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You are the Prototype, Alex Mercer, a man without memory armed with amazing shapeshifting abilities, hunting your way to the heart of the conspiracy which created you; making those responsible pay.

U FAST & DEADLY SHAPE-SHIFTING COMBAT: Reconfigure your body to the situation at hand. From Claws to Blades to Hammers to Whips, choose the right weapon for the situation. Change to a shield or armour for defence, or use advanced sensory powers (thermal vision, infected vision) to track your enemies. U OVER-THE-TOP LOCOMOTION & AGILITY: Seamlessly and fluidly bound from building to building, run up walls, bounce off cars and everything in your path. Adaptive parkour lets you move freely through the open-world environments of New York City. U UNIQUE DISGUISING ABILITIES: Consume anyone at anytime, take on their appearance and assume their memories and special abilities. U DEEP, CONSPIRACY DRIVEN STORYLINE: Wake up with no memory of the past...just mysterious powers and a link to a town in Idaho. Delve into the mysteries of your origin, the true nature of your power and your part in a conspiracy 40 years in the making.

"DESTROY OR DECEIVE IN THE YEAR'S MOST DEVASTATING SANDBOX EPIC!"

9/10

w w w. p ro t o t y p e g a m e . c o m

© 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision is a registered trademark and Prototype is a trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. ‘2’ and ‘PLAYSTATION’ are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES

International Media Partner

Issue 539 Friday May 29 2009 £3.25

04 Taking stock

05 3D at E3

Take-Two boss Ben Feder kicks off our E3 issue by discussing economic survival

Ubisoft banks on new technology to leave show’s attendees ‘dreaming’

07 Tuned in marketing

05 State of the ‘Mart

Activision believes it has secured the ‘biggest games TV ad of all time’

MCV talks to US supermarket giant WalMart about its video games strategy

09 Live and kicking

08 Sega on the up

OnLive chief Mike McGarvey sets out the streaming platform’s gameplan

The publisher’s European HQ has designs on its competitors’ sales share

EVERY BUYER  EVERY BRANCH  EVERY INDIE  EVERY WEEK

Make or break time This E3 must be more exciting, say publishers – without descending into costly mayhem by Tim Ingham E3 2009 has to strike the delicate balance between showbiz and circumspection to secure its future as the global industry’s central showcase. After two years of publiclyacknowledged disappointment, the global publishing community has today come together to demand a return to the ‘glamour’ of expos gone by. But those bankrolling the event know this re-evaluation as a glitzy spectacle comes with a hefty price-tag – and they will be keeping close tabs on the return on their investment. The ESA has promised that this year’s Expo will be in marked contrast to the disappointing, dramatically scaled-back E3 2007 in Santa Monica – and last year’s lacklustre, eerily empty LA event. Yet it has also vowed to run the ‘best value trade show in the world’. The body has welcomed worldwide media and retail to this year’s event with open arms, increasing floorspace and even removing the ban on the infamous ‘booth babes’. However, to ensure E3’s continued support, the ESA must walk the tightrope of amplifying the excitement of the show, whilst avoiding the cash-swallowing excess of the 2005 and 2006 outings.

ALL AND SUNDRY: This year’s E3 will return to blockbuster proportions – but those investing in the show need it to remain financially worthwhile

INCORPORATING

Koei and Tecmo form powerhouse by Christopher Dring KOEI AND TECMO will be re-branded Tecmo-Koei ahead of the publisher’s aggressive expansion into Western territories, MCV understands. The news follows big-money European acquisitions by rival Square-Enix, which purchased Eidos last month, and NamcoBandai, which is set to finalise a deal for Atari’s European distribution business.

‘GIVE US STRUT AND SWAGGER’ The world’s most powerful publishers have asked E3 2009 to crank up the excitement... “The recent attempts to downsize the Expo swung the pendulum too far. The industry needs an exciting floor show at E3.” Jack Tretton, President, SCEA

Over $120 million was sunk into each of those exhibitions, with many publishers suffering hefty losses – an implausible outcome for most in today’s recession-hit industry. In our special E3 preview, the likes of SCEA president

THE FALLOUT FROM E3 2008 Publishers were quick to stick the knife into last year’s E3, after the ESA failed to strike a suitable middle ground between excess and subtlety. EA boss John Riccitiello said he “hated” the event – a sentiment echoed by EA Sports president Peter Moore, who labelled it “soulless”. Sega America chief Simon Jeffery even likened it to a “hospital corridor”.

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“We need to regain the industry’s strut and swagger at this year’s E3 – which is something the Expo once so wonderfully portrayed.” Peter Moore, President, EA Sports

Jack Tretton, EA Sports boss Peter Moore, Sega Of America chief Simon Jeffrey and THQ global VP Ian Curran reveal that they have bet on the show regaining its “strut and swagger” – but warned of a relapse into the “circus” of yesteryear. The ESA’s bosses will have their fingers crossed that the world’s media, retailers and publishing community can help them pull it off.  Check out MCV’s in-depth E3 preview on page 31

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“This E3 needs noise and spectacle – but control is vital. We can’t get back to the carnivalstyle show that got in the way of business getting done.” Simon Jeffery, President, Sega of America

[OPINION] Mike Gallagher, CEO, ESA “We are extremely excited about E3’s rejuvenated format. This year’s event will be a sharp upgrade from the previous two years’ shows. With today’s economic challenges, this is the best value event that European business will see all year. And it’s a departure from the previous two years, which were exclusively for the North American market.”

NEW RELEASES 72

Tecmo-Koei will focus on expanding its worldwide offices and developing Westernised new IP at its studio in Canada. “As the market is expanding in the West, it is shrinking in Japan,” Koei CEO Kenji Matsubara (pictured), told MCV. “The Western market is six times larger than that of the Japanese one, and it is going to grow even further. “Accordingly, our expansion into the Western market is the most important part of our mid-term plan.” Tecmo, which is most famous for its Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden franchises, turned down a take-over bid from Square-Enix ahead of its merger with Koei last year.

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[LEADER] IT’S MAKE YOUR MIND UP TIME FOR E3 So in just a few days we’ll know if the big gamble finally paid off. Will E3 2009 be a return to form? According to everyone you talk to at publisher and format-holder offices across the US, the event will definitely be the key event for the games industry this year. Oh… of course they’d say that, they’re the stakeholders. But perhaps for a change this optimism isn’t just a sign of blind faith or wild hope. Maybe, just maybe, after two years of uncertainty – ‘We want to cancel the event for good’, ‘No we just want to do it small scale’, ‘No we want something bigger than that’ – the people running the show will stop quibbling and just get on with it. The E3s of years past gave us numerous memorable moments – a large handful of them based on sheer outlandishness. Everyone has their own personal stories of what they got up to at parties or after-show events, but for the industry as a whole there are collective memories that prove what a great (if, yes, ridiculous) circus it can be. Think Peter Moore’s Halo 2 tattoo; N-Gage go-gogirls detailing the price of the Nokia - with £199.99 crudely written across their tummies; Sega’s brave/idiotic announcement of a looming Saturn release; Sony warning the rest of the industry to ‘Go big or go home’. Yet at the E3 of the last two years, announcements like this were non-existent. So, sure, senior industry types might have already talked themselves into believing E3 ‘09 is the greatest show on Earth before it has even begun. But at least with format holders and ESA members wised up to the perils of meddling with a winning formula, we have the chance to enjoy an event with some actual substance (and, yes, some excesses), instead of the messes of ‘07 and ‘08.

EXTRA SPECIAL Fittingly, this is no ordinary edition of MCV. In anticipation of E3, we’ve put together a special issue dedicated to the event, featuring a show guide plus page after page of comment and insight in our interviews with leading execs. A guide to some of the great content can be found just to the right. And this issue of MCV won’t just be read in its normal circumstances either. While many of you will be reading at your office or on the shop floor (or via your computer screen if a digital edition reader), a great number of others will be reading on the plane to LA, or at the show itself. We’ve beefed up the circulation with copies available at the West and South halls. So at very least – even if this year’s E3 did somehow manage to be another bloody mess, at least you all got a fucking brilliant edition of MCV out of it. See you at the show. Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk

‘Ditch the B-titles,’ says Take-Two CEO Ben Feder optimistic on consumer spending ahead of big show in LA by Michael French PUBLISHERS SHOULD adopt a more focused product portfolio to offset the recession, says the CEO of Take 2. And speaking to MCV in an exclusive interview, Ben Feder reckons that consumer confidence is strengthening despite the credit crunch. Feder, who last year helped his firm stave off an aggressive takeover bid from EA, said that publishers make more profits by working on a slate of fewer, but better selling triple-A titles, rather than a deluge of unreliable games. The publisher owns Rockstar Games and its GTA franchise, and also the BioShock and Civilization franchises plus new casual brand Carnival games. Feder told MCV: “Some recent reports have indicated that our economy may be beginning to stabilise and consumer confidence may be strengthening. The retail environment does appear to be more stable now. Consumers are continuing to spend, albeit cautiously, and retailers remain interested in our titles, while keeping a close eye on inventory levels. “Our industry continues to show resilience, especially as

“We release the strongest possible titles on a highly selective basis as opposed to offering a wide variety of ‘B’ titles.”

compared with other consumer sectors,” he added. “The best way to attract scarce consumer dollars is to serve the audience in two very important ways: quality and value. In tough times, consumers spend on products that deliver on these criteria, and very little in between. Most publishers are adopting a strategy that Take-Two has had for some time: to release the strongest possible titles on a highly selective basis as opposed to offering a wide variety of ‘B’ titles.” Feder also joined the chorus of execs tipping this year’s E3

as being key for the games industry – pointing out the sector’s resilience will further prove its validity as an entertainment medium. “Interactive entertainment remains one the few bright spots in our economy and is still the fastest growing sector of the entertainment industry,” said Feder. “I expect that this year’s E3 will reflect the industry’s prominence and dynamism. “We have every reason to believe that this year’s E3 will be as exciting and enticing as it gets.”

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WORLD OF WARNER Martin Tremblay, president of Warner Bros.’ games division grilled on his future plans

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CORRE DE FORCE Ubisoft’s Alain Corre on the publisher’s plans for E3 and its hopes for the show

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SEGA’S SAGA European president of Sega, Mike Hayes, offers thoughts on the firm’s growth strategy

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Who needs pre-owned?

FINISH HIM: Wonder Womanowner Warner is prepared to fend off rival Midway suitors

by Michael French

Warner ready to fight for Midway MORTAL KOMBAT could be under Warner ownership in a matter of weeks – but the publisher might have to battle rival suitors looking to move on troubled Midway, sources say. The media giant announced its intention to buy select Midway assets including the Mortal Kombat property last week for $33m – exactly as we had predicted last month. Pending approval from Midway’s bankruptcy court, the struggling publisher’s assets will be up for auction, meaning other publishers could make their own bid. Warner wants the fighting brand, plus Midway’s Chicago and Seattle studios, but not its UK or San Diego studio or sister fighting brand TNA. Sources have told MCV that the acquisition-hungry Warner Bros will fiercely battle to secure the Midway assets it wants to

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BEST OF BRITISH Rod Cousens, CEO of the last bastion of Britsoft publishing Codemasters, interviewed

own – especially given the firm is still reeling from having already lost out once in the acquisition stakes when previous target Eidos was squirreled by surprise buyer Square Enix, “It's no secret that Warner is ready to spend the cash on assets it thinks will suit its business – studios with key story-based brands fit well with its strategy,” our insider said. Warner Bros. has smartly but swiftly built its games empire in recent years and proved it will establish its interactive division at any cost – it even acquired one UK studio for over £100m. In an interview published today, WBIE president Martin Tremblay told MCV that acquisition is key to his plans. “WBIE is growing organically and by acquisition, to make the development technology with the key franchise properties in the best way,” he said.

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E3 SHOW GUIDE Ten pages for those attending the show, including that important exhibitor list

AMERICAN shopping giant Wal-Mart has told MCV that it plans to carve a space for itself as a market leader in US games retail – but not by relying on pre-owned games. The firm has over 3,500 stores in the US and also owns UK supermarket giant Asda, which itself just two weeks ago said it plans to be be our biggest nonspecialist games retailer. Yet despite recent trials of pre-owned games kiosks, WalMart said it will beef up its position by staying focused on sales of new software plus hardware and accessories.

“We certainly are continuing to expand our business in gaming, now being a leading retail destinations for games, and with that growth we always are considering different opportunities,” said a spokesperson.

“Our focus today, however, is to continue providing a great assortment of new games, hardware and accessories at the best price in an improved and easier shopping experience.” The firm added that the pilot scheme for pre-owned kiosks is

just is one instance of the ways it is experimenting in games. “There is no change in our store offering programme – we still do not carry used games to sell in stores or offer used game trade-ins in store,” the representative added. “The kiosk is a small pilot from ePlay who owns and operates the kiosk in our leased space areas. It is for movie and game rental and credit via a self service kiosk where a customer uses their credit card. It’s in less than 80 stores, but we do believe the kiosk offers a nice convenience to customers, and will watch customer response.”

Ubisoft’s 3D to wow E3 UBISOFT thinks that the unveiling of its 3D technology will be the most memorable moment of E3 – and even influence the design of all future games. The publisher’s executive director of EMEA, Alain Corre, told MCV this week that Ubisoft is confident attendees would be left ‘dreaming’ of the innovation during the first showing of 3D movie tie-in game Avatar. Corre said: “This is a brand new visual approach to gaming and movies.

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PRE-JUDICE A special investigation into the much maligned, but arguably necessary, pre-owned market

“Hopefully, it will capture everyone’s attention. We know not all the gamers will be able to own that technology. But we’ll be able to get it to many of them.

This 3D aspect will one day become must-have. “We teamed up very closely with Fox for Avatar. It’s the first time we’ve teamed up like that with a movie company. we’re helping each other to make a great game and we are also giving them ideas for their

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SERVICES GUIDE A comprehensive guide to the world’s major territories – and the firms servicing them

movie. It’s a really good combination. “People will be dreaming about Avatar after seeing it at E3. People will have never witnessed anything like it before. This is an investment in technology we will be able to put into our future products.” Ubisoft last week announced that its entry into the football market with Academy of Champions on Wii, which will be released later this year.  Read our full interview with Alain Corre on page 18

RETAILBIZ Previews of the hottest titles

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GHOSTBUSTERS: THE VIDEO GAME

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RED FACTION: GUERRILLA

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A4T’S SUMMER HARDWARE LINE-UP

P69

BOOM BLOX: BASH PARTY

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MONSTER HUNTER: FREEDOM UNITE

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MotionPlus to take centre stage at E3 New accessory to ‘change how Wii is played forever’ by Christopher Dring NINTENDO will place major emphasis on the Wii MotionPlus at its E3 press conference, MCV understands. The accessory was unveiled at last year’s event and allows gamers’ actions to be shown more accurately on the TV. The device is already compatible with some of Wii’s most promising upcoming titles,

community and consumers alike will be able to see the potential experiences that can be created and the fun people can have with MotionPlus. “You already have evidence of the great way in which the industry has responded since we unveiled MotionPlus. Tiger Woods, Virtua Tennis and Red Steel 2 are just three examples of how publishers have embraced the MotionPlus.”

With the quality of support, we think the MotionPlus will be the must have peripheral for Wii in 2009. Matt Benson, Ubisoft

including Red Steel 2, Wii Sports Resort, Virtua Tennis and Tiger Woods. And the platform holder is confident the device will play a major part in the Wii’s future – with new software to be unveiled in LA. “Wii MotionPlus is certainly an evolution in how games are controlled, played and enjoyed,” said a Nintendo spokesperson. “It will change the way that Wii games are played forever, we hope the development

‘Strongest ever’ Eidos line-up due

Ubisoft’s Red Steel 2 brand manager Matt Benson added: “There’s an impressive range of first and third party MotionPlus exclusive titles arriving in 2009, and with the quality of campaign support we’ve already seen from Nintendo on their other accessories, it will be the must have peripheral for Wii in 2009.  For MCV’s in-depth look at MotionPlus, turn to page 42

NEW MOTION: A plethora of new MotionPlus software will be unveiled at E3

Nintendo: 01753 483700

Intent Social Media launches in USA MCV PUBLISHER Intent Media will officially open its new US division at E3. Called Intent Social Media, the company will be dedicated to creating cutting-edge online content for developers and publishers via officiallysanctioned but independently written blogs. The operation is run by former Edge Online editor-inchief Colin Campbell, who joined Intent Media in March. Intent Social Media has already been signed up by

Atari-owned MMO studio Cryptic to run its Champions Online Daily News blog, which will support the team’s next video game. Campbell says the firm will push the boundary and help change the way the industry

interacts with its audience. “In the past, marketers had to buy advertising, or use PR to persuade journalists to tell their stories for them,” he said. “But that’s no longer the case. Now you can tell stories directly. Blogs like Major Nelson and Capcom Unity are enormously powerful ways for companies to reach out to consumers directly; without the necessity for the standing media, which is ultimately a

middle man. “These direct-blogs are definitely going to be an integral part of the marketer’s toolkit. The debate now is how best to create and implement these conduits. We are going to be a big part of that conversation. “We can help game-makers tell journalistically rich stories and thereby build community as well as building media brands around games IP. We can build these things better than anyone else.” www.intentsocialmedia.com

EIDOS IS PLANNING to turn heads at E3 with its new Batman, Just Cause and Mini Ninja titles. The UK-based publisher, which was recently acquired by Square Enix, is set to show the first playable code of Mini Ninjas, a behind-closed-doors demonstration of Just Cause 2, and will also unveil new modes for Batman: Arkham Asylum, including the ‘Play as Joker’ challenges maps. And the Tomb Raider publisher is naturally excited about its line-up, describing it as one of the strongest in the company’s history. “I look at these three games and in each of them we have an incredibly strong property and opportunity,” said Eidos general manager Bob Burridge. “I’m excited to hear the reactions when people play Batman: Arkham Asylum and Mini Ninjas for the first time, as they are both fantastic games. But I am also excited to see how people are going to react to what they see in Just Cause 2. If you haven’t booked an appointment, then I highly recommend you do.” Eidos: 020 8636 3000

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Modern Warfare hype kicks off with Champions League final Activision hijacks biggest televised football game of the year to unveil key release by Michael French ACTIVISION says the high profile reveal for Modern Warfare 2 during the Champions League football final earlier this week is a clear sign of how big the game’s launch will be in November. The game, a sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare –

Wednesday (May 27th) – which the publisher boasts is the most prominent games ad spot in history. “Premiering the new Modern Warfare 2 trailer during such a high profile event presents a great opportunity to reach Infinity Ward’s fans and gamers throughout the UK,” said

This was the most prominent single televised ad spot ever used to reveal a game to the British public. David Tyer, Activision

one of the best-selling games of all time – arrives in November. Activision and developer Infinity Ward has closely guarded many secrets surrounding the game’s release, only drip-feeding trailers out to consumers and the industry. First details of the title were given in March at GDC, with a follow-up trailer debuting earlier this month. This week, Activision ran a reveal TV spot around the Champion’s League final on

TYLER: “This was a great opportunity to reach Infinity Ward’s fans and gamers throughout the UK”

David Tyler, Activision’s UK marketing director. “It’s the most prominent single ad spot ever used to reveal a game to the British public, and is indicative of the impact it will have when it launches on November 10th.” The ad comes two weeks after Ubisoft premiered a trailer for Assassin’s Creed 2 on Five during a broadcast of The Da Vinci Code movie.

