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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES

Issue 554 Friday September 11 2009 £3.25

04 Zattika gets

Gimme5games Tim Chaney’s new firm buys innovative Flash and iPhone gaming studio as it targets the web and mobile sectors

31 Games Media Awards Guide Read our six-page preview of the 55 finalists in the running for the GMAs

WITH THIS ISSUE An in-depth look at one of the games of the year

EVERY BUYER  EVERY BRANCH  EVERY INDIE  EVERY WEEK

INCORPORATING

London calling Big names back new event dedicated to digital distribution  ELSPA and Edge sign up as official partners London Games Conference by Dave Roberts SONY, NINTENDO, MICROSOFT, big name publishers, leading edge developers and pioneers of digital distribution will all form part of a wide-ranging programme at the first ever London Games Conference on Tuesday, October 27th. Taking place at BAFTA and sub-titled Digital Distribution and the Future of the European Games Market, LGC will be the biggest standalone UK event dedicated to the issue that is currently top of the industry’s agenda. Highlights include Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft discussing their online gaming strategies in a panel chaired by Edge editor Tony Mott; and a session hosted by erstwhile Sony development director Phil Harrison discussing the demise of physical media. As well as big names from the world of digital distribution, London Games Conference will also feature an opening address from Ed Vaizey, Shadow Minister for Culture, who had some bullish words and strident opinions for the

industry even ahead of his appearance: “I’m delighted to be speaking to the London Games Conference. The games sector is one of the most successful creative industries in the UK, but it has been forgotten by Government. While Canada and France aggressively compete to attract talent, all our politicians can talk about is video games violence. “Yet games should be a dream for a politician – it recruits people qualified in difficult subjects, like maths and computer science; it’s regional; and it’s successful and worldbeating. Government backing should be a no-brainer.” London Games Conference is part of the London Games Festival and is officially supported by ELSPA. Director

Sessions and Speakers

Outside The Box Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft discuss the current state and massive potential of their online gaming services in a session chaired by Edge editor Tony Mott. The Future of Digital Distribution Nick Parker of Parker Consulting gives an overview of the market and exclusive pointers to where it’s going.

Games Conference will be a vital forum for discussion and information on this crucial

LGC will be a vital forum on this crucial topic and we’re sure it will be incredibly useful for all our members. Michael Rawlinson, ELSPA

general Michael Rawlinson said: “Digital distribution is one of the major challenges facing all sectors of the business today and the London

topic. ELSPA is delighted to be supporting the event as an official partner and we’re sure LGC will be incredibly useful for all our members.”

Edge, meanwhile, has signed up as a Media Partner, guaranteeing coverage in the magazine and on its website. London Games Conference starts at 4:30pm and will be followed by an evening of networking, dinner and drinks. Tickets are £229, but an early bird rate of £199 is available until September 18th. There are also discounts for ELSPA and Tiga members.  For more details or to secure a delegate place, please email Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk.

Daddy, What’s a Disc? Former Sony stalwart Phil Harrison discusses the demise of physical media, and the businesses that will rise to replace it. The New Food Chain ELSPA chairman Andy Payne is joined by a leading developer, publisher, distributor and retailer to see who fits where in the new pecking order. Charting the Progress of PC Downloads GfK-ChartTrack director Dorian Bloch shows how the PC is at the forefront of digital distribution, and argues the case for the UK’s first download chart.

PERSONNEL 51 RETAIL BIZ 53 NEW RELEASES 66 HIGH STREET 68 CHARTS 70

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NEWS

[LEADER] DOWNLOAD DAZE How is your business approaching the downloadable content business? Is it an opportunity or a threat? Not sure? Join the club. There are more questions than answers when it comes to judging what kind of impact digital distribution will have on the current industry landscape, but at the same time there is some damn good research out there, a few experts, a growing number of pioneers and increasingly big bets being placed on the future. If you’d like to learn more, from market size to competitive landscape, then you are advised to attend the ELSPA-supported London Games Conference. This event, taking place on Tuesday October 27th at BAFTA, Piccadilly is taking shape nicely. It will be the biggest ever focus on the sector here in the UK, attracting over 150 execs from all over the business. So crucial is digital distribution when it comes to the future shape of the UK games industry, Shadow Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey is coming along to kick things off.

How will retail respond? When will there be a download chart? And how much money is the digitally-distributed business worth today?

From then on, starting at around 5pm, there will be three hours of keynotes and panel discussions featuring the likes of Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Edge, Sega, ChartTrack, The Hut and many more. This low-cost event, with networking dinner and drinks, is about bringing people together and sharing information. MCV will focus heavily on digital distribution over the next few weeks, building up to the event. Not just because London Games Conference is coming, but because this has been the hottest topic of the year by some distance. From the importance of DLC for new games such as The Beatles: Rock Band and Championship Manager’s ‘Pay Want You Want’ gimmick to this week’s purchase of Gimme5games by ambitious new contender Zattikka… purchased, rented, browser or cloud-based digital content is in the news every week. Next Wednesday, Nintendo is holding a major showcase event focused purely on WiiWare and DsiWare games. So how will retail respond to the rise in digital content? When will there be a download chart? And exactly how much money is the digitally-distributed games business worth today? Let alone tomorrow. Come along and you might just discover a few clues to guide you through the next year, whilst swapping business cards with the people shaping this exciting sector. Delegate places really will be limited, so email Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk to make sure you get in. Discounts apply for ELSPA and TIGA members, plus anyone who books before next Friday (September 18th). See you there. Stuart.Dinsey@intentmedia.co.uk

Chaney’s Zattikka grabs New online social gaming venture acquires major web and mobile by Michael French TIM CHANEY’S NEW firm Zattikka has hit the ground running – with its first move in games being the acquisition of iPhone and Flash specialist Gimme5games. Zattikka wants to be a major force in the online social gaming market. It was founded earlier this year by industry veteran and former Virgin Interactive and US Gold boss Chaney with ex-Yahoo! Europe CEO Mark Opzoomer. The pair want Zattikka to become ‘the pinpoint destination address for internet and mobile gaming development and distribution’ by launching a range of online games and title for iPhone, Blackberry and Android. Buying Gimme5games will help establish Zattikka’s development resource and make good on Chaney’s claim to MCV in June that he is looking at a number of targets in the UK for acquisition (‘Chaney on the prowl for studios’, MCV 542, June 19th). Gimme5games was founded by Matt Spall after an MBO

Chaney reckons that the online Flash games market is ripe for growth, and that Gimme5games can drive Zattikka’s expansion

Retail credited for PS3 boom Sony encourages more bundle promotions to drive further sales SCE UK HAS praised retail for driving consumer interest during the launch of its redesigned PS3. The console arrived last week and caused PlayStation 3 hard sales to rocket 1,000 per cent, which in turn had a knock-on effect on software. Now the platform holder is urging retail to push PS3 hardware bundles to increase game sales in the long-term. “All of our retailer partners did a great job given the short span between announcement

and launch and I would like to thank them for turning this on so quickly,” SCE UK sales director Mark Howsen told MCV. “Although we didn’t bundle any of our own titles with the new model, I think we would actively encourage any activity that drives consumer interest and value. The problem for retail of course is that bundling can be expensive, but we can see from the market data that once a

consumer becomes a PS3 owner they then tend to be very active in terms of future software sales, so as a vehicle to get consumers to adopt our format this makes sense.” Sony: 020 7859 5000

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MCV 11/09/09 5

NEWS

Gimme5games

Burridge joins 505

content portal to fuel ambitious plans

[PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10 FIFA 10

from Eidos earlier this year. The firm is known for its Flash gaming online portal, owned IP like Balloon Headed Boy, and a number of iPhone releases. Spall and his colleages Ian Willey and Ronny Batty will now all join Zattikka on a full time basis. “These guys’ Flash games have had 140 million plays,” said Chaney. “They know their way around the browser and download space like you and I

PS3 EA

2. COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2 360 ..............................CODEMASTERS

3. UNCHARTED 2 PS3 ..........................................SONY

These guys’ Flash games have had 140m plays. They know their way around the browser and download space. Tim Chaney, Zattikka

know the way around Tesco. And Matt is ex-VIE from the hedonistic days so he can’t be all bad. It’s a pleasure to work with him again.” Spall added: “We’re really pleased to find such an exciting new home for Gimme5games, and with the combined industry heritage of Tim Chaney and Mark Opzoomer at

the helm, we see Zattikka doing great things with this, and all its planned exploits.”  That’s not all for Zattikka. As part of its push to create a ‘radical network of both broad and niche flash gaming sites’ the firm will launch a new ‘gore n’ guns’ site called Badhed at the end of this month. Zattikka: 020 7268 3628

505 GAMES HAS strengthened its growing team with the impressive appointment of former Activision and Eidos stalwart Bob Burridge as UK sales director. The new hire comes shortly after former UK sales head Ralph PittStanley was promoted to the position of commercial director last month. Like many of 505’s key personnel, Burridge was a star of the Activision team that helped the company enjoy such success in the early-mid Noughties. More recently he was UK general manager at Eidos. Burridge told MCV: “505 Games has a very unique position in the marketplace. It is a young vibrant

dynamic company and I am proud to be joining such a committed and respected team of people, in a position where I can bring real benefit.” 505 Games’ Pitt-Stanley added: “505 Games is always looking to recruit exceptional talent. Bringing Bob into the fold is testament to the fact that, in just a few short years, we have built a respected team and business able to attract the best talent in the business.” Burridge’s appointment comes as 505 celebrates the arrival of IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey in the All Formats Top 10 this week. The firm releases Cooking Mama 3 in November. 505: 01908 607 772

4. . HALO 3: ODST 360 ..................................MICROSOFT

5. FIFA 10 360 ..............................................EA

6. PES 2010 PS3........................................KONAMI

7. COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2 PS3 ..............................CODEMASTERS

8. GRAN TURISMO 5 PS3 ..........................................SONY

9. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ....................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

10. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 PS3 ....................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD Week ending August 29th Source: SHOPTO.COM  Turn to page 69 for more pre-order charts from leading online retailers

UK SOFTWARE SALES MONITOR Your weekly guide to the UK games software market… THE UK SOFTWARE MARKET has dipped just slightly in terms of software this week. According to MCV calculations based on this week’s Gfk-ChartTrack/ELSPA data, the UK software market was worth £17.8m for the week ending September 4th. Overall the market has held relatively steady, with consumers buying software to accompany the recently launched new, slimmer PlayStation 3 model – with games such as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare benefiting from the arrival of the new console. However, although 505 Games’ IL-2 Sturmovik and Square Enix’s Dissidia: Final Fantasy performed strongly, there were no new releases that could compare to last week’s smash hit Batman: Arkham Asylum, which continues to dominate the ChartTrack Top 40 at No.1.

[MARKET VALUE]

£17.8m

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

20

15

10

£14.8m

£18.7m

£17.8m

778,634 Units

889,797 Units

869,181 Units

5

Call of Duty 4 made a surprise return to the All Formats top three this week

0 Week Ending August 22nd Week Ending August 29th Week Ending September 5th

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Sega: ‘This is our best ever line-up’ Mario and Sonic, Aliens vs. Predator, Planet 51 and Bayonetta to benefit from massive marketing support “It is the best thought out with the best depth and the best content. “We are releasing both Mario & Sonic games preChristmas, and this is joined by Football Manager and Planet 51. Last time Mario and Sonic on Wii came out a while before the DS version.

by Christopher Dring PUBLISHER SEGA will spend millions on promoting its “greatest ever” release slate. The firm showcased its software line-up to retail at its Fast Forward event last week, revealing details of the likes of Napoleon: Total War, Alpha Protocol, Mario & Sonic at the

Our current line-up has to be our best of all time. It is the best thought out with the best depth and best content. John Clark, Sega

Olympic Winter Games, Aliens vs. Predator, Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll, Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing, Iron Man 2 and Bayonetta. And the full line-up is set to benefit from a multi-million pound above-the-line marketing push. “Our current line-up has to be our best ever,” said Sega UK’s managing director John Clark.

“We are then finishing the financial year off with Napoleon: Total War, which comes hot on the heels of Empire: Total War. “And that’s not to mention probably our strongest multi-format Sonic game in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, as well as Bayonetta, Aliens vs. Predator, Vancouver 2010, and Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll.”

John Clark and Amanda Farr are backing Sega’s Q4 line-up with the firm’s ‘strongest ever’ marketing push

UK marketing director Amanda Farr added: “These games will also benefit from our strongest ever marketing support. “The company is now better structured to take advantage of these products than it was in

Kingdom Hearts DS pre-orders soar SQUARE ENIX’s latest Kingdom Hearts title is enjoying ‘huge’ pre-order levels, according to the firm. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (pictured) is the first entry of the series to appear on DS and will be released on October 9th. “Kingdom Hearts has always been incredibly popular. As the first new release into the franchise for three years, preorders are already way in excess of typical DS product,” UK sales director Doug Bone told MCV. Print media ads for the game will run for three months from September, both in specialist and kids’ press.

“We’ll also run a series of carefully targeted promotions toward the late

tween and early teen audiences,” added Square Enix senior product manager Adrian Arnese. “Our online advertising on launch will feature various takeovers and rich media video on a range of gaming and kids websites.” Online promotions aimed at younger gamers that feature the in-game Disney characters are expected to appear. Bone commented:“The strength of the brand, quality of the product and the perfect timing in the approach to Christmas all set Kingdom Hearts up as a star performer for retail over the peak period.” Square: 020 7324 5200

the past. Advertising media costs have gone down [so we get more for our money], and we are implementing some fantastic campaigns over the next six months.” Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is set

to receive the bulk of the advertising spend, as the publisher seeks to beat the likes of Activision’s Modern Warfare 2 and Electronic Arts’ FIFA 10 to the Christmas No.1 spot. Sega: 020 8995 3399

‘Russian ELSPA’ to form at October conference RUSSIA is set to officially swear in its first video games trade association. The National Russian Association of Game Industry will be unveiled at new trade show the All-Russian Conference in October. Organisers of ACGi also hope to help establish a ‘Committee of Games Industry Development’ to improve links with publishers, developers and educators both inside and outside of Russia. The conference will boast an expo, lectures,

press conferences and various networking events. ACGi takes place in take place in the town of Dubna from October 27th to 29th and has backing from the Russian Government. “ACGi will become the bridge between Russian and the global games business,” said Konstantin Popov, CEO of co-organiser Biart Studio. www.acogi.org

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MCV 11/09/09 7

NEWS

Comet recruits new games boss to handle peak season Azeem Sadiq replaces firm’s former buyer Debbie O’Neill on MCV’s Retail Advisory Board by Christopher Dring ELECTRONICS RETAIL chain Comet has hired Azeem Sadiq as its category buyer for gaming. Although new to the games industry, Sadiq has eight years of retail experience, having held various buying roles for House of Fraser, MFI and

“I am excited about joining Comet as the category buyer for games and looking forward to driving our market share,” Sadiq told MCV. “Also, it’s a great time to join the industry as the peak season will always offer great new launches, including the new slim PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Halo 3: ODST.”

It’s a great time to join the industry, as the peak season brings the new PlayStation 3, Halo: ODST and much more. Azeem Sadiq, Comet

online retailer CSN. He replaces Debbie O’Neill, who moved from the games team to white goods back in June. Sadiq will report to category manager for audio and games, Ross Edwards, and is supported by assistant category buyer Paul Bangs and assistant category marketing manager Jena Dale.

Sadiq will also replace Debbie O’Neill on MCV’s Retail Advisory Board. The RAB is an elite group of the trade’s top games buyers that keeps MCV up-todate on the latest happenings at UK retail. New recruits to the Retail Advisory Board this year includes Tesco’s games buying

SADIQ: New Comet games buyer joins MCV’s Retail Advisory Board

manager Joanna Hunt, Sainsbury’s head of games Gurdeep Hunjan, Morrisons’ games buyer Jon Biggs, DSGi’s category manager for games Peter Willis and The Hut’s marketing boss Caroline Austen.

Sadiq joins other MCV RAB members including GAME CEO Lisa Morgan, Asda’s head of games Duncan Cross and HMV’s head of games Tim Ellis. Comet: 01923 710000

Namco Bandai and Ubisoft back GMAs NAMCO BANDAI Partners and Ubisoft have become the latest big name publishers to get behind this year’s Games Media Awards. Ubisoft has stepped up to sponsor the Best Games Coverage in a Mainstream Magazine category – won last year by Simon Munk for FHM. Ubisoft UK marketing director Murray Pannell commented: “On occasion, the level and quality of editorial coverage generated by the UK media goes unrecognised. Ubisoft considers it very important to

support the GMAs, which acknowledges this dedication and professionalism. We wish all the nominees the best of luck.” Namco Bandai Partners, meanwhile, is sponsoring the highly prestigious Games Media Legend award, won last year by Future stalwart

Steve Jarratt and the year before by cuddly old school favourite Gary Penn (from back when school was still spelt properly). Head of UK PR Lee Kirton said: “We’re very happy to support the GMAs and be part of a great calendar event which recognises the talent of

journalism in the UK games media. Best of luck to everyone nominated.” The Games Media Awards take place at Jongleurs in Camden on the evening of Thursday, October 15th. Gold sponsors of this year’s Games Media Awards include Electronic Arts, Super Mario Bros. Wii, Xbox 360, Sega, DJ Hero and F1 2009. Silver sponsors include IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds Of Prey and Bethesda’s Wet. Trade tickets are selling out fast. To secure yours, contact: Dave.Roberts@intentmedia. co.uk

LucasArts and the LucasArts logo are trademarks of Lucasfilm Ltd. © 2008-2009 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. and TM as indicated. All rights reserved. ‘2’, ‘PlayStation’, ‘PSP’ and ‘ ’ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners.

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Warner Bros. banking on ‘Layton appeal’ for Scribblenauts release Publisher likens new puzzle title’s charm to smash hit – and says release will get gamers ‘revisiting their DS’ by Tim Ingham WARNER BROS Interactive Entertainment believes that innovative new DS puzzler Scribblenauts can emulate the success of Nintendo smash Professor Layton. The publisher is backing the title with a major TV campaign and Q4 sampling tour to drive

Bros marketing manager Phil Lamb told MCV. “That combined with the addictive gameplay means that it will definitely strike a chord with casual, female and maybe even ‘grey’ gamers. “What Scribblenauts offers is something akin to Nintendo’s Professor Layton – an addictive and challenging

Scribblenauts offers an addictive and challenging game that has real massmarket appeal. Phil Lamb, Warner Bros.

home Scribblenauts’ massmarket appeal. The title picked up 35 Awards at this year’s E3, and Warner believes it could be the first in a new franchise. “The stylised look of Scribblenauts offers something fresh and friendly that doesn’t appear intimidating” Warner

national publications. A two phase TV campaign, which includes promotional spots around launch and a further push at Christmas, is planned. Scribblenauts will headline a Warner sampling tour of shopping

game that has real mass-market appeal all wrapped up in a uniquely stylised package.” He added: “We fully expect this title to be the start of a brand new franchise in the DS puzzle market.” Print ads for the title will appear across lifestyle and

Warner’s Lamb says Scribblenauts has mass-market appeal

centres and events, from midOctober to Christmas. Lamb added: “Many forum users are saying the game is

the biggest incentive they’ve had to revisit their dormant DS in a long time.” Warner: 020 7984 6389

Look who’s back, Rat fans… PUBLISHERS are being urged to take a chance on a Roland Rat game, after a US IP agency snapped up the rights to the classic 1980s television character. The Sharpe Company announced it had acquired the licence for the fluffy presenter last month, with a review to relaunching him as a ‘Noughties’ star. Now the firm is calling on developers and publishers to contact them about creating a Roland Rat title to take advantage of this ‘rebirth’. Sharpe president Charlie Day told MCV: “Back in the day Ocean Software had Roland’s Rat Race for

Commodore and ZX Spectrum and it became somewhat of a cult classic. “We will be reaching out to video game developers and publishers to recreate some of that magic for today’s formats.

Roland Rat made his TV debut in 1983, becoming a household name thanks to his appearances on breakfast TV show TV-am. Within a few months, he took the audience from 100,000 to 1.8 million.

Casual gaming with Roland will be a lot of fun. As he gains popularity more opportunities will arise. Charlie Day, The Sharpe Company

Casual gaming with Roland will be a lot of fun and as Roland gains popularity with younger kids all manner of other opportunities will arise.”

