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Just Cause 2 © 2010 Square Enix Ltd. Published by Square Enix Ltd. Developed by Avalanche Studios. SQUARE ENIX and the SQUARE ENIX logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. JUST CAUSE, the JUST CAUSE 2 logo, EIDOS and the EIDOS logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Square Enix Ltd. AVALANCHE STUDIOS is a trademark of Fatalist Entertainment AB. Windows, the Windows Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and “Games for Windows” and the Windows Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. “PlayStation” and the “PS” Family logo are registered trademarks and “PS3” is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. The PlayStation Network Logo is a service mark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.

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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES International Media Partner

Issue 578 Friday March 12 2010 £3.25

04 A digital Lara

15 On’s message

Retail discuss the news that the latest Lara Croft game is a digital-only release

OnLive COO Mike McGarvey outlines the launch of the upcoming digital service

05 BBC game plan safe

22 From Russia with love

Cuts to BBC spending will not affect the company’s plans in the games space

A closer look at the state of the games market in Russia after a tough 2009

06 Codemasters’ new IP

25 Retail Biz

New FPS Bodycount and a cricket title joins F1 2010 in Codemasters’ line-up

Our detailed product guides focus on the latest Pokémon games and more

EVERY BUYER  EVERY BRANCH  EVERY INDIE  EVERY WEEK

INCORPORATING

GamesMaster back on TV this autumn? Future in discussions to relaunch industry’s favourite TV show by Dave Roberts GAMESMASTER could be back on TV in time for Q4, with a new series on a terrestrial channel. The brand is in the process of being re-invigorated, having been acquired by Future late last year. Previously the firm simply published a magazine under licence from Double Act Films (the company owned by GamesMaster’s original producer, Jane Hewland) and was prevented from doing anything online or on-screen. In the last few months, however, with the shackles off, Future has been talking to production companies, TV networks, publishers and even potential presenters. It is understood that one terrestrial channel has shown considerable interest and is already looking at an early evening slot. The original GamesMaster was last on Channel 4 in

O2 ‘Prioritises’ video games Customers can download PC games early by Christopher Dring

Future wants to bring GamesMaster back to TV screens, the original show ran until 1998 and was hosted by Dominik Diamond (above)

production values, and benefiting from cross-promotion across the Future network. In a neat dovetailing of skills and opportunity, GamesMaster looks like returning as Future unveils its own video reviewing capabilities as part of First Play (its interactive PSN-distributed

GamesMaster was inclusive and fun. No games show on TV before or since has come close to what it achieved. James Binns, Future

February, 1998. There have been some half-hearted re-runs on Challenge TV, but with little publicity, relevance or, inevitably, viewers. New GamesMaster would retain some of the elements of the original format, but will be a different proposition, focusing on big new releases, upping the

show) and the plan is for that element of GamesMaster to be created in-house. From a marketing point of view the industry is bound to be salivating. Don’t be surprised to see the series sponsored by one of the biggest retailers, while publishers will be clamouring to have their products featured and

as a targeted advertising slot it’s a bullseye. Future Publishing’s James Binns told MCV: “GamesMaster was fun and inclusive. No games show before or since has come close to what it achieved. It’d be great to bring it back.” The presenter slot is the subject of fevered discussion within Future (and elsewhere). MCV understands that a few approaches have been made, but a replacement for Dominik Diamond is yet to be appointed. If anyone’s wondering, yes, Diamond himself has been ruled out. Although he remains a more likely option than Dexter Fletcher. GamesMaster magazine will relaunch in May. Future won’t create a website for the brand as it doesn’t wish to complicate a strategy that includes CVG, GamesRadar and Edge Online, but it will look at podcasts and utilising social networking sites.

21 MILLION O2 customers will be able to get PC games ahead of their release, MCV can reveal. The scheme is part of O2’s multi-million pound Priority campaign, which previously allowed music fans the chance to buy gig tickets before they officially went on sale. The communications giant has partnered with digital retailer Green Man Gaming to offer its consumers the chance to buy certain new PC titles up to 48 hours before their release date. But that’s not all, free game downloads will also be available to new O2 mobile and broadband customers.

O2’s head of home and broadband Felix Geyr said: “We are keen to provide gaming solutions to our customers and the Green Man Gaming’s proposition will address an insight we believe to be relevant to our customers.” Green Man Gaming CEO Paul Sulyok added: “O2’s vision for the consumer is the most compelling of all UK operators. “With over 21 million customers and market leading retention figures, O2 has proved that putting consumers first gets results.” The move follows O2’s commitment to music – with the firm running its own festival and securing naming rights over UK music venues.

GAMES HIT O2 STORES O2 is not just selling titles digitally – video games are now available in many of its 490 UK outlets. The company says it has an extensive range of software, which is available for anyone to buy, not just O2 customers O2 began trialling games in its stores last year. Consoles are also available to buy separately through O2’s online store.

PERSONNEL 24 RETAIL BIZ 25 NEW RELEASES 34 HIGH STREET 36 CHARTS 38

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[LEADER] BREATH OF FRESH AIR? HAVING SPENT the last year or more writing about the expansion of once games-agnostic retailers onto our turf, Team MCV didn’t bat an eyelid when O2 told us it will regularly stock games in its stores. In fact when it comes to physical retail, I’m wondering: What took O2 – already a destination for mainstream technology, especially the games-heavy iPhone – so long to get games? It could have jumped on the bandwagon months before Q4. Where O2 has surprised is in its bold idea to supply digitally distributed PC games ahead of release to its ‘Priority’ customers. In just one deal, the firm has questioned an industry sacred cow – street dates – and started to legitimise download firm Green Man Gaming (who until now had generated more faces of screwed up confusion than the headline ‘Activision fires Infinity Ward bosses’). Who knows if it will work. Let’s be honest, given the delicate world of digital content, it probably won’t – at least not as a ‘street date killer’ straight away. But at least it’s an ambitious idea. And when divisions across a big firm like O2 start to target games – through mobile content, then retail and now digital downloads – the last thing you should do is write them off.

HELP THEM, GAMESMASTER TO SOMEONE who grew up watching great games TV shows like GamesMaster and Bad Influence, news that Future is to resuscitate the broadcast version of the former is genuinely exciting. It almost seems like lightning has struck twice for Future. The firm has spent the last few weeks telling publishers that its impressive new First Play onconsole PS3 show is one of its best launches ever. Now the swoop for the full licence to its distinguished (polite word for ‘old’, there) monthly suggests the firm is thinking up decent ways to shake off the idea that it is ‘just’ providing magazines and websites when it comes to consumer games editorial. The GamesMaster magazine redesign is the less interesting part of the puzzle – the real potential is in that TV comeback, and whatever is planned for the ‘social media’ sphere. Future is arguably one of the few with the scale and forcefulness to push forward a well-made terrestrial games show – the kind of mainstream coverage the industry has painfully lacked and tried to awkwardly pursue in the last decade. And boy, does Future have to work to keep its rivals, partners, and commentators like me intrigued. At a time when FarmVille on Facebook serves the number of people in a day some media firms would only dream of reaching in a month, companies like Future have to move quickly, or else be considered irrelevant. (Future is a media company, I know – but many think Future and think of just the ABC graph with all the red arrows pointing to the ground). So, if handled right, the plans for the GamesMaster brand as something bigger than a monthly magazine won’t just mean a classic show is back on TV – it could help Future live up to its name. Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk

UK retail laments High Street left empty handed as new Tomb Raider game by James Batchelor UK RETAILERS have been left disappointed following news that the next Lara Croft game will only be sold digitally. Square Enix unveiled the new title, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, last week. It will forego a boxed product release in favour of XBLA, PSN and PC download, and also drops the long-running Tomb Raider brand name.

“I will be intrigued to see how successful they can be with this strategy. The dropping of the Tomb Raider name is an interesting move in itself and, combined with plans to make this a digital-only release, appears to have served a purpose: if nothing more, it is bringing more publicity to the title’s release.” HMV’s head of games Tim Ellis added: “It’s a pity, but then again some people might argue that the brand has been

It’s a pity. Physical distribution will remain integral to publishers and distributors for some time to come. Tim Ellis, HMV

Despite flagging sales for more recent entries in the action adventure series, retailers claim Tomb Raider is still a key property on the High Street and are concerned by this significant shift in direction for Lara’s latest outing. “As a primarily bricks and mortar retailer, it is disappointing to hear this news on the new Lara Croft game,” said Asda’s lead games buyer Alastair Islip.

OnLive gets real at GDC ONLIVE ONCE again grabbed the headlines at this year’s Game Developers Conference as the company announced the first details of its US launch. Last year, it dominated proceedings with its vision of game streaming and this week, in a fact-packed presentation, it brought its original promises closer to realisation. The company announced it will begin rolling out the PC and Mac versions of its OnLive Games Service on Thursday, June 17th. The service will initially only be available to

consumers living in the 48 contiguous United States. Users will be required to pay a monthly service fee of $14.95, while individual game titles will be available either for purchase or rental on what OnLive describes as an “a la carte basis.”

Game pricing and loyalty programs will be announced and detailed at a consumer launch event set to take place at this year’s E3 Expo. “We’re excited to get this into consumers’ homes,” OnLive’s COO Mike McGarvey told MCV. “We’re very pleased with the degree of publisher support received to date and have seen a rise in interest as their focus shifts to digital distribution.”  Read our full interview with McGarvey on page 15. www.onlive.com

s

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loss of Lara shuns boxed product for digital-only release

‘BBC cuts won’t [PRE ORDERS] hurt game push’ TOPGOD 10 OF WAR III

Closely-watched change to broadcaster spending doesn’t touch interactive plan by Michael French

TOMB GLOOM: (Clockwise from top left) HMV’s Ellis, CHIPS’ McCabe and Asda’s Islip

losing its potency in recent years anyway. “Physical distribution will remain integral to publishers and distributors for quite a while to come, though, at the same time, if customers are looking to move towards digital over the long term then retail has to look to cater to that too.” Grainger Games’ commercial director Chris Harwood speculates that Guardian of Light may not truly be digital only, pointing to other examples of download-only games that have

subsequently been released as boxed product. Finally, CHIPS’ joint MD Don McCabe equates the announcement to a “straightto-DVD release”, and described Tomb Raider as “past its sell-by date, but still a valid franchise”. The game is due for release this year.

THE RECENT ‘Putting Quality First’ report, which urged the BBC to cut spending and focus on less content, won’t stop the plans its Worldwide division has to licence out new games titles. Last week a strategic review confirmed that the worldrenowned broadcaster will drop two radio stations and cut internet services – while commercial arm BBC Worldwide has been ordered to focus on markets outside the UK and potentially downsize its magazine portfolio. The news came just a month after BBC Worldwide revealed to MCV that it was planning to fund and licence a variety of branded games for a spectrum of platforms, from Facebook and iPhone to Wii. But the firm this week told us that its new games plan – which also saw the appointment of former EA man Robert Nashak as head of digital entertainment – isn’t under threat from the review.

“Gaming remains an area BBC Worldwide is exploring across all of our major brands,” a spokesperson explained to MCV. “Robert Nashak's recent appointment at Worldwide is an indication of how seriously we’re taking the gaming space moving forward.” The team at BBC Worldwide – which operates independently as a commercial entity from its publically-funded parent – plans to turn the likes of Top Gear, A Question of Sport, Strictly Come Dancing and Doctor Who into games. Until recently, BBC Worldwide had little to do with the games industry after it shut down its CD-ROM Multimedia division in 2005. “We are open to conversations with anybody in games. Outside of Disney we have the most well-known line-up of children’s characters around the world,” Neil Ross Russell, MD of children’s and licensing at BBC Worldwide, said at the start of the year.

