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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES

Issue 577 Friday March 5 2010 £3.25

Your favourite trade mag is supersized to celebrate the launch of DSi XL International Media Partner

EVERY BUYER  EVERY BRANCH  EVERY INDIE  EVERY WEEK

INCORPORATING

Scepticism and scorn mount as non-specialists test second-hand Rival retailers, analysts and indies cast doubt over trade-in trials  Argos tipped to try pre-owned next by Michael French & Christopher Dring INDIES AND ANALYSTS have already written off plans by supermarket chains to sell pre-owned games – just a week after trials began. Last week MCV reported that Asda and Tesco had started to test the viability of a trade-in offer in a small number of stores – two Tesco branches and one for Asda (MCV Newsflash, 24/02/10). However key trade voices say they are unconvinced that

Tesco and Asda operate that will be difficult to do. You also need a person behind the scenes to plan it – GAME and HMV have that, but there are not that many people out there that have these skills.” Nick Bubb, retail analyst at Arden Partners, added: “I can’t see them getting the footfall to make it work. There is a real skill in inventory management that is hard to replicate by a non-specialist.” Bubb pointed to Wal-Mart’s failure to ‘seriously threaten Gamestop’ as a key example of

Second-hand isn’t as simple as people perceive it to be, it requires a lot more work than selling new games. Don McCabe, CHIPS

used games fit with what mainstream stores otherwise have to offer. “Second-hand isn’t as simple as people perceive it to be, it requires a lot more work than selling new games,” commented Don McCabe, joint MD of CHIPS. “You need a very good system to handle and monitor pre-owned, and you need a dedicated person in-store. And with the hours

why non-specialists can’t always compete. Gary Noakes, head of threestore indie Game Player – which specialises in used games – added: “Unless they do this properly it will not work. Even if they employ experts I simply cannot see it working. The bulk of supermarket customers are not these type of gamers. Shoppers go to shop for food and impulse buy.”

SECOND CHANCE: If the trials run by the likes of Tesco prove successful, supermarket shelves could show pre-owned games jostling for space alongside new release charts and non-game product

Until recently, pre-owned games were a staple of just specialist retail – HMV moved into the category 18 months ago as it bolstered its games offer. But pre-owned also represents a large, if unmeasured, part of the market, so it’s no surprise big retailers are eyeing its potential. Industry nose-tappers reckon Argos will be the next High Street mass-market chain to trial pre-owned – although the firm could not confirm or deny the gossip at press time.

At the moment the supermarkets’ trials are just that – an experiment. And further roll-out will depend not on the view of rival retailers, but if consumers demand it. “Our position on pre-owned is that we are trialling a proposition in a few stores and will extend distribution depending on the trial results,” said Tesco’s senior buying manager John Stanhope. “There is nothing more to say at this point.”

Asda’s head of new business for music, video and games, Andrew Thompson, added: “It’s early days for us – this is a one-store trial. We have 81 different one-store trials running at the moment, six of which are in entertainment. We run around 200 trials a year for all different areas, and we have a definitive trial process that determines whether or not we can roll it out to a few more stores, which in turn influences further roll-out.”

PERSONNEL 34 RETAIL BIZ 37 NEW RELEASES 50 HIGH STREET 52 CHARTS 54

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[LEADER] NO ONE OWNS PRE-OWNED I’M JUST going to come out and say it: I think it’s actually a good thing that Asda and Tesco are examining the potential of the pre-owned games market. While you can see the point behind views that claim it will never work for supermarkets, the fact is these trials – and they are just trials for now – are merely symptomatic of the way big grocery chains are smartening up to games. And if the industry is going to start crying foul over Tesco or Asda trying their hand at trade-ins, then the industry must also collectively address the wider issues around pre-owned.

“It’s no surprise our wider audience of consumers wants to retain the investment they put into their games.” Currently, developers and publishers hate used game sales, by all accounts. And they are doing everything they can to lock out pre-owned or find a way to monetise it with DLC deals and exclusive content. But comments over the last year from GAME, activity by HMV and now the latest experiments by Tesco and Asda – plus, allegedly, Argos – would suggest it’s an almost futile battle. Second-hand is a growth category, unsurprisingly. At the start of this generation, the industry went on and on about market expansion – and now that wider base of customers wants to retain the investment they put into their games collections in the first place. This ladies and gentlemen, is one of those ‘cake and eat it’ scenarios. No one owns the pre-owned sector completely – and they never will. (Arguably, it’s just one massive virtual economy, given that it doesn’t completely exist and is one fraught with inconsistency – but that’s another debate altogether.) So if every publisher wants to limit its power, every retailer has the right to try and carve a niche in it. After all, we’ve spent so long telling consumers the have every right to trade in and sell on their games however they see fit.

MARCH OF THE SUPERMARKETS For Asda specifically, a renewed attention towards preowned isn’t a huge sign that it wants to storm the used game sector. Instead, take it as further proof that the chain has been so successful and beefed up its games offer so well after the potentially damaging demise of its supplier EUK over a year ago. When the distributor went kaput in late 2008, barely two weeks went by until Asda was dealing direct with publishers. In under a year, its internal games team has grown significantly – and, MCV is told by people in the know, its market share has grown similarly. So when a retailer like this turns to one of games’ most controversial areas, we should take heed of its overall activity, not the specifics of its experiments. Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk

Xbox: ‘Natal won’t hurt our core focus’ 2010 will be the biggest year in Xbox history, says Euro boss by Christopher Dring THE MASS-MARKET friendly Project Natal may be grabbing all the headlines, but Microsoft insists it won’t lose sight of the core gamer audience. There’s a slew of major titles due from the platform holder this year, including Alan Wake, Crackdown 2, Halo: Reach and Fable III. And Microsoft’s European Xbox boss Chris Lewis has told MCV that this line-up – combined with Natal – will make 2010 the biggest year in Xbox history. “From the beginning, Xbox has always had a very deliberate strategy to focus on core gamers and then expand the market,” said Lewis. “Project Natal is meant to complement, not replace, the experiences on Xbox 360. We’ve reached new heights in creating a more natural and responsive gaming and entertainment experience for people of all interests and skill levels, whilst maintaining our commitment to deliver quality core games that consistently exceed expectations.”

Euro boss Chris Lewis says core gamers are still the focus for Xbox

Lewis also stated that the 360 still has at least five years of life left in it, and that Natal will push the machine to new heights when it arrives this year. “There is nothing like Project Natal available in entertainment and with us not even halfway through the 360 lifecycle, we’re confident that our 30 million owners will be as excited about this new way to play as we are,” he added

“2010 is set to be the biggest in Xbox history and a major year for the games industry, where we will witness a fundamentally change in the way we experience and share entertainment with each other.” MCV reported last year that Project Natal is on-course for a November release in Europe, with a possible price point of around £50. Microsoft: 0870 601 0100

‘Games lead charge on piracy fight’ THE VIDEO games industry is well ahead of music and DVD when it comes to combating IP theft, says trade body ELSPA. The UK games industry was instrumental in securing prison sentences for 13 game pirates last year, and already in 2010 a further three people have been sent to jail for IP theft offences. “We are unique compared to the other digital industries because we spend millions protecting the product – both games and consoles – which is certainly not the case with music and film,” said ELSPA’s IP crime unit manager John Hillier.

Hillier says the games industry spends millions protecting IP

“This goes down well with the enforcement agencies, such as trading standards. We can show them that we have tried our best to protect our product.

“It’s interesting to hear the comments made by judges. They treat piracy very seriously. It has taken potential jobs away from the games industry and is a reduction to the Government in terms of tax and revenue. “At the moment there are around 60 on-going active cases to do with circumvention devices – R4 cards and the like. That’s the indication of the action that is being taken.”  To read more about the piracy situation in the UK and Europe, read our special report on page 23. ELSPA: 020 7534 0580

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Blockbuster to cut UK store count?

[PRE ORDERS]

Rent crisis raises questions over popular chain  Digital plan to offset market saturation

TOP 10 FINAL FANTASY XIII

by Christopher Dring SOME OF Blockbuster’s 650 UK stores could be at risk as the company seeks to slash property costs. MCV understands that the retail giant has recruited KPMG to help renegotiate rents and leases with landlords, which could result in the closure of UK stores if agreements can’t be reached. However, the firm denies that it has sought a company voluntary agreement (CVA) – which was suggested by Property Week – and insists there’s no risk of administration as it attempts to re-position itself in the US and internationally. “We’ve not sought a CVA in the UK,” said a Blockbuster spokesperson. “Here in the US we launched a store optimisation plan in September last year, and we announced that we could potentially close 960 stores. That said, we are also deploying 10,000 kiosks, which is like a little Blockbuster store in a box. “Over 90 per cent of our US stores have another Blockbuster nearby, so it’s not

PS3 SQUARE ENIX

2. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 360 ..............................................EA

3. GOD OF WAR III PS3 ..........................................SONY

4. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 PS3 ..............................................EA

5. FINAL FANTASY XIII 360 ................................SQUARE ENIX Blockbuster is moving away from the High Street in the US, and UK stores could now be at risk too

about us leaving a market. We are just optimising stores that are profitable – just like any retailer. Even Starbucks closed stores last year.”

offering, as well as its online and digital services. “We are in the process of transforming the business to be a multi-channel provider,

We are in the process of transforming the business so it’s not just about stores – we have a digital offer coming. Blockbuster spokesperson

Blockbuster has struggled in the face of growing online competition and falling DVD sales. As a result, the company has placed more emphasis on its video games

so it’s not just about stores,” added the representative. “In the US we have kiosks that is being deployed with our partner NCR, we also have a digital offering that we

are unveiling here in the States, and that will go international as well. We are on Blu-ray players and internet-connected TV devices – so it is part of transforming the business to be more than just stores. Although stores are still an important part of our business.” “We are heavy into games. Game prices are much higher [than DVD], so it makes our rental offer more attractive.” The firm reported a $434.9 million loss in Q4 last year. The company’s debt is now said to have reached $1bn. Blockbuster: 01895 258 866

6. ALAN WAKE: COLLECTORS ED 360 ..................................MICROSOFT

7. SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION - PLUS T-SHIRT 360 ......................................UBISOFT

8. SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION - LONG SLEEVE SHIRT 360 ......................................UBISOFT

9. SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV PS3 ......................................CAPCOM

10. YAKUZA 3 PS3 ..........................................SEGA Week ending February 27th Source: SHOPTO.COM  Turn to page 53 for more pre-order charts from leading online retailers

UK SOFTWARE SALES MONITOR Your weekly guide to the UK games software market…  A new release blitz this week couldn’t prevent the market from sliding ten per cent in terms of value to £24.1 million, while unit sales have slipped 13 per cent to 1,051,992.  The market was driven by the new release of the innovative PS3 adventure Heavy Rain, which was the sixth No.1 of the year. Other new releases arriving in the charts included Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Napoleon: Total War.  Expect this weekend’s sales to be driven by EA’s anticipated FPS Battlefield: Bad Company 2, while Disney's Alice in Wonderland is also due for release. As for the following week, expectations are high for Final Fantasy XIII, which launches on Tuesday, March 9th.

[WEEKLY MARKET VALUE]

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

30

Week Ending February 28th 2010

£24.1m

25 20 15 10 5

Sony’s Heavy Rain on PlayStation 3 is the sixth ELSPA Gfk Chart-Track No.1 from a different publisher this year

£23.1m

£26.8m

£24.1m

1,074,006 Units

1,210,148 Units

1,051,992 Units

0 Week Ending February 13th

Week Ending February 20th

Week Ending February 27th

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Blur studio backs Twitter as the future of marketing Rise of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook set to change the face of video game promotions, says Bizarre by Rob Crossley A LEADING UK development studio believes that rapidly growing social network sites could trigger a new world order in video game marketing. Bizarre Creations’ Ben Ward told MCV that the likes of Twitter and Facebook arms publishers with a powerful and

trusted information – it’s a stranger’s recommendations, whereas recommendations from one of your friends is infinitely more valuable.” Ward’s comments come as the Liverpool-based developer aims to tightly integrate social network communications into its upcoming game Blur – a unique action-focused racer set

More people are using social networks. In the next few years, they are going to become vital to publishers. Ben Ward, Bizarre Creations

viral means to communicate their products – adding that these modern marketing tools offer clear advantages over legacy PR systems. “Social networks are a view to the future of marketing,” said Ward. “There’s only so much that a marketing message can say to people, and it’s not

to be published in the summer by Activision. The game will allow users to create microsized messages from within the game, with the text appearing on the user’s own Twitter feeds. “Blur is really the first game to have this kind of social network integration,” said Ward. “We’re actually building

Upcoming racer Blur will feature built-in social networking tools to allow consumers to connect with friends while playing

a web API into Blur, so there’ll be an XML feed that web developers can use however they like. “Right now, Blur’s name spreading through Twitter will raise awareness, but I’d argue that it won’t yet raise awareness in the way that a TV ad can. Of course, this kind of marketing is considerably less expensive than a TV campaign.” Independent research says that Twitter was visited by over 21 million unique users in January this year, while Facebook enjoyed an eye-watering 112 million visitors throughout 2009 in the US alone. Both sites are quickly being leveraged by more firms for marketing opportunities. Last year, Dell predicted it made over $6.5 million in orders through Twitter campaigns. “More people are using social networks,” Ward said. “In the next few years, they will become vitally important.” Activision: 020 3060 1000

Naughty 505 will Bear all in June 505'S LATEST leftfield title, Naughty Bear, will be released on June 4th on PS3 and Xbox 360 – and the reaction from retail at a recent launch event suggests it could be one of the surprise hits of the year. Naughty Bear is essentially a sociopathic cuddly toy who hasn’t been invited to the teddy bear’s picnic and is seriously pissed off about it. He takes his revenge on his sissy ‘mates’ by terrorising them with knives, baseball bats, firearms and an attitude that would earn him a stretch on the naughty step.

It’s been developed by A2M and definitely fits into the ‘you only really get it when you see it’ category. Which is why 505 invited top retailers and media to a special preview event in London last week. The publisher was delighted with the reaction from all quarters and is determined to build on the momentum towards the summer launch. Marketing director Alison Mitchell told MCV: “Naughty Bear is a totally unique proposition for the market place and one which 505

Games is very excited to release this summer." Players are rewarded for their imagination and cruelty with Naughty Points, but the other bears become tougher to scare as the game progresses – some of them may even be in danger of developing backbones. “Naughty Bear is sure to become a favourite guilty indulgence as players take on the classic role of a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, added A2M’s creative director David Osbourne. Naughty Bear is set to become one of the surprise hits of the year

505 Games: 01908 607772

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New motion controller puts squeeze on format holders Motion-sensitive device Blobo can be squashed and bounced  Creator already in talks with Electronic Arts by Dominic Sacco A NEW motion-sensing video game device will launch next month, MCV can confirm. The Blobo is a small ball that can be squeezed, rolled and juggled in order to control onscreen games and sporting

As a motion-sensing gaming experience, Blobo will aim to rival the Wii and upcoming offers from Microsoft’s Project Natal and Sony’s Motion Controller when it arrives next month. The peripheral will initially launch on PC and mobile platforms, but distributor

Blobo is the most advanced wireless controller on the market. It mimics your actions to create realistic gameplay. Martin Gossling, Nolimitzzz

activities. The peripheral will be officially launched on April 8th at The Gadget Show Live 2010 event. Finnish creator Nolimitzzz says Blobo is both a controller and self-contained console, aimed squarely at four to 14year-olds and their families.

Logic1media has been talking with EA and plans to release it for games consoles at a later date. Software development kits have been made available. The team behind the device is already talking with gyms, physiotherapists, and fitness clubs, pitching Blobo as both a

The standard Blobo package comes with a six-in-one sports PC game, including archery and running

gaming and potential fitness therapy gadget. Logic1media says the Blobo is targeted towards familyfriendly sports releases rather than in-depth experiences such as Activision Blizzard’s Modern Warfare 2.