Activision: 020 3060 1000

‘Sea change’ in Konami approach to PES KONAMI has admitted mistakes with its last PES games – and told MCV there has been a ‘sea change’ in attitude at the publisher in preparation for the next title. The firm told MCV that it was aware that fans of the series felt frustrated by the last game – particularly the community elements – and said it felt confident of a more positive reaction to PES 2010. The publisher said that PES developer Winning Eleven Productions had ‘opened

dialogue’ with fans during development – an approach Konami will continue through the game’s release. “When I started looking at what we’d done right and wrong on PES 2009 back in October I found plenty of opportunities, but the stand out factor was the frustration fans felt trying to communicate with Konami,” PES team leader Jon Murphy told MCV.

“This time, we began with gathering product feedback, which were passed to the team.

“The developer has started to open up and we’re already seeing results.” PES 2010 is due for release later this year, and Konami will

hope that sales of the game can catch nearest rival FIFA this time round. “This isn’t the start of a new process for Pro Evolution Soccer 2010, it’s a sea change in attitude for now and the future,” added Murphy. “We’re not going to get everything right straight away, but we are striding off in the right direction.” Konami: 020 8987 5730

LucasArts and the LucasArts logo are trademarks of Lucasfilm Ltd. © 2009 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM as indicated. All rights reserved. ‘2’, ‘PlayStation’ and ‘PSP’ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

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Sega sets sights on catching rivals Publisher’s Euro division determined to wrestle sales share from Ubisoft, Activision and EA with new line-up by Tim Ingham SEGA IS confident that its ‘strongest line-up of all time’ can help it pinch market share from its main rivals. The firm told MCV that it was determined to challenge the dominance of Ubisoft,

“Hence our focus on Bayonetta from Platinum Games in Japan, Alpha Protocol from Obsidian in the US and Aliens vs Predator 3 from Rebellion in the UK.” In an exclusive interview, Hayes said that potential overcrowding at retail from DS

We want some of the space taken by EA, Activision and Ubisoft on Xbox 360 and PS3. Mike Hayes, Sega

Activision and EA on Xbox 360 and PS3 with its new range, which includes impressive new IP such as Bayonetta and Alpha Protocol. Sega’s European president and COO Mike Hayes told MCV this week: “We definitely want to take some of the space currently owned by Ubisoft, Activision and EA on the 360 and PS3. Sega does not have the core heritage that those companies enjoy in parts of their portfolio.

and Wii software didn’t worry the publisher. He said: “Nothing put us off supporting Nintendo formats. We think we can stand out.” Sega is already celebrating a bumper year, which has seen Empire: Total War hit No.1 in the GfK-ChartTrack/ELSPA All Formats charts, and a strong showing from House Of The Dead: Overkill and Sonic And The Black Knight. Hayes told MCV that the publisher’s planned release

ALIEN CONCEPT: Sega has signed the rights to release Aliens vs Predator 3 this year

slate for 2009 had never been better. He commented: “This is undoubtedly our best ever lineup. That may sound like the typical soundbite but FY10 is the culmination of several years’ hard work.”  To read our interview with Mike Hayes, turn to page 21

‘MADWORLD RISK WAS WORTH IT’ Mike Hayes admitted that sales of the critically-lauded MadWorld didn’t match Sega’s sales expectations – but said that the firm was still carving itself a lucrative niche with adult games on Wii. “The reality is that some mature games have worked better than others,” he said. “So while MadWorld under-performed commercially, we have had proven success with House of the Dead Overkill, which has performed well across Europe and North America. As other publishers and Nintendo move into the mature arena, we feel that our investments have been worthwhile.”

New PSP bundles ready for retail WE’RE ALL expecting Sony to unveil the next PSP at E3 – but in the meantime the format-holder is focusing on the current iteration with new hardware bundles.

The first, priced £149.99, bundles a PSP-3000, a 2GB Memory Stick, mini-USB cable and a voucher for two months’ free subscription to the online video service.

Our brand new, great value retail bundles offer two exciting routes for more PSP customers to jump on board. Alison Turner, Sony

Two packs designed to attract new consumers and appeal to current PSP owners offering access to the Go!View video-on-demand service have rolled out to retailers.

The second is for those who already own a PSP – at £29.99 it features at 4GB Memory Stick, mini USB lead and a voucher. The Go!View service offers a mix of content for download

to PSP including sports, movies, and TV show programming.

“The PSP delivers a great on-the-move video experience,” said Alison Turner, general manager of the

Go!View Entertainment programme in the UK. “Go!View on PSP offers a quality range of programming that ensures PSP owners are getting the best service on-thego and on-demand.”

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Owners confident OnLive ‘will not go the way of Gizmondo’ Creators of streaming games service promise it won’t flop  Mini-console on the way by Tim Ingham The OnLive miniconsole will be cheaper than other platforms

THE BOSS of streaming games platform OnLive is certain that the innovation won’t join the likes of Gizmondo and Phantom by flopping after a headlinegrabbing debut – because the firm isn’t rushing its launch.

Our closed beta will arrive this summer, with a wider roll-out a few months later. Mike McGarvey, OnLive

OnLive, which was first shown off at GDC in March, offers a Games-On-Demand service to consumers through streaming technology. Its creators boast that it can ‘instantly deliver the latest high-end titles over home broadband Internet to the TV and entry-level PCs and Macs’.

COO and director of OnLive Mike McGarvey told MCV: “There has never been a service offering like OnLive, and we need time to better understand usage patterns and user preferences before the system is finalised. “We are rolling the service out in phases, including several

“The timing is right considering the worldwide turmoil, and the demand for products like ours has significantly increased in the wake of the financial crisis.” The distributor has marked this growth with a rebranding of its logo, which it hopes will strengthen its identity. “Our logotype has been reworked to better reflect the values of the company and how we are defining ourselves,” said Brodén. “A lot has changed since we created the original, and we want our graphical identity to evolve too.” Game Outlet: +46 54 85 47 51

[IN BRIEF] GAMESTOP: The US retail giant saw year-on-year gains in both net earnings and sales for the quarter ending May 2nd, coming in at $70.4 million and $1.98 billion respectively. However, like-for-like sales declined by 1.5 per cent, which was attributed to slow sales in Europe. UBISOFT: Upcoming Wii title Academy Of Champions will represent a major move for Ubisoft into the sports genre, with the game supporting the Balance Board and MotionPlus. Brazilian football legend Pelé has been signed on to help develop and promote the game.

beta testing programmes that will focus on getting more data about certain aspects. “We expect our closed beta to begin later this summer with a wider, external beta following a few months later. That said, the timing on this will be very dependent on the feedback we get from earlier phases of testing.” The firm will release its own ‘mini-console’ which gamers

will be able to host the service on, alongside PC and Mac. McGarvey, who served as Eidos CEO for 15 years, promised that the mini-console would be “cheaper than competing systems”. OnLive has already been backed by publishers including EA, Take Two, Ubisoft, THQ, Warner Bros, Atari and Codemasters. www.onlive.com

Game Outlet tops Logic3 SoundStation 6m annual sales range on the way EUROPEAN wholesaler and distributor Game Outlet has revealed that its annual sales have topped six million games for the first time. The firm attributed this success to ongoing efforts to increase its level of service – and the popularity of bargain stock during the recession. “We’ve experienced significant growth since the company was first founded, but the biggest boost started in 2006 and is still going,” said Game Outlet’s export sales manager Mikael Brodén. “We’re now selling more than six million games every year – that’s a lot of stock for us.

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PERIPHERALS specialist Logic3 has unveiled its latest SoundStation accessories for Wii and DSi. The Wii edition features the improved sound quality that has made the SoundStation range so popular, and also comes with two rechargeable battery packs and recharging points for the Wii Remotes. The device features slots for additional controllers and is powered by the Wii’s own power adapter. The SoundStation Wii also comes bundled with a remote that operates the speaker’s volume control.

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NEWS

‘Media’s old fogies should find a new threat to society’ [IN BRIEF]

Industry legend Livingstone hits out at media for keeping public ‘ill-informed’ on games

4MM: Rockstar founders Gary Foreman and Jamie King have set up a new independent studio, 4mm Games. Based in New York, the firm will begin working on digital releases for platforms such as the iPhone, with plans to expand onto Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft projects.

by Tim Ingham

THQ: To mark the release of Big Family Games, THQ commissioned a special goldplated Wii console and sent it, with a copy of the game, to the Queen of England. BETHESDA: The three Fallout 3 DLC releases previously exclusive to Xbox 360 and PC will now be heading to PS3. Two new downloadable add-ons have also been confirmed for all three formats, and a Game Of The Year edition – which will feature the full game and the first three DLC packs – is to hit retail in Q4. W10 POST: The independent creative studio is launching a new service for developers, allowing them to capture footage from their titles. W10’s Portable Asset Capturing Service generates both High Definition and Standard Definition videos based on code from any format. KOCH: Under a new agreement, Koch Media’s titles will be distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Funtastic Interactive.

IAN LIVINGSTONE has called for patience in the fight against scapegoating games for society’s ills in the media. Speaking to MCV, industry stalwart Livingstone – now life president at Eidos – criticised the UK Government for “keeping the industry at arm’s length” and admitted that much of society “still treats games suspiciously”. However, he said that the national press and Government would inevitably stop blaming the industry in years to come. “Despite the launch of games that encourage active participation like Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, dance mats, SingStar and more, the media still gets it wrong – as it did with the Change4Life campaign,” he said. “The UK Government has not helped the industry to change the perception of

BIDING HIS TIME: Livingstone urges patience as the Government learns to celebrate our games industry

games. It has kept the industry at arm’s length – despite its economic contribution – for fear of being associated with negative press. “Other world governments openly celebrate their games industries. However, as more and more consumers enjoy

EEK W E H T F O N G I CAMPA ALVATION S R O T A IN M R TE

Warner Bros unleashes the official companion game to Terminator: Salvation and supports the title with a marketing campaign worthy of its cinematic counterpart…

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games, perceptions will change. It just takes time. One day all the old fogies will be gone or will find a new threat to society for them to warn us about.” Livingstone last month announced that he had agreed to join The Conservative Party’s

PRINT/PR The game has seen plenty of coverage in specialist publications including Official PlayStation Magazine, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and GamesMaster, but has also been featured in film and men’s lifestyle press, such as FHM, Loaded, Total Film, Empire and SFX. Front covers were also secured on Powerstation and Toxic magazines. TV/MEDIA A heavyweight TV campaign will see ads during key sports, football and male programming. A large-scale radio campaign will also target national and regional radio stations. PR coverage has been planned for key gadget, technology and games TV shows around the game’s launch.

Creative Review. The taskforce is examining the role of games and other digital entertainment in the UK’s future. The Government’s equivalent review, The Digital Britain Report, has – as yet – failed to mention video games in any of its criteria.

RELEASED: MAY 29 FORMATS: 360, PS3, PC PUBLISHER: WARNER BROS EVOLVED GAMES DEVELOPER: GRIN STUDIOS PRICE: £34.99 – £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388 ONLINE A large social media campaign kicked off in March, generating hype for Terminator: Salvation on key social media sites, forums, comic and film fansites and much more. TRADE/POS FSDUs, posters, window clings and retail sampling will be available for launch. OTHER National promotions have been arranged with Pizza Hut, Police Watches and ASUS computers.

©2009 Eidos Interactive Ltd. Mini Ninjas and the Mini Ninjas logo, Eidos Interactive and the Eidos logo are trademarks of Eidos Interactive Ltd. IO Interactive and the IO logo are trademarks of IO Interactive A/S. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logos are used under license from Microsoft. “ ”, “PLAYSTATION” and “PS3” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.

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NEWS ANALYSIS: PUBLISHERS’ FORTUNES

PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT: Major publishers are facing tough decisions to be sure they properly harness evolving market forces

WINNER TAKES ALL Games companies have blamed the recession for FY losses, but something more fundamental is happening. Owain Bennallack discusses why certain publishers might have gambled poorly... “And on the pedestal these words appear: `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away". Ozymandias, Percy Bysshe Shelley THIRTY ONE EA games were millionplus sellers in its last financial year – up from 27 previously – yet on May 5th it reported an annual loss of between $96 million and $1.1 billion, depending on your accounting poison. When CEO John Riccitiello memorably told MCV in 2003 that million sellers weren’t a big deal any more, this wasn’t what he had in mind. What’s gone wrong? The short-term diagnosis: Having stumbled in the transition, EA underestimated Wii, allowed costs to spiral, and made too many mediocre games and also the wrong ones – a company with a $2 billion warchest but still no credible GTA-killer hasn’t been looking hard enough. But I propose a deeper malaise: EA, and most other game publishers and developers, ran out of road. EA is a machine built to deliver millions of boxed copies of expensively developed, mildly iterated traditional games to retailers, but the supply (and the cost of supply) grew bigger and more demanding than the market. But wasn’t 2008 the biggest year yet for games? Sure, but look where the

action was. Casual or ‘experiential’ peripheral-based games like Wii Sports, Guitar Hero and EA’s own Rock Band that cost more and last longer. Older games like Nintendogs and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare that keep selling, either as full price retail releases or revenue-draining trade-ins. Downloadable content – Call of Duty 4 DLC generated $10 million in a week. Then there’s the $1 billion a year geyser that is Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. Every subscription and hour spent on WoW can’t be spent on another game – assuming it would be anyway on that piracy-ridden platform. These trends have tilted the playing field to topple some companies and left others stumbling. The traditional market remains, but the growth the industry is geared on has shot off in another direction, with ruinous results for the status quo. THE DOWNLOAD REVOLUTION Digital distribution will yet cause the biggest upheavals. Some of us have cried wolf about this for years, but now the wolf is at the door. In retrospect, consumers and the economic forces of the industry (as distinct from its businesses, who with honourable exceptions have been merely bystanders) needed a reason to embrace digital distribution – saving a shopping trip or the sheer inanity of transporting data in cardboard boxes wasn’t enough.

Today we’ve abundant reasons. Gamers like online distribution because it enables community, DLC, easy access to new content, and because the younger ones expect nothing else.

Consumers and the economic forces of the industry needed a reason to embrace digital distribution, and now they have them.

PREDICTING CHANGE As for the industry, the cost of development and of securing consumer attention means the fire-and-forget mathematics of shipping a boxed title then turning attention to the sequel are breaking down. To exploit hits for longer, retain hard won customers, and fight both piracy and secondhand sales, games are becoming services. Predicting such change was easy. Timing proved difficult. Tackling it commercially is a crap shoot. As a related example, EA recently wrote down its $680 million purchase of mobile games pioneer Jamdat by $368 million. It surely overpaid in 2005, but it’s also seen wireless game growth flatten. iPhone has reinvigorated the market, but tiny developers for whom $0.99 is a payday dominate Apple’s App Store. Was EA late in fully embracing the mobile market, early, greedy, unlucky, fundamentally right, or wrong to try? Incumbents are always vulnerable in revolutions. Stalwarts will try to buy or build a future, and some will survive. But when the grand old name of Atari is being traded like a poker chip, we shouldn’t need reminding that everything is up for grabs.

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MCV INTERVIEW MARTIN TREMBLAY, PRESIDENT, WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE

Bros. in arms A year ago, Warner Bros. appointed Martin Tremblay as president of its interactive division. As the publisher prepares for its first major E3 outing, Michael French catches up with him to find out about his first 12 months on the job, and the publisher’s plans going forward…

WORLD OF WARNER: Major comic and movie franchises like Batman and Watchmen form the bulk of Warner’s portfolio, but the firm is keenly looking for the right new IP, too

Congratulations on your first year at Scribblenauts, the highly anticipated Warner Bros. Have you done what Batman: Arkham Asylum and casual you wanted to achieve in those first titles such as The Clique and Scooby12 months? Are you able to Doo First Frights. elaborate on what your strategy is for the year ahead? What’s the reasoning behind Lego Thank you. Warner Bros. Interactive Rock Band? Given that it fuses two Entertainment is working to expand our major licence-holding companies capabilities and talent as a publisher, so with the development and we operate in the most efficient way publishing resource of at least four possible. With our partners and our others, will it not have to sell in own titles, our slate has more than huge quantities to succeed? doubled since 2008, which is a LEGO and Rock Band are two beloved significant accomplishment for us. The brands in the gaming space and we are launch of LEGO Batman – which has hoping to fuse them into a great game sold over five million units worldwide – that appeals to all ages of gamers. and the recent launch of F.E.A.R.2: Project Origin are Warner is dedicated to successes we intend to build upon. We are finding high quality, looking forward to a sustainable new IP that fits successful 2009 with our strategy for growth. several quality games, Martin Tremblay including LEGO Rock Band, Scribblenauts and Batman: Arkham Asylum co-published Will you work with other licence with Eidos, and a full slate for all types holders to partner the Lego name of gamers – hardcore, casual and family. with other well known properties? Lego Harry Potter has been widely What are your hopes for E3 this rumoured, and I'm sure the team at year? What are your key games? TT get plenty of suggestions… WBIE is gradually assuming a WBIE and TT are committed to greater role in the game space bringing fun and unique LEGO game and at E3 2009 we will be able experiences to audiences overall. Stay to demonstrate our growth and tuned for upcoming announcements. a good scope of different titles. Our line-up reflects our On that note, Traveller’s Tales also commitment to quality product produces the Lego Indiana Jones from our internal development games for LucasArts. Other studios, as well as key partners, publishers might protect their focusing on both original IP and studios from working with other games based on our expansive library of companies. Are you happy having Warner Bros. properties. We have one of your studios working in a incredibly strong franchises with development sense for another Batman, LEGO and more and we are publisher? looking to grow them in the game Looking at each opportunity for space. Our E3 titles include LEGO Rock publishing and distribution partnerships, Band, the innovative new DS title we determine how each product can

best fit into our portfolio and if it will work for the individual title. Partnerships like the one for LEGO Indiana Jones make sense for TT, which is wholly owned by Warner Bros., and we will continue to partner where it works for our business. Many of the Warner products are based on established or licensed IP. Will that always be the case or are you looking to find, produce and/or publish new IP? Could that new IP transfer back over to movies and other forms of entertainment? Warner Bros. is an exceptional storytelling company. We have an abundance of great properties to work with and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is also dedicated to finding high quality, sustainable new intellectual property that fits our strategy for growth. I have found all of the Warner Bros. divisions are open to working together to best leverage the properties for content and promotions, which is a huge advantage over traditional game publishing operations. Warner Bros. is building sustainable IP across all areas of entertainment and media, and we are making the most of this as a game company by working with established properties, such as Batman, and creating new IP ourselves.