PS3 SONY

2. SUPER SF IV + T-SHIRT PS3 ......................................CAPCOM

3. SUPER SF IV + LONG SLEEVE PS3 ......................................CAPCOM

4. YAKUZA 3 PREMIUM EDITION PS3 ..........................................SEGA

5. SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION + LONG SLEEVE 360 ......................................UBISOFT

6. SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION + T-SHIRT 360 ......................................UBISOFT

7. JUST CAUSE 2: LIMITED ED 360 ................................SQUARE ENIX

8. JUST CAUSE 2: LIMITED ED PS3 ................................SQUARE ENIX

9. RED DEAD: REDEMPTION LTD ED 360 ......................................CAPCOM

10. RED DEAD: REDEMPTION LTD ED PS3 ......................................CAPCOM Week ending: March 5th Source: SHOPTO.COM  Turn to page 37 for more pre-order charts from leading online retailers

UK SOFTWARE SALES MONITOR Your weekly guide to the UK games software market…  This week’s UK software sales fell by six per cent to £22.8 million, while units slipped as well, down eight per cent to 967,040.  Sales were down on most titles in the Top Ten, with the notable exception of Sonic & Sega AllStars Racing, which saw sales increase by 28 per cent. This week’s performance was driven by EA’s Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – the seventh All Formats No.1 of the year.  Expectations are justifiably high for next week’s sales report, which will factor in the longawaited release of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIII. This week also sees the release of the latest Ben 10 game – a series which continues to perform week-in week-out at retail.

[WEEKLY MARKET VALUE]

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

30

Week Ending March 6th 2010

£22.8m

25 20 15 10 5

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 steals Aliens vs Predator’s crown as the fastest-selling game of 2010

£26.8m

£24.1m

£22.8m

1,210,148 Units

1,051,992 Units

967,040 Units

0 Week Ending February 20th

Week Ending February 27th

Week Ending March 5th

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Codemasters reveals its Formula for success F1 2010 dated for September  New shooter Bodycount revealed  Cricket announcement in-bound by Christopher Dring NEW BRANDS and classic franchises are due from Codemasters over the next year. The publisher has told MCV that anticipated racer F1 2010 will launch on X360, PS3 and PC in September, while a brand

“Both will benefit from being built on the EGO technology platform; an engine that’s delivered serious quality in Race Driver: GRID, DiRT 2 as well as Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising. “F1 remains a jewel in the racing crown. F1 2009 [on Wii

The announcements of F1 2010 and Bodycount herald Codemasters’ next wave of titles. Jeremy Wigmore, Codemasters

new FPS – Bodycount – is due to hit shelves in Q1 2011. The publisher also revealed to MCV that it is working on a new cricket game, which will be released before the end of the year. “The announcements of F1 2010 and Bodycount herald the next wave of titles created by Codemasters Studios,” said Codemasters’ UK general manager Jeremy Wigmore.

and PSP] saw sales greatly exceed both ours and the expectations of retailers. “With the appeal of the visual fidelity HD console formats and a game powered by proven EGO technology, F1 2010 is set to be a landmark title. It’s scheduled for a September release, two months before the end of the F1 season. “Following last year’s success of Ashes 2009, we are not

COUNTING THE SALES: Codemasters is putting its faith in new FPS IP Bodycount

resting on our cricketing laurels. We’ll soon be talking about the evolution of our cricket series, which will make a triumphant return later this year.”

Bodycount was revealed at the Games Developer Conference on Tuesday (March 9th). The game is designed by Stuart Black, the co-creator of popular 2006 FPS Black.

F1 2010 follows the launch of F1 2009 for Wii and PSP last year, which became a Top Five best seller during the Christmas period. Codemasters: 01926 814132

Russian giants form super-distributor 1C HAS TEAMED up with Softclub to form a new Russian super-distributor, 1C-Softclub. Softclub is the biggest console distributor in Russia, while 1C is the country’s largest PC publisher, developer and distributor. The newly-formed company will now handle all of 1C’s gaming output, and is the second biggest games firm in the country. 1C’s head of PR Anatoly Subbotin said: “We started a

new company called 1CSoftclub, together with the leading Russian console distributor and second overall biggest player on the local gaming market.” The new company was formed in the wake of a tough year for the Russian games market, with retail sales for games reportedly down 40 per cent in the territory. “2009 was a hard year for us and the games industry in Russia, but we managed to

keep and develop our main IPs, kept our main projects in development and released several pretty successful titles,” added Subbotin.

“Our aim for 2010 is to bring more and more products to the international arena. “Digital distribution helps us a lot to achieve this goal.”

1C told MCV in January it enjoyed huge success over Christmas with PC games sold via digital distribution. The publisher also announced last week that it has teamed up with budget PC games specialist Focus Multimedia to release even more games into UK retail.  For more detail on the state of the Russian games market, read our latest territory report on Page 22. 1C: 01923 432632

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Argos trials trade-in at 27 stores Catalogue firm is the latest to enter the pre-owned market, joining Tesco and Asda by Dominic Sacco & Christopher Dring AS PREDICTED by MCV last week, Argos has begun to trial a pre-owned games service across select stores. The trial will run in 27 of its 735 stores, predominantly in the North-East of England at locations including Durham, Gateshead and Newcastle. Customers will be able to buy pre-owned titles from the home retail giant and sell used games in exchange for in-store credit, as opposed to cash. Argos is currently accepting select games for the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and DS, with offers

NEW PLAYER: Argos has introduced a 27-store trial buying and selling used games in the North-East

each title per customer, import games or those in poor

We have no firm plans regarding the trial’s length and no future roll out will be decided until the trial is over. Argos spokesperson

ranging from £7 for Big Beach Sports to £26 for used copies of Modern Warfare 2. The chain says it will not accept more than one copy of

condition without a box and instruction booklet. Sellers will receive a voucher, which can be used against purchases in any Argos

store. These expire after three years and cannot be used by customers online. Consumers will be able to check trade-in values before heading to the store, and use Argos’ check and reserve service to potentially pay for their next purchase up-front. This follows news that Tesco and Asda have also begun trialing pre-owend games. Similarly to these retailers, Argos could alter its pre-owned plans at any times.

A spokesperson for Argos told MCV: “We have no firm plans regarding the length of the trial and no future roll out decision will be taken until the trial is concluded.” Pre-owned sales have long been hailed as a cornerstone of specialist games retail and is a key differentiator between games retailers and generalists. In 2008, HMV boosted its games offering by selling preowned software. Argos: 0845 1240044

Nintendo backs i39 MULTIPLAY’S consumer games event i39 has scored sponsorship from Nintendo. The format holder is the latest publisher to join the Newbury event. Nintendo will demonstrate its DSi XL at the event, which runs from Friday, April 2nd to Monday, April 5th at the Newbury Racecourse. At i39, Gamers will take part in competing matches on games such as Counter Strike: Source, Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4. LAN organiser and server provider Multiplay claims this year’s i39 is expected to attract over 3,500 gamers, with 70,000 tuning in online to watch the matches. Multiplay managing director Craig Fletcher said: “The i39 is shaping up to be a great weekend. “We’re delighted that Nintendo has chosen to showcase the Nintendo DSi XL at the show – it’s a real endorsement of the event and its participants.” Tickets can be bought via sales@multiplay.co.uk.

Game Based Learning calls for industry action THE ORGANISERS of Game Based Learning have called on the UK games industry to get involved in an effort to fix the skills crisis affecting the sector. The games industry has suffered from a shortage of students taking subjects in science, technology, engineering or maths, with many developers unable to source top talent. But GBL conference director Graham Brown-Martin feels that involving video games in the education process can help reverse this trend. “To compete, studios need first class talent,” he said. “Where is the talent going to

come from for this expanding, global video games industry? “The aim of Game Based Learning as a conference is to bring together industry and education leaders, publishers, developers, innovators and practitioners to share their knowledge and explore the very positive impact that games and social media are having on learning, teaching and training.” Brown-Martin also feels involvement in GBL can help persuade industry sceptics that video games can really be a benefit to society. “Games have been repeatedly abused by the mainstream

EDUCATION PLAN: Games and Government figures will be at GBL

media for the decay of western society,” he added. “Yet, there are hundreds of good news stories from the

education sector where games and social media are being used throughout the country to improve educational

attainment, social cohesion, well-being and family play. “This is a vital opportunity for the industry to learn about these under-the-radar activities, engage with this practice and encourageme their detractors to take a second look at the strong benefits of games.” The Game Based Learning Conference takes place from Monday, March 29th to Tuesday, March 30th at The Brewery in London, and will feature speakers from the education and games sector, as well as key figures from the UK Government. www.gamebasedlearning 2010.com

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Square has more Cause for optimism Publisher expects marketing onslaught and critical acclaim to send upcoming action adventure to No.1 by Christopher Dring FINAL FANTASY XIII isn’t the only game Square Enix expects to take to No.1 this month, with the publisher anticipating huge things from its action sequel Just Cause 2. The sandbox adventure has already achieved some high review scores in the specialist gaming press.

We aim to take Just Cause 2 to the top of the All Formats Charts. We know we have something special. Jon Brooke, Square Enix

Square Enix has also booked TV advertising spots between big-name football matches, including Chelsea vs Manchester United.

evident with our 60 second TV spots going out against some big football matches.” Square Enix has a reputation for creating long-term hit franchises such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, and the firm believes Just Cause 2 has the potential to become another long-lasting success at retail. “Proof is always in sales and consumer feedback,” said Brooke. “At this stage having regularly tested the game throughout its development we know we have something special – early global review scores are also showing high eights and nines, so the quality is there and we are certainly committed to making Just Cause 2 a success, so watch this space.”

“We really supported the first game and in fact we took it to No.1 on the Xbox 360 charts. This time, we aim to go one better and take Just Cause 2 to the top of the All Formats,” said Square Enix UK marketing director Jon Brooke. “That’s no easy feat but we have had some really awesome PR recently, as well as a strong TV, online and print campaign

planned, so we stand a good chance of achieving this. “What’s appropriate is that we have big stand-out assets to support this title, this is most

Just Cause 2’s high-octane gameplay could spell chart success

Square Enix: 020 8636 3000

EEK W E H T F O N IG A P M CA

X ATTACKS A G IL V : E C R O F N BEN 10 ALIE

Namco Bandai’s latest Ben 10 game looks to follow the success of previous titles with a big media push…

RELEASED: MARCH 12

ONLINE To market the game online, Namco Bandai has developed an interactive web-based campaign with its partners at Cartoon Network, which will look to capture a core audience of avid Ben 10 fans. A mainstream online marketing drive will also spread out across a wider range of leading kids’ sites to reach new fans.

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

TV/MEDIA There will be a heavyweight TV campaign, with ads targeting housewives and children. This will be supported by various promotions

around the cartoon series on Cartoon Network. PRINT A far-reaching mainstream print campaign will run across numerous kids’ magazines. Several Ben 10 front covers have been arranged, and will lead the press coverage with reviews, features and competitions running in children’s magazines, including The Dandy and Megaton. Ads will also appear in specialist games magazines.

RETAIL A range of special offers and promotions have been arranged with key retail partners to further promote

Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks on each format. A range of characterdriven POS materials will also be available.

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Arcade legend targets UK SNK plans to grow UK market share with the release of Samurai Shodown Sen on 360 by James Batchelor RENOWNED Japanese games firm SNK Playmore has set its sights on the UK market with the upcoming launch of Samurai Shodown Sen. The game is the latest in the long-running beat ‘em up series, and is due for an April release on Xbox 360 via Rising Star.

offering, so we look forward to working together to deliver a truly fun arcade fighting game that continues to deliver what this classic series has best been known for.” The Samurai Shodown franchise debuted over 16 years ago on SNK’s Neo Geo arcade system, and grew to be hugely popular in the East. Sen

We are thrilled to partner with Rising Star and look forward to working on a truly fun arcade fighting game.

Soichiro Hosoya, SNK Playmore

“We are thrilled to partner with Rising Star Games on Samurai Shodown Sen, as we have much respect and admiration for their approach to creatively marketing Japanese games in Europe,” said Soichiro Hosoya, president of SNK Playmore. “Fans of the series will no doubt enjoy this next generation

TAKE-TWO: Q1 revenues have risen from $149 million last year to $163 million – an increase of $14 million. The publisher recorded a loss of $34 million, a significant decrease from the $54 million reported in the same period last year. It also announced worldwide GTA IV sales have topped 15 million units. UBISOFT: The publisher will take a step into the football genre with Pure Football, due for release in May to coincide with the World Cup. ACTIVISION: Blur will be released on May 28th.

is the eleventh instalment in the series. A few of the franchise’s more popular titles have been transferred to consoles and released in the UK, but have yet to gain the same prominence the franchise enjoys in its home territory. SNK hopes to change this with Samurai Shodown Sen –

ROCKSTAR: Red Dead Redemption has slipped from its original April 30th release date to May 21st.

