Chris Lewis (right) believe Xbox 360’s post-price cut success will last well into the New Year

What has been the key to your DG: When I was brought on board recent success in Europe? eight months ago, it was really clear CL: EMEA remains our most critical what our challenge was. The worldwide geography to achieve the performance in that time – certainly the global success we want. We’ve made last six weeks – has shown people the heavy investments in terms of people true capability of what Xbox can do in and marketing in the region. We’ve put the region. And not only do in one a lot more weight behind our media – country, but in a number of countries. our fingerprints are far more Our past marketing has been noticeable and impactful. We’re a little sporadic. That’s not at a price point tolerable. We can’t afford to that is uniquely go quiet after Christmas. placed – not least Chris Lewis, Microsoft of which because we’re in somewhat of a challenging economic time. Ever since we dropped We’re in a position now where we’ve the price seven weeks ago, we’ve sold over seven million consoles in outstripped PS3 on a weekly run rate in EMEA, which puts us in a fantastic all the territories we care about in place versus PlayStation 3. It provides a EMEA – specifically the UK, France, platform for us going forward to Germany, Spain and Russia. continue to invest.

How much cash have you spent on Q4 marketing? DG: More than we’ve ever invested before – almost to the degree that we would launch a new console. We’re talking many of hundreds of millions of dollars across the region, to get the brands out there. From a strategic standpoint, we’ve broadened. We’ve not forgotten about the core, with the likes of Gears II and Fable II, but we’ve become incredibly relevant and salient with the family, female marketplace. Then there’s Live, which has generated over a million dollars – and that’s before we make it more fun, social and broader with NXE this month. It’s the combination of elements that put us in a fantastically strong position. We have 360 degrees of entertainment.

We’ve got real momentum. We’ve got real traction in all European markets, we’re beating PS3 with a significant margin and will continue to invest to ensure that continues. When you look at what we’ve got coming, just in the next three or four weeks, that gives us the confidence that this will be the best ever Christmas in the history of Xbox. CL: We’ve already surpassed the installed base of the original Xbox – a significant milestone. Online was always at the core of our business, but even we’ve been blown away by the appetite of people to consumer digital entertainment experiences. What would you say to retailers who might be concerned your recent success will be short-lived? CL: One of the things we will admit is that our marketing in the past has been

14 MCV 28/11/08

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MCV INTERVIEW: DAVID GOSEN & CHRIS LEWIS, VP INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS & VP OF STRATEGIC MARKETING, INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT DIVISION, EMEA MICROSOFT

a little sporadic. It’s been good, but there’s been peaks and troughs. It’s been lighthouse marketing: We’ve dazzled folks at the holiday or when big games get released and then we go a little bit dark. That’s not a tolerable situation for us, nor a sustainable one in line with our ambition. Retailers want good, meaningful, sustainable coverage from Microsoft. They want early information, partnerships and joint promotional activity. All of those things will continue, but we can’t afford to go quiet after Christmas and come over all selfcongratulatory. It’s also about consistency and reliability of supply. We haven’t always been top notch on that in previous years – partly because we’ve seen demand that’s outstripped our own expectations. But this year we’ve made a very clear statement to ourselves to ensure there will be plentiful supply across our SKU line-up. This Christmas is a critical one, but we’re not just in it for Q4 2008. Our ambition is right through this generation and beyond. DG: We’ve been very aggressive on price – and given the current economic climate that creates the perfect storm. On Arcade, we’re half the price of PS3, and we’re cheaper than Wii. It’s an opportunity for people who have never owned a console before to come in and enjoy a more enjoyable gaming experience than that would with a very basic entry level console like a Wii. We know from our research that people buy a Wii, play it once and then put it under stairs – whereas people that buy an Xbox 360 play it consistently. When people are looking for value for money, we’re heads and shoulders above the rest. The UK is obviously going well, but how are you doing across Europe? CL: In Italy, we were double PS3’s sales last week. In France and Germany we are at or better than PS3 consistently now. We dominate in Russia and the Nordic countries. And in Spain – a traditional Sony stronghold – we’re now outselling PS3. It bodes incredibly well for our Christmas prospects.

DG: Spain is real a swing state. People are voting with their Euros and Pesetas to say which is the console of choice between us and PS3. But we’re just at the beginning. We have real system sellers: Gears 2, Fable II and many more. The other two platforms don’t have that. We’re going to reinforce that with Lips, with You’re In The Movies and the brilliant third-party products on a system that it’s proven to be easier to develop for than the others.

“ LIKE ME, LIKE YOU: The New Xbox Experience offers gamers the chance to create detailed avatars – as demonstrated by the platform’s representation of Gosen (above) and Lewis (below)

Your logo seems to be shown after every other game advertised on TV at the moment. How much assistance are you giving third parties – and are you trying to achieve a brand association with the likes of Far Cry and Tomb Raider in the same way you did with GTA? CL: It’s great people are seeing it that way. We’ve planned very deliberately to partner even more deeply with those organisations. We understand the

We want people saying: ‘Bloody hell – you’re everywhere. We can’t turn on the TV without seeing Xbox.’ David Gosen, Microsoft

criticality of those genres of experience to the platform. We were not synonymous with GTA. But we got behind it, invested with that partner and really got fixated around clear message – and our performance versus PS3 is a good example of the success we can have by doing that. And you’re going to see us develop that content, whether it be exclusives or cross-platform.

What do you make of the sheer amount of marketing the whole games industry is producing – at a time when other trades are cutting back on spending? DG: If you look at the High Street, the shining beacons are retailers that sell games. People will always advertise what’s selling – and what’s hot with the consumer. That’s especially true of retailers. We’re also at a stage where we have three home consoles that are performing – some better than others, as we know – but they’re all being heavily invested in. Publishers are seeing games work on three platforms, so they can spend more money on pushing them. Speaking for us, we are investing in a way we haven’t done for some time: to drive brand awareness. We want people to say: “Bloody hell, you’re everywhere. We can’t turn on the radio, TV, can’t go to the cinema or open the newspaper without seeing Xbox.”

DG: We’re investing to win in Europe. We don’t want to be a one-trick pony. Look at Nintendo’s success and it’s great – but the publishers aren’t sharing in that. We understand the eco-system. We understand how that needs to be built – and that partnering with third parties is really important. We’ve worked unbelievably hard to partner with key publishers to get some real weight behind those titles. It’s about credibility. It’s all part of building a deep, ongoing relationship with these guys.

CL: We try and hire marketers from broader industry bases now. We’ve got one from Ferrero Rocher, one from L’Oreal and more that can complement the expansion of the business. The industry has generally has come more into the light in that regard as people’s appetite for digital entertainment becomes greater.

Is it true that you are matching publishers’ marketing spend if they promote their game with Xbox branding? DG: That’s confidential, but we will invest with partners where we see a real mutual benefit. If there’s an opportunity, we’ll evaluate it. And if it makes sense, we’ll find a way to do it.

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16 MCV 28/11/08

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MCV INTERVIEW PAUL SAMS, COO, BLIZZARD

The WoW factor Last week World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King broke sales records to become the fastest selling PC title in the UK. MCV spoke to Blizzard COO Paul Sams about World of Warcraft, Activision and the UK trade. Jonathon Harker asks the questions… How happy are you with the reaction to Wrath of the Lich King? We’re incredibly proud. The development team honestly believes it is the best content they’ve delivered for a while, and they’re really excited to see the players get their hands on it. Do you think MMOs are intimidating for the casual gamer? Some MMOs can be, however we have developed a mentality of making our games easy to learn and hard to master, so the uninitiated can get into the game. We think World of Warcraft is accessible for new players that might be considered casual, but it ramps up quickly to serve the needs of the hardcore.

The merger has been very positive, with benefits for the whole company. We’ve been able to focus on what is most important to our success, which is making the best games in the world. Has the Activision merger changed Blizzard’s outlook? Our aim has always been to create the

As an example, when we launched The Burning Crusade around the world we had around five and six thousand midnight openings. Under the new regime, we’re nearer 15,000 openings – that’s one of quite a long list of things that a combined sales organisation can pull off. We’re confident Activision can boost our retail business.

Is the plan to continue to release expansion packs for Warcraft? We’re very committed to World of Warcraft, and we’ll concentrate on providing ongoing content between expansions, so you can count on there being further expansions for World of Warcraft. There’s a passionate group of players that play the game and we’re going to continue to support them for as long as they want to keep playing. Is the next World of Warcraft expansion planned already? Well we don’t have anything to share on that but the development team is always looking far into the future. They don’t know all the specifics but have the general framework in place for the next expansion. It has long legs and it’s going to be around for a long time. Is it a relief that the Activision merger is finally in place? The good news is that the merger was not super-impactful on our day-to-day business at Blizzard. A number of us were involved in integration, but the vast majority of the Blizzard headcount wasn’t impacted.

Activision has the best sales team in the industry, so I think the merger will give us more strength at retail. Paul Sams, Blizzard

best games possible. I think the addition of Activision and the combination with Blizzard has provided us with certain benefits that maybe customers won’t see so much. For example, I think we’ll have more strength at retail. I think Activision has the strongest sales and marketing team in the industry, and that was one of the key things that was really attractive from our perspective.

Are there any plans to increase the operation in the UK? I think there are pros and cons to having more local offices. When you have a dispersed infrastructure sometimes it’s difficult to make sure you are communicating correctly. What we’ve done is build a central organisation in Europe with the headquarters in France.

One of the changes we did make as a result of the merger is that we now have dedicated Blizzard employees in each of the regions. We have a number of Blizzard people in the UK that work in the Activision offices but report to us and are carrying Blizzard business cards – and that’s just happened over the last couple of months. That’s not to say we didn’t have people focused on Blizzard in the past but they weren’t reporting directly to us. It’s very beneficial and they’ll be able to be more engaged and immersed in the Blizzard culture and thought process and they’ll be able to convey that better. Is that purely because the Activision deal has made that possible? I think it’s a combination of things – we’ve aspired to have UK specific people for a long time, but the organisational structure in the past didn’t support that as much. In the new world order, so to speak, there is an absolute desire on the part of Activision and Blizzard to make sure we’ve got the necessary resources on hand for the Blizzard brand. So there’s been a tremendous amount of support from Activision. We’re pretty excited about it and are fortunate to have a spectacular team that has joined Blizzard in the UK and I think that we’re going to be able to perform even better as they are part of the Blizzard family directly. Blizzard has gone on record in the past saying that it would work on a console game. Is that any closer to happening? We’re open to it, but it’s really all about the game. I think a lot of publishers sit down and say there’s this game they want to make and they want to spread it across multiple platforms because that

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MCV 28/11/08 17

THE WOW KING: Paul Sams and Blizzard are reaping the benefits of the Activision and Blizzard merger, which includes an increased presence in the UK and at retail

is going to maximise its chance of success – Blizzard does not look at things that way. We say ‘what is the platform that’s most appropriate for the content and the type of game that we’re making?’ And ‘what will be the best user interface for the type of game?’ Sometimes I think that doesn’t bode well for us being on consoles because a lot of the time the games we make are best on PC. But what I would say is that in the event that we have a game that we felt would make sense for console in addition to PC then we’ll absolutely consider that. We don’t have an aversion to consoles. It’s all about the game. That’s how we think about it.

You’re initially distributing Lich King exclusively through retail, is it hard to strike the online and retail balance?

there’s nothing quite like being able to go into your local shop and see huge displays – it helps generate

The relationship we have with retail is exceptionally important. It helps generate excitement and enthusiasm. Paul Sams, Blizzard

Well yes and no. The relationship we have with retail globally is exceptionally important as they are helpful in building word of mouth and buzz for a product –

excitement, enthusiasm and lets people know it is coming. A tremendous amount of our sales are still generated through retail, so it is imperative to us.

People talk about a switch to digital and we can do that, but retail is a strong partner for us and will continue to be for a long time. Finally, What are Blizzard’s aims for the next year? The continual focus for us is to not take our eye off the ball for World of Warcraft. Right now it’s the big game we’re supporting. We are also focusing on making strong progress on Starcraft II and Diablo III, not to mention our as yet unannounced MMO. It’s challenging – we’ve got a variety of balls in the air right now, and it’s to make sure we give enough focus to each area. That’s always our challenge.