Are there any genres that you feel the company is under-represented in, such as sports, that you want to enter? We are exploring and working with the genres that we want to work with at this time, and our future will see more expansion into different types of games. WBIE will announce more when the timing is right for those games.

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MCV 29/05/09 15

MCV INTERVIEW MARTIN TREMBLAY, PRESIDENT, WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE

What is Warner’s current view on mergers and acquisition; are you open looking to acquire other businesses? Would you be willing to buy more studios? We are willing to acquire more studios strategically as the talent and expertise work best for our overall growth. Our previous acquisitions – Monolith Productions, TT Games

what we are trying to achieve is making the franchises into quality games for consumers, whether we do it ourselves or we work with partners. There is not always a right and wrong, but WBIE is focused on the future of gaming and the talent it will take to get to the brightest future for our games and establish our IP in the game space in the most sustainable way. Used games are a hot topic at the moment; non-specialist retailers are entering the space and the category continues to grows. What is Warner Bros’ stance on this matter? We will look to do whatever is best for a game in the marketplace. We don’t believe the used games market is the

We are definitely open to working in different areas of distribution as it makes sense for products and consumers.

and Snowblind Studios – demonstrate the range of talent. In terms of Snowblind, they have the technology to make cutting edge games in the RPG genre. With Monolith, we utilise their renowned technological capabilities for making high quality FPS and hard core franchises and TT Games has shown repeatedly that they create outstanding family games that have wide appeal to all gamers. With regards to studio expansion, what do you feel is better – to build from scratch or buy established companies? WBIE is growing organically and by acquisition, to match the development technology with the key franchise properties in the best way. Ultimately,

Martin Tremblay

best thing for the industry, but we are looking at new data. It is challenging in this economy and with the declining lifecycle for games the pre-owned demand is there. Are you happy with the reception received by the Watchmen downloadable game? Is this an area you’d like to continue working in? We are continuing to expand upon the Watchmen: The End is Nigh game, as we have announced Part II with the very unique retail Blu-Ray HD game and movie hybrid, as well additional retail and downloadable formats. Watchmen: The End is Nigh Part 1 and the upcoming Part 2, the second of two long-form, episodic action games will be released in conjunction with the Blu-ray and DVD of the motion picture in July 2009. We are definitely open to working in different areas of distribution as it makes sense for the products and consumers.

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MCV INTERVIEW ALAIN CORRE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UBISOFT

The Beautiful Games Having just announced a new soccer title – and with the likes of Assassin’s Creed 2, a new Splinter Cell and Avatar on the horizon – you can hear the buzz surrounding Ubisoft’s E3 conference all the way from Paris to LA. Tim Ingham quizzes with the firm’s European boss... Ubisoft last month reported a 16 per cent jump in FY sales – in the midst of a recession. What’s your secret? The key is developing a portfolio to please all types of people. We are developing games for girls aged 12 on the DS with Imagine Doctor, games for families with Rabbids TV on Wii and the hardcore with Far Cry 2 and Tom Clancy’s HAWX – plus a cross-section of society with Puzzler. We continue to develop for PC; the PC fans are still very interesting and we count on them as consumers. Ruse is our big real time strategy on PC this year. It’s very unique with a top-down view. Our web-based games are being developed with Heroes Of Might And Magic coming this year. Are there any gaps in the portfolio you’d like to fill? We tried sports games with Shaun White and it’s done extremely well – we’re close to three million units sold worldwide. So we know sports can be good for us. We’re developing a football game as we speak. It’s on Wii and it’s called Academy of Champions. It’s true that there are already some big guys on the scene. But we wanted to have a different approach. We are starting with the Wii version. It will be a game that will be a bit like Mario Strikers – crazy, but still sticking to the rules. Players will have the feeling that they are playing real football – but laughing at the same time. We don’t want it to be a straight simulation. That genre is already very well covered. We are taking a different approach and trying to be more mainstream and less serious with this first one. The aim is to develop this franchise on and on in the future. Are you keen to move into other core sports genres? There are a lot of people in the tennis genre, these days. The issue with sports

is that there are very few of them that cover the whole world. Football is good and is growing a bit in America, but everything else is a little local. When you make a game like that you have to spend a lot in terms of endorsements and licences, so it makes it hard to remain profitable. We’re trying to take different approaches, like Shaun White and now Academy Of Champions. We are definitely looking at other directions, because we believe the quality of our studios and innovation means we can do something really new. But we have to look for the right angle. What’s the biggest difference between Ubisoft last year and Ubisoft this year? The main thing is that our top triple-A franchises are back: Assassin’s Creed 2, Sam Fisher is back from being cryopreserved – we’re taking him out of

not all the gamers will be able to own this technology at home and get the best out of it. But the experience they have with 3D will change their view of the future of gaming– one day, it will become a must have in any game. We teamed up very closely with Fox for Avatar. We’re helping each other to make a great game and we are also giving them ideas for their movie. It’s a really good combination. People will be dreaming about Avatar after seeing it at E3. People will have never witnessed anything like it before. This is an investment in technology we will be able to put into our future products. Can OnLive really revolutionise the industry? We love that OnLive will give more energy into new networks to touch even more consumers than we have

People will be dreaming about Avatar after E3. They will have never witnessed anything like this before. Alain Corre, Ubisoft

the fridge – and we also have Rabbids Go Home and Red Steel 2. Our hardcore franchises are coming back. This year we have products to take us to the top of the charts. It’s a tough market with a lot of competition. But the pillars of Ubisoft, of innovation and quality, will pay off this year, we think. You’re off to E3 this year, I take it… Yes, we are. We are not afraid of any disease. [Laughs] You’re showing off your new 3D film tie-in Avatar. How big an innovation will 3D gaming be? It’s a brand new visual approach to gaming and movies. Hopefully, it will capture everyone’s attention. We know

today. What we wish is to have as many networks as possible, because it means more gamers will see our creations. It’s another way for us to make games available to the public. But we don’t think it will replace the consoles we have today as the main vehicles for our games. It’s an additional thing that’s an interesting idea we’re following closely and we’ll be part of it. MCV revealed that you were keen on buying three studios at Christmas. Has the recession hindered your ability to buy? We’ve recently bought Massive Entertainment and Action Pants –

two new studios and technologies we’re pleased to have on board. We are still analysing all the companies in this world who want to find a partner or home for their products. It’s true the economy is a bit uncertain, so we remain cautious and look at only the best opportunities. But we are always in negotiations or discussions with studios – not least with the new start-ups that are specialists in online gaming. After Square’s purchase of Eidos and Namco Bandai purchasing Atari’s European operations, will we see more Japanese firms acquiring Western publishers? Would Ubisoft discuss a potential buyout? Up to now, our strategy has been to grow organically and welcome little companies into the Ubisoft family. I feel we can innovate, perform and get good revenues with what we have now. We have a dream team in terms of people and excellent brands.

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MCV 29/05/09 19

MCV INTERVIEW ALAIN CORRE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UBISOFT

CORRE, BLIMEY: Ubisoft’s European chief says the firm is always in discussions with potential acquisition targets

MOTH E R LAN D.SE

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As veterans of E3 Expos, we approach this years event with excitement. Our excitement stems from a feeling that our range of products from the world’s leading publishers is better, wider and at lower prices than ever. We will also showcase the new livery for our company, which we modestly assert, is outstanding. But, some things will never change. We still rest assured in the core values of our company – always fast, always flexible and providing great service to all clients.

So let’s talk Swedish, We want to be your most lönsamma leverantör* With the above in mind, we encourage you to visit E3 Expo 2009 and to seek us out in person by visiting South Hall, stand 2830. There you will find a seating area, refreshments and key personnel from Game Outlet to help talk through your business opportunities and tell you more about how we can help you navigate to more profit partner that provides most *profi t to your business

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MCV 29/05/09 21

MCV INTERVIEW MIKE HAYES, PRESIDENT AND COO, SEGA EUROPE

Hurdling over the

competition A reborn Sega burst out of the blocks with Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games in 2007, and has continued to improve its market position ever since. Tim Ingham catches up with the firm’s European President Mike Hayes…

How strong is Sega’s line-up for with Bayonetta, Aliens vs Predator and 2009 compared to previous years? Alpha Protocol. Add that to huge IP Undoubtedly our best ever. That may staples like Virtua Tennis and the next sound like the typical soundbite but Mario and Sonic and you can see why FY10 is the culmination of several years’ we are optimistic. hard work as the ‘new’ Sega to establish fresh This is our best ever line-up. brands and new That’s not just a soundbite. development goals. This It’s the culmination of year we continue our several years of hard work. strong emphasis on PC and Wii with excellent Mike Hayes, Sega new titles, more for the Total War series and a new and You continue to have incredible improved Football Manager. In success with Sonic & Mario. Why? addition, we are also excited about Two great gaming IPs on a fabulously possible breakout titles on PS3 and 360 fun platform with a game designed to

use the Wii to the maximum via a series of fun individual sports. It’s a perfect combination of simplicity yet innovation and classic well loved IP. You’ve furrowed a very deliberate strategy of creating ‘adult’ titles for Wii as other publishers catch up to the idea. How is this working for you – and what challenges have you faced? The reality is that some mature games have worked better than others. I think it is inevitable that as we try to extend into an under-exploited genre on Wii

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MCV INTERVIEW MIKE HAYES, PRESIDENT AND COO, SEGA STRENGTH IN DEPTH: Mike Hayes believes new iterations of Total War, Virtua Tennis and Sonic & Mario can help make 2009 Sega’s best ever year

there would be some challenges. So while the critically acclaimed Madworld has under-performed commercially we have got a proven success with House of the Dead Overkill which has performed well across Europe and North America. As other publishers and Nintendo move into the mature arena with more games we feel that our investments have been worthwhile.

How do you view 360 and PS3’s respective installed bases? No issue that both formats have achieved a very commercially acceptable installed base level in Europe. We have to applaud both companies for making two next gen platforms viable in the marketplace. At the very least it allows us to cross collaterise the increasing cost of making video games. We are just excited at both companies’ plans to grow the business further through 2009. Are Nintendo formats getting overcrowded at retail – and does that put you off? Nothing ever puts us off Nintendo formats. Like every successful console

there will be a perceived or actual oversupply of games. As ever we need to try and cut through with relevant brands, appropriate quality and innovation. With Sega games such as Let’s Tap, (yup, it does what it says on the tin), Wacky World of Sports, the use of the new Motion Plus controller for Virtua Tennis 2009 and more, we think we can stand out.

Nothing puts us off Nintendo formats. Every successful console is over supplied, but we believe we stand out. Mike Hayes, Sega Can you see Sega acquiring over the next year? The will is there but the chances are declining as the pool gets less deep. Does being a big player in games help you in a recession? It’s a mixed blessing. On the one hand we have the momentum of a large development and distribution resource, but of course it is harder to be nimble. The big issue for Japanese businesses based in the UK right now is the weak pound. And that is regardless of size!

Are there any areas of your portfolio (both in terms of genre and formats) that you think you could be doing more in? We definitely want to take some of the space owned by Ubisoft, Activision and EA on the 360 and PS3. Sega does not have the core heritage that those companies enjoy in parts of their portfolio. Hence our focus on Bayonetta from Platinum Games in Japan, Alpha Protocol from Obsidian in the US and Aliens vs Predator from Rebellion in the UK.

Is the traditional retail channel necessarily the best route to market for a company like Sega? Of course. Despite goals, ambitions and commentators’ thoughts, retail represents the vast majority of sales to our consumers. Yes, digital distribution is becoming more important and certainly more profitable – it’s undeniable. However, the devaluation of retail at the hands of this new medium is a long way off – and that, of course, assumes that retail will not successfully adapt to the new medium in any case.

Let’s also not underestimate the tremendous job retail does in marketing video games to the consumer. The games industry still suffers from a bit of an image problem with Government and the media. How can we improve this? I’m not sure the games industry needs to improve, quite frankly. JFK springs to mind... surely it is what Government can do for us! PSP was the only modern format to drop YOY software sales in 2008. Can it recover – and how? Sony are being extremely innovative with their PSP plans for the future. We have seen a remarkable resurgence of the platform in Japan, where our own Phantasy Star Portable was a major PSP hit. So we are confident that the platform will have a second life. Our Football Manager portable does particularly well on the platform. What do you think will be the biggest innovation in games this year – and how can you take advantage? Let’s wait for the E3 announcements, I reckon we are in for some treats…

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Universally Speaking UK

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MCV INTERVIEW ROD COUSENS, CEO, CODEMASTERS

Britain’s got talent After Square Enix’s purchase of Eidos in April, the once almighty Britsoft community is all but dead – with the proud exception of Codemasters. Tim Ingham catches up with Rod Cousens, the global boss of the UK’s last true publishing giant… You’re putting your biggest ever marketing campaign behind Operation Flashpoint. Why did you pick this title for special treatment? It has been a long time coming and is in great demand – as the gaming sites and magazines will testify. This is backed up by our internal fan base, CodeM, which has more than two million users. It is a game from our internal studios using our proprietary EGO technology, the same technology that powers our racing content. Dragon Rising proves that EGO is multi-genre, multi-platform and stands for quality. It is a flagship franchise for the company and will have an ongoing DLC support programme in 2010. How strong is Codemasters’ line-up for 2009 compared to previous years? The slate in the calendar year is the strongest in the company’s history. Overlord 2 and Minions, Cricket: The Ashes, then look out for Dirt 2 and of course, Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising. On top of that, we will release our first Formula One game too. Our activity in the MMO space will be enhanced with the release of Jumpgate. We’re not complacent, and we’re respectful of our competitors – but we also believe we will take some beating in certain segments and that is something that our employees should take pride in. Success on Wii and DS hasn’t come easily. How can you remedy this? Nintendo benefits from broad support, as demonstrated by the offerings piling into it. The typical demographic is well served – and it could be said is spoilt for choice. Our research suggests we should move beyond that and appeal to an older element with our game design, but target the family as a whole. Over the coming months you will see us publish Overlord Dark Legend, Cricket 09, Dirt 2 and Formula One for the Wii, while the DS will be supported

with Minions and Dragonology. Our presence may well increase as a consequence. We pick our bets.

Do you feel like Xbox 360 and PS3 are now reaching a respectable installed base? These platforms are continuing to grow and with further anticipated hardware price cuts and added value propositions there is no reason why that growth cannot accelerate at the back end of this year. Nintendo’s projections are also impressive and then of course, the mobile devices are gathering momentum. Online communities are also growing in various forms. The consumer has more choice than ever.

As the last major British publisher, do you believe we are we still a world leader in development terms? The UK continues to be a creative force. The best-selling game of 2008 came out the UK. I view that as a good indicator. The fact is recognised in recent M&A activity, where foreign companies have invested in UK companies to broaden their global offering. The movement in foreign exchange rates has had some influence on Games have assisted the that and the UK can now disadvantaged and given regard itself as a costeffective location where hope to the young. We should creativity flourishes. But showcase that fact. the future is digital and that Rod Cousens, Codemasters means global access for the talent – wherever it resides. Does being a major company in today’s climate make it easier or Should we consider Codemasters harder to survive the recession? the world’s racing games specialist? It remains a significant segment. We know It is a challenging environment for all. Clearly resources, particularly financial it, understand it and we can grow share. strength, mean such companies are We alternate the Dirt and Grid franchises better placed than most to weather the to avoid compromising quality and we storm – but they also contend with the annualise Formula One. That makes for a overhead structure which can add compelling strategy. significant drag. Dinosaur distribution There is always competition and most structures are no longer enviable while publishers include a driving game in their variable cost access is appealing, pending portfolio, but they will have to go some way to beat us – even those with pedigree. the shift to digital delivery. Those with the ability to invest in content creation It’s in our company’s DNA and we’re and invite user generated content to fiercely proud of that – but it’s not the expand the offering while also investing only thing we’re all about. in the technological infrastructure are best positioned for the future. You’ve had quite a reshuffle recently, with Jeremy Wigmore, Can you see Codemasters acquiring Alex Bertie, Jon Tibble and more studios/publishers and/or major coming in. What would you say this licences over the next 12 months? new team brings to Codemasters? I think it unlikely. We are intent on By assembling this layer of talent, we organic growth through investment in punch above our weight and it says a our internal studios and IP ownership. lot about where we are going. We are preparing for the future and for seamless We have ramped up our development resource in the last 12 months with the management succession. They know what they want and how to get there. addition of a former Sega studio, the

takeover of Swordfish and by opening in Guildford to extend our reach and talent pool. Around this, we have completed a new complex of some 32,000 square feet at the company’s headquarters, which is predominantly allocated to product development. It is a significant captive development resource which makes up more than 70 per cent of our global workforce. These internal studios are all powered by EGO tech, demonstrating how scaleable it is. What about being bought yourselves? Have you seen any interest? I have long given up on speculating. We are intent on building value for our stakeholders and if that attracts suitors then we will deal with it at that time. We strive to attract choice and there is a lot bubbling under the surface. Hotbeds of creative talent are always in demand.

Is flotation still an ambition/possibility? We contemplate all options but the markets are dealing with bigger issues right now. When it settles down and industry valuations return to some normality then I am sure they will be open for business for the right opportunity. How do you think the industry can improve its image in the eyes of Government and the wider public? The lack of attention and awareness was evident in recent UK Government propaganda on the future and readiness of the digital era – to the extent it was tantamount to a slap in the face. The lobbying element clearly has some way to go. One aspect we should push is the integration in education and support of worthwhile causes such as the involvement with The Paddington Academy. The industry should showcase what it does – how it has had a positive

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MCV INTERVIEW ROD COUSENS, CEO, CODEMASTERS

impact on the lives of young people and in preparing them for tomorrow. Games have assisted disadvantaged young people, particularly in areas such as learning disabilities, epilepsy, meningitis, children’s hospices and blindness, while games have also brightened up the lives of quadriplegics. In addition, the industry has supported Government initiatives that target improvement in schools and helped instances in learning and medical care. It has helped those with hardship aim high in the pursuit of sporting excellence and brought a new dimension to creative expression in the career aspirations of the young. Thankfully, Nintendo has done a lot to portray family entertainment – and that can only be a good thing. Is retail necessarily the best route to market for a company like yours? Retail is a partner we look to work closely with. We need to work together – and this does include secondary exploitation of games. There is a growing momentum for D2C and retail will be as interested in that. It may well be that the business model evolves to embrace it. Codemasters has the infrastructure to address the digital age. What will be the biggest innovation in games this year? Advances in motion controllers will stimulate games design and development. Music is another category which could expand the gaming horizon. 3D TV is also very interesting. On top of that, user generated content is always innovative and can add value to our offerings. The development of communities allows for innovation and we are well down that path. We think we’re in a good place right now and in good shape.

GREAT BRIT: Industry stalwart Cousens will have his eye on the evolution of motion control and 3D TV at this year’s E3

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E3 2009: HERE WE GO AGAIN...

Last year was a bit of a letdown; the year before was a shambles. Can E3 get the balance right this time round? What will be the big talking points? Who’s exhibiting where? And, most importantly, can it live up to the hype? MCV provides your essential guide to the show...