Samurai Shodown Sen is the latest SNK game to arrive in the UK

the franchise’s first retail release on the Xbox 360, following a 2008 XBLA port of Samurai Shodown II. The 360 edition of Sen stays true to the original arcade version, following the story of

martial arts master Takechiyo as he journeys to rescue Princess Suzu. The game also features new characters and online multiplayer modes. Rising Star Games: 01582 433700

More Dawn Of War South Peak renews NOT ONE, but three games in the Warhammer 40k: Dawn Of War II series hit retail today. THQ expects the trio of new releases to boost the Dawn Of War II franchise’s sales. The key SKU is Dawn Of War II: Chaos Rising – the first expansion pack to THQ’s bestselling 2009 strategy title. This will be complemented by the release of Dawn Of War II: Game Of The Year edition, which features the original game and the Last Stand DLC pack, the official soundtrack and more. Finally, the Dawn Of War II: Gold Edition combines both the original 2009 release and the Chaos Rising expansion.

Sponsored by

Nobilis partnership

“Other expansion packs in the Dawn of War franchise have been very successful,” said THQ’s product marketing manager Elizabeth Blackman. “We also expect to leverage further sales of the Dawn Of War II franchise through the simultaneous release of DOW II: Game Of The Year Edition and DOW II: Gold.” THQ: 01483 724500

MORE NOBILIS Wii and DS titles will be published in the UK by South Peak. The two have signed a new agreement that follows on from their successful collaboration over the launch of My Baby 2 back in November. The renewed deal will see South Peak publishing Famous, Secret Flirts, Hospital Giant and Spectral Force Genesis on DS, as well as Wii and DS casual title Fast Food Panic.

“My Baby 2: My Baby Grew has been an exceptional sales success in the UK and, in particular, we’ve seen a fantastic reaction in supermarkets,” said South Peak MD Jonathon Hales. “Nobilis has a great reputation of producing engaging casual titles that are perfect for Wii and DS. “This new distribution deal bolsters our portfolio for 2010 and we’re looking to emulate our previous success.” South Peak: 020 3176 0417

WARNER BROS: Scribblenauts 2 will be released on the DS this autumn. The original title has sold over one million copies worldwide. NAMCO BANDAI: The publisher has announced Test Drive Unlimited 2, a sequel to Atari’s 2007 massively open online racer. The game will hit Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. A release date has yet to be announced. VALVE: Portal 2 will be released this Christmas for Xbox 360 and PC. The use of the word ‘shipment’ in the press release implies the game will see a retail launch.

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

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NEWS ANALYSIS: TOY MARKET ON NATAL TARGETING TOYS: Microsoft is trying to educate other sectors, including the toy industry, on the benefits of Project Natal

TOYING WITH NATAL Last month Microsoft invited the lifestyle and toy press to go hands on with its upcoming Project Natal. Katie Roberts, deputy editor of MCV sister publication Toy News, went along to the event and gives us her thoughts on what Natal could mean for the toy industry… DESPITE WORKING in the same office as the UK’s leading games trade title, I’m going to have to admit to knowing next to nothing about games. While it’s clear there is a growing crossover in retail terms between games and toys, the gaming world is something that has left me standing and is something that I’m not familiar with on any level. I was a little surprised therefore, to be invited to Microsoft’s Project Natal briefing. But along I went to find out about its next big secret weapon. The showcase ran over two days with celebs (such as Jonathan Ross) and consumer media attending. It would seem Microsoft’s mission for Natal is to educate as many mainstream and lifestyle sectors outside of the gaming industry as possible. After a short introduction, we were given the chance to try out the demo game, Ricochet. Watching the others, I quickly realised I was probably one of Natal’s target audience. The lack of controllers on the Xbox accessory is probably the most inviting thing about Project Natal for nongamers like myself. We all know how to use our bodies and the 3D and infrared technology means the player becomes the controller, in turn including

everybody in Project Natal’s entertainment experience. I was hooked pretty much straight away. And if I can play it, anyone can, which made me realise the link between this product and toys. Suddenly, there is a computer game that even pre-school kids would be able to master. If I managed to get a half decent score, the new generation of technology savvy kids are likely to leave me at the starting blocks. Even the toddlers. Xbox, Wii and a number of other gaming products have become mainstays on the shelves of major toy retailers like Toys R Us, Argos and Smyths. It’s easy to see why. These bigticket items boost sales and the big names can help increase footfall into stores, in turn helping raise sales of traditional toys. This was the case for toy retailer, The Entertainer, when it began to stock Wii back in 2008, although the firm no longer offers the consoles. Buying director, Stuart Grant explains: “It was brilliant for us in 2008 and saw us through a really difficult trading period, when every High Street retailer was struggling.

“It was absolutely the right thing for us to do in hindsight.” It has also become clear recently that video games are overtaking some areas of the toy market. At the end of last year NPD showed that while the video games market had grown 33 per cent, board games had seen a decline of 19 per cent.

The games market is stealing spend from toys, as children are exposed to what were traditionally adult sectors. Stuart Grant, The Entertainer This is a trend the board game suppliers have picked up on and are adapting to accommodate, as can be seen in the licensing deal between EA and Hasbro, with a range of its properties and brands appearing as video games. With Xbox already present in many toy outlets, Microsoft has said it will again be approaching them with Project Natal, making it likely we will soon see the product on the toy shop shelves. The firm has also confirmed it will be working with Disney, EA and Konami,

among others to develop games for Natal, so expect to see more links with toy brands at launch. But it’s yet to be seen what affect this entertainment experience and future gaming developments will have on the toy market. Grant continues: “The games market is definitely stealing spend from toys, but only in the same way as I’d say the fashion, music and mobile phone industries currently are. “Children are now exposed to what were traditionally adult sectors, so every industry is potentially a threat to the toy market. “Kids have a limited spend available and there are many areas attracting them. However, I wouldn’t say this was any more the case in the past five years, than it has been in the last 20.” The Entertainer isn’t planning to stock Natal, but there’s no doubt other toy retailers will. People will always buy toys, so it’s safe to say the traditional sector isn’t going anywhere yet. But the toy industry is going to have to continue to up its game and embrace and help introduce innovative products like Natal to maintain its share of consumer spending.

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MCV INTERVIEW MIKE MCGARVEY, COO, ONLIVE

Cloud control OnLive dominated last year’s GDC with the vision thing. A year on, it’s time to get real. Dave Roberts talks to COO Mike McGarvey about delivering facts, dates, prices – and a whole new way to play…

LIVE AND KICKING: McGarvey discusses the momentum building behind OnLive as its June launch approaches

Firstly, can we go over your GDC announcements? We have made several major announcements, including: Launch date: On Thursday, June 17th, 2010, OnLive will begin rolling out the PC and Mac versions of the OnLive Game Service to consumers throughout the 48 contiguous United States. We’re excited to get this into consumers’ homes at ever-increasing rates. Pricing model: The OnLive Game Service will be supported by a monthly service fee of $14.95, which provides access to an ever-increasing library of high-end, new release game content and a host of exclusive community features such as Brag Clips and massive spectating. Individual titles will be available for purchase or rental on an a la carte basis. Specific game pricing, including rentals, purchases and loyalty programs, will be announced prior to the consumer launch event at E3. We’ll also be announcing additional loyalty and discount programs for consumers in the coming months. Major publisher support: OnLive is being supported by and will offer content from the biggest, most influential publishers in the world. This list includes Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, THQ and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Specific titles, pricing and revenue share models will be made public closer to the E3 launch. We’re very pleased with the degree of publisher support received to date and have seen a rise in publisher interest in the OnLive Game

We’re very pleased with the publisher support as their focus begins to dramatically shift towards digital. Mike McGarvey, OnLive

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MCV INTERVIEW MIKE MCGARVEY, COO, ONLIVE

OnLive has recieved support from the industry’s leading publishers, putting blockbusters such as Assassin’s Creed II, Prince Of Persia and Metro 2033 in the launch line-up

Service as their focus begins shifting dramatically toward digital distribution. Titles: While the official list of launch titles will be announced at a later date, I can reveal that a few of the anticipated games include Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed II and Prince Of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, as well as THQ’s Metro 2033. We’re seeing the pace of title commitments accelerate dramatically as we approach our consumer launch. What’s the most important thing that you have learned from the beta program? Our primary goal has been to make OnLive accessible and enjoyable for the largest audience possible so at the outset we focused on testing the service in a variety of situations and configurations. In addition to the technical data, we’ve also been asking each of our testers to provide detailed reports about their personal experiences. Which features do they love? What does the game service need that it doesn’t have? This feedback was equally as important as everything we found from

the technical and configuration side and has helped us progress from a technology incubator to a ready-for-primetime consumer service. It was during the beta phase, for example, that we learned how intensely gamers valued the ‘instant play’ capability of the service whereby a user can move in and out of games, spectate other players, send messages, and so on – all with virtually no delay.

strategy and a huge component of the OnLive story over the long term. The MicroConsole is a major part of our beta program and we’ve made some key developments on customizing and evolving the system over the past year. Has the MicroConsole been delayed? And if so, when can we expect it to be made available? For the initial rollout of the consumer

OnLive is being supported by and will offer content from the biggest, most influential publishers in the world. Mike McGarvey, OnLive

The ‘experience now’ generation has clearly arrived. You’re focusing heavily on the PC and Mac client but only make a passing reference to the upcoming MicroConsole. Is it still a part of the OnLive strategy? The ability to stream games directly to the living room via the MicroConsole TV adapter is a fundamental part of our

service, we are focusing on delivering high-performance games to PCs and Macs and we will be making an announcement regarding our plans for the MicroConsole rollout later on in the year. What are the main geographical and setup factors that contribute to the best-possible connection? As with any dynamic-media delivery

model, the faster a consumer’s connection the better the overall performance of the service will be. However, in OnLive’s case, the technology framework enables the delivery of a first-class experience over almost any home broadband-connected PC or Mac. For the optimal performance, a user needs to be within around 1,000 miles of one of our OnLive data centres. Are there any high-profile OnLive exclusive titles currently in development with any of your partners, excluding classical, indie or casual games? While we can’t comment on games currently in production, the OnLive SDK is being used by a host of developers, both big and small, and we expect original, exclusive gaming content to be a major component of our service moving forward. Finally, what’s the timetable for a European launch? We are very focused on launching the service in the US at the moment, but stay tuned for our European plans.

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MCV INTERVIEW MICHEL VAN ELMPT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, FOREIGN MEDIA GAMES

Making the Foreign familiar As Foreign Media Games takes its first steps into the UK market, James Batchelor speaks with managing director Michel van Elmpt about how the publisher plans to recreate its European success on our shores… Could you give us a brief history on Foreign Media Games? What successes have you had in the past? Founded back in 2001 as Easy Interactive, we started out as a re-publishing partner for the likes of Codemasters, Eidos, THQ, Vivendi, Activision and Take-Two. Within a very short span of time, we became the market leader in the Benelux region for budget price PC products. In 2006, the company was sold to the Foreign Media Group, a group of media companies that were active in DVD, film, book and music publishing. In 2008, we registered with Nintendo as a publisher on the DS platform and we closed a deal for two local licences. One title sold over 34,000 copies and ended up as one of the top three bestselling titles in Benelux. The other also did very well and was in the Top 10. These products were the first to be launched under the Foreign Media Games brand. By the end of last year, FMG’s DS market share in the Benelux region ranged from between 13 and 17 per cent from August through October.

products on the shelves for a longer period of time. Also, should one of our titles not perform as well as we anticipated, we will take our responsibility and work towards a satisfactory solution with our retail partners. Why did you choose the UK as your first direct-to-retail market outside of your home territory? FMG always strives for close collaboration with retail. For that to work well, retail must be properly organised and in that sense, the Benelux and UK markets are very alike. Furthermore, we need a sustainable casual market for our products. Again, the UK is very similar to our home market in that context. What differences are there between the two markets? There are two major differences between the Benelux and UK markets. The most important one is that fact that the UK market is six to eight times larger. This means bigger investments and thus bigger risks in terms of stock numbers, marketing spends and so on. Another difference is the fact that many supermarkets in the UK have nonfood departments where games sell well. This is not so much the case in Benelux.