Nolimitzzz MD Martin Gossling said: “Blobo is the most advanced wireless controller on the market. “It mimics the action of your arms, legs and body to create dynamic realistic gameplay, where to win you must not

only have good timing and reactions, but also strength, precision and accuracy.” Blobo will retail at £69.99 when it goes on sale in April. A limited number of pre-launch Blobos are retailing now at blobo.co.uk.

Games key to MCM Expo expansion MAJOR games publishers are expected to rally behind May’s MCM Expo as it continues to grow its audience. Organisers expect the early summer event – already supported by publishing heavyweight Electronic Arts, as well as the likes of Konami, Tecmo Koei and South Peak – to attract a wider base of industry supporters for its 2010 shows. The MCM Expos feature games along with comics, movies, TV and anime and attract close to 40,000 consumers per event. “Video games are very important to the overall growth of MCM Expo,” said Wolf

Events’ brand and marketing director Bryan Coney. “Consumers who visit the show expect to see what will be in the shops in the coming months and its vital that we and the publishers give them an opportunity to experience as many games as possible. “We expect to have more publishers involved this year given the huge success of 2009, where we had 12 games publishers attend.” The organisers are estimating a footfall over 38,000 consumers at the May expo, and expect publishers to take full advantage of the marketing opportunities

a strong games presence at the show will create. “There are many major benefits for publishers exhibiting at MCM Expo, including our broad audience that encompasses young consumers, hardcore gamers and casual players,” said Coney. “Our visitors form a large community that generate a huge amount of PR after each show through word of mouth.” To broaden its appeal further, the MCM Expo in May will attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of DS players. Wolf Events: 01327 878550

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BlazBlue eyes chart domination PQube expects new beat ‘em up to break into the Top Three of ChartTrack’s 360 and PlayStation 3 charts by James Batchelor DISTRIBUTOR PQube expects a strong performance from the upcoming brawler BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger when it launches on Friday, March 19th. Publisher Zen United has already enjoyed much success with the beat ‘em up – the game racked up 350,000 unit

Given the resurgence of the fighting genre we expect this to be a Top Three title in the UK on PS3 and 360. David Pain, PQube

sales in the North America in just six months. PQube now expects a similar performance in the UK, driven by renewed interest in beat-‘em-up titles brought about by the likes of Capcom’s Street

looking for great value when choosing their video games. “BlazBlue is conceived, designed and programmed with the mainstream gamers as its primary audience. “Those new to the genre will find the fighting system is easy to pick up with no need to use tough multiple button combos needed, but rather easy to use single button press attacks.” Last month, MCV announced the contents of the Limited Edition of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, featuring exclusive items chosen from suggestions by the series’ fanbase. The game has received huge critical acclaim, with a Metacritic score of 89 on PS3 and 87 on Xbox 360. PQube will be marketing BlazBlue with a combination of print and online advertising, as well as initiatives through Facebook and Twitter.

Fighter IV and Namco Bandai’s Tekken 6. In fact, the distributor expects BlazBlue to debut in the upper end of GfK ChartTrack’s single format charts. “Given the resurgence of the fighting genre, combined with the appeal of this title to both the hardcore and mainstream audiences, we expect this to be a Top Three

title in the UK on both PS3 and Xbox 360,” said PQube’s MD David Pain. Marketing manager Rob Noble added: “We anticipate a rapid sell through of this strong offer, especially amongst those

PQube has enjoyed critical acclaim from the specialist games press

PQube: 01462 478900

Past glories to define Pokémon future NINTENDO plans to take its best-selling Pokémon series to new heights with the launch of HeartGold and SoulSilver. The two games are remakes of the 2001 Game Boy Colour hits Pokémon Gold and Silver – two of the franchise’s most popular entries. The new versions will hit UK shelves on March 26th. They are being positioned to further grow the series’ userbase, as well as appealing to established fans. “We hope to broaden the series’ appeal to a wider audience than previous Pokémon titles that have launched in recent years,” said marketing assistant Vanisha Kavia. “The addition of the PokéWalker and a return to

the Johto region provide two exciting elements unique to Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver on Nintendo DS.” Nintendo has prepared an extensive two-month marketing campaign targeting those that missed the original release of Gold and Silver. There will also be a prelaunch promotional burst designed to capture previous Pokémon fans. “Our marketing activity will kick off during the two weeks leading up to the launch of Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver with online and TV support building pre-launch awareness amongst existing fans,” said Kavia. “There will be further TV and online support from launch through to the end of

Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver are set to recreate the sales success of their 2001 predecessors

April that will be targeted at lapsed fans and those that have never played any Pokémon games before. “There is also extensive POS support across both phases of

activity to ensure that our retail partners have everything that they need to drive awareness of the launch.” Nintendo announced in January it is currently working

on a new generation of Pokémon games that have been designed to reboot the series. The games are due to release in Japan later this year. Nintendo: 01753 483700

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Square plans Supreme launch Supreme Commander sales to be driven by additional post-launch marketing activity by James Batchelor MARKETING support for Square Enix’s upcoming RTS Supreme Commander 2 will be ramped up in the coming weeks following a successful pre-launch campaign. The publisher has been targeting hardcore fans of the genre through a three-month

Games’ greatest successes and we anticipate the sequel to follow on that trend amongst RTS gamers,” said Square Enix’s senior product manager Paul Benjamin. “The RTS community is very excited about the release as it has received a great response across the gaming press and websites. This early

tease and reveal specialist press campaign that reaches a climax as the game launches today (Friday, March 5th). Square Enix is expecting a highly successful opening weekend after glowing early reviews and a significant rise in the number of pre-orders. “The original Supreme Commander is among developer Gas Powered

PR coupled with the start of the advertising campaign has really seen our pre-orders jump over the last few weeks. “We know we have a very hungry market waiting for this instalment. With more reviews hitting over the coming weeks and the campaign really starting to ramp up, we feel Supreme Commander 2 will have a successful launch.”

GAME: The GAME Group has announced it will close 43 outlets to compensate for tougher market conditions. This will include 12 GAME stores, six Gamestation stores and 25 Debenhams concessions, with a total of 247 potential redundancies.

Square’s Benjamin expects strong sales from Supreme Commander 2

Square Enix will be driving post-launch sales with an extended marketing campaign, focused primarily around print ads in all major PC and Xbox 360 publications. This will be supported by an online campaign that uses a mixture of microsite and video

MPUs, channel skins and banners on Gamespot, Eurogamer, IGN and more. Genre-focused activity will also appear on Facebook, Google and selected sci-fi and movie sites, such as SFX.co.uk. Square Enix: 020 8638 3000

‘Average social gamer City plans first 360 title are introducing more high PUBLISHER City is 38-year-old female’ USInteractive profile games globally and this will break into new THE AVERAGE social gamer is a 38-year-old female, a survey has found. PopCap games, creators of hit online Facebook titles Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies, and Peggle, produced the latest social gaming report. It suggests that nearly a quarter of all consumers play social games regularly, with a total social gamer population of around 100 million in America and the UK. And females make up 55 per cent of this figure. The average age for social gamers in both countries is 43 – it’s 48 in the US whereas the UK’s average age is 38.

PopCap says only six per cent of social gamers are aged 21 and younger. From the 5,000 users who responded to the survey, 1,200 play games on social networking sites at least once a week. The most popular game is FarmVille, with 69 per cent of all respondents saying they regularly play it. Bejeweled Blitz is in second place with 65 per cent, followed by Texas Hold’em Poker (63 per cent), Café World (61 per cent) and Mafia Wars (59 per cent). Industry analysts claim that the sector will generate revenues of over $1b in 2010.

NINTENDO: At its European Gamers Summit, Nintendo announced Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be released in the UK on June 9th. It also dated Monster Hunter Tri for April 23rd and Sin and Punishment 2 for May 7th. BLOCKBUSTER: The retailer posted Q4 net losses of $434.9 million, up from the $359.8 million recorded in the same period last year. Revenues fell by 18 per cent to $1.08 billion.

The first Supreme Commander was a great success and we anticipate the sequel to follow that trend amongst gamers. Paul Benjamin, Square Enix

Sponsored by

markets this May with the release of its first Xbox 360 title Sniper. The game, due to hit UK retail shelves on May 28th, will also be available for PC. “Sniper is our first next-gen console title,” said the publisher’s CEO Marek Tyminski. “It targets the mainstream Xbox 360 audience who loves playing first-person shooters. “The game is the most ambitious project for us to date in both scope and budget. We

is a significant milestone in that process.” The firm hopes to establish a strong presence in the 360 market alongside other core shooters, but is doing so cautiously. “The Xbox 360 market is new to us and we’re being careful with our selected products,” said Tyminski. “The major challenge for us is to make sure we don’t try to complete head-to-head with the big guys while still seeking commercial successful.” City Interactive: +1 212 541 2459

SEGA: Obsidian-developed espionage RPG Alpha Protocol will be released in the UK on May 28th. WARNER: The publisher will release a Wii and DS game based on the Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon series this autumn. LUCASARTS: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has sold more than seven million units worldwide. 2K GAMES: A Borderlands expansion pack, which will include all three DLC addons, is due for release on April 9th.

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Focus goes full price with 1C partnership Deal with Russian firm brings budget UK publisher into premium PC games market by Christopher Dring BUDGET and casual games publisher Focus Multimedia has entered the full price PC games market via a deal with Russian firm 1C. Focus will launch King's Bounty: Armored Princess this month. The acclaimed RPG has been available to download since last year, and sold 14,000

Europe,” said Focus Multimedia MD Craig Johnson. “We have been really impressed with the high production values and sheer playability of the titles we are licensing. Gamers will be delighted with the brands we are bringing to UK retail. “The PC hardware base continues to grow so it makes perfect sense to service those

Focus has an excellent PC presence in retail, which is something 1C has been looking for in a UK partner.

copies between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day on Steam. As part of the deal, Focus will also release several 1C games at budget price points – both £4.99 and £9.99 – including games previously unavailable in the UK. “1C has built a great reputation for delivering highquality product across Eastern

Peter King, 1C

last year or so. Not only do these projects provide something new in terms of technology but also in terms of the business models that they support.”

THE follow-up to Disney Interactive Studios’ best-selling Club Penguin DS game will arrive this summer. The new title is called Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force: Herbert’s Revenge. The original DS game hit Europe in March last year and has since sold more than 1.5 million units globally. It has been a mainstay in the DS Chart-Track Top 10 since launch and has been nominated for the Sales Triumph prize in this year’s MCV Awards. “We were very pleased with the incredible response to

customers with high quality full price titles. These are exciting times for Focus and we are delighted to welcome 1C Games to our roster of top publishing partners.” 1C UK MD Peter King added: “Focus has an excellent PC presence in retail, which is something 1C has been looking for in a UK PC partner.

“We are really looking forward to developing this partnership and ensuring that PC gamers in the UK have a continued supply of quality

games. The team at Focus has great enthusiasm and together we are confident of a healthy long-term relationship.” Focus: 01889 570156

products, such as last year’s best-selling Wii karaoke title U-Sing and licensed As Seen On TV games. The game was highlighted as a key success for Mindscape in 2009 and plans are already well under way to expand the franchise this year. “U-Sing features very heavily in our plans for the future. In addition to this, the As Seen On TV range will continue to develop and we will also be launching some extremely innovative hardware later in the year.”

the first DS title, and the kids have given us tremendous feedback, making it clear they want to experience even more Club Penguin adventures on DS,” said Club Penguin cofounder and EVP of Disney Online Studios Lane Merrifield. “Developing a sequel was a great way to meet that need while exploring more ways for fans to experience the Club Penguin virtual world offline.” Senior VP of global marketing for Disney Interactive Studios Craig Relyea added: “Featuring new mysteries, missions and mini-games, Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force: Herbert’s Revenge will continue to delight kids around the world.”

www.mindscape.co.uk

Disney: 0208 222 1413

Mindscape set for digital games push NEW TECH, different business models and ‘exciting online initiatives’ will boost Mindscape’s growth strategy, the firm has told MCV. The company is currently working on a number of projects due to be unveiled this year. “We have some very exciting online initiatives to present in the coming weeks and months,” said Mindscape UK’s general manager Mark Stanger. “Mindscape has been working hard behind the scenes on some new and very interesting technologies in the

Disney lines up sequel to Club Penguin

The game is just one of the titles the publisher is crafting for the downloads market. “Our position is that digital distribution will ultimately be a

Digital distribution will be a very significant means by which our content reaches our target consumers. Mark Stanger, Mindscape

Stanger’s comments follow the publisher’s announcement of its first internally-produced digital distribution title Crasher last month.

very significant means by which our content reaches our consumer,” said Stanger. However, the publisher is still releasing a range of boxed

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“ This is interesting. This is new. This is the kind of innovation we want to see from JRPGs.” - VideoGamer

“When Blade Runner met Final Fantasy.” - PSM3 “Graphically stunning” - Times Online

Coming 26th March 2010 www.sega.co.uk © SEGA. SEGA, the SEGA logo and RESONANCE OF FATE are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA Corporation. Developed by tri-Ace Inc. All rights reserved. “2”, “PlayStation”, “Ô are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies are used under license from Microsoft.

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NEWS

K E E W E H T F O N G I CAMPA III FINAL FANTASY X Square Enix’s marketing campaign is set to establish FFXIII as the biggest entertainment release of Q1…

RELEASED: MARCH 9 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3 PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX DEVELOPER: SQUARE ENIX PRICE: £49.99 DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 020 8636 3013

TV/MEDIA There will be a heavyweight TV plan running across several terrestrial and digital channels from March 1st through to Easter and the following months. Key spots include ITV1’s Manchester United Champions League football match against AC Milan, the FA Cup quarter finals and other Premier League games on Sky. Square Enix will also make its biggest investment in video-ondemand media. Combined with a nationwide bus side advertisement campaign, Square Enix claims its marketing activity will reach three quarters of the entire UK population.

RETAIL Retailers will offer consumers a strategy guide and limited Final Fantasy XIII collectors edition, as well as dedicating in-store space to the game.

PRINT There will be full-page adverts in a number of games magazines and print publications including free London papers The Metro and Shortlist.

ONLINE Final Fantasy XIII will be promoted through a variety of high-impact website takeovers and specialist online gaming sites around the game’s release.

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WANT TO SEE MORE? Check out our full range of DSi速 XL accessories For more information on our full range of products please contact your distribution account manager or our sales team on Email: sales@hubbaccessories.com www.hubbaccessories.com

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MCV INTERVIEW: PLAYFISH AGAINST THE GRAIN: Playfish is extending its digital arm, bringing its key properties to retail

A ‘Fish out of water After recently releasing its new currency cash cards, EA-owned Playfish.com is looking to further benefit from traditional retail. James Batchelor speaks to the previously online-only firm about its future…

AT A TIME when more and more such as Restaurant City, Poker Rivals games firms are taking their business and Country Life. online, often through digital Playfish is now seeking out further distribution, it’s something of a rarity to chances to generate revenue through see a company sailing against this tide. traditional bricks ‘n’ mortar retail, Playfish.com, the casual In the casual games sector, games giant owned by products like these can totally Electronic Arts, has recently embarked on this replace boxed product - just unlikely journey with the look at Apple’s iTunes cards. launch of its currency Sebastien de Halleux, Playfish cash cards late last year. Available in various denominations recognising the opportunities the sector and found in several familiar High Street offers that are unavailable online. stores, these allows consumers to “You can’t underestimate the power purchase premium content in the of the retail distribution channel,” company’s biggest Facebook-based titles, says Playfish.com’s vice president of

business development and strategic partnerships, and co-founder, Sebastien de Halleux. “Playfish had previously diverted around the retail channel by making our games available solely online, but the retail channel still carries a lot of weight. “It’s very powerful to have the trust of retailers who can then offer the cards to their customers and explain how they grant access to premium content, so we’re working very closely with retailers to build on that trust.” Since their debut last November, Playfish claims its cash cards have sold

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MCV INTERVIEW: PLAYFISH

“extremely well”, appealing not only to new customers but also an established community of more than 60 million monthly players – small wonder then that EA picked up the social games firm for a whopping $400 million last year. BIGGER FISH TO FRY

channel. Playfish is keen to emphasise that its games are free to play, but feedback from its 60 million users has shown significant demand for paid content in the firm’s games. While users can purchase these additions online, the number of payment methods has caused confusion among less tech-savvy consumers. In time, Playfish turned to the High Street for a solution, offering a convenient entry point that is a familiar part of daily life. “We realised that we had been missing the ability to pay over the counter for a long time,” says de Halleux. “It’s a method of payment that many people are more comfortable with. That’s really what prompted the launch of these cards – they had the ability to reduce payment friction and allow more people to spend money in the games.”