During the past two decades, he has starred in over 400 TV programmes and made numerous guest appearances in shows such as

RAT PACK: Roland can once again star in video games – should a publisher want to bid for the IP

The Weakest Link, Big Brother and Ashes to Ashes. Day added: “We see an initial merchandise programme being geared towards nostalgic

adults but as he Roland appeal grows, we will see a whole new wave of Roland Rat fans emerging.” www.sharpeco.com

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NEWS

PC specialist unleashes new iPhone-based home console Elonex’s iGame Family combines iPod charging dock with motion sensitive gameplay by James Batchelor A NEW format is heading to shelves this Christmas that merges the likes of plug-andplay TV games, iPod functionality and motion sensitive gameplay. The iGame Family, a TV games dock from UK IT service providers Elonex, will be available to retailers from September 21st and works as both an iPod dock and a games console. Users can stream media such as music and videos from their iPod straight to the TV screen. Alternatively, with the touch of a button, it works as a standalone video games console, offering consumers a range of motion sensitive sports and mini-games. Elonex’s head of strategic relationships Simon Le Jeune

told MCV the company predicts the iGame Family will be a hit this Christmas. “Our expectations are professionally and realistically based on our own research,” he said. “Early indications are that we have excellent prospects of a great success. Our initial sales are giving us cause for concern about meeting demand before Christmas hits.” Le Jeune said the product will grant games retailers access to the iPod peripherals revenue stream typically dominated by general entertainment and music retailers, thanks to the dock’s gaming functionality. “When price, margin and spend are under increased pressure, it offers retailers an unexpected profit opportunity

Elonex’s iPod dock also doubles as a motion-based games console

Nicholls feels Risen can become a major RPG series

press and consumers, enabling us to develop a major new RPG franchise.”

[IN BRIEF] HMV: The retail group has posted a 12.5 per cent total sales growth for the 18 weeks to August 29th – with like-for-like sales up 1.7 per cent. The sales included contribution from 29 former Zavvi stores WARNER: The former Xbox 360-exclusive Scene It? series, based on the popular DVD-based board game, will now appear on Wii and PS3 via the publisher’s Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! NAMCO: The publisher has formed a new music label, Namco Sounds, which will bring re-mastered tracks from the firm’s most iconic games – such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders – to iTunes.

for substantial incremental sales this Christmas and thereafter of hardware and software,” he explained. “It gives retailers an excellent opportunity to take

revenue and profits from other industries by having a fresh offering for those consumers who find that current hardware and games prices are still out of reach.” Elonex: 0871 222 3456

Koch has big plans for Risen KOCH MEDIA believes its upcoming RPG Risen can become an on-going series. The original IP is due for release under the distributor’s Deep Silver publishing label for PC and 360 on October 2nd. It has been developed by German developer Piranha Bytes, which is best known for its Gothic RPG series. “Risen is Deep Silver’s major launch of the year,” sales and marketing director Paul Nicholls told MCV. “Our expectations are that the game will be well received by both the specialist gaming

Sponsored by

Koch is keen to promote the triple-A qualities of Risen, such as its notable voice cast, which includes Lord Of The Rings stars Andy Serkis and John Rhys-Davies. And the publisher feels that gamers will be impressed by the title’s rich narrative and strong gameplay. “Retailers can expect a product that appeals to hardcore RPG fans looking for a new and exciting gaming experience,” Nicholls. “The game features more than 60 hours of gameplay so it also represents excellent value for money.

“The product will be supported with a far reaching marketing and PR campaign that will ensure no gamer will not have heard of Risen by the time the game launches.” The main focus of the marketing campaign will be on specialist gaming sites and print publications, as well as lifestyle magazines such as Deathray and Sci-Fi. Additionally, Koch will try to build a community following launch, by taking part in public events and social media. Koch: 0870 027 0985

ROCKSTAR: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and Beaterator will both be heading to the iPhone App Store this year. RISING STAR: A new partnership with Koch will see Rising Star’s products distributed throughout markets in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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New Tomb Raider bundle hits retail Fresh collection of Lara Croft video games somersaults on to shelves this autumn courtesy of Mastertronic very best value titles to market,” said sales director James Cato. “But this time we have excelled ourselves. The classic compilations that we are showcasing are some of our strongest ever titles, and quite

by Aaron Lee A NEW COLLECTION of titles from Eidos’ popular Tomb Raider franchise will be coming to stores this autumn. Tomb Raider: The Greatest Raids from Mastertronic will bundle the four original PC releases – Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III and Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation – for £19.99. Since its first release, Tomb Raider has seen over eight major releases and the franchise has gone on to sell more than 30 million copies worldwide. Sales of the original game stand at over seven million units. “Mastertronic have long been known for bringing the

These classic compilations are some of our strongest ever titles and are the best value products on the market. James Cato, Mastertronic

simply the best value products out on the market today – something that we’re really excited about.” In addition to the Tomb Raider collection,

Thief and Commandos join Tomb Raider in Mastertronic’s new range

two more Eidos franchises will be arriving packaged in the same fashion, Thief – The Complete Collection and Commandos Complete. The first three Thief games will come packaged for £9.99,

Mastertronic: 0207 502 4450

E WEEK H T F O N G I A P CAM DIRT 2 COLIN MCRAE: Codemasters is preparing to set the racing world alight this week with the release of Dirt 2, and the publisher has backed it with an impressive marketing campaign...

Print Dirt 2’s print campaign has been running in specialist publications, including Official PlayStation, Official Xbox and Edge. The game was also present in action sports magazines, including MOTO, RIDE and Sidewalk, throughout August with extra coverage planned this month as well. Dirt 2 has also racked up a lot of specialist press coverage, with positive previews in Xbox 360, PSM3, Official PlayStation and NGamer. Online A four-week web ad campaign has been running on Gamespot, IGN, Eurogamer, CVG and Gamesradar. This activity included Dirt 2 sponsoring IGN’s GamesCom channel, and integrating Dirt 2’s website into CVG. Furthermore, a five-week

campaign has been booked on sites such as LastFM, We7, Spotify, MSN, Yahoo, The Sun and more. The firm has also launched a viral online game, dirtytats.com.

RELEASED: SEPTEMBER 11

TV A two-week pre-release TV campaign has been running on Channel 4, Five, E4 and Dave, aimed at 16 to 34 year-old males.

CONTACT: 01279 822 800

Outdoor Sponsorship and sampling activity has included a summer tour with Monster Energy, visiting festivals and sports events such as Sonisphere, Truckfest and Weston Beach Racer. The company’s Xbox 360 custom fitted Dirt 2 Winnebago has also been on the road throughout the UK, while the company ran a big launch event in collaboration with NME Radio.

FORMATS: 360, PS3, WII, DS, PSP PUBLISHER: CODEMASTERS DEVELOPER: CODEMASTERS PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: GEM

Dirt 2’s green artwork will be used in-store to attract consumers

including the rare Gold Edition of the first Thief game. Commandos Complete will contain all five of the highly reviewed Commandos titles and will retail for £14.99.

Create and customise your ultimate Marvel team from over 24 playable characters.

Marvel, and all related characters and the distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of Marvel Entertainment, Inc. and its subsidiaries, and are used with permission. Copyright © 2009 Marvel Entertainment, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Licensed by Marvel Characters B.V. www.marvel.com. All rights reserved. Super Hero(es) is a co-owned registered trademark. Game © 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision is a registered trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. ‘2’, PLAYSTATION, PlayStation, ‘7’ and PSP are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All RIghts Reserved.

activision.com

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Team up with friends both online and offline. Unleash astonishing new powers by combining your heroes’ abilities.

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MCV 11/09/09 15

MCV INTERVIEW YVES GUILLEMOT, CEO, UBISOFT

UBIQUITOUS: Guillemot is confident that the games industry can continue to grow its audience

‘Soft focus Ubisoft announced a sales dip in its last financial results. Is the industry coming to terms with the fact it is affected by the recession? The industry is a little bit affected by the economic crisis – much like other industries. Given that last year the industry was able to grow by 20 per cent it is understandable that it is flat this year – but it will continue to grow afterwards. What we were expecting was the drop of cost in consoles to ensure we can continue to attract more customers, as we did in previous generations – as they have in previous generations. So the recent console price cuts are great news and will help us reach more consumers, I think.

Overall I’m very positive about the industry – we are a major entertainment force and the brands we create can become books, movies, toys and comic books – that will help finance future games productions.

to use the capacity offered by PS3 or 360 is immense. So we have to invest more and more in each game to improve the experiences we offer.

Is that the thinking behind the recently-announced Assassin’s Creed mini-movies? The recent console price cuts The goal is to not just are great news for the create a better experience, but make sure industry and will help us we can reach consumers reach more consumers. in different ways. They Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft don’t have to experience the Assassin’s Creed IP You mentioned using merchandise interactively – there are other ways. to fund games – is that an important part of the model for Ubisoft? At E3 you said that Ubisoft was a I think the budgets of games will believer in ‘confluence’ – the continue to keep rising because the overlap between games and other potential for these machines is huge – mediums. Is it fair to say you want

What’s Ubisoft’s view on how the industry is dealing with the recession and issues like piracy? CEO Yves Guillemot explained all to Michael French… the company to be more than ‘just a games publisher’? It’s not that we want to be in too many media – what I want to do is ensure the interactive media continues to grow. And to grow sometimes it’s good to go and take some of the know-how that other industries have. The movie industry is very good at creating characters. So why don’t we use that industry to help create characters that make their way into the game? Why don’t we use the books or comic books to create stories or background to give a better experience in the game? It’s all about improving the user experience. Ubisoft’s games for the Avatar and the Tintin movie are the flipside of that. How do you approach handling the spin-off merchandise

16 MCV 11/09/09

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MCV INTERVIEW YVES GUILLEMOT, CEO, UBISOFT

While Splinter Cell: Conviction (above, left) might be delayed to next year but Ubisoft has a raft of key titles for Q4 2009, including new Wii fitness title Your Shape (above, centre) and Assassin’s Creed II (above, right). New Rayman, Imagine and Shaun White titles are also due before the year is out – plus a tie-in for upcoming Hollywood blockbuster Avatar

for another medium? It’s the same idea. James Cameron, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are creating universes that are exceptional. If we can help out as those universes become more interactive, we can reach a shared audience. The goal is to make sure we are collaborating to create those properties early. With previous movie games sometimes we didn’t have enough time for development – and the game wasn’t as good as the movie.

The next Splinter Cell has been delayed again – why? The thinking is always the same – we want to make sure we have enough time to complete those games and make sure they are high quality games. I was in Montréal with the team only recently – and having the extra time is something that the team is grateful to have. The game itself still would have been good – even a great game. But we want it to be an excellent game, because the other games coming out are getting better all the time. So we said: why not? If we can delay it and benefit then that’s a good thing. Plus there are loads of great games coming out this side of Christmas. So you weren’t trying to avoid a clash with Modern Warfare 2? No, that wasn’t really the point – I would love to say that, and I’m sure Activision would love me to say that! But the truth is Splinter Cell wasn’t at the point we wanted. A number of other publishers have delayed key titles too – are the publishers waiting for a better

economic situation in 2010? Well, now we have a situation where there are a lot of good games due for release in the first half of next year, but I think some publishers will move again. The first quarter of 2010 is looking pretty crazy. So I expect some movement from the other players – some of those delayed games will be moved again.

Would releasing more digital-only products help that anti-piracy drive? Well, there is still piracy in digital. Not as a much, but it’s still there. You have to make sure you find the right way to reach a customer who is ready to pay, because downloads are a good way to distribute content, but aren’t yet the best way. Retail is still a great way to deliver games because of the instore knowledge and Digital is something we are explanation you get from always thinking about, but it’s staff. You can touch not going to be a serious games in a shop. thing for some time. Digital is something we are always thinking about, Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft but it’s not going to be a serious thing for us for some time. You recently said that Ubisoft is working on a solution to PC piracy. But Activision has World of Warcraft What can you tell us about that? and EA is becoming increasingly I can’t give you many details yet. The online-centric – don’t you have to idea is to make sure that if our creators compete? work hard on a product they get Don’t get me wrong, we do invest revenue for it – it’s their life. heavily in online. We have looked at It has always been the case in the last those areas, and always make sure that 22 years that as piracy increases the relevant games have a great multiplayer industry find solutions to combat it, element. We invest in that a lot where it then it rises up again, and we fight it is right. again… Ubisoft wants to make sure that So while Assassin’s Creed 2 might be for normal customers it’s harder to very linear, Avatar has an online pirate games and that it’s even more component, for instance. Sometimes the difficult than ever before for the games we produce have multi-player hardcore user that pirates lots of content. aspects that could even be games in their own right. Splinter Cell really Ubisoft also singled out DS piracy as innovated in that area. We have having an effect on your sales – separate teams that develop the singlehow can the industry address that? player and multi-player components of We are working on it with things like our games; that works really well for us. accessories bundled with the games, or But in the wider world, retail is still other items that aid the experience and hugely important – in time it will even aren't just on the cart. But you have to grow to include digital distribution itself. do that right. Again, it’s about making Online is hugely important, but you the experience better. need to make sure that games include

both online and offline elements to make sure you address the whole audience. Ubisoft’s new fitness title Your Shape comes with a bundled camera. What’s the thinking there? With the camera we found a peripheral that is cheap and easy to make, but also provides an innovation. It will help grow our audience a lot. The Wii Fit owners and owners of Wii machines are very interested in being healthy so they are buying lots of those games – they want to find the best exercises, so they try all the self-improvement games. That whole genre has great potential, and with more female consumers coming into the industry there are opportunities to grow these categories and find other new ones. By comparison, the Balance Board has really improved the relationship consumers have with their console – players of games like Shaun White really do feel that their moving around helps the experience. What other genres would you want to get into? For Ubisoft the goal is to enter enough fields so we have enough coverage of the whole industry. With Shaun White and Academy of Champions we are now in the sports category and that is a great place to be – we are investing in those titles and we will continue to invest. Racing is also key for us – we bought [Newcastle-based studio] Reflections some time ago. One day, you and I can finally talk about what they are working on, but suffice to say it is a very special game in the racing and driving genre. They are focused on PS3 and 360 – it should be really good.

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MCV 11/09/09 21

ELSPA’S 20th ANNIVERSARY

Fighting the good fight Two decades to the week after it was born, ELSPA continues to strive for better, fairer treatment for the UK games industry. Here, current director general Mike Rawlinson looks back at its achievements… ON SUNDAY, ELSPA celebrated its 20th anniversary. It was a major milestone in the association’s history and certainly marks our coming of age as a trade body. Not only is ELSPA one of the most important trade bodies for the video games industry, it is also the oldest. ELSPA was the first video games trade

at Haddonacre, Evesham. This was in the middle of nowhere – three buildings surrounded by turnip fields. Over the next 16 years we moved around quite a lot – to four different offices in three buildings! Gallop organised the games charts in 1989, but after five or six years they announced they were

ELSPA was the first games trade body anywhere in the world. As the saying goes: Where we lead, others follow. Michael Rawlinson, ELSPA

body anywhere in the world. We lead, others follow – as the saying goes. Back at the end of the Eighties, ELSPA was set up when a handful of the country’s games publishers got together looking for a collective identity for the industry. At the time there were just two ambitions for the fledgling association: To compile and publish the sales charts for games in the UK and to tackle software piracy. For the first few months a consultant was brought in to run the association. But it was felt that wasn’t working out, so the first Secretary General was appointed. He was a games magazine ad sales rep called Roger Bennett and he quickly personified the association and gave it direction. Roger lived just outside Evesham in Worcestershire and the association literally started off around his kitchen table. When the kitchen started to get too full, the association moved to a base

pulling out of the market and, coincidentally, of compiling the weekly Irish music charts. We were approached by the small team that worked on those charts and agreed to help them set-up on their own, as ChartTrack. CHART OF THE MATTER I think we lent ChartTrack £30,000 – and it was perhaps one of the best deals we have ever done. Not only was the money repaid within a year, it meant that our members got weekly and monthly sales reports included as part of their annual subs. I don’t think any other games trade body offers anywhere near as much when it comes to analysing the market. More recently, GfK bought up a controlling interest in ChartTrack, but ELSPA still retains a valuable slice of ownership.

Rawlinson says ELSPA’s original agreement with ChartTrack was “one of the best deals we’ve ever done”

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Thursday October 15th

2009 Jongleurs, Camden

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MCV 11/09/09 23

ELSPA’S 20th ANNIVERSARY ELSPA’S KEY MOMENTS…. MCV looks back on 20 years of history for the games industry trade body… September 6th, 1989 – ELSPA is formed in Evesham. Body immediately sets about helping set up ECTS trade show, while Gallop maintains rights to create official UK video games chart January 1990 – Roger Bennett becomes Director General as Mark Lewis is named Chairman July 1993 – Mark Strachan takes over as Chairman June 1994 – John Loader becomes head of ELSPA’s anti-piracy unit, while the body’s voluntary rating system is sworn in on game boxes July 1995 – Alan Dickinson becomes ELSPA’s third Chairman DREAM TEAM: ELSPA legend Roger Bennett (left) set up the body and remained as director general for 16 years. Other execs that have taken top roles include (clockwise from top): Mark Strachan, Paul Jackson, Scott Dodkins and current chairman Andy Payne

In 1989 there was no real copy were previously merely the domain of protection for our industry. Games were magistrates courts could now be tried in largely distributed on floppy discs and the Crown Court, which could impose car boot sales tended to be awash with greater punishments. The Alliance is a ripped-off games. Government covered great success and became a properly this area via the Patent Office back constituted company in 2007. then. Today it is called the Intellectual With hindsight, being based in Property Office, and recognises that Evesham had become a nightmare by trademarks and copyright as well as the end. We’d get phone calls from patents are important. Government officials in London asking if Early on we partnered with FAST (the we could pop in to see them the Federation Against Software Theft) to carry out our anti-piracy PEGI is one of our real high operations. Next we points. Government backing brought things in-house is good for both child safety and substantially grew our and industry economics. IP operation. Michael Rawlinson, ELSPA In 1999 the creative entertainment industries became disillusioned with Government following morning for a quick meeting. endlessly playing one side off against But we’d have to hold our hands up and another. Whatever we asked for then explain that we couldn’t turn up at the we were told ‘that’s not what the music drop of a hat – as we were on the other industry wants’, or ‘that’s not what the side of the country. movie industry wants’. So we decided We needed to be much nearer the to take matters into our own hands and heart of Government and in August set up the Alliance Against IP Theft. We 2003 we relocated to Wardour Street, got a Private Member's Bill through that Soho. After three years, we finally finally updated the inadequate copyright closed the Haddonacre office. legislation, aligning the penalties for THE RATING GAME copyright infringement with trademarks. This meant that decent fines could be Around the early Nineties there were levied against perpetrators and repeat one or two games coming along, offenders while imprisonment could be particularly on the Sega Megadrive , imposed for up to ten years. The change that were more graphically realistic and also meant that prosecutions which violent than anything that had gone

before. We realised that to protect ourselves as an industry, and the public, we needed a game-rating system. Originally this was the ELSPA Voluntary Rating System. It would last nine years, until we brought in a more comprehensive system – and one that could work across Europe. The PEGI system came into force in 2003. Even PEGI has evolved in six short years – and now the British Government has announced, as part of its Digital Britain report, that it is to be adopted as the legal game-rating system in the UK. Without a doubt PEGI is one of the high points of ELSPA’s 20 years. First, its introduction in 2003 was a great result for ELSPA. That the British Government has now backed it is complete vindication of the system. It’s a fantastic result for child safety, but it is also a victory for continuity and the economic savings it will bring our trade. In 20 years’ time ELSPA will still be going strong. This is an industry driven by technology so two more decades down the line it might be unrecognisable – but it will still be part of the culture. Whatever the industry looks like then, there will still be ongoing political challenges of recognition, explanation and protection of our industry in the corridors of power. And I know that ELSPA will still be best-placed to serve those needs in Britain.