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E3 2009: PUBLISHERS’ DEMANDS

Can we fix it? Last year’s disappointingly slimmed-down E3 was called ‘soulless’ and likened to a ‘hospital corridor’ by publisher bosses. So what improvements do they want to see from 2009’s Expo? Tim Ingham reports…

David Yarnton, UK General Manager, Nintendo

Ian Curran, VP of Publishing, THQ

Jack Tretton, President and CEO, SCEA

Peter Moore, President, EA Sports

“Retail: With European trade shows having varying degrees of relevance depending on location, E3 is the only global trade show where retail can get a feel for the shape and health of the business. Sales budgets, marketing budgets, training and retail strategy all become clearer after seeing and playing code. “The past two years have seen E3 try to find its feet and strive to hit the balance between being a place where people can do business and see new products, with it being a global showcase of talent and creativity. “I’d like to see the E3 Expo this year remind everyone across the world just how great our industry is, how talented everyone who works in it is and just what a great entertainment medium we really are. It can do that by becoming a truly global show once again, where people from all over the world come to meet, look forward and discover new products.”

“E3 needs to re-focus back on the international markets. The show in the past two years has been much too US-focused. “It also needs to welcome back retail to show. The past few years have been pretty much dedicated to PR, with little focus on retail and distribution partners. Retail needs to see and feel the buzz around the top titles – and this has been missed over the past couple of years. European retailers, – especially from the UK – have been crying out for one big show where they can see all the top products under one roof without the need to attend dozens of individual publisher events. “Finally, it needs to deliver the razzmatazz and positive PR that our industry deserves. We are now bigger than music and film and will have some of the biggest entertainment releases in the year. We have a lot to shout about and E3 can become the mouthpiece to deliver our message.”

“E3 has been a fixture as a key voice for industry news and announcements since 1995. Over the years, it started being seen by many as becoming too much of an arms race, resulting in show costs that exceeded corporate value. “I think everyone agrees that the most recent attempts to downsize the show swung the pendulum too far. We have continued to invest heavily in our press event each year. However, to ensure the highest quality of information and presentation has been made available to the industry, press, and, ultimately, consumers. “Without the presence of an exciting show floor at E3, it is clearly more difficult to generate the needed attention that the industry deserves. “I’m hopeful that this year’s show will strike the right balance and that the excitement that E3 has generated in the past will now return.”

“If there was ever a time when our industry needs to look confident and optimistic, it is now. “The return of the E3 Expo to its roots – of providing a focal point for our products and a strong communication platform for the health and vibrancy of our industry – is welcomed. “I am truly looking forward to this year’s conference and hope we are able to achieve certain things with the show. “The first is to ensure that we embrace the games industry’s loyal consumers in more meaningful ways at the event – and not shut them out. “We also need to demonstrate as a global industry how video games are at the absolute forefront of connected entertainment. “Finally, we need to regain the industry’s strut and swagger – something that the E3 Expo once so wonderfully portrayed.”

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E3 2009: PUBLISHERS’ DEMANDS

Yes, we can Rod Cousens, CEO, Codemasters

Alain Corre, Executive Director, Ubisoft

Simon Jeffrey, President, Sega of America

Ray Maguire, MD, SCE UK

Ian Livingstone, Life President, Eidos

“Once upon a time, E3 assumed the mantle of a global showcase for the progressive interactive entertainment and technology industries. “The E3 Expo was a statement for the video games industry and now needs to reinforce that. “It needs to regain its position as the premier event in the calendar – and remind the world that it is a global meeting place and that it spells out a vision for the future. “The show needs to promote and display the creativity and innovation of games, as well as referencing greater growth opportunities via broader demographics, online communities and emerging formats and markets. “It needs to demonstrate vibrancy and energy so much so that the show must go on!”

“We hope for a big show where triple-A creations can breathe. “We want to impress and make people dream of our games. For that to happen, you need big lights, big music and a lot of attendees. “To put it simply, you need something that feels like a global show. “That was certainly the case a few years ago – but it definitely wasn’t last year. You need to create buzz – that wasn’t there in 2008. “It’s essential that we excite the global media with this show. We want them to return home afterwards – the CNNs and BBCs – and show the entire word that video games are growing. “Innovation is moving along and from what we know, the games at this year’s E3 will be the best games of all time.”

“E3 this year shows all the signs of being just what the global gaming industry needs for presenting its product to the trade. “It needs to have life and soul. It needs to have a controlled level of noise and spectacle – but the control is very important. We can’t get back to the days of the E3 circus/carnival that got in the way of real business being done. “Thirdly, E3 needs the overwhelming support of all levels of the games industry – publishers, retail, press – everyone. From what we’re seeing, we believe that E3 2009 will deliver against all of these needs.”

“Content: New IPs, product innovation and new gaming experiences combine with new iterations of established titles to demonstrate the diversity and sheer numbers of new games. “Public Perception: Perhaps the most important. As our products appeal to an ever widening demographic, there is a risk of becoming normalised. “E3 brings showbusiness, glamour, scale and gravitas to help keep gaming top of mind amongst consumers as an entertainment choice.”

“It should just do what it is supposed to: Demonstrate and celebrate all that is happening and is going to happen in the everchanging and exciting world of games. “In addition, it has to be a focal point for an international market – a convenient meeting place with lots of areas where people can meet without hassle, getting lost or eardrum-bursting noise. Oh, and it should bring back the booth babes…”

JAM PACKED: Global publisher bosses have called for a return to the sort of glamour lacking at last year’s event

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E3 2009: THE LAYOUT

2ND FLOOR Companies that have booked rooms and exhibition slots here include Activision, IGN, Capcom, Sony, THQ, Microsoft, EA, Take Two, LucasArts, Sega, 505 Games, Square Enix, Warner Bros, Ubisoft, Konami and MTV.

MAIN HALL Companies that have booked meeting rooms and exhibition slots here include Capcom, Sony, Nintendo of America, Activision, THQ, Bethesda, Tomy, Mad Catz, Zoo Publishing and 1UP.

It’s a big place, that LA Convention Center. So allow us to point you in the right direction, with E3’s floorplan and details of where you can visit exhibitors... E3 2009’S EXHIBITOR LIST IN FULL 1UP.com, a UGO Entertainment Property............................................................OFMR #4977 505 Games..........................................................................................................Meeting Room #401 A.L.S. Industries/R.D.S. Industries .......................................................................Booth #4544 Activision.........................................Meeting Room #511B; Booth #5322; Meeting Room #510; ...............................................................................................Meeting Room #511C Advocate Art Ltd ...........................................................................................................Booth #2459 Atlus USA..........................................................................................................................Booth #4913 Azuradisc, Inc. ................................................................................................................Booth #2836 Babel ...................................................................................................................................OFMR #4678 Basco Distribution ........................................................................................................Booth #2940 BDA .....................................................................................................................................Booth #5354 Bethesda Softworks ..........................................................................OFMR #4675; Booth #4300 Brady Games....................................................................................................................OFMR #4773 Cambre Products - Game On .......................................................................................Booth #541 Capcom USA ................................Booth #4522; Meeting Room #507; Meeting Room #501A; CH Products.......................................................................................................................Booth #506 Children’s Miracle Network ..........................................................................................Booth #435 City Interactive ..................................................................................................Meeting Room #517 Compedia Ltd ..................................................................................................................Booth #2904 CompuExpert .........................................................................................Booth #2737; Booth #2750 Conny .....................................................................................................................................Booth #618 Conspiracy Entertainment Corp..............................................................................Booth #4867 Crave Entertainment....................................................................................................Booth #4867 Creative Mind Interactive Inc. ..................................................................................Booth #2553 CSIdentity...........................................................................................................................Booth #3116 CTA Digital, Inc...............................................................................................................Booth #4312 D-BOX Technologies, Inc. ............................................................................................Booth #2817 D3 Publisher............................................Booth #801; Booth #550; Booth #548; Booth #450 D3 Publisher of America Sales ................................Booth #801; Booth #550; Booth #548; .............................................................................Booth #450 D3 Publisher of Europe ...............................................Booth #801; Booth #550; Booth #548; .............................................................................Booth #450 Data Design Interactive..................................................................................................Booth #441

David Perry ......................................................................................................................OFMR #4539 DDR Game............................................................................................................................Booth #718 Deck 13 Interactive GmbH ..........................................................................................Booth #1246 Dell Gaming ......................................................................................................................Booth #2622 Digital Extreme Technologies, Inc..........................................................................Booth #4556 DIGITAL Hearts...............................................................................................................Booth #2749 Digital River, Inc. ...........................................................................................................OFMR #4976 Digiwinner Limited ........................................................................................................Booth #2902 Disney Interactive Studios ..........................................................................................Booth #1001 Dolphin Electronic Co. Ltd...........................................................................................Booth #406 DreamCatcher / JoWood................................................................................Meeting Room #516 dreamGEAR ........................................................................................................................Booth #5113 dtp entertainment .........................................................................................................OFMR #4424 E-Game For Less, Inc. ..................................................................................................Booth #2801 Eidos Interactive ............................................................................................................Booth #2422 Electronic Arts .......................................................................Booth #1501; Meeting Room #407; ...............................................Meeting Room #406AB Electrotank, Inc................................................................................................................Booth #528 Elite Systems Ltd............................................................................................................Booth #2751 Emergent Game Technologies ...................................................................................OFMR #4674 Entertainment Liquidators of Canada ...................................................................Booth #2838 Enzyme Labs......................................................................................................................Booth #447 Epic Games .........................................................................................................Meeting Room #302 Evil Controllers.................................................................................................................Booth #646 EZ Games Distribution, Inc.......................................................................................Booth #2928 Fallen Earth.....................................................................................................................OFMR #4440 Fatal1ty ..............................................................................................................................Booth #2922 Foreign Media Games ...................................................................................................OFMR #4974 Frogster America, Inc.......................................................................OFMR #5074; OFMR #5072 G4TV.......................................................................................................................................Booth #411 Game Center Distribution Inc. .................................................................................Booth #2906 Game Outlet Europe .....................................................................................................Booth #2830 Game Source, Inc. .........................................................................................................Booth #2446

Gamelife ............................................................................................................................OFMR #4543 Gamepark Holdings Co. Ltd.........................................................................................Booth #500 Gamer Grub ........................................................................................................................Booth #3118 Gamers First:.....................................................................................................................Booth #2811 GameSpot ..........................................................................................................................Booth #4901 GAMETECH .........................................................................................................................Booth #746 GAriGrid/Qualsense ........................................................................................................Booth #3114 Gazillion Entertainment ..............................................................................................Booth #3023 GelaSkins ..........................................................................................................................Booth #2934 GenAudio ...........................................................................................................................Booth #2636 Goldcool Games China ..................................................................................................Booth #3015 Grace Marketing Company .........................................................................................Booth #2552 Graffiti Entertainment, Inc ..........................................................................................Booth #502 Griffin International ......................................................................................................OFMR #5272 Hi Rez Studios ................................................................................................................Booth #2630 High Voltage Software ................................................................................................Booth #4500 Hong Kong Manufacturers Ltd.................................................................................Booth #4560 Hori (U.S.A.), Inc. .........................................................................................................OFMR #4872 iBeta Quality Assurance ...............................................................................................Booth #547 ICON....................................................................................................................................Booth #4667 IGN.com...................................................................................Meeting Room #501B; Booth #2847 Ignition Entertainment..................................................................................................Booth #5101 ijji.com (NHN USA).......................................................................................................OFMR #4533 InComm ..................................................................................................OFMR #4875; Booth #4555 Infernal Engine ...............................................................................................................OFMR #4422 Innex, Inc. .........................................................................................................................Booth #2547 Inspired Instruments, Inc.............................................................................................Booth #407 Intel Americas, Inc........................................................................................................Booth #2622 Iron Will Technologies Inc...........................................................................................Booth #2915 J.F.J. Disc Repair ............................................................................................................Booth #504 Key2West Marketing Inc. dba Game America......................................................Booth #448 KOEI Corporation .............................................................................................................Booth #822 Konami Digital Entertainment .......................................Booth #2401; Meeting Room #303A

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E3 2009: THE LAYOUT

SOUTH HALL Companies that have booked meeting rooms and exhibition slots here include MTV, Square Enix, Warner Bros, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Eidos, Konami, Sega, EA, Disney, Namco Bandai, Koei, SouthPeak and D3P.

Thousands of copies of MCV will be distributed throughout the Los AngelesConvention Center's West Hall throughout the show.

Logic3; OFMR #4673..................................................................................................OFMR #4672 Logitech .............................................................................................................................OFMR #4676 Loomax International B.V............................................................................................Booth #2841 LucasArts............................................................................................................Meeting Room #309 Mad Catz: OFMR #4423 ...........................................................................................OFMR #4425 Majesco Entertainment................................................................................................OFMR #4972 Marc Ecko Entertainment..........................................................................................OFMR #4440 Marjacq Man.....................................................................................................................OFMR #5077 Mastermedia:.....................................................................................................................Booth #2731 Matcom Distribution......................................................................................................Booth #2747 Mayflash Limited...............................................................................................................Booth #401 Mecca Electronic Industries Inc. .............................................................................Booth #2464 Microsoft Corporation.....................................................Meeting Room #404AB; Booth #1523 Morpheus Prototypes; .................................................................................................Booth #2557 MTV Games ...........................................................................Booth #2023; Meeting Room #303B MusicSkins LLC..............................................................................................................Booth #3040 Namco Bandai Games America ...................................................................................Booth #801 Natsume, Inc .....................................................................................................................Booth #848 nDreams Ltd.....................................................................................................................OFMR #4772 Nintendo of America .....................................................Booth #4923; Meeting Room #409AB; .......................................Meeting Room #410; Booth #5156; ............................................................................OFMR #5156 Nordic Game ....................................................................................................................OFMR #4874 Nordic Games Publishing ...........................................................................................OFMR #4428 NVIDIA ..............................................................................................................................OFMR #4450 NYKO Technologies........................................................................................................Booth #4512 Packaging & Design.........................................................................................................Booth #542 Paleo Entertainment......................................................................................................Booth #3031 Paradox Interactive ......................................................................................................OFMR #4529 PEGA HK Ltd ...................................................................................................................Booth #2653 Penguin United ...............................................................................................................Booth #3029 Perfect World ..................................................................................................................Booth #4956 Performance Designed Products..............................................................................Booth #2822

Phantom EFX ...................................................................................................................OFMR #4531 Playlogic Games..........................................................................................Meeting Room #402AB Playseats ..........................................................................................................................Booth #2909 PlaySpan ...........................................................................................................................OFMR #4438 Playwet ..............................................................................................................................Booth #2938 POWER PLAY (RIIFLEX) .............................................................................................Booth #2561 Prima Games/Random House, Inc...........................................................................OFMR #5073 PRO VS. GI JOE ............................................................................................................Booth #4959 Proximo Games, LLC ....................................................................................................Booth #2452 QiShenglong Manufacturing Ltd..................................................................................Booth #551 Rampid Interactive ........................................................................................................Booth #2837 Rebellion............................................................................................................................OFMR #4873 Roadie Music Game Gear .............................................................................................Booth #3128 Royal Electronics, Inc. .................................................................................................Booth #2453 RTI Disc Repair...............................................................................................................Booth #2930 S1 Audio.............................................................................................................................Booth #2652 Sakar-Vivitar...................................................................................................................Booth #5067 Scanavo North America LTD.......................................................................................Booth #404 SEGA of America, Inc. ..................................................Booth #2001; Meeting Room #308AB; ............................................................ Meeting Room #307 Solutions 2 Go..................................................................................................................Booth #848 Sonic Games Inc.............................................................................................................Booth #2555 Sony Computer Entertainment America ................................................Meeting Room #506 ...........................Meeting Room #504; Booth #4622; Meeting Room #505 Sony Computer Entertainment Europe..............................................Meeting Room #502AB Sony DADC .......................................................................................................................OFMR #4973 Sony Online Entertainment ......................................................................................Booth #4600 SouthPeak Games ............................................................................................................Booth #623 Splitfish AG ......................................................................................................................Booth #2737 Square Enix, Inc..............................................................................................................Booth #1546 Stunned Mind ...................................................................................................................Booth #2733 Super Rewards ..................................................................................................................Booth #408 SureDisc ............................................................................................................................Booth #2462

Take Off CSH ....................................................................................................................Booth #1246 Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.........................................OFMR #5172; Meeting Room #403B Tecmo....................................................................................................................................Booth #822 Telltale Games .................................................................................................................OFMR #5274 Tencent Games................................................................................................................OFMR #4876 Teyon.....................................................................................................................................Booth #549 Think Services Game Group......................................................................................OFMR #5079 THQ .............................................................................................Meeting Room #512; Booth #5300 TOMY Corporation .........................................................................................................OFMR #4774 Trion World Network ...........................................................OFMR #5075; Meeting Room #405 Tritton Technologies, Inc. ...........................................................................................Booth #2730 Turtle Beach....................................................................................................................Booth #2805 U.S. Games Distribution, Inc....................................................................................Booth #2460 Ubisoft Entertainment .........................................................Booth #1022; Meeting Room #305 USERJOY Technology Co., Ltd ................................................................................Booth #3034 Valve ....................................................................................................................Meeting Room #501C Video Game Advantage ...............................................................................................Booth #2803 Vogster Entertainment, LLC .....................................................................................Booth #5555 Warner Bros. Interactive.................................................Meeting Room #306A; Booth #2047 WIZARBOX .......................................................................................................................OFMR #5276 Woot, Inc...........................................................................................................................Booth #2647 xaitment Inc.: .................................................................................................................OFMR #4446 XD Productions...............................................................................................................Booth #2738 Xlerator Wheel Stands ................................................................................................Booth #2458 XSEED Games......................................................................................OFMR #5076; OFMR #5076 Yoostar .......................................................................................Meeting Room #519; OFMR #5278 Z-Best Audio & Video Inc. ...........................................................................................Booth #546 ZeroPlus Technology Co., Ltd...................................................................................Booth #3028 Zoo Games .........................................................................................................................OFMR #5173

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E3 2009: THE MEDIA’S PREDICTIONS

The write stuff They’ll be the ones telling gamers what’s going on at E3, but what are the UK’s leading games journos looking forward to seeing at the show? Some of our best-known hacks get out their crystal balls for MCV… “LAST YEAR, with Gears of War 2 and Fable II already in the Christmas lineup, Microsoft’s E3 conference prioritised mass-appeal games like Lips and You’re In The Movies. This year we’ve only got Halo 3: ODST officially confirmed so I’m looking forward to some more traditional Xbox exclusives, ideally featuring heavily armed men, to bulk up the Christmas release schedule. Forza 3 is a given, Splinter Cell Conviction is already back on the radar, and I’m hoping for something new from Rare. “That said, casual gamers are still hugely important. My prediction, based on the recent BigPark acquisition and Steve Ballmer’s hints, is another offbeat announcement like 1 vs 100 – something that makes the 360 more of a connected entertainment platform. Although I wouldn’t say no to another bombshell announcement like FFXIII last year.”