The release of the cash cards is more than just a solitary venture. Playfish is using them as the beginning of a larger push towards retail, reaching out to an audience that is not immediately reachable through its online portal. De Halleux says the firm’s ambitions could see Playfish following in the footsteps of giants such as Apple. “The idea that these cards could completely replace boxed product is perhaps a bit extreme, because boxed product has a huge value in being able to deliver bigger games,” de Halleux says. “But in the casual games sector, then products like these can totally replace boxed product – look at what Apple has done with the iTunes cards. “You can buy iTunes cards almost everywhere these days, even in supermarkets, and they have a higher value than a traditional CD. In the music industry, they’ve certainly have created a big dent in the influence of boxed versions.” And the cards are just the beginning. Playfish is working on several potential projects that will bring familiar elements from some of their most popular titles away from Unlike rival cards that are the confines of Facebook often impulse buys, ours tend and onto the shelves of to have their sales velocity the High Street. created by the games. De Halleux says: Sebastien de Halleux, Playfish “We’ve decided to experiment a bit more PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT with physical components to our games. The cash cards are currently available at There may also be other physical objects WHSmith, Sainsbury’s and HMV, and coming in the future that will form a come in £10 and £25 voucher. Until bridge between the retail world and the Playfish has finalised its other retail online world. products, the company plans to expand “Many of our users have expressed a the number of stores that stock the need to get more from their game cards, targeting the most wide-reaching beyond the online component and this outlets around the nation. could be anything from virtual “The rollout is going to continue in currency to a six-foot robot from one of all high convenience outlets, the kind of our games.” stores that are found on High Streets all The key thing is to generate more over the UK,” says de Halleux. revenue through the traditional retail

GOING LOCAL: Playfish.com’s co-founder says its cash cards are the beginning of a larger push towards retail

“We’re really aiming to give the cards a sort of blanket coverage. “As they pick up, you might see them appear in other department stores that get a high level of footfall so that the cards are even easier to access. “Games retail is definitely on the radar, but for the moment we favour the convenience of having them in stores that everyone has access to, and that are all around the country.” To accomplish this, Playfish will develop stronger ties with British retailers by highlighting the advantages that are open to them. While other online initiatives arguably serve to damage or isolate retail, the company is one of the few that believes any High Street partnerships can be mutually beneficial. “These cards are a very high margin item,” he explains. “It takes very little shelf space compared to a magazine, a DVD or other entertainment products, and it’s a pretty high value product.”

More importantly, the cards push consumers directly to stores. They are heavily marketed within the games, and provide games with all the details they need to pick up additional virtual currency – including a map to the nearest store. “That’s perhaps the biggest benefit of the cards,” de Halleux says. “Unlike rival cards that are often impulse buys, ours tend to have their sales velocity created by the games themselves. We literally drive the traffic from our community of 60 million players into those retail locations.” While a single company may not be able to change the face of retail – even with the backing of a publishing giant like EA – it is still an encouraging development in the developing relationship between bricks ‘n’ mortar retail and the online world. Should Playfish successfully boost its revenues with a variety of physical products beyond the standard cash cards, it will stand out as a prime example of how the two sectors can work together and further prove that there are still new opportunities to discover as our industry develops.

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© 2007-2009 The Codemasters Software Company Limited (“Codemasters”). All rights reserved. “Codemasters”®, the Codemasters logo and “DiRT”® are registered trademarks owned by Codemasters. “Race Driver GRID”™,“Race Driver: GRID Reloaded” and ”FUEL”™ are trademarks of Codemasters. “Colin McRae”™ and the Colin McRae signature device are registered trademarks of Colin McRae. All other copyrights or trademarks are the property of their respective owners and are being used under license. This game is NOT licensed by or associated with the FIA or any related company. Unauthorized copying, adaptation, rental, lending, re-sale, arcade use, charging for use, broadcast, cable transmission, public performance, distribution or extraction of this product or any trademark or copyright work that forms part of this product is prohibited. DiRT & GRID: Developed and published by Codemasters. FUEL: Developed by Asobo Studios S.à.r.l. and published by Codemasters. Microsoft, 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. ”” , “PLAYSTATION” and “PS3” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

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Casual gaming gets serious!

AVAILABLE MARCH

www.foreignmediagames.com

''OPEN DISTRIBUTION''. SALES ENQUIRIES TO TEL: 01564 200948 © 2010 FOREIGN MEDIA GAMES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NINTENDO DS IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO

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MCV XL 05/03/10 23

PIRACY INVESTIGATION

The war on piracy The industry is becoming more aggressive than ever in its continuing attempts to crush IP theft. Christopher Dring meets Nintendo’s European anti-piracy boss Neil Boyd and ELSPA’s IP crime unit manager John Hillier to find out more…

OVER THE past six months, the games this year three people have already been Nintendo of Europe’s Anti-Piracy industry has ramped up its efforts in convicted and sent to prison for selling Counsel, Neil Boyd, adds: “For over 20 tackling piracy. pirated software and devices. years we have been battling piracy on a For instance, publishers Ubisoft, EA “It’s interesting to hear the comments global scale with a dedicated team and Sony have all recently announced made by judges,” says the manager of focused on protecting the creative measures to discourage IP theft. ELSPA’s IP crime unit John Hillier. works of our game developers. Consumers playing one of Ubisoft’s “They treat it very seriously. It has “We take a global approach to piracy PC titles have to remain constantly taken potential jobs away from the and since the beginning of 2008 to connected to the internet date, we have supported so that the publisher can almost 1,000 anti-piracy There are currently 60 active check the game is actions in 16 different cases focusing on piracy legitimate. jurisdictions, resulting in devices - a good indication of EA is offering free DLC the seizure of to those that purchase approximately 600,000 the action that is being taken. Battlefield: Bad Company game copier devices.” John Hillier, ELSPA 2 new, while those that The games industry’s buy Sony’s PSP shooter, SOCOM: games industry and is a reduction to the focus on combating piracy puts rival Fireteam Bravo 3, have to register a Government in terms of tax and revenue. media to shame, which is something code over PSN or they cannot access “At the moment there are around 60 that has benefited ELSPA in gaining the game’s online mode. on-going active cases to do with support from the Government and law But it’s more than just preventive circumvention devices – R4 cards and enforcement agencies. measures. Law enforcement agencies the like – and they are proceeding “We are unique compared to the have increased their crack down on through the courts. other digital industries because we piracy. Last year, 13 people were given “That’s the indication of the action spend millions protecting the product, jail sentences for games IP theft, while that is being taken.” both the games and the consoles, which

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PIRACY INVESTIGATION is certainly not the case with music and film” continues Hillier. “This goes down well with the various enforcement agencies, such as trading standards. We can show them that we have tried our best to protect our product.” THE EDUCATION GAME

Of course it’s not just about taking action against pirates. The major platform holders and ELSPA are regularly trying to get the message out to gamers and retailers on the perils of games piracy. For instance, ELSPA and trading standards are on hand to speak to shops that stock pirated products or console circumvention devices such as the DS R4 cards. There are also school visits, and regular press releases that detail the latest anti-piracy raid. “If a small independent was selling piracy products, we would encourage the law enforcement agencies to go around and have words, and most of the time that works,” continues Hillier. “But anyone on a big scale, we treat rather differently.

flash cards have been brought to market “We try to get the message out to to counter Nintendo’s DSi, which people about piracy, through things initially locked out the illegal R4 card. such as press releases. However, the industry hasn’t rested “Wherever possible we do involve either. New measures are being trialled ourselves in schools work. I have been all the time to deter piracy, from DRM involved in various school events where to persuasive measures such as free we try and educate children.” downloadable extras. Boyd also talks up the benefits of And now the Government is getting education in Nintendo’s attempts to involved with its Digital Britain report, curtail piracy: “The next stage is continued, rigorous action We weclome any political against those intiative that is aimed at who benefit and supporting companies trying trade off of the to protect creative content. creative work of our game Neil Boyd, Nintendo developers, allied which details measures to counter peerto concerted efforts to raise awareness to-peer file-sharing. of the issue and educate customers “According to the Digital Britain about how and why they should always ensure the copy of the game they play is report, the UK’s creative industries have an annual production activity of nearly an authentic and legal one,” he says. £6 billion, equivalent in scale to the A DIGITAL FUTURE financial services industry, and the UK Pirates are continually working on ways is the world’s biggest exporter of to take potential revenue from the cultural goods,” says Boyd. games industry. Already, pirates are “This makes it clear that the UK working on cracking Sony’s currently government is right to want to tackle un-pirated PlayStation 3, while new piracy. However, Nintendo’s fight

against piracy is a global one and is not limited to one market. We welcome any political initiative that is aimed at supporting companies that seek to protect their creative content and are happy to work with government and industry bodies to make sure efforts are aligned.” Hillier adds: “The Digital Britain Report is a kind of wish list of what we’d like to have. It is a good attempt by the Government to highlight the issue. The Government has taken on board some of the things we have lobbied for, although there isn’t much time before the election.” It’s encouraging to see the measures being made by trade bodies, Governments, platform holders and publishers in trying to halt the growth of piracy. In the UK, news laws and legal precedents are being made that makes the convictions of IP thieves even easier (see ‘The case of Christopher Gilham’), and this year alone new laws could be passed that allows legal bodies to check financial records of convicted pirates. Indeed, life as a games pirate has never been so hard.

THE CASE OF CHRISTOPHER GILHAM One of the most significant games piracy cases of recent years surrounded the conviction of Christopher Paul Gilham. Back in 2007, Neil Stanley Higgs (aka Mr. Modchips) was found guilty of 26 offences under the Copyright, Designs and Patents act. However, six months later his conviction was dismissed on appeal. The Judge in that case told the prosecution that, had the right of sort of evidence been presented, the appeal would not have succeeded. The enforcement agencies took the advice on-board when it came to the case of Gilham. Gilham was also found guilty of chipping offences – however, unlike Higgs, his appeal failed in October last year. Gilham had argued, much like Higgs, that his chips were not intended for piracy but so gamers could read ebooks, or put Linux on their Xbox or even play homebrew games. But the Judge in this instance said that ‘intention is irrelevant,’ reminding the defendant that circumventing a machine is illegal, not matter what the reasons may be. The Judge also set out five simple steps of what the prosecution needs to show in order to obtain a conviction. Since that time, several defendants that have been taken to court for similar offences have immediately pleaded guilty.  For more information on the legality of circumvention devices and mod chips, check Harbottle & Lewis’ article on page 26.

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PIRACY INVESTIGATION

PLATFORM-BY-PLATFORM Nintendo Wii In terms of copied discs seized by ELSPA and Trading Standards in the UK, Nintendo’s Wii is the most pirated of today’s games consoles.

DS The main form of piracy for DS is through piracy flash cards such as the R4. As gamers can download hundreds of games onto these devices, it is difficult to gauge that exact level of piracy on DS. However, piracy cards are extremely popular – and until last year were even available to buy on Amazon.

PlayStation 3 PS3 is the only current gen console free of piracy. However, web reports point to hackers trying to circumvent the machine, while ELSPA has seized hard drives with a number of PS3 ISO files installed – ready to go if the machine is cracked.

PC PC piracy is largely via peer-to-peer file sharing over the internet. According to ELSPA, there are very few copied discs in circulation in the UK.

MODCHIPS: A WORD OF WARNING

Xbox 360 The second most pirated machine in terms of discs seized in the UK is Xbox 360. Recently, ELSPA seized a terabyte hard drive filled with games for Microsoft’s machine.

PSP PSP suffers a similar piracy issue to the DS, as pirates download games onto a memory stick and plug it into the handheld. Sony is currently trialling an online activation system with SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3.

Harbottle & Lewis solicitor Paul Groves discusses the legality of chipping games consoles… So what are modchips? In very general terms, modchips are small electronic devices that can be attached to games consoles in order to modify or disable the inbuilt restrictions, such as DRM restrictions or region coding. Therefore, a modchip may, for example, enable a gamer to use their console to play legitimate games from other regions as well as those that have been pirated, undermining the protections that console and games manufacturers put in place to protect their products. Are they illegal? There is a marked lack of certainty over the legality of modchips due to the inconsistent approaches that have been adopted by the courts of different countries, and even within the UK. A criminal case brought against ‘Mr Modchips’, Neil Higgs, failed in 2008 but the Court of Appeal recently upheld the conviction of a Christopher Gilham, who ran a business selling modchips and other components. Therefore, for the time being at least, the ruling in Gilham has confirmed that the sale of modchips should be considered illegal within the UK. Why are they illegal in the UK? Copyright law in the UK makes it an offence to sell “any device, product or component which is primarily designed, produced or adapted for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of effective technological measures.”

PlayStation 2 Although there is a limited market for PS2 titles, ELSPA is still finding a small number of copied discs for Sony’s last generation console in the UK.

iPhone/iPod Touch Not even Apple’s handheld is free of piracy. Gamers can download software that allows them to download illegal apps through unofficial application stores. However, it does mean consumers can nolonger use Apple’s official app store.

Are they also illegal to use? Gilham’s conviction does not bode well for gamers who purchase and use modchips. The UK courts have now given a clear warning that such people may be liable for copyright infringement. If the copying was sufficient for Gilham’s conviction, then a video gamer’s use of a modchip may also be perceived in a similar light, potentially leading to civil or even criminal sanctions. Is this the same everywhere? In a wider context, it does not look as though this approach has been adopted in other countries. Even countries in the EU which have implemented the same legislation as the UK – such as Spain, France and Italy – have, in fact, found the use of modchips to be legal. However, there are a number of decisions and appeals pending, so it is possible that harmonisation with the approach of the UK courts could soon follow. Are there any other risks? Some console manufacturers are tackling the modchips issue head-on by enforcing their rights under the Terms of Use, which gamers sign up to in order to access the console’s online services. For example, in 2009, Microsoft banned a number of gamers identified as having modchips from accessing Xbox Live. In a press release, Microsoft stated that the ban was necessary due to the fact that the modification of the consoles using modchips violates the Xbox Terms of Use. If recent legal developments are not enough to make gamers think twice before using modchips, the fact that they might lose access to ongoing services is likely to be an effective measure.

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QA & LOCALISATION SPECIAL TESTING TIMES: The economic recession has seen more publishers outsourcing QA to third parties

Speaking our language There is more to QA and localisation than simply translating text, and as quality becomes even more crucial to publishers’ profitability, testing services are more essential than ever. MCV speaks to some of the leading players in the sector...