How will you attempt to recreate these triumphs in the UK? The key to the success in any market is to have a good product portfolio, and to build and maintain that over a long timeframe. Our top priority is to establish In the Benelux market, FMG proved it could good working relationships achieve a market share of with the key retailers in the over 15 per cent in less UK market. than a year of operating. Michel van Elmpt, FMG Naturally, this was also due to our superb relationship with the key What challenges do you face in retailers that we have been working general as a new UK publisher? with for many years. Getting access and establishing good We feel that we have a strong portfolio contacts with UK retailers is considered that would work very well in the UK, so key to our success and is a top priority. it is now paramount for us to establish If we can prove that our products are good working relationships with the key great and that we are a good partner in retailers in the UK market. every sense, we are confident that the We will support the retailers – just as retailers will embrace us. in our home market – with highly Another challenge is to get the right creative marketing campaigns in order to marketing in place. Marketing easily generate long-term sales that will keep the eats away your communication budget

FMG’s van Elmpt stresses that retail relationships will be key to the publisher’s success

and we owe it to ourselves as well as our partners that we make sure this money is spent effectively. FMG is a major publisher on the Nintendo formats in Benelux. Will you still be aiming for this market in the UK, and if so why? In the past year we have seen many of the bigger publishers reduce focus on the Nintendo platforms, especially DS. Apparently the bigger firm have problems being successful on that platform. We consider ourselves much more flexible due to our size and the way we are organised. And that may not be key, but will be part of our success. And this also leads to more room on the market. There will be less products for us to compete against and the better

quality products will be able to stand out more. As far as the Wii is concerned, we are slightly more conservative. The numbers that we are able to sell for the Wii are not significantly higher than for DS, but the investment required is larger. We will also be releasing more casual products on PC, allowing us to look into digital distribution and more. Foreign Media Games has the ambition to achieve nothing less than what we did in our home market. We’re ambitious, but we are very serious about our plans and understand the challenges involved. Some of our targets for the UK market are to become a Top 10 publisher for the DS, to have a DS and a Wii title in the top five of their respective charts, and to have five titles in Top 10 of GfK Chart-Track’s All Formats Charts.

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MCV INTERVIEW MELANIE JONES, EUROPEAN SALES DIRECTOR, HUBB ACCESSORIES

Hubb’s Hopes After a healthy first year of trading, Hubb Accessories has entered 2010 with a plan to strengthen its presence in a highly competitive market. James Batchelor catches up with European sales director Melanie Jones to discuss the peripherals firm’s next step… What have you learned since you entered the UK market? We are just coming up to completing our first year of trading and that time has confirmed our impressions of what is a very competitive sector – we need to constantly strive to make our products attractive to our customers. The challenge is to make our products both aesthetically pleasing to consumers whilst delivering great prices. Price point is always a key factor but we also aim to ensure our products are of a quality that we ourselves would be confident in using day in, day out. How will you accomplish this? We plan to follow on from the success of our first year by continuing to develop strong relationships with our customers and finding out their requirements from their peripherals category, whether that be online or in store. We are very forward looking and are continually developing new, innovative products to bring to market and that will underpin our plans for this year.

How will you expand your presence in the UK? We are looking into new brands and licence opportunities with which to offer our customers a wider product portfolio. However, our products are only as good as the service by which we deliver them. We want to form strong and lasting relationships with our retail partners to ensure that they get the very best service right through the supply chain from first presentation of a product to delivery in store. What challenges do you face as a relatively new name in the market? As every new supplier in any marketplace appreciates, the biggest challenge is brand awareness and getting your name out there. But we are very confident about our products and the service we can provide – and that’s just the start. The biggest challenge anyone faces in this position is giving customers a reason to change. In many cases, that customer may have had the same range or buy the same product for years. You have to use both experience and research to find out about your market

What are your plans for the year? Our goals for 2010 are to continue to raise awareness of our brand and grow the product range As a new supplier in the in line with our customers’ market, the biggest challenge requirements. is brand awareness and This year, it is our aim to getting our name out there. establish Hubb Accessories Melanie Jones, Hubb Accessories as the best partner to work with to deliver additional revenue streams and much needed and find out what drives your customers’ margins to our customers. buying decisions both from a retail and In addition to this, we are also looking consumer perspective. We aim to into strengthening our product portfolio deliver a full service solution to our with some license deals and key brands. customers, not just a product.

PERIPHERAL VISIONS: Hubb’s Jones warns of the dangers facing peripherals firms

What challenges does the peripherals sector face this year, and how will you overcome them? The biggest challenge facing all sectors this year will be the social and economic climate. This year will be particularly difficult as we not only have a competitive market, but we are struggling out of recession and also face outside factors such as the forthcoming general election which causes uncertainty in all markets. Also, the lead times on peripherals are much longer than software, so we have to work very hard to get our forecasting right so that we make sure

that stock is in the right place at the right time and that we don’t overstock either ourselves or the market. What is the one thing you would change about the way the accessories sector operates? Ideally, there would not be such an emphasis on selecting products on price alone. Price is a very important factor – more so in our current climate when money is tight. However, an emphasis has to be placed on quality and availability in equal measure. The cost of processing faulty products and returns to the brand negates any initial increased margin.

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TERRITORY REPORT: RUSSIA

Russian doldrums After several years of continued growth, the Russian games market suffered severe declines in 2009 due to the economic crisis. Christopher Dring looks at the state of the market. Can it bounce back in 2010?

[TERRITORY REPORT: RUSSIA] Population: 141,927,297 Capital: Moscow Language: Russian Currency: Rouble GDP: (per capita) $8,874 DISTRIBUTORS 1C-Softclub Hitzona Noviy Disk Vellod RETAILERS Game Zone, Game Park, Vremya Igrat, Eldorado, M Video, Eto, Mir, Euroset, Ion, Telemaks, MediaMarkt, Top Kniga, Hitzone, Soyuk,

MARKET OVERVIEW In 2008, Russia was one of the fastest growing games markets in the world. However, the economic crisis has had a severe impact on the sector. In terms of retail sales, the market was reportedly down by up to 40 per cent in 2009, although Russian games giant 1C believes that the territory could bounce back this year and grow by 15 to 20 per cent. “Much like any other economic spheres in Russia, the Russian games industry has been heavily affected by the global economic crisis and the exchange rate,” says 1C head of PR Anatoly Subbotin. “As of 2008 the Russian gaming market was one of the fastest growing ones in the world. For several years in a row the annual growth rate was about 50 per cent. These figures were heavily affected by the economic crisis.” The leading format in Russia is PC. One in three homes have a computer, while only a tiny proportion of the population have a games machine (see

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1m 800k Installed Bases graph, right). Once again, the PC market has been severely impacted by the recession, with a year-on-year decline of 35 to 50 per cent estimated by Catapult Business Solutions. In terms of console sales, PS3 and Xbox 360 are neck-and-neck, although PS3 continues to lead Microsoft’s platform in terms of software sales. PS2 is still the market leading console, with PSP close behind. Nintendo has recently increased its presence in the sector, however, Wii and DS continue to be the least popular formats.

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Chris StantonJones of emerging market specialists Catapult Business Solutions provides us with an in-depth look at the Russian games market…

PIRACY IP theft remains a major problem in Russia, despite recent attempts to reduce it. EA estimated in 2008 that the value of video games pirated in Russia is the same as the value of games bought new. Nevertheless, the situation is improving. In the past pirated goods were freely available at retail, but that's becoming increasingly rare.

Furthermore, the Russian Government introduced new anti-piracy laws in 2006, and agencies and publishers have been conducting raids in major cities. Game prices have also been brought down to discourage piracy. However, piracy still remains a considerable problem in the regions outside of the major cities.

RETAIL There is a broad mix of retailers selling games in Russia, including games specialists, electronic chains and hypermarkets – but there’s no real single dominant player. Mall culture is established in all 13 major Russian cities, and especially in Moscow, which has seen a boom in the number of malls since 2002. Although the major retail chains have weathered the financial storm, smaller retail outlets are struggling in the face of the recession and the competition from pan-European retail stores such as MediaMarkt.

“1C’s own retail chain has seen good results despite the crisis, but small professional retail is in bad shape,” says 1C’s head of PR Anatoly Subbotin. “This is the result of the global economic crisis and the expansion of big chains that gradually force out small professional retail. “1C-Interest – which is the retail chain owned by 1C – has even managed to show growth during 2009. Online distribution in Russia has also started to pick up.”

TERRITORY ANALYSIS

DEVELOPMENT Despite being the country that introduced Tetris to the world, Russia’s games development scene has struggled over recent years. A clear indiciation of this is the number of participating firms at the Russian Game Developer Conference (KRI). In 2008 there were 250 attending firms, in 2009 that dropped to 140, while only 100 companies are expected to show up for the 2010 event. However, many Russian games developers have managed to survive by focusing on the development of casual and social games. “Games development is mostly online-focused and casual right now, as the domestic market for retail games is several times smaller than it was before the economic crisis, says Max Maslov, manager of the event. “A lot of good companies have shut down, and those that are remaining are trying to survive by going towards the social games market. “Only a few have succeeded in making console and PC games, including Creat Studios and Gaijin Entertainment.

“Most successful companies are making online and casual games.” The Russian Government currently offers no support to developers. However, discussions are on-going within Parliament about promoting Russian games as 1C’s Anatoly Subbotin explains: “In previous years the Government wasn’t participating in the game industry at all, but it looks like times are changing. “Last month there was a roundtable discussion at Parliament, which was dedicated to development of national-oriented and patriotic games. “1C took part in this. Together we can support local development and promote Russian games.”

After many years of significant growth, the recession’s effect on the Russian games business is probably one of the most dramatic of all European markets. The market value in 2009 declined by between 25 and 40 per cent year-on-year, with the enormous PC market down even further. The poorer ‘Regions’ – namely areas outside of Moscow – have suffered worst than Moscow itself with many consumers turning to pirated product. Console games are generally purchased by the better-off consumer in the organised retail malls of Moscow, and the sellthrough of console games has been less effected by the recession. In fact, sell-through of console software is reported as static year-on-year, but the amount of stock being bought in by distributors and retailers is lower due to buying caution and less money in the channel. However, distributors are now talking of stability. Things do not seem to be getting worse but it is probably too early to talk of recovery. There does appear to be less pessimism with some local companies talking about trade improving slightly. Sony, EA and Xbox should record year-on-year revenue growth for 2009, but local distributors are not having it so easy with many having to lay off staff. The retail pricing of games has risen by 25 per cent since early 2008 due to the Rouble’s devaluation. For example, PS3 game prices rose from 1,999 to 2,500 Roubles. The subsequent strengthening of the Rouble in the last six months has returned some stability to the market place and there has been little change recently to RRPs. There has been less long-term change to PC pricing as the locally replicated games carry only local currency costs. Furthermore, with imported PC games, suppliers have often subsidised the distributor’s buy price in an effort to limit cost rises. In order to maintain supply to the credit restricted retailers, many distributors have had to agree to certain unfavourable supply terms such as extended payment terms or to accepting returns. As a result, however, retailers are starting to purchase more product. Piracy is still a big problem in Russia. Publishers estimate that its value is probably the same again as the legitimate software market. However, the situation is improving and the currently un-pirated PS3 is providing publishers with good steady revenue.

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PERSONNEL

PR team shuffle boosts EA EA Games label promotes Orlando and Van Hibb  Capcom recruits Reader  Grainger announces new hires ELECTRONIC ARTS  SOPHIE ORLANDO has been promoted to PR manager for the EA Games label. Orlando has worked at EA for over two years. Her promotion follows JON GODDARD’S transfer to the European EA Games team. In her new role, Orlando will manage PR for all titles from BioWare, Visceral and DICE in the UK. She will be working alongside JODIE VAN HIBB, who also takes up the role of PR manager for the Medal Of Honor, Need For Speed and Harry Potter franchises.

their store base and realising their plans. It’s a great time to join up with the Grainger team.” To assist with the expansion internally, BEN DEWAR has been appointed as property and acquisitions manager. He will work closely with Briggs to establish Grainger in new areas over the next three years. Grainger’s sales director Phil Moore said: “With over 30 years retail property experience, John will be a huge asset in sourcing new stores for our expansion programme, and with Ben’s knowledge of our business, they make a very strong team.”