“I EXPECT a robust showing from Microsoft, including a significant focus on Bungie – and perhaps not just on Halo 3: ODST. Xbox’s Q4 is too threadbare for the conference not to introduce new product. “I would be very surprised if Sony doesn’t unveil the new PSP model with the slide screen. As for Nintendo, I’d expect a Wii Fit sequel, although maybe not during the conference. It’s harder to say on the core side. Third parties? THQ may be one to watch, and I don’t expect Valve to keep its mouth shut. My big prediction? Nobody will catch swine flu. Certainly not anybody on my team, or they’re sacked.” Tom Bramwell, Editor, Eurogamer

Jon Hicks,

Editor, 360: The Official Xbox Magazine

SEEING INTO THE FUTURE: The UK media is expecting big things from Microsoft at this year’s E3

“HOPEFULLY this year’s E3 will be somewhat of a return to previous form. Aside from our first real look at Modern Warfare 2 – primed to be the biggest game this year – there’s been a lot of speculation about motion control coming from both Sony and Microsoft. “Hopefully Nintendo will have something to show to its hardcore following. “My big prediction? I’ve got my thumbs crossed for word on the long-touted PSP2. There’s been too much ‘rumour and speculation’ over this one.” Gavin Ogden, Editor, CVG

“I’M LOOKING forward to seeing some big things from Microsoft. The company has been fairly quiet so far this year – especially when you consider the buzz surrounding a number of great Sony exclusives – and should seize this opportunity to level things out a little. “Above all, I’d like this supposedly more glamorous E3 Expo to deliver on its promises – and provide an event that the global industry can once again be proud of.” Rick Porter, Editor-In-Chief, GamesTM & NowGamer

“IT IS LOOKING increasingly likely that Microsoft will reveal its new 3D motionsensing camera controller for the Xbox 360, developed by Israeli company 3DV. Who, interestingly, were recently bought out. By Microsoft. Oh, and they might show some stuff on the portable gaming capabilities of the new Zune HD, too. “Following this, with the audience hyped up by the Microsoft’s ‘Wii killer’ news, the Nintendo conference will be marked by the usual fanboy-sniping at whatever new wonder toys Nintendo unveil, no matter how cool or innovative or fun they look. We’ll get lots on Wii MotionPlus and (hopefully) lots on the new Zelda and some more new outings of Ninty’s big franchises. Please! “As for Sony, we’ll see the new touchscreen PSP Go! with no UMD or physical disc drive. And, not one to miss the motion control party, Sony will also show off its PS3 Wand controller that uses LEDs and a small webcam to track the device’s movements. The tech might not be as impressive as Microsoft’s, but Sony should hopefully roll out some decent games to drum up some muchneeded interest in PlayStation. “Finally, there are two things that I can personally guarantee for E3 2009. I will put actual money on there being no Sega Dreamcast 2 appearing this year – and there being an utterly blitzed Brit contingent at the Saddle Ranch 7pm till 3am daily.” Adam Hartley, News Editor, TechRadar.com

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E3 2009: A LOOK BACK

Five of the best

As this year’s expo promises a return to the ‘glory years’ MCV takes a look back at the greatest moments in E3’s history…

1995

1999

2001

2004

2006

SEGA VS. SONY ROUND 1

SEGA VS. SONY ROUND 2

E3 GOES GREEN

ALL IN HAND

TAKING THE WII

The first company to really take advantage of the all-new E3 was Sega – with the shock news that the $399 Saturn console would be coming to retail early. It set the console up for an almighty, mouthwatering scrap at retail with Sony’s PlayStation. Sony’s own press conference threw the knockout punch, however. A Sony rep spoke just one phrase: “$299”. The decimation of Dreamcast at retail that followed was the beginning of the end for Sega’s console business.

The year when Sony’s dominance of the console market was cemented: as the world got its first glimpse of PlayStation 2. Attendees’ eyes popped out at the snippets of Gran Turismo on display. Elsewhere, Sega demoed its last ever console, the Dreamcast. VP of Sega’s marketing, Peter Moore, said he expected the Dreamcast to sell 1.5 million units in its first year. The system would come with a 56K modem. Online gaming? That will never take off…

Microsoft finally unveiled Xbox – slapping the faces of its competitors en route. Microsoft's new ‘chief Xbox officer’, Robbie Bach, said: “We're not going to focus on just the kid titles, like Nintendo does.” (How times change…). Sega boss Peter Moore talked up his company's support of the Xbox. He sounded like he loved them so much, he may as well work for them… Elsewhere, Rockstar showed off the splendidly visceral, 3D Grand Theft Auto III.

Sony unleashed its sexy PSP handheld – and journos wet themselves on seeing Wipeout, Spider-Man, Gran Turismo and Tony Hawk’s on a slightly smaller screen. The Elephant Man of the show was Nintendo’s weird-looking DS, with its bizarre dualscreen display, brightlycoloured cartoonish graphics, microphone and touch-screen sensitivity. With the show over, the DS was largely forgotten as hype for PSP exploded. You know what happened next...

Remember this? When we were so busy giggling at the renamed Nintendo system we almost missed that industry-changing conference, where Iwata-san ACTUALLY PLAYED TENNIS on a console. Nintendo finally got to feel what it felt to ‘own’ E3 in the same way PlayStation had years before – albeit without the booth babes. Elsewhere, Microsoft’s Peter Moore (him again!) showed off his now infamous GTA IV tattoo – representing perhaps the biggest coup in Xbox history.

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Sales & marketing by

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HAPPY PARTY WITH HELLO KITTY & FRIENDS! © 2009 Interchannel Inc., © 1976, 1988, 2002, 2005, 2009, SANRIO CO., LTD, © Segatoys, © 2009 Compile Heart Licensed to and published by Gamebridge Ltd. The “Happy” logo is a trademark of Gamebridge Ltd. HAPPY BAKERY © 2009 Starfish-SD Inc. © 2009 Interchannel Inc. Licensed to and published by Gamebridge Ltd. MOON. Published under license from Mastiff . © Renegade Kid. Licensed to and published by Gamebridge Ltd.

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

For national accounts enquiries, please contact Mastertronic on 0845 234 4242

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E3 2009: THE KEY GAMES

Is history repeating itself? Halo, BioShock, Mario and Sonic, Modern Warfare, Assassin’s Creed and Zelda will be the key games on show at this year’s E3… just like in 2007. Christopher Dring takes a closer look at the line-up and asks: what needs to happen to recreate the glory days of two years ago? CHRISTMAS 2007 was a period to swing, re-creating the circumstances remember for the video games industry. that led to 2007’s record-breaking sales It was a time of big sales numbers is a safe bet. In fact, it could be the ideal and bar-raising video games that way of pushing gamers and their parents continued to be popular well into 2008, back into video game and entertainment from the record-breaking launch of Halo stores in what will prove to be a crucial 3, to the reinvention of the Call of Duty quarter for retail. franchise, via systemshifting new IP such as In 2007 publishers gambled Assassin’s Creed, Mario and those gambles paid off. and Sonic, Uncharted But with budgets tightening, and BioShock. will they be willing to take It was a watershed those risks again in 2009? year, unharmed by the delay of GTA IV. Fast-forward two years and 2009’s However, what made 2007 such a release schedule is looking awfully stellar year wasn’t so much the familiar (see Déjá Vu), something that’s individual games, but rather the likely to be met with joy by retail and publishers’ and developers’ willingness gamers, and despair by those to take risks. Assassin’s Creed, Mario desperate to grow the industry and Sonic and BioShock are all through the invention of new IP. examples of new IP that On the one hand 2009’s release the publishers slate is simply a result of the industrybacked with bigstandard two-year budget marketing development cycle. campaigns. And And with a even recession in established full franchises,

such as Zelda and Call of Duty were given radical new facelifts – in fact Call of Duty’s modern setting was such a departure that this year’s sequel drops the Call of Duty moniker altogether. In 2007 publishers gambled, and those gambles paid dividends. It may have been safer for Valve to release the five games in The Orange Box separately, yet by combining them together the firm created a stand-out product that became yet another critical and commercial 2007 hit. It’s surely surprising that other developers haven’t mirrored The Orange Box model since.

THE IP CHALLENGE

The fact that so much is expected from Assassin’s Creed 2, BioShock 2, Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games and Modern Warfare 2 says more about what a great year 2007 was,

and not what a promising year 2009 could turn out to be. So it is with slight anxiety we turn to E3 for the answer to how this year might end. Zelda aside, Nintendo has yet to fully reveal what consumers can expect this Christmas – and two years ago the Nintendo development teams produced crowd pleasers in the form of Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. E3 will also provide a chance to go hands-on with some of the already announced new IP scheduled for the fourth quarter. There are original titles coming, albeit not on the same scale of 2007’s award winners, with games such as Brutal Legends, Singularity, Borderlands, Blur, DJ Hero and Bayonetta due in the latter stages of 2009. But when you look at the big name sequels scheduled for the fourth quarter, you begin to wonder if these promising new titles can separate themselves from the rest. And you have to ask, with budgets tightening, are publishers willing to take the marketing risks that made 2007 such a sensational year for video games?

DÉJÀ VU CHRISTMAS 2007

CHRISTMAS 2009

Halo 3 Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Assassin’s Creed BioShock Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles

Halo 3: ODST Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games Modern Warfare 2 Assassin’s Creed 2 BioShock 2 Uncharted 2 Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks Tony Hawk’s Ride Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles

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E3 2009: MOTIONPLUS

Can this lump of plastic really hold off Microsoft and Sony? Nintendo unveiled the Wii MotionPlus at last year’s E3 – a device designed to take the Wii to an even more immersive level. Christopher Dring takes a closer look at the potential star of E3 2009… AS WE approach this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo, speculation is rife that Microsoft and Sony could be about to unveil their own motion-sensing devices to rival the Wii. However, the true star of this year’s event may not be a new announcement at all, but rather Nintendo’s upcoming Wii MotionPlus. Unveiled at last year’s expo, the MotionPlus attaches to the base of the Wii Remote and allows for gamers’ actions to be rendered identically on the screen in real time. Major publishers have already jumped on board, with new MotionPlus-compatible titles being announced on a weekly basis – and you can expect a whole host of more first and third party MotionPlus games to be announced at the LA Convention Center.

However, MotionPlus’ success can’t rely on Nintendo alone, and the platform holder has secured an ideal partner in Electronic Arts, which is set to bundle the device with copies of Tiger Woods 10 and Grand Slam Tennis. The publisher is understandably enthusiastic about what MotionPlus can bring to its sports titles. “Our goal for EA Sports titles on the Wii this year is to provide deep, authentic, and accessible motion game play experiences,” says EA Sports’ vice president David McCarthy. “In certain respects I think MotionPlus has changed how we look at product design, in that it allows us to play to our strengths more than ever before. We’re now able to deliver control solutions that really do give you the feeling that you are placing wicked

MotionPlus is an evolution on how games are enjoyed, and will change the way Wii games are played forever. Nintendo Spokesperson

“You already have evidence of the great way in which the industry has responded since we first unveiled Wii MotionPlus at last year’s E3,” says a Nintendo spokesperson about the device. “Grand Slam Tennis and Tiger Woods 10 from EA, Virtua Tennis from Sega and Red Steel 2 from Ubisoft are just three examples of how the wider publishing community has embraced the possibilities and potential of Wii MotionPlus. It’s important to also note that all but one of those titles launch on Wii before Wii Sports Resort.” SOFTWARE EVOLUTION

Wii Sports Resort is the title charged with taking the peripheral to the masses – and being the sequel to one of the most played games of all time has a good chance of achieving its goal.

top spin on a cross court forehand in Grand Slam Tennis. Users will appreciate the time our designers have spent ensuring you get one-to-one feedback on screen with rotating racket faces, spin and precise ball placement.” Sega’s senior product manager for Virtua Tennis Ben Payne is equally delighted with the new accessory: “The Wii MotionPlus contributes to Virtua Tennis 2009 being the most realistic and immersive tennis video game ever,” he explains. “To play a lob shot, you literally play a lob shot. Wii MotionPlus is one of many key selling points for the Wii version of Virtua Tennis.” Hardware and software bundles will be crucial in delivering MotionPlus to the Wii faithful, while you can bet that Nintendo will flex its marketing muscle

THROUGH THE MOTIONS: Software for Nintendo’s new peripheral is set to take centre stage at this year’s E3

come release. However, the key ingredient will be the software line-up beyond the initial launch period. The titles from EA, Sega and Nintendo are certainly a solid start, but what will really drive MotionPlus’ success are the games to be shown at E3, titles like Ubisoft’s Red Steel 2 – a game that will only work with the peripheral. “The MotionPlus has given our development team the freedom to deliver against their creative vision for Red Steel 2,” explains Ubisoft brand manager Matt Benson. “Ultimately we feel that the gamer will benefit from a more dynamic and involving experience than the original Red Steel. “There’s an impressive range of first and third party Wii MotionPlus exclusive titles arriving in 2009, and with the quality of campaign support we’ve already seen from Nintendo on their Balance Board and Wii Speak accessories, we think that it will become the must have peripheral for Wii owners in 2009.” WII 2.0

Handled correctly and the MotionPlus could be a another revolution for Nintendo’s console – and a device that will put the company one step ahead of its rivals, who are yet to announce anything close to what Wii offers. “Wii MotionPlus is certainly an evolution in how video games are controlled, played and enjoyed,” concludes our Nintendo rep. “It will change the way that Wii games are played forever. We hope the development community and consumers alike will be able to see the potential experiences that can be created and the sheer fun everyone can have playing through Wii MotionPlus.”

“This game screams “This screams quality at at you” you”

“Themost mosta anticipated The nticipated gameofof the ame the year” year”

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© 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. “PlayStation”, “PLAYSTATION” and “PS” Family logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies and are used under license from Microsoft. Software platform logo (TM and ©) EMA 2009.

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As well as showcasing key products in LA, this year Ubisoft is launching an all new E3 digital experience to complement and amplify the coverage secured from our media partners. The all new Ubisoft Exhibition website (e3.ubi.com) will feature streamed video including interviews, game footage and booth guides, straight from the show floor. Visit the site to see: The full Ubisoft press conference Producer interviews for all key releases Industry interviews including Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot Celebrity interviews Journalist reaction Live consumer comment and Twitter stream

e3.ubi.com

Š 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Assassinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Creed, Rabbids, Rabbids Go Home, Red Steel, Splinter Cell, Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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PRE-OWNED MARKET

Trade-in places Developers and publishers say that it eats their revenues, but retailers are grateful that it puts money in the tills. Michael French asks: isn’t it time we stopped being so pre-occupied with pre-owned?

WHY GAMES? So why is it just games that have a booming pre-owned market while DVDs and CDs do not? Tim Ellis, head of games at HMV – which last year launched its own trade-in games service, Re/Play – explains all… “There are a number of factors as to why there is no pre-owned market for CDs and DVDs but, put simply, there is less leeway within the music and film value chain to make it commercially viable. “If you think about music, many new release CDs are sub-£10 now, and there is also a great deal more campaign activity for music than there is for games, enabling retailers to offer a wide range of catalogue from little more than a few Pounds. So not much scope for pre-owned really, and, of course, music is available to download – legally or otherwise, so it’s far more instantly accessible than games. “Finally, people who buy recorded music generally tend to do so because they like to own and collect it – so they’re hardly likely to trade their CDs in, especially if they’ll be lucky just to make a Pound or two if they do. “There is probably a bit more lee-way to DVD and especially BluRay, but the same basic arguments essentially apply. “We shouldn’t forget that games are often part of a series from the same franchise (i.e. FIFA, Grand Theft Auto, Metal Gear Solid etc.), so there is more scope for players to feel they have ‘done that’ and to move on to the next level. Then, of course, music and film don’t have the number of platforms and technical innovations that games do (such as PlayStation moving to PS2, developing into PS3 etc.) This, too, creates a greater willingness among games to trade and exchange their games products.”

IT MIGHT not have seemed like it at the time, but it was a meaningful moment last month when GAME detailed the exact amount of revenue it made in the past year from its preowned games offer. After years of being frowned at by publishers, loved by consumers, and exploited by retailers, GAME said that pre-owned games amounted to 19 per cent of sales at its flagship chain and sister stores GameStation. At the time, the execs said it shows transparency – and the result is crystal clear. Sure, someone could argue that used games accounting for one-fifth of sales is a big deal, but really, it’s proof

that the other 80 per cent of GAME’s business is for new product. If anything, it’s proof that pre-owned, although controversial, isn’t the threat some see it as – but is a key part of the games market. VALUE CHAIN

As a high value medium, games are worth more and require significant investment – not just to make them, but play them. That intrinsic quality has value in the minds of everyone, so in fairness it makes sense that the consumers and retailers of the industry want to maintain and harness that. Fact is, the games medium is more flexible, and its brands

longer lasting – the trade-off is, well, trade-in games. And also: publishers might hate it, but pre-owned games are just a side effect of the very market and channel growth they love to exploit themselves. In recent years we’ve seen the games retail landscape change significantly with many new entrants, and many of them selling new titles. For those indies whose business has been squashed by that growth, pre-owned games have become a key sales tool – with a number of stores selling nothing but second-hand games. With all that in mind, over these three pages we’ve stepped beyond the argument over whether pre-owned games are acceptable – get over it, they are – to look at why it’s only games that get a busy trade-in sector (see ‘Why Games?’), and examine the growing second-hand market in the US and send our mystery shopper to find out what recent hits sell for of the secondhand market these days (both over the page).

LOOKING FOR A BARGAIN? Pre-owned games offer key releases at lower prices – but publishers tend to view the sector like the used car market. Yet GTA: San Andreas was the most traded in game ever, according to UK retail monitor The Game Guide, and the second-hand market did stop that being one of the best-selling games ever

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PRE-OWNED MARKET

Mystery Shopper: Used Games Our Mystery Shopper visited Glasgow to check out the latest on the pre-owned games market in both national and independent retailers. With a bunch of key titles – Oblivion, Gears of War, Call of Duty 4 and PES08 – to trade in, here’s what he found out… GAME (ST ENOCH CENTRE) Here, I was greeted with the usual shopper hustle and bustle you would expect from this national retailer. Eager gamers were browsing the shelves for the latest titles and a plentiful supply of friendly staff weaving in and out of the aisles offering support. The retailer’s radio station was promoting Street Fighter IV. Point of sale material promoting pre-owned offers hung from the ceiling – a new deal, a good start. I gravitated towards the preowned Xbox 360 titles. The store had a good selection and varied in age between titles of three years to three weeks old. After browsing, I approached

one of the managers and asked him to explain the benefits of buying pre-owned. “They have the same guarantee as the normal titles”, he said. I was directed towards the ceiling POS. “If you trade in a game and then buy a pre-owned title with the money, you receive a 20 per cent discount on the price of the title.” A nice offer, I thought. I then asked him to tell me how much I would receive for the titles I had. I was told that the ‘trade-in values’ was based on a storeby-store basis. The values also varied according to demand, stock availability or rejuvenated public interest.