AS EACH YEAR passes, higher and outsource testing to experienced standards of quality assurance and teams. But what challenges must they localisation become more and more overcome in the year ahead? important to a game’s success. ON THE ECONOMIC RECESSION… Text-heavy games like Mass Effect 2 Alastair Harsant, Games Business and Final Fantasy XIII are global hits and Line Manager, new IPs such as Bayonetta and Testronic: The games Darksiders seek to establish new industry is by no means franchises – but only games of the recession-proof, but there highest quality can achieve their have been opportunities true potential. Competition is increasing and the Quality assurance cannot be effects of the global left solely in the hands of recession have made it developers - they already have even more costly when a game fails to meet enough to worry about. expectations. Gabriele Vegetti, Orange Studios As such, publishers and in these adverse circumstances. As an developers must do all they can to ensure outsourcer there is a fairly significant their products are of the highest quality in every language before they hit shelves. silver lining – whilst major publishers made deep cuts in their overall annual QA and localisation firms are currently slates of projects, they also had to slash thriving on this state of affairs, as more internal headcount and as a result many and more publishers seek their services

publishers pushed QA out to third parties, such as us. Andrew Day, CEO, Keywords International:

We have certainly seen decreases in the number of titles that were released by some of our clients compared to 2008. As a business, we continued to experience strong growth throughout the recession as we have expanded our client base and geographic reach. Ben Weedon, Manager,

PlayableGames:

We’ve noticed an upturn in business – possibly because many publishers and developers know they need to create a higher quality of game these days, and usability testing and user research is a simple, quick and powerful way of doing that.

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QA & LOCALISATION SPECIAL

Iris Ludolf, Founder, Partnertrans: We were

able not only to maintain our customer base but to expand it. There is a very obvious trend – if not a frenzy – among publishers and developers to look for solutions that are primarily cost driven. It’s only natural that, as budgets shrink, you try to save money where you can and localisation is not exempt from that. ON BUDGET CONSTRAINTS… Randall Mage, General Manager, Localsoft:

With tighter budgets, developers are seeking less expensive ways to produce their games. Cutting costs affects all areas of production. The needs remain more or less the same – it’s the quantities that have changed. We have noticed that companies are outsourcing to the cheapest vendors only to realise that you get what you pay for. Our advice is to outsource to professional vendors.

Along with this goes another change: more games than ever before just receive a localised manual. Also, as a result of the new distribution methods, print manuals seem to go out of fashion and e-manuals are more in demand. Gabriele Vegetti, General Manager, Orange Studios: Our

established clients have localised less products, and they are also more attentive to costs than in the past. This leads to frequent requests of discounts, calls for tenders and so on.

Andrew Day: We have

seen an increase in demand for Japanese to EFIGS translations. This may be explained by the relatively high saturation level of the Japanese market and the drive from Japanese publishers and developers to seek new western markets. Keywords has opened a localisation and testing facility in Tokyo in response to this. Randall Mage: Some of

Alastair Harsant: QA

companies understand the pressures that games firms are under, and in fraught business times having that good relationship is imperative. Some have been seeking to limit localisable content as much as possible, whether via the number of languages or the extent of the localisable content – opting for subtitles instead of localised audio, for example.

Iris Ludolf: New

channels are becoming more important. Titles that were sold as boxed products in the past now find their way into the market as digital downloads on XBLA, PSN, WiiWare or sites like Direct2Drive.

for more different types of testing, from linguistic testing to full functionality and compliance testing.

ON THE RISING DEMAND FOR DIFFERENT LANGUAGES… Richard van der Giessen, Presidentowner, U-Trax: We have

had requests for more languages than ever and

the languages that are receiving more demand correspond to emerging markets where a good game can have a nice impact in terms of market share, so it makes sense to localise for these markets. Keith Russell, VP Sales and Marketing, Babel Media: There is also

much more focus on culturalisation, making sure the game is not just translated but also culturally relevant for its selected launch territory. We have been running quite a few of these evaluations for our clients to help them optimise their offering for a worldwide market.

ON HOW THE SECTOR WILL CHANGE IN 2010… Gabriele Vegetti: We

expect to slowly return to pre-recession levels of business. It is still too early to be overtly optimistic, but we’re starting to see signs of upturn in the last few months. Ben Weedon: I believe

user research and usability testing will increase. We’re hoping to create a special interest group of usability researchers as part of the IGDA, which will be a great step towards improving its visibility in the industry, and differentiating it from focus testing and focus groups, which it’s often confused with. Richard van der Giessen: The QA and localisation sector will grow and the quality will improve. The marketplace is totally ready for it and we are very happy to fulfill these needs. Iris Ludolf: Localisation

is by definition a service industry within the games industry. As with every service business, we have to adapt to our clients’ needs and offer the products and solutions

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QA & LOCALISATION SPECIAL

IN-HOUSE MATTERS Some publishers favour an inhouse QA and localisation solution. We talked to NCsoft West’s executive producer Lance Stites about the benefits of this approach…

Costly mistakes can be made with poor planning. Utilising our expertise early saves time and money in the long run.

Alastair Harsant, Testronic

they need. And these needs certainly have changed and will continue to change. Those that stay on top of the changing market will survive. But just like the market has consolidated and continues to do so, we’ll see localisation providers vanish or lose importance.

development cycle which will save significant amounts of money and get the game to market faster. It is still quite surprising how many companies leave it until the last minute and then wonder why it costs more than they thought. Ben Weedon: We’re

Randall Mage: We

expect to see fewer but better titles for consoles and many more phone and web titles. Language requirements will increase, especially for phone and web titles and we expect to see smaller budgets for testing.

often brought in around the Alpha phase, but by then there are often issues that are too hard coded into the build for them to be addressed. Testing earlier in the process with real end users means you can make the changes with less cost and wasted development time.

Alastair Harsant:

Integrating localisation and culturisation during the early stages of the game development process is key – costly mistakes are made due to poor planning at times, with localisation being considered as an afterthought. Utilising our expertise early saves time and money in the long run, so a modification of the approach to testing is required in some quarters.

Randall Mage: We

would like to see developers and publishers spend more time planning the localisation and testing approach together with their localisation and testing vendors. Adequate planning and allocating sufficient time to localisation and testing can save many problems down the line. Richard van der Giessen: Do even more

Keith Russell: Talk to us as early as possible as there are techniques we can suggest during the

Iris Ludolf: I’d like to

see a return to a focus on quality instead of choosing the cost oriented approach every time. It would be great if companies realised that it helps them in the long run, and gamers see that localised games are worth playing. A poor localisation tarnishes your brand just like a poor product does. Quality does matter. Andrew Day: We are

ON WORKING WITH PUBLISHERS AND DEVELOPERS…

frontrunners and it is a matter of very little time before every company sees the need for and benefits of top quality localisation and testing.

testing and localisation. Our clients, which include SCEE, Activision, Ubisoft, and EA, are clearly the

firm believers in our multi-lingual approach, ensuring good cross language consistency and increased efficiency through knowledge sharing, and elimination of duplication across the language teams. We would like to see more developers and publishers adopting this model. Gabriele Vegetti: QA

cannot be left entirely in developers’ hands – they already have enough to worry about. Each major publisher should have a localisation department, responsible for addressing all issues to and from development teams.

What are the advantages of doing your localisation in-house? Having a core staff embedded into the production teams helps with strong communication on the accuracy of intent. For example, if you translate the word “pen” from English into another language, it could mean a writing pen or a livestock pen. We face this with hundreds of words and the only way to properly translate them as they relate to the game is by having a solid understanding of the product. How important is localisation to a company like NCsoft? Localisation is a cornerstone to the success of a global organisation such as NCsoft. We have had huge success with several of our products that have been developed in Korea and then later released in territories such as North America, Japan, China as well as multiple European regions. We also localise our corporate communications and community interactions as well. If you’re not 100 per cent committed to quality localisation in every facet of the business, you’re eliminating a lot of potential market space.

Have you had to cut back on localisation and QA in the tougher economic climate? It’s not our philosophy to wait until things are tough to do them right. Our process of ramping up vendor and contract work during peak demand is intended to prevent the challenges of excessive spend during down times. Do you use any outsource companies – and if so, what are the advantages of these? We do, and that’s what allows us to be agile. At times we get absolutely crushed with content – literally hundreds of thousands of words and associated audio with extremely tight localisation deadlines. Having vendors at hand that can bring five or seven translators to bear quickly is how we manage to continually hit our milestones.

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Specialist Games Services Localisation • Global network of specialised game translators • Over 50 languages covered • Terminology compliance experts • In Game, scripts, paper parts and marketing translations

Quality Assurance • All platforms (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, PC, iPhone and mobile) • Localisation QA • Compliance checks for TRC, TCR and LOT approval • Functionality QA • Gameplay balancing

Audio • Voice over recordings across all languages • Full casting service • In territory recordings • Pre and post production services

DTP Services • Packaging design/redesign • Packaging localisation and layout • Submissions

Contact

info@usspeaking.com | www.usspeaking.com

Universally Speaking UK

Universally Speaking Japan

E: info@usspeaking.com

E: info@usspeaking.com

T: +44 1480 210621

T: +81 3 6712 1177

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Sponsored by 34 MCV XL 05/03/10

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PERSONNEL

Sacco strengthens MCV editorial team New staff writer bolsters Intent Media  Develop promotes Freeman  GLS names new senior games buyer MCV  DOMINIC SACCO has joined MCV as staff writer. He joins Intent Media from his position as senior web journalist at UK automotive sales website and classified magazine Auto Trader, where he worked for two and a half years. Sacco also worked at Imagine’s GamesTM for six months as an intern. “We’re delighted to welcome Dominic to the team,” said MICHAEL FRENCH, editor-in-chief of MCV, Develop and CasualGaming.biz. “He joins us with excellent experience from both inside

Sacco joins MCV after stints on Auto Trader and GamesTM

and outside of the games industry and will provide instrumental support for both the core weekly magazine and our increasingly popular website mcvuk.com.”

DEVELOP  MCV’s sister publication Develop has promoted WILL FREEMAN (right) to deputy editor. Formerly staff writer on the monthly games industry magazine, Freeman replaces the previous deputy editor ED FEAR who has joined London-based games developer Curve Studios. Respected journalist Freeman also writes about games every week for UK broadsheet The Observer. He previously worked for games retail monthly In Stock, has also written for Pro-G and once worked in games PR.

There's no need for violence!

He has previoulsy worked as UK manager at Gateway Distribution and account manager at Just Distribution. “I look forward to increasing the potential already shown at GLS Games,” said Thurgood.

Freeman takes up the deputy editor role, replacing Ed Fear

Freeman joined Develop in December 2008. GLS GAMES  The UK distributor has appointed DAN THURGOOD as its new senior games buyer.

CHANGYOU  The new MMO publisher has hired MIRKO GOZZO. Gozzo takes up the role of marketing director for Europe and will be based at ChangYou’s UK office. He previously held the same position at NCsoft’s European arm, where he worked for three and a half years.

Games buying with added features

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Games Buyer £Competitive Salary + benefits · Based Central London We’re on a winning streak at Sainsbury’s. Our decision to move beyond food has been a spectacular success, and we’re now one of the country’s fastest growing non-food retailers. Computer games have really taken off in our stores – and we need you to maintain the momentum. Although managing supplier relationships and negotiating the best deals, there will be far more to your role than sourcing, selecting and buying. Essentially, you’ll be involved in driving our sales strategy for games, consoles, software and accessories to meet profit targets. This will include raising awareness of our products in store and working with our marketing team on games launches. With your buying experience in the games industry, you’ll already have forged strong relationships with suppliers and have a good understanding of how they operate. You’ll have commercial flair and polished negotiating skills. Above all, you’ll know what customers want and what they don’t. If computer games are both your job and your passion, this is something you can really get stuck into. An attractive salary and benefits package will reward your efforts. To find out more and apply, visit the Store Suppport Centre Recruitment section at www.sainsburys.co.uk

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2010

DATES

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MARCH 29TH-30TH THE BREWERY, LONDON, EC1

Video Games, Social Media & Learning. THE NUMBER 1 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR GAME BASED LEARNING

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video games and social media are having a positive impact on learning and, in turn, developing the essential skills that learners and the industry require to compete in the 21st century. This event is at the epicentre of a virtuous circle where video game and creative industries meet the education sector in a powerful, inspiring and provocative exchange.

Matt Mason, Author, Pirates Dilemma Tom ChatďŹ eld, Author, Fun Inc Alice Taylor, Commissioning Editor, Education, Channel 4 Siobhan Reddy, Studio Director, Media Molecule Kareem Ettouney, Art Director, Media Molecule Sean Brennan, Managing Director, Bethesda Softworks Ewan McIntosh, CEO, NoTosh Dawn Hallybone, Teacher Tim Rylands, Teacher & Innovator Derek P Robertson, Learning and Teaching Scotland

For full information and registration visit:

gamebasedlearning2010.com use code intentgbl for online registration discount

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RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES  PRICE CHECK  CHARTS  NEW RELEASES

TOP BEN Kids’ TV sensation Ben 10 makes its debut on the Xbox 360 with Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks

P38

GOD OF WAR III P40 Sony’s flagship greek mythology franchise takes its latest bloody turn RACE DRIVER: GRID RELOADED P42 Special re-release for Codemasters’ hugely succesful Race Driver series METRO 2033 P44 The next epic post-apocalyptic game has Fallout and Half-Life fans in its sights AVALON CODE P46 Single-player RPG for the DS promises unique gameplay mechanics WHITE KNIGHT CHRONICLES P46 Acclaimed developer Level 5’s latest RPG is a PS3 exclusive RED STEEL 2 P47 New features and MotionPlus connectivity add to the sword-fighting sequel’s appeal DANCING ON ICE P48 The TV series makes its games debut MOTO GP 09/10 P49 Capcom’s racer skids onto 360 and PS3

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RETAILBIZ: BEN 10 ALIEN FORCE: VILGAX ATTACKS 38 MCV XL 05/03/10

WWW.MCVUK.COM

The children’s TV phenomenon makes its debut on the Xbox 360, looking to build on the success of original title Ben 10 Alien Force…

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RETAILBIZ: BEN 10 ALIEN FORCE: VILGAX ATTACKS WWW.MCVUK.COM

by Dominic Sacco BEN 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks is the follow up to last year’s original Alien Force, which sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide. It’s the latest iteration of the Ben 10 gaming franchise, which is based on the popular Cartoon Network TV series and takes the player on a 3D adventure in the Ben 10 universe. Namco Bandai is aiming to maintain its leading position wih the new game. PR & marketing executive Marlene Fitzsimmons says: “Ben 10

MCV XL 05/03/10 39

still remains the UK’s number one boys’ property and both previous games, Ben 10: Protector of Earth and Ben 10 Alien Force, remain evergreen sellers at retail. “We expect Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks to be bigger and better and to set new records for the brand.” The Xbox 360 version is the first current-gen outing for a Ben 10 videogame, boasting greatly improved visuals and effects. This makes it the most advanced game in the series. “As Microsoft continues to invest in broadening the console’s demographic, it’s the perfect time to bring Ben 10 to the platform.”

BEN’S TEN FRIENDS

Players will be able to take control of lead character Ben Tennyson and his ten superpower aliens, including Echo Echo, Goop, Brainstorm, ChromaStone and Big Chill. These give the user the ability to harness the powers of fire, ice, electricity and more against Ben’s greatest enemy – Vilgax, who plans to conquer the universe. Nintendo DS players will also gain access to alien-form Upchuck, with “additional powers to command and explore” – an exclusive for the handheld console. Namco Bandai promises a mix of combat, puzzle-solving and platforming, providing hours of for players of all skill levels. Gamers can cross asteroid fields, upgrade spacecrafts, attack enemy ships and even journey to neverbefore-seen alien home planets. The publisher claims Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks will provide the same fast-paced, action/adventure gameplay as last year’s Ben 10 Alien Force, with a brand new original storyline written exclusively for the game. “To capture the fans attention to the new game, Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks’ new and original storyline remains faithful to the show, meaning kids can experience a new world beyond the series,” adds Fitzsimmons. “We really think the fans will be excited by the new elements in this Ben 10 game.”