18 MCV 28/11/08

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RETAIL ANALYSIS

Best of a bad crunch Some publicly-listed games publishers may be suffering as part of the current economic downturn, but at shopfloor level games retail is booming. TNS’ Chris Barnes looks at how consumer spending has broken convention in 2008 when it comes to video games spending... THE CREDIT CRUNCH has already taken its toll on many sectors. From the automotive industry to manufacturing and retailing, the companies that were once the cornerstones of the British economy are suffering some of the country’s biggest losses. It seems that no one is immune to the global meltdown, which has already seen a dramatic drop in consumer spending. Yet one of the few sectors that is bucking this trend is the computer gaming market, which has seen an 18 per cent growth in volume sales over the last year, despite consumers reigning in their overall spending on their home entertainment products such as music and DVDs. THE GAMING EXPLOSION TNS research has shown that music sales have fallen by 10 per cent in the last year, with female buyers cutting down on purchases by a substantial 16 per cent. Similarly, DVD sales recorded only six per cent growth in the same period. Male buyers were the main drivers behind this slight rise, buying nine per cent more than they did last year. However, this lacklustre performance in the home entertainment market has not affected the gaming industry. In fact, the number of computer games sold increased by almost a fifth in the last year. Female buyers have contributed the most to this rise, buying 21 per cent more games than they did in 2007. This growth can be largely attributed to the new consoles that have taken the market by storm and which have

COMPUTER GAMES VALUE GROWTH During the 52 weeks leading to October 2008, the video games sector saw year-onyear growth of...

30% 47% ...of that growth came from female consumers.

The lacklustre performance of the home entertainment market has not affected the gaming industry. Chris Barnes, TNS

introduced a new breed of audience to the sector. The DS and the Wii have brought a demographic into the market that is not normally associated with gaming. Women make up the most significant part of this new segment, but gaming manufacturers have also started

The demographic breakdown of this market growth, according to TNS:

to target older consumers with brain training games that are starting to substitute more traditional pastimes such as reading a book or watching TV. But it is not only the gamers that have changed – the way people play has also turned the industry on its head.

The birth of casual gaming has made gaming more widely acceptable and today, console and games publishers are falling over themselves to produce products that don’t target the traditional gamer. Wii Fit and Guitar Hero have proven to be a massive success and this Christmas, a raft of further titles targeted at the casual gamer have been launched, including Guitar Hero: World Tour and PlayStation’s LittleBigPlanet. This year, we expect Christmas sales of computer games to follow the trend, taking seasonal sales to a new height. The increased press coverage and awareness about gaming has eliminated some of the guesswork traditionally associated with buying games as gifts,

and even people that aren’t gamers themselves now feel confident when purchasing them. However, it is interesting to see that the overall rise in volume sales is being driven by certain regions in the UK while others – often unexpectedly – are experiencing a drop in sales akin to that of music and DVDs. Looking across the UK, London has historically recorded the highest sales volumes in the country. However, the last year has seen it knocked into second place by the Midlands, which now accounts for 16.2 per cent of the UK’s gaming market – compared to London’s 15.7 per cent. The South, East Anglia and Wales have experienced the most significant growth in volume sales, with the latter recording a 67 per cent increase over last year and the other two not far behind at around 40 per cent. But in actual market share they are still lagging far behind London and the Midlands. PC DOWNTURN As Britain enters a recession, the gaming market finds itself in an enviable position. Not only are sales among ‘traditional’ gamers growing, but the customer base is widening too. Women, families and older generations are all jumping on board – seemingly at the expense of other home entertainment products such as DVDs and music – and the market is responding by giving them an ever increasing choice of games. But it’s not all good news: sales in PC games are starting to decline as consoles become more powerful and popular, and consoles manufacturers such as Nintendo are upping the stakes with celebrity-backed advertising and heavy promotions. Whether PC gaming manufacturers fight back is yet to be seen, but with several new products in the pipeline, the boom is showing no signs of slowing down. Chris Barnes is account manager at TNS Worldpanel Entertainment a leading provider of syndicated continuous research solutions covering FMCG

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20 MCV 28/11/08

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GMA WINNERS: SIMON MILLER

ONE TO WATCH: GMA Rising Star Simon Miller would like to see more community involvement in the games media

The Miller’s Tale Winner of the coveted Rising Star trophy at last month’s Games Media Awards was X360’s deputy editor Simon Miller. Christopher Dring speaks to the latest talent on the games media map... Were your surprised by your win? Most definitely. I was just flattered to be nominated in the first place so to actually win was quite a shock, especially due to who I was up against. Again, thank you to everyone who did vote. It really meant a lot.

constant advice and encouraging me to think outside the box when necessary. I also get motivated by my profession and the process of making magazines, which allows me to be creative and imaginative on a daily basis. That and Triple H…

What do you feel was behind your success this year? A mixture of good old-fashioned hard work, my passion for the job and games in general. Before I got into the industry I always wondered if being directly involved with one of my biggest hobbies would sap away some of the fun, but the complete opposite has happened. I enjoy it now more than ever and every day I look forward to coming into work and doing the best job possible.

What has been the highlight of your early career? Moving to X360 and becoming deputy editor is definitely a highlight. The opportunities and new challenges that opened up after the change have been incredibly beneficial and helped my career no end. Without wanting to sound predictable, winning the GMA was also a high point as I felt it was a real honour.

What have been your biggest influences so far? Imagine as a whole has been hugely influential since I started, offering

How did you get into games journalism? After studying English at university I decided I’d try and get involved with it and was offered a position with Sony

Without wanting to sound predictable, winning the Rising Star award was a big high point of my career as I felt it was a real honour. Simon Miller, X360

Computer Entertainment Europe as a junior copywriter. After gaining huge experience, I decided to make the switch into journalism (something I had hoped to do since my third year) and started bombarding people with letters and work samples. After seeing a vacancy on Imagine’s website I was invited for an interview and secured a job on n-Revolution. What would you like to see from the future of the games media? With the online space now being more important than ever it would be good to see a wider range of creativity and a few sites attempting to tie its content into magazines. Concentrating on the community and getting them involved as much as possible is also something I’d love to see happen more. It is easier today to reach a readership, and allowing that group to be further involved would offer numerous alternatives and original ideas.

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MCV 28/11/08 23

DISTRIBUTION FOCUS: OVERVIEW

BOXING CLEVER: The distribution business has faced some very specific challenges this year, including fluctuating fuels costs and what could be gaming’s biggest December yet

It’s been one of the biggest and busiest years ever in gaming, and distribution has played a crucial role in making it all happen. Jonathon Harker speaks to the major players...

Goods to go DISTRIBUTION is one of the least What has been the biggest story in praised sectors of the games trade. The distribution this year? firms are usually the first to bear the Terry Malham, Skream: In terms of brunt of supply issues like stock Skream’s business, we’ve changed shortages and allocations, but they are dramatically over the last 12 months. In rarely praised for their logistically 2007 we stopped taking on open challenging work in delivering product distribution deals and concentrated on to retailers up and down the country. primary distribution for the UK and But without them, the trade simply wouldn’t Despite the recent erratic function. nature of fuel costs, we are In this special issue, glad we have not had to pass MCV speaks to the rises on to our customers. biggest and best distribution firms in the Simon Lee, Gem business, from the giants to the new firms on the block, including Europe. We now provide a route to Koch Media, Gem, Centresoft, Trilogy market throughout Europe for game Logistics, Pinnacle Software, Keyne makers. Distribution, Interactive Ideas, Skream, Steve Walsh, Meroncourt: For us it Advantage, Entertainment Trading, has been a hugely successful launch of Meroncourt, Ideal Software, Creative the Sitecom Gaming Router and the Distribution, Teejay Distribution and Roccat Kone Gamers Mouse. Our move Games Without Frontiers. to new premises was extremely

beneficial too. PC Gaming products in general and PS3 and Wii peripherals sales have continued to grow – and we are already courting new clients for Q1. Fuel costs have been up and down over the last few months – has that had a significant impact on distribution costs? Craig McNicol, Koch: We have fixed rate contracts that have allowed us to continue to offer our customers freight charge free deliveries without minimum order values. Accordingly we are well placed to navigate through this. I am more concerned though in the freefall of the Pound against the US Dollar and Euro. With manufacturing costs getting much more expensive margins are being squeezed for all. Simon Lee, Gem: Despite the recent erratic nature of fuel costs, we are glad

we have not had to pass on any rises in cost to our customers. Matthew Allen, Trilogy: Fuel prices have been an issue, but it also forces you to look at the way you operate to ensure you get maximum box and vehicle fill. Peter Sleeman, Pinnacle: As part of the Pinnacle Entertainment group covering music, DVD, accessories and much more, we have long term contracts in place and therefore this has not impacted on us substantially. Michael Breeze, Interactive Ideas: Fuel costs are obviously a key cost to any distributor and so when delivery companies increase their costs to us, we need to past some of this onto our customers. But this has been seen across all distributors so doesn’t impact in the way it would if it was an isolated rise. Steve Walsh, Meroncourt: Fuel costs have not impacted as much as we

24 MCV 28/11/08

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DISTRIBUTION FOCUS: OVERVIEW originally thought they might do. The steep rise in the barrel cost of oil has impacted on forecourt prices, but the size of orders in the last quarter has offset against these increased costs and we have not raised our shipping prices in two years – although many distributors have had to do so over recent months. Phil Jones, Keyne: For UK sourced goods we have had no problems, as

whole market. Everyone in our industry knows what needs to be done and we’ve all been here before, so we can plan accordingly. Peter Sleeman, Pinnacle: As ever, not enough product and in particular this year not enough shelf space. Michael Breeze, Interactive Ideas: The months around Christmas are key to our performance and also for the companies we We are all enjoying halcyon represent days and accordingly the and supply. challenges of Christmas are It is vital all positive. that a distributor Craig McNicol, Koch Media plans correctly for this period, particularly for prices have remained relatively the stock requirements and resources unaffected. However, on our imports, needed to implement each product prices have been increased. release. Steve Walsh, Meroncourt: The What specific challenges does biggest fear is to run out of stock on the Christmas throw up for distributors? most popular lines, but with our Craig McNicol, Koch: Volume extremely competent logistics planning bottlenecks, customer credit limits and and analysis we consider this to be a fatigue. Solved only by planning, very low risk this year. Concerns will communication and the Christmas not necessarily be on sales around party. We are enjoying halcyon days and Christmas, but on when and how far these challenges are all positive – better trade could drop after the festive than selling mortgages in any case. hangover. The challenges I fear will not Simon Lee, Gem: Christmas is be Christmas, but more like February naturally the industry’s busiest time so and March 2009. maintaining a healthy level of stock for Phil Jones, Keyne: One of the main key products is always a challenge for challenges has to be keeping the cash any business. However we are confident flow going and making sure the stock we can satisfy tough customer demand comes in on time. That has not been thanks to our lean infrastructure and easy, due to the credit crunch, as money strong relationships with partners. has been tight for customers and Matthew Allen, Trilogy: Seasonality is suppliers, which can have a knock-on always going to be an issue for the effect on stock issues.