March 1996 – ChartTrack takes ownership of the official UK games charts, in partnership with ELSPA July 1997 – Paul Jackson is sworn in as ELSPA’s fourth Chairman April 1998 – Terry Anslow takes over as anti-piracy boss July 2000 – Paul Jackson vacates the ELSPA chairmanship after three years, replaced by John Pirie March 2002 – John Hillier takes over the anti-piracy post at ELSPA July 2003 – Scott Dodkins becomes ELSPA Chairman as the organisation moves to London. Meanwhile, the PEGI voluntary system is born July 2005 – Mastertronic’s Andy Payne becomes Chairman August 2006 – Former Chairman Paul Jackson returns to ELSPA as Director General, as Roger Bennett retires after 16 years of service September 2007 – The Government commissions Dr. Tanya Byron to conduct her now notorious Review of the games industry July 2008 – ChartTrack merges with GfK to form GfK-ChartTrack – ELSPA’s new partner over the official UK weekly charts March 2009 – Mike Rawlinson becomes Director General as Paul Jackson moves on to new projects June 2009 – The Government announces that PEGI is to become the UK’s single, lawful age ratings system

24 MCV 11/09/09

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ELSPA’S 20th ANNIVERSARY

Thanks for the memories Some of the UK industry’s most notable execs look back over ELSPA’s last two decade – and offer their very own congratulatory messages…

“Few companies, let alone individuals, can claim to have been in our industry for 20 years (not even MCV!) – and it’s reflective of our industry’s growth and maturity that ELSPA is stronger than ever. “Congratulations to all those who have and continue to dedicate time and support for a very important industry institution.” Matt Carroll, Country Director, Disney Interactive Studios

“Congratulations to ELSPA on 20 years of tireless work to promote and defend our industry. They have always made a point to listen to everyone involved – not just at the start of the supply chain, but the customers and retailers as well, and then presented a coherent and united case to the media and Government audiences that try to impact our businesses. “One of ELSPA’s great strengths has always been their ability to reflect the industry’s great passion for finding ever better ways to entertain customers while also providing them with clear information and protection. To have maintained this focus while the industry has faced such enormous challenges and opportunities is tribute to the focus and skill of their team, and we’re very grateful for all of the support they have given to GAME and Gamestation over the last two decades.” Terry Scicluna, COO, GAME Group UK & Ireland

“ELSPA serves its membership, nay it serves this industry – and to please all the people all of the time is a thankless task. The founding ethos by those who had the foresight and commitment to act in the interest of the greater good of the video games business by coming together as a representative body is stronger today than it has ever been. From a UK-centric entity with narrow support and resources picking isolated challenges, it now sits at the top table, integrated globally and influencing policy with the country’s decision makers. It’s reach is broader and it is heard loud and clear and is listened to in the corridors of power – and this before it has marked its coming of age. “The best years lie ahead and ELSPA deserves salutations and support from us all. We are not worthy! So, Andy, Mike and all the team at ELSPA let me say thank you for being the torch bearers – and congratulations on this momentous anniversary. I'm sure we ain’t seen nothing yet!” Rod Cousens, CEO, Codemasters

“Huge congratulations to everyone who has been involved with and has devoted time to ELSPA over the past 20 years. There have been some significant milestones passed and seemingly insurmountable odds overcome along the way. “As an industry we should all be very proud of what we have achieved and the benefits that ELSPA’s work and decisions have brought to everyone in our industry and beyond. “Whilst it’s right at times like this to look back into the past, the real challenge for ELSPA now is to look forward and focus on the next 20 years for the video games industry. We as members need to ensure that we help the organisation evolve by creating a strategy that keeps ELSPA relevant not only to its members and the wider publishing community but to the public too.” David Yarnton, UK General Manager, Nintendo

“I attended some of the early industry meetings when the formation of a trade body was discussed and remember thinking: ‘This is a good idea but it will never happen.’ Well it did. And it lasted. And it has been incredibly successful on a number of fronts over 20 years. I spent four very interesting years as an ELSPA Board member and gained a great insight into the amount of energy that goes into dealing with so many topics. There are the headline issues that many people are aware of: The formation of ChartTrack, age-ratings, antipiracy, the formation of ISFE. But there is always so much more going on behind the scenes that the guys at ELSPA are quietly and energetically getting on with. “Three cheers to Roger Bennett for keeping it all together for so many years... to Mike Rawlinson for so successfully taking over the baton... to the numerous Chairmen and Board members who have put in so much of their time... and to the staff at ELSPA who are continuously working for the benefit of games publishers and the industry in general.” Pete Stone, UK General Manager, Konami

“Over the last 20 years ELSPA has helped to support and build a stronger video games industry. In particular, its recent successful campaign to retain the PEGI ratings system as legally recognised was of great practical and economic benefit to the industry. Well done ELSPA and happy birthday!” Ian Livingstone, Life President, Eidos

“Future has been an associate member of ELSPA for over a decade. We joined ELSPA because we share their objectives on growing the games business responsibly, and support their anti-piracy stance. If ELSPA didn’t exist you’d have to invent it. The European games industry of 20 years ago was very different, but the ELSPA founders had the vision to create a body that today matches the scale and social importance of video games. Happy birthday!” James Binns, Publishing Director, Future Publishing

“It has been an absolute pleasure to serve on the ELSPA board during a period of increasing change, development and challenge for this industry. ELSPA and the industry has come a long way in the last 20 years and it is very exciting to begin to contemplate the next 20 (although I’ll probably be sitting in a twilight home in Penge for their 40th!). Happy Birthday ELSPA. Here’s to many more years.” Andy Barker, Customer Services Director, SCEE

“The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association has worked well to protect and promote the interests of its members over the last 20 years. “They continue to address the issues that affect all of us and are an important part of our great industry.” Spencer Crossley, UK Sales and Marketing Director, Warner Bros

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MCV 11/09/09 27

MCV INTERVIEW NEIL MEREDITH, COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, EXSPECT

Gem-owned peripherals giant Exspect is enjoying fast growth during 2009. As it gears up for a busy Q4 with its official range of Sony PSP accessories, Christopher Dring speaks to commercial director Neil Meredith…

Exspect the unexpected The partnership with Sony was good licences for some time, but working clearly a big deal for you guys, how with a console manufacturer has taken did it come about? us to a new level. By offering this We feel strongly that we are the best at licensed range to our customers we are protecting mobile devices because of providing as close to guaranteed sellers as our iPod range, so we had been looking you can get. We are really excited about at what devices have the same phase two of our plans, which will accessory needs as an iPod and the include electronic related accessories for PSPgo is very much in that category. We all Sony consoles. approached SCEE with a clear strategy that showed them we could We’re really excited about deliver on all aspects of our new plans, which will becoming a partner of include electronic accessories choice. MEREDITH: Exspect boss says working with Sony in an official capacity has taken the firm “to a new level”

for all Sony consoles.

How do you feel the Sony partnership will benefit the Exspect business? From a sales perspective, if the first week after announcement is anything to go by it will be quite dramatic. Obviously we have been aware of the importance of

Neil Meredith, Exspect Do you feel this will be the Christmas for PlayStation products? Who really knows? What I do know is that travelling back from E3 everyone was talking about Sony and what their line-up looked like. It’s certainly going

to be a gaming Christmas and we are looking forward to a big season. Are you actively looking at securing other big-name partnerships? We genuinely feel we are perfect for branding partnerships. Our whole business model has always been based on collaborations and we are looking to continue that in the future. Tracy Johnson is tasked with developing relationships that will continue to take our business forward into new and emerging channels either under the Exspect brand or with partners we feel we can leverage opportunities with.

What are the biggest challenges for Exspect in 2009? Peripherals is a great market to be in but challenges are coming from everywhere. You have the short term

28 MCV 11/09/09

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MCV INTERVIEW NEIL MEREDITH, COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, EXSPECT pricing issues being driven by the global economy. Will consumers continue to pay the prices they currently do for peripherals or will they spend it on something else? Peripherals are now being viewed as either an absolute necessity or a ‘nice to have’ item. As we all know, ‘nice to have’ items have risks attached to them in that they don’t always sell through. Exspect believes its PSPgo Also, retailers are always looking at accessories can become ‘must have’ items this Q4 ways to maximise margins so they are going to Asia and buying direct from factories, which means the higher volume lines that third party companies at nurturing the team and adding used to sell are no longer a part of their experienced talent in the right places. I businesses. That’s why we set up our believe that we have developed a team Hong Kong office so that we can offer capable of running any business in the our customers the option of buying from industry. We have a very strong and us locally or buying directly from Asia. driven sales team headed up by Danny Another issue is that the peripherals Coe. Danny’s diligent approach is business has no real barriers to entry so perfect for our business and the way we there is lots of competition. The lists of I believe we have developed a labels registered on team capable of running any ChartTrack is huge. business in the industry. We But our business model have real internal stability. is based on sustainability so we don’t just chase Neil Meredith, Exspect market share at any price. like to manage our customers. In difficult times, whilst customers want How has Exspect grown so the best price they also want security far in 2009? and stability and being part of Gem and In overall terms we have seen 298 per DCC gives us the stability our partners cent value growth and 250 per cent are looking for. volume growth. We have had a very clear strategy this year. We have Are you looking to recruit new staff developed a wider range of more moving forward? compelling products and grown our Right now we are looking to bed down customer base both here and overseas. what we have. Bringing in 14 new We are doing huge volumes and everyone throughout the organisation has played their part in that success. Our service record to customers has been impeccable and that is testament to Alan Lynch and his team at Altham who have been the real engine behind our sales and marketing activities. For us as a team to not have to concern ourselves with the daily challenges of finance and logistics means that we have at least eight to ten hours a week to focus on developing our business. It’s a huge benefit for us.

What has been the reason behind your success? I know I am going to be biased but I think we have a really brilliant team of people. We have worked hard this year

people into a business of our relatively small size within 12 months has been a challenge in itself. That said, we are always on the look out for great talent that helps us achieve our goals. We are still developing on-going discussions with possible acquisitions and those discussions tend to centre around bringing in great people. We are always interested in quality brands or people.

What do you make of Project Natal and Sony’s motion controller, are these devices you’re looking to create accessories for? It’s very exciting. I think both of them are outstanding advancements, and we are all excited about the opportunities it creates for us. Clearly this kind of development will enhance sales of first party and official products because you need the internal knowledge of the platform.

congratulations and best of luck to all the nominees from all of us at

Š 2009 Electronic Arts Inc. Electronic Arts, EA, and d the EA logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All Rights Reserved. All other tra trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Brutal Legend Š2009 Double Fine Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MCV 11/09/09 31

GAMES MEDIA AWARDS THE FINALISTS

X

Media Darlings The Games Media Awards take place on October 15th at Jongleurs in Camden and promise another boozy night celebrating the UK’s best games journalists. Here’s our guide to the 55 finalists… LAST YEAR’S second Games Media Awards built on the success of the event’s 2007 debut, bringing the UK games industry together to celebrate the best journalists, websites and magazines covering our sector. At least, that’s the boilerplate we have to trot out – the booze flowed so freely that not many of us remember what happened past 8pm. But we know ten very happy winners went home clutching prizes – and there were few sore losers. (Note we said ‘few’, not ‘no’.) For this year’s event, taking place on October 15th, we’re in the same

venue – the classy-but-don’t-worrynot-that-classy Jongleurs in Camden. Yes, there will be comedy preceeding the awards. And maybe even some jokes in the acceptance speeches (no doubt written in advance to sound like they weren’t actually written in advance). There will also be booze, food, and plenty of time to socialise with your peers. See below for details on how to get tickets. We’ve got a slightly different set of awards, this year. There are new prizes dedicated for the Best National Newspaper Coverage, Best

National Magazine Coverage and even the Best Blog. But favourites like Best Magazine, Best Website, Rising Star and Best Print and Best Online writers are still present. As is the night’s climax: the Games Media Legend. All that’s left now is for our panel of games industry and media professionals to cast their vote. But who are they voting for? Conveniently enough, the next five pages profile all the finalists – yes, all 55 of them – across our 11 awards. Have a read. And see you in Camden.

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that is very soon) and of course find out who the winners are. Plus, there’s plenty of food and drink so you can stuff yourself/get hammered before the awards are handed out.

For that, you get to see the top comic hosting the event (we’ll be revealing just who

Contact Dave.Roberts@intentmedia.co.uk to book your tickets.

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MCV 11/09/09 33

GAMES MEDIA AWARDS THE FINALISTS

BEST GAMES WEBSITE Eurogamer.net Eurogamer Network

VG247.com videogaming247

Gamespot.com CBS Interactive

Videogamer.com Pro-G Media

NowGamer.com Imagine Publishing

Incgamers.com IncGamers

Founded in 1999 by brothers Rupert and Nick Loman, Brighton-based Eurogamer Network is the publisher of Europe’s most popular independent video games website, Eurogamer.net. The company also publishes a video site, Eurogamer TV, and a social network for gamers, Eurogamers. Eurogamer is available in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and Romanian editions. The company also operates live events such as the Eurogamer Expo.

VG247 is the fast-growing news service for those looking for a quick yet comprehensive read. The site features hard news, exclusive content, breaking stories, informed gossip and public domain information from around the world. Since launching in early 2008, it has achieved a reputation as a leading games news site, employing a team from Europe and the US to provide unparalleled coverage of global gaming developments.

GameSpot entertains and connects the UK’s largest community of dedicated gamers with thousands of video game reviews from expert editors, previews of the hottest upcoming games, downloads, videos, game guides and breaking news. GameSpot has 4.5m unique users in the UK and covers every aspect of the video gaming world.

VideoGamer.com was launched in 2007 by university friends Adam McCann and Tom Orry. With a passionate and committed team of staff, VideoGamer.com prides itself on producing top quality content – from breaking news stories to in-depth features and honest reviews and previews. It was the first UK games site to offer true high definition streaming video and also seeks to maintain a close relationship with its users, with a weekly podcast that emphasises community interaction.

Created by Imagine Publishing, NowGamer is an accessible guide to the world of games. Offering news, industry insight and exclusive content, it also makes full use of Imagine’s vast back catalogue. NowGamer is completely customisable to match the needs of its users, whether they be console, PC or retro gaming enthusiasts. The team behind it say they are rapidly establishing NowGamer as the discerning gamer’s website of choice.

Established by Eleanor Davis and Paul Younger in 2006, UK-based IncGamers brought together popular and successful community websites with multiplatform videogame website, Loadedinc.com. Since its launch in 2006, IncGamers has focused on multi-platform videogame coverage for the consumer and industry, written by NCTJ-qualified journalists, as well as providing in-depth content for individual communities in the IncGamers channels. IncGamers’ aim is to create unique written, video and audio content seven days a week.

SPECIALIST WRITER (PRINT)

Jon Blyth – Freelance PC Zone

Tom Francis PC Gamer

Matt Handrahan Games TM

Matthew Castle NGamer

Darran Jones Retro Gamer

Gillen McAllister Official Xbox 360 Magazine

Jon Blyth entered the industry at the age of 32, a fact he hid on his CV by writing it in tiny letters. There’s no fooling us, though. He joined PC Zone based on his ability to blog about bodily functions, and since making the reckless move to freelance in 2008 he has also written for OXM, OPM, Edge, Eurogamer, Vice and The Guardian. His inability to issue invoices on the grounds that it feels a bit arrogant has led to his recent, defeated return to the office.

Tom Francis been writing for PC Gamer for five years where he edits the Extra Life section about gamer culture and player experiences. He also freelances for Edge, PC Format, Official PlayStation and Xbox World. He wrote a diary about a 30-hour game of Galactic Civilizations in which well-meaning space rabbits killed 350bn people, a report on a group of assassins in EVE Online who spent a year as double-agents, and is currently working on an eight-page feature about a ten megabyte game.

Matt Handrahan started work on GamesTM four years ago after a disastrous (his words) stint at the now defunct Highbury Entertainment. His burning ambition to become a film journalist has apparently died away, replaced with his pride in being an integral part of Imagine’s games team. He points out that GamesTM’s ‘hive-mind’ approach means you won’t knowingly have read any of his work, but: “Trust me, all the good stuff is mine.”

With his super-strong wrists and allergy to HD graphics, Matthew was born to review Wii games. As a long-term reader of N64 and NGC he was delighted to join NGamer in 2007. Since joining the mag he has waggled through 800 minigames, played an invisible trumpet, written several limericks and pretended to be Michael Bay – all in the name of Nintendo gaming. Whether or not Nintendo gaming benefited from any of this is debatable. He thanks NGamer and its readers for their patience.

After reading through the past year’s worth of Retro Gamer and not finding his name at the beginning of any feature, Darran has told us he wonders why he’s been nominated for this prestigious award. He’s guessing it’s for his incredibly moving editorials and the continual championing of Capcom’s Strider. Yes, Darran, it’s that and the fact you have edited the magazine – the only one dedicated to the specialist retro games scene – and overseen the publication’s growth since launch.

September marks the fourth year since Gillen joined the industry on OXM. In that time he has become the most requested specialist journalist to quiz Hollywood actors such as Daniel Craig and Andy Serkis about video games. He also produces and fronts videos for OXM Reports on Xbox Live, while regularly contributing to other magazines such as SFX and keeping the metal masses up to date each month as games reviewer for Metal Hammer magazine.

GAMES MEDIA LEGEND

Sponsored by

The final award of the night will be given to this year’s Games Media Legend. There are no nominations in this category. The recipient will be decided by a panel of media experts and veterans. Previous winners are Newsfield pioneer and general game mag colossus Gary Penn and, last year, Future’s Steve Jarratt, the man who launched the UK’s most commercially successful title (Official PlayStation Magazine) and the most critically acclaimed (Edge).

34 MCV 11/09/09

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GAMES MEDIA AWARDS THE FINALISTS

BEST GAMES MAGAZINE

GamesTM (Imagine Publishing)

Edge (Future Publishing)

PC Gamer (Future Publishing)

Retro Gamer (Imagine Publishing)

Official Xbox 360 Magzine (Future Publishing)

GamesTM has proved itself as one of the most esteemed and trusted magazines in the video game industry. High production values and a knowledgeable team combine to make it a topquality publication written for gamers by gamers. Unflinching and unbiased opinion elevates its status to one of the most respected in the business. At 180 pages, this is the UK’s largest videogame publication, and with sections dedicated to retro gaming, market news, and recruitment, GamesTM is a magazine for those who truly love gaming.

Now into its 17th year of publishing, Edge remains a unique voice in the increasingly crowded world of video game commentary, delivering its renowned mix of incisive editorial, market-leading design and unparalleled production values to passionate gamers and the videogame industry alike. Having recently relaunched its website at www.edge-online.com, the magazine is positioned to further secure its status as leader in its field.

PC Gamer is Britain’s bestselling PC games magazine. Another Future magazine entering its 17th year in business, PC Gamer has unrivalled expertise across the PC gaming spectrum: from MMOs and hardware to the biggest blockbusters and the greatest indie games. The team claims to have the greatest writers, the stupidest jokes, the best design and the most trusted brand in the business.

Retro Gamer is quite unlike any other video game magazine on the market. Equally loved by both its readership and the many developers it constantly interviews, it combines high production values with the Crash and Zzap! sense of humour of old to create a magazine that immediately stands out on the shelves. Thoroughly researched and covering a wide remit of the world’s greatest games, from Pac-Man to Grand Theft Auto, it touts itself as an essential read for anyone with an interest in video games thanks to its indepth coverage and extremely knowledgeable staff.

Recently celebrating its 50th issue, OXM is the UK’s biggestselling games magazine, standing out at the top of a crowded market for its exclusive content, accessible writing and coverage of everything that’s interesting to Xbox gamers. It’s remit runs from the biggest new releases to the quirkiest indie games and how practical Sam Fisher’s infiltration technique would be in reality (not very, in case you were wondering) and much more besides. A dedicated website at oxm.co.uk, unique software disc with every issue and weekly show on Xbox Live enable it to connect with gamers like no other magazine.

SPECIALIST WRITER (ONLINE)

Dan Howdle (Nowgamer.com)

Wesley Yin Poole (Videogamer.com)

Pat Garratt (VG247.com)

Ellie Gibson (Eurogamer.net)

Chris Schilling (GamerZines)

Simon Parkin - Freelance (Eurogamer.net)

Dan quit his ten-year career out of boredom and to fulfil his passion for both writing and video games. He became staff writer on X360 magazine in 2007. He now walks the tightrope between opinionated firebrand and nurturer of industry relationships in his role as games editor. Recently nominated for Imagine’s own ‘Writer Of The Year’ award, Dan has gone on to produce copy for the gamut of its magazines and now toils on the NowGamer.com staff.

After a year on the features desk of The Mail on Sunday and another as a news reporter across a string of trade mags at CMPi, Wesley entered the heady world of video game journalism in September 2007 as deputy editor of Pro-G.co.uk – now known as VideoGamer.com. Wesley writes across all areas of the site, including news, previews and reviews, but his great love is high-profile interviews.

Pat Garrat has worked in games editorial for over ten years, having spent time at Eurogamer, GamesIndustry.biz, CVG, Xbox World and others as a journalist, editor and publisher. He’s based in Worthing, UK, and is a father of three. He launched VG247, a joint venture with Eurogamer Network, in early 2008. The site’s gone on to see success on a global level, and does nothing if keep him busy.

Ellie’s first job in games involved writing manuals for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. She went on to work for PSG and Station Gamer magazines before joining Eurogamer Network in March 2005. She became deputy editor of Eurogamer.net in January 2008. Her specialist subjects include platform games, puzzlers and asking top industry executives stupid questions. She also works as a reporter for BBC Technology and as a consultant for the Guinness World Records: Gamers’ Edition book.

Chris has been gaming since the days of the Oric Atmos, a fact which makes him feel depressingly old. He is a prolific freelance writer, having contributed to a wide range of publications and websites, including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian Games Blog, NGamer, Official Nintendo Magazine, X360, 360 and GamesTM (among others). He recently enjoyed an extended spell as a staff writer on Cranberry Publishing’s GamerZines and will be spending time in the run-up to the GMAs mostly practising his gracious-in-defeat face.