RELEASED: MARCH 12 FORMATS: 360, WII, PS2, DS, PSP PUBLISHER: D3P / NAMCO BANDAI DEVELOPER: PAPAYA STUDIO (CONSOLES) / 1ST PLAYABLE (DS) PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9585 RETAIL ATTACK PLAN

Namco Bandai assures retailers that Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks will be “even bigger and better with huge marketing support at launch.” This includes a massive print, online and TV marketing campaign to provide support for and gain coverage for the game. Fitzsimmons explains: “We’ve developed a fantastic interactive online campaign with Cartoon Network capturing the core Ben 10 fans and a mainstream online campaign reaching out across key kids sites to new fans.” A series of heavyweight TV promotions will target housewives and children on the home of Ben 10 – Cartoon Network, alongside additional promotions in retail. The print campaign will target children’s magazines with front covers in The Dandy and Megaton, along with a broad range of reviews, features and competitions elsewhere. Fitzsimmons claims: “Both previous games have shown continued longevity at retail and we’re expecting Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks to be another success.”

mber Ben 10 remains the nu we one boys’ property and to set expect Vilgax Attacks and. new records for the br

Marlene Fitzsimmons, Namco Bandai

FROM TV TO CONTROLLER After originally launching on Cartoon Network in January 2006, Ben 10 detailed the adventures of ten-year-old Ben Tennyson and his wristwatch called the Omnitrix, which allows him to transform into ten different aliens with unique powers. The show proved a huge success, and soon ranked as the number one programme on

basic cable TV with boys aged six to 11 and nine to 14. The Ben 10 phenomenon entered the world of video games in 2007 with Ben 10: Protector of Earth on the Nintendo Wii, a 3D action/adventure game allowing the player to take control of Ben and his aliens. Ben 10 Alien Force joined the gaming franchise in February

2009, bringing both games’ total sales to more than 4.5 million worldwide. Other titles include Ben 10 Omniverse, a free web browser MMOG released late last year. The newest release Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks aims to add to the franchise with its own original story, improved graphics and a variety of new alien locations.

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RETAILBIZ: GOD OF WAR III 40 MCV XL 05/03/10

Sony ups the stakes with the third title in its popular God of War franchise, with more gore and greek mythology…

WWW.MCVUK.COM

by Dominic Sacco

“We have already seen strong preorder numbers and this is prior to our marketing activity kicking in.” God of War III has already received nine out of ten in Playstation Official Magazine, which describes it as “inches

GOD OF WAR is a series which has always lived up to its epic title, and Sony looks set to capitalise on this when the third instalment makes its PS3 debut on March 19th. Players will once again We are expecting this to be a lead ex-Spartan Kratos in strong seller – the God of War God of War III, which franchise has always promises a whole new performed well. single-player story, weapons, enemies and Claire Backhouse, Sony game engine with the most realistic graphics in a God of War title. away from scoring ten out of ten, the “We are expecting this to be a strong biggest God of War – and if it’s the seller – the God of War franchise has finale, then it gives Playstation’s always performed well, and this is the toughest hero the send-off he deserves.” most epic God of War yet,” says Sony’s Previous God of War games have UK product manager Claire Backhouse. received favoured reviews. PS2’s God of

War II was awarded an average score of 93 on review aggregator website Metacritic and the original achieved 94. Sony is confident God of War III will have similar praise placed upon it. “The hype and anticipation for this title is huge, and from what we have seen so far, the game will not disappoint”, says Backhouse.

BRUTAL LEGEND

God of War III offers players a fast-paced gaming experience which “envelopes the gamer in the world of brutal Greek mythology,” adds Backhouse. ‘Brutal’ is a correct choice of word for the God of War universe, as the 18rated title allows players to pull off some

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GOD OF MORE Sony’s special God of War III Ultimate Trilogy Edition includes a mammoth collection of additional content in Pandora’s Box-style packaging, including:

devastating special moves and wield a variety of weapons, including Kratos’ classic double-chained blades. This time the game’s protagonist scales the heights of Mt. Olympus and the depths of Hell itself to claim revenge on those who have betrayed him. Sony says Kratos “must take on mythology’s darkest creatures while solving intricate puzzles throughout his merciless quest to destroy Olympus”. The PS3 exclusive boasts an all-new game engine to increase realism and visual effects, while giving players the chance to take part in battles four times larger than those in God of War II. An Ultimate Trilogy Edition will also be available at release, featuring extras such as an art book, exclusive downloadable content, soundtrack and

remastered versions of God of War and God of War II (see ‘God of More’).

RELEASED: MARCH 19 FORMATS: PS3 PUBLISHER: SONY

EPIC MARKETING PLAN

Sony aims to deliver a marketing campaign to raise further awareness and drive sales with what it considers to be a “mainstream audience”. Press ads have been placed in a variety of magazines including Total Film, PSM3, T3 and Edge. An online pre-order and competition campaign with Eurogamer and CVG, which includes homepage takeovers and advertising, kicked off on February 22nd and will run until the game is released on March 19th. Backhouse adds: “We are running our TV spot across 16 to 34 year-old male television shows, as well as a

DEVELOPER: SCE SANTA MONICA STUDIOS PRICE: £49.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

competition in conjunction with Kerrang and Five USA where you can win the chance to live like a rock god, or a god of action.” Sony will also be supporting God of War III in retail outlets and online stores. It plans to target films in cinemas such as Clash of the Titans and Legion, which it says will appeal to God of War’s target audience.

 God of War III  God of War II in HD  God of War in HD  A replica of Pandora’s Box  Art book  God of War: Unearthing the Legend – a documentary about the history of God of War  Downloadable music, including a heavy metal album inspired by God of War  A three-CD soundtrack of the God of War trilogy  Access to the God of War Combat Arena  Seven in-game challenges  A new in-game environment  Four new character skins for Kratos – Dominus, Apollo, Phantom of Chaos and Forgotten Warrior  Postcards  Additional downloadable content via PSN The God of War III Ultimate Trilogy Edition is due to be released on March 19th for an estimated retail price of £109.99. It’s a limited edition package and is expected to sell out shortly after pre-orders are met.

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RETAILBIZ: RACE DRIVER: GRID RELOADED 42 MCV XL 05/03/10

Codemasters prepares to boost sales of its already hugely successful Race Driver: GRID with a brand new Reloaded edition...

WWW.MCVUK.COM

by James Batchelor

the stunning success of the original 2008 racer, which garnered widespread critical acclaim and more than a few awards to its name (see Track Record). The BAFTA-winning title now returns to the PS3 with a much more attractive

2008 launch has remained a defining racing game,” says Codemasters’ brand BEYOND THE evergreen casual titles, manager Edward Newby-Robson. the majority of video games tend to sell “We’re delighted to add extra value strongly in their first few weeks before and introduce brand new content on its slowly disappearing from the charts and premium Platinum release that subsequently the shelves. reinvigorates the title and Over the last few years, adds ten new cars and a We’re delighted to add extra publishers have found they new track to the game for value and content to this can sustain interest in their the first time.” Platinum release that titles with downloadable Consumers will be given reinvigorates the original title. content packs, and that access to the two DLC these can provide a new bundles: the Prestige and 8Edward Newby-Robson, Codemasters wave of sales on the Ball packs, both of which High Street. price point and more content than ever add new vehicles, settings and locations. Now Codemasters is doing the same before. Reloaded features not only a While the 8-Ball pack is already thing in order to give a new lease of life copy of the original GRID, but also available online, the Prestige pack will to one of its most popular racing games codes that unlock more than £10 worth debut alongside Reloaded for consumers – Race Driver: GRID. of downloadable content. that already own GRID. As a brand new retail SKU, Race “Race Driver: GRID won multiple Central to the Prestige pack is the Driver: GRID Reloaded is set to further awards at launch and since its May famous and beautifully recreated

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TRACK RECORD In the two years since its original release, Race Driver: GRID has racked up an impressive number of awards and accolades that prove why the new edition should be a strong seller:  Winner of the 2009 BAFTA Sports Award  Best Racing Game 2008, Yahoo! Games

Australian Bathurst circuit, as well as ten of the world’s hottest cars. Players will be able to get behind the wheel of the Ferrari F430, the Bugatti Veyron and Ferrarri F575 GTC, as well as other vehicles from Mercedes McLaren, Lotus, Lamborghini, Mazda, Honda and Jaguar. Meanwhile, the 8-Ball pack adds eight high-performance racers to the game’s roster, including the McLaren F1 GTR, TVR Cerbera Speed 12 and Pontiac Firebird Trans AM. The DLC also expands on GRID’s existing multiplayer modes, with two new events that can be used on any of the game’s original circuits. RACER’S LEGACY

Given the original game’s impressive success, Race Driver: GRID Reloaded

faces a tougher challenge that rival rereleased racers. Codemasters is hoping that the quality of the game will continue to draw in racing fans just as it did back in 2008, and the additional content will lure back those who have missed out on the first release or traded their copy in. Launching in May 2008, GRID debuted at No.2 in the ELSPA GfK Chart-Track All Formats Top 40 – only beaten to the top spot by the sales behemoth that was Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV. The game continued to sell well in the following months, thanks to a dedicated marketing campaign that included a premium TV spot airing before the Champions League Final – at the time, the publisher’s biggest ever TV spend ever.

RELEASED: MARCH 12 (PS3) TBC (XBOX 360) FORMATS: PS3/XBOX 360 PUBLISHER: CODEMASTERS DEVELOPER: CODEMASTERS STUDIO PRICE: £24.99 DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 01279 822800

Race Driver: GRID was even chosen to spearhead the publisher’s efforts as it moved into the Japanese market, becoming the first game to be formally released under the Codemasters brand in the region. With this legacy to uphold, Codemasters will be supporting GRID Reloaded as it hits retail next week and racing fans are expected to snap it up thanks to its enticing additional content and attractive price point.

 Best Racing Game 2008, VGChartz.com  Racing Game of the Year, Areagames.de  Best Driving Game/Best Graphics, LucidLan.com  Best DS and Xbox 360 Racing/Driving Game 2008, IGN  Editor’s Choice Award 2008, IGN  Driving Game of the Year, PC Format  Gold Award, Famitsu  A Game of the Year, The Guardian  No.10 in Edge’s Top 30 Games of 2008  One of the Top 12 Games of Christmas 2008, Rock Paper Shotgun

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RETAILBIZ: METRO 2033 44 MCV XL 05/03/10

THQ sets its sights on BioShock, Fallout and Half-Life fans with a dark new FPS set in Moscow in the year 2033…

WWW.MCVUK.COM

by Dominic Sacco EVER WONDERED what life would be like after an apocalyptic event? Metro 2033 provides players with just that experience, pitting them in an FPS underground survival zone following an attack on the Earth’s surface. The PC and Xbox 360 are home to a large number of popular FPS franchises, but THQ is confident Metro 2033 and its unique take on an apocalyptic event will make it a glowing success in its own right. “Metro has had a phenomenal reception from media and consumers following its announce,” says Mark Fisher, THQ’s UK product manager.

“That initial buzz has continued to build throughout the campaign along with expectations for the title as we released more information.” Much of the hype surrounding Metro 2033 is undoubtedly due to its adult nature and atmospheric storyline, which

Expectation internally at THQ is high given the metrics that we have been tracking and quality of the game itself. Mark Fisher, THQ sees gamers battling it out in the depths of future Moscow. It’s not the first time a video game has explored the notion of a disastrous event but by working closely with Dmitry Glukhovsky, author of the best-selling

book Metro 2033, developer 4A Games promises to deliver a unique world. It’s also no secret that THQ is targeting fans of other popular FPS games – in fact, it’s a key part of its marketing campaign. “We are targeting gamers that have played and enjoyed titles such as BioShock, Fallout and Half-Life as original, story-driven adventures and we are confident that Metro 2033 will deliver a strong performance at retail,” says Fisher. “This confidence is backed up by a variety of factors, most notably game quality, consumer feedback and metrics we have been tracking. “If we look in isolation at the trailer strategy, each trailer we have released

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THE POST-APOCALYPTIC BOOM Over the past few years video games involving man-made disasters have proved immensely popular. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl was published by THQ in 2007. It received favourable reviews and went on to give way to two sequels, Clear Sky and the recently released Call of Pripyat. BioShock was also released in 2007, selling one million copies in its first month. In 2008 Bethesda trumped sales of its previous triple-A title, Oblivion, by 57 per cent, with its post-apocalyptic game of the year – Fallout 3. And in February this year, BioShock 2 went straight to number one in the UK games chart following its release.

has superseded the previous trailer’s views and viewer ratings with an average viewer rating in excess of 90 per cent across the three trailers.” TAKE THE METRO

Similarly to Fallout 3, Metro 2033 is set around 20 years after the events of an apocalyptic event, and an entire generation has been born and raised beneath the Earth’s surface. The player takes control of Artyom, born in the last days before the fire but raised underground. Gamers will have the chance to venture to the heart of the underground Metro system and warn mankind of whole new, mysterious threat. THQ promises a journey which will take players from forgotten catacombs beneath the subway to the desolate

wastelands above, struggling for survival with other humans characters and mutant abominations. Metro 2033 also boasts some of the most advanced graphics and effects seen in recent years, taking full advantage of the PC gaming platform. The game was showcased at a recent event in London, running with PhysX and the latest versions of DirectX. Fisher says: “We had the game playing in 3D for people to experience and it looked amazing. “Expectation internally at THQ is high given the metrics that we have been tracking and the quality of the game itself from both a technological and gameplay perspective.” THQ reckons Metro 2033 will capture the imagination of hardcore gamers with its immersive experience.

The publisher claims the game’s “compelling, cinematic story and incredible, atmospheric experience” will rival anything else in the first-person video game genre.

RELEASED: MARCH 19 FORMATS: 360, PC PUBLISHER: THQ DEVELOPER: 4A GAMES PRICE: £49.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE

DROPPING THE BOMB

CONTACT: 0121 506 9585

THQ has targeted its marketing focus on PR, community and online social media activity to build awareness of Metro 2033 and drive intent for gamers to purchase the title. A series of trailers have focused on establishing the story, setting and atmosphere within the game, while communicating the core gameplay and graphical prowess that Metro 2033 offers the consumer. There are also plans to increase marketing activity nearer the game’s release date.

“As we approach launch, the abovethe-line activity will start to drive the campaign with a strong focus on communicating the Metro 2033 proposition to a boarder gamer audience, using predominantly online media,” exclaims Fisher. “We have been working closely with our retail partners to ensure we have a strong presence in store around launch to ensure we drive sell through.” Metro 2033 is released on March 19th for the PC and Xbox 360.

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RETAILBIZ: AVALON CODE/WHITE KNIGHT CHRONICLES 46 MCV XL 05/03/10

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The latest RPG for the DS promises players incredible graphics, an engrossing story and innovative gameplay mechanics… by Dominic Sacco

RELEASED: MARCH 12 FORMATS: DS

AVALON CODE is a brand new action RPG from the development studio responsible for DS remakes of Final Fantasy III and IV. It features a single-player story, customisable weapons, relationship building and a variety of mini-games, as well as a unique new game mechanic. Using the main character’s ‘Book of Prophecy’, players can specially modify the rules of engagement during battle for the first time in a DS RPG. Weapons, monsters’ attributes and even the storyline can be altered by players. PROMISING FEEDBACK

Rising Star Games project manager Yen Hau says: “We have healthy expectations for Avalon Code. It has inevitably been picked up by both the media and fans and we are receiving consistent enquiries for it. “The game reviewed very well and looking at the responses from forums across the Nintendo network, we are quietly confident that Avalon Code will perform admirably upon release.”

Level 5 of Professor Layton fame produces a new standalone RPG only for PS3…

PUBLISHER: RISING STAR GAMES DEVELOPER: MATRIX SOFTWARE

by Dominic Sacco

FORMATS: PS3

PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: MASTERTRONIC CONTACT: 0845 234 4242

Avalon Code was produced from the creative minds behind popular RPGs Rune Factory and classic farm sim Harvest Moon. Rising Star Games says the new title is a one-off and not part of a series, but its style will look to reinforce the developer’s position as ‘the home of Japanese games’. The game is being marketed through PR and Rising Star Games’ own digital channels, including a heavy focus on its Hoshi club and other planned community activities. Adds Hau: “We have been steadily communicating the message about its imminent release to our core target market for a while now, and can confidently say that both sales performance and public reception will be very favourable.”