COD4 faired the best at £12 to £14; Oblivion was around £10, with the rest at around £5 each. Nothing more was given if I had a loyalty card. However, there was a discount given for repairing scratched games. Finally I asked if they were competitive with Gamestation, given they have the same owners. The manager was very keen to distinguish the brands and separate any deals, maintaining that they each had their own unique offers.

This store had a much more independent feel and had a far bigger pre-owned section. It was very busy with customers filling up all areas of the store, most of whom were closely studying the descriptions on the reverse of game boxes and reading pre-owned POS. These promoted the message that they would not be beaten on pre-owned deals. There was an impressive range of pre-owned Xbox 360 games. A pre-owned copy of Gears of War 2 was £10 cheaper than in GAME, priced

at £24.99; not bad for a big multiplayer title. This seemed to be a common theme in store with most titles up to £10 cheaper than GAME. I approached the sales desk to investigate if these cheaper prices meant less value. The system in Gamestation is based on scanning the barcode; this seemed to give me a rough estimate. Several scans later, I received a few solid ‘guesstimates’, pointing to the POS and reinforcing they would match any offer. After challenging him with the GAME

20 per cent reduction offer, he said they wouldn’t match the specifics of the deal but would instead match the overall cost if found to be less than Gamestation. The values given were: COD4 £12 to £14, with Oblivion, Gears and PES08 at £5 each. A full guarantee was available with a repair option for a fee.

This is an independent game shop with a good reputation in Glasgow for pre-owned titles. I was greeted with a lot of POS promoting both current and past titles. As expected there was a large range of ‘previously played’ titles available with prices somewhere in between that of GAME and Gamestation. Each title had a sticker with a number of references on nearby POS promoting a tiered swap system. I was a little confused so decided to ask at the sales desk. I got the impression that the person I spoke with was the shop owner, as he kept making references to ‘his’ games and ‘his’ shop. After asking him to

explain the tiered system, the owner rattled off the customer benefits and examples of offers. I didn’t understand it, so asked again for clarification. My understanding was that each game is tiered dependent on general popularity and stock levels; these were graded between one to four. If I traded in a level one tiered game, I could swap it for a game of similar or less standing with a financial contribution. When buying a game from G-Force, a voucher is given to the customer to use in the future to swap the game for an equal or less tiered game without financial contribution. If I had several lower-tiered games, they too could be swapped for

a higher tiered game with or without financial contribution, this dependent on games. I asked him to give me cash values and was told that generally they focus on swapping titles and only pay cash if a game is in demand. Only COD4 had a confirmed value – around £10. Whilst values were better elsewhere, the product range was on a par with Gamestation. I felt that consumer choice was far better here, adding a boost to the overall score.

BUY VALUE: 7/10 SELL VALUE: 7/10 RANGE: 8/10 CUSTOMER SERVICE: 9/10 OVERALL: 7/10

GAMESTATION (UNION STREET)

BUY VALUE: 9/10 SELL VALUE: 7/10 RANGE: 9/10 CUSTOMER SERVICE: 7/10 OVERALL: 8/10

G-FORCE (UNION STREET)

BUY VALUE: 8/10 SELL VALUE: 6/10 RANGE: 8/10 CUSTOMER SERVICE: 8/10 OVERALL: 9/10

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PRE-OWNED MARKET This Mystery Shop was conducted by infinite Field Marketing Solutions, a leading provider of field marketing services to gaming and technology sectors. Solutions include Training, Market Research, Mystery Shopping, Demonstration Days, Roadshows, Merchandising and Compliance & Data Capture. Visit our website for details and to request a Case Study.

HMV (ARGYLE STREET) The gaming section was tucked in the corner of this store and was quite small in comparison with the massive stocks of DVDs & CDs. Looking around, I found the Re/Play section. The trade-in value was on a par with GAME. Most of the pre-owned titles on sale were quite old and had a price normally given to much newer titles. I approached the sales booth at the back of the store and asked for trade-in values for my games. I started with COD4. At first I was told that it was no longer being accepted as a trade-in. This seemed to surprise the sales advisor; but a colleague stepped in, bashed a few buttons liberating the

value of COD4; seems it wasn’t discontinued after all. The values on most of the titles were very good. If I accepted store credit rather than cash, they were even better: COD4: £19 cash or £21 store credit; Oblivion: £5 cash or £7 store credit; GOW: £7 cash or £9 store credit; and PES08: £7 cash or £9 store credit. There were no price matching deals on offer, only trade-in values, which were good in comparison.

This chain also boasts a good pre-owned reputation. The store was reasonably quiet. For some reason, it took me quite a while to find the Xbox 360 pre-owned section, even though it was directly below the new titles. I don’t think I was going blind; there was only a small ‘pre-owned’ piece of text on the price ticket to distinguish between that and the new titles. The range was good and the pre-owned prices closer to Gamestation’s. Gamers looking for a pre-owned bargain would do well here. That said, when

asking the sales advisor for trade-in and selling options, I was told that the value is pretty poor and that I would be better to keep the titles or give to a friend or family member. I asked for cash and trade-in amounts. COD4 was £5 cash or £10 trade, with the remaining titles going for £3 cash and £5 trade. Not many options available to me.

BUY VALUE: 5/10 SELL VALUE: 9/10 RANGE: 4/10 CUSTOMER SERVICE: 5/10 OVERALL: 5/10

CHIPS (DUMBARTON ROAD)

BUY VALUE: 8/10 SELL VALUE: 5/10 RANGE: 8/10 CUSTOMER SERVICE: 6/10 OVERALL: 6/10

BLOCKBUSTER GAMES (DUMBARTON ROAD) I received immediate attention on entering, with sales people quite willing to answer my questions. The store also felt like an independent gaming store as opposed to a concession to a DVD rental. I thumbed through the preowned games and was surprised at some of the bargains. Assassin’s Creed for £4.99, PES07 at £1.99, PGR3 just £1.99 and Oblivion £7.99. They also had quite a large range available which covered most genres with many bargains to be had. I approached the counter and asked the sales staff to explain the deals I would get for my pre-owned games. There was no real value in

selling or trading games, I was told. A little taken back, I wondered how they ever received games in the first place. However, as they began to list the values, I realised why: COD4 was £10 trade or £5 cash, with with all other titles £3 trade and £1.50 cash. It seemed that the bargains available in-store had very little mark-up on the trade-ins. The sales advisor finished his point by advising me to sell them to a mate or on eBay as I would get better value there. BUY VALUE: 10/10 SELL VALUE: 3/10 RANGE: 8/10 CUSTOMER SERVICE: 7/10 OVERALL: 7/10

SUMMARY Overall it was quite a mixed bag in which an informed customer could quite conceivably visit all stores listed to get the best deal. Gamestation seemed to offer good deals and trade-ins for both buying and selling. The infinite number of options available in G-Force went beyond just slapping a monetary figure to the game. Instead, it encouraged the sale – and continued business – through the swap system.

STATES OF PLAY How big is the pre-owned market in the US? And how will it grow further? Kloster Trading’s Lutz Muller takes a look… “The used game market in the United States continues to grow strongly and is expected to reach a retail sales number of more than $3 billion by end of this year. It has traditionally been the bailiwick of one major chain, GameStop. “To demonstrate the point: in 2009, at least 55 million consumers in the United States bought at least one used game and 26 million sold at least one game – with 60 per cent doing so at GameStop. But the 60 per cent number is misleading – Gamestop actually attracts the high-volume consumers, meaning it accounts for about 90 per cent of all used games sold last year in the US. “Gamestop pretty much owned the marketplace until recently. However, I think that its share of the pre-owned market is likely to erode during this year down to 80 per cent. “They are getting more competition because used games is a large category and an eminently profitable one, as most near-monopolies tend to be, and it tends to grow during the tough economic times we find ourselves in today. “There is plenty of new competition coming on stream right now. The first to venture forth was Toys R Us with a four months trial in about five stores where you can return used games and get a store credit. While there are a number of restrictions, their prices are significantly better than GameStop’s. The trial is going pretty well and the shop floor people report that traffic is increasing steadily. I understand from my friends at Toys R Us that they are committed to this and want to make it work. “The second entrant was Amazon who, like Toys R Us, can afford to have aggressive price policies. There are several drawbacks, but the most important is that you have to wait for a week until you get the store credit and then another week until you get your purchase. This is not attractive to the regular gamer who has the attention span of a two year-old. “The third entrant is RadioShack who recently entered the new game and console business. They have decided to enter the used game business as well. I would not take this too seriously. “However, the 600-pound gorilla is still to be heard from – Wal-Mart. It is trialling a new limited kiosk-based offer run by a third party, but rumours of a bigger commitment persist. The company did seriously consider entering the sector a few years ago, but decided to walk away from it because it was outside their business model. Things may well have changed – and if this comes to fruition you can expect to see Wal-Mart entering the field towards the end of this year.”

Lutz Muller is a Swiss analyst. In the US he was CEO for four manufacturing companies, including two in the toy industry. Since 2002 he has provided competitive intelligence on the toy and video games market to manufacturers and financial institutions coast-to-coast. www.klosterstrading.com

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INTERNATIONAL GUIDE

World Services Need the inside track on all the key games markets around the globe? We offer the definitive guide to the world’s major gaming territories, providing essential information on their key distributors and retailers, as well as introducing other notable companies serving each region. James Batchelor reports... AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

THESE TWO neighbouring markets on the other side of the world share the same problems and potential as the UK market. There are even some striking differences between the two territories, despite being so close together. Consoles tend to dominate Australia, boosted no doubt by a strong development community that has co-produced such hits as The Force Unleashed, BioShock and De Blob. New Zealand is predominantly PC-centric, although PlayStation formats also perform well. The Australian video game market has actually seen some remarkable growth of late, with a 47.8 per cent year-on-year increase recorded in 2008. Its revenues now rival that of the country’s DVD industry at $1.96 billion. The loss of a major distributor at the start of the year has also failed to hinder Australia’s games retail scene, still supported by the likes of THQ Asia Pacific. Specialist retailers such as EB Games are continuing to expand their presence while mainstream superstores such as JB Hi-Fi are increasing their games offerings.

[AUSTRALIA] Population: 21,714,000 Currency: Australian Dollar GDP: $795.305 billion Capital City: Canberra [NEW ZEALAND] Population: 4,291,900 Currency: New Zealand Dollar GDP: $115.709 billion Capital City: Wellington

SPOTLIGHT: FUNTASTIC...............................www.funtastic.com.au

DISTRIBUTORS

Entrepreneurial marketer and distributor Funtastic is one of the leading companies of its type in the region. Offering a wide range of products, the firm handles products that cover every aspect of family life,

All Interactive Helensvale, Queensland

including children’s toys, apparel, footwear, sporting goods, DVD and of course, video games. Funstatic has strong ties with several of the world’s leading brands in each respective field, including

Disney, Bratz and Marvel. In 2005, it launched the Interactive Entertainment Division, which works hard to help the likes of Disney and The Game Factory get their products into retailers across both countries.

AFA Interactive Mile End, South Australia Funtastic Melbourne, Victoria

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INTERNATIONAL GUIDE BENELUX

THE ECONOMIC union of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemborg is one of the many regions around the world where the games market has been dominated by the Wii, with Nintendo’s family-friendly console accounting for 49 per cent of the home console market. While the console market may be relatively one-sided, the software market as a whole is rising, with a 15 per cent year-onyear increase. The majority of games that perform well and rack up the highest sales are generally more casual, accessible titles, which is in keeping with the territory’s console of choice. Sadly, the company’s DS market has been devastated by the growing popularity of the R4 card and a dramatic rise in piracy. But with Nintendo clamping down on this activity around the world, hopefully this situation will be resolved in the near future. The PC market is similarly affected. One of the other challenges in this region is the range of languages spoken by Beneluxians. As well as standard French and Dutch, many consumers demand Luxembourgish, Frisian and German.

DISTRIBUTORS [BELGIUM] Population: 10,666,866 Currency: Euro GDP: $389.518 billion Capital City: Brussels

[THE NETHERLANDS] Population: 16,500,156 Currency: Euro GDP: $675.375 billion Capital City: Amsterdam

[LUXEMBORG] Population: 493,500 Currency: Euro GDP: $46.513 billion Capital City: Luxemborg

SPOTLIGHT: U-TRAX ..................................................www.utrax.com Originally founded in 1992 as a record label, U-TRAX has been supporting the games industry with its localisation and advertising services for the last 12 years. The company has worked with some of the

largest developers and publishers from around the world, making its mark on over 1,800 titles. Working primarily in Dutch, U-TRAX now also translates into the Scandinavian/Nordic languages, thanks to its

translators in that territory, as well as English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and more. After first working with manuals, the company now offers a full translation service, including voice recordings.

Horelec S.A Bruxelles, Belgium CLD Distribution S.A Fernelmont, Belgium Gameworld Capelle aan den IJssel, Netherlands EBS-Benelux Bunschoten-Spakenburg, Netherlands Micromedia Nijmegen, Netherlands Favour Games Tilburg, Netherlands Rigu Sound Nieuw Vennep, Netherlands

FRANCE

OUR NEIGHBOUR across the channel is a crucial territory in the European games market, not only because of its size but also because of the developments in its retail landscape over the last year. With local specialist retailer Micromania acquired by GameStop, the American giant now has a significant foothold in Europe, paving the way for a larger invasion from the States. To counter this, the UK’s own GAME has also expressed an interest in expanding its presence in the country, while local retailer Fnac is no doubt fortifying its position. France has also taken a major step in the fight against piracy, bringing in the long-awaited new laws that allow for the prosecution of anyone found with downloaded copyrighted material on three separate occasions. This ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule will see a new State agency sending warning emails and letters to offenders. If caught illegally sharing files for a third time, the user’s internet connection will be severed. The country is also home to Ubisoft, Infogrames and Blizzard.

[FRANCE] Population: 65,073,482 Currency: Euro GDP: $2,086 trillion Capital City: Paris

DISTRIBUTORS EMC Groupe Casino Croissy Beauborg Innelec Multimedia Pantin, Paris

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INTERNATIONAL GUIDE GERMANY

THE COUNTRY at the heart of Europe is also at the heart of the continent’s games industry. Home to both Leipzig’s Games Convention of previous years and the highly anticipated GamesCom in Cologne due to take place this summer, Germany has set itself up as a stage from which the industry can show of its wares. The market also presents an additional challenge to publishers, with much stricter censorship standards than its European neighbours. With the likes of Dead Space and Gears Of War 2 banned from release, companies need to work hard to appease the German ratings board if they want to see their more mature titles on the shelves. That said, the country’s retailers have shown a strong sense of responsibility when handling such titles. After a recent shooting that was later linked to video games, German retailer Galeria Kaufhof removed all violent games and DVDs from its shelves. The country’s location makes it perfectly suited for localisation companies, such as Anakan and Partnertrans, to operate from.

[GERMANY] Population: 82,060,000 Currency: Euro GDP: $2.910 trillion Capital City: Berlin

SPOTLIGHT: ANAKAN Games specialist Anakan offer publishers complete localisation and quality assurance solutions for any of their products, with other services that contribute to their production and marketing. Key to Anakan’s services are its nativespeaking translators, able to recreate both written and audio elements in languages such as English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese. The company can even work from source material in a variety of languages, and has already localised over 1000 titles.

www.anakan.de

SPOTLIGHT: PARTNERTRANS

DISTRIBUTORS

As one of the world’s leading providers of localisation solutions, Partnertrans boasts several years of experience within the games industry. The company assists publishers and developers in everything from the planning to the execution of the localisation process, helping to co-ordinate every step of the project and tailor their services to suit the game. Partnertrans currently works on software for all gaming formats, from the main consoles and handhelds to iPod, iPhone and mobile.

DTP Entertainment Hamburg Groß Electronic Rohrnbach Otto Group Hamburg Playcom Software Vertriebs Erfurt Virtrex Multimedia Großhandel Erfurt

www.partnertrans.com

INDIA

WHILE NOT quite a fully-fledged games market when compared to other territories with a similar population size, India is fast becoming a major territory for publishers worldwide. The market’s value is expected to grow to $125.4 million by 2010 – a figure not to be sniffed at. However, like many emerging markets around the globe, there are significant challenges that must be overcome if India is to reach its full potential as a gaming nation. While video games are now becoming more widely considered as a valid form of entertainment, the console landscape is still taking shape. The country’s installed base is predominantly centred around the PS2, with the PSP behind it, although the more superior consoles such as PS3 and Xbox 360 are always attracting more followers to them. As a result, price points have become more crucial in the region: with the cheaper consoles boasting the larger audiences, higher priced games must work harder to achieve success at retail.

[INDIA] Population: 1,147,995,904 Currency: Indian Rupee GDP: $3,288 trillion Capital City: New Delhi

DISTRIBUTORS Milestone Interactive Software Mumbai

SPOTLIGHT: MILESTONE INTERACTIVE ....................................................+91 22 28203319 Founded in 1997, Milestone is the leading games distributor in India and handles products from the likes of Atari, Capcom, EA, Midway and Sony. Dealing with a mix of resellers, national chains and trade accounts, the company reaches more

than 1,200 stores across its key markets. Milestone handles 60 per cent of games reaching Indian retail and has become the only firm of its type to offer end-to-end solutions in the Indian gaming space, including

sales, distribution, marketing, public relations and product management services. The company has a number of plans to strengthen its position in its local retail space, including the formation of Milestone Games, which

will launch its own consumerfocused games retail brand later this year. Milestone also hopes to launch a complete online marketplace for gamers to purchase both boxed products and downloadable versions of these games.

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INTERNATIONAL GUIDE ITALY [ITALY] Population: 60,017,677 Currency: Euro GDP: $1,814 trillion Capital City: Rome

LAST YEAR was one of growth for the Italian games market, with a reported 25 per cent rise in value. According to some, the country’s consumers spent more money on gaming than those of any other European territory. Despite the promise shown, Italy’s retail landscape is still finding its feet as it approaches the same level of maturity as its French and UK-based counterparts. Strong chains such as Blockbuster, Auchan and GameStop are making good progress in establishing themselves in the region. However, it is independent retailers such as Open Game that dominate the territory, thriving on the lack of big supermarkets with strong games offerings and the low share of hypermarkets in the region. As 2009 progresses, expect to see retailers taking advantage of the many opportunities for growth and expansion in Italy. On the development side of things, Italian talent continues to be recognised with the likes of Ubisoft Studios Milano producing promising titles. Additionally, Italian developers can be found in many of the world’s biggest studios.

DISTRIBUTORS Cidiverte Spa Gallarate Coop Italia Sesto F.N.O Digital Bros Spa Milano Leader Spa Gazzada Schianno Newave Italia Firenze Promovideo SRL Senago

EASTERN EUROPE & RUSSIA

THE MYRIAD of countries that make up Eastern Europe show many contrasts to their Western cousins. For one thing, the region’s most dominant format is the PC, while consoles have considerably smaller userbases. This is largely due to the popularity of casual games and this sector’s constant growth – a trend appropriate to the region that gave us the world’s most renowned casual game, Tetris. Surprisingly, the Wii has yet to capitalise on this with only a marginal share of the market. Retailers have several demons to face in this market as the economic recession has driven up exchange rates and made importing software much more expensive, forcing stores to raise their prices. The most dominant retailers in countries such as Poland are German-owned Media Markt and Saturn, although local firms such as EMPiK still have a strong presence in the area. Supermarket groups like Tesco, Real and Carrefour also have a good games offering, while independents are few and far between.