Parkin’s career in video game journalism began in 2003 as a freelancer for Edge. Over the past six years he’s continued to write for Future’s flagship title as well as a wide variety of British and American publications including Yahoo, Offworld and Gamasutra. In 2009 Parkin was placed on retainer with Eurogamer.net, where he now does the majority of his work writing thoughtful reviews, interviews and features.

Best of luck to all the GMA finalists. We’ll see you there!

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MCV 11/09/09 37

GAMES MEDIA AWARDS THE FINALISTS Sponsored by

GAMES COVERAGE IN A MAINSTREAM MAGAZINE

Zoo Weekly (Bauer Consumer Media)

Nuts (IPC Media)

ShortList (ShortList Media)

FHM (Bauer Consumer Media)

Front (Flip Media)

Zoo has delivered games coverage to its readers each week since its first issue in 2004. Its website zootoday.com has also produced original gaming content including a hugely popular games reviews vlog presented by ex-Hollyoaks stars and gamers Matt Littler and Darren Jeffries. Zoo runs a full page of games reviews each week and has scooped even the specialist press with exclusive hands-on of titles including DJ Hero, Halo 3: ODST and FIFA 10. The magazine is committed to breaking stories on the latest hardware and providing coverage from events like E3.

For Nuts games exclusives stand shoulder-to-shoulder with massmarket stories like the misadventures of the latest Big Brother evictee. That means it has secured world-first print coverage of hot games like Modern Warfare 2, God Of War III and Assassin’s Creed II – even GTA’s Gay Tony was shown to the world first within the pages of Nuts. Meanwhile, Nuts’ gaming news section is the fastest-growing corner of its men’s consumer website Nuts.co.uk.

Aimed at 20 to 35-year-old ABC1 men, ShortList reaches a readership practically untouched by other mainstream magazines. It is distributed free in 11 British cities every week and through a network of workplaces, airlines and retailers. ShortList is the UK’s largest men’s magazine, with an audited weekly circulation of 510,720. Gaming is a core element of its coverage, having featured several first plays and exclusives – and two gaming covers, something rare in men’s lifestyle titles. Video games coverage is also central to its online spin-off, ShortList.com.

Located in a recently revamped reviews section called ‘Filter’, FHM’s games pages deliver the facts on the biggest social lifekillers each month. Bolstered by exclusive content and access to some of the games industry’s biggest names, FHM aims to cut through the hype to deliver the definitive verdict on the titles vying for readers’ cash. The magazine also prides itself on coverage of events like E3. And, just for kicks, the team say, they have just started a weekly gaming challenge against readers over Xbox Live. They’re still awaiting their first victory, though.

Founded in 1998, and relaunched in 2007 as an ‘alternative lad’s mag’, Front is gaining a huge cult following within its core 16 to 25 year-old with rising sales to reflect this. In terms of games, Front boasts preview spreads of upcoming games and reviews from inhouse writer Alex Sim-Wise, who took over the section in April this year. By covering a wide variety of games, from MMORPGs to shooters, Front tries to offer its readers more than just a token review of Pro Evolution Soccer, with plenty of humour to boot.

Sponsored by

GAMES BLOG

Rockpapershotgun.com

VG247.com

UKresistance.co.uk

Guardian Games Blog

NowGamer.com

Rock, Paper, Shotgun is the world’s leading PC games blog. Or, at least, the world’s leading PC games blog called Rock, Paper, Shotgun, which is nearly as good. Since launching in 2007, it’s grown to the point where hundreds of thousands of readers use it as the marketsquare of all that’s new, radical or controversial in PC gaming. Formed by industry veterans Kieron Gillen, Alec Meer, Jim Rossignol and John Walker, RPS covers everything in PC games while quietly pushing the frontiers of non-review-writing.

VG247 is the fast-growing news service for serious gamers and industry professionals looking for a quick yet comprehensive read. The site features hard news, exclusive content, breaking stories, informed gossip and public domain information from around the world. Since launching in early 2008, the site has achieved a reputation as a leading games news site, employing a team from Europe and the US to provide unparalleled coverage of global gaming developments.

UK Resistance was initially about SEGA being good, but has now been ‘rebranded’ to cover how everything to do with gaming has turned bad. Specifically it’s now mainly about women in ill-fitting cosplay costumes and all that lifestyle photography we waste so much money on producing for nobody to ever use. And according to editor Gary Cutlack: ‘UK Resistance still stands as a beacon of truth, operating as an online lie detector for the more exaggerated of press releases’.

The Guardian Games Blog features prominently on Guardian.co.uk in conjunction with the well-established Technology blog. Written by a team of veteran contributors that rivals more specialist blogging sites, Guardian Games Blog continues to grow and attract new readers beyond the paper’s traditional demographic.

Created by Imagine Publishing, NowGamer is an accessible guide to the world of games. Offering news, industry insight and exclusive content, it also makes full use of Imagine’s vast back catalogue. NowGamer is completely customisable to match the needs of its users, whether they be console, PC or retro gaming enthusiasts. The team behind it say they are rapidly establishing NowGamer as the discerning gamer’s website of choice.

LAST YEAR’S WINNERS Games Magazine: Edge

Rising Star: Simon Miller, X360

Games Website: Eurogamer

Mainstream Magazine Games Writer: Simon Munk, FHM

Games Broadcast: Games Night, X-League.TV

National Newspaper, Best Games Coverage: The Guardian

Specialist Games Writer, Print: Tom Francis, PC Gamer

Regional Games Columnist: Dave Cook, Scotsman

Specialist Games Writer, Online: Ellie Gibson, Eurogamer.net

GAMES MEDIA LEGEND: Steve Jarratt (pictured)

Write Anything, Solve Everything from 9th October Available from Centresoft : 0121 6253902

SCRIBBLENAUTS software © 2009 WB Games Inc. Developed by 5TH Cell Media, LLC. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS is a trademark of Nintendo. All rights reserved. SCRIBBLENAUTS and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. WB GAMES LOGO, WB SHIELD: ™ & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s09)

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MCV 11/09/09 39

GAMES MEDIA AWARDS THE FINALISTS

COVERAGE IN A NATIONAL NEWSPAPER

Sponsored by

The Guardian

The Daily Telegraph

Daily Star Sunday

The Independent

The Sun

Daily Mirror

The Guardian’s brand stands fundamentally for taking a fresh approach, touting itself as modern, individual and sometimes unconventional. The Guardian has a 14.1 per cent share of total daily quality press circulation and some of the most comprehensive gaming editorial, delivered via Thursday’s Technology Section, Saturday’s The Guide, and online throughout the week on theguardian.co.uk’s Games Blog.

The Daily Telegraph sees video games as an emerging entertainment media flush with artistic potential. Recently launching a dedicated webspace for games, the Telegraph features news, previews and reviews, as well as a regular blog commenting on the industry. A core team of three currently run the games coverage and are looking to expand in the future to become the number one mainstream outlet for video games.

The Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday dedicate more space to video games than any other national tabloid. The Daily Star boasts four weekly reviews every Thursday as part of its Star Tech page (a mix of gaming and technology), while the Daily Star Sunday dedicates an entire page every week to the sole coverage of games with its Game On column. The paper’s reach is extended with a dedicated gaming page on the Daily Star website. The Daily Star is one of the only tabloids to have an actual gaming editor (Paul Vale), a position that has done much to push gaming content into the mainstream media.

The Independent’s games coverage consists of a weekly round-up of reviews which has been compiled for the last six years by Rebecca Armstrong and online by Jack Riley and Toby Green. In addition, The Independent runs features, shopping pages and news stories on games on an ad hoc basis, and there are plans to increase the amount of space given to games in the near future. For the last decade The Independent has featured games reviews and is dedicated to representing games fairly to its readers.

The Sun says it has brought gaming firmly into the mainstream media through editorial and partnerships with industry on promotions, giveaways and events. It has covered all the major console launches, reviewed hundreds of games and taken a more quirky and in-depth look at the stories behind the games industry and its popularity. It has the biggest reach of any national and has seen gaming break out even more beyond the weekly review column in Friday’s ‘Something For The Weekend’ section. All of this is complemented by pages of online coverage both, in the general areas of thesun.co.uk and the web-based technology section Gizmo.

Games coverage returned to the Daily Mirror last year after some persistent nagging of the paper’s editors by writer Kevin Lynch. Now taking pride of place in its Ticket entertainment supplement, the column gives its verdict on the week’s big releases every Friday and has a reach of over 1.4million Mirror readers across the UK.

GAMES BROADCAST/PODCAST

One Life Left www.onelifeleft.com

Eurogamer TV www.eurogamer.tv

Game On BBC Radio 5 Live

Start/Select uk.gamespot.com

Gamesweasel www.gamesweasel.com

Johnny Minkley BBC Radio 1

One Life Left is Europe’s only FM-broadcast video game radio show. It goes out on Wednesdays across London, and is then repackaged as a podcast. The show is presented by Ste Curran, Simon Byron and Ann Scantlebury and has recently featured guest turns from comedians Joe Cornish and Iain Lee, author Steven Poole, plus industry luminaries such as Ian Livingstone and Jon Hare.

The democratisation of the tools required to broadcast content based on what is an audio-visual medium has transformed video games coverage in recent years. Who needs mainstream TV anyway? For Eurogamer TV, very much a 50/50 partnership between Johnny Minkley on-camera and James Hills behind it, the goal has always been to build on the success, standards and credibility of a site that offers unique insight into video games and the people who make them.

Host Adam Rosser’s varied career has seen him be a lawyer’s clerk, a greengrocer, a staff canteen cook and a buyer for HMV. After university he joined BBC Radio 4 to work on business programmes. He jumped ship five years later to BBC 5 Live and the Simon Mayo programme, bullying the team there into discussions about comic books and other marginalia. Three years ago the mantle of reporter and producer of Game On, 5live’s dedicated games feature, slid onto his shoulders. The show aims to reflect the vibrancy and creativity of games.

Start/Select, GameSpot UK’s flagship video show, aims to make video games special and exciting. For instance: it opened a special The Godfatherthemed episode by reenacting a scene from the film; presented a show dressed as a game character standing on the Millennium Bridge; and got Capcom to give it a masterclass in Street Fighter IV. GameSpot believes it brings UK and European gamers info on every title that matters to them by interviewing the biggest names in the business, and giving away limited edition prizes that money can’t buy.

Gamesweasel TV is a weekly video show written and presented by Matt Cuttle and produced by Mevio.com. Matt Cuttle has worked in the games industry for over ten years. He has produced video game shows for Channel 4, E4, Sky One, Jetix and Rapture TV. The show features video games news, reviews and interviews and has been downloaded over five million times by a worldwide audience in the past two years. Gamesweasel regularly appears in the iTunes gaming chart top ten, whilst the show’s YouTube channel is currently number 72 in the ‘Most Subscribed of All Time’ chart and continues to rise.

Radio 1’s producers have consistently backed gaming in a high-profile, six million-rated slot, presented by Minkley during Jo Whiley’s afternoon session. This year he presented an hour-long 2009 preview show in January, and in May Radio 1 held its first ‘Big Gaming Weekend’ over four days. From this autumn gaming will feature strongly on the channel in new shows from Greg James and Nihal. As a platform for credible coverage of games it’s something Johnny takes very seriously. Even when it actually sounds like he’s just making a prat of himself on SingStar.

40 MCV 11/09/09

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GAMES MEDIA AWARDS THE FINALISTS

RISING STAR

Neon Kelly (Videogamer.com)

Samuel Roberts (X360)

Matthew Pellett (Xbox World 360)

Chris McMahon (GamesTM)

Graham Smith (PC Gamer)

Mike Channell (Official Xbox Magazine)

Neon studied journalism at City University in London and has written for a number of publications, including The Observer, Filmstar and Time Out Guides. He is also a regular contributor to Little White Lies, a bimonthly film magazine. Neon joined the VideoGamer.com team in August 2008 and currently serves as the site’s previews editor. When not attending press events or lagging behind on deadlines, Neon can be heard presenting the VideoGamer.com podcast and occasionally telling people that yes, it is his real name. His favourite game is Monkey Island II.

Roberts joined the industry at the age of 18, two and a half years ago. Since then he has started to grow facial hair and ambitiously tried to climb the games media ladder without dying on his arse. Being a staff writer at Imagine was his first fulltime job; two promotions later, he reckons that working in Subway wouldn’t have been quite as hilarious or creatively challenging.

Matthew first appeared in Future Publishing’s fine pages dressed as various Nintendo characters during the NGC days of ‘I’m The Best’. After discovering the ability to put words on paper in an order that seemed vaguely interesting, he successfully negotiated a series of gruelling cross-country challenges known as Virgin trains to join Xbox World 360 in July 2007. Originally responsible for the cover disc, he now shares his time between writing, coercing others into recording podcasts and crying over his inability to boost his Gamerscore when playing debug code.

Born and raised in Liverpool, McMahon’s first games job was as a tester for Sony. After subjecting his colleagues to two years of horrible crooning on SingStar he tried his hand at games journalism and found work on GamesTM. During his year’s tenure on the magazine he has travelled the globe, met some fantastic, friendly people and even some celebrities… well, Coolio at least. He tells us he is both ecstatic and humbled to have been nominated as Rising Star – an accolade that would have seemed a pipe dream to him mere years ago.

Graham Smith decided he wanted to be a games journalist aged 11, accomplished it by joining PC Gamer in 2005 when he was 20, and has been complacent ever since. His upwardly mobile career path has taken him from the ranks of disc editor to the staggering heights of still being the disc editor, but also writing and editing as well. His present job title is, like an inscrutable dog, unknowable. Outside of PC Gamer, he’s written for other magazines Edge, PC Format and PC Plus. He once stayed awake to play games for 48 hours, suffered erectile dysfunction in Second Life, and a games designer recently described him as being “sufficiently hairy to look the same either way up”.

Mike Channell joined the Official Xbox 360 Magazine team almost exactly a year ago as reviews editor, having started his games writing career on technology magazine PC Format. In addition to politely wrangling review code he’s presented what now amounts to a terrifying number of the weekly OXM Report videos that are delivered to Xbox Live users’ consoles. He has no pets, unless something under the pile of rubbish on his desk has recently become sentient, and lives in beautiful Maida Vale, which he describes as “like living in a Richard Curtis movie, only nobody is desperately trying to get me into bed”.

REGIONAL GAMES COLUMNIST

Ross Wilkinson (Press Association)

Dave Cook (The Scotsman)

Steven Fox (Metro)

Dan Slingsby (Games Addict)

Ian Crump (Southern Daily Echo)

Wilkinson says his work and family life have well and truly merged in recent times. His twoyear-old daughter is an admirable animal-saving Wonder Pet player, while his wife is the boss on Boom Blox. Ross says the best thing about his job is being able to encourage family, friends and regional readers to seek out the same kind of buzz he gets from genre and generation defining titles – something he’s been doing all his life. At school he proclaimed Kick Off 2 was “the best game in the world ever…” – 20 years later he’s a ‘serious’ journalist doing much the same thing in print.

Active in Scottish games media for four years, Dave Cook helped devise and launch the country’s very first dedicated gaming publication SquareGo, where he was features editor for two years, before leaving in August 2009 to re-join the team at national gaming site Ace Gamez. Founder and managing director of Ink Media, a costeffective PR consultancy for indie developers, Dave is fast becoming Scotland’s ‘go-to’ guy for local developers seeking media support without the budgets of their triple-a brethren. A jack of all trades by nature, Dave’s column in national newspaper The Scotsman is just one of his many regular outlets.

Fox has been writing weekly games reviews and occasional games features for Metro since 2006. A lettings agent during the day, Fox crams in as much game time as he can at lunch times, evenings and weekends.

Slingsby launched Games Addict more than three years ago and it now appears in 16 regional newspapers. He’s faced challenges of late – not least of which is trying to convince newspaper editors of the merits of subscribing to a weekly videogames review column in a recession. Dan Slingsby has been involved with the video games industry for more than 20 years, managing and editing various games-related magazines at EMAP, Future Publishing, Highbury Entertainment and Imagine Publishing. He now now runs DNA Publishing, a syndication agency. Games Addict is its flagship column and he hopes to sign up many more newspapers over the next 12 months as the economy improves.

In 2007 Ian Crump was tasked by one of the largest distributors of regional news in the south to help them reach out to the ever-growing gaming community across Hampshire and Dorset. Since then their gaming coverage has gone from strength-to-strength by including not just Crump’s reviews but news, competitions, charts, interviews, information on downloads and more. The feedback from both the public and the industry alike has been very strong, guaranteeing gaming as a staple part of The Southern Daily Echo newspaper. Its much-praised website has also become a vital tool to further expand the coverage by including trailers and more content.

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Published and distributed by Ubisoft Entertainment under license from Black Bean. Ubisoft and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the US and/or other countries. Black Bean is a registered trademark of Lago S.r.l. Developed by Lightning Fish Ltd. All rights reserved. “NewU” is a registered trademark of Lago S.r.l. Fitness First and the Fitness First logo are a trademark of Fitness First Limited. You Are What You Eat logo, TM and © 2009 2waytraffic. All rights reserved. Wii™ AND THE Wii LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NINTENDO. *Terms and conditions apply. Must be booked in advance. One 5-day guest membership per person. Includes full use of non paid-for facilities only. Ask in-club for more details. Must be 16 years or over. Facilities may vary from club to club please check locally. Find out more about Fitness First on http://www.fitnessfirst.co.uk/

”, “PLAYSTATION”, “PS3”, “PlayStation” and “

“ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

© 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries.

“In a word, instabuy”

“The most anticipated game of the year”

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www.rabbids.com Š 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Rabbids, Rabbids Go Home, Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo.

Laugh out loud with a friend who can help you in your quest.

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MCV 11/09/09 45

GAMES MEDIA AWARDS PR SPEAKS OUT

A jury of your PRs With the very best of the games media gearing themselves up for this year’s GMAs, MCV talks to some of the industry’s leading PR execs about the overall state of the fourth estate…

It is a truth universally acknowledged (even when the hard evidence of ABC figures goes missing) that magazine sales are falling and will continue to fall. Does that worry you? Do you think it can be halted, or will tree-based products inevitably go the way of the dinosaur? Robert Saunders, Nintendo: It’s certainly worrying if you work on a magazine. In my opinion magazines cannot and should not try to compete with online – they can both do different things very well. Whereas online is perfect for consumption of daily news and for keeping in touch/up to date, magazines have the luxury of going in depth with lavish interviews, features and analysis that perhaps aren’t as suited to the online sphere.

Rich Eddy, Codemasters: I want there to be magazines, I love magazines! PSW, RIP. Ironically, I believe that if PSW could have still afforded its launch values – thick, glossy mag, content rich, beautifully designed and not up its own

arse – it would have had a true brand identity and chunk of the games media market to itself. Where is the gaming Monocle, Goddamnit? There will be a thinning of print games media – it’ll be down to a maximum of perhaps five titles within two years; three significant, two very targeted print publications.

There will be a thinning of print games media – it’ll be down to a maximum of five titles within two years. Rich Eddy, Codemasters Stefan McGarry, Sega: Realistically I expect that we will just see fewer magazines with more feature-led content and less of an emphasis on news. Just look at the film industry; there are two major players both with steady circulation. It’s important to note that the specialist media readership is very valuable; they are paying to read what those magazines have to say, and will spend a lot of time dipping in and out of

those magazines to get their money’s worth out of them. Simon Smith-Wright, Electronic Arts: There have been some pretty spectacular declines and closures over the last year or two, both here and in the US, with some major magazine brands hitting the wall. However, in the UK, the total circulation and distribution of consumer titles over the first six months of this year fell by just under two per cent year-on-year, so it’s clear there’s no meteoric extinction event happening here.