DISTRIBUTION FOCUS: OPINIONS

“Christmas challenges distributors with volume bottlenecks and customer credit limits. They’re solved only through planning and communication.” CRAIG MCNICOL, KOCH MEDIA

“Maintaining a healthy level of stock is a challenge at Christmas, but we’re confident we can satisfy customer demand thanks to our infrastructure.” SIMON LEE, GEM

“Fuel prices have been an issue, but it also forces you to look at the way you operate to ensure that you get maximum box and vehicle fill.” MATTHEW ALLEN, TRILOGY LOGISTICS

“As ever, Christmas throws up challenges for distributors - not enough product and in particular this year not enough shelf space.” PETER SLEEMAN, PINNACLE SOFTWARE

“The months around Christmas are key – it is vital that a distributor plans correctly for this period, particularly in terms of stock requirements.” MICHAEL BREEZE, INTERACTIVE IDEAS

“In terms of Skream, we’ve changed dramatically over the last year. We’ve stopped taking on open distribution deals, focusing on primary deals.” TERRY MALHAM, SKREAM LIMITED

“Concerns will not necessarily be on sales up to Christmas this year. The challenges I fear will be more like February and March 2009.” STEVE WALSH, MERONCOURT

“Money has been tight for customers and suppliers this year, which can have a knock-on effect on the stock issues this Christmas.” PHIL JONES, KEYNE DISTRIBUTION

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9am-6pm

9am-1pm

9am-6pm

9am-5.30

CLOSED

CLOSED

9am-5.30

9am-5.30

CLOSED

CLOSED

9am-5.30

Koch

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

9am-5.30

9am-1pm

CLOSED

9am-5.30

9am-5.30

9am-1pm

CLOSED

9am-5.30

Gem

9am-5.30pm

As Usual

9am-5.30

9am-5.30

CLOSED

CLOSED

CLOSED

CLOSED

CLOSED

CLOSED

9am-5.30

Trilogy

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

8.30am-1

CLOSED

As Usual

As Usual

8.30am-1

CLOSED

CLOSED

Pinnacle

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

CLOSED

CLOSED

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

CLOSED

As Usual

Meroncourt

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

Until 1pm

CLOSED

10am-4

10am-4

10am -4

CLOSED

As Usual

Interactive Ideas

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

CLOSED

As Usual

As Usual

As Usual

CLOSED

As Usual

Ideal Software

TBC

Wii Maracas – Twin Pack

Gioteck Stagelight for Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2

Xbox 360 Dual Charge Station

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

www.antigrav-media.co.uk

WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 28/11/08 27

DISTRIBUTION FOCUS: PROFILES

[CONTACT] Tel: 0870 027 0985 www.kochmedia.co.uk

By adding new services and ramping up its games publishing presence, Koch Media clearly hasn’t been resting on its laurels. Jonathon Harker speaks to UK Managing Director Craig McNicol to find out more… AS REGULAR readers of MCV will already know, Koch Media has been making waves across the games business by claiming an increasingly large stake in the games publishing arena. But distribution is still very much a core part of the company’s business, and as Nintendo’s preferred UK distie, times are good – and incredibly busy – for the firm. Koch offers sales, marketing, press and PR to its customers, as well as classic logistical distribution services of course. The UK branch, located in leafy Hampshire, has been in operation since

“My experience then tells me what I know now: be careful – very very careful. Casual gaming is a professional pursuit led by quality games and quality publishers, pioneered by Nintendo. Let’s not let every bedroom programmer get a chance to get on the shelf or we will all suffer the terminal decay.” Looking across the whole of the trade, it’s been a great year for gaming, but what has Koch found to be one of the successes of the year? Says McNicol: “Our TV-branded products have steered away from the myriad of girl-orientated product, and as such

Koch Media is a distributor that truly understands product, demand creation and lifecycle management. Craig McNicol, Koch Media

the German firm first started up back in the mid-1990s. And it seems that Koch Media’s UK managing director Craig McNicol feels the industry is not so far away from those early days. “The market has clearly been transformed over the past few months; in my opinion

back in time,” he says. ‘It feels like 1995 again where PC multimedia was the buzzword. Maps on CD, Language learning on CD, music tutors on CD, big companies entering the market that had never thought of interactive before.

have benefited from clear positioning and customer targeting. After launching Deal or No Deal last Christmas we took the toy industry model of resting the brand for 12 months and then coming back with a bang a year later and still at full price.” In the competitive distribution sector, what services does McNicol feel Koch offers that go above and beyond its rivals in the distribution space? “Marketing and PR services,” McNicol tells MCV. “Koch Media is a distributor that truly understands product, demand creation and lifecycle management.” McNicol believes that the trade should expect more “product acquisition and development relevant to the market” from the firm, and adds that a successful future needs an understanding of the games trade to drive it: “I want to use my 1995 experience to the benefit of us and our publisher and retail partners. Lets drive the market forward – not dilute it.”

KOCH MEDIA’S MOGUL: McNicol says the distributor differs from its competitors thanks to its PR and marketing services

28 MCV 28/11/08

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DISTRIBUTION FOCUS: PROFILES

GEM: The distie’s directors include (left to right) Darren Houghton, MD Chris Peacock, Simon Lee and Dean Van Velsen

A year after launching its ‘one integrated solution’ and acquiring French distie Banque Magnetique, Gem commercial and marketing director Simon Lee tells Jonathon Harker what’s next for the firm…

ONE OF THE OLDEST disties in the business, Gem was formed when the industry was in its infancy, back in 1984. Gem has grown alongside the games trade and the services it offers to customers has evolved with it too, most notably with its ‘one integrated solution’ philosophy that it unveiled late last year. “Our ‘one integrated solution’ ethos allows our business to evolve to suit the growing requirements of our retail customers and supply partners,” Gem’s commercial and marketing director Simon Lee tells MCV. “Our Gem Logistics and Gem Creative divisions were created in response to the growing needs of our partners. “The extensive range of services offered add value to the channel, something that we feel is unique to the software and hardware channel.” The firm is well known for its close relationship with Microsoft, and played a key role in the launch of both the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 as sole distributor. Gem also enjoys close relationships with Rockstar,

[CONTACT] Tel: 01279 822 822 www.gem.co.uk

Codemasters, NCsoft and a host of other top-drawer games publishers, alongside peripheral firms and vendors outside the world of games. Notably Gem also acquired peripheral specialist firm Exspect two years ago, further diversifying the firms business, and its offering to customers.

Brands closer to the gaming industry have also performed well for the distribution firm, as Lee explains: “The continued success of Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii has helped grow the leisure market in the UK significantly. As a result our own-brand Exspect products have also seen very positive

Our ‘one integrated solution’ ethos allows our business to evolve to suit the growing requirements of customers.

“Fortunately, our industry has enjoyed a steady growth in sales despite the recent economic downturn,” Lee states. Gem has shared in that success right across the different markets it serves: “The Flip Video Ultra product has been very successful in the UK, essentially creating a new category in the market for an affordable, every day use video camera.”

Simon Lee, Gem

growth – especially in the console accessory market.” And with all that extra product going out through Gem’s doors, the distributor has made plans to increase space at its warehouse, based in Accrington, Lancashire. As Lee explains: “We recently announced a 12,000 square foot expansion of our distribution facility, increasing our

capacity and offering greater flexibility to our partners.” The firm dropped hints that its move to acquire a French distributor a year ago might not be the last for the firm, as it looks at further growth opportunities: “Our acquisition of Banque Magnetique in France last year has already been advantageous for us and we will look to build on this as we begin to create synergies between the businesses. We will also investigate further brand and company acquisitions as Gem expands its business for the next decade.” Gem’s ‘one integrated solution’, which offers a host of services to customers and incorporates its three divisions – Gem, Gem Logistics and Gem Creative – is also an area that the distributor will be looking to grow and evolve over the coming 12 months: “We look forward to developing our primary, secondary and creative services throughout 2009.” Those plans to evolve, with expansions and possible acquisitions on the agenda, look to make next year a busy one for the firm.

WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 28/11/08 31

DISTRIBUTION FOCUS: PROFILES

As one of the best known names in distribution and a champion of independent developers, Pinnacle’s broad portfolio has something for everyone. Rob Power takes a look at what’s in store for the firm in 2009…

PINNACLE: Tailored customer service is one of the elements of the distributor’s unique proposition for customers

SINCE FORMING in 1992 as an independent sales and distribution arm of Pinnacle Entertainment, Pinnacle Software has built itself a reputation for championing the indies and providing a rock steady, friendly service. Introducing the concept of exclusive distribution to the industry, Pinnacle established a model that was to show

news for Pinnacle of late? “The launch of Pinnacle Software’s Managed Services Division,” says managing director Peter Sleeman. “It offers a variety of commercial support services allowing developer teams to bring their IP and products to the retail shelves.” Proud of its friendly, positive approach, not to mention a clear

We are proud of our focus, flexibility and service that is tailored to meet the needs of our partners.

Peter Sleeman, Pinnacle Software

much of the competition the way forward, and establish the company as a forward looking, pro-active distributor that is capable of moving ahead in a constantly evolving market. 2008 has been a busy year for the company, and whilst the economy might not be as healthy as it has been, it has still been a positive 12 months for Pinnacle. So what has been the biggest

enthusiasm for the industry, Pinnacle has a broad and varied portfolio that has something to spark the interest of a large retailer base, a string in the company’s bow that has seen it go from strength to strength in recent years. “We are proud of our focus, flexibility, and service that’s tailored to meet the individual needs of all our publisher and development partners, in

SLEEMAN: The Pinnacle MD sees a tailored service as key to the firm

a constantly changing market,” continues Sleeman. “This and our high level of customer focused service means we are providing a unique business proposition, penetrating a wider retail audience than any of our competitors due to the breadth of product available throughout the Pinnacle Entertainment group.”

The future, whilst hard to predict without a palm reading carny or a handy crystal ball, contains at least some certainties for Pinnacle, as the firm is keen to set its stall out as one of the industry’s leaders, as opposed to following trends set by the competition. “We want to continue our independent approach to the industry,” comments Sleeman. “It is important that we ensure we remain innovative and flexible to accommodate retail, market and customer needs.” Maintaining a significant presence in the UK and Irish markets, it looks like the future is going to be bright for the Kent-based company. Its links to the wider reaching Pinnacle Entertainment group, which deals with everything from software to music, DVDs and books, gives Pinnacle firm foundations from which to carry on its staunchly independent approach to distribution in the games industry.

[CONTACT] Tel: 0208 309 3934 www.pinnacle-software.co.uk

32 MCV 28/11/08

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SPECIAL FOCUS: DISTRIBUTION

The booming peripherals and accessories market has played a key role in Interactive Ideas’ record sales this year. Marketing director Michael Breeze speaks to Jonathon Harker…

But what has brought the firm to the INTERACTIVE IDEAS is another high point it is enjoying today? distie that started up in the mid-1990s. Interactive Ideas’ marketing director The distie is structured in two divisions; Michael Breeze fills MCV in: “We have the consumer retail team – working with retail, e-tail, mail order and TV We’re looking to grow by shopping companies, and taking our current vendors the corporate to a wider audience with reseller team – other new vendors. dealing with resellers, VARs Michael Breeze, Interactive Ideas and system integrators. always believed that in order to In its 14 years, the Enfield-based firm compete against our larger competitors has gone from strength to strength, and we couldn’t just do what they do and this year has gone onto achieve record so have always looked to add value to sales figures.

our suppliers and customers in the level of service we provide.” And the products themselves have obviously played a huge part in forging that success: “On the gaming side of our business, Wii peripherals have been very strong, with the Thrustmaster Glow Saber and NYKO brand exceeding all expectations. For this quarter we have high hopes based on the pre-orders for the new World of Warcraft peripherals from Steel Series and PC Flight Sim peripherals continue to deliver higher value sales.” The distributor also has a firm idea of what it wants for the future, as Breeze reveals: “The past year has seen Interactive Ideas add a number of new peripherals and accessories companies for both gaming and consumer electronics. Next year we are looking to grow this area of our business further and are confident that by taking our current vendors to a

INTERACTIVE IDEAS: Marketing director Michael Breeze speaks to MCV

wider audience and the addition of selected new vendors we will continue the rapid growth that we have seen.”

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

Bedfordshire-based Ideal Software has had an impressive decade and a half in the games distribution business. Managing director Paul Williams tells MCV about the firm’s offering...

changes and developments that the IDEAL SOFTWARE was founded 15 industry has seen, it is facing the same years ago and boasts close relationships old kind of challenges that it always has with a number of industry stalwarts, done: “I don’t think there has been one including Mastertronic, Focus and Sold thing that stands out this year in terms Out. In fact the firm distributes over 1000 product lines and caters At Ideal Software we offer for all the major truth, honesty and an A1 gaming platforms. Having been in level of service to our the business since customers. 1993 the firm has seen the industry Paul Williams, Ideal Software go through all manner of changes, not least of all the of issues that actually sticks in my boom that the market has seen over the mind. I feel that we are still facing the last few years. same problems we have always had in Ideal Software’s managing director the years gone by. Paul Williams feels that despite the

“I don’t think the industry has ever solved any issue successfully, for example age ratings, piracy, street dates, stores selling cheap and so on,” Williams tells MCV. The Bedfordshirebased distie reserved strong words of praise for Nintendo’s Wii, which has had a spectacular year by anyone’s standards. The knock-on effect of the increasingly popular console has boosted other areas like accessories and peripherals sectors. And what are the qualities that have made Ideal one of the industrys most successful distributors? Williams

believes it is the firm’s straightforward approach to business: “At Ideal Software we offer truth, honesty and an A1 level of service to our customers.” It seems that the trade agrees too, with Ideal picking up NASCR Software Distributor of the Year twice in 2002 and 2005. In fact Ideal Software is so focused on its clients that immediate plans for the distributor have customer interests at its core: “Ideal’s aims are to keep trying to save our customers money,” Williams concludes.

[CONTACT] Tel: 01767 689720 www.idealsoftware.net

Looking for a new reliable supplier... Look no further!