F1 2009. He also worked at Runescape developer Jagex in its QA department.

Orlando will handle PR for BioWare, Visceral and DICE

“I’m so excited to be given the added responsibility of managing such a strong portfolio with a great team at EA, working on IP that is raising the bar in the industry,” said Orlando.

CAPCOM  KARL READER has joined Capcom as UK product and community manager. Reader previously worked as brand assistant for Codemasters, where he handled titles such as Colin McRae: DiRT 2, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and

Briggs (left) and Dewar (right) have new roles at Grainger

GRAINGER GAMES  As part of its ongoing expansion plans, Grainger Games has hired JOHN BRIGGS as the chain’s retained property agent. “I am very excited about Grainger’s expansion plans,” said Briggs. “The team are extremely focused on growing

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RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES  PRICE CHECK  CHARTS  NEW RELEASES

CATCH ‘EM AGAIN Epic Game Boy Color duo, Pokemon Gold and Silver, are back and revamped on DS P26

SUPREME COMMANDER 2 P28 Square Enix takes aim at the Western gamer with its anticipated RTS sequel DEAD OR ALIVE: PARADISE P30 Tecmo Koei’s girls are back in the latest spin-off in the popular Dead Or Alive series FRAGILE DREAMS P31 Rising Star Games prepares to launch its post-apocalyptic adventure title for Wii PRISON BREAK P32 The popular American TV series gets the video game treatment on 360, PS3 and PC BLAZBLUE: CALAMITY TRIGGER P33 The acclaimed beat ‘em up arrives on UK shores thanks to distributor PQube HIGH STREET P36 This week in High Street, MCV speaks to Kelly from Grainger Games and checks prices on new games in Taunton

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RETAILBIZ: POKÉMON HEARTGOLD/SOULSILVER 26 MCV 12/03/10

Nintendo breathes new life into two of its most popular Pokémon games with the release of new DS remakes…

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by James Batchelor DESPITE LAUNCHING over a decade ago, Nintendo’s Pokémon series is still one of the hottest handheld properties in the industry. The 2007 Diamond and Pearl editions stand as the fastest-selling instalments in the franchise, and hype is building as hints that a new generation of games are emerging. So it’s clear that the Pokémania of the late ‘90s is still very much allive today. Cue Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the latest monster-catching releases that are set to ensnare a world of DS gamers once more. While not entirely new entries in the series, the two games stand to best sales of previous

releases thanks to the popularity of their source material. The titles are remastered editions of the hugely popular Pokémon Gold and Silver, originally released for the Game Boy Colour way back in 2001.

strong sales from HeartGold and SoulSilver and with scores of unique new additions (see ‘The Pokéwhat?’), the platform holder plans to grow the series audience more than every before. “We hope these titles, new to Nintendo DS, will not only appeal to existing fans, but will We hope to broaden the series’ remind lapsed fans of appeal to a wider audience the original versions and than previous Pokémon titles encourage new users to of recent years. experience the thrill of Pokémon for the first Vanisha Kavia, Nintendo time,” says Nintendo The DS versions introduce new marketing assitant Vanisha Kavia. generations of gamers to two of the “We hope to broaden the series’ defining entries in the series, and fans appeal to a wider audience than can now experience their favourite previous Pokémon titles that have critter-hunting adventure in a new way. launched in recent years. The addition Based on the timeless appeal of the of the PokéWalker and a return to the original games, Nintendo is expecting Johto region provide two exciting

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RETAILBIZ: POKÉMON HEARTGOLD/SOULSILVER WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 12/03/10 27

RELEASED: MARCH 26 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: NINTENDO DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PRICE: £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 0870 027 0985

The PokéWalker accessory allows fans to continue training their monster as they go about their daily business

THE POKÉWHAT?

elements unique to Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver on DS.” The game takes place in the popular Johto region of the Pokémon world and harks back to a time when there were only 250 of the buggers to catch. Once again, players explore the local area while battling fellow trainers, gym leaders and wild Pokémon, attempting to capture the latter in order to expand their collection. MONSTER UPGRADES

The world of Gold and Silver is now presented in the pseudo-3D engine that powered Diamond and Pearl, with the various touch screen enhancements brought by the DS making the game more accessible than ever. In an endearing touch, players can even select one of their Pokémon to

emerge from their ball and follow the trainer around on-screen – a feature not seen since 2000’s Pikachu-themed Pokémon Yellow. “The beloved Johto region has not been available in a Pokémon game since Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver were launched in 2001,” says Kavia. “This is also the very first time players can visit this region on their Nintendo DS, which introduces several new enhancements that enrich these timeless adventures. “Players can now see and interact with their favourite Pokémon outside of battle as they travel once more through the Johto region.” While avid Pokémon enthusiasts have been eagerly waiting for this release, Nintendo is working hard to spread word of the new releases among the

entire fanbase. It has also targeted the long-tail marketing campaign at new consumers that may not have experienced Gold or Silver first time around, or have missed Pokémon games released since. Kavia says: “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. “There will be further TV and online support from launch through to the end of April that will be targeted at lapsed fans and those that have never played 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.”

As an added incentive, both Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver will come bundled with a unique peripheral: the PokéWalker. This device, which looks like the series’ famous Pokéballs, clips onto the gamer’s belt and works as a pedometer. However, the Pokéwalker does more than count the user’s steps – it also converts that data into in-game experience points. “The addition of the PokéWalker accessory will allow the player to interact with their Pokémon beyond the realm of the main game itself,” says Nintendo marketing assistant Vanisha Kavia. “It allows you to transfer any one of your Pokémon from one of the two games to the PokéWalker and thus continuing the adventure in the real world where you can build up the strength of your Pokémon as you walk, discover new items and even connect with your friends and receive gifts.” It’s a neat touch that Pokémon fans are certain to embrace and adds more value to the two remakes, making the re-release of Gold and Silver that little bit more special.

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RETAILBIZ: SUPREME COMMANDER 2 28 MCV 12/03/10

The follow-up to 2007’s real-time strategy title looks set to captivate gamers again with its take on future war…

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by Dominic Sacco MAKE NO MISTAKE – Supreme Commander 2 is a big release for Square Enix. The original PC game received a lot of coverage and praise in 2007, and was successful enough for it to be released on the Xbox 360 a year later. Now Square Enix is releasing the sequel on PC and Xbox 360. Combined with the publisher’s other key game release in March, Final Fantasy XIII, it could be a particularly bumper month for the software giant. Supreme Commander 2 is set 25 years after the original and features a variety of new enchancements, an indepth campaign mode, online

multiplayer and unique storyline with a range of new units. Paul Benjamin, senior product manager for Square Enix says: “The original Supreme Commander and Total Annihilation before it are amongst Gas

The game boasts massive battles, with players able to create their own customisable armies and experimental war machines to change the balance of power. These include the Cybranasaurus Rex, a giant mechanical beast. Gamers can also assume the role of one No other RTS developer puts of three commanders, so much love and attention each representing a into their products as Gas separate faction with its Powered Games. own story. Square Enix claims this “brings a Paul Benjamin, Square Enix new level of emotional Powered Games’ greatest successes, and connection to the RTS genre.” we anticipate this title to follow on that SUPREME PRESS COMMENTS trend amongst the hardcore real time “The RTS community is very excited strategy gamers. about the release as it has received a “We know we have a very hungry great response across the gaming press market waiting for this next installment and websites,” adds Benjamin. and we anticipate good success.”

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RETAILBIZ: SUPREME COMMANDER 2 WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 12/03/10 29

RELEASED: OUT NOW (PC) MARCH 19 (XBOX 360) FORMATS: XBOX 360, PC PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX DEVELOPER: GAS POWERED GAMES PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 0207 324 5200

WAR:

WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

Eurogamer states “Supreme Commander 2 will be as essential as ever for RTS fans,” and Total PC Gaming says the game is “an excellent, deep and engaging RTS”. As MCV was going to press, more than ten reviews for the game had been posted on aggregator website Metacritic – all positive. This good feedback combined with Square Enix’s advertising campaign has seen pre-orders jump over the past few weeks, with more interest on the way. Benjamin says: “We feel that with more reviews over the coming weeks and the campaign really starting to ramp up, Supreme Commander 2 will have a successful launch.” Square Enix is targeting its advertising at hardcore RTS gamers through specialist print magazines and websites.

A ‘tease and reveal’ campaign is running for three months in all major PC and Xbox 360 publications and online destinations. The web marketing includes highimpact activity, expandable microsite and video MPUs, as well as channel skins across Gamespot, Eurogamer, IGN and more. Benjamin also stresses the fact that advertising for Supreme Commander 2 will reach social media destinations and non-specialist magazines. “We also have some genre-targeted activity with Facebook and Google, as well as some wider activity with Sci-fi and movie sites such as SFX.co.uk.” THE LOVE OF WAR

Developer Gas Powered Games has produced a collection of RTS titles,

including the original Supreme Commander. It was founded in 1998 by acclaimed game designer Chris Taylor. Benjamin says: “No other RTS developer puts so much love and attention into their products. Chris Taylor lives and breathes every unit and every possible tactic in the game making for a polished, entertaining but taxing RTS experience. “He has great heritage within the genre, creating consistently great and memorable RTS experiences, and Supreme Commander 2 is yet another title amongst his quality portfolio. “Come on, what other game gives you a Cybranasaurus Rex?” Gas Powered Games’ past titles include Dungeon Siege I and II, the original Supreme Commander and last year’s Demigod.

Supreme Commander 2 offers the player a range of new features and units to add to the experience. BOMB BOUNCER This unit boasts a huge shield which can protect itself and others nearby, and deflect enemy attacks right back at them. Players can also charge the shield to produce a ‘mega blast’ at their enemies. THE PULINSMASH As an enormous vortex-creating piece of weaponry, the Pulinsmash sucks enemy units such as planes and tanks up into its field. The first target is suspended, ready for the second one to smash into it, destroying them both. KRAKEN Similar to the Cybranasaurus Rex and Pulinsmash, this is also an experimental unit which players can research and gain access to. As a water-based monstrosity, it can take on enemy submarines, ships and even structures close to the shore.

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RETAILBIZ: DEAD OR ALIVE: PARADISE 30 MCV 12/03/10

The Dead Or Alive ladies return once more with a collection of flirtatious antics that can now be enjoyed on the go…

WWW.MCVUK.COM

by James Batchelor

returning to PlayStation,” says Tecmo Koei’s vice president of sales and marketing Will Curley. “The support for the title has been incredibly strong amongst retailers and the media. “We are proud to be providing another great title for the PSP a format

TECMO KOEI’S Dead Or Alive series has graced PlayStation devices since the original launched in 1998. 12 years later, the series makes its debut on Sony’s handheld platform in the form of Dead Or Alive: Paradise. Rather than joining the beat-‘em-up entries in the The support for Dead Or Alive: franchise, Paradise Paradise has been incredibly instead focuses on the strong amongst retailers, the popular female characters with a range of new minimedia and the public. games, akin to the Will Curley, Tecmo Koei Xtreme Volleyball titles. With less than a month to go until that we have been vigorously backing as the game arrives and consumers flocking a company. With DOA’s return on PSP, to every batch of new artwork (we we’re sure this title will provide another wonder why...), the publisher is profitable product for our retail partners.” expecting good things from DOA’s latest In Dead Or Alive: Paradise, players outing and is keen to highlight the are encouraged to interact with and warm reception Paradise has enjoyed. befriend the series’ familiar ladies as “It’s great to see the return of the they enjoy their exotic vacation on New Dead Or Alive franchise, and to see it Zack Island.