Does the rise of online bring its own peculiar problems? It’s obviously much more instant, and it seems to have a whiff of the Wild West about it. RE: A rumour can run around the internet – in all kinds of directions – before the truth has got its boots on; so yes there is the chaos effect that one badly written comment or unchecked story can have on the whole ‘news’ channel; there’s your Wild West. But,

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GAMES MEDIA AWARDS PR SPEAKS OUT

Nintendo’s Rob Saunders and Codemasters’ Rich Eddy predict a decline in the number of print media

it’s fairly apparent which ones are delivering the best news feeds, with checked facts and supporting quotes (it’s nice when that happens). It helps to segment online media into the equivalents of tabloids, middleEngland best sellers, broadsheets, newsheavy freesheets and comedy game shows. Anything outside of that is essentially Injun territory. SM: It may have a hint of the Wild West, but we’ve evolved into a stronger police force because of it. When dealing with online, it’s important to react quickly; to be sharp and considered. You don’t get any second chances; everything that is provided is semipermanent, which adds a certain amount of pressure to maintain a high quality threshold through both assets and commentary. SSW: The advantage of online over traditional media is that it’s now faster to get your message out. Better still, if you do it right it should be a two-way channel – one that engages your customers where you can see and measure reaction from them. This is important as that dialogue can inform the rest of your campaign, corporate communications and even inform product development too. Is the move towards more instantly available DLC and indeed direct digital distribution of whole games changing the way you work? The old boxed product/print media model threw up fixed stages for the

traditional stepping stones of PR, but these days some developers are making content available direct to consumers the second it’s finished. SSW: It’s a fundamental change and will totally affect the way we’re resourced in the future. Campaigns now require longer leads, longer tails and are approaching 365 communications, especially for titles such as FIFA. Most of our games now have significant schedules of post-release premium content and game add-ons. Online and digital media will play a major role in this and it will be vital that our campaigns set out to establish

Where do you stand on that issue? RS: We rarely, if ever, use embargoes on software releases because we find it doesn’t really help anyone to do their job properly – especially journalists. That’s not to say it doesn’t work well for some magazines and some publishers – I can only speak for us. Early access to software in return for a guaranteed score is always going to raise eyebrows – that’s a fact that’s not going to go away. RE: To some extent, yeah – it’s commercially logical from a publishing committee point of view. I believe most

Of course magazine scores matter. A lot of reviews are re-hosted online and are used on marketing materials. Stefan McGarry, Sega

networks and communities of fans from the outset as they will play an important part in creating and sustaining the noise around post-release content. RS: In the UK we still haven’t worked out a decent, timely way to allow journalist access to WiiWare, DSiWare or Virtual Console titles before release, which is a real shame and something we’re working hard to remedy. You’ve probably seen some of the recent brouhaha about embargos and their potential (mis)use to manipulate the early run of scores.

recently there was a totally free editorial option if editors wanted to exercised it. And that’s the big ‘if’ – eggs have been on faces in a big way before when editorial judgement hasn’t been exercised correctly over the appeal of having the first splash on a big title. However, it’s not the best thing to impose on a wide level and if it was attempted repeatedly, I don’t see it being tolerated on a wider media level. Relationships, not rules, have always been the best way for press and publicist to work. Embargos are best used to coordinate, and in the case of reviews give all online

media the chance to play a title properly – not rush review just to get it up there first. That’s standard practice for the greater good these days. Do magazine review scores still really matter or are consumers listening to and trusting each other on social networking sites? SM: If I said no, I’d probably be out of a job. Of course magazine scores matter; the opportunities to see are greater than might first appear – a lot of the reviews are rehosted online and Metacritic, and great reviews are used on marketing materials. Consumers are tech savvy and will no doubt make their choice to buy based on a number of sources, be it professional reviews, user reviews, or yes, referrals from friends. RS: Peer recommendation and positive word of mouth are increasingly important – especially in times when money is tight and purchases are made more carefully. One popular online site gave Wii Sports Resort a very poor 7/10 – the forums instantly sprang into life with people saying that they felt this was too low and the game much better. Some titles didn’t even review Wii Fit and it’s the biggest selling game of 2009 so far. RE: They matter when a campaign has been engaging with a core gaming audience, because ultimately the score does matter to them. However, the review isn’t the primary purchase intent decision point with core gamers – that happens way earlier. For the right title,

sponsors the

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GAMES MEDIA AWARDS PR SPEAKS OUT

PR kings Stefan McGarry and Simon Smith-Wright are eagerly anticipating Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe TV show

especially if you’re breaking a new IP or rebooting an existing one, it’s about catching core gamers’ interest early – and then clinging onto them on the ride to release. SSW: Yes, review scores really do matter to consumers and they are a vital measure to all our creative teams and studios, who are constantly striving for higher quality benchmarks. But of course reader reviews, blogs, community comments, forums are just a click away and will also form much of consumers’ purchasing decisions. What about the mainstream media’s games coverage? Isn’t it about time we stopped sympathetically saying that they’re ‘learning’ or ‘getting better’ and pointed out that, considering the size and brilliance of what we do, it’s not really good enough? It’s not even enough, let alone good enough, in fact. RS: It’s not enough but a lot of what there is is good enough. If we don’t like what’s being done/printed then as PRs we need to work harder rather than moan and berate. SSW: Things are a lot better in the mainstream than they were a decade ago, so we should be really happy with that progress. And for any media that still doggedly refuses to accept that video games are a valid and wonderful part of entertainment culture, then I guess they never will and they’d be in the minority now anyway.

Looking forward to Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe? Think it’ll mean games will get some proper cultural analysis or just a bit of a poke and a giggle? SM: Proper cultural analysis or a poke and a giggle is fine – the more people that are in front of our games, the better. Having someone as well respected as Charlie Brooker involved in games is a positive association and will hopefully lead to further breakout into other shows. SSW: I am definitely looking forward to the show and it should be great –

had the launch of the Wii featured on Newsnight Review – and that was a huge breakthrough for us. Mark Kermode wasn’t overly pleased at being made to play some games but it went down very well. I think this can and should be done much more often but it can only be done with the right products. Just like every new movie or album doesn’t make it on to the Late Review neither will every video game. If anything it will be the more ‘arty’ releases such as Okami and Flower that will make it rather than a more traditional blockbuster.

I think we will see the death of the unofficial magazine as online already fills that space with unofficial comment. Rob Saunders, Nintendo

Brooker never fails to amuse and entertain, even if there’s a bit of poking and jibing along the way. If anyone could make a very decent and entertaining show about video games, it could just possibly be Mr Brooker. And it is about time, too When will the launch of, I don’t know, a new Halo or Zelda game get discussed on Newsnight Review or whatever? And is this a desirable thing anyway or should we not worry one jot about being ‘taken seriously?’ RS: It was about three years ago that we

How do you think games media will change over the next, say, five years? What sort of landscape will you be looking at? RS: I think we’ll see the death of the ‘unofficial magazine’ as online already fills that space with that sort of unofficial content more regularly. I do still think that we’ll have print magazines; they won’t die just yet. It all hinges on if and how digital natives (anyone currently under the age of 15) decide to consume their media as us digital immigrants, who still consume print, die off.

SM: We will see more websites, more consolidation in print and the embracing of other digital media to widen our reach. The magazines left will no doubt need to be better and shinier in order to stand out. I’d be interesting in seeing whether more media follows The Times Online by charging for access to content. SSW: I’m looking forward to the sequel to Web 2.0. The next five years of the media revolution will accelerate at a faster rate than ever, not least because it’s a technology driven revolution and the technology and creative tools are now in the hands of the people. Whilst established media brands will be at the forefront, new media brands will also become powerhouses. And, again, much of the power will be with the consumer. The revolution will be powered by several factors: Increased mobility and portability powered by 4G and blisteringly fast broadband; pocket-sized broadcast quality connected video with the power for consumers to broadcast live (probably even in 3D); portable social networks; massive increases in storage capacity leading to vast archives of consumer-generated and traditional media in the cloud and unbelievable amounts of archive accessible in an instant. What does all this mean for print media? I guess the question we have to ask is: will 15-24 year olds, in five years time, choose to consume their media digitally or via tree-based products?

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MCV 11/09/09 51

PERSONNEL

Mastertronic promotes marketing duo Puri and Phillips accept new roles  Jade Raymond heads up Ubisoft Toronto  Dossot joins Pug Pharm

Puri (left) and Phillips (right) are set to drive Christmas sales

MASTERTRONIC  The publisher has strengthened its sales and marketing team. BEENA PURI has moved over from office management to become sales and marketing coordinator. She now oversees all of the firm’s PC labels, as well as console label Blast.

Meanwhile, SCOTT PHILLIPS has extended his responsibilities beyond his duties as brand manager for Just Flight and Just Trains. He will now work on PC Gamer Presents, MAD, Great Indie Games, Everyone Can Play and Sold Out.

Raymond heads to Toronto

UBISOFT  JADE RAYMOND has been named studio head of the yet-to-beopened development house, Ubisoft Toronto. The former Assassin’s Creed producer will oversee the dayto-day operations of the studio, which was founded as part of a

massive investment from the government of Canadian province Ontario. She will maintain her duties as exec producer for Assassin’s Creed II, and will report to YANNIS MALLAT, CEO of Ubisoft Toronto and Montreal. “I’m excited to have Jade managing our Toronto studio,” said Mallat. “With more than 12 years of experience in the video game industry, Jade’s knowledge and leadership are major assets in building the new studio.” PUG PHARM  The Canadian online developer, which focuses on pure social

networking games, has appointed DAVID DOSSOT as its new chief technology officer. Dossot is a veteran of the technology sector with more than 15 years working at similar development firms and other global online gaming and entertainment companies. Pug Pharm CEO Steve Bocska said: “David’s extensive industry knowledge gained as a leading software engineer and architect, along with his work in the field of online gaming and massively multiplayer systems, provide the perfect experience for guiding the Pug Pharm technical team as we continue to grow.”

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HE SHOOTS... Wayne Rooney and company return in EA’s latest FIFA extravaganza...

P54

WITH THIS ISSUE Nintendo’s latest hit franchise returns to stimulate the minds of DS gamers in Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box…

SUPERCAR CHALLENGE P56 System 3’s realistic driving sim races to retail in time for the new PS3 launch MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 2 P58 Iron Man, Captain America, Spiderman and Hulk return in Activision’s action sequel UP P59 The latest animated adventure from Pixar gets the video game treatment DISNEY SING IT: POP HITS P59 The Disney singing series expands to include chart-topping artists DEAD SPACE EXTRACTION P60 EA’s award-winning horror franchise comes to Wii in this terrifying prequel IMAGINE RANGE P62 Teaching, journalism and party planning are amongst Ubisoft’s latest Imagine titles COMBAT OF GIANTS: DRAGONS P63 3D dragons do battle in the latest game in Ubisoft’s Combat of Giants series AION P64 NCsoft’s acclaimed MMO finally makes its way to Western shores this month

RETAILBIZ: FIFA 10 54 MCV 11/09/09

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Football fans rejoice as EA’s best-selling FIFA series returns from its acclaimed 2009 outing, with more than a few improvements for 2010… by James Batchelor WHILE ONE member of Team MCV is convinced football is nothing more than kicking a ball around a field, a simple glance at the list of improvements made for FIFA 10 proves otherwise. The intricacies of the Beautiful Game have all been tweaked and refined for the latest instalment of the best-selling franchise, giving gamers unprecedented control over their players. Veteran FIFA fans are certain to enjoy the deeper control they have over their teams, but it’s the new additions that will really drive FIFA 10 at retail. “There is a huge level of buzz and anticipation around the release of FIFA

10 with an unprecedented level of preorders and a great showing at this year’s Gamescom,” says EA Sports marketing manager Trevor Uzice. “We are optimistic that this will be our biggest FIFA launch to date.” BE A PRO

One feature EA is proud of is Virtual Pro, which provides gamers with the chance to get closer to the game than ever before. Players will be able take a photo of their face and map it to a 3D head for use on an in-game footballer. With their Virtual Pro created, they can enter all of the game’s modes and

take to the pitch as themselves, bringing them closer to their dreams of becoming a real pro footballer. As they progress, they can develop their Virtual Pro’s skills through 200 accomplishments. Once

There is a huge level of buzz and anticipation around FIFA 10, with an unprecedented level of pre-orders. Trevor Uzice, EA Sports each of these is earned, gamers can tweak their player’s attributes and improve his abilities on the pitch. The new multiplayer mode, Pro Club Championship, allows FIFA fans to create

online clubs with their friends and take on other Virtual Pros from around the world in 10-on-10 matches. Naturally, leaderboards will be in full effect, with clubs competing to be Regional and World Champions. Another new mode is the Practice Arena. For the first time, FIFA players can practice their skills and get to grips with the controls before stepping onto the pitch for a proper match. They can practice alone, or set up simple five-a-side or full-size matches to try out their moves. They can even use this mode to set up their own customisable set pieces.

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Gamers can position each player for specific moments in matches, such as corners and free kicks, and record them for later use. When playing a match in any game mode, they can then use this set piece with a tap on the D-pad. By taking full advantage of the Practice Arena and customisable set pieces, players will be able to hone their skills and master the game. As they do so, they’ll begin to understand the intricate refinements made for FIFA 2010 that gives them more control over their in-game footballers than ever. TINKERING WITH THE ENGINE

Developer EA Canada also dedicated a lot of time and resources to improving the already acclaimed game engine. “The primary focus as always has been on the world class game engine

that the highly accomplished team are developing in Canada,” says Uzice. “They have spent a great deal of time and energy listening to consumers’ feedback from FIFA 09 to make the best offering possible and the appropriate signs suggest that they have delivered upon expectations.” One of the sport’s crucial areas has played a major part in the FIFA 10 overhaul: dribbling. The game now boasts a true 360-degree dribbling system that gives players complete control over the ball, enabling them to weave between defenders in a way that hasn’t been possible before. Tackling has also been improved, so skilled players will have more accuracy when sliding to retake the ball. It’s also easier to avoid simply colliding with the opposing footballer. Both tackling and

dribbling look more realistic thanks to new animations. Finally, Manager Mode has also been enhanced, with more than 50 major improvements made to make this campaign more authentic. As a crucial release for EA and the year in general, FIFA 10 will be supported by a mammoth marketing campaign. Given the impressive sales of previous FIFA games and the series’ growing prestige, an audience has already been established. Uzice adds: “We will be targeting gamers and football fans with an extensive launch campaign and throughout the 09/10 season featuring standout creative across TV, print, online and outdoor in addition to working with our fantastic pack talent to generate substantial PR coverage for the title.”

RETAILBIZ: SUPERCAR CHALLENGE 56 MCV 11/09/09

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System 3 brings a sequel to the very pretty Ferrari Challenge to retail in time for Christmas – and the Britsoft publisher claims that the new PS3 title is ‘the next evolution’ of racing games… by James Batchelor THIS YEAR looks like it could be the strongest year for the racing genre in recent memory – and System 3 is getting in on the act by building on its 2008 hit, Ferrari Challenge. For the sequel, SuperCar Challenge, the publisher has moved away from focusing on a single make of car and instead widened the scope to include all supercars. Rather than forcing players to race with lesser models for the majority of the game, SuperCar Challenge allows them to get to grips with some of the hottest, fastest cars known to man from the word go. “Whether it’s hardcore racing fans, casual gamers, professional racing drivers or racing car manufacturers, everyone agrees that this is without

doubt the most realistic experience out promotional activities, the main focus there,” says System 3 CEO Mark Cale. has been to give gamers the opportunity “From the very beginning, we’ve to sample the game for themselves. aimed to create the most realistic 16Most notably, this has been achieved player racing experience out there and, with the 16-player online beta trial, one judging by the early feedback, that’s We’re on our way to our exactly what we’ve achieved. Through long-term goal of becoming last year’s Ferrari the best racing game Challenge and now developer in the world. SuperCar Challenge, Mark Cale, System 3 we’re well on our way to achieving our long-term goal of being the best racing game developer in of the first in the industry to involve the world.” more than a few thousand people. When it comes to marketing Initially open to 5,000 hardcore racing SuperCar Challenge, System 3 is fans, the beta was then widened to taking a slightly different approach another 5,000 CVG readers and an than it has with previous titles. In additional 50,000 gamers through a addition to seeking the usual promotion in The Sun, with additional

promotions in Shortlist and the Daily Mirror. Overall, 150,000 people will have taken part in the beta trial. TRACK RECORD

Feedback from beta testers have been largely positive, with some even comparing the game favourable to the likes of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Additionally, initial reviews have been scored well, with four out of five in The Sunday Times. Pre-order incentives were also used to entice gamers in the run-up to launch. Consumers who pre-ordered the game through GAME’s stores and website received a special code, granting them access to one of two exclusive in-game cars: The Ferrari 599XX or the Stirling Moss McClaren SLR.

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System 3 has taken on board a lot of feedback from those who bought Ferrari Challenge and has used it to improve in several key areas. There are three handling modes that have been tweaked from the original game (Assisted, Arcade and Simulation) that offer different experiences designed to cater for players of any ability. The game also features a wide range of licensed tracks and cars from around the world, from Silverstone to Hockenheim. The roster of cars on offer is even more varied, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and more, and all of these can be used in the numerous multiplayer modes, which support up to 16 players. System 3 believes the game is a comprehensive package that will please all petrolheads. “With Ferrari Challenge, we learned that we can make great racing games that can compete with the big players,” says System 3’s COO Patrick Cadore. “Simulation racing fans loved what the

MCV 11/09/09 57

game offered and stood for, and in terms of car handling it has yet to be matched. “The racing genre enjoyed a bit of a resurgence at E3 this year but that doesn’t change the fact that no other racing game can match our strengths: a wide range of handling options, including super-realistic simulation handling and assisted mode for the casual racer, 1080p graphics and competitive 16-player pack racing, both online and offline. “You can’t race around a Grand Prix track such as Spa or Silverstone with anything less than 16 cars if you want a proper racing experience and from the very start we’ve stuck to that benchmark.” RELEASED: OUT NOW FORMATS: PS3 PUBLISHER: SYSTEM 3 DEVELOPER: EUTECHNYX PRICE: £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

RETAILBIZ: MARVEL: ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 2 58 MCV 11/09/09

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Activision Blizzard is set to impress fans as it brings the most iconic heroes and villains from the comic universe together to do battle... Visions, has done a fantastic job of recreating every superhero in the game. “We’re supporting the launch with a great consumer and trade campaign with some fantastic creatives. Retailers should expect this game to be the ultimate Marvel experience for their customers.” The games storyline is based largely on the ongoing Marvel Civil War plotline from the comic books. The American government passes the Superhuman Registration Act, demanding all superheroes and villains

Players choose their dream team of Marvel characters and progress through THE ORIGINAL MARVEL: Ultimate a series of battles, missions and levels, Alliance, released in 2006, featured the with events changing around the biggest line-up of iconic superheroes and decisions they make. They can even villains ever seen in a video game, and combine their chosen heroes to create consequentially proved to be highly new Fusion powers: for example, popular. Avid comic book fans leapt at teaming up the Human Torch with Thor the chance to lead a team of their creates a devastating fiery tornado. favourite characters through a series of As with the original game, there will epic battles, and ultimately were left be an online co-operative multiplayer wanting more. Now they get it. mode, with the Xbox 360 version Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 follows supporting up to four players. The the structure of the bestgame’s community will be selling original, but brings in supported by the official The Marvel fanbase is a more characters and UA2 website. passionate one and the superpowers than ever “The game has a herodeveloper, Vicarious Visions, before. Marvel and its studded line-up, with over done a fantastic job recreating fanbase have continued to 100 Marvel characters grow thanks to the success and over 24 playable every superhero in the game. of films such as Iron Man characters,” says Wood. Scott Wood, Activision and Spider-Man 3. As such, “One of the new features Activision Blizzard is confident Ultimate must register themselves as weapons of the game is the ability to fuse Alliance 2 has a significant audience of mass destruction and become characters’ powers together with over already established and eagerly licenced government agents. 250 astonishing new fusion powers, waiting for it. The news divides the Marvel creating amazing gaming moments.” “The game showcases the biggest line- community, with two factions emerging Activision will be working hard to up of Marvel characters and provides to battle and subdue the other. Captain raise awareness and push Ultimate comic fans, action fans and RPG fans America becomes the leader of the Alliance 2’ in the hopes of outperforming with a great experience,” says senior Anti-Registration group, while Iron Man the sequel’s predecessor. The publisher brand manager Scott Wood. “We expect forms the Pro-Registration team. Players has prepared a comprehensive and it to deliver a fantastic superhero-fuelled must choose their allegiance and work heavily targeted campaign that should gaming experience to all ages. through the resultant storyline if they engage the dedicated fanbase. “The Marvel fanbase is a passionate are to bring the inevitable conflict to an “Our print campaign kicks off at the one and the developer, Vicarious explosive end. end of August with adverts throughout by James Batchelor

SFX’s Marvel Super Heroes special,” Wood says. “Lifestyle and gaming adverts will follow throughout September and October in Marvel comics such as Marvel Legends and Wolverine, as well as in gaming magazines including Official PlayStation Magazine, Official Xbox Magazine and Official Nintendo Magazine. “A massive online campaign will showcase and highlight the new key features on Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. We have arranged lots of high impact roadblocks, homepage takeovers and innovative creative solutions to really make a breakthrough on specialist gaming sites, comic fan sites and social networking sites. “Finally, in-store POS is available to support our retail customers and focuses on the central characters from the game such as Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man and Captain America.” RELEASED: SEPTEMBER 25 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3, WII, PS2, DS, PSP VENDOR: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD DEVELOPER: VICARIOUS VISIONS (PS3, 360) / N-SPACE (WII, PS2, DS) / SAVAGE (PSP) PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