Keyne Distribution ● 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

34 MCV 28/11/08

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DISTRIBUTION FOCUS: PROFILES

Keyne Distribution Keyne Distribution has its hands full, with moving premises and distributing one of the widest range of triple-A titles in the business. Jonathon Harker speaks to MD Phil Jones to hear more about the firm’s plans… now have over 130 customers that use DISTRIBUTION is an increasingly us on a regular basis, most of whom competitive business, and each firm has have become friends as well as a point of difference in its offerings to customers. Lots of the official hardware manufacturers, publishers and companies out there will have many retailers. Things are no different at account managers per indie, but here at Keyne Distribution. Managing director Phil Jones Lots of companies will have tells MCV that the many account managers per company looks to indie, but here at Keyne we mark itself out as different to the value personal rapport. competition via its Phil Jones, Keyne Distribution close relationship with clients and customers alike. Keyne we value the personal rapport “The personal touch would be one of you can have with a customer.” our strongest assets,” he says. “Keyne Keyne’s range of top-drawer titles has been going for six years and I also differentiates the firm from started with just ten customers – we

PRECISION

competitors, according to Jones: “We specialise in new releases, so we handle most of the triple-A titles that are released. I believe that there is no other distribution company in the UK games market that carries a broader range of triple-A new releases as Keyne Distribution. Our reliability on delivering stock on time is also a cut above the rest.” In such a big year for the trade, Keyne Distribution has seen some products perform better than others, Jones tells MCV: “I would have to say that Xbox 360 products have been our strongest sellers in the past few months in the UK, with PS3 being the strongest seller overseas.

“We are starting to see the PlayStation 3 catch up with the 360 in the UK, with some indies not sure on how many to order on each format,” Jones adds. Keyne has many plans for the future, not least of all a move to new premises. “We are in the middle of our plans at the moment,” explains Jones. “But I also plan to expand our sales force to meet the increase of business that Keyne Distribution has obtained in 2008. With this, we would get more indies on board with us and help them to keep competing with the nationals.”

[CONTACT] Tel: 0870 1216051 www.keynedistribution.co.uk

IS

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COMING

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THE STREETS

ARE HIS

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Vin Diesel is the Wheelman

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Wheelman © 2008 Midway Home Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved. WHEELMAN is a trademark of Midway Home Entertainment Inc. Used by permission. MIDWAY and the Midway logo are registered trademarks of Midway Amusement Games, LLC. Used by permission. The Tigon logo is a trademark of Tigon Studios, Inc. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. “ ” “PLAYSTATION” and “PS3” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

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For independent sales contact Advantage Distribution on 0121 506 9585

WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 28/11/08 39

DISTRIBUTION FOCUS: PROFILES Distribution is a changing game and one company always ready to keep up and adapt is six year-old Skream Limited. Product manager Terry Malham speaks to Jonathon Harker…

FOUNDED BACK IN 2002, Skream managed to achieve a turnover between five and seven million pounds within the first years of its business. Skream hasn’t been resting on its laurels though, with a transforming year as product manager Terry Malham tells MCV: “Skream Limited has changed dramatically over the last year. In 2007 we stopped taking on open distribution deals and concentrated on primary distribution for the UK and Europe. We

now provide a route to market throughout Europe for game makers.” “Skream has always had a unique mix of customers; over the past six years we have developed publishing, distribution and retail customers in most of Europe. Exclusive territory deals have meant that the UK and Italy have been our best performers. In 2009 with the full service production deals to be announced we expect a more even spread across Europe.”

SKREAM: It has been a transfoming year for the firm, says Terry Malham

Skream has always had a unique mix of customers.

Terry Malham, Skream

The continental angle is a new focus for Skream, as Malham explains: “We noticed that firms without a local base needed more support to get products into the European market. “We developed a full service operation very close to our existing distributing business and in addition to sales and distribution activities we now handle platform submissions, localisation, manufacturing, marketing and PR as well as providing funding. Suppliers now need only to deliver code and Skream will handle the rest.” “We expect that our full service production model will continue to prove popular with suppliers as it allows them to handle Europe without committing additional finance or resources,” he concludes.

[CONTACT] Tel: 01344 451507 www.skream.com

Entertainment Trading The Nordic based distributor delivers a ‘one-stop shop’ service for its European customer base. MCV finds out more about the Danish firm…

And Entertainment Trading isn’t short-term goals in Denmark. This led DENMARK may be best known for solely distributing to the Nordic region, to the firm broadening its focus to huge multi-national companies like currently serving over 550 customers target other Nordic countries too. Maersk, Lego and Bang & Olufsen, but across the region and the rest of Entertainment Trading has built its the country – the southernmost in the Europe. Those clients are also served by success and reputation on offering a Nordic region – also has a growing a product database subscription service, ‘one-stop service’ to customers. The presence in the video gaming space. which handily delivers product info and distributor states its simple aim is to Leading European distributor product box shots to Entertainment retailers. Trading was founded Serving over 550 customers, Customers based in back in 2002. The home territory firm was created by Entertainment Trading Denmark also get an brothers Mike and distributes to the Nordic and added service from Mark Nielsen with a European markets. the firm, with a direct simple but ambitious shipping offering aim – to become the where Entertainment leading independent Trading handles the distributor of whole distribution shebang – from the offer clients ‘the best games at the best interactive entertainment products in logistics of picking and packing, to even price’ – clearly a philosophy that has the Nordic region. The firm got off to a shipping orders to end-customers. done the trick for the firm. flying start and after only a year In Denmark – a crucial area in the The firm also boasts close turnover ballooned and was up by more territory – the distributor has achieved relationships with an impressive roster than 1,200 per cent. a 15 per cent share of the market. The of some of the biggest names in the Early successes for the distributor firm says that its dedicated staff are a business, including Sony, Nintendo, meant that by 2004, a mere two years key factor behind the success of the Microsoft, Activision Blizzard, EA, after coming onto the scene, firm, and Entertainment Trading also Ubisoft, Sega and Atari, to name a few. Entertainment Trading had achieved its

says that low freight rates and a fast and easy customer registration process have played an important part in encouraging new business, and ultimately in the firms success. Recent triumphs have illustrated that the firm is going from strength to strength, with its 2006 turnover reaching DKK 56 million, and only a year later reaching DKK 103 million. With ambitions to increase that already impressive figure by a further 50 per cent, Entertainment Trading’s aspirations will mean that the firm will continue to be one of the biggest and most successful distrbutors in the Nordic and European territories.

[CONTACT] Tel: +45 70277640 www.entertainment-trading.com

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.

One integrated solution Contact Neil Handa Gem Creative St George House Parkway Harlow Business Park Harlow Essex CM19 5QF 01279 459072 www.gem.co.uk

POS

Packaging

Publishing

Flyers

Brochures

Trade PR

Media Buying

Gem Providing our partners with end to end integrated supply chain solutions and added value distribution to the retail channel.

One integrated solution

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

42 MCV 28/11/08

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DISTRIBUTION FOCUS: PROFILES

Meroncourt Hertfordshire-based distributor Meroncourt is always on the look out for the next big product, as sales director Steve Walsh tells Jonathon Harker... DURING MERONCOURT’S decade in the distribution business, the firm has seen the trade undergo a raft of changes, with the comings and goings of consoles, companies and personnel. One thing hasn’t changed though, and that’s a focus on looking after loyal customers, as Meroncourt sales director Steve Walsh tells MCV: “We always have promotions and offers running in order to attract new business, but also to reward our loyal customer base.” The independent market continues to be hugely important to the firm, too: “Our customer base is very broad; we have always been a great supporter of independent retail and we were one of the first distributors who concentrated on helping that market grow. With our continual expansion we have moved

“ WALSH: ‘We are always talking and looking to add to our existing lines’

into selling to a broad customer base from the indies to retail and e-tail.”

Wii, DS and PlayStation 3 peripherals have all performed well for us. Steve Walsh

The firm traditionally specialises in the IT sector, but has seen its gaming range grow further this year: “Wii, DS and PS3 peripherals have performed well, as has the Sitecom high-end gaming router and the Roccat line up, which we recently launched.” While Christmas is keeping every distributor in the land extremely busy, Meroncourt has got its eyes on 2009: “We are currently talking to a number

of potential new suppliers, but we are always looking to add to our existing lines. We are also willing to talk to anyone who feels that they may have a product or a product range that fits in with our broad customer base. “We continue to expand our service and should sign a new contract before Christmas to completely run the shipping service for a specialist online retailer,” Walsh reveals.

[CONTACT] Tel: 01462 680060 http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk

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

44 MCV 28/11/08

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DISTRIBUTION FOCUS: PROFILES If quadrupling the size of your warehouse isn’t a clear enough sign that Trilogy has some big ambitions, MD Matthew Allen tells MCV about the distie’s future. Jonathon Harker asks the questions… WITH A CLIENT LIST that takes in the likes of Ubisoft and Midway, Trilogy Logistics has amassed an impressive portfolio after a mere five years in the games business. One of the biggest things to happen to the distie this year was undoubtedly the reveal of new premises at CM Lane, giving the firm a massive resource of 250,000 sq ft of warehouse space. “The Trilogy acquisition of CM Lane has quadrupled our size this year,” explains managing director Matthew Allen. “This was a big acquisition for Trilogy but one that we had to do to ensure we had a solid platform to operate from for future years. “As we are an independent company, this means we can be flexible and react quickly if our partners need something as a favour. Trilogy still has a ‘can do’ attitude and that has stood us in good stead since we started in 2003.” All that space will come in handy as Trilogy also provides logistical services for the toy and DVD markets. It

PASTURES NEW: Trilogy has recently acquired 250,000 sq ft of warehouse space

supports all manner of retailers too, including chains and multiples, e-tailers, mail order firms, specialists, supermarket and toy shops. The independent retail market is also a key focus for Trilogy, and the distie has supported it in a variety of ways, not least through the recently launched TRILOGYi – an online portal that delivers online ordering for the indies. Designed to maximise sales potential, the site has given Trilogy another

effective communication channel with its customer base. Featuring real-time information, TRILOGYi also goes beyond being a sales portal, with new ideas, new working practices and a new way for indies to develop their sales potential. And it’s that kind of initiative that has helped guide Trilogy to another successful year. Allen was happy to tell MCV that the past 12 months has seen successes from right across its product

base: “Clearly all our partners have very strong products across all the formats. 2008 was all about the move and consolidating into the new site, this has been done now and we will continue to work with our partners to build a state of the art logistics company.”

[CONTACT] Tel: 0845 456 6400 www.trilogy-uk.com

With peripherals and accessory distribution as its speciality, AntiGrav Media has had a great year. MCV takes a closer look at the firm… ANTIGRAV MEDIA prides itself on helping develop and launch innovative and market leading products. AntiGrav boss Matt Holland has had plenty of experience of the industry too, with 15 years of dealing in the IT, leisure and consumer electronics sector. That knowledge has driven AntiGrav’s success with an eye for how to increase value, revenue and profitability for all. This year AntiGrav has adapted its offering to handle the increasing level of demand: “The huge increase in retailer demand for our product range has meant that we can no longer rely on a warehouse style fulfilment operation and moved to an e-commerce system that allows us to concentrate on our core activities,” Holland tells MCV. “We are a specialist. This is unique in the UK and we have developed the business to offer end-to-end solutions; from branded and licensed products to own-brand items for retailers. We also

success stories: “Anything with a Nintendo licence is a performer. However, we are conscious to select only the best, there is a lot of product out there that does not add any value

“ HOLLAND: AntiGrav’s specialist status makes it unique in the UK sector

work with publishers for game launches, whether it be a promotional product or a specific accessory for the game.” Undoubtedly Wii and DS products have performed well, but Holland believes the year saw plenty of other

months for AntiGrav: “Working with retailers on own brand is key, we have recently won the contract to supply CHIPS and have had a lot of interest from other retailers in the UK and

We are a specialist. This is unique in the UK and we have developed the business to offer end-to-end solutions. Matt Holland, AntiGrav

to a retailer. Playseats is still a huge seller for us and retailers have really got behind that brand this year. Maracas for Samba De Amigo went crazy at launch, mainly because we had the monopoly on them for a bit. Although there has been a decline in the last two weeks.” Holland concludes by telling MCV what is coming up over the next 12

Europe. Our focus will always be on our partner’s products; their commitment to us has been incredible.”