They can enjoy a range of summerthemed activities ranging from volleyball to pool-hopping, before visiting a revamped casino resort for a spot of light-hearted gambling. As players progress in each of these pastimes, they earn money with which they can buy gifts, ranging from clothes to gadgets and other accessories, for their favourite babes. Doing so improves their relationship with them, ultimately allowing them to challenge them to new sports and unlocking additional mini-games. Ultimately, players will earn the right to take pictures of them in a variety of swimwear photoshoots, with their chosen girl posing around the island. These photos can then be arranged into private photo albums for later perusal. Curley says: “The DOA franchise has a long history as a best-seller on

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RETAILBIZ: DOA PARADISE/FRAGILE DREAMS WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 12/03/10 31

DROP DEAD GORGEOUS: Paradise brings highly detailed character models from the series to the PSP for the first time

Wii fantasy adventure exclusive aims to capture UK players’ hearts after success and acclaim in Japan… PlayStation consoles and we find the market is still warm towards quality PSP-exclusive products. All the retailers we have presented the product to have been enthusiastic and happy to see the DOA franchise back. “The media and buying public have also been positive. Everybody from the Official PlayStation Magazine through to cult and fan blogs have been welcoming its return.” Building on this enthusiasm, Tecmo Koei has drawn up a heavily targeted marketing campaign to engage the Dead Or Alive fanbase. Print coverage has been carefully arranged, from pieces in OPM to an extensive look at the series in animé enthusiast press. The game also appeared in NEO in the form of three exclusive collector’s edition gate-fold covers. Online, the publisher has established an official website for the game and is communicating with fans through

RELEASED: APRIL 2

by Dominic Sacco

FORMATS: PSP PUBLISHER: TECMO KOEI EUROPE DEVELOPER: TECMO PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 01462 476 130

Facebook, Twitter and other social media. There will also be a site takeover on CosplayIsland.co.uk, targeting female DOA fans. Finally, consumers that contacted DOA character Hitomi through a dedicated email address will be receiving special messages as the game’s launch approaches. “There are many wonderful, nubile things that set DOA: Paradise apart from other games,” says Curley. “You’ve just got to have a peek at the screenshots. What better time to release such a game? I challenge anyone to find anything that will warm their cockles as much as Dead Or Alive: Paradise will.”

RELEASED: MARCH 19 FORMATS: WII

FRAGILE DREAMS is the latest Wii exclusive to use the motion-sensing controller in a unique fashion. Players can use the Wii Remote as a torch to explore the dark, abandoned world, as a proximity sensor to detect sounds and a weapon to attack ghosts. The game received a 31/40 Famitsu score in its native Japan, becoming one of the top-selling games at launch. Simon Alty, Rising Star Games’ head of brand says: “We’re incredibly excited about bringing Fragile to PAL territories. There’s been a massive upsurge of interest for this title since being showcased in Famitsu.” Set in an alternate post-apocalyptic future Japan, Fragile Dreams is a fantasy adventure game based in a world seemingly devoid of human life. Rising Star Games says that as well as being visually striking, audio is also crucial in Fragile Dreams.

PUBLISHER: RISING STAR GAMES DEVELOPER: TRI CRESCENDO PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: MASTERTRONIC CONTACT: 0845 234 4242

“Along with an emotional soundtrack, ghostly sounds emanate from the Wii Remote’s speaker, adding to the eerie environment,” says Alty. Players take control of a young boy called Seto who is searching for survivors as they explore this unique, devastated world. Rising Star Games says “players will experience an acute sense of isolation” as they progress. Managing director of Rising Star Games, Martin Defries, says: “As soon as gamers start playing it, they will become engrossed in the storyline and focused on unravelling the mysteries of this deserted world.”

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RETAILBIZ: PRISON BREAK 32 MCV 12/03/10

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Koch Media brings Prison Break fans a brand new experience, inviting them to join the jailbreak in the show’s video game debut… by James Batchelor TELEVISION properties can be just as hot as those of Hollywood movies, so Koch Media is understandably excited about its latest upcoming title, Prison Break: The Conspiracy. Easily the biggest licence the company has dealt with, the game explores the early days of the hugely popular thriller series from a brand new perspective. Players take on the role of Company agent Tom Paxton, a new character sent to the Fox River State Penitentiary to investigate why the show’s hero Michael Scofield committed a complicated bank robbery, despite not having a previous criminal record. Trapped with the prisoners and other familiar faces from the series, Paxton must explore the prison to find the answers he seeks – and then find a way out. “Prison Break is a huge opportunity for Deep Silver,” says Koch’s sales and marketing director Paul Nicholls. “The re-telling of the most popular of all the series – the first – from a brand new character’s perspective has excited the fans. “The game also looks incredible with some of the best talent to in-game modelling that has been seen. “Add to this the fact that we have most of the key characters’ voices in the game, this will be an authentic Prison Break experience. “We believe we have a hit on our hands here. We are building Europeanwide relationships with Fox, as the licence holder for the brand, and we hope to turn this into a long-term worldwide relationship.”

through social networking,” says Nicholls. “Our community manager does an amazing job of feeding information, assets and competitions through to the various forums and fan

stealth titles. Our work with the specialist press also proved that you don’t have to be a fan of the series to enjoy the storyline.” Prison Break was one of the most popular TV shows of the last decade, drawing in Even though the series ended millions of viewers around last summer, there is still a the globe. massive amount of Prison Despite the series Break fans thirsty for more. concluding last year, THE GREAT ESCAPE Nicholls is confident that Paul Nicholls, Koch Media Awareness of the Prison both the game and the Break brand is already high among the pages discussing the TV show to ensure brand have more than enough appeal to mainstream public, and Koch is working that the game is front of mind for them. make The Conspiracy a success. hard to make the upcoming game just “We are, of course, working with the “Even though the series ended last as prominent. specialist gaming press, with hands on summer, there is still a massive amount Rather than a widespread marketing previews appearing in the print press of Prison Break enthusiasts thirsty for initiative, the company has prepared a back in December and January. more to experience,” he says. heavily targeted campaign directed at “Many have also identified that the “For example, the official TV series the show’s established fanbase. stealth element of the game will prove Facebook page run by Fox has almost “We are sharing information with the attractive to more casual gamers that 1.5 million users that are still actively massive Prison Break fanbase, mostly may be intimidated by more hardcore discussing the show on a daily basis.

RELEASED: MARCH 26 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3, PC PUBLISHER: DEEP SILVER DEVELOPER: ZOOTFLY PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH MEDIA CONTACT: 0870 027 0985

“Our Facebook page for the game has seen an increase of ‘friends’ in the past few weeks alone. In addition to this, there are hundreds of dedicated news blogs, microblogs and social networking groups all still talking passionately about the show, engaging their communities on all things Prison Break. “The sales of the DVD box sets of the TV series also continue to perform exceptionally well. This is all a clear indication to us that launching the game of the TV series is exactly what the fans want and will only serve to strengthen the brand further.”

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RETAILBIZ: BLAZBLUE: CALAMITY TRIGGER WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 12/03/10 33

Easy-to-pickup and well-received new fighter BlazBlue makes its way to Xbox 360 and PS3… by Dominic Sacco

RELEASED: MARCH 19 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3

BLAZBLUE: Calamity Trigger is a brand new weapon-based fighting game looking to satisfy European players following its success abroad. It has already sold more than 350,000 copies in the USA and Japan, and spent 14 weeks in the American top 20 after debuting at number two in the charts. Developer Arc System Works, who produced the long-running Guilty Gear series and Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors games, is keen to move closer to the Western market with its latest release. “With the resurgence of the fighting genre and the evidence of this title’s appeal to both the hardcore and mainstream audiences, we expect this

Rob Noble, marketing manager at PQube says: “We anticipate a rapid sell through of this strong offer, especially amongst those looking for great value when choosing their premium games.”

PRICE: £44.99 DISTRIBUTOR: PQUBE CONTACT: 01488 649521

events including the MCM Expo in London and Birmingham, and specialist fighting tournament Super Vs Battle from Neo Empire. Marketing manager for PQube, Rob Noble, says: “BlazBlue is conceived, designed and programmed with the mainstream 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, but rather simple to use single button press attacks.”

Rob Noble, PQube

FOR THE MASSES

Players can get a limited edition version of the game for Xbox 360 and PS3 – an exclusive for the UK market. An art book and bonus DVD with two hours of fighting tutorials are included in the specially branded packs.

DEVELOPER: ARC SYSTEM WORKS

We anticipate a rapid sell through of the special edition, especially with those looking for great value.

to be a top three title in the UK on both PS3 and Xbox 360,” says Dave Pain, managing director at PQube.

LIMITED EDITION BLAZ’BOX

PUBLISHER: ZEN UNITED

The distributor’s marketing drive for the brawler’s release takes a range of players into account – mainstream fighting fans, hardcore players and new entrants to the genre. A print and online advertising campaign in March aims to grab the attention of all these gamers. Even the box has been designed as a result of user interaction to appeal to a wider spectrum of gamers, not only for those which PQube says are ‘inthe-know’ hardcore. Social networking on Facebook and Twitter has picked up a broad following of gamers and new fans. PQube says demos of BlazBlue have proved huglely popular at gaming

FIGHTING ADVENTURE

BlazBlue’s story follows betrayed soldier Ragna the Bloodedge, who has mastered a fighting style blending magic and technology, known as Azure Grimoire, or BlazBlue. A collection of fighters stand in his way to battle it out and claim the technique for themselves. The game includes online multiplayer and a single-player RPG adventure story, which has been well received by the press. On review aggregator site Metacritic, the PS3 game has achieved an average score of 89 from 33 reviews. Guilty Gear producer Toshimichi Mori and game music veteran Daisuke Ishiwatari teamed up to work on BlazBlue. And with a potential sequel already on the cards, publisher Zen United is confident the original will sell well.

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RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 34 MCV 12/03/10

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more

PS3 set for God of War III boost The big new releases keep on coming in March with the arrival of Sony’s next major PlayStation 3 exclusive, God of War III. Meanwhile, Square Enix Europe readies its over-the-top open world action game, Just Cause 2... TITLE

FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

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

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

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

0845 234 4242 01582 436043 0845 362 7769 01426 478 900 01279 822800 0121 625 3388 01376 555 333 0121 625 3388 01279 822800 0845 234 4242 0121 625 3388 01582 436043 01582 436043 01889 570156 01582 436043 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 01582 436043 0208 987 5706 0121 506 9585

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

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

Action Action Simulation Action/Adventure RPG Action Casual Mini-games RPG Action Mini-games FPS RPG RPG / Farming Strategy Kids Action

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

020 7324 5200 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 01279 822800 01279 822800 0121 625 3388 0845 234 4242 01279 822800 0121 506 9585 01462 476 130

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

PC / PS3

Action

Rockstar

01279 822800

Gem

DS PC DS DS

Casual Simulation Casual Casual

Foreign Media Games First Class Simulations Foreign Media Games Zushi

020 7240 2645 01869 338833 020 7240 2645 01279 822800

Open Open Open Gem

MARCH 19th A4 Pacific Class Alabama Smith: Escape From Pompeii Art Of Murder BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Combat Of Giants: Mutant Insects Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight Digitars: Magnificent Flying Funfair Dragon Age: Origins Awakening Food Coach: Healthy Living Made Easy Fragile Dreams God Of War III Gourmania Jewel Match King's Bounty: Armored Princess Magic Encyclopedia Metro 2033 MotoGP 09/10 Pet Show Craze Scene It? Twilight Sins Of A Solar Empire Trinity Gold Edition

MARCH 26th Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY Edition 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 Racket Sports Party Red Steel 2 Resonance Of Fate Rune Factory Frontier Settlers 7 SpongeBob Boating Bash Warriors: Legends Of Troy

MARCH 30th Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City

APRIL 1st Casual Mania Dubai Airport: Gateway To The World Gamehits Jig-a-Pix: SmileyWorld

MUSTSTOCK ..............................GOD OF WAR III Released: March 19th Format: PS3 Publisher: Sony Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388

The assembled media at E3 gasped when the latest in the acclaimed God of War series was shown in all its glory last year. The dedicated PlayStation fanbase is sure to be out in force when this hack and slash epic finally arrives on shelves.

MUSTSTOCK ..............................JUST CAUSE 2 Released: March 26th Format: PC, PS3, 360 Publisher: Eidos Distributor: Square Enix Contact: 020 7324 5200

The sequel to Eidos’ 2006 outlandish sandbox action game is finally set to land at retail. The early buzz from the specialist press points to more over-the-top action fun, so expect Just Cause 2 to appeal strongly to the core gamer when it launches.