RETAILBIZ: DISNEY SING IT! & UP WWW.MCVUK.COM

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Disney ventures away from its own library of tunes and brings in some of the music industry’s hottest talent for its latest karaoke title… by James Batchelor FIVE YEARS since Sony brought the sensation of crooning along to wellknown cheesy tunes out of seedy downtown bars and into the comfort of the living room, karaoke games are still going strong. Disney has generations of experience with this particular audience and, as a result, its own catalogue of karaoke games has performed well at retail over the last few years. To date, the Disney Sing It! franchise has focused on tunes from the company’s High School Musical, Camp Rock and Hannah Montana properties, but now it is veering into more mainstream territory. Among the 30 or so songs available to choose from in new game Sing It! Pop Hits players will instantly recognise the likes of Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Colbie Caillat and Jesse McCartney. These chart-topping hits have been handpicked to appeal to teens and tweens, even if they’re not familiar with the Disney Sing It! series or other musical Disney properties. However, there is also a selection of Disney-managed talent within the setlist as well, enticing buyers of previous Sing It! titles. Fans can croon to songs by familiar stars such as Miley Cyrus and her blonde alter-ego Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers and Camp Rock’s Demi Lovato. As with previous entries in the series, Pop Hits offers gamers a range of different modes designed for both single and multiplayer sessions. In

addition to the standard solo, duet and head-to-head options, the game features modes that make it stand out from other titles in the genre. Most notably, the Sing It Pro mode doesn’t force players to rely on their natural talent but actually coaches them on how to become better performers. Disney Channel star Tiffany Thornton appears as their teacher, taking gamers through a series of vocal exercises. These cover everything from the basics of pitch and breathing to advanced concepts such as harmonising. By completing these lessons, wannabe singers will learn to achieve higher scores in the main game, improving their chances of unlocking new content and other special rewards. Also of interest is the Sing It Encore mode, which allows players to record and play back their performances, adding special effects to make them sound like a professionally produced song. As with Toy Story Mania, Disney Sing It!: Pop Hits will be promoted as part of the publisher’s Christmas lineup through a combination of print and online advertising, TV campaigns and celebrity endorsements. RELEASED: OCTOBER 2 FORMATS: WII, PS3, PS2 PUBLISHER: DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS DEVELOPER: ZOË MODE PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

THQ’s deal to make Disney Pixar titles continues with Up, a high-flying adventure that takes players deep into the Amazonian jungle… by James Batchelor FRESH FROM its success with Wall-E, Disney Pixar is bringing its latest enchanting feature film Up to cinemas across the UK over the next month – and THQ is once again on hand to publish the video game adaptation. The firm has proven itself a dab hand at transferring Pixar movies to console over the last decade, and Up seems to have the right ingredients for success. The game follows the events of the film, in which an old man seeks to move his house away from the city by lifting it with thousands of helium balloons. Once airborne, he discovers he has inadvertently taken with him a young boy who happened to be on his porch at the time of take off. Together, they journey to Paradise Falls, South America in search of adventure. Players take on the role of each of the film’s main characters, including the miserly Carl Fredricksen and the chirpy young Wilderness Explorer, Russel. At times, they will also be called upon to control jungle natives Dug, a dog with a

translating collar, and Kevin the prehistoric bird. The majority of the game focuses on platforming action as gamers try to traverse the perilous terrain of the Amazonian jungles. Carl and his friends must explore dark caves, rock gardens, confusing mazes and raging rivers if he is to find a place that they can call home in Paradise Falls. Throughout these levels are various puzzling elements, such as moving boulders to clear a path, or jumping on seesaws and swinging on vines to access new areas. Gamers will also have to battle with the dangerous creatures that inhabit the jungle, including man-eating plants, giant anacondas and crocodiles. RELEASED: OCTOBER 2 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3, WII, PS2, DS, PSP, PC PUBLISHER: THQ DEVELOPER: HEAVY IRON STUDIOS / ASOBO STUDIOS PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9585

RETAILBIZ: DEAD SPACE: EXTRACTION 60 MCV 11/09/09

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EA’s critically acclaimed original sci-fi horror series Dead Space makes its Wii debut in an equally bonechilling release, as players explore the events leading up to the critically acclaimed 360 and PS3 title... the events leading up to Isaac Clarke’s mission on the USG Ishimura.” Players take on the role of one of the surviving members from the Aegis VII mining colony. When the mutated abominations known as Necromorphs attack, a handful of colonists must battle

by James Batchelor

THE FIRST DEAD SPACE was a big hit when released in the closing months of 2008. The game proved that EA could produce strong new IP that was just as engaging and impressive, if not more so, than their established franchised This is a high-quality, mature titles – and brought title built from the ground up, something genuinely fresh specifically utilising the to both the sci-fi and survival horror genres. innovative Wii controls. Follow-up Dead Space Will Graham, EA Extraction represents the series’ debut on Wii – and EA has their way to safety, seeking sanctuary in worked hard to ensure that it stands up a ship orbiting above the planet – the as a strong game in its own right. fabled Ishimura. “Dead Space Extraction from Visceral As the survivors around them fall Studios, formerly known as EA prey to an infection that transforms Redwood Shores, adds significant detail them into disgusting creatures, players to the Dead Space universe and discover their best hope for salvation is enriches the amazingly deep fiction,” to team up with fellow survivor Lexine. says EA’s core games product manager The game forgoes the third-person Will Graham. shooter structure of the 2008 hit in “The game is a prequel to last year’s favour of a first-person on-rails formula. critically acclaimed and award-winning This makes the game more immersive – high definition version, and it reveals and ensures that there is no escaping

the shocks and surprises that lurk behind every corner. The on-rails mechanic has proven popular in several other mature Wii titles, such as House Of The Dead: Overkill and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles. However, EA has assured Dead Space fans that the series’ unique combat is replicated accurately. As with the original Dead Space, the key to survival is dismemberment. Carefully aimed shots will see limbs flying left, right and centre, and only by strategically relieving foes of their extremities will players be able to bring them down quickly. This can accomplished with a range of weapons, but also with abilities that make a welcome return from the original, such as telekinesis and stasis. Should gamers find themselves struggling and in need of support, or simply wish to experience the game’s horrors with a friend by their side, Dead Space Extraction features a dropin/drop-out co-operative mode that

allows a second player to join the action at any point. “This is a high-quality, mature title built from the ground up, specifically utilising the innovative motion controls of the Wii,” adds Graham. “It offers a frenetic first-person perspective to create an action-packed horror experience and the best mature co-operative experience on the format, as well as a visceral single-player campaign that expands and builds on the rich fiction of Dead Space, one of the highest rated new IPs of last year.” Electronic Arts will be working hard to promote the game over the coming month, raising awareness of Extraction’s arrival with a significant online campaign bolstered by a range of PR activity. RELEASED: OCTOBER 2 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS DEVELOPER: VISCERAL STUDIOS PRICE: £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

RETAILBIZ: SAW: THE GAME WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 11/09/09 61

The popular horror series makes its video game debut as players are challenged to escape from the notorious Jigsaw Killer… one of the most prominent movie franchises out there. Konami has a history of producing strong horrorthemed games, and Saw is a perfect example of this.” The notorious Jigsaw Killer has trapped gamers in a seemingly abandoned insane asylum. To escape they must first solve a series of puzzles and booby traps, all in keeping with the film’s spine-chilling scenarios. Whether trying to remove a mask capable of decapitating your head or searching a toilet full of syringes for a fuse that disarms blocks of dynamite, players will recognise the strange mix of ingenuity

by James Batchelor

THROUGH ITS own successful survival horror series Silent Hill, Konami has developed a reputation among fans of darker entertainment. It now combines its experience in this genre with the prestige of Hollywood to bring gamers Saw: The Game. Based on the hugely popular film saga, which has grossed more than $665 million worldwide and sold more than 28 million DVDs, the game recreates the atmosphere of its silver screen namesake and challenges players to escape from horrifying situations. It’s a lucrative licence, and one Konami is determined to It’s set between the first and honour with a game that second movies, mixing puzzle invites Saw fans to get elements with suspense and closer to the films than gross-out sequences perfectly. ever before. “The Saw movies are the Richard Jones, Konami highest-earning horror titles to date, and the game is incredibly close and insanity from the films – and there to its movie counterpart,” says product are even some unpredictable twists to manager Richard Jones. “It is set keep them on their toes. between the first and second movies, “The game has some incredible set and mixes puzzle elements with the pieces within a very fine exploratory suspense and gross-out sequences of the title,” Jones explains. “Anyone who has films perfectly. seen a Saw movie will remember “The use of Jigsaw and his clown-like elements such as people falling into a puppet Billy, suitably grimy settings and well of syringes, or removing a limb to Tobin Bell reprising his role from the get free from a chain before finding the movies adds a level of authenticity, key nearby. Saw: The Video Game has while the actual puzzles are suitably all these ingredients. grisly and recognisable from the films. In “The player has a key sewn in their terms of recognition, the Saw series is stomach, which Jigsaw has told other

trapped people they need in order to escape. As uneasy alliances will be formed, the player is basically left to look after number one – and that throws up some harsh realities. With puzzles featuring the likes of the Bear Trap hat from the first film and some nasty booby traps, players must be alert at all times.” Konami will be working closely with Lionsgate to run a variety of crosspromotions with the game and the forthcoming Saw VI. The publisher is working with Thorpe Park on crosspromotions with their new Saw theme park ride. In terms of additional marketing initiatives, there will be extensive trade promotions using the Billy character and, a POS featuring Billy will be widely available. Cinema adverts will also hit the screens around the time of the launch. The game will enjoy a strong online presence, with banners and ownership across game and horror-themed sites. “This is not just some knock-off cashin,” adds Jones. “It has been carefully scripted in conjunction with the movie’s creators, where the scenario mixes the moral ambiguity of the movies, with some harsh puzzles that often have macabre repercussions for the main character. “We have very high hopes for the game, and it is perceived as a vital part of the Saw multiverse.”

RELEASED: OCTOBER/NOVEMBER FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3, PC PUBLISHER: KONAMI DEVELOPER: ZOMBIE STUDIOS PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 0208 987 5706

RETAILBIZ: IMAGINE RANGE 62 MCV 11/09/09

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Ubisoft expands its hugely successful range of Imagine titles, revisiting previous occupations and introducing new ones… by James Batchelor hairdresser and make-up artist in the UBISOFT’S IMAGINE series is quite world. The only way to achieve this is possibly the biggest and widest-reaching by successfully managing the salon and range of games available on DS. The keeping customers happy. French publisher has left no stone The last three of the current batch unturned in its quest to fulfil every arrive in January 2010, starting with possible fantasy of young girl gamers Imagine Artist. through its software, exploring a range Girls live the life of an artist in the of occupations and interests. making as they learn to draw, paint, and The series shifted over one million make collages through various fun mini games in its first 12 months on sale, games and lessons. They can then and subsequent releases have continued manage their career as they complete to perform well. art projects for clients. Now Ubisoft is hoping for yet more Imagine Rescue Vet revisits the success – as it prepares no less than vetinarian sector, but this time the pet eight new Imagine titles to satisfy fans hospital is also a sanctuary for in the run-up to Christmas. abandoned animals. Starting as an The new line-up already has a intern, players take care of many presence at retail, after the recent different animals, find new owners release of Imagine Teacher: School Trip. for them, and learn how to be a real The sequel to Imagine Teacher, the title animal expert. puts players in the role of a teacher Finally, Imagine Journalist challenges during a fun school trip. girls to become the best journalist in A series of mini-games recreate town. Keeping their ears and eyes wide outdoor activities with pupils and gives open to catch the latest scoops, they players the chance to discover all The Imagine series enjoyed about nature. over one million sales in its Imagine first 12 months – and is still Detective, out performing exceptionally. this week, lets players fill the shoes of an undercover High School must track the news, record interviews detective. Aspiring sleuths are and take the best pictures. challenged to solve fun and sometimes In the past, Imagine promotional thrilling mysteries by playing smart and campaigns have focused on celebrity varied mini-games. Once they’ve ambassadors Holly Willoughby and Fearne uncovered the truth, they can close Cotton. This year, it’s all about real girls each case by posting their findings on living their dreams – and Ubisoft is even their blog. holding a competition whereby girls can Imagine Party Planner, due to hit send in their dream jobs. shelves on October 2nd, lets gamers live One girl will get the chance to win a out their dreams of being party planner day living her actual dream, which will and work in an agency that handles then be shown in a three-minute video everything to create the perfect party. during an ad slot on national TV on the November 6th sees the arrival of September 12th. Not only will the Imagine Wildlife Keeper, in which whole ad be shown on CITV, but the girls take part in a thrilling outdoor winner will be highlighted on an adventure fighting for one of Earth’s Imagine TV spot in the X Factor final. last conservation areas. Players follow RELEASED: VARIOUS the story of a young woman whose FORMATS: DS passion for animals has led her to travel PUBLISHER: UBISOFT the world. DEVELOPER: UBISOFT Due for release on December 4th, PRICE: VARIOUS Imagine Beauty Stylist invites DS DISTRIBUTOR: TRILOGYI owners to open their own beauty salon CONTACT: 0845 362 7769 and become the most famous

RETAILBIZ: COMBAT OF GIANTS: DRAGONS WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 11/09/09 63

Ubisoft brings the world of fantasy to the DS with its latest Combat Of Giants game, which pits players against fire-breathing monsters... by James Batchelor THE COMBAT OF GIANTS series allows the younger gamer to play with creatures of legend. It began in riproaring style with Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs and is now continuing along the line of legends with Combat of Giants: Dragons. Gamers get to create, control and customise their very own dragon, and then send it into a battle to unite a divided kingdom. The story stems from the collapse of peace between humans and dragons thanks to man’s lust for power and treasure. Having betrayed the creatures, man split them into four elements – earth, wind, ice and fire – in an effort to diminish their strength. Fallen dragons turn on the noble ones and war rages.

Players can choose from four types of dragon, each with their own set of special strengths and powers. They then collect gems from across the kingdom, which can be used to help adapt and hone attacks on their enemies. Combat of Giants: Dragons is pure wish-fulfilment for kids – and the perfect product for players not ready for more violent games, but who like to challenge their friends and battle in a fantasy world. RELEASED: SEPTEMBER 25 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: UBISOFT DEVELOPER: UBISOFT QUEBEC PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: TRILOGYI CONTACT: 0845 362 7769

RETAILBIZ: AION: THE TOWER OF ETERNITY 64 MCV 11/09/09

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RETAILBIZ: AION: THE TOWER OF ETERNITY WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 11/09/09 65

NCsoft spreads its wings with its latest MMORPG, Aion, inviting players to battle an ancient evil that threatens to envelop the two halves of a broken world… by James Batchelor AION: THE TOWER OF ETERNITY takes players beyond the traditional fantasy romp and allows them to take flight in a strange dimension as they not only battle each other but also clash with an ancient evil. The game is set in Atreia, a world ripped into two halves. The civilizations of each half form the two playable factions: the Elyos and the Asmodians. Over many generations, the two societies discover several portals to a dimension between their worlds, known as the Abyss, where they discover the power of flight. They begin exploring both their own halves of the world and the depths of the Abyss for artefacts and fragments of the legendary Tower Of Eternity, the magical structure that once held Atreia together. Once they have chosen a faction, players are invited into this world and tasked with defending their people from the opposing side or journeying to rebuild the Tower Of Eternity and rejuvenate the world. “We are really excited about the potential of Aion,” says sales director Sarah Rogers. “Gamers are definitely looking around for a new high-quality online game to play, and they are getting really hyped up due to the fact that the game is gorgeous-looking, highly polished, stable and contains a vast world with dynamic gameplay. “Retailers should expect a healthy launch, but we’re also hoping for steady ongoing sales – really good online games should have a much longer lifespan than traditional games, and the sales should reflect this. “The other revenue driver for retail should be timecard sales, which is purely incremental business if they are readily available to customers.” As with any MMORPG, gamers work their way up from humble beginnings in

order to become renowned and powerful heroes. In the case of Aion, players must work their way up to Level 10 before the Abyss grants them the ability to grow wings. After they have undergone their Ascension ritual and evolved into Daevas, the winged people of Atreia, they are able to take to the skies whenever they want. This gives the game a whole new dynamic. New areas become available to them, and they can travel between regions much faster than usual. They will also have to engage in aerial combat, defending themselves from attacks that can come from any angle. As they progress through the game, they

Balaur, while at other times they may be allied with the ancient race. The RPG mainstay of a class system is present, with gamers choosing between Scout, Warrior, Mage and Priest. They can either focus on mastering each type’s inherent skills and abilities or, through Aion’s Stigma system, they can learn to use traits usually reserved for other classes. NCsoft has drawn upon its previous experience with this genre for Aion’s marketing, with a much longer plan in place than those used to promote more traditional releases. “MMO games are marketed in a different way: we are not so much selling a box as providing a service to our users,” We’re really excited about says marketing director the potential of Aion. Mirko Gozzo. “To do this, we started Retailers should expect a our marketing activities healthy launch. three years ago via the Sarah Rogers, NCsoft community team. This is will acquire Aether-infused feathers that our best tool to engage and involve will improve their flying abilities. players from the beginning. That’s not to say players who have “On top of that, of course, we are yet to earn your wings miss out on the investing in traditional advertising across Europe. The main focus is on the action. Pedestrian warriors are still able massive online campaign where we will to explore their own worlds and areas be live on more than 96 websites, of the Abyss, where colossal fragments followed by trade activities and print of the Tower floating through the void advertising.” serve as battlefields. More immediate marketing for Aion On these platforms, the two factions began last month with the initial online will fight for control of fortresses and advertising. This is due to run until key regions of the Abyss, hoping to win November to ensure maximum bonuses and special resources for their awareness among online gamers, the side. As they seek to conquer the Tower title’s target audience. fragments, players will discover another This will be supported by targeted twist to Aion’s mechanics. print ads in key publications throughout While a large focus of the game is the September and October. conflict against the other faction, players will soon learn a third force exists in RELEASED: SEPTEMBER 25 this world. An ancient enemy known as FORMATS: PC the Balaur is also fighting for control of PUBLISHER: NCSOFT the Abyss. DEVELOPER: NCSOFT The Balaur’s allegiances shift PRICE: £44.99 depending on the situation. Sometimes DISTRIBUTOR: GEM players will find themselves in an all-out CONTACT: 01279 822800 brawl against both their enemy and the

RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 66 MCV 11/09/09

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Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more

Say Halo to retail’s little friend Microsoft’s entertainment phenomenon returns with a whole new adventure, the Halo 3 multiplayer mode and the ability to take part in the Halo: Reach beta, while EA prepares to unleash its first Need For Speed game of the year... TITLE

FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

SEPTEMBER 18th Amazing Adventures Around The World Blood Bowl Brain College: Lost Cities Of The Amazon Casper's Scare School - Spooky Sports Day Clever Kids: Creepy Crawlies Clever Kids: Pet Store Constellation Professional Cross Edge DJ Star Dogfighter Fable II: GOTY Edition Gears Of War 2: GOTY Edition Happy Party with Hello Kitty & Friends Katamari Forever Love Is... In Bloom My Pet Parrot Need For Speed: Shift NewU Fitness First Personal Trainer One Piece Unlimited Cruise 2 Peggle Nights Raven Squad Red Faction: Guerrilla Resident Evil 5 Spectrobes: Origins Teen Queen: The Clique The Humans Toy Story Mania! Wacky World Of Sports Wet Yamaha Supercross Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Wheelie Breakers

PC PSP/DS/PC PC DS/Wii DS/Wii DS/Wii PC PS3 DS PC XBOX 360 XBOX 360 DS PS3 Wii DS XBOX 360/PS3/PC/PSP Wii Wii PC PC/XBOX 360 PC PC Wii DS DS/PC Wii Wii PS3/XBOX 360 DS Wii

Casual Sports Casual Kids Kids Kids Simulation RPG Music Simulation RPG Action Mini-games Puzzle Simulation Simulation Racing Self-Improvement Action Casual FPS Action Survival Horror RPG RPG Puzzle Mini-games Sports Action Racing Racing

Focus Multimedia THQ City Interactive Blast Midas Midas Just Flight Koei Deep Silver Kalypso Media Microsoft Microsoft Rising Star Games Namco Bandai Zushi 505 Games EA Ubisoft Namco Bandai Focus Multimedia South Peak THQ Capcom Disney Interactive Warner Games Deep Silver Disney Interactive Sega Bethesda Zushi Konami

01889 570156 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0845 234 4242 01376 555 333 01376 555 333 0845 234 4242 01462 476 130 0870 027 0985 0121 506 9585 01279 822 800 01279 822 800 01582 433700 0121 506 9585 01279 822 800 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 01889 570156 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 01279 822 800 0208 987 5706

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

XBOX 360

FPS

Microsoft

01279 822 800

Gem

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

MMORPG Self-Improvement Casual Self-Improvement Action Casual Mini-games Strategy Kids Action Action/Adventure Action Action Survival Horror Mini-games Simulation Puzzle RPG Action/Adventure Action

Ncsoft City Interactive City Interactive City Interactive South Peak 505 Games Atari Koei 505 Games City Interactive Activision Blizzard Konami Namco Bandai Playlogic Ubisoft Zushi Nintendo Deep Silver Warner Games Capcom

0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 01462 476 130 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0208 987 5706 0121 506 9585 0870 027 0985 0845 362 7769 01279 822 800 0870 027 0985 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388

Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy Centresoft Advantage Advantage Open Advantage Trilogy Centresoft Open Advantage Koch Trilogy Gem Koch Koch Centresoft Centresoft

SEPTEMBER 22nd Halo 3: ODST

SEPTEMBER 29th Aion Brain College 5 Brain College: El Dorado Quest Brain College: Lost Cities Of The Amazon Brave: A Warrior's Tale Clueless Family Trainer: Extreme Challenge Holy Invasion Of Privacy, Badman! I Did It Mum! Spelling Invasion Over Europe Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 Miami Crisis Naruto Shippuden: Legends: Akatsuki Rising Obscure 2 Peppa Pig Premier Manager '10 Professor Layton And Pandora's Box Sacred 2: Ice & Blood Scooby Doo: First Frights Spyborgs

MUSTSTOCK ................NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT Released: September 18th Format: 360, PS3, PC, PSP Publisher: EA Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388

Traditionally one of the biggest releases of the year, Need for Speed returns to retail aimed at the more core gamer. Shift boasts realistic physics and less of the arcade gameplay seen in previous titles. EA is also working on a Wii and DS spin-off, Need for Speed: Nitro.