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

Sponsored by 46 MCV 28/11/08

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PERSONNEL

Future and PC Zone gets Wood Former In Stock editor to head up PC Zone  Garriott departs NCsoft  System 3 signs up Chandra Nair FUTURE  Former editor of trade title In Stock, ALI WOOD, has joined Future as editor of PC Zone. In her new role, Wood will work with associate publisher LEE NUTTER and with seasoned PC veterans JONATHAN BLYTH, STEVE HILL, WILL PORTER and ED ZITRON. She will also continue to develop the title and its online presence in the GamesRadar network. “I’m delighted to welcome Ali to Future,” enthused Nutter. “Her considerable publishing experience and

profile in the industry will drive editorial excellence and strengthen our existing trade relationships. This is a rapidly changing and exciting sector and we are fully committed to driving copysales and brand recognition for PC Zone.”

NCSOFT  Following his trip into outer space, RICHARD GARRIOTT is to leave NCsoft to pursue new interests. SYSTEM 3  Ex-Official Nintendo Magazine editor CHANDRA NAIR has joined System 3 as brand manager,

with a view to growing the firm’s Ferrari franchise. “With 13 years of experience across retail, publishing and marketing, not to mention being an avid racing and video games fan, Chandra is the perfect person to grow System 3’s current brands into global heavyweights,” said System 3 CEO Mark Cale. EA  Ubisoft’s marketing director JON ROSENBLATT is set to return to EA as senior European marketing director for EA Sports. He will begin his new role in the New Year and

Capcom is looking for 2 dynamic professionals to play a key role in its expansion plan within Europe. Consistently at the forefront of videogames with some of the industry’s highest quality and most loved original properties such as Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and Street Fighter, as well as new IP’s Lost Planet and Dead Rising, Capcom is the place to be. You’ll be working alongside some of the greatest development talent in the industry and they’ll want you to play an integral role in shaping the entertainment content of the future.

2 European Product Managers Reporting into the European Marketing Managers (EMMs), you will have day to day responsibility for devising marketing plans for some of our leading brands across Europe. You’ll also be responsible for supporting the EMMs in building industry leading campaigns, driving forecasts and ultimately delivering commercial success for Capcom. Working closely with some of the best development talent from around the world, you’ll be empowered to get results, challenge convention and put your stamp on the company. You’ll be hard working, innovative, organised but creative and have a sound knowledge of the marketing discipline with a keen interest in on-line and community. With 1-2 years of product marketing (preferably in an International/European dept) experience, you’ll be keen to take your career to the next level within a company that is going places. A second language is preferred but not essential.

All positions offer competitive industry salaries as well as attractive benefits.

If you are interested in any of the above positions please send your CV and covering letter to: Rebecca George, HR Manager, rebecca.george@capcomeuro.com

© CAPCOM U.S.A., INC. 2008 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

report to TODD SITRIN, VP of marketing for EA Sports. Rosenblatt will oversee a slate of new releases that includes FIFA and Tiger Woods. Ubisoft is currently seeking his replacement. SPIL GAMES  The casual games company has signed up SIDNEY MOCK as chief commercial officer. Mock has previously worked at Monster Worldwide as marketing director for Monster Netherlands, before moving onto Google Benelux and Google Netherlands.

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LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! Microsoft and Codemasters team up to put gamers in the movies. Roll film... Page 48

ALSO THIS WEEK... DRAGON BALL Z P50 TheJapanese anime series returns on PlayStation 2 and DS THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT P52 Dougal and company enter the gaming arena this Christmas IGOR P52 The computer animated movie gets the video game treatment this Q4

XZk`m`j`fe%Zfd DX[X^XjZXi1<jZXg\)8]i`ZX Ÿ)''/;i\XdNfibj8e`dXk`feC%C%:%8cci`^_kji\j\im\[%>Xd\Ÿ)''/8Zk`m`j`feGlYc`j_`e^#@eZ%8Zk`m`j`fe`jXi\^`jk\i\[kiX[\dXibf]8Zk`m`j`feGlYc`j_`e^#@eZ%8cci`^_kji\j\im\[%D`Zifjf]k#N`e[fnj#k_\N`e[fnjM`jkXJkXikYlkkfe#OYfo#OYfo*-'#OYfoC@M<#Xe[k_\OYfocf^fjXi\kiX[\dXibjf]k_\D`Zifjf]k^iflgf]ZfdgXe`\j#Xe[Ê>Xd\j]fiN`e[fnjËXe[k_\N`e[fnjM`jkXJkXikYlkkfecf^fXi\lj\[le[\ic`Z\ej\]ifdD`Zifjf]k%Ë# ÊGcXpJkXk`feËXe[ÊGC8PJK8K@FEËXi\i\^`jk\i\[kiX[\dXibjf]Jfep:fdglk\i<ek\ikX`ed\ek@eZ%E@EK<E;F;J#N``8E;K?<N``CF>F8I<KI8;<D8IBJF=E@EK<E;F%8ccfk_\ikiX[\dXibjXe[kiX[\eXd\jXi\k_\gifg\ik`\jf]k_\`ii\jg\Zk`m\fne\ij%

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MCV 28/11/08 49

Codemasters latest family-friendly 360 release promises to put gamers in the centre of their own Hollywood dreams. Well, B-movies, at least. Rob Power calls for lights, camera – and that all-important action... THERE ARE some things in life that are so far removed from the everyday, that you don’t even harbour the faintest hope of ever getting near them. A Bugatti Veyron, for example. Or Angelina Jolie’s breasts. Becoming a real life movie star must sit pretty near to the top of this list. We’re not talking a couple of B-movies and a straight to DVD special here – but a genuine, proper, dyed-in-the-wool, bigger-than-life, whiter-than-white blockbuster movie star. Your Clark Gable and your Steve McQueens; the sort of people that frankly don’t look or act like they’re from the same race as the rest of us. Those sort of movie stars. But then, not all of us have the chiselled features, the perfect diction, or the ability to remember more than three lines of dialogue at one time – all things that are basic requirements of our silver screen idols. Spotting this upsetting fact, Codemasters set to work coming up with You’re In The Movies, a title that gives film buffs the world over a chance to pretend just for a little while that they’ve made it on the big screen. Exclusive to the Xbox – and utilising the Xbox Live Vision camera to transport players into the screen – it uses ‘revolutionary’ Cutout Studio

technology to capture players’ movements and allow everybody to make first class fools of themselves in the comfort of their own home. Everybody likes seeing themselves on the telly and You’re In The Movies makes a nice change for folk tired of frantic fretboard thrashing. This is the sort of instantly accessible game that, like some sort of high-tech charades, will get everybody in the room involved. And it’s this natural suitability for multiplayer gaming that makes You’re In The Movies perfectly placed to capture a festive market so reliant on family fun. Players can pursue a variety of different roles in their movie careers, taking up the mantle of iron fisted action hero, white-faced silent film star or brain munching zombie, there’s a wide choice of scripts from plenty of genres to chose from. You’re In The Movies aims to replicate the feel of that long lost art form, the B-Movie, so you can expect plenty of corny dialogue and completely over the top cast members, and with up to four players there is plenty of room here for laughs a plenty. Aside from appearing in the films, players are also given the opportunity to dive into the director’s chain and piece together their own personalised movies.

You can pick any scene from the game (which will contain 30 movies to chose from) and put them together in the order that best pleases your directorial vision. Soundtracks and effects can be added, on top of the actual acting out of the scenes, so there is plenty to get to grips with in the game – certainly enough to keep wannabe directors a chance to flex their creative muscles. A wry, amusing Burt Reynoldsthemed advertising campaign is already underway, and Microsoft is really going to town on marketing, ensuring that the world will be well aware of You’re In The Movies this festive season. This is exactly the sort of familyfriendly, mass-market title that can captivate front rooms full of turkeystuffed relatives intent on having themselves a merry little Christmas. You can be sure it will catch the eye of many a crazy Christmas shopper over the next few weeks. RELEASED: NOVEMBER 28 FORMATS: 360 PUBLISHER: CODEMASTERS DEVELOPER: ZOE MODE PRICE: £29.99 (SOLUS); £49.99 (WITH CAMERA) DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 01279 822 822

MOUSTACHE MANIA Burt Reynolds, he of Smokey and the Bandit fame (not to mention the longest lasting moustache in Hollywood), has been deftly recruited by Microsoft to give the You’re In The Movies marketing campaign a bit of genuine move star pulling power. As the title is the first of its type, it’s only right that a bit of real acting muscle is involved, and with some great one liners thrown into the ads for good measure, this is sure to be a campaign that will hit the spot. The adverts feature Reynolds dishing out pearls of acting advice to the masses, giving us all the benefit of his illustrious film career (that has included over 90 feature films to date, fact fans) and raising the profile of You’re In The Movies to a suitably A-List position.

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The global cult sensation that is Dragon Ball Z has always been a great money-spinner for the games industry. Rob Power delves into the two games based on the popular series hitting shelves this month... Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World

To date, there have been over 50 It really is the end of an era when different titles in the Dragon Ball Z Dragon Ball Z, a series close to the heart series, beginning as far back as the of many a core gamer and certainly one Nintendo Entertainment System. The that brings back plenty of memories of series has also sold well clear of ten consoles past, is about to have its last million copies – which is a mighty ever release on the PlayStation 2. With amount, and there is clearly a whole lot the hardy old console entering its of affection and fond memories for the twilight years, Atari has announced that it is time Two end of year releases in for one final fling of the the Dragon Ball Z series Dragon Ball Z dice. And demonstrates that with Dragon Ball Z: enthusiasm is still high for Infinite World, the PS2 franchise looks set to go the Japanese franchise. out in a suitably fanfriendly bang. series that will ensure plenty of interest Developed by Namco Bandai in this latest addition to the fold – and exclusively for Sony’s PS2, Dragon Ball hopefully grab a few last gasp sales for Z: Infinite World has its sights firmly set the PS2. on combining all the most popular One new feature in Infinite Worlds elements of previous DBZ: Budokai includes Dragon Mission, which games, with a clutch of shiny new contains a number of famous scenes features. from the Dragon Ball Z series that never

FINAL FIGHT: Infinite World is set to be the last PS2 Dragon Ball Z game, and is sure to be the best yet with a new and improved battle system

made it onto any of the anime series’ computer games incarnations. Other missions include the time attack-based ‘Snake Road Mission’, whilst others are based around a number of action and racing style challenges that should stretch players strategy and quick-thinking abilities, instead of concentrating purely on elaborate fighting techniques. That said, there are plenty of opportunities for players to stretch the old fighting muscles, too. Utilising a simplified battle system cribbed from the recently released nextgen Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, which makes for some spectacular scraps that can take place on the ground or up there in the sky. Over 40 unique characters have been included in the title (excluding the various different forms each character can take, which

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MCV 28/11/08 51

TITLE: DRAGON BALL Z: INFINITE WORLD RELEASED: DECEMBER 5 FORMAT: PS2 PUBLISHER: ATARI DEVELOPER: NAMCO BANDAI PRICE: £24.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9590

TITLE: DRAGON BALL ORIGINS RELEASED: DECEMBER 5 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: ATARI DEVELOPER: NAMCO BANDAI PRICE: £34.99 DISTRIBUTOR: 0121 506 9590 CONTACT: ADVANTAGE

pushes the total up much higher), meaning there is an awful lot of fresh content for obsessive fans to get their hands on. As the last title in the series for the PS2, there is a nostalgia factor here, not to mention an obvious appeal to completists and long-term Dragon Ball Z followers that should ensure it gets a fine farewell on Sony’s classic console.

REBIRTH: Origins is set to bring the Dragon Ball Z series to a new audience with attractive visuals and unique gameplay mechanics

Dragon Ball: Origins Two end of year releases for Dragon Ball Z demonstrates that enthusiasm is still high for the Japanese franchise, and with Infinite World on the PS2 and Origins for DS both hitting shelves this December, the popular long running series in all it’s anime wonder will be seeing 2008 out in style. Bringing players back to the original Dragon Ball concept, Origins will take players off on a jaunt around the world for a dose of hyper action-adventuring

that will make full of use of the DS’s touch controls. The single player mode follows the trials and tribulations of Goku and his oddly named sidekick Bulma as they trot round the globe on a quest to collect the seven Dragon Balls, fighting off various enemies and conquering some tricky obstacles on the way. Using his brilliantly-titled ‘power pole’ to fight his way through, Goku also has an array of other weapons at his disposal, not least his tendancy to unleash a kamehameha. With Bulma’s rather handy ability to invent machines and weapons also on hand to help our intrepid hero through his trials, the pair of them make for an impressive duo and one that will no doubt gain plenty of fans on the handheld platform. Making full use of the DS’s capabilities, players utilise the touch pad to take control of Goku, and must scribe lines or shapes to hurry him on

his way. Controlling action on-screen can also be done with a bit of good old DS-style tappin’ – for example, spelling out the ka-me-ha-me-ha letters unleashes the full fury of Goku’s signature move. Players progress through the game by gaining experience and perfecting skills as stronger enemies are defeated, yet there is also an additional quest that runs through the game. The side quest requires players to collect the virtual figurines littered throughout the title, which can be traded over the wireless network in order to put together a complete collection. Dragon Ball: Origins works well as an introduction to the series for those young nippers who may never have heard of it, and will no doubt win over new fans thanks to its lively visuals and vibrant sense of humour. This will be one Christmas that Dragon Ball fans won’t forget.