Elspa Ad:Layout 1

18/2/10

17:57

Page 1

R&D Tax Credit Workshop Organised by ELSPA In association with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Thursday March 18, 2010 10am – 1pm RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

SAVE THE DAY!

R&D Tax Credit Workshop Opportunity for one-on-one consultations with HMRC advisors Venue: RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD *Networking lunch included FREE to ELSPA members. £50 per person for non-members

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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 36 MCV 12/05/10

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Sponsored by

POLL IS THE INTRODUCTION OF PRE-OWNED GAMES TO SUPERMARKETS DETRIMENTAL TO THE TRADE?

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

94%

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 360 EA

83%

82%

Yakuza 3 PS3 Sega

Supreme Commander 2 PC Square Enix

79%

70%

Sega All-Stars Racing Wii Sega

Ben 10: Vilgax Attacks 360 D3P

THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

1 2

3

4

TITLE/FORMAT

5

HEAVY RAIN 1

DEVELOPER: QUANTIC DREAM PUBLISHER: SONY

ALIENS VS PREDATOR 360

2

4

NEW

5

RE

6

9

COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360

7

7

MASS EFFECT 2 360

8

6

JUST DANCE WII

UBISOFT

9

RE

WII FIT PLUS WII

NINTENDO

10

ALIENS VS PREDATOR PS3

SEGA

WHITE KNIGHT CHRONICLES PS3

SONY

BIOSHOCK 2 360

Little Star Creations has rolled out its line of officially licensed headphones designed for children. These headsets bear the brands of some of the world’s most popular kids’ licences that are also familiar with gamers, such as Ben 10 and Peppa Pig. The devices are compatible with all handheld games systems, as well as various iPod models, iPhones and more. The headphones are adjustable, feature soft wipe-clean ear pads and have been designed to reduce maximum volume in order to protect young gamers’ hearing. Little Star Creations: 020 8498 7226

SEGA

3

10

Let’s wait and see

MARGIN MAKER

PUBLISHER

FORMAT: PS3

No

34%

News that Asda, Argos and Tesco are taking the first steps into the pre-owned games market has shaken the industry with half of the voters in the latest MCV online survey believing this can only damage the UK’s games retail landscape. Another 34 per cent are more optimistic, either believing there is still room for more players in the pre-owned space, that supermarkets are entitled to enter this sector, or that the current trials

INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS 2

51%

15%

*Metacritic scores correct at the time of going to press

1

Yes

2K GAMES ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA

THE SIMS 3: DESIGN & HIGH TECH STUFF PC

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.

DEAL OF THE WEEK GAME customers can save £80 when they buy a 250GB PS3 Slim with Sony’s Uncharted 2 and Sega’s Aliens vs Predator for £289.99.

will come to nothing and leave established trade-in services unchallenged. The remaining 15 per cent are more intrigued to see whether supermarkets can make a success of this, opting to sit back and observe before judging whether or not these developments will have a negative impact on the industry.  Take part in MCV’s next poll at www.mcvuk.com

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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 12/05/10 37 Sponsored by

PRICE CHECK [PRE ORDERS] Heavy Rain 2 PS3, Sony

Sega All-Stars Racing 360, Sega

Sky Crawlers Wii, Namco Bandai

Napoleon: Total War PC, Sega

Undead Knights PSP, Tecmo Koei

TOP 10 FINAL FANTASY XIII

IN STORE: TAUNTON

PS3 SQUARE ENIX

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N/A

£29.99

N/A

£39.71

£32.71

N/A

£27.71

N/A

2. GOD OF WAR III

£39.99

£34.99

£24.99

£24.99

N/A

3. FINAL FANTASY XIII

£44.99

£39.99

£34.99

£29.99

£27.99

4. SC: CONVICTION + T-SHIRT

PS3 ......................................................................SONY 360 ............................................................SQUARE ENIX 360 ..................................................................UBISOFT

5. SC: CONVICTION + LONG SLEEVE T-SHIRT 360 ..................................................................UBISOFT

6. SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV

ONLINE

PS3 ..................................................................CAPCOM

£37.95

£29.95

£24.95

£16.95

£17.95

£37.85

£31.85

£24.85

£19.85

£19.85

£37.99

£29.99

£24.99

£17.99

£19.99

£38.89

£32.89

£24.89

N/A

£19.89

7. ALAN WAKE LIMITED EDITION

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

8. YAKUZA 3: PREMIER EDITION

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

9. JUST CAUSE 2: LIMITED EDITION

360 ................................................................BETHESDA

10. SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV + T-SHIRT

PS3 ..................................................................CAPCOM Week ending March 5th Source: SHOPTO.COM

FROM THE FRONTLINE This week: Kelly Simmons of Grainger Games Cramlington… How has the market been for you since you opened last year? Being new in Cramlington, we had to make an impression on customers to bring them to our store. At Grainger Games we have the best trade-in prices and always offer low prices on new releases and pre-owned titles. We had a very successful sale over the Christmas period and have amazing titles on ‘Deal of the Week’, and are always offering customers great value.

“At Grainger Games we have the best trade-in prices and always offer low prices on new releases.”

How much of a threat do supermarkets pose to your store? Supermarkets can offer on price but we know customers come to Grainger Games because we will be well stocked and offer great prices for new releases. We also have the advantages of trade-in, pre-owned and pre-orders which most supermarkets don’t offer. But I think the main advantage we have is our friendly staff giving great service and advice.

[PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10 FINAL FANTASY XIII PS3 SQUARE ENIX 2. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

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

3. GOD OF WAR III

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

4. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

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

5. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

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

6. FINAL FANTASY XIII

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

7. SUPREME COMMANDER 2

PC..............................................................SQUARE ENIX

Do you see online retailers as a threat? Online is great for selling new games, however you cannot guarantee the condition of hardware. It is also rare for online retailers to offer trade-ins, so that’s a huge advantage we have in-store to keep customers coming back.

8. NINTENDO DSI XL

DSI ................................................................NINTENDO

9. DAWN OF WAR II: CHAOS RISING

PC ..........................................................................THQ

10. DRAGON AGE ORIGINS: AWAKENING

PC ............................................................................EA Week ending March 5th Source: Amazon.co.uk

38,39 MCV578_final:52-53 MCV572

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Page 1

RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 38 MCV 12/03/10

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM

OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[1] [FULL PRICE]

TITLE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS ZELDA: SPIRIT TRACKS MARIO KART DS MARIO & SONIC: WINTER OLYMPICS PROFESSOR LAYTON: PANDORA’S BOX DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING STYLE BOUTIQUE MARIO & LUIGI: BOWSERS INSIDE STORY PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE

3 1 5 2 6 7 4 RE

9

WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TOP 40ALL

PUBLISHER

SONIC & SEGA ALL-STARS RACING DEVELOPER: SUMO DIGITAL PUBLISHER: SEGA NINTENDO NINTENDO NINTENDO SEGA

[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]

[2]

1

FORMAT: PS3, 360, PC

DEVELOPER: DICE PUBLISHER: EA

NINTENDO

THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

NINTENDO

2

3

JUST DANCE Wii

NINTENDO

3

2

ALIENS VS PREDATOR 360, PS3, PC

SEGA

4

1

HEAVY RAIN PS3

SONY

5

8

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

6

4

WII FIT PLUS Wii

NINTENDO NINTENDO

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

PUBLISHER

[3]

TITLE

PUBLISHER UBISOFT

NINTENDO

7

5

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

8

6

WII SPORTS RESORT Wii

9

10

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

10

7

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS WII Wii

NINTENDO 2K GAMES

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD NINTENDO EA

1

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS WII

11

9

BIOSHOCK 2 360, PS3, PC

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

12

11

MARIO & SONIC: WINTER OLYMPICS Wii, DS

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

SONIC & SEGA ALL-STARS RACING SEGA MARIO KART WII NINTENDO MARIO & SONIC: WINTER OLYMPICS SEGA SILENT HILL: SHATTERED MEMORIES KONAMI F1 2009 CODEMASTERS FIFA 10 EA JAMES CAMERON’S AVATAR UBISOFT COD 4: MODERN WARFARE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD RABBIDS GO HOME UBISOFT

13

13

FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 360

MICROSOFT

14

31

ASSASSIN’S CREED II 360, PS3

UBISOFT

15

16

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

16

18

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360, PS3, PC

4 3 2 11 6 7 8 10 5

WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TITLE

17

17

MARIO KART WII Wii

14

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

19

23

UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3

SONY

20

12

NAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR PC

SEGA

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

PUBLISHER

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

WII FIT PLUS WII SPORTS RESORT WII PLAY EA SPORTS ACTIVE MONOPOLY CARS: RACE-O-RAMA RAYMAN RAVING RABBIDS TV PARTY PEPPA PIG: THE GAME MY FITNESS COACH: GET IN SHAPE

ROCKSTAR

18

PC CD-ROM

[BUDGET PRICE]

JUST DANCE

2 3 4 6 7 9 13 5 11

[4]

SEGA

NINTENDO WARNER BROS

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

PUBLISHER

1

BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

NINTENDO

2

1

NAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR

NINTENDO

3

NEW

NINTENDO

4

2

EA

5

NEW

[5]

DEVELOPER: UBISOFT (FRANCE) PUBLISHER: UBISOFT

DEVELOPER: DICE PUBLISHER: EA SUPREME COMMANDER 2 FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 ASSASSIN’S CREED II

EA

6

4

THE SIMS 3

THQ

7

3

ALIENS VS PREDATOR SILENT HUNTER 5: BATTLE OF ATLANTIC

SEGA SQUARE ENIX SEGA UBISOFT EA SEGA

UBISOFT

8

NEW

P2 GAMES

9

5

THE SIMS 3: WORLD ADVENTURES

EA

UBISOFT

10

9

LEFT 4 DEAD 2

EA

UBISOFT

38,39 MCV578_final:52-53 MCV572

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RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 12/03/10 39

BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 has shot straight

EA has five separate franchises in the Top 40,

to the top of the charts, knocking Heavy Rain

with popular FIFA 10 still in the Top Ten 23 weeks

into fourth place, with Sony’s adventure falling

after release. Square Enix’s Supreme Commander 2 is a new

69 per cent in sales. publishers grabbing the top spot so far.

charts, behind Bad Company 2 and Napoleon.

Bad Company 2 also gives EA its second No.1 of the year following Mass Effect 2 in January, which now sits in 26th place.