RELEASED: OUT NOW

THIS EXCLUSIVE RPG for the PS3 boasts a co-operative mode, online features and is developed by critically acclaimed Level 5. The developer’s past accomplishments include Rogue Galaxy and Dark Cloud, two wellreceived PS2 RPGs, plus Professor Layton, putting White Knight Chronicles in good stead as the Level 5’s first PS3 outing. VIRAL CHRONICLES

White Knight Chronicles offers players a unique combat system and stunning visuals. Sony has also established a comprehensive viral marketing campaign for the game’s release. “We have provided in-house PR support for a comprehensive news, previews and reviews coverage in specialist and non-specialist media,” says Sony marketing spokesperson Sandy Man.

PUBLISHER: SONY DEVELOPER: LEVEL 5 PRICE: £49.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

“Viral marketing activity was also built with websites and media outlets which speak to the core Manga and Japanese RPG demographic.” The campaign also includes homepage takeovers and viral YouTube videos, during and after release. ALL WHITE

Sony is aiming to use White Knight Chronicles’ unique features to set the RPG apart from other titles on the market. This includes a fully customisable character avatar, custom weapons and items, a “crystal camera” which acts as in-game phone camera and the ability to transform into a giant white knight.

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RETAILBIZ: RED STEEL 2 WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV XL 05/03/10 47

Ubisoft relaunches its Red Steel franchise with MotionPlus compatibility to deliver the original’s promises… by James Batchelor THE ORIGINAL Red Steel was a key launch title for the Wii, serving as many consumers’ first experience of the FPS genre on the format. The game enjoyed plenty of hype while in development and was relatively well received when launched – despite some saying that the game’s unique combat left them wanting. The major selling point for Red Steel was the ability to fight off enemies with either guns or a sword – an ambitious combination that intrigued many gamers when the game was revealed. More than three years after the original Red Steel’s release, Ubisoft is now set to revitalise the franchise and truly realise the potential of this appealing mechanic. “Red Steel is one of Ubisoft’s key brands – it has a heritage on the Nintendo Wii,” says brand manager Matt Benson. “Red Steel 2 is the final title at the end of a challenging fiscal year for the industry so we are giving it the level of support it needs.”

Key to Red Steel 2’s offering is MotionPlus compatibility. The use of the new add-on allows for much more fluid swordplay as the player’s actions are recreated accurately in-game. Gone are the specific swinging motions required to pull of each attack – now gamers can hack and slash to their hearts content. MotionPlus also gives greater precision to the shooting aspects, making the gunplay much more intense this time around. Best of all, players can

Wii MotionPlus allows Red Steel 2 to deliver the definitive first-person action fighting experience. Matt Benson, Ubisoft now switch between the sword and their guns on the fly, allowing them to enjoy a gameplay style that suits them. In fact, given how essential the addon is to the game, Ubisoft is rolling out a Red Steel 2 SKU that comes bundled with MotionPlus. “Wii MotionPlus allows Red Steel 2 to deliver the definitive first-person action fighting experience with swordplay an elements,” says Benson.

“The game also looks great and we have a unique, artistic anime-inspired visual style, tailored for the presentation, gameplay and story elements which will keep the player engrossed throughout the game.” Another key difference is the new location. Red Steel 2 swaps the gritty neon-lit Tokyo streets for the barren deserts of a fictional universe where Eastern and Western cultures have clashed together. This strange new world has been rendered with an impressive anime-style celshaded look, setting it apart from those found in rival shooters. Interestingly, despite its obvious hardcore appeal, Ubisoft will be marketing Red Steel 2 to a much wider audience in order to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the Wii market. “With the exception of Just Dance, we have seen that market conditions have been challenging,” adds Benson. “Our media strategy in particular has not been to position the title solely at hardcore audiences, so we’re confident sales will meet expectations.”

RELEASED: MARCH 26 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: UBISOFT DEVELOPER: UBISOFT PARIS PRICE: £39.99 £49.99 (WITH MOTIONPLUS) DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 01279 822800

Ubisoft will be supporting Red Steel 2 with print advertising in Nintendo specialist press, both in the run-up to the launch and in the weeks afterwards. Similarly, TV advertising will run both before and after release, with a campaign aimed at 16 to 22-year-old males. The publisher has also invested in video-on-demand ad placements on services such as Sky TV Player. Finally, there will be a range of POS materials available to retailers in the weeks leading up to Red Steel 2’s debut. “We’re putting a good solid weight of TV, video-on-demand and print advertising behind Red Steel 2, so we believe it will perform well with the promise of Wii MotionPlus, a strong visual style and focused marketing investment.” Red Steel 2 will be released for the Wii on March 26th.

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RETAILBIZ: DANCING ON ICE 48 MCV XL 05/03/10

WWW.MCVUK.COM

The popular TV show makes its debut on the Nintendo Wii, giving players the chance to dance from their own living rooms… by Dominic Sacco DANCING ON ICE for the Nintendo Wii looks set to capture the essence of the successful TV show by allowing players to enter a virtual dance-off. Publisher Ghostlight says its timing for the release coincides with the key final weeks of the latest TV programme, which should maximise interest in the video game. Sam Collins, head of sales at Ghostlight said: “There is a huge overlap between the demographic profile of the Nintendo Wii and DS consoles and the Dancing on Ice television audience. “We are working closely with ITV and other media partners to ensure that the Dancing on Ice video game achieves its potential as one of the best selling family games of 2010.” Dancing on Ice promises to “capture the excitement, drama and challenge of the show with a highly interactive and intuitive control system”. Players will be able to create their own character from scratch, before selecting a real-life professional skater to be their partner. Gameplay will also involve undertaking strict training regimes and learning the increasingly testing compete against friends and family in a ‘required elements’, with the aim of multiplayer Exhibition mode. immersing the player so they feel like they’ve really become a part of We are working to ensure the show. Dancing on Ice achieves its Gamers will use the potential as one of the bestWiimote to pull off a selling family games of 2010. variety of dance moves to Sam Collins, Ghostlight successfully complete their act, before coming under the scrutiny of the TV’s ice panel “We have already taken the game out of judges. to consumers and will continue to do The game’s virtual audience can also this up to and post launch including telephone vote to determine who will some celebrity appearances in support of be required to partake in a skate-off to the release,” adds Collins. stay in the competition. The aim of the game is to win over the hearts of the nation and be crowned Dancing on Ice champion for 2010. Players will be able to master the art of figure skating and perform more than 20 ice dance routines, as well as

PRIME TIME TV

RELEASED: MARCH 12

Now in its fifth series, Dancing on Ice has established itself as one of the UK’s most successful prime time family TV shows. It regularly reaches an audience of more than nine million viewers in the UK, making the market for a video game a particularly strong one. James Chubb, Licensing Manager for ITV Studios Global Entertainment, comments: “The Dancing on Ice brand is one of the most valuable on British TV today.

FORMATS: WII (DS RELEASE IN APRIL)

PUBLISHER: GHOSTLIGHT DEVELOPER: INFUSION GAMES PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 01376 555 300

“Our audience is extremely passionate and we believe that they will love the opportunity to put themselves on the ice. “We are delighted that such a fun and authentic video game has been developed and this is another superb example of how we’re providing our audience with high quality and engaging brand extensions.” The game is receiving support from ITV including a spot on This Morning. Dancing on Ice for the Nintendo DS will follow the Wii version’s release and is scheduled to go on sale on April 23rd.

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RETAILBIZ: MOTOGP 09/10 WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV XL 05/03/10 49

Capcom seeks to take the long-running motorbike racer mainstream with the newest entry in the series… by James Batchelor THE MOTORCYCLE Racing Grand Prix may not be as prominent as the likes of Formula One, but the sport still boasts a substantial fanbase. Capcom is once again targeting this audience with the newest entry in its long-running MotoGP series. However, the 09/10 edition is aiming for more than just traditional fans. “This year, we’re going to break away from the boundaries of previous games, taking the MotoGP franchise to a wider audience than ever,” says UK product and community manager Karl Reader. “More than just a motorbike game, it will be a racing experience that is more accessible to newcomers without compromising the spirit and competitive nature of the MotoGP community.” To give it a broader appeal, the game boasts three unique handling models that require different levels of skill to master. Once players have found the style that suits them, they can further customise the game with four AI difficulty levels. Long-time fans will still find plenty of tough challenges in the form of Championship and Time Trial modes. There is also an online multiplayer mode that supports up to 20 players

simultaneously, and the Time Trial mode allows them to share ghosts and times with friends or leaderboards. SEASON TICKET

All modes incorporate all of the bikes and teams from the sport’s 2009 season. Rosters from the upcoming 2010 season will be released via a free download. “Expectations for MotoGP 09/10 are exceptionally high and we’re confident that we’ll deliver one of the top racing titles of this year.” MotoGP 09/10 will be showcased as several racing events over the summer, including the Grand Prix at Silverstone, Le Mans and more. This will be supported by an extensive online campaign across gaming and specialist sites.

RELEASED: MARCH 19 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3 PUBLISHER: CAPCOM DEVELOPER: MONUMENTAL GAMES PRICE: £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

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RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 50 MCV XL 05/03/10

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more

Final Fantasy finally hits shelves Square Enix’s hotly anticipated blockbuster RPG arrives of High Street shelves next week, followed shortly by the next instalment in D3P’s best-selling Ben 10 series. Also due soon is Yakuza 3, God of War III, Red Steel 2 and more... TITLE

FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

PS3 / XBOX 360

RPG

Square Enix

020 7324 5200

Open

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

RPG Action/Adventure Strategy/Action Strategy/Action Strategy/Action Strategy Action Survival Horror Fighting Platformer Action

Rising Star Games D3Publisher THQ THQ THQ Kalypso Media Zushi Capcom Rising Star Games Sega Sega

0845 234 4242 0208 222 9700 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 01279 822800 0121 625 3388 0845 234 4242 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388

Mastertronic Namco Bandai Advantage Advantage Advantage Advantage Gem Centresoft Mastertronic Centresoft Centresoft

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

Simulation Adventure Fighting Action Strategy Simulation Mini-games RPG Self-Improvement Adventure Action Casual FPS Racing Quiz Strategy

Just Flight City Interactive Zen United Ubisoft EA Ghostlight Ghostlight EA Zushi Rising Star Games Sony S.A.D THQ Capcom Konami Kalypso Media

0845 234 4242 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 01279 822800 0121 625 3388 01376 555 333 01376 555 333 0121 625 3388 01279 822800 0845 234 4242 0121 625 3388 01582 436043 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0208 987 5706 0121 506 9585

Mastertronic Trilogy Centresoft Gem Centresoft Open Open Centresoft Gem Mastertronic Centresoft PlayV Advantage Centresoft Open Advantage

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

Action Simulation Action/Adventure RPG Action Casual Mini-games RPG Action Casual FPS Mini-games FPS RPG

Namco Bandai Just Flight Activision Blizzard Sega Eidos Mamba Games Ubisoft Nintendo Deep Silver Atari Tecmo Koei Ubisoft Ubisoft Sega

0121 506 9585 0845 234 4242 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 020 7324 5200 01273 202220 01279 822800 0870 027 0985 0870 027 0985 0121 506 9585 01462 476 130 01279 822800 01279 822800 0121 625 3388

Advantage Mastertronic Centresoft Centresoft Square Enix Lace Gem Koch Koch Advantage Open Gem Gem Trilogy

MARCH 9th Final Fantasy XIII

MARCH 12th Avalon Code Ben 10: Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks Dawn Of War II: Chaos Rising Dawn Of War II: Gold Dawn Of War II: GOTY Ed M.U.D TV Monster Pals Resident Evil 5: Gold Pack Samurai Shodown Sen Sonic Classic Collection Yakuza 3

MARCH 19th A4 Pacific Class Art Of Murder BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Combat Of Giants: Mutant Insects Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight Dancing on Ice Digitars: Magnificent Flying Funfair Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening Food Coach: Healthy Living Made Easy Fragile Dreams God of War III Jewel Match Metro 2033 MotoGP 09/10 Scene It? Twilight Sins Of A Solar Empire: ‘Trinity’ Gold Edition

MARCH 26th Clash Of The Titans Class 20 How To Train Your Dragon Infinite Space Just Cause 2 Mata Hari Peppa Pig: Fun And Games Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver Prison Break: The Conspiracy Project Runway Quantum Theory Racket Sports Party Red Steel 2 Resonance Of Fate

MUSTSTOCK .......................FINAL FANTASY XIII Released: March 9 Format: 360, PS3 Publisher: Square Enix Distributor: Open Contact: 020 7324 5200

One of the most anticipated games of the year finally hits the UK. Final Fantasy XIII is the newest instlament in Square Enix’s flagship RPG series, which continues the franchise’s tradition of epic adventures with an all-new tale that will satisfy fans.

MUSTSTOCK .............BEN 10: VILGAX ATTACKS Released: March 12 Format: 360, Wii, DS, PS2, PSP Publisher: D3Publisher Distributor: Namco Bandai Contact: 0208 222 9700

The latest Ben 10 video game is set to build upon the series’ success as one of the hottest boys’ properties in the industry. In this brand new adventure, the young hero takes on the greatest alien threat he has ever faced as the evil Vilgax seeks to conquer the galaxy.

Project1:Layout 1

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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 52 MCV XL 05/03/10

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Sponsored by

POLL IS SONY RIGHT THAT CONSOLE EXCLUSIVES ARE ON THE WAY OUT?

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

89%

Heavy Rain PS3 Sony

No

46%

Yes

35% Not Sure

19%

86%

85%

Napoleon: Total War PC Sega

Machinarium PC Mamba Games

78%

72%

Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce PS3

Aliens vs Predator PC Sega

Sony’s senior VP of publisher relations Rob Dyer recently claimed there would be less console exclusive titles in the years to come, with platform holders instead focusing on marketing dedicated to individual versions. A little under half of the participants in the latest MCV online survey disagree, believing exclusive blockbusters such as Mass Effect, Gears Of War, and Metal Gear Solid will continue to serve as unique selling points for each formats.

A further 35 per cent believe Dyer is correct and that fewer titles can afford to depend on a single console’s userbase to recoup development costs. The other 19 per cent deem it possible that exclusives could be phased out in the near future, but are unconvinced that it will definitely happen.  Take part in MCV’s next poll at www.mcvuk.com

MARGIN MAKER

*Metacritic scores correct at the time of going to press

INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS 1

2

THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

3

4

5

TITLE/FORMAT

PUBLISHER

1

ALIENS VS PREDATOR

2

NEW

ALIENS VS PREDATOR PS3

3

2

BIOSHOCK 2 PS3

2K GAMES

4

6

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS WII

NINTENDO

5

1

BIOSHOCK 2 360

2K GAMES

6

8

JUST DANCE WII

UBISOFT

7

3

MASS EFFECT 2 360

EA

8

RE

FIFA 10 360

EA

9

5

10

RE

FORMAT: 360

DEVELOPER: REBELLION PUBLISHER: SEGA

COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 FIFA 10 PS3

SEGA

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA

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.

The Speedlink Charging Stand for DSi offers a practical charging solution that allows consumers to refuel their handheld via any USB port, thanks to the handy cable that comes bundled with the device. The DSi slots into the station securely with an eject button enabling gamers to release it once charged – minimising the

chances of accidentally disrupting it. A blue glow signifies when the battery if fully charged. Meroncourt: 01462 680 060

DEAL OF THE WEEK Microsoft fans can save roughly £170 at Play.com when they buy an Xbox 360 Elite with Halo 3: ODST, Forza Motorsport 3, Gears Of War 2 and Fable II for £189.99.