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Sugar lumps, a bad-tempered snail and a suspiciously drowsy rabbit – it can only be the Magic Roundabout. Rob Power takes a turn... AH, WHERE would we be without classic kids programmes stuffed full of loveable characters with plenty of nostalgic appeal? The Magic Roundabout has long been a staple of the cult TV program fan’s diet, thanks to it’s psychedelic sets, great characters – Zebedee, Dougal, Dylan the rabbit to name but three – and inherent charm. Originally a French creation, the show really hit its stride when aired in Britain with completely new dialogue and names, and has gone down in TV folklore as possible one of the greatest kid’s TV shows of all time. Featuring all the much-loved and still incredibly popular characters, the title revolves around a story written for the game that retains the atmosphere and humour of the show and will no doubt please fans the world over – who will also be pleased to see there are a number of bonus scenes from the TV series also included. The story revolves around Friendship Day, a celebration

dreamed up by Zebedee, that promises Dougal a gift if he can help everybody in the village. Cue a suitably fun and family-friendly adventure based around 17 assorted minigames, including ‘find the hidden items’ quests, spread across four difficulty levels. Making full use of the Wii remote, this is a suitably easy game to pick up and play, and fits right in with the series’ fun loving, spread the love type vibe. A familiar family favourite for the oldies and a chance to introduce the younglings to a bit of classic TV, there is plenty of love for this much-loved old series that is sure to be reflected in those crucial sales. RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 5 (DS), MARCH 30 (WII) FORMATS: DS, WII DEVELOPER: DEEP SILVER PRICE: £29.99 (WII), £19.99 (DS) DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH MEDIA CONTACT: 0870 027 6510

A classic character gets tied in to an animated family movie in Igor. Rob Power has a hunch that this Deep Silver title is going to be a hit... IN ANY horror film worth its salt, the evil genius at the centre of the plot is always helpfully aided in his maniacal schemes by a grotesquely deformed, but extremely hands-on chap that goes by the name of Igor. Pouncing upon this classic character, Exodus Films, together with MGM, released an animated, film about one of these loveable scientific handymen earlier this year called, surprisingly enough, Igor. Capitalising on the release, Legacy Interactive has put together a familyfriendly title where players take command of the films main characters and fight evil scientists to help save the wonderfully named town of Malaria. Gamers get to play as Igor, buddy Eva, resuscitated rabbit pal Scamper or Brain. Whilst attempting to defeat the evil scientists, players must also try and achieve Igor’s long held ambition by entering and winning the annual Evil Science Fair.

The DS version of Igor sees players having to track down Eva, and includes nice touches, including a monster creation kit, where you can build your own despicable creations, and give them different body parts for different abilities. Players can also fight against each other wirelessly, making for some madscientist-styled playground hoopla. A great looking and interactive website for the title, where players can build their own Igors and get excited about the game is up and running at www.igorgame.com, and with the film having already done the hard work in promoting the title, expect plenty of scamps looking to get their paws on this titles as part of their yearly gift dump from old saint Nick. RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 5 (DS) DECEMBER 21 (Wii) FORMATS: Wii, DS DEVELOPER: LEGACY INTERACTIVE PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH MEDIA CONTACT: 0870 027 6510

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MCV 28/11/08 53

Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more

The Prince is back for December Ubisoft’s new look Prince leaps and cuts his way back onto PS3, PC Xbox 360 and DS this Christmas, as Nintendo unleashes Animal Crossing: Let’s Go to the City, complete with the Wii Speak peripheral, upon retail... TITLE

FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

Wii PS3 DS PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 Wii Wii PS2 DS Wii Wii Wii PC Wii PS3 / XBOX 360/ PC DS PS2 / PC Wii Wii

Sim Puzzle Puzzle Shooter Dance Quiz Action Action Kids Imagine Adventure Action Kids Action/Adventure Action/Platform Extreme Sports Kids Quiz

Nintendo Ubisoft Rising Star Games Codemasters Disney Interactive Disney Interactive Atari Atari Atari Ubisoft 505 Games Zoo Digital Atari Ubisoft Ubisoft Ubisoft Atari Ubisoft

08700 270 985 0845 456 6400 01582 433700 01279 822 822 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9590 0121 506 9590 0121 506 9590 0845 456 6400 0121 506 9590 01279 822 822 0121 506 9590 0845 456 6400 0845 456 6400 0845 456 6400 0121 506 9590 0845 456 6400

Koch Trilogy Mastertronic Gem Centresoft Centresoft Advantage Advantage Advantage Trilogy Advantage Gem Advantage Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy Advantage Trilogy

PC Wii Wii Wii / DS PC

Flight Sim Sports Action/Adventure Action/Adventure Flight Sim

Just Flight Deep Silver Deep Silver Deep Silver Just Flight

0845 234 4242 08700 270 985 0870 027 6510 0870 027 6510 0845 234 4242

Mastertronic Koch Koch Koch Mastertronic

PC / PS3 / XBOX 360

Action

EA

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

DS / PC / Wii

Pets

Capcom

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

XBOX 360 / PS3 DS / Wii / PS3 / PS2 / XBOX 360 PC DS Wii / PC / DS DS Wii Wii

Action/Adventure Action RTS Fishing Children's Kids Action/Platform Party Game

505 Games Disney Interactive Sega Rising Star Games 505 Games Blast Blast 505 Games

0121 506 9590 0121 625 3388 020 8995 3399 01582 433700 0121 506 9590 08452 344242 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9590

Advantage Centresoft Centresoft Mastertronic Advantage Mastertronic Centresoft Advantage

DECEMBER 5th Animal Crossing: Let’s Go to the City Brain Challenge Deluxe Colour Cross Damnation Disney Sing It: High School Musical 3: Senior Year Disney Think Fast Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World Dragon Ball Z: Origins Freddi Fish 1: Case Of The Missing Kelp Seeds Imagine Fashion Idol Legend of Sayuki N.A.R.C Pajama Sam: No Need To Hide When It's Dark Outside Prince of Persia Prince of Persia: The Fallen King Shaun White Snowboarding Spy Fox 1: In Dry Cereal Who Wants To Be A Millionaire 2

DECEMBER 12th 747 - 200/300 Series Ellen Whitaker's Horse Life Igor The Magic Roundabout VFR Real Scenery - The Collection

JANUARY 16th The Lord of the Rings: Conquest

JANUARY 23rd Neopets Puzzle Adventure

FEBRUARY 6th Battle Fantasia Bolt Empire: Total War Harvest Fishing Hotel for Dogs Johnny Bravo Mr. Bean's Wacky World Of Wii We Cheer

MUSTSTOCK .......................PRINCE OF PERSIA Released: December 5th Format: PS3, 360, PC, DS Publisher: Ubisoft Distributor: Trilogy Contact: 0845 456 6400

Cel-shaded, platforming and sword-fighting action arrives on next-generation formats this December with the return of Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia. As one of the few big new releases scheduled for December, this game could be a surprise Christmas No. 1.

MUSTSTOCK .......................ANIMAL CROSSING Released: December 5th Format: Wii Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Koch Contact: 08700 270 985

Nintendo’s life sim gets the Wii treatment next month in Animal Crossing Let’s Go to the City. The game comes with the new Wii Speak peripheral, and considering the success of Nintendo’s other hardware and software bundles, expect this game to fly off shelves.

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INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

1

TITLE/FORMAT

PUBLISHER

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR FORMAT: 360

DEVELOPER: TREYARCH PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

2

NEW

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WRATH OF THE LICH KING PC

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

3

NEW

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR PS3

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

4

NEW

FOOTBALL MANAGER PC

SEGA

5

1

GEARS OF WAR 2 360

6

6

PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE CURIOUS VILLAGE DS

MICROSOFT

7

NEW

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR PC

8

NEW

MIRROR’S EDGE 360 WORLD OF WARCRAFT: LICH KING SPECIAL EDITION PC

NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA

9

NEW

10

11

MARIO KART WII WII

11

2

LITTLEBIGPLANET PS3

12

NEW

13

RE

WII PLAY WII

14

12

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 360

15

NEW

GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR COMPLETE BAND 360

16

NEW

WII MUSIC WII

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD NINTENDO SONY

MIRROR’S EDGE PS3

EA NINTENDO KONAMI ACTIVISION BLIZZARD NINTENDO

17

7

WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 PS3

THQ

18

5

WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 360

THQ

19

8

FALLOUT 3 PS3

BETHESDA

20

4

FALLOUT 3 360

BETHESDA

Charts compiled by Game Guide/Complete EPOS Solutions. For more information about Complete EPOS Solutions call 01543 370002. For more information about the Game Guide call 01606 836347.

INDIES GO TO WAR THE HORRORS of war has descended upon the Indie Charts this week, with gamers taking up arms (and the control pad) to face off against Nazi Germany, an alien menace and, erm, orcs. Call of Duty: World at War dominated, taking the prestigious number one spot and over 25 per cent of the week’s sales. But it didn’t have it all its own way, with the long awaited World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King just narrowly missing out on the top position.

“It was a glorious week for Activision Blizzard, whose six Top 20 titles accounted for over 40 per cent of the games sold at indies.” It was a glorious week all round for super-publisher Activision Blizzard, which also saw its 360 Guitar Hero World Tour bundle stage dive into 15th place. The firm had a total of six titles in this week’s Top 20, which accounted for a whopping 40 per cent of the total games sold at indies. Other notable new entrees this week includes Sega’s Football Manager 2009 in fourth place, EA’s Mirror’s Edge (eighth and 12th positions) and Nintendo’s Wii Music (16th). Because of the huge amount of new games, some of last week’s high flyers have plummeted down the charts. LittleBigPlanet fell from second to 11th place, Fallout 3 tumbled from third to 20th, whilst Gears of War 2 slips slightly from first to fifth spot. Furthermore, many new releases didn’t quite make the Top 20 cut this week. But with plenty of shopping still to do before Christmas, there’s chance yet for these titles to perform. chris.dring@intentmedia.co.uk

week MCV visits Lythan St Annes to speak to FROM THE FRONTLINE This CHIPS’ 2008 franchisee of the year Jon Doyle… What challenges are facing your store at the moment? Supermarkets selling games at below cost price – if only I could sell games at a loss and make profit on tins of beans. The current credit crunch has affected us slightly on the sales of new games but this has been more than made up for by an increase in pre-owned game sales. I also believe that we will have an excellent build-up to Christmas due to all the triple-A releases across all formats. What’s been selling well at the moment? Generally all formats have been selling well. If I had to pick one area in particular it would have to be the Nintendo DS range, which just goes from strength to strength.

Have any consoles/games performed below expectations this year? Not really. PS3 wasn’t doing that well earlier in the year, however, it has definitely picked up and I expect it will continue to do even better.

CHIPS CHAMPS: From left to right, Lee Revill, Jon Doyle, son Steven and Phil Nettleton

Have you noticed a change in the types of customers buying games? Most certainly, we are getting a wider age range and more female customers – Nintendo has led the way with both the DS and the Wii. With the build-up to Christmas already under way we are getting lots of enquiries for family games. What’s your pick for Christmas No. 1? There are so many fantastic games coming out before Christmas it’s hard to choose, but I’d go for Gears of War 2.

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

TM and © Nintendo 2008

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PRICE CHECK SCARBOROUGH

Mirror’s Edge

Wii Music

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts

Football Manager

Call of Duty: World at War

PS3, EA

Wii, Nintendo

Xbox 360, Microsoft

PC, Sega

Xbox 360, Activision

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£39.99

£39.99

£29.99

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£39.99

£29.99

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£29

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The limited edition Gears of War bundle available at Gamestation includes Gears of War, Gears of War 2, Fallout III and a 60GB Xbox for £199.99.