[EASTERN EUROPE] Population: 233,205,000 Countries: Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Serbia, Poland Currencies: Ruble, Estonian Kroon, Lats, Lithuania Litas, Belarusian Ruble, Leu, Moldovan Leu, Hryvnia

DISTRIBUTORS SPOTLIGHT: COMPUTERLAND ....................+381(0)11 309 95 95 A leading distributor in the region, ComputerLand handles a variety of peripherals, devices and multimedia products from a range of familiar companies such as Logitech, Creative Labs and Pantone. The

company also distributes titles from EA and Ubisoft. ComputerLand distributes these products across a range of countries, including Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Macedonia and its home in Serbia. The

firm’s client base includes over 400 dealers, as well as hypermarkets and chains. ComputerLand Games is part of ComputerLand and is a leading distributor in the Balkans. It also has ties with World Cyber Games.

Akella Russia

Vellod Russia

Hitzona Russia

Andrico Estonia

Noviy Disk Russia Soft Club Russia

ComputerLand Serbia

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INTERNATIONAL GUIDE SPAIN & PORTUGAL

BEING THE European territory furthest to the west, it should come as no surprise that both Spain and Portugal boast gaming and retail scenes similar to the likes of the UK and France. In fact, the Spanish market was showing remarkable growth that was only stifled by the recession. Spain has enjoyed what has been dubbed a ‘golden age’, with the games industry doubling its sales between 2004 and 2007. This growth was on course to continue until August 2008, when ecomonic troubles saw slight decreases in sales, but it hasn’t been enough to stop the industry continuing to expand. Like other Western markets, Spain is driven by the Wii, which accounts for 48 per cent of the market. Similarly, Portugal also enjoyed a year of growth in 2008. The Wii still has a dominating presence in the region, but Sony’s PlayStation consoles provide it with much more competition, having already held 94 per cent of the market by the end of 2007. The retail scene of both countries is largely dominated by French giant Fnac and UK specialists GAME.

DISTRIBUTORS [SPAIN] Population: 46,157,822 Currency: Euro GDP: $1,397 trillion Capital City: Madrid [PORTUGAL] Population: 10,676,910 Currency: Euro GDP: $235.904 billion Capital City: Lisbon

SPOTLIGHT: PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Now in its 11th year of business, Planeta DeAgostini’s Interactive division distributes video games to various consolidated retailers,

supermarkets and the Spanish kiosk market, reaching over 100,000 outlets in the region. The company has more than 15 international partners, which

hold a number of notable licences, including Hello Kitty and Taito Legends. The company publishes and distributes its own products, including PC Fit.

+34 93 492 08 89

Ardistel S.L Zaragoza, Spain Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales Madrid, Spain Lamee Software S.L Madrid, Spain Planeta DeAgostini Interactive Barcelona, Spain Virgin Play Madrid, Spain Distribuye Palmera Las Palmas, Spain JC Distributions Gexto, Spain Shine Star, S.A Barcelona, Spain Ecofilmes Sao Joao Da Madeira, Portugal V.2 Play Lisbon, Portugal

THE MIDDLE EAST

THE MARKETS of the Middle East, particularly those of Dubai and Saudi Arabia, have long since been highly receptive to the latest entertainment products and technologies, but many publishers believe there is even more growth potential in the territory. The region has made a number of important advances in the last year, not the least of which was Games 08 – the first trade show covering the Middle East, Africa and India. This saw support from several leading companies, including Sony, Microsoft, THQ, Activision, Eidos, EA, Midway, Sega, and Ubisoft. While piracy is rife in the region, games firms are confident this can be overcome. Microsoft and Sony each have regional headquarters in the area, with the former calling upon third parties to follow suit in order to better position themselves to combat illegal copying. The two platform holders have even worked together in their efforts to tackle this issue, showing their dedication to battling piracy.

DISTRIBUTORS Hed-Arzi Or-Yehuda, Israel [ISRAEL] Population: 7,411,000 Currency: Israeli New Sheqel GDP: $200.630 billion Capital City: Jerusalem

[TURKEY] Population: 71,517,100 Currency: Turkish Lira GDP: $915.184 billion Capital City: Ankara

[UNITED ARAB EMIRATES] Population: 4,621,399 Currency: UAE Dirham GDP: $184.984 billion Capital City: Abu Dhabi

ARAL Import Istanbul, Turkey Nortec Eurasia Istanbul, Turkey Red Entertainment Distribution Dubai

SPOTLIGHT: PLUTO GAMES ....................www.pluto-games.com A leading games distributor for this vast region, Pluto Games distributes games on all formats to retailers across the Gulf region, the Levant and North Africa. The firm also offers a range of other services that are

designed to assist in the smooth launch of each game in the Middle East, including marketing actitivities, digital printing and packaging. Pluto Games also has a localisation studio that

specialises in translating games into tongues more familiar to local gamers. In 2008, the company worked with THQ to translate Wall-E into Arabic – the first video game ever to be released in this language.

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

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INTERNATIONAL GUIDE NORTH AMERICA

ARGUABLY THE region that hosts the market most similar to that of the UK, the North American territories are crucial to a game’s global success. Home to some of the world’s largest publishers, developers and retailers, both the United States and Canada represent a sizeable portion of the world’s gaming community, both in terms of consumers and companies. The US boasts a highly competitive retail scene, led by the likes of GameStop and Best Buy, with games available in all manner of outlets, from specialists to smaller convenience stores such as 7-11. It is also home to one of the three platform holders, Microsoft, the only non-Japanese company with a hand in the console market. Canada, meanwhile, is perhaps most notable for its massive development scene, thanks largely to the tax advantages available to studios that set up shop there. Cities such as Montreal and Vancouver are overflowing with developer talent. Some of the biggest titles such as Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect and FIFA are created there.

[UNITED STATES] Population: 306,400,000 Currency: United States Dollar GDP: $14.264 trillion Capital City: Washington D.C.

SPORTLIGHT: BASCO

SPOTLIGHT: DREAMGEAR One of the fastest growing video game accessory companies in the US, dreamGEAR also manufactures peripherals for iPods and MP3 players, such as its i.Sound portable speakers. The company’s management team has over 50 years of experience within the entertainment and gaming markets. dreamGEAR was also the first ever thirdparty guitar controller manufacturer to team up with a major guitar company.

In addition to its business distributing GSM mobile phones, Basco is a wholesaler and distributor of video game consoles, software and accessories. It deals with consoles (new, refurbished and store returns), games (both new releases and closeout titles), first- and third-party peripherals and even new and refurbished laptops. Its customer base is a mixture of retailers and other wholesalers, and the company is always on the lookout for new vendors to supply it with the latest products.

(310) 308-1214

[CANADA] Population: 33,646,000 Currency: Dollar GDP: $1, 303 trillion Capital City: Ottawa

1-917-627-3000

DISTRIBUTORS Basco Distribution Hills, New York dreamGEAR Torrence, California U.S. Games Distribution North Hills, California

CHINA & JAPAN

CHINA AND JAPAN are not only two of the biggest markets in the world, they’re also two of the most unique. China is predominantly PC-based, with variations on the online MMO and RPG genres forming the majority of successful titles. A 2008 report from Pearl Research revealed 65 per cent of Internet users regularly play games online – an audience of 179 million gamers. The online games market grew by 63 per cent last year, bringing its value up to $2.7 billion, and Pearl Research predicts this will grow to $5.5 billion by 2012. Japan is now the third largest video games market in the world. The country is home to two of the three platform holders, Sony and Nintendo, as well as some of the most renowned publishers in the world, such as Capcom, Konami and Square Enix. Consoles are currently leading the way in Japan, driven largely by the success of the Nintendo Wii. The handheld market, which accounts for more than half of the entire hardware market in terms of units, is also strong with both the DS and PSP performing well.

[CHINA] Population: 1,321,8851,888 Currency: Renminbi GDP: $4.401 trillion Capital City: Beijing [JAPAN] Population: 127,433,494 Currency: Yen GDP: $4,354 trillion Capital City: Tokyo

SPOTLIGHT: UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING...............................................www.usspeaking.com Universally Speaking is a leading provider of localisation and quality assurance services to the global games sector. Headquartered in

Cambridgeshire, UK the company has recently expanded its operations with a new office in Tokyo, Japan. From its two locations, Universally Speaking offers

full product localisations including translations into over 30 languages. Other services available ar localised voice over recordings, localised DTP services, full

QA testing services including localisation QA, functionality QA, compliance QA, brand checking, age ratings, online and focus group testing across all major platforms.

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Lightning strikes thrice with new recruits Three new faces at Lightning Fish studio  EA bags Google Apps chief  Bruckheimer opens games studio LIGHTNING FISH  UK development studio Lightning Fish has taken on three new members of its team across a range of key positions. LAURENCE ALEXANDER joins as game designer, and will be working on the design of the studio’s NewU: Fitness First Personal Trainer. He had previously worked at notable studios Frontier Developments and Traveller’s Tales. ALAN KEMP leaves his position as CTO at Stainless Games for the same position at Lightning Fish, while BEN ADAMS is brought on board as assistant producer. Adams

GONE FISHIN’: Alexander, Kemp and Adams join the ranks at Lightning Fish Studios to work on upcoming fitness title, NewU

previously worked in the same role at Relentless Software and will oversee production, localisation and QA of NewU. The studio’s CEO SIMON PRYTHERCH said: “We see Alan as key in our expansion plans. He is a valuable addition

to us with his considerable experience on Xbox 360 and PS3 on titles such as Magic: The Gathering, Red Baron Arcade and Asteroids. “Ben’s experience on family games such as Buzz will also be invaluable for our games.”

ELECTRONIC ARTS  JEFF HUBER has joined EA’s board of directors, although he will continue serve as senior vice president of engineering at online giant Google. While at Google, he has been instrumental in the development of the company’s AdWords, AdSense and Google Apps. He has also served in management positions at eBay and Excite@Home. He said: “EA has an exciting vision for delivering great new experiences for online gaming and packaged games, across

consoles, handhelds, mobiles and PCs.” EA CEO John Riccitello added: “We’re thrilled to have Jeff on our board.” BRUCKHEIMER GAMES  As part of the early stages of his new gaming empire, JERRY BRUCKHEIMER has enlisted the expertise of two key industry figures: Halo 3 producer JIM VEEVAERT and former Ubisoft executive JAY COHEN. Speaking to the LA Times, Veevaert said: “This is not Hollywood approaching games. Jay and I have worked on a number of successful games.”

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GHOSTBUSTERS: THE VIDEO GAME Who you gonna call? Sony reunites the Ghostbusters for the most authentic Marshmallow-toasting experience ever

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RED FACTION: GUERRILLA P66 THQ is set to deliver fully destructible environments in its latest FPS title A4T’S NINTENDO RANGE P68 Accessories 4 Technology unleashes its latest line-up of DSi and Wii peripherals BOOM BLOX BASH PARTY P69 The sequel to Steven Spielberg’s BAFTAwinning casual game finally arrives MONSTER HUNTER P70 Capcom’s PSP phenomenon returns to improve the handheld’s fortunes

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by James Batchelor

several mysterious events. As paranormal activity spirals out of control, the Ghostbusters face their biggest challenge yet.

AFTER A CONFUSING 12 months in which the game has been in the hands of no less than three publishers, Ghostbusters: The Video Game is finally on course to hit retail. With Sony now GETTING SLIMED responsible for it, the title is set to The storyline has been penned by Dan delight the series’ fans and boost the PlayStation formats as a timed exclusive. Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, the writers of the original movies, making the game Notable for being the first video game to reunite the original cast, this eagerly-awaited The timed exclusivity is release represents the certain to give the PS3 a most authentic Ghostbusters experience boost, while the PS2 version since the second film shows the format’s strength. debuted in 1991. Billed as the ‘third film’ truly feel like the next addition to the in the series, the game continues the Ghostbusters series. The two stars also adventures of the world’s most beloved reprise their roles from the movies, as paranormal exterminators and gives do Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson, players the chance to battle ghosts bringing the likeness and voice of all alongside them. four actors to their memorable characters Gamers take on the role of a rookie once more. Ghostbuster, joining the team at a time The Ghostbusters train players on a when a New York museum is playing series of missions in which they take on host to a Gozer exhibit, which sparks

familiar foes, including Slimer, the old lady from the library and, of course, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. As they progress, they must find a way to bring these terrible attacks to an end. Originally the game was set to appear on all formats but thanks to a surprising lastminute coup, Sony has now secured the game as a timed PlayStation exclusive, delaying the other versions until later this year. Both PS3 and PS2 owners will be the first to get their hands on this hotly anticipated title, with different versions of the game developed to complement the two formats. The PS3 edition boasts Hollywoodesque production values, recreating the

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RETAILBIZ: GHOSTBUSTERS: THE VIDEO GAME WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 29/05/09 65

DAMAGES: As with their cinematic exploits, the Ghostbusters digital missions generally see them causing untold devastation wherever they go. The PS3 edition’s physics engines shows this off to great effect

PREVIOUS BUSTS The upcoming Ghostbusters game may be the first to receive the support of the Hollywood cast, but there have been plenty of chances for gamers to wield the proton pack over the last 25 years. Perhaps the most notable examples include:

moody style of the films with eerie lighting and a range of special effects. The Ghostbusters themselves are rendered realistically, the ghosts look scarier than ever and the level of destruction players can create allows them to follow the team’s philosophy of blasting first and paying the bill later. The PS3 version will also include online multiplayer, allowing players to team up together in new missions. CROSSING THE STREAMS

The PS2 version follows the same storyline and visits the same locations, but features completely different levels. The most notable difference is the more cartoon-like style given to the characters, reminiscent of the much-loved Real Ghostbusters animated series, which is perfectly suited to the younger audience attracted to its older console. The timed exclusivity of Ghostbusters is certain to give the PS3 a much-needed boost, turning the tables on its Microsoft-

RELEASED: JUNE 19

Ghostbusters (1984): The official companion game released by Activision alongside the first movie, which saw players earning money by completing objectives around the city.

FORMATS: PS3, PS2 PUBLISHER: SONY DEVELOPER: TERMINAL REALITY RED FLY STUDIOS PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

owned rival, while the fact that such a prestigious release is arriving on the PS2 before the likes of the Wii and Xbox 360 versions show that the format is still going strong in the current generation. Sony also stands to capitalise on a well-timed release date, tying in with the 25th anniversary of the first film. Arriving alongside Sony Pictures’ launch of the original Ghostbusters on Blu-ray for the first time, the game will be seen as a key element of the anniversary celebrations. The hype surrounding the game, the timeless nature of the licence and the prominence of Ghostbusters today ensures that everyone will be talking about it when the title arrives and guarantees strong sales at retail.

The Real Ghostbusters arcade game (1987): Based on the cartoon series and later ported to a range of consoles, this game challenged up to three players to work together battling an increasing number of ghosts and monsters. Ghostbusters II (1989): Released on a range of consoles alongside the second movie, this game followed the events and storyline of its namesake. Ghostbusters (1990): A standalone title made specifically for the Mega Drive, this run-and-gun game saw the Ghostbusters fending off an invasion from the ghost world. Extreme Ghostbusters (2001): This Game Boy Colour title was the first Ghostbusters game to be based on the Extreme Ghostbusters cartoon series. It was followed by several sequels on varying formats. Extreme Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Invasion (2004): A Time Crisis-style outing on the original PlayStation, where gamers use a range of weapons to take out waves of ghosts.

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RETAILBIZ: RED FACTION: GUERRILLA 66 MCV 29/05/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Destruction is taken to new levels in THQ’s Red Faction: Guerrilla, the latest instalment in the popular FPS series where there is no safe place to hide… by James Batchelor THE KEY HOOK for the Red Faction games has always been an ambitious one: fully destructible environments. But while the hardware limitations of previous consoles meant the dream was never fully realised in the first two games, Red Faction: Guerrilla is set to deliver on this promise. The third instalment in THQ’s FPS series makes full use of the Xbox 360 and PS3 hardware (with a PC

open world environment twice the size of Saints Row 2 with the industry’s most advanced destruction engine, this game will change the public’s expectations of destruction within games forever. “The first time a player takes a huge building apart piece by piece with a sledgehammer, they will never be able to look at an unbreakable wooden door or seemingly bulletproof glass window in the same way. The visual story and gameplay will draw players in and the

The competitive landscape is going to be very favourable for Guerrilla and presents a good opportunity for retail. Simon Watts, THQ

version to follow), bringing environments to players that can literally be torn to pieces. As a result, the publisher is feeling confident that this title will live up to gamers’ expectations. “We expect Red Faction: Guerrilla to be a strong title through this summer,” says Simon Watts, PR manager at THQ. “Combining a huge

destruction engine will blow them away.” Following the exploits of a miner caught up in a guerrilla war for control of Mars, Red Faction: Guerilla sees players carrying out a series of missions in an open world environment where anything can be destroyed. IT’S HAMMER TIME

Gamers can decimate any building bit by bit, either blasting holes through walls that provide access to new areas or bringing the entire

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RETAILBIZ: RED FACTION: GUERILLA WWW.MCVUK.COM

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RELEASED: JUNE 5 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3 PUBLISHER: THQ

KNOCK KNOCK: With his trusty hammer in hand, the hero of Red Faction can knock holes through any wall or door, meaning players are never trapped or lost

DEVELOPER: VOLITION PRICE: £49.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9585

BRINGING DOWN THE WALLS structure down. The game boasts a true physics-based system, so if you can do enough damage to a building, it will collapse under its own weight in a realistic fashion. “This game features the most advanced destruction engine seen in an open world game to date,” says Watts. “Traditionally destruction in video games is very limited and even in the titles that do claim fullscale deformation it is achieved through smoke and mirrors. “Red Faction doesn’t use corpse replacement, nor does it confront players with indestructible structures and materials. Volition has been working on the engine for four years and technologically speaking we are years ahead of anything else on the market.” The technical accomplishments of the game and the legacy of the previous games has set Guerrilla up as a triple-A release and THQ believes the game will not disappoint when it hits shelves in the next month. “We feel the competitive landscape is going to be very favourable for Red Faction: Guerrilla and should present a good opportunity for retail,” says Watts. “The original Red Faction was one of the success stories of the PS2 launch and still resonates well with core gamers. This, coupled with Volition’s heritage as a developer, should convince even the most hesitant of gamers that this will be a must-have title.”