MUSTSTOCK ...............................HALO 3: ODST Released: September 22nd Format: Xbox 360 Publisher: Microsoft Distributor: Gem Contact: 01279 822 800

Each new Halo launch is an event in the games industry, commanding big sales figures and critical acclaim. And the latest game in the franchise boasts an all-new first person shooting experience based on the Halo 3 story and a host of multiplayer modes.

2009 30 September – 1 October 20

09

Leave a lasting impression 2 days 15+ educational seminars and screenings 200+ brand owners 2000+ properties 5000+ retailers, licensors and licensees The only trade show dedicated to the European licensing market. If you are a retailer, licensee or promotional marketer involved in the business of licensing, make your visit to Brand Licensing Europe 2009 a priority.

Registration is free - visit www.brandlicensingeurope.com

Organised by:

Sponsored by:

Official Publication:

RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 68 MCV 04/09/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Sponsored by

RETAIL BIZ:

NEWS

REVIEW SCORES MCV provides the most important average review scores of the last few days – all sourced from Metacritic...

92%

Batman: Arkham Asylum Eidos, 360

85%

80%

74%

61%

IL-2 Sturmovik 505 Games, 360

Dissidia: F Fantasy Square Enix, PSP

Cursed Mountain Deep Silver, Wii

Warriors Orochi 2 Koei, PSP

*Metacritic scores correct at the time of going to press

DEAL OF THE WEEK

HIGH STREET FOOTFALL SEES SEVERE DECLINE IN AUGUST Last month the UK High Street recorded a 4.1 per cent decline in customer footfall, the largest drop in the last seven months. This was attributed to high temperatures and the popularity of the Ashes, according to Retail Week. Sunday, August 23rd was highlighted as the least popular shopping day, with footfall decreases by 11.7 per cent year-on-year. The Experian Retail Footfall index claimed the figures were “depressing”, adding that the slump “cannot be entirely attributed to the weather, although the sunshine encourages the staycation consumer to make the most of the opportunity”. DSGI SEES ‘ENCOURAGING START TO THE YEAR’ Despite posting a decline in both total Group sales and like-for-like sales, DSGi claimed its financial results for the 16 weeks ended August 22nd are “encouraging”. In its latest trading statement, the firm reported total Group sales were down by six per cent in sterling, and its like-for-like sales had also fallen by six per cent. However, UK trading was described as “in

MCV offers a weekly digest of the latest news on the High Street... line with expectations”, with lower sales attributed to TV re-pricing, lower B2B sales at PC World and the costs surrounding ongoing store refurbishments. “Given the challenging environment, this is an encouraging start to the year,” said the Group’s chief executive John Browett. “Our Nordic business is performing strongly, the UK transformation continues on plan with refurbished stores continuing to outperform and the Italian turnaround is starting to deliver. “We remain cautious about the economic outlook. However, we are making good progress on our ongoing Renewal and Transformation plan to deliver an unbeatable combination of value, choice and great service for our customers.” GOD OF WAR REMAKE COMING TO PS3 SHELVES Sony has announced plans to release retooled versions of its God of War PS2 games for the PS3. The new versions of God of War 1 and 2 will boast Trophy support and HD visuals, all on a Blu-ray disc – which conveniently arrives in stores a few months before the arrival of 2010’s God of War 3.

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS ON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON THE UK HIGH STREET, CHECK OUT: WWW.MCVUK.COM/RETAIL-BIZ

Pre-order any version of WWE: SmackDown Vs Raw 2010 at HMV and receive an exclusive free WWE DVD, Rey Mysterio 619. Prices start from £24.99 for the DS and PS2 editions.

MCV POLL Is the 360 price cut enough to contend with the new PS3? 40% YES

THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

TITLE/FORMAT

PUBLISHER

1

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM

2

NEW

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM PS3

3

RE

4

2

WOLFENSTEIN 360

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

5

3

WOLFENSTEIN PS3

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

6

NEW

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM COLLECTORS 360

EIDOS

7

NEW

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM COLLECTORS PS3

EIDOS

8

7

WOLFENSTEIN PC

9

5

THE SIMS 3 PC

10

RE

FORMAT: 360

DEVELOPER: ROCKSTEADY STUDIOS PUBLISHER: EIDOS EIDOS

WII SPORTS RESORT - WITH WII MOTION PLUS WII

WORLD OF WARCRAFT PC

NINTENDO

47% NO

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

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.

13% LET’S WAIT AND SEE

MARGIN MAKER

Antigrav expands its range of licensed DS products with this new selection of Cars-themed accessories. Handheld owners can treat themselves to a new DS carry case, sporting characters from the film and designed to hold a DS Lite or DSi.

While results are relatively evenly split, it seems the majority of users in the latest MCV online survey believe the recent Xbox 360 price cut will not be enough to compete with the new slimline PS3’s price point.

 Take part in MCV’s next poll at www.mcvuk.com

Alternatively, the larger Combination Pack features a different case, game card storage cases, stylus pens, screen protectors, decal stickers, headphones and more. A similar pack is also available for PSP. Antigrav: 01932 454929

at lable i a v A All

For more information contact sales - 01256 385 251

Wii AND THE Wii LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NINTENDO.

INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS

RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 04/09/09 69 Sponsored by

FROM THE [PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10 UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3 SONY 2. FIFA 10

PS3 ..........................................................................EA

3. PES 2010

PS3....................................................................KONAMI

4. GRAN TURISMO 5

PS3 ......................................................................SONY

5. FIFA 10

360 ..........................................................................EA

6. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2

360 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

7. COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2

360 ..........................................................CODEMASTERS

8. COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2

PS3 ..........................................................CODEMASTERS

9. HALO 3: ODST

FRONTLINE This week’s Frontline interviewee is Darren Creed of Welsh independent Creed Games… What makes your store unique? We are a smaller version of Blockbuster, as we also trade in DVD and Blu-ray rental. We have just gone online to hopefully boost turnover. We have just gone online two months ago to boost turnover. Our site can be found at creedgames.co.uk. I don’t think we are unique from any other game shop, but our staff are first class with customer satisfaction and after sales. Plus, our competitor has set prices on cashback trade-ins, whereas we can give a little more if it’s a strong selling game we’re purchasing, so we gain new customers from this. Very soon our range of retro gaming will expand, which will be something to look out for.

How do you cope with the local competition from larger retailers? The great thing is we don’t have much competition. The nearest GAME shop to us is 25 miles away. The supermarkets that are huge with games are 40 miles away, so they are no threat really. Plus, with Woolies closing back in January and WHSmith being too expensive and only having bare minimum stock on gaming,

the situation’s not too bad for us. We’re practically alone. What is the one thing you would change about games retail? If I could, I would make it so games could only be purchased from specialist stores only and we would all have to sell at practically the same prices, so we can share the same profits.

360 ..............................................................MICROSOFT

10. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2

PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD Week ending September 4th Source: SHOPTO.COM

PRICE CHECK

[PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10

Batman: Arkham Asylum PS3, Eidos

Wolfenstein

G-Force

360, Activision Blizzard

DS, Disney

Wii Sports Resort

The Sims 3

Wii, Nintendo

PC, EA

IN STORE: CHELMSFORD

HALO 3: ODST 360 MICROSOFT

2. PROFESSOR LAYTON PANDORA’S BOX

DS..................................................................NINTENDO

£39.99

£39.99

£29.99

£42.99

£34.99

£39.99

£39.99

£29.99

£42.99

£37.99

£36.87

£39.87

£24.87

£38.87

N/A

£38.99

N/A

£29.39

£48.99

£34.29

£39.99

£39.99

£14.99

£39.99

£29.99

£34.95

£37.95

£24.95

£37.95

£29.95

£39.95

£38.95

£29.95

£36.95

£29.95

£33.99

£36.99

£19.99

£36.99

£29.99

3. FIFA 10

PS3 ..........................................................................EA

4. COD: MODERN: MODERN WARFARE 2

360 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

5. FIFA 10

360 ..........................................................................EA

6. IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS OF PREY

PS3 ..............................................................505 GAMES

7. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2

PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

8. COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2

360 ..........................................................CODEMASTERS

9. IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS OF PREY

ONLINE

360 ..............................................................505 GAMES

10. UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES

PS3 ......................................................................SONY Week ending September 4th Source: AMAZON.CO.UK

TO TAKE PART PLEASE CONTACT: JAMES.BATCHELOR@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 70 MCV 11/09/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM

OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[1] [FULL PRICE]

TITLE

DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING

2 3 4 5 6 7

6

PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE NINTENDO MARIO KART DS NINTENDO POKÉMON PLATINUM NINTENDO NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. NINTENDO 42 ALL-TIME CLASSICS NINTENDO MYSTERY STORIES GSP/AVANQUEST

7 10 8

SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE MUMMY CLASSIC WORD GAMES CLUB PENGUIN: ELITE PENGUIN FORCE

8 9 10

2 4 3 5 RE

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

DISNEY

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

PUBLISHER

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

TRANSFORMERS: FALLEN ACTIVISION BLIZZARD G-FORCE DISNEY BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P HARRY POTTER: HALF BLOOD PRINCE EA NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD INDIANA JONES: STAFF OF KINGS LUCASARTS GHOSTBUSTERS SONY ICE AGE 3: DAWN OF DINOSAURS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TITLE

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM FORMAT: 360, PS3

LAST WEEK

MONSTER HUNTER: FREEDOM UNITE CAPCOM SOUL CALIBUR: BROKEN DESTINY UBISOFT NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA FIFA ‘09 EA BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P HARRY POTTER & HALF-BLOOD PRINCE EA RESISTANCE: RETRIBUTION SONY LEGO BATMAN: THE VIDEOGAME WARNER BROS. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 SEGA

DEVELOPER: SQUARE ENIX PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX

[5]

PUBLISHER

2

2

WII SPORTS RESORT Wii

3

10

COD4: MODERN WARFARE 360, PS3, PC, DS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

NINTENDO

4

5

WII FIT Wii

5

3

ASHES CRICKET 2009 Wii, PS3, PC, 360

6

NEW

7

8

TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 360, Wii, PS3

NINTENDO CODEMASTERS

IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS 360, PS3, DS, PSP

8

6

COD: WORLD AT WAR 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC

9

13

FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 360, PS3

10

NEW

DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY PSP

11

4

505 GAMES EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA SQUARE ENIX

WOLFENSTEIN 360, PS3, PC

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

12

7

MARIO KART WII Wii

13

11

CALL OF JUAREZ: BOUND IN BLOOD

NINTENDO 360, PS3, PC UBISOFT

14

9

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

15

26

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360, PS3, PC

16

15

FIFA ‘09 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, PC

EA

17

14

THE SIMS 3 PC

EA

WARNER BROS. ROCKSTAR

18

NEW

CHAMPIONS ONLINE PC

19

20

FALLOUT 3: ADD-ON 2 360, PC

20

19

TRANSFORMERS: FALLEN 360, PS3, PC, Wii, DS, PS2, PSP ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: ROCKSTEADY STUDIOS PUBLISHER: EIDOS

TITLE

PC CD-ROM

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

2 3 6 5 4 7 8

[4]

[FULL PRICE]

1 1

[3]

DEVELOPER: REBELLION PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY

NEW

THIS WEEK

UBISOFT

COD: WORLD AT WAR

PSP

[2]

1

UBISOFT

1 2 3 6 4 5 7 9 8 10

TOP 40ALL

PUBLISHER

1

[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]

1

ATARI BETHESDA

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

PUBLISHER

THE SIMS 3 DEVELOPER: THE SIMS STUDIO PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS CHAMPIONS ONLINE

2

NEW

3

3

WOW: WRATH OF LICH KING

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

ATARI

4

2

WOLFENSTEIN

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

5

4

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009

SEGA

6

5

EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR

SEGA

7

7

WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR II

8

6

FALLOUT 3

9

10

CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

10

8

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV

THQ

BETHESDA SOFTWORKS

TAKE 2

RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 11/09/09 71

the second week, dipping just 27 per cent in sales. The Dark Knight benefited from bundling with Sony’s new, slimmer PS3, which also boosted sales of Activision’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The first person shooter saw sales rise 128 per cent as the game leapt into third place – a remarkable achievement for a game that has been around for almost two years. Bodes well for its sequel.

PS3

FORMATS Highest New Entry

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

Highest Top 40 Climber

21

22

G-FORCE 360, Wii, PS3, 360, PS2, PSP

22

12

HARRY POTTER: HALF BLOOD 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PC, PS2 EA

23

18

WII PLAY Wii

DISNEY

NINTENDO

24

17

GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR PS3, Wii, 360, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

25

34

DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS

26

25

ASSASSIN’S CREED 360, PS3, PC

UBISOFT

27

24

PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE DS NINTENDO

RE

LITTLEBIGPLANET PS3

29

21

MARIO KART DS DS

30

RE

KILLZONE 2 PS3

31

27

MYSTERY STORIES DS

32

16

[PROTOTYPE] PC, PS3, 360

33

23

LEGO STAR WARS PS3, 360, Wii, DS,

34

36

SEGA SUPERSTAR TENNIS 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PS2, PC

30

EA SPORTS ACTIVE Wii

RE

SONIC UNLEASHED 360, PS3, Wii, PS2

37

33

POKÉMON PLATINUM DS

38

29

CARNIVAL: FUNFAIR GAMES Wii, DS

39

35

BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE DS, Wii, PS2, PSP

40

RE

HALO 3 360

PC CD-ROM THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

SONY NINTENDO SONY

35

GSP/AVANQUEST ACTIVISION BLIZZARD LUCASARTS SEGA EA SEGA NINTENDO 2K PLAY D3P MICROSOFT

PUBLISHER

FALLOUT 3: GAME ADD-ON PACK 2 DEVELOPER: BETHESDA PUBLISHER: BETHESDA SOFTWORKS

2 4 5 6 7 3 9 8

WOW: BATTLE CHEST

WORLD OF WARCRAFT

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

RE

WOW: THE BURNING CRUSADE

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

JEWEL QUEST MYSTERIES: EMERALD

GSP/AVANQUEST

MYSTERY CASE FILES: MADAME FATE

BIG FISH GAMES

MYSTERY CASE FILES: RAVENHEARST

BIG FISH GAMES

HIDDEN EXPEDITION: AMAZON

BIG FISH GAMES

ROLLERCOASTER TYCOON 3

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

PUBLISHER

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS OF PREY FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 CALL OF JUAREZ: BOUND IN BLOOD KILLZONE 2 ASHES CRICKET 2009 WOLFENSTEIN

NEW

8 7 5 RE

3 2

DEVELOPER: ROCKSTEADY STUDIOS PUBLISHER: EIDOS

WII

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ACTIVISION BLIZZARD 505 GAMES EA EA UBISOFT SONY CODEMASTERS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

ATARI

MYSTERY CASE FILES: PRIME SUSPECTS BIG FISH GAMES

PUBLISHER

1

WII SPORTS RESORT

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

WII FIT MARIO KART WII ASHES CRICKET 2009 EA SPORTS ACTIVE TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 METROID PRIME TRILOGY ANIMAL CROSSING: LET’S GO TO THE CITY CURSED MOUNTAIN MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES

2 4 3 5 6 NEW

7 8 8

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

XBOX 360

[BUDGET PRICE]

TITLE

War, Fight Night Round 4, LittleBigPlanet, Killzone 2 and Tiger Woods 10. In terms of new releases, 505 Games performed strongly with IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey in sixth position, while Square Enix’s highly-anticipated PSP RPG Dissidia: Final Fantasy debuts in tenth place. Christopher Dring

1 9 4

WEEK ENDING 05/09/09

NINTENDO

28

36

Other games that benefited from the new PlayStation 3’s arrival were Call of Duty: World at

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TITLE

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS OF PREY FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 WOLFENSTEIN GRAND THEFT AUTO IV CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ASHES CRICKET 2009 GEARS OF WAR 2

5 6 7 2 10 4 3 RE

NINTENDO NINTENDO CODEMASTERS EA EA NINTENDO NINTENDO DEEP SILVER SEGA

[FULL PRICE]

1 NEW

(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM holds the top spot for

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: ROCKSTEADY STUDIOS PUBLISHER: EIDOS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD 505 GAMES EA EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD TAKE-TWO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD CODEMASTERS MICROSOFT

[SOURCE]

[ANALYSIS]

INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 72 MCV 11/09/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA

ESTONIA

ISRAEL

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

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

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

AUSTRIA

FINLAND

ITALY

Koch Media GmbH...............................Rottenmann

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

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

Play Art Multimedia Handels GmbH....Rankweil

BELGIUM

v.2 PLAY. LDA

Coop Italia..........................................Sesto F.NO (FI)

FRANCE

Digital Bros spa................................................Milano

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

Leader Spa.................................Gazzada Schianno

Horelec S.A. ...........................................Bruxelles

Newave Italia...................................................Firenze

CLD Distribution S.A. .........................Fernelmont

Promovideo SRL ...........................................Senago

BENELUX

NETHERLANDS INNELEC MULTIMEDIA

Gameworld BV............................Capelle A/D Ijssel

45 rue Delizy,

Micromedia BV...........................................Nijmegen

93692 PANTIN Cedex, France

Favour Games..................................................Tilburg

Email purchase: f_alglave@innelec.com

Rigu Sound B.V................2153 GB Nieuw Vennep

GAMEWORLD

Email export sales: g_armspach@innelec.com

Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel

Tel: 00.33.1.48.10.55.55

Tel: +31 10 298 3838

NEW ZEALAND

GERMANY

NORWAY

Groß Electronic .......................................Rohrnbach

Pan Vision Norway.....................................Trollasen

Otto Group ...................................................Hamburg

MPX.no .......................................................Sandefjord

Playcom Software Vertriebs .......................Erfurt

Platekompaniet....................................................Oslo

Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel.....................Erfurt

Massemedia AS...........................................Notteroy Pan Vision Norway..............................................Oslo

Lorentzweg 1 3752 LH Bunschoten-Spakenburg

GREECE

POLAND

Phone: +31 (0)33 201 21 00

Centric ...............................................................Athens

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

Fax: +31 (0)33 201 21 01

Nortec Multimedia.........................................Athens

E-mail: info@ebs-benelux.com

Zegetron S.A....................................................Athens

The Netherlands

HUNGARY Antec .............................................................Budapest

GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD

Sena ................................................................Reykavik

1 Alkaiou Street / Office 1 /

INDIA

www.greatgames.com.cy

TECHLAND Sp. z o.o.