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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV XL 05/03/10 53 Sponsored by

PRICE CHECK [PRE ORDERS] Aliens vs Predator 360, Sega

Ace Attorney: Edgeworth DS, Capcom

Guitar Hero: Van Halen (Solus) PS3, Activision

Half-Minute Hero PSP, Rising Star

Karaoke Revolution (Solus) Wii, Konami

TOP 10 HEAVY RAIN PS3 SONY

IN STORE: BOLTON £39.99

£24.99

£39.99

N/A

£34.99

£39.99

£24.99

N/A

£19.99

N/A

2. GOD OF WAR III

£39.99

£24.99

£42.99

£19.99

£29.99

3. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

£39.99

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

4. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

PS3 ......................................................................SONY PS3 ..........................................................................EA 360 ..........................................................................EA

5. FINAL FANTASY XIII

360 ............................................................SQUARE ENIX

6. ALAN WAKE: LIMITED EDITION

ONLINE

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

£34.99

£24.99

£39.99

£14.99

£24.99

£32.93

£21.49

£30.25

£12.99

£29.93

£32.85

£18.85

£32.85

£16.85

£21.86

£37.95

£24.95

£39.95

£14.95

£24.95

7. YAKUZA 3: PREMIUM EDITION

PS3 ......................................................................SEGA

8. GTA: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITY

PS3 ................................................................ROCKSTAR

9. SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION

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

10. SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV

PS3 ..................................................................CAPCOM Week ending February 26th Source: SHOPTO.COM

FROM THE FRONTLINE Nindie.com speaks to Global Games and Gadgets’ Mark Wakefield...

[PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10

What are your hopes for 2010? My biggest hope for this year is to be able to grow this company so that I can run it full time, establish an earning market share and get a platform to build on for future growth. Do you think there are too many big games coming out in Q1? Yes. To keep stock levels right and move on to new games is very expensive, and if you’re stuck with older titles, it is very difficult to get money back on them. How much of a threat do supermarkets pose to your site? Supermarkets are a huge threat due to their buying power and lower prices, with them regularly running at a loss on big games. Ideally, I would be getting a portion of this market share. How much of a threat do online retailers pose to your site? Online retailers are obviously a threat due to their existing customer base and

HEAVY RAIN PS3 SONY

2. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

PC ............................................................................EA

3. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

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

“Small retailers just can’t keep up with the big chains if they haven’t spent a certain amount.”

knowledge of where to advertise for the best return.

4. NAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR

PC ........................................................................SEGA

5. FINAL FANTASY XIII What practices would you change about games retail? I would change the trade prices for small business and the fact that supermarkets are allowed to operate their price war on games. I’d also limit the amount of new big releases and organise stock allocation based on sales. Small businesses just can’t compete with the big established chains to offer the exciting new releases if they haven’t spent a certain amount.

PS3 ............................................................SQUARE ENIX

6. NAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR - IMPERIAL ED

PC ........................................................................SEGA

7. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

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

8. GOD OF WAR III

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

9. FINAL FANTASY XIII

360 ............................................................SQUARE ENIX

10. FINAL FANTASY XIII - COLLECTORS ED

PS3 ............................................................SQUARE ENIX Week ending February 26th Source: AMAZON.CO.UK

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RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 54 MCV XL 5/03/10

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM

OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[1] [FULL PRICE]

TITLE

TOP 40ALL

PUBLISHER

1

ZELDA: SPIRIT TRACKS

2

1

MARIO & SONIC AT WINTER OLYMPICS

3 4

2 4

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS STYLE BOUTIQUE

NINTENDO

5 6 7

5 6 8

MARIO KART DS PROFESSOR LAYTON: PANDORA’S BOX DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING

NINTENDO

8 9

NEW

10

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO SEGA

NINTENDO

[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]

[2]

1

HEAVY RAIN FORMAT: PS3

DEVELOPER: QUANTIC DREAM PUBLISHER: SONY

NINTENDO

THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

NINTENDO

2

1

ALIENS VS PREDATOR 360, PS3, PC

3

2

JUST DANCE Wii

12

SONIC & SEGA ALL-STARS RACING SEGA PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE NINTENDO

4

9

WII FIT PLUS Wii

9

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

5

6

COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360, PS3, PC, DS

6

7

WII SPORTS RESORT Wii

NINTENDO

7

4

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS WII Wii

NINTENDO

8

NEW

SONIC & SEGA ALL-STARS RACING PS3, 360 Wii, DS SEGA

9

3

BIOSHOCK 2 360, PS3, PC

1

10

5

FIFA 10 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC, PSP

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS WII

11

8

MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC WINTER Wii, DS

SEGA

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

12

NEW

NAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR PC

SEGA

2 3 4

MARIO & SONIC: WINTER OLYMPICS MARIO KART WII SONIC & SEGA ALL-STARS RACING

13

12

FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 360

MICROSOFT

NINTENDO

14

14

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

SEGA

15

11

VANCOUVER 2010 360, PS3, PC

UBISOFT

16

13

JAMES CAMERON’S AVATAR 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PC UBISOFT

CODEMASTERS

17

17

MARIO KART WII Wii

NINTENDO

18

21

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360, PS3, PC

ROCKSTAR

19

15

MASS EFFECT 2 360, PC

20

18

PEPPA PIG: THE GAME Wii, DS

WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

5 6 7 8 9 10

3 4 NEW

6 8 5 7 RE

9

WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

RABBIDS GO HOME F1 2009 FIFA 10 JAMES CAMERON’S AVATAR THE BEATLES: ROCK BAND COD 4: MODERN WARFARE

TITLE

1 2 3 4 5

3 4

WII FIT PLUS WII SPORTS RESORT WII PLAY PEPPA PIG: THE GAME

6 7 8

9 8 7

EA SPORTS ACTIVE MONOPOLY UP

9 10

11 6

CARS: RACE-O-RAMA FERRARI CHALLENGE

RE

PUBLISHER

[3]

SEGA

EA UBISOFT

[4]

EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

PC CD-ROM

[BUDGET PRICE]

JUST DANCE

2

DISNEY

TITLE

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

PUBLISHER

[5]

DEVELOPER: UBISOFT (FRANCE) PUBLISHER: UBISOFT

1

PUBLISHER SEGA UBISOFT NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

2K GAMES EA

WARNER BROS SEGA

EA P2 GAMES/UBISOFT

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

PUBLISHER

NAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR DEVELOPER: CREATIVE ASSEMBLY PUBLISHER: SEGA

NINTENDO

2

3

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010

SEGA

NINTENDO

3

1

ALIEN VS PREDATOR

SEGA

NINTENDO

4

2

THE SIMS 3

EA

P2 GAMES

5

4

THE SIMS 3: WORLD ADVENTURES

EA

EA

6

6

COD: MODERN WARFARE 2

EA

7

5

BIOSHOCK 2

THQ

8

7

WOW: WRATH OF LICH KING

THQ

9

14

LEFT 4 DEAD 2

EA

SYSTEM 3

10

8

MASS EFFECT 2

EA

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD 2K GAMES ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

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RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS MCV XL 5/03/10 55

SONY’S HAS SECURED its first No.1 since last year’s Killzone 2 with Heavy Rain. The game is the sixth No.1 from a different publisher this year, and has knocked Aliens vs

Predator from the top – with Sega’s FPS dropping 38 per cent in sales. The highest riser of the week is Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus, which leaps from No.9 to No.4 with a nine per cent sales increase.

PS3

L FORMATS

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

Highest New Entry

21

25

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 PC

2K GAMES

8 9

NEW

SEGA

9

SONIC & SEGA ALL-STARS RACING MAG

SONY

10

5

VANCOUVER 2010

SEGA

25

20

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS DS

26

RE

MX VS ATV REFLEX 360, PS3, PSP, DS

27

34

PES 2010 360, PS3, PC

KONAMI

28

26

PURE 360, PS3, PC

DISNEY

29

28

WII PLAY Wii

30

10

ARMY OF TWO: THE 40TH DAY 360, PS3, PSP

31

24

ASSASSIN’S CREED II 360, PS3

32

33

UP 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PS2, PC

33

22

DANTE’S INFERNO PSP, 360, PS3

34

16

BAYONETTA 360, PS3

SEGA

35

NEW

WHITE KNIGHT CHRONICLES PS3

SONY

36

36

MAG PS3

SONY

37

32

COD: MODERN WARFARE 360, PS3, PC, Wii, DS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

38

31

STYLE BOUTIQUE DS

39

RE

TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 360, PS3, Wii

40

27

BORDERLANDS 360, PS3, PC

SQUARE ENIX

EA

NINTENDO THQ

NINTENDO EA

PSP THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

PUBLISHER

1

LITTLEBIGPLANET

2 3 4 5

1 3 5 4

FIFA 10 GRAN TURISMO JAMES CAMERON’S AVATAR: THE GAME ASSASSIN’S CREED: BLOODLINES

6 7

7 6

GTA: CHINATOWN WARS FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010

8 9

8

EA

NEW

SOCOM: US NAVY SEALS FIRETEAM BRAVO 3 DANTE’S INFERNO

2K GAMES

10

9

UBISOFT THQ EA

NINTENDO

DEVELOPER: MEDIA MOLECULE/STUDIO CAMBRIDGE PUBLISHER: SONY

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010

XBOX 360

[BUDGET PRICE] PUBLISHER

SIMS 3: DESIGN & HIGH-TECH STUFF DEVELOPER: THE SIMS STUDIO PUBLISHER: EA MYSTERY CASE FILES: DIRE GROVE

FOCUS

ASSASSIN’S CREED

FOCUS

NEW

THE MIRROR MYSTERIES

GSP/AVANQUEST

NEW

ESCAPE THE MUSEUM 2

GSP/AVANQUEST

8 12 15

SNIPER: ART OF VICTORY

NEW

VAMPIRE SAGA: PANDORA’S BOX

FOCUS

MYSTERY IN LONDON: JACK THE RIPPER

FOCUS

9

SONY

SONY

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM 360, PS3, PC

6 7 8 9 10

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

NINTENDO

19

FIFA 10

SEGA

SONY

24

2

ALIEN VS PREDATOR COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES BIOSHOCK 2 WHITE KNIGHT CHRONICLES

UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3

NEW

2 3 4 5

DEVELOPER: QUANTIC DREAM PUBLISHER: SONY

4

30

2 3 4 5

1 NEW

23

1

PUBLISHER

7

ZELDA: SPIRIT TRACKS DS

TITLE

TITLE

6

23

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[FULL PRICE]

HEAVY RAIN

1 3 7 2

WEEK ENDING 27/02/10

SEGA

22

PC CD-ROM

Heavy Rain is one of two new Sony games in the charts, with White Knight Chronicles securing 35th place. Sega also has two new titles in the Top 40 – Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing manages eighth, while Napoleon: Total War debuts at No.12. Sega now holds all the Top Three places in the PC Top 10, with Napoleon, Football Manager and AvP in first, second and third place respectively. Christopher.Dring@intentmedia.co.uk

CITY INTERACTIVE

HIDDEN MYSTERIES: TITANIC

GSP/AVANQUEST

MYSTERY OF THE CRYSTAL PORTAL

GSP/AVANQUEST

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TITLE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 BIOSHOCK 2 SONIC & SEGA ALL-STARS RACING FIFA 10 MASS EFFECT 2 VANCOUVER 2010 GTA: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITY LIPS: PARTY CLASSICS

NEW

5 6 8 9 NEW

SONY UBISOFT UBISOFT ROCKSTAR SEGA SONY EA KONAMI

[FULL PRICE]

ALIENS VS PREDATOR

4 3 2

EA

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: REBELLION PUBLISHER: SEGA MICROSOFT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD 2K GAMES SEGA EA 2K GAMES SEGA ROCKSTAR MICROSOFT

[SOURCE]

[ANALYSIS]

(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack

WWW.MCVUK.COM

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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 56 MCV XL 05/03/10

WWW.MCVUK.COM

International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA

DENMARK

INDIA

RUSSIA

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

Hitzona.............................................................Moscow Noviy Disk .......................................................Moscow

AUSTRIA

Soft Club..........................................................Moscow

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

BELGIUM

Vellod...................................................................Mitishi

GATEWAY DISTRIBUTION APS

SERBIA

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

COMPUTERLAND DOO Kumodraska 45

ESTONIA CLD DISTRIBUTION S.A. ZI Noville les Bois, Rue de la Tour, 2b 5380 FERNELMONT, Belgium Phone: 0032 81 83 02 07 Fax: 0032 81 83 02 09 E-mail: infos@cld.be Web: www.cld.be

11000 Belgrade, Serbia

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

Tel:+381(0)11 309 95 95 Fax:+381(0)11 309 95 96

FINLAND

mail:games@computerland.rs

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

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

Wholesaler Gaming products

website:www.computerland.rs

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

Official Benelux distributor for

BENELUX

INNELEC MULTIMEDIA

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

45 rue Delizy,

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

93692 PANTIN Cedex, France

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

Email purchase: f_alglave@innelec.com

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

Email export sales: g_armspach@innelec.com

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

Tel: 00.33.1.48.10.55.55

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

SOUTH AFRICA

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

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

SINGAPORE

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

SPAIN Ardistel. S.L..................................................Zaragoza Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID

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

NETHERLANDS EBS-Benelux...........................................Bunschoten

GAMEWORLD

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

Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel

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

Tel: +31 10 298 3838

SUPREME FACTORY

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

Web: rishi@gameworld.nl

439 avenue de la Gare

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

84470 Chateauneuf de Gadagne Email : xavier@supremefactory.com Phone : 0033 432 751 165 Fax : 0033 432 751 160

EBS Benelux Lorentzweg 1 3752 LH Bunschoten-Spakenburg

GERMANY

NEW ZEALAND Gamewizz..........................................................Albany

NORWAY Pan Vision Norway.....................................Trollasen MPX.no .......................................................Sandefjord

The Netherlands

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

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

Phone: +31 (0)33 201 21 00

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

Massemedia AS...........................................Notteroy

Fax: +31 (0)33 201 21 01

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

Pan Vision Norway..............................................Oslo

E-mail: info@ebs-benelux.com

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

Website: www.ebs-benelux.com

GREECE

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034, Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es www.planetadeagostini.net DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona

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

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

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

CYPRUS

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

TECHLAND Sp. z o.o.

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

HUNGARY GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD 1 Alkaiou Street / Office 1 / Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus tel. +357 22 666612 www.greatgames.com.cy

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

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

ul. Jana Szczyrki 12, 54-426 Wroclaw, Poland E-mail: business@techland.pl Web: www.techland.pl Phone: +48 71 354 46 10 Fax: +48 71 354 46 10

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

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 Panvision....................................................Stockholm SIBA AB ...................................................Gothenburg

TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

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EDITORIAL PLANNER WWW.MCVUK.COM

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...

SWITZERLAND

MCV XL 05/03/10 57

UPCOMING FEATURES A glimpse at some of the special features coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the video games market... FRIDAY MARCH 12th

GENRE FOCUS: RTS

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

TURKEY

FRIDAY MARCH 26th

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND TERRITORY REPORT Australia has regularly made the headlines in recent months, with many of the biggest adult games having to be edited before they can be released Down Under due to the region’s lack of an 18 certificate. MCV investigates the state of the Australian and New Zealand games markets, speaking to suppliers, key industry personnel and analysts.

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

UNITED STATES

DUPLICATION AND COPY PROTECTION

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

After last year’s strong line-up of real-time strategy titles, including Empire: Total War, Halo Wars and Dawn Of War II, we look at what 2010 holds for the genre. We offer a glimpse of the hottest upcoming RTS games, including Command & Conquer 4, R.U.S.E, Napoleon: Total War, Starcraft 2 and Dawn Of War II: Chaos Rising and we speak to the publishers behind these titles. We also discuss the future of the genre and the challenges that face new strategy releases.

info@usgamesdist.com www.usgamesdist.com

UAE ALESAYI UNITED COMPANY

RUSSIA TERRITORY REPORT Despite being one of the largest countries on the planet, Russia’s games industry is still in an on-going state of development. In the latest of our Territory Reports, we speak to the major players in this region about how the games industry is driven and maintained, while also looking at the key problems these companies face, such as rampant piracy and distribution.