Meanwhile, sales of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing rose 28 per cent, raising it to fifth place. Dominic.Sacco@intentmedia.co.uk

PS3

L FORMATS

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

Highest New Entry

21

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 PC

22

25

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS DS

23

NEW

SUPREME COMMANDER 2 360, PC

24

15

VANCOUVER 2010 360, PS3, PC

25

22

ZELDA: SPIRIT TRACKS DS

26

19

MASS EFFECT 2 360, PC

27

26

MX VS ATV REFLEX 360, PS3, PSP, DS

28

RE

29

27

30

20

31

RE

32

SEGA NINTENDO SQUARE ENIX SEGA

EA KONAMI P2 GAMES/UBISOFT

MARIO KART DS DS

NINTENDO

29

WII PLAY Wii

NINTENDO

33

RE

SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PS2, PC

34

24

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM 360, PS3, PC

35

32

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

THQ

36

34

BAYONETTA 360, PS3

SEGA

THQ

SQUARE ENIX

37

RE

PROFESSOR LAYTON: PANDORA’S BOX DS NINTENDO

38

RE

ASSASSIN’S CREED 360, PS3, PC

39

RE

GTA: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITY 360

40

33

DANTE’S INFERNO PSP, 360, PS3

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

9 3 5 8 2 7 15 6 10

UBISOFT ROCKSTAR EA

PUBLISHER

1

BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

HEAVY RAIN ALIENS VS PREDATOR COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES SONIC & SEGA ALL-STARS RACING FIFA 10 BIOSHOCK 2 MAG BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM

1 2 3 4 8 6 5 9 11

DEVELOPER: DICE PUBLISHER: EA

PSP THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

SONY SEGA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SONY SEGA EA 2K GAMES SONY EIDOS

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

TITLE

PUBLISHER

SIMS 3: DESIGN & HIGH-TECH STUFF DEVELOPER: THE SIMS STUDIO PUBLISHER: EA VAMPIRE SAGA: PANDORA’S BOX

FOCUS

ASSASSIN’S CREED

FOCUS

ESCAPE THE MUSEUM 2

GSP/AVANQUEST

MYSTERY OF THE CRYSTAL PORTAL

GSP/AVANQUEST

MYSTERY CASE FILES: DIRE GROVE

FOCUS

HIDDEN MYSTERIES: TITANIC

GSP/AVANQUEST

HIDDEN EXPEDITION: DEVIL’S TRIANGLE

FOCUS

CITY INTERACTIVE

MYSTERY IN LONDON: JACK THE RIPPER

FOCUS

PUBLISHER

1

FIFA 10

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

LITTLEBIGPLANET GRAN TURISMO JAMES CAMERON’S AVATAR: THE GAME ASSASSIN’S CREED: BLOODLINES GTA: CHINATOWN WARS SILENT HILL: SHATTERED MEMORIES FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY LEGO BATMAN: THE VIDEOGAME

1 3 4 5 6 NEW

7 RE RE

DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA

XBOX 360

[BUDGET PRICE]

SNIPER: ART OF VICTORY

TITLE

EA THQ

PES 2010 360, PS3, PC PEPPA PIG: THE GAME Wii, DS

[FULL PRICE]

NINTENDO

LEFT 4 DEAD 2 360, PC

PC CD-ROM

entry, going straight into third place in the PC

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

SONY SONY UBISOFT UBISOFT ROCKSTAR KONAMI SEGA SQUARE ENIX WARNER BROS.

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

1

BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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

1 3 2 4 5 6 7 9 10

(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack

It’s the seventh No.1 this year, with six different

21

WEEK ENDING 06/03/10

PUBLISHER

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

[SOURCE]

[ANALYSIS]

40,41 MCV578_final

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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 40 MCV 12/03/10

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

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

SUPREME FACTORY

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

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

40,41 MCV578_final

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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 12/03/10 41

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 19th

GDC REVIEW

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

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

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

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

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.

ALESAYI UNITED COMPANY Video Games Distributor in the Middle East P.O BOX 16999 Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai U.A.E.

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.

GENRE FOCUS: DRIVING With a wealth of driving games due to hit shelves this year – from the head-to-head battle between Blur and Split/Second: Velocity this May, to the long-awaited Gran Turismo 5 – MCV takes a look at what makes racing such a popular and lucrative genre.

UAE

DUPLICATION AND COPY PROTECTION

FRIDAY APRIL 9th

CHINA TERRITORY REPORT

FRIDAY MARCH 26th

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND TERRITORY REPORT

Tel: 00971 4 883 5960 Fax: 00971 4 883 5175 E-Mail: marketing@alesayi.ae U.A.E. Website: www.alesayi.ae Group Website: www.alesayi.com

PLUTO GAMES 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.

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

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. With hopes of a new R18+ rating kindled by the Government’s ongoing public consultation, MCV investigates the state of the Australian and New Zealand games markets, speaking to suppliers, key industry personnel and analysts.

FRIDAY APRIL 16th

SELF-IMPROVEMENT AND NONGAMES SOFTWARE MCV takes a look at one of the industry’s least traditional, but fastest-growing genres.

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

42-46 MCV578_final

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Page 1

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 USD Limited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01933 227220 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 DISTRIBUTION

USD LIMITED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01933 227220. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.usdlimited.com

“ The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style? ” - Dr Emmett Brown

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

42-46 MCV578_final

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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISTRIBUTION

Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month.

STUDIOS Epic Games ...................................................+1 919 870 1516 nDreams...........................................................01252 375754 Razorback ...........................................www.razorback.co.uk Realtime Worlds ...............................+44 (0) 1382 202 821 Stainless Games.......................jobs@stainlessgames.com

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

TOOLS Blitz Games Studios ......................+44 (0) 1926 880 000 bluegfx ..............................................+44 (0) 1483 467 200 Crytek ........................................................+49 69219 77660 Dolby...........................................................(0) 1793 842 922

SERVICES amBX UK Ltd. ...............................................www.ambx.com Ian Livingstone..................................+44 (0) 1483 421 491 Imagination Studios..............................+46 (0) 18-106930 Onteca................................................+44 (0) 151 709 0028

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

Partnertrans.......................................+44 (0) 1753 247 731 TC Associates.................................+44 (0) 7768 883 808 Testronic Labs ..................................+44 (0) 1753 653 722 Universally Speaking .......................+44 (0) 1480 210 621 Xaitment............................................+49 6897 - 600 80-0

COURSES University of Hull.............................+44 (0) 1482 465 951

To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and every week in MCV) contact katie.rawlings@intentmedia.co.uk. All subscription requests should go to mcv.subscriptions@c-cms.com 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 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 MONETISING MOBILE Wednesday, May 26th BAFTA, London Jodie.Holdway@intentmedia.co.uk MCM LONDON EXPO Saturday, May 29th – Sunday, May 30th ExCeL, London www.mcmexpo.net

JUNE

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.

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

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

CLOSING KEYNOTE BY

SEAMUS BLACKLEY

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

Join your fellow industry leaders, designers, innovators and practitioners at this year’s compelling conference to explore how 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.

SOME OF THE LEADING SPEAKERS Seamus Blackley, Video game industry pioneer Tom Watson MP Ed Vaizey, Shadow Minister for Culture and the Creative Industries Matt Mason, Author, Pirates Dilemma Tom Chatfield, 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 Dawn Hallybone, Teacher Tim Rylands, Teacher & Innovator Derek P Robertson, Learning & Teaching Scotland

For full information and registration visit:

gamebasedlearning2010.com use code intentgbl for online registration discount

Intermedia2NewSize.indd 1

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s lou ore... u c i , rid and m z i n, Qu op wago l e ev nd s D g ba ’ k e we S3 Bu t s la he P m t o s fr ng on o t o pi , ph s jum k e e e s w eleas i h r T ss pre DISASTER BETTING ONstood still as a calendar glitch

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FROM THE ARCHIVE MCV May 6th, 2005

NEWS: as SCEE boss David eams our front page, ‘Stop the madness!’ scr for price-cutting... l nta -me are, like, proper Reeves says retailers s as the new CEO of Rod Cousens re-emerge Former Acclaim boss ition from pet com f stif off ts ada bea Codemasters... EA Can listing... Bandai 100 p elo the first ever Dev Rockstar North to top the ‘assets’ on in ure Publishing moves and Namco merge... Fut l, Highbury. of struggling mag riva CHARTS: All Formats Rockstar tion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Midnight Club 3: Dub Edi PlayStation 2 nic Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Electro FIFA Street . . . . . . . . . . Xbox . Microsoft .................... Jade Empire . . . . . . . . . PC . . . Blizzard .................... World of Warcraft . . .

’ ‘BABY BOOM S T E G E B G BU arch by gh. A lot. Rese

DS . . Nintendo .................... Super Mario 64 DS . . h Xochilt position he shares wit PEOPLE: e EVP of VU Games, a om bec n joins Babel to inso ted mo Atk pro Jon Adam Roberts is l of a hand in Scrabble... hel a is , else g and hin PR not its if rs Balzola-Widmann who, isions?... Pinpoint bolste Remember mobile div joins n. sier isio Tis div Le bile le hel mo its Mic as head of Heather Leech.... with Sarah Barker and marketing departments Activision’s PR team. Someone was fired. AND FINALLY... ig McNicol three times. the same picture of Cra es tur fea V MC k’s This wee

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



ADVERTISING: 01992 535647

Online Editor: Ben Parfitt Ben.Parfitt@intentmedia.co.uk Contributors: 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



us lau bsite This one made well-known we re.com - that pa 87 per r om te eC af r, ric PS3P this Decembe om bo by ba a predicts claimed they cent of males y time” with lit ua “q t en sp while their their partners wn. The do s wa console probably nt ce r same 87 pe 3 when their opt for the PS headache’. missus ‘has a

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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MCV 12/03/10 49

RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD

1

MASTERMINDS Teams of developers chose to forego drinking at work in favour of the Develop Quiz – where they could drink together. The winners and sore losers are all named and shamed here:

2

3

5

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

4

6

7

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

SPLASH DAMAGE Curve Rocksteady Centroid 3 Monkeys HotGen Peppermint P Laughing Jackel Firefly Premier PR Waterfront ITV Side UK Train2Game Bad Management Babel Media Testronic Labs Big Head Games Dolby Laboratories Exient Aardvark Swift

DUNCAN CROSS, ASDA

MARTYN GIBBS, GAMESTATION

DON MCCABE, CHIPS

TIM ELLIS, HMV

8

KEITH SHARPE, PLAY.COM

SARAH JASPER, THE HUT

9

10

11

12 JON BIGGS, MORRISONS

AZEEM SADIQ, COMET

13

14

15

16 GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON

17

18

19

PETER WILLIS, DSGI

20

IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO

SIX DEGREES OF ACTIVISION

It’s almost rude not to know someone who once worked there. This week, we start with...

ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS

STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK

JOANNA HUNT, TESCO

1 Mungo Amyatt Lier. Chocks Away! At the controls for the start of our journey is the man who founded Just Flight, the president of which is now...

2

3

4

Andy Payne, who is also (amongst many other things) the chairman of ELSPA and used to work hand-in-leathergloved-hand with general secretary...

Roger Bennett, who, when he wasn’t huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’, was, in the ‘80s, sellin’ as part of the ad team down at Newsfield where he worked with....

Rich Eddy, who’s currently the ultraloveable PR guru at Codemasters where...

5 Juliet Fielder used to work before joining the 505 gang, which is now run by...

6 Ian Howe who, along with colleagues Ralph Pitt-Stanley, Ali Wood, Bob Burridge, Uncle Tim Woodley and all, used to work at... ACTIVISION

GURDEEP HUNJAN, SAINSBURY’S

PHIL MOORE, GRAINGER GAMES

OUT March 12th

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s like i g n i h t f is kind o 's just how h t r o f ivision ces. It t e c f A g n t i a w mad thro “Getting d at an ape for cates.” i n u m a m o m tc Iconic developer Tim Schafer chips in on Activision’s getting the beas dismissal of Infinity Ward’s Zampella and West

EIGHTIES, NINETIES,

NOUGHTIES

The brands and technology that have dominated the decades. This week, platform holders...

COMMODORE

SONY

NINTENDO

Sorry Nintendo and Atari, but God we loved Commodore in the UK. For gamers, the brand holds the same sort of cache of affection and nostalgia as, say, Ealing comedies, or steam trains. At the start of the decade, it was our favourite ‘micro’, before the mid-80s brought us the Amiga, which was just unbelievably sexy. It trounced Atari’s ST and the announcement of the big Q4 bundle was one of the main events in the calendar – even though many of the games included were unfinished rubbish, and the rest were complete(d) rubbish. The ‘90s saw the launch of the CDTV, the CD32 and then, oh yes, bankruptcy.

And now, an especially big sorry to Sega. Because at the start of the ‘90s, good lord those guys were hot. And cool. But never lukewarm. And then in the middle of the decade, Sony came along and changed everything. Basically, until 1995, we were cavemen, and the PlayStation landed in our primitive world like that black monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Oh, how we shrieked. Garry Williams learned to use basic tools, and soon we were all whizzing round space with Rigsby from Rising Damp. Or something. The point is, 1995 was Year Zero. Which means this decade might have been a bit short, but it was totally won by Sony.

At one point, it seemed that maybe Nintendo would give up on hardware altogether and become ‘just’ the greatest platform-agnostic publisher in the world. In the end, it kind of did give up, but only on the technology arms race. The result was that with the DS and, most surprisingly, the Wii, it invented new ways to play, rather than glitzier ways to present the same game. The DS continues to rule handheld like Kim Jong-il rules North Korea and the Wii now seems like a perfectly natural name for the best-selling console in the world. No mean feat, as Gizmondo’s short-lived Project Wank proved all too conclusively.

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MCV578 Friday March 12th 2010