RUSSIA Hitzona.............................................................Moscow Noviy Disk .......................................................Moscow Soft Club..........................................................Moscow Vellod...................................................................Mitishi

SERBIA COMPUTERLAND DOO Kumodraska 45 11000 Belgrade, Serbia Tel:+381(0)11 309 95 95 Fax:+381(0)11 309 95 96 mail:games@computerland.rs website:www.computerland.rs

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

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

ul. Jana Szczyrki 12, 54-426 Wroclaw, Poland E-mail: business@techland.pl

ICELAND

tel. +357 22 666612

Fax 00351 21 31 61 12 5

Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg

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

Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus

Lisbon, Portugal Tel. 00351 21 31 46 51 0

SOUTH AFRICA

Website: www.ebs-benelux.com

CYPRUS

Avenida de Loulé nº 123 1069-152 -

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

Web: rishi@gameworld.nl

EBS Benelux

Studio Office Marquês de Pombal –

SPAIN Ardistel. S.L..................................................Zaragoza

Web: www.techland.pl

Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID

Phone: +48 71 354 46 10

Lamee Software S.L. .....................................Madrid

Fax: +48 71 354 46 10

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

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034, Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89

DENMARK

distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es www.planetadeagostini.net

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

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034, Barcelona, Spain,

VIRGIN PLAY

Tel: +34 93 492 08 89

Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11,

distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es

28046 Madrid, Spain

www.planetadeagostini.net

Tel: +34 91 789 35 50 Web: www.virginplay.es

TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE

INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 11/09/09 73

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...

DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

USA

UAE

JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona

ALESAYI UNITED COMPANY

SWEDEN Bergsala AB............................................Kungsbacka

Video Games Distributor in the Middle East P.O BOX 16999 Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai U.A.E. Tel: 00971 4 883 5960 Fax: 00971 4 883 5175 E-Mail: marketing@alesayi.ae

Platform holder Nintendo has confirmed that its highly anticipated Wii Fit Plus will be released in North America on October 4th. Clearing up some ongoing confusion, Nintendo said that its new fitness title will replace the current game at retail. It will carry an SRP of $99.99 when bundled with the Wii Balance Board, but will also be available standalone for $19.99. In addition, the DSi is to be made available in two new colours – white and pink, which will sell alongside the current blue and black models. Furthermore, black variants of both the Wii Remote and nunchuck – as well as the Wii MotionPlus – are also heading to retail.

U.A.E. Website: www.alesayi.ae

 Meanwhile, Sony has announced MotorStorm: Arctic Edge will be released in the US on September 29th. The PSP debut for the first-party racing series will be available in UMD format and as a download via PlayStation Network. The game will retail at $39.99 on both formats. Consumers who pre-order the game will receive the Mirage Rapide rally car for use in-game, which boasts two customisable skins. The vehicle will also be available on the PlayStation Store for one month after the game’s release. MotorStorm: Arctic Edge will also be heading to PS2 later this year.

Group Website: www.alesayi.com GAME OUTLET EUROPE AB PO Box 5083 S-650 05 Karlstad, Sweden Phone: +46 54 854750 Fax: +46 54 854759 E-mail: info@gameoutlet.se Website: www.gameoutlet.se

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

Panvision....................................................Stockholm

Fax: +971 4261 8112

SIBA AB ...................................................Gothenburg

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

Modern Pluto Trading LLC...............Saudi Arabia NXT Global LLC .................................................Dubai

 Finally in US release date news, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle will hit shelves in January. Ubisoft is also running a t-shirt design competition, where users can submit a custom t-shirt design that will be then included in the game. Winners will be hand-picked by developer Suda 51.

Pluto Derinton Games LLC............................Egypt Red Entertainment Distribution ..................Dubai

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

UNITED STATES

BASCO, INC. VIDEO GAMES DISTRIBUTOR Tel: 1-917-627-3000 Fax: 1-718-228-4401 Email: sales@bascodistribution.com Web: www.bascodistribution.com

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

VENEZUELA

A proposal to ban sales of violent video games in Venezuela has passed the first hurdle in the nation’s National Assembly. If fully approved, the new bill would outlaw the sales of violent games and toys in the country, according to a statement recently released by the legislative chamber. This move has been made in an attempt to fight rampant crime that sees dozens of people murdered every week. The bill must pass a second vote in the National Assembly and be signed by President Hugo Chavez in order to become law. A date has yet to be set for this second vote. Venezuela is the latest country to try and ban violent video games. Germany recently moved a step closer to such a law when 16 of the country’s interior ministers petitioned the German parliament to ban both the production and distribution of more mature games.

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DIRECTORY

DISTRIBUTION

KEY CONTACTS

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES Game Player .............................07887 710686

GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR Total Console Repair Ltd .......087 19 18 17 21

DISTRIBUTION Creative Distribution ...........020 8664 3456 Curveball Leisure.....................01792 652562 Discstribution ........................0845 430 8735 Gem ............................................01279 822800 GLS...............................................01708 725742 Ideal Software..........................01767 689 720 Logic3 ........................................01923 471 000 Meroncourt ..............................01462 680060 Revive ........................................01462 483555

GAMING ACCESSORIES Pinpoint....................................01606 558 428 LOCALISATION Partnertrans................................01753 247731 Testronic....................................01753 653 722 Universally Speaking................01480 210621 STORE FITTINGS Retail Entertainment Displays01733 239001

Distributors of DVDs, Blu-Ray, Music CDs and Video Games

www.discstribution.com Over 100,000 Different Items to Order Online

THE NEW FORCE IN ENTERTAINMENT

DISCSTRIBUTION +44 (0) 845 430 8735 Call Kevin, Ashley, Richie or Pete Accepted Payments - Paypal - Google Checkout - Credit Cards - Bank Tranfers and 30 Day Credit Accounts

DISC REPAIR TDR ...........................................01202 489 500 GAMING ACCESSORIES

DISCSTRIBUTION . . . . . . . +44 (0)845 430 8735 . . . . . . . . . www.discstribution.com DISTRIBUTION

...bringing you all the right lines

Wii Wand Action Pack Wii Wand Multi format Metal Pedal

General enquiries:

01606 558 428

or email: enquires@pinpointce.co.uk Road One, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 3QG www.pinpointce.co.uk Part of the Pinpoint Group

PINPOINT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01606 558428 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.pinpointce.co.uk

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

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

DISTRIBUTION

GAME PLAYER . . . . . . . . . . . . . 07887 710686 . . . www.gameplayervideogames.com

MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.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 SEPTEMBER 18th

Q4 2009 PREVIEW MCV provides a comprehensive guide to the busiest trading season of the year. We take a look at all the major titles due to hit shelves from October to December, identifying those that are certain to perform well and highlighting potential surprise hits. FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 25th

SELF IMPROVEMENT & NON-GAMES SOFTWARE Thanks in no small part to the success of titles such as Wii Fit and Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training on Nintendo formats, the non-games software sector has never been in such rude health (and boasting toned abs and an increased IQ, no doubt...). MCV takes a look at this area of the market, offering a guide to the key titles set to hit retail during Q4.

BRAND LICENSING EUROPE With the show (Olympia, September 30th to October 1st) this year boasting a dedicated interactive entertainment section, Brand Licensing Europe has never been more relevant to developers and publishers. MCV takes a look at the licensed games sector, its successes and its challenges. FRIDAY OCTOBER 2nd

LGC: WHY YOU NEED TO BE THERE We offer an in-depth preview of the London Games Conference. The event will offer an insight into the future of digital distribution and how it intersects with retail. Expect keynotes and discussions from leading industry figures. The event will also serve as a great opportunity for networking.

FPS GENRE FOCUS With the Christmas charts likely to be dominated by the likes of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Halo 3: ODST, we take a look at how publishers can survive in this increasingly competitive genre. We also speak with leading companies about the key titles due to hit shelves throughout Q4, how they will stand out from their rivals and where the future of this popular genre is heading. FRIDAY OCTOBER 16th

TERRITORY REPORT: MIDDLE EAST In between the warzones and highly sought after oil fields are some of the world’s most interesting emerging markets. In the latest of our Territory Reports, MCV takes a in-depth look at the major retailers and distributors across the various territories and speak to key players about how the various difficulties in bringing the latest titles to shelves in this region. FRIDAY OCTOBER 30th

30 UNDER 30 One of our most popular annual features makes its triumphant return. MCV provides the definitive round-up of the hottest up-and-coming talent that’s currently working within the video games industry. It includes promising young marketing managers, PR executives, journalists, retailers, games buyers, consultants and much, much more. Will you make it onto this year’s list?

FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT:

CHRIS.DRING@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . www.uksales@logic3.com

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISC REPAIR

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 NDreams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01252 375754 Razorback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.razorback.co.uk Realtime Worlds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1382 202 821 Stainless Games . . . . . . . . . . . jobs@stainlessgames.com Strawdog Studio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1332 258 862 TOOLS Blitz Games Studios. . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1926 880 000 Crytek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +49 69219 77660 Epic Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +1 919 870 1516

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

SERVICES 3D Creation Studios . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 151 345 9551 Air Studios. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 207 794 0660 amBX UK Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.ambx.com Onteca . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0151 709 0028 Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1753 247 731 Testology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 07919 523 036 Testronic Labs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0)1753 653 722 Universally Speaking . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1480 210 621 COURSES 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 sam.robinson@intentmedia.co.uk. All subscription requests should go to mcv.subscriptions@c-cms.com

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

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CURVEBALL LEISURE . . . . . . 01792 652526 . . . . . . . simonbrown@googlemail.com

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

ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISC REPAIR

DISTRIBUTION

GLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01708 725742. . . . . . . . . wholesale@glsgames.com GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR

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

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

RETAIL ENTERTAINMENT DISPLAYS . . 01733 239001 . . . . . . . www.reddisplays.com

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK LOCALISATION

DIARY DATES ‘09 From the MCV Awards to our next Pub Quiz, here are all the essential industry dates to get in your diary…

SEPTEMBER TOKYO GAME SHOW Thursday, September 24th – Sunday, September 27th Makuhari Messe, Tokyo tgs.cesa.or.jp/english

PARTNERTRANS . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.partnertrans.com

BRAND LICENSING 2009 Wednesday, September 30th – Sunday, October 1st Olympia, London www.brandlicensingeurope.com

LOCALISATION

Quality Matters At Testronic Labs, we help you produce great quality games. For us, quality means a game that exceeds the expectations of the players, a game that works on every platform and reads right in every language, a game that’s just right for its audience. We’re here to make it better. Testing on all major console, PC and iPhone platforms Functionality testing Translation and localisation Localisation testing PC compatibility Compliance testing MMO performance testing Usability / focus group testing New Player Experience (NPE) testing

For further information, please contact sales-tl@testroniclabs.com www.testroniclabs.com

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

OCTOBER HANDHELD LEARNING Monday, October 5th – Wednesday, October 7th The Brewery, Barbican, London www.handheldlearning2009.com MCM EXPO Saturday, October 24th – Sunday, October 25th Excel Centre, London www.londonexpo.com LONDON GAMES FESTIVAL Saturday, October 24th – Sunday, November 1st London www.londongamesfestival.co.uk LONDON GAMES CONFERENCE Tuesday, October 27th BAFTA, London dave.roberts@intentmedia.co.uk EUROGAMER EXPO Tuesday, October 27th – Saturday, October 31st London and Leeds expo.eurogamer.net GOLDEN JOYSTICK AWARDS Friday, October 30th London www.goldenjoystick.com

NOVEMBER GAME ON! LONDON Saturday, November 14th – Sunday, November 15th Earls Court 2, London www.gameonlondon.com

DECEMBER MCV/XBOX 360 PUB QUIZ Thursday, December 3rd Sway Bar, Holborn orlaith.kennedy@intentmedia.co.uk

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

MCV AND XBOX 360 PUB QUIZ Thursday, September 24th Sway Bar, Holborn Orlaith.Kennedy @intentmedia.co.uk The MCV and Xbox 360 Pub Quiz returns to the rather swanky Sway Bar in Holborn. Once again the event brings together the market’s leading publishers, retailers and media to compete for some pretty substantial prizes – and the honour of being the biggest brains in games. It’s also, of course, a very smart networking event, with numerous buyers and publishers, editors and agencies all rubbing shoulders at the bar.

GAMES MEDIA AWARDS Thursday, October 15th Jongleurs, Camden, London Dave.Roberts @intentmedia.co.uk Now in its third year the Games Media Awards returns to the Jongleurs Comedy Club in Camden and will once again hail the best brands and individuals from the specialist and mainstream sectors, both in print and online. Last year’s Games Media Awards saw wins for the ‘big three’ of Future, Imagine and Eurogamer, whilst there was also awards for FHM and The Guardian. The event is free to enter for the media.

WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 11/09/09 79

MCV FORUM

DIRTY: Some games industry personnel has poured scorn on Codemasters’ latest marketing concept

‘Codemasters gimmick is no boob’ One journo defends the publisher’s controversial new viral marketing game for Dirt 2…

ONLINE MESSAGEBOARDS have been crammed with games journos and ‘prosumers’ (whatever the f**k they are) this week, accusing Codemasters of making a ‘tit’ out of themselves. And I’ve had enough. For those readers who aren’t in the know, the furore surrounds an online game at Dirtytats.com – where you can draw a virtual tattoo on a nice pair of hand-crafted mammaries in celebration of the new game.

centre of all evils over the last 15 years, we’re no longer to have any fun with violence. It’s okay for Tarantino’s marketing engine in the movie industry, of course. But if a game’s PR team gets a bit of fake blood on their hands, a Mail-influenced public gets on the phone to the ASA quicker than Eidos locks the drawer to Batman press copies whenever the phone rings. (Answer my emails, swines!). So what other vices do we

Bravo Codemasters, I drew all over your tits this lunchtime - with a big fat smile on my face.

The naysayers bleat complaints hooked on words such as ‘outdated’, ‘offensive’ and, yes, even ‘sexist’. You can’t help but raise a smile. Because of a ridiculous media campaign to ‘out’ games as the

have left to play with? The two Ss: Speed and sex. But instead of celebrating the fact that we still can use a whopping pair of breasts to capture our natural audience, our industry’s journos cower

and sneer on ‘smart thinkers’ comment threads. These fools are desperate to remove themselves from the idea that some tits could ever cause a distraction from the deeper, more philosophical issues that consistently trouble their superego. We’re an art, don’t you know… Erm, bollocks. You write about video games. It’s a throwaway medium. It’s a great one. But that’s all it is. I noted with great interest that industry legend (and Codemasters’ chairman) Chris Deering pointed out in MCV the other week that maybe games should be doing less in terms of scriptwriting because ‘you don’t want three hours of plot in a porno movie’. The pretension Deering pricked there – that somehow this sort of thing is beneath a trade built on violent, visceral thrills – really is hypocrisy of the highest order. This faux-intellectualism is one of the ugliest things

swimming around our once gaiety-drenched industry – and something I for one find far more offensive than video games marketing’s most natural source material. Bravo Codemasters. I drew all over your tits this lunchtime – with a big smile on my face. Yours, ‘Sexually liberated journo’

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

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64 MCV 04/09/09

Off The Record

WWW.MCVUK.COM

We look at a fantastic past appearance from Pelé and yesteryear’s games buyers. Elsewhere, there are goodies up for grabs…

PIC OF THE

WEEK BUYERS, BALLS AND BRAZILIANS With Pelé signed up to endorse Ubisoft’s new football game Academy Of Champions, it’s an ideal time to look back at his last foray into the world of interactive software. The first snap here, from Argos’ in-store newspaper over 28 years ago, celebrates the arrival of the legend in stores to promote the classic Pelé’s Soccer on Atari 2600. Of course, the superstar is somewhat dwarfed in terms of genius by Argos’ then buyers – the no nonsense, chain smoking duo, larking about with antiquated communications technology whilst wearing splendid Ashes to Ashes watches (above). We’re quietly confident that a chicken kiev was consumed or a Filofax was scribbled in by at least one of these gentlemen soon after this picture was taken.

STEADY WINS THE RACE Congratulations to Batman: Arkham Asylum developers Rocksteady for picking up the Guinness World Record for being the ‘Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever’. Now, it’s a fantastic release, so let’s get that out the way – and the studio deserve all the xxxxx plaudits they get. But is it possible these ‘World Records’ are getting a little esoteric now? What will be next? ‘Most sarcastic comment in the back of a weekly UK video games trade publication’? Hark at us! Bring back the days of people spinning plates under the watchful eye of Roy Castle. At least those records meant something. Okay, they didn’t. But people sweated in front of us. That’s really all we ever ask.

XXXXXX

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MCV 04/09/09 65

RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD

MCV takes soundings from its Retail Advisory Board on the biggest issues of the day. The current members are... LISA MORGAN, GAME

DUNCAN CROSS, ASDA

MARTYN GIBBS, GAMESTATION

DON MCCABE, CHIPS

QUOTE OF THE WEEK “At table football he crushes me, at pool we're pretty similar and at computer games, especially Mario Kart on the Wii, he usually wins.” Ross Hutchins, Andy Murray’s doubles partner and best friend, reveals where the sports star gets him competitive spirit from.

Get DiRT-y with MCV

SEAM AND NOT HEARD The annual industry GamesAid cricket match took place in Somerset against Pitney last week, with some trade luminaries dressing up in whites and taking balls to the, erm, balls in the name of charity. Team players from left to right, front row are: Gerry Tucker, Graeme Struthers, Sean Dromgoole, Andy Payne, Ian Livingstone (this year’s Captain). Left to right back row: Fred Hasson, Simon Jeffrey, Richard Nugent, Ciaran Brennan, Doron Garfunkel (plus Henry and Jonathan, a couple of nonindustry ringers). If you’d like to contribute, visit: www.justgiving.com/Games-Aid-CC

COMPETITION

Codemasters is giving five lucky MCV readers the chance to win a copy of DiRT 2 on Xbox 360 and a limited edition ‘Pushing It’ DVD from racing hero and game cover star Ken Block. To be in with a chance, simply tell us the number on the car that Ken Block drives during competitions. (Clue, it’s on the boxart printed on this very page. If you don’t know, give up. And we don’t mean on this competition. More on life altogether.)

A 43 B2 C 99 and a Flake. Email your answers to: Dirt2@intentmedia.co.uk

TIM ELLIS, HMV

KEITH SHARPE, PLAY.COM

CAROLINE AUSTEN, THE HUT

JON BIGGS, MORRISONS

AZEEM SADIQ, COMET

GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON

PETER WILLIS, DSGI

IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO

ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS

Seriously, the answer is round here somewhere. You have no excuse.

STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK

JOANNA HUNT, TESCO

GURDEEP HUNJAN, SAINSBURYS

MPETITION COMPETITION COMPETITION COMPETITION COMPETITIO

To be in with a chance of winning yourself five copies of one of the games of the year, simply answer the following question:

In Greek mythology, after Pandora’s Box was opened, what was left in the bottom?

A) Some fluff B) A dead gerbil C) Hope Send you answers to layton@intentmedia.co.uk EDITORIAL: 01992 535646



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

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

Please address all enquiries to:

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

Advertising Executive: Rob Baker Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk

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

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

MCV, Intent Media, Saxon House, 6a St. Andrew Street, Hertford SG14 1JA.

Deputy Editor: Christopher Dring Chris.Dring@intentmedia.co.uk

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

Staff Writer: James Batchelor James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk Retail Editor: Ben Parfitt Ben.Parfitt@intentmedia.co.uk Contributors: Ed Fear, Andrew Wooden, Will Freeman, Rob Crossley, Aaron Lee

ADVERTISING: 01992 535647

Production Manager: Suzanne Powles Suzanne.Powles@intentmedia.co.uk Business Development: Dave Roberts Dave.Roberts@intentmedia.co.uk Contributing Editor: Samantha Loveday Samantha.Loveday@intentmedia.co.uk Circulation & Marketing: Hannah Short Hannah.Short@intentmedia.co.uk



FAX: 01992 535648 Finance Director: Hilary Cole Finance Manager: Michael Canham Michael.Canham@intentmedia.co.uk

Managing Director/Publisher: Stuart Dinsey Stuart.Dinsey@intentmedia.co.uk Telephone: 01992 535688

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MCV is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation and the Periodical Publishers Association. Membership of the ABC and PPA provides our advertising partners with confidence in our circulation statements. For the 12 months ending December 2008, MCV had an average weekly net circulation of 8,833. 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-dedicated print and digital publishing for entertainment and leisure markets. As well as MCV, Intent publishes Develop, PCR, ToyNews, Mobile Entertainment, MI Pro, Audio Pro International and BikeBiz. It also has two online-only brands: CasualGaming.biz, dedicated to the growing mass market video game sector, and Licensing.biz, for everyone in the global licensing industry. It also runs a number of events including the MCV Industry Excellence Awards, the London Games Conference and the Games Media Awards.

www.intentmedia.co.uk

ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2008

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"Cooking Mama" , “Gardening Mama” are trademarks of COOKING MAMA LIMITED. "Cooking Mama 3" © 2006, 2009 COOKING MAMA LIMITED. "Gardening Mama" © 2008 COOKING MAMA LIMITED. All rights reserved. Published by 505 Games S.r.l. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS is a trademark of Nintendo.


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