Video Games Distributor in the Middle East

FRIDAY APRIL 9th

P.O BOX 16999 Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai U.A.E. Tel: 00971 4 883 5960

MCV takes a look at the process between the end of a game’s development and its release. We speak to the key players in the duplication and copy protection sector in order to shed some light on this cruical but often overlooked segment of the industry.

FRIDAY MARCH 19th

CHINA TERRITORY REPORT

GDC REVIEW

Fax: 00971 4 883 5175 E-Mail: marketing@alesayi.ae U.A.E. Website: www.alesayi.ae Group Website: www.alesayi.com

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

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

We offer an in-depth run-down of the various revelations that will inevitably emerge from the first major gaming event of the year. With motion controllers and more on the way from all three platform-holders and numerous unannounced projects in the works, all eyes with be on this year’s Game Developers Conference.

One of the biggest markets in the Far East, China is also one that bears the most differences when compared to Western territories. We explore the challenges games publishers and format holders alike face in the region with an in-depth look at China’s growing games market. We also take a look at the major trends sweeping the region such as the rise of online gaming.

FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT: CHRIS.DRING@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR

DIRECTORY

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION

KEY CONTACTS

DESIGN STUDIOS Fink. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01480 302352 DISC REPAIR Elm-Digitalia UK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0845 643 6021 DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION Green Man Gaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 020 7193 6910 DISTRIBUTION BDA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0777 192 7688 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

“ Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless. ” - Jamie Paolinetti

GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR Total Console Repair Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21 LOCALISATION Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 Testronic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 653 722 Universally Speaking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01480 210621 RETAIL SERVICES Complete Epos Solutions Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . 01543 370002 STORE FITTINGS AMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0113 2311030 UK Shopfitters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0844 257 8800

DISC REPAIR

ELM-DIGITALIA UK. . . . . . . . . 0845 6436021 . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.elmdigitalia.co.uk

GREEN MAN GAMING. . . . . . . 020 7193 6910 . . . . . . . . info@greenmangaming.com

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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISTRIBUTION

DISTRIBUTION

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

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

GLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01708 725742. . . . . . . . . wholesale@glsgames.com

DISTRIBUTION

DISTRIBUTION

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

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

DISTRIBUTION

DESIGN STUDIOS

Design/Branding/ Advertising/ Packaging/Web

finkcreative

01480 302 352 olly@finkcreative.com www.finkcreative.com MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk

FINK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01480 302352 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.finkcreative.com

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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISTRIBUTION

DISTRIBUTION

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

CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION. . . . 0208 6643456 . . . . www.creativedistribution.co.uk GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR

BDA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0777 192 76888

TOTAL CONSOLE REPAIR . . . . . . . 08719 181721 . . . . . www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk

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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK RETAIL SERVICES

DISTRIBUTION

COMPLETE EPOS SOLUTIONS LTD . . . . 01543 370 002. . . . . . . . www.ggepos.com STORE FITTINGS

AMA DISPLAYS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0113 2311030 . . . . . . . . . . . www.ama-displays.co.uk UK SHOPFITTERS

UK SHOPFITTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . 0844 257 8800 . . . . . . . . . www.ukshopfitters.com

LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . www.uksales@logic3.com

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LOCALISATION

DIARY DATES From the MCV Awards to our Games Developer Conference, here are all the essential industry dates to put in your diary…

MARCH GDC 2010 Tuesday, March 9th – Saturday, March 13th Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco, US www.gdconf.com MCV AND XBOX 360 PUB QUIZ Wednesday, March 31st Sway Bar, London Orlaith.Kennedy@intentmedia.co.uk

APRIL MCV INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2010 Thursday, April 22nd The Brewery, London Kathryn.Humphrey@intentmedia.co.uk

MAY MCM LONDON EXPO Saturday, May 29th – Sunday, May 30th ExCeL, London www.mcmexpo.net

MCV INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2010 Thursday, April 22nd The Brewery, London Kathryn.Humphrey@ intentmedia.co.uk

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

The biggest night in the UK games industry’s calendar returns to The Brewery in 2010, and will once again feature awards split across three main categories; Retail, PR and Marketing, and People and Industry. A whopping 650 representatives from all corners of the UK games trade will be attending this essential games industry event that gives credit to the industry’s most deserving execs.

JUNE E3 2010 Tuesday, June 15th – Thursday, June 17th Los Angeles Convention Centre www.e3expo.com

JULY DEVELOP CONFERENCE 2010 July 13th - July 15th Brighton, UK www.develop-conference.com DEVELOP INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2010 July 14th Brighton, UK www.develop-online.net CASUAL CONNECT SEATTLE Tuesday, July 20th – Thursday, July 22nd Benaroya Hall, Seattle, US seattle.casualconnect.org

AUGUST GAMESCOM Wednesday, August 18th Sunday, August 22nd Cologne, Germany www.gamescom-cologne.com

MCV/XBOX 360 PUB QUIZ Wednesday, March 31st Sway Bar, London Orlaith.Kennedy@ intentmedia.co.uk

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

The MCV/Xbox 360 Pub Quiz gives retailers, suppliers and the media the chance to show off their general knowledge skills in an appropriate arena for our industry – the local pub. There will be thousands of pounds’ worth of prizes up for grabs to the best performers on the night, as well as loads of topnotch booze and food. The quiz is free to enter for retailers and the media, and serves as a great networking opportunity.

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

Project1:Layout 1

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ho is a Mon ste ne e d b w k tisin y M ind g M o ob of ile con bile En fe ter ren tai ce nm en t

Wednesday, May 26th â&#x20AC;˘ BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London

How to make mobile apps pay their way

Conference & Dinner from ÂŁ199

An ME Event

For sponsorship information contact: Katy Grant on 01992 535647 or email katy.grant@intentmedia.co.uk For delegate booking information contact: Jodie Holdway on 01992 535647 or email jodie.holdway@intentmedia.co.uk

Gold Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsor

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V’s des... C M sit deca i v , re three g a T-B e last s ’ k h rea s of t B son king i r P to media k l e ta t the w ek, look a e d sw Thi ut an deb

A DIFFERENT TYPE OF T-BAGGING At a recent preview of Koch Media’s Prison Break: The Conspiracy, we had a chat with Robert Knepper, who starred as the show’s Theodore ‘T-Bag’ Bagwell, about his own gaming habits... You’ve leant your likeness and voice to the game. How easy was your part in the process? It was a no brainer, because I played the guy for four years. The cool thing about having the microphone and the headset on is you can really hear the

EDITORIAL: 01992 535646 Managing Editor: Lisa Foster Lisa.Foster@intentmedia.co.uk Editor-In-Chief: Michael French Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk Deputy Editor: Christopher Dring Chris.Dring@intentmedia.co.uk Staff Writer: James Batchelor James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk Staff Writer: Dominic Sacco Dominic.Sacco@intentmedia.co.uk

voice, so you can modulate it as and when you need. It really helped me perfect T-Bag’s voice.

I’m sure at some point you’ll be playing something and think ‘wait a minute, that voice sounds awful familiar’.

Would you be interested in voicing more video games? I don’t know the world of games too well yet, but yeah, I’m interested. I want my kid to see me in lots of different things. And it’s always fun to play a character that’s different from yourself or previous things you’ve done – especially through voice work.

Do you play many games yourself? Whenever I finish a show, I always buy my family a present, and after Prison Break I bought my son a Wii. I sat down with him at about eight in the morning and by the evening, we were still in our pyjamas playing LEGO Star Wars. I could get totally hooked on games – that’s why I try to stay away from them.



ADVERTISING: 01992 535647

Online Editor: Ben Parfitt Ben.Parfitt@intentmedia.co.uk Contributors: Ed Fear, Andrew Wooden, Will Freeman, Rob Crossley, Colin Campbell Advertising Manager: Lesley Blumson Lesley.Blumson@intentmedia.co.uk Advertising Executive: Rob Baker Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk Art Director: Stuart Moody Stuart.Moody@intentmedia.co.uk

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



Why not sneak in a little practice when your son’s not there? I’ve thought about it, because I want to be better than him. That’s the competitive little kid in me coming out. My son knows New Super Mario Bros far too well – he really puts me to shame. So there’s a little part of me that thinks ‘I could get up, work on New Super Mario Bros all night long, and then we’ll see what happens’. But, I don’t – I like him being able to beat me at something.

FAX: 01992 535648

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

Finance Director: Hilary Cole Finance Manager: Michael Canham Michael.Canham@intentmedia.co.uk Printed By: Pensord, Tram Road,Pontllanfraith Blackwood, NP12 2YA

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

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 2009, MCV had an average weekly net circulation of 8,045. 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.

ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2008

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

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SIX DEGREES

WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV XL 05/03/10 65

OF ACTIVISION It’s almost rude not to know someone who once worked there. This week, we start with... Trip Hawkins wasn’t content with founding Electronic Arts, so he went on to create failed hardware manufacturer turned failed software publisher 3DO. In Europe, 3DO was headed up by silverhaired industry legend…

1

Paul Patterson who first made his bones, or at least some sales, at Ocean where he worked with…

HE DEAD orld 360, BOOK OF T box W r of Future’s X

ito e Tim Weaver, ed his first novel, Chasing Th ed ch s un la on has just issing pers r following m chuck Dead – a thrille be Raker will ay M . er ak R id av D investigator tentially lark for the po e Deadlines? the detective el, Chasing Th qu se ic ph ra autobiog

2

3

Simon Byron, who is lucky enough to be brother to the younger and more talented…

5

Keely Brenner, who used to work for… ACTIVISION

Dean Barrett, who went on to found the specialist PR agency Bastion and employed…

4

Carly Byron, who has just left Sony to join Disney Interactive, where she will be working with…

E IV H C R A E H T M O R F 8 September 4th, 199

Britsoft’, Eidos aquires NEWS riking a mighty blow for ‘St ... V MC r eve t firs Oooh, exciting, it’s the title will make tendo says new Zelda Crystal Dynamics... Nin splitting with Virgin, chinny reckon... After Christmas, trade says EA)... Capcom is Activision (and spurns LucasArts signs with European supremo ropean office... Sony’s planning to open a Eu yStations in the expects to sell more Pla Chris Deering says he 1997. 8 than in the whole of last six months of 199 FEATURES ool, starring software scene in Liverp An examination of the prosperity of ars ster Interactive. Ye Psygnosis, Rage and Je ture postma pre y doubtedly... A slightl ahead for that trio, un for sale up ll sti t, en ctive Entertainm era Int gin Vir of m rte mo division now pire, even though the within the Viacom em my White’s Jim for few screenshots seems to consist of a out that redulous piece pointing Snooker... A slightly inc e seriously... A starting to take Europ Nintendo seems to be ng South os’ scary but fascinati major interview with Eid rnwall. African boss Charles Co CHARTS Acclaim Warzone ......................... All Formats: WWF: endo zooie ........................Nint Nintendo 64: Banjo-Ka sters ma de Rae Rally ..........Co PlayStation: Colin Mc ons own a chain of hair sal AND FINALLY Sony UK boss used to the t in your tha ve ls ha ea u rev yo ire ue gu iss A profile of Ray Ma t scour the current bu g, hin ryt eve d an still brilliant that. called Gossips. MCV’s ything as interesting as hand, you won’t find an

6

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

Tim Ellis, HMV

Graham Chambers, Amazon

Peter Willis, DSGi

Igor Cipolletta, ShopTo

Anthony Stocker, Argos

Stephen Staley, Gameseek

Keith Sharpe, play.com

Joanna Hunt, Tesco

Sarah Jasper, The Hut

Gurdeep Hunjan, Sainsbury’s

Jon Biggs, Morrisons

Phil Moore, Grainger Games

Azeem Sadiq, Comet

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E F I L F O S E M A G

>>>>>>>

AMER G O R U E NKLEY, I M Y N JOHN

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K E E W E H T F O

up e m a c r n erro a d n what a s ' A t F a I h F T ' ht: ty on g i u C o s h t a I y ies’. o pla h t p d o ke'.” i r e l i t r s e T k t “ o a o c l ot lo ays n w l n a a c ‘ m o g o Comedian Jason Manford makes light of this hy r sayin p o r t e h t week’s 24 hour PlayStation 3 glitch crisis

EIGHTIES, NINETIES,

NOUGHTIES

The brands, people and technology that have dominated decades. This week, media firms...

NEWSFIELD

FUTURE

EUROGAMER

Crash, Zzap, Gary Penn, Julian Rignall, Steve Jarratt, Ciaran Brennan, Graeme Kidd, Richard Eddy, Roger Bennett, the Freys, Nick Roberts, Mark Kendrick, Gary Liddon. Newsfield was the cradle of the UK games magazine publishing industry. Other companies went on to do it bigger and better, but Newsfield did it first and pretty bloody well. By 1991, it had gone bust, but it just wasn’t made for those times. With Crash and Zzap especially, it encapsulated and reflected the ‘enthusiast’ spirit of the age, whilst simultaneously being far better than that summation suggests. Plus, it was lucky enough to be staffed by writers who even 25 years later, are remembered as truly big beasts. And all straight outta Ludlow.

In 1985, on his lunch break from his job as lead geek at Central Casting, Chris Anderson found a 10 pence piece in the street. He buried it the back garden of his home in Bath (he could ‘do computers’, but he had no idea when it came to savings). A week later, there grew the greatest games magazine publisher the world has ever seen. Then a giant ate it or something. Which is to say that there’s quite a lot of myth and bullshit surrounding the rise and fall (well, slip) of Future. However, Anderson really did build a company that dominated the ‘90s newsstands and, in Edge and OPM, published the most respected and best-selling magazines the UK games market’s ever seen. Then it kind of fucked up online and is still recovering.

The Internet! Brighton! Everyone working at home in their pants! God, Eurogamer was modern. Well it was. Still is, s’pose, but loads of other brands have caught up now, even if they still don’t do it quite as well. Set up by Rupert Loman and his brother Nick (still never seen him, someone check the attic) in 1999, the ascent of Eurogamer was aided by the fact that Future’s online strategy was just so... well, shit. Eurogamer arrived like a car overtaking a horse, then reversing back into the horse, killing it and driving off laughing. With the top down. It helps, of course, that in Tom Bramwell, Ellie Gibson and Pat Garratt (now head of the partowned spin-off site, Videogaming 24/7) it has some of the best writers around. Rupert Loman is 17.

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@Uf[YfgWfYYbg  acfYhcYb^cm D`UmacfY For pure gamers, the larger screens show every single detail, making it easier to find hidden treasures and bonuses. So playing Mario and Luigi™: Bowser’s Inside Story gives gamers a truly enhanced experience. Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story Following the emergence of the terrible Blorbs – Mario & Luigi find themselves inside Bowser’s body! Now they have to work together with their nemesis to save Mushroom Kingdom!

G\UfYacfY Families will be able to share the action and play games together. And thanks to the wider viewing angle and the bigger screens, trying to solve puzzle games like the Professor Layton series together has never been easier! Professor Layton and the Curious Village™ A wealthy baron, a will and some hidden treasure. Solve over 150 puzzles and find the bounty! Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box™ Who or what caused the death of Dr Schrader? With more than 150 new brainteasers to solve, there are many twists in this particular tale.

GYYacfY Those that love reading will enjoy how the larger, pen-like stylus is so comfy and natural to hold – and thanks to the bigger screens, text is easy to see, so reading one of our 100 Classic Book Collection is an absolute pleasure. 100 Classic Books Collection Turn the Nintendo DSi XL into a library with 100 of the best-loved novels from history’s greatest writers including Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.

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*Dr Kawashima’s A Little Bit of Brain Training : Arts Edition worth 800 Nintendo Points and Dictionary 6 in 1 with Camera Function worth 500 Nintendo Points. © 2010 Nintendo. TM, ® and the Nintendo DSi logo and the Nintendo DSi XL logo are trademarks of Nintendo.


MCV577 05,03,2010