THQ has drawn up a comprehensive marketing strategy including what Watts describes as “our heaviest TV campaign to date”.  A print strategy will focus on film, lifestyle and sci-fi press. Print ads have also been running in specialist magazines from April and will continue through to July.  Full site takeovers and more traditional ads will appear across all key gaming sites. An initial heavyweight campaign focused on the demo, but the majority of the online ad spend will be focused on the four-week launch period.  Several activities will run on social media outlets such as Facebook, and THQ will be seeding content among online communities.  A mix of 30- and 10-second spots will hit across a broad porfolio of channels including C4, Sky, Five, Sci-Fi, Dave, Virgin 1, Bravo and E4. This will run between the end of May and mid-June.  Guerrilla will be sponsoring WWE programming reaching over 500,000 16 to 34 year-old males per month.  Trade activity has been arranged with all of THQ’s key customers, using a mix of shelf carts, website takeovers, posters, DVD wraps, Game Of The Week promotions and various other branding options. Print and TV advertising will direct consumers to trade partners.  Pre-order incentives will include a model of the in-game walker and exclusive in-game items and multiplayer maps.  A specialist PR campaign has been securing coverage across national, men’s and sci-fi media, both in print and online, as well as arranging press sampling events.

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RETAILBIZ: ACCESSORIES 4 TECHNOLOGY 68 MCV 29/05/09

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FULLY EQUIPPED: A4T’s range has something for every DS owner, whether they still hold on to their Lite or have upgraded to the DSi

RELEASED: SPRING/SUMMER

A4T enjoyed a stellar year in 2008, and the peripherals specialist is looking to continue that in 2009 with an impressive line-up of DS and Wii accessories… by Christopher Dring ACCESSORIES 4 TECHNOLOGY was the most successful third party peripherals manufacturer of 2008, and is well on course to repeat that feat this year as well. The company has already unveiled its line of official PlayStation accessories, which kicked off with a selection of PSP packs earlier in the month. And now the peripherals specialist is set to unleash its spring and summer line-up, with the first products due to launch at the end of the month. “We are always looking to bring unique and exciting products to the market and live up to our Quality and Innovation company strap line,” explains A4T’s sales and marketing director Bill Stirling. “I firmly believe that we have achieved this and much more during our first major launch of the year, especially considering the new product launch announcements we have already made in recent issues of MCV.” HANDHELD ESSENTIALS

A4T is set to capitalise on the recent launch and success of the DSi with an impressive line of accessories, which include a new innovative game case and an

FORMATS: WII, DSI, DS LITE MANUFACTURER: ACCESSORIES 4 TECHNOLOGY PRICE: VARIOUS CONTACT: 01204 369 220

impressive-looking Home Entertainment case making this a must have product Centre, both of which will be released for the Nintendo DS consumer. under the 4Gamers brand. “Next up is the 4Gamers Home “We are very proud to introduce our Entertainment Centre which is 4Gamers Play ‘n’ Style case for DS Lite definitely in a class of its own, bringing and DSi,” adds Stirling. into play the full feature set of the new “Available in black, white, pink and Nintendo DSi to the maximum. red, this product is truly dual compatible with the We are always looking to addition of a unique – bring unique and exciting patent pending – quick products to the market and release system built into the case itself. It comes live up to our company ethos. complete with both a DS Bill Sterling, A4T Lite and a DSi hard plastic adaptor, either of which can be easily “Two separate units make up this connected to the quick release system exciting multimedia product. The to allow secure and uninhibited access 4Gamers Desktop Media Station stores to the DS Lite or the DSi console during and charges your DSi when not in use gameplay. and also stores four games and an SD “As if that wasn’t enough, a spare card and comes with two spare styli stylus is included with the already included. Crucially the unit has a built-in SD card reader so that you can transfer your pictures and music onto, or back from, your DSi and then playback on the 4Gamers Desktop Speaker. “Just when you think that’s enough on the feature front, the speaker system is also ideal for leaving your hands free in the kitchen when working on that special recipe with one of the many cooking titles available. Finally you can connect your DSi

to the one metre long audio cable, sit back and play games in full stereo sound. The Home Entertainment Centre is also available in white to match the DSi.” FITNESS FIRST

The next range of products A4T has lined-up for the summer is its Fit4Fun products, which are accessories designed specifically to capitalise on the fitness phenomenon currently gripping Wii consumers. And it’s timely considering the recent launch of EA Sports Active. “Fit4Fun will initially target the Wii consumer and is fully compatible with all sports and fitness games,” concludes Stirling. “The Fit4Fun Mega Pack heads up the launch and is designed to give the consumer everything they need to maximise their effort, performance and indeed results through increased comfort, security and grip. We will also launch the Fit4Fun Essentials pack and Starter Pack at the same time.” All of A4T’s new products will start to hit shelves towards the end of this month and into the beginning of June.  Meanwhile, customers interested in meeting A4T at this year’s E3 expo should call Angela Woolley on 01204 369 220 to book an appointment.

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RETAILBIZ: BOOM BLOX BASH PARTY WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 29/05/09 69

The BAFTA award winning Spielbergdeveloped Wii franchise returns in Boom Blox Bash Party, the latest casual game from EA… by James Batchelor LAST YEAR it was the task of almost every major publisher to try and develop its own casual Wii hit. Yet, while some were intent on creating below-par minigame or sport game compilations, EA set about developing Boom Blox, an inventive puzzle game that was created in conjunction with movie legend Steven Spielberg. And when the game hit shelves in May last year, the critics loved it. Nintendo Official Magazine awarded it 90 per cent, while 1UP gave it A+, and the game’s final Metacritic score sits at an impressive 85 out of 100. The game also sold well too, with the Wii edition (there was also a version developed for mobile phones) selling over 930,000 units worldwide. And now the publisher is set to grow its Boom Blox brand further with a fullyfledged sequel. “Boom Blox Bash Party is a wild social gaming experience,” explains Steven Spielberg. “We know families and friends really enjoyed playing the original Boom Blox together, so we designed more explosive multiplayer experiences with Boom Blox Bash Party.” NEW KID ON THE BLOX

Bash Party resembles the original, in that it features physics-based puzzles with the objective of either knocking down block structures, or keep them from falling down, using the Wii Remote to throw, shoot and grab the

of the game with over 400 new levels, new Blox, environments, characters and new ways to interact with the Blox themselves. “New environments including Space and Underwater levels add new elements to the game’s physics abilities meaning

Boom Blox Bash Party is a wild social gaming experience, and we know families enjoyed playing the original together.

blocks. However, this time the game features improved mechanics, new tools, and 400 brand new levels. “Boom Blox Bash Party is extending and building on the critical successes we had with Boom Blox last year,” says EA product manager Alice Brandvik. “We’ve upped the focus on multiplayer as the most popular aspect

Steven Spielberg

you have to re-think how the blocks will fall and interact with each other. “We’ve also enhanced the level create mode, making it easier to use. As long as your Wii is online, your finished masterpiece can then be uploaded to the EA servers where other Boom Blox Bash Party owners can hit a button to download or rate other players’ creations.”

PARTY: The original Boom Blox became very popular with families, so EA LA have expanded on the multiplayer options to make Bash Party even better

RELEASED: MAY 29 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: EA DEVELOPER: EA LA PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

As a major Wii release for EA, Boom Blox will certainly receive plenty of marketing support. “Boom Blox was extremely well received, winning a host of awards including a BAFTA for Best Casual Game,” adds Brandvik. “The new additions have given us a really strong title from the previous iteration to offer a truly quality game to any casual Wii gamer’s collection. “We will have a full marketing programme including TV and online activity. Our PR activity will centre on running some level creation master classes, alongside a competition to find the best homemade level. We’re also looking to get the game into people’s hands through experiential activity throughout the summer right up until Christmas.” With a growing fan base, critical acclaim and EA’s extensive marketing push, expect Boom Blox Bash Party to tumble off retail shelves.

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RETAILBIZ: MONSTER HUNTER FREEDOM UNITE 70 MCV 29/05/09

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The PSP RPG phenomenon returns, as the everambitious Capcom strives to bring people together through their love of monster hunting… by James Batchelor THE MONSTER HUNTER franchise is one of the most successful properties to hit the PSP. The game is a phenomenon in Japan: last year, the RPG series outsold all other titles on every format. The key to the games’ popularity is the multiplayer mode, which allows up to four PSP owners to join together in epic quests and take on colossal monsters. With the latest entry in the series, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Capcom is keen to emphasise this aspect of the game in order to emulate the franchise’s Japanese success.

here in the UK, the publisher has dedicated a significant amount of its resources to promoting the game and meeting this challenge. “We’re desperate for the Japanese success of Monster Hunter to be mirrored in the UK and imagine retail to be as equally hopeful,” says Turner. “We’ve got a monster-sized campaign lined up and we know that the game will be driven post-launch by word of mouth as its popularity spreads through playgrounds across the country. So we’re expecting constant sales over a long period of time. “We’ll also be encouraging stores to

We want to mirror the Japanese success of Monster Hunter in the UK and imagine retail to be equally hopeful. Stuart Turner, Capcom

“Everything about the Monster Hunter Freedom campaign is based around the ‘team of four’ concept,” says Capcom’s head of UK marketing Stuart Turner. “We know if we can encourage people just to switch on their PSP and try the game with their friends or strangers they’ll be hooked.” THE CALL TO WAR

Throughout the school summer holidays, Capcom has arranged for a large space in Central London to serve as a ‘Gathering Hall’, where players will be able to try out the multiplayer game in a safe, secure environment. There will also be demo packs with four UMDs and exclusive DLC up for grabs, as well as a chance to meet the developers. “We’re helping drive these events by offering Monster Hunter Freedom packs with posters and advice on how to set up a local event that can be put up at schools, colleges and youth clubs,” adds Turner. “We’re trying to break down the barriers to the way people play games and make it as easy as possible for people to pick up and play the game with others.” Capcom has set its sights high with Freedom Unite. With the Japanese legacy to live up to and a struggling PSP market

start up their own Monster Hunter nights and events, encouraging their local customers to come along and play. We’re positive that along with some of the invite-a-friend incentive schemes

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RETAILBIZ: MONSTER HUNTER FREEDOM UNITE WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 29/05/09 71

RELEASED: JUNE 26 FORMATS: PSP PUBLISHER: CAPCOM DEVELOPER: CAPCOM PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3818

that this will encourage sales in the traditional quiet summer months.” A MONSTER CAMPAIGN

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite will be supported by a full print campaign across a range of kids and national publications. There will also be online marketing in the form of takeovers on Nickelodeon, The Sun, ebuddy and MSN, as well as banners, skyscrapers, and MPUs on the MTV, Turner and ITV networks. A full TV campaign has been planned with 30-second TV ads running for four weeks during key programming, targeting 12 to 15 year-old males. A cinema campaign will also kick in over the summer holidays, covering off the summer blockbusters such as the latest Harry Potter film. Finally, a full range of POS will be available from Centresoft, including posters so people can fill in their own details of get-togethers and meet-ups. “With one of the largest marketing campaigns for a PSP title and the full weight of SCEE behind us, we’re doing everything we can to make Monster Hunter Freedom Unite as big as it is in Japan,” says Turner. “It would be a massive disappointment if we only achieved one per cent of what the game has done in Japan but that would still make Freedom Unite the biggest selling PSP title since the GTA games were released.”

TOGETHER: The focus of both the game and the marketing campaign is fighting beasts in a team of four

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RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 72 MCV 29/05/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more

The Sims bring life to retailers in June EAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s PC phenomenon returns to shelves with the third iteration of The Sims series, leading a line-up of strong titles that includes Red Faction, Horrible Histories, Indiana Jones and EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis... TITLE

FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

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

Casual Casual Action Music Casual Mystery Mystery Cards FPS FPS Puzzle RPG Simulation Self-Improvement Strategy

Focus Multimedia Focus Multimedia Mastertronic Deep Silver Focus Multimedia Focus Multimedia Focus Multimedia Mastertronic Mastertronic THQ Focus Multimedia Deep Silver EA Nintendo Mastertronic

0845 234 4242 0845 234 4242 0845 234 4242 0870 027 0985 0845 234 4242 0845 234 4242 0845 234 4242 0845 234 4242 0845 234 4242 0121 506 9585 0845 234 4242 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0845 234 4242

Mastertronic Mastertronic Open Koch Mastertronic Mastertronic Mastertronic Open Open Advantage Mastertronic Koch Centresoft Koch Open

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

Action Kids Kids Kids Sports Sports Action Action RTS Action/Adventure Sports/Action Action Sports Racing Sports

Eidos Blast Midas Midas EA Sports 505 Games 505 Games South Peak Slitherine Activision Blizzard South Peak Activision Blizzard 505 Games Midas Midas

0121 625 3388 0845 234 4242 01376 555 333 01376 555 333 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 01376 555 333 01376 555 333

Centresoft Mastertronic Open Open Centresoft Advantage Advantage Centresoft Koch Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Advantage Open Open

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

Puzzle Action FPS Mini-games Action/Adventure Simulation Simulation Simulation Simulation Simulation Racing Simulation Simulation Simulation Music Action/Adventure Action

Ubisoft 505 Games Ubisoft Ubisoft Atari Ubisoft Ghostlight 505 Games 505 Games 505 Games EA Ubisoft Ubisoft Deep Silver EA Rising Star Games Atari

0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9590 0845 362 7769 01376 555333 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388 01582 433700 0121 506 9585

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

PC PC DS

RTS Action Simulation

Ubisoft 505 Games 505 Games

0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585

Trilogy Advantage Advantage

JUNE 5th Be Rich! Cake Mania 3 Devil May Cry 3 (Sold Out) DJ Star Mystery Case Files: Madame Fate Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspects Mystery Chronicles: Murder Among Friends Poker Academy 2.0 (Sold Out) Rainbow Six III: Ravenshield Gold (Sold Out) Red Faction Guerilla Rubik's Cube Challenge Sacred 2: Fallen Angel The Sims 3 Walk With Me! Do you know your walking routine? Worms 4 Mayhem (Sold Out)

JUNE 12th Batman: Arkham Asylum Casper's Scare School - Spooky Sports Day Clever Kids: Creepy Crawlies Clever Kids: Pet Store EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis Galactik Football Guilty Gear II: Overture Hail To The Chimp Horrible Histories: Rotten Romans Indiana Jones And The Staff Of Kings Pirates vs Ninjas Dodgeball Prototype Super Dodgeball Brawlers Super Speed Machines World Cup of Pool

JUNE 19th Classic Word Games Emergency Rescue Far Cry 2 (Classic/Platinum) Fun Park Party Ghostbusters: The Video Game Imagine My Boutique Mary King's Riding School 2 Mean Girls My Pet On The Farm My Pet Parrot MySims Racing Petz: My Baby Hamster Petz: My Puppy Family Pony Life (Whitakers) Rock Band Unplugged Rygar: The Battle Of Argus The Munchables

JUNE 26th Anno 1404 ARMA 2 Beauty Salon

MUSTSTOCK ....................................THE SIMS 3 Released: June 5th Format: PC Publisher: EA Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388

The third instalment in the ever-popular Sims series is guaranteed to be a smash hit when it hits retail. Not only will it draw out the millions of Sims fans hungry for new content and revised features, it is certain to charm a new generation of gamers and grow the franchise.

MUSTSTOCK ...................HORRIBLE HISTORIES Released: June 12th Format: Wii, DS, PC Publisher: Slitherine Distributor: Koch Contact: 0870 027 0985

The first instalment in the series based on the books of Terry Deary, Rotten Romans is the product of the combined talents of the author and Slitherine. Players experience history with all the horrible bits left in as they explore Ancient Rome.

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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 74 MCV 29/05/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Sponsored by

RETAIL BIZ: NEWS

[RETAIL REACTION] SINGING THE PRAISES OF HIGH STREET RETAILERS

MCV offers a weekly digest of the latest news on the High Street...

“A specialist High Street presence is vital to continued growth of the industry, as much as it is vital for selling peripherals that sets apart innovative applications.” Whilst I acknowledge that downloadable games are an important development, we must avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater. A specialist High Street presence is vital to the continued growth of the industry, as much as it is vital for selling peripherals such as cameras, microphones, fitness boards, dance pads, boom mikes, specialist controllers and all the other stuff that sets apart innovative applications. They are only words, but Sony’s acknowledgment of the important role retail plays goes some way to bolster the confidence of a battered and often under-appreciated retail sector, right down to the shop worker who actually sells this stuff every day.

Chris Ratcliff Editor, The Game Guide, 01606 836347

INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

1

TITLE/FORMAT

PUBLISHER

YU-GI-OH! 5DS ACCELERATOR FORMAT: DS

DEVELOPER: KONAMI PUBLISHER: KONAMI

2

NEW

3

1

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE 360

BATTLESTATIONS PACIFIC 360

4

4

VELVET ASSASSIN 360

5

2

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE PS3

6

2

WII FIT Wii

7

8

LEFT 4 DEAD 360

8

RE

THE GODFATHER 2 PS3

9

9

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 PC

10

RE

MARIO KART Wii

GUITAR HERO METALLICA BUNDLE ROCKS ON European gamers will be treated to an exclusive Guitar Hero Metallica bundle as the latest iteration of the hit music franchise arrives at retail Friday, May 29th. The pack will include a copy of the game, a wireless guitar peripheral and a Metallicathemed faceplate depicting the iconic skull motif. The game itself will include 28 tracks from the band as well as 20 further tracks by artists selected by the band. Also included is a new Expert+ drum difficulty setting that uses note-for-note tracking. Guitar Hero Metallica will be released on 360, PS3, Wii and PS2. WII TOPS WEDDING WISH LISTS John Lewis has revealed that the Wii became one of the top 20 most popular items to appear on a couple’s wedding lists over the last month. The Telegraph reported the Nintendo console joined other tech gifts, such as an iPod or flat-screen television, and traditional items such as crockery and cooking equipment. John Lewis’ senior gift list analyst Tracey Yates said: “Two years ago, the top 20 products on the gift list were exclusively traditional items from linens, kitchenware, china and glass but, in the second half of last year, the Wii made it to the Top 20.” ONE IN FOUR UK HOUSEHOLDS OWNS A CONSOLE A new study entitled Fast Forward, which questioned over 2,000 UK residents in November last year and again in February, found a growing trend for staying at home, with increased demand for things such as console gaming, music downloads and online TV. The Wii, in particular, saw a five per cent increase in ownership amongst those questioned. As a result, the report claims that 23 per cent of UK households now contain a console. “Brits have been taking advantage of the heavily discounted sales both before Christmas and in the first part of 2009,” Harris Interactive’s research director Steve Evans stated. “It seems that the investment in home entertainment will mean people saving money by staying in, and preparing for some tough months ahead.”

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

MCV POLL IS THE PREDICTED HOT SUMMER WEATHER GOING TO AFFECT GAMES SALES?

38%

EIDOS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

YES

SOUTHPEAK ACTIVISION BLIZZARD NINTENDO EA EA SEGA NINTENDO

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.

48% NO

14% MAYBE

Almost most half of the readers who took part in the latest MCV online study are confident consumers won’t be swayed by the beautiful weather this summer, and will continue to dedicate some of their time and money to their gaming habits.

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

ble at a l i a v All A

For more information contact sales - 01256 385 251

NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.

It doesn’t take much to confuse me, but I always worry about the almost weekly reports I read in the newspapers telling me that a glass of wine