Gamers can pick up Sony’s acclaimed LittleBigPlanet and a Sixaxis wireless controller for just £49.58 from the online independent.

An 80GB PlayStation 3 console with Quantum of Solace, LittleBigPlanet, the Batman Begins Blu-ray movie and a Blu-ray remote is available for £299.99.

The popularity of the first person shooter genre continues this month with the release of Quantum of Solace and Call of Duty: World at War. Both titles are readily available on the Nintendo Wii and make full use of the various Wii gun cradles currently on the market. One of the more popular devices is the Thrustmaster Duel Trigger Gun, which received a

four star rating in a recent edition of T3 magazine. The gun features two buttons (one for reloading and one for shooting), and a rest for the Wii Nunchuk. It can also be held as a pistol or machine gun and has a compartment for hiding wires. The device requires no batteries and is available now. Interactive Ideas: 0208 805 1000

RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 56 MCV 28/11/08

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM

OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[1] [FULL PRICE]

TITLE

1 2 3

1 3

PROF. LAYTON CURIOUS VILLAGE BIG BRAIN ACADEMY

4 5 6 7 8 9 10

4 7 8 6 5 12 11

MORE BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO MARIO KART DS NINTENDO NINTENDOGS: LABRADOR & FRIENDS NINTENDO HSM 3: SENIOR YEAR DISNEY MORE TOUCHMASTER MIDWAY MYSIMS KINGDOM EA LEGO BATMAN: THE VIDEOGAME WARNER BROS.

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER QUANTUM OF SOLACE GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR LEGO INDIANA JONES STAR WARS: FORCE UNLEASHED CRASH: MIND OVER MUTANT

5 6 8 7 9

NINTENDO

PUBLISHER

TITLE

1 NEW

NINTENDO

[2]

[FULL PRICE]

FIFA 09

2 4 1

TOP 40ALL

PUBLISHER

DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING

[3]

DEVELOPER: EA CANADA PUBLISHER: EA

1

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR FORMAT: DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360 DEVELOPER: TREYARCH PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

2

5

FIFA ’09 DS, PS2, PC, 360, PS3, Wii

3

8

MARIO KART WII Wii

4

NEW

NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER

5

11

WII FIT Wii

6

3

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 MAC, PSP, PC

7

9

PRO EVO 2009 PC, PS3, 360, PS2, PSP, Wii

TITLE

PUBLISHER EA NINTENDO DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360

EA

NINTENDO SEGA KONAMI

8

7

TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360 EIDOS

9

6

GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR

10

14

WII MUSIC Wii

11

13

MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES Wii, DS GEARS OF WAR 2 360

PS3, Wii, 360, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

NINTENDO SEGA

12

4

13

NEW

LEFT 4 DEAD PC

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

14

10

WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009

THQ

15

7

PROFESSOR LAYTON DS

EA

16

15

QUANTUM OF SOLACE PS2, PS3, 360, Wii, PS2, DS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

17

12

FALLOUT 3 360, PS3, PC

18

16

LITTLEBIGPLANET PS3

19

33

SHAUN WHITE SNOWBOARDING DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, 360 UBISOFT

20

17

MIRROR’S EDGE PS3

KONAMI

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

[4]

LUCASARTS LUCASARTS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

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

[ENTERTAINMENT - FULL PRICE]

DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360 PS3, 360 PS3, 360, Wii DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360 DS PS2, PSP, 360, Wii, NDS DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360 PC Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, NDS, PS2 NDS Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 DS, Wii Wii DS DS DS, PS2, Wii PS2 DS, PS2, Wii Xbox 360, DS, PS2, PS3, Wii NDS Wii, PS3, 360 DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360

Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now Out Now 28 Nov

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[5]

TITLE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 LEGO BATMAN WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER MIDNIGHT CLUB: LA REMIX LEGO INDIANA JONES STAR WARS: FORCE UNLEASHED TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 09

NEW

6 8 7 RE

EA DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360

THQ

NINTENDO

BETHESDA SONY

EA

[FULL PRICE]

FIFA ‘09

3 2 2 3

MICROSOFT

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA KONAMI SEGA WARNER BROS. THQ EA ROCKSTAR LUCASARTS LUCASARTS EA

RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 28/11/08 57

FORMATS Highest New Entry

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

Highest Top 40 Climber

21

18

MIDNIGHT CLUB: LOS ANGELES PS3, 360

22

22

MYSIMS KINGDOM Wii, DS

ROCKSTAR EA

23

24

HSM3: SENIOR YEAR DANCE PC, PS2, Wii, 360

24

RE

SAINTS ROW 2 PS3, 360, PC

DISNEY THQ

25

2

WOW: WRATH OF LICH KING PC, MAC

26

32

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

EA

27

19

FAR CRY 2 PC, PS3, 360

20

FABLE II 360

29

21

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

30

NEW

MORTAL KOMBAT VS DC UNIVERSE PS3, 360 MIDWAY

31

28

MARIO KART DS DS

NINTENDO

32

30

NINTENDOGS DS

NINTENDO

33

26

HSM3: SENIOR YEAR DANCE PC, PS2, Wii, 360

34

31

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

35

25

MOTORSTORM: PACIFIC RIFT PS3

36

36

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV PS3, 360, PC

UBISOFT MICROSOFT WARNER BROS.

DISNEY

SONY TAKE 2

37

37

LEGO INDIANA JONES DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360, PSP

LUCASARTS

38

35

COOKING GUIDE: WHAT TO EAT? DS

NINTENDO

39

23

C&C: RED ALERT 3 PC

40

34

POKEMON RANGER:

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

SHADOW OF ALMIA DS

EA NINTENDO

PUBLISHER

1

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

WOW: WRATH OF THE LICH KING ACTIVISION BLIZZARD CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD LEFT 4 DEAD EA C&C: RED ALERT 3 EA FALLOUT 3 BETHESDA SPORE EA TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD EIDOS THE SIMS 2: DOUBLE DELUXE EA THE SIMS 2: APARTMENT LIFE EA

1 3 NEW

4 5 8 4 10 9

PUBLISHER

1

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD LITTLEBIGPLANET FIFA ‘09 PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 MOTORSTORM: PACIFIC RIFT GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR MIRROR’S EDGE MIDNIGHT CLUB: LOS ANGELES

NEW NEW

2 3 4 7 5 8 5

DEVELOPER: TREYARCH PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

WII

EA EIDOS SONY EA KONAMI SONY ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA ROCKSTAR

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

DEVELOPER: SPORTS INTERACTIVE PUBLISHER: SEGA

PUBLISHER

1

MARIO KART WII

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

WII FIT WII PLAY WII MUSIC MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR CARNIVAL: FUN FAIR GAMES HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR SHAUN WHITE SNOWBOARDING ALL STAR CHEERLEADER

3 2 4 5 6 7 8 28 13

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

XBOX 360

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

TITLE

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

28

PC CD-ROM

[FULL PRICE]

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TITLE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

GEARS OF WAR 2 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERGROUND FIFA ‘09 LEFT 4 DEAD PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR TOMB RAIDER UNDERWORLD FABLE II FALLOUT 3

2 4 NEW

7 3 NEW

6 5

NINTENDO NINTENDO SEGA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD 2K GAMES DISNEY UBISOFT THQ

[FULL PRICE]

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR

NEW

NINTENDO

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: TREYARCH PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD MICROSOFT EA EA EA KONAMI ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EIDOS MICROSOFT BETHESDA

[SOURCE]

PS3

(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack

WEEK ENDING 21/11/08

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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

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 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 games and hardware. Expect interviews with key marketing players and a look at the most effective campaigns from years gone by. 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 takes place 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. If you’ve got any suggestions, let us know. FRIDAY JANUARY 16th

GAMES RECRUITMENT SPECIAL AND SALARY GUIDE It’s that time of the year when the job market picks up after the Christmas and New Year lull, and employees think about their careers. MCV’s Recruitment Special takes a look at the sector and dispells those money myths with our detailed games salary guide. FRIDAY JANUARY 23rd

TERRITORY REPORT: SCANDINAVIA AND BENELUX It’s time to cast aside those cliches and take a closer look at the gaming landscape of Holland, Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. How has the rise of gaming affecting these nations, and are there any gaps in the markets for publishers and retailers? MCV investigates the state of play and potential of these diverse countries...

FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT:

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

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR

SUPPORT YOUR PRINT ADVERTISING WITH AN

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 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

ONLINE PRESENCE £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

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

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 we speak to Robert Allford of Australian distributor AFA Interactive…

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

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

Could you tell us a little about AFA Interactive? AFA Interactive began with the purchase of a small agency company in 1999. I was based in a small office just outside Adelaide and ran the business as the sole employee. Since that time, the business has outgrown two premises and now runs from a modern facility with a dedicated warehouse and large showroom. AFA Interactive distributes all gaming and productivity formats, including new platforms, keeping in line with the massive growth of the console sector. We are exclusive suppliers to the national retailers of several international brands, such as D3P and Rising Star. We also have our own brand of gaming accessories. To ensure complete coverage of gaming product and needs, we distribute software from

almost every publisher located in Australia to the independent games retail market. We deal directly with Sony, Atari, Take 2, Nintendo and Electronic Arts to name a few. We believe in the concept of offering all gaming products from one source, saving the independent retailer the time and energy of dealing with multiple entities, account managers and trading terms. Are you looking to expand? We are very keen to continue to expand and discuss opportunities with any international publishers and manufacturers. What’s the best thing about your job? This is a very fast paced and growing industry. I enjoy all the challenges, new technologies, new game development and working with a very talented group of people.

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

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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 find out more. Disc-Go-Devil Devilishly good and only £666

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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

ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISC REPAIR

DISC-GO-DEVIL Only

£666 Plus VAT

DIARY DATES ‘08 From the MCV Industry Pub Quiz to the PC Retail Awards, here are all the essential industry dates to get in your diary…

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

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

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

HELL OF A PRICE FOR A WICKED MACHINE. 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

BETT 2009 Wednesday, January 14thSaturday, January 17th Olympia, London www.bettshow.com

MARCH PC RETAIL AWARDS 2009 Thursday, March 19th Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington Katie.rawlings@intentmedia.co.uk GDC 09 Monday, March 23rdFriday, March 27th San Francisco, USA www.gdconf.com

JUNE E3 Tuesday, June 2ndThursday, June 4th LA Convention Centre, LA www.e3expo.com

JULY

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

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

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

MCV INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS Thursday, April 23rd The Brewery, London jodie.holdway@ bhpr.co.uk The biggest night in the games industry calendar returns to the Brewery and will feature awards split across three categories; Retail, PR and Marketing, and People and Industry. A whopping 650 representatives from all corners of the UK games trade will be attending this essential industry event.

INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 64 MCV 28/11/08

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

INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 28/11/08 65

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

WATCHING AMERICA: dreamGEAR chief operating officer Richard Weston speaks to MCV

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

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

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

DREAMGEAR, LLC 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

California, USA Tel: 310-222-5522 x 111 Fax: 310-222-5577

UNITED STATES

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

FRIENDWARE

dreamGEAR

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

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

DISTRIBUTOR SPOTLIGHT x

AMERICAN distributor dreamGEAR, based in sunny California, handles a broad range of product ranging from the video games market to the lucrative MP3 sector. The firm supplies some of the biggest retailers in the US, including GameStop, Amazon.com, Kmart, RadioShack and Wal Mart. The firm also owns its own peripherals brand – i.Sound – a range of top notch speakers for iPods, MP3 players and the PSP. MCV spoke to chief operating officer Richard Weston for more on dreamGEAR and the American market. Can you give us some background about dreamGEAR? dreamGEAR is a leading provider of high quality video game and iPod and MP3 accessories, plug ‘n’ play video games and, under its i.Sound brand, a wide variety of innovative portable speakers. dreamGEAR is dedicated to enhancing the gaming and music listening experience, as evidenced by its many products selected as an International CES Innovations Design and Engineering Showcase honoree, recognising the very best in consumer electronics. Commitment to excellence and innovation is what led dreamGEAR and its i.Sound brand to be recognised as one of the top 300 fastest growing companies in the U.S. by Entrepreneur Magazine. When was dreamGEAR established? Founded in 2002, dreamGEAR’s principals bring together over 50 years of experience in the consumer electronics,

entertainment and software industries, and a demonstrated passion for providing the latest in design, performance and quality. Which industry sectors does dreamGEAR work in? dreamGEAR has built upon its knowledge of the entertainment, audio and video game industries to provide the highest quality accessories across all platforms. dreamGEAR’s i.Sound brand is an Apple licensee for iPod accessories and has further established its position as a market-leader by also being licensed to create and distribute accessories for the new Apple iPhone. Are there any specific genre areas that have the potential to grow in the US? Both video games and iPod and MP3 continue to experience sharp growth trends in the United States and worldwide. What are the key relationships and strengths in your company? dreamGEAR has great relationships with major US retailers and worldwide distributors, and with high quality products and competitive pricing combined with innovative designs. What plans have you got in place for the future of dreamGEAR for the next year? Having established the dreamGEAR and iSound brands in every major retailer in the US, we are poised to do the same in the United Kingdom and EU.

PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

Is it a quiz? Is it a party?

It’s both! The quiz itself might be sold out, but there’s plenty of space at the bar, and an industry Lips competition afterwards. For details contact Orlaith.Kennedy@intentmedia.co.uk Wedne sday, Decem ber 3r Bar AKA d WC1A 1 JJ

PUB QUIZ INDUSTRY

Teams include HMV, HMV.com, EUK, Amazon, Sainsbury’s, The Sun, Future, GAME, PC World plus our lovely sponsors…

BOOK NOW FOR 2009: Thursday, February 19th. New venue! Sway Bar, WC2B 5BZ Contact Orlaith.Kennedy@intentmedia.co.uk

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MCV 28/11/08 67

MCV FORUM

HMV gets charitable The entertainment retailer thanks the trade for supporting fundraising activities for its newly-appointed charity CLIC Sargent – and asks publishers to continue to be so generous for the deserving foundation... HMV & FOPP are delighted to have selected CLIC Sargent as their nominated charity partner – and I’d like to thank those publishers and industry partners who have already supported us in a big way with some fantastic fundraising activities for this most deserving of charities. For those that don’t know, CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading children’s cancer charity. Every day ten families are told the devastating news that their child has cancer. As the children’s cancer charity, CLIC Sargent offers clinical, practical and emotional support every step of the way. It’s for these reasons we’ve selected CLIC Sargent as our nominated charity partner for 2008-2010 – and that a range of activities and events aimed at raising funds and increasing awareness of the charity’s work are now in place. At the heart of this relationship are our 250 HMV and Fopp stores, whose staff have been challenged to compete within their regions to raise as much as possible through various local store events and other activities. Over £7,000 has already been raised in this way, including efforts by HMV’s Scottish stores, who raised £1,583 from their annual pub music quiz, and by HMV Enfield, which generated over £900 from a hugely successful unsigned bands night. Staff at HMV stores in Basildon and Victoria Station, who recently won a Guitar Hero games tournament, donated their respective prizes of a Table Football and a PS3 to CLIC Sargent, who later presented them to the

Paediatric Oncology Ward at University College London Hospital (UCLH). Store employees will also be able to take part in the first-ever HMV & Fopp Inter-Regional five-a-side football tournament, which will now take place annually, commencing in March 2009. There will be

HMV Annual Golf Day, which took place in October at the Forest Of Arden Championship Course, and benefited hugely from the generosity of certain games companies, including Nintendo, who were the main sponsors. 26 teams, drawn principally from HMV’s Music, DVD,

space for 125 teams to enter and compete in a series of five regional heats at GOALS and other venues across the UK and Ireland, with the Final to be played in either London or Birmingham. Another key fundraising event recently initiated is the

Games and other suppliers, took part, including from Apple, Nintendo, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Sony DADC, Universal Music and Warner Music. Over £20,000 – the equivalent of a CLIC Sargent Family Support Nurse, was

raised by the event, which was won by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, with Warner Music and store builders Portview coming in as joint runners-up. Merchandising and causerelated marketing also represent a major opportunity to add to fundraising targets. HMV and Fopp have recently launched a branded ‘Bag For Life’ made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, and a donation from the sale of each of these will be made to CLIC Sargent. Other events and activities are currently also being considered, including a possible joint presence at next year’s Glastonbury Festival and other merchandising opportunities. If any of your readers would like to assist us in raising as much money as possible for CLIC Sargent, it would be wonderful to hear from them. Thank you. Gennaro Castaldo HMV & Fopp

DOING GOOD: HMV staff donate goodies to University College London Hospital

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68 MCV 28/11/08

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OFF THE RECORD This week, we attend a Microsoft party for You’re In The Movies and rub shoulders with some serious heavyweight celebrities – and Harvey from So Solid Crew. Elsewhere, Take Two’s boss shows off his credentials as a beefcake...

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...

‘THE LITTLEJOHN’ He lives to hate... and when it comes to an existence with games in ‘em, he hates to live. The nicotine-toothed bulldog blames our noble art for all evil in the world – and despises the casual ‘revolution’ for stealing his thunder. The only reason he would ever pick up ‘Sony’s Wii’ or ‘The Ex-Box ThreeSix-Zero’ would be to experience the ‘terror’, ‘brain-destruction’ and ‘corruption of the young’ they provide. Not that he researches this particular subject that thoroughly, of course. Loves: Family vaues, outrage, confusing middle England Hates: Interactive devices, relaxation, contented children Marketing says: “Always seen games as childish?! Don’t fear: This is a real entry-level, addictive product!” He says: “You really think having a

moustache-clad, Italian middle-aged man in your kids’ bedroom is ‘good parenting’?”

READ ALL ABOUT IT PIC OF THE WEEK HARVEY! It’s been so long since you burst onto the scene with So Solid Crew – and your neck-bobbing anthem for disaffected youth... All together now! “I got 21 seconds to go/ I got 21 seconds to flow/ And if you see me in the studio doo bee doo bee doo / I got 21 seconds before I got to go.” Classic. Sadly, our Harv is no longer penning odes to the permanently incontinent. These days, he’s more at home gooning around in the likes of C4’s The Games or turning his, ahem, hugely talented hand to TV presenting duties. Or, of course, ligging at corporate events like this one last Thursday. Sadly for the Harvester, he can no longer convince with the hands-in-the-pocket hardman routine, so he has to ‘get involved’. As he did, here – to his credit– on Microsoft’s You’re In The Movies. You wouldn’t see Richard Blackwood indulging in this sort of mugging for the camera. Respect to the king of the C-list crazies.

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

“Terror suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay are... offered art classes, Game Boys (sic) and films to distract them from thoughts of global jihad.” The Telegraph, 24/11/08

WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 28/11/08 69

SUGA MOUNTAIN Ah, the Sugababes. We liked them best when they weren’t all sexy, and they even let the dour ginger one have a go. But now they’ve shunted the ‘other two’ out the door and replaced them with the rent-a-smiles, they’re a little bit... what’s the word...? Inaccessible – that’s it. Actually, who are we trying to kid? Like some kind of tiny-buttocked pick’n’mix, the new breed are sweet, darn chewable and really do offer something for all tastes. Especially the Scouser. So it was an excitable joy to watch the girls do what they do best on stage at a Microsoft party this week – and even tackle the 360 Q4 line-up afterwards. Long gone are the days when we would be expected to settle for just Mutya and ‘the songwriter’. Thank the Lord.

THREE THINGS WE LEARNT THIS WEEK 1) System 3 man Chandra Nair divides his time between the UK and recording his album in LA. 2) Sony Europe boss David Reeves is a qualified doctor in Chemical and Astrophysics. 3) Shigeru Miyamoto was bullied by a dog when he was a boy – which would later inspire enemies in his games.

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.6: BMX-XXX YEAR: 2002 FORMAT: Xbox, PS2, GameCube Acclaim, you had no excuse. Pornography was freely available – and had became acceptable pub banter material – by the time this was released in 2002. So a game in which you flew around on kids’ bikes sporting a digitised pair of mammaries was never going to shock. It was just going to annoy. And it did. In great swathes. In an age when celebs will put their name to anything, BMX champ Dave Mirra actually sued to get his name taken OFF the box.

COMPUTER VIRUS [1]

No-one really knows if this viral was created by Activision, or by this gentleman: who we see here mounting a bike, camera attached to helmet...

[2]

He appears to be plugging in an iPodtype device. Struggling to see what that has to do with Guitar Hero? Trust us... Keep watching...

We take a look at the best promotional videos to ‘leak’ out of publishers’ doors and onto YouTube. This week, a rather nifty, two-wheeled take on Activision’s Guitar Hero: World Tour...

[3]

And we’re off. See those GH coloured symbols on the ground as our mounted hero flies through his home town streets? They match his music...

[4]

And so the reality of a real life Guitar Hero challenge is realised. En route, his friends even provide home-made special effects. Watch it. Now.

70 MCV 28/11/08

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e Th f o

nt na m Re t s La

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op THEa cSTRAUSS OF THE JOB >

d READERS OF MCVUK.COM will know Strauss Zelnick. He’s the Take anboss who Two was this year entangled in a mighty war of words with 0 6 3 EA chief John Riccitiello, over the latter’s daring acquisition attempt. x o Looking at these recent pictures, however – when Zenick graced the Xb cover of US ‘grow-nine-abs-in-a-hour’ glossy monthly Men’s Fitness – he might have been better to take him on, er, ‘mano-a-mano’. Ready to cringe? Here goes… Zelnick told the magazine: “I schedule exercise as though it’s a meeting and treat it the same way… When someone asks me to have a drink, I suggest the gym instead.” We’re much the same, actually. But we don’t suggest the gym. We have a drink.

PIRACY GOES TITS UP

LADIES, IT’S OFFICIAL: The games industry prefers natural boobs to plastic jubblies. How do we know this? Has MCV conducted some kind of mammary-focused retail survey? Not yet – we’re saving that for the sparse news weeks in the New Year. Nope, it’s because (as usual) a dirty pirate has spoiled everyone’s fun. According to ELSPA, Dudley-based Raymond Adams “lived in luxury” by selling illegally copied games and DVDs – which paid for his wife’s new funbags. Cost: $10,000. The bright spark then boasted about his beloved’s augmentation – along with his own fat-busting op – in The Sun (Check out the before and after shots above). West Midlands Police and ELSPA weren’t impressed. Not only did ELSPA cruelly refer to his former chub as “greedy bulk” in its press release. But after discovering his fake game stall, called Midland Console Modifications, at Wolverhampton racecourse, they took him to court. And won. On November 21st at Wolverhampton Crown Court, Adams was jailed for three years, and his girlfriend was handed a 12-month sentence, suspended for 18 months. Nice tits, though.

FANBOY COMMENT OF THE WEEK

They just can’t help themselves, can they? Ladies and gents, allow us to showcase the audience you DON’T want the lifestyle mags to know about…

EDITORIAL: 01992 535646



Managing Editor: Lisa Foster Lisa.Foster@intentmedia.co.uk

Advertising Manager: Lesley Blumson Lesley.Blumson@intentmedia.co.uk

Editor-In-Chief: Michael French Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk

Art Director: Stuart Moody Stuart.Moody@intentmedia.co.uk

Associate Editor: Tim Ingham Tim.Ingham@intentmedia.co.uk

Design: Adam Butler Adam.Butler@intentmedia.co.uk

Deputy Editor: Jonathon Harker Jonathon.Harker@intentmedia.co.uk

Production Manager: Suzanne Powles Suzanne.Powles@intentmedia.co.uk

Retail Editor: Ben Parfitt Ben.Parfitt@intentmedia.co.uk

Business Development: Dave Roberts Dave.Roberts@intentmedia.co.uk

Staff Writer: Chris Dring Chris.Dring@intentmedia.co.uk

Contributing Editor: Samantha Loveday Samantha.Loveday@intentmedia.co.uk

Contributors: Ed Fear, Andrew Wooden, Ben Furfie, Owain Bennallack

Circulation & Marketing: Hannah Short Hannah.Short@intentmedia.co.uk

ADVERTISING: 01992 535647



GAMEFAQs Forum 25/11/08 Name: 0MR_EYE_CANDY Title: RE: 360 sells over 23m. How many more will it sell this generation? Comment: I am talking about the sells not if microsoft fix your 360

FAX: 01992 535648

Please address all enquiries to:

Finance Director: Hilary Cole Finance Manager: Siobhan Cook Finance Assistant: Zarah Aslam

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

Printed By: Pensord, Tram Road,Pontllanfraith Blackwood, NP12 2YA

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 515, November 28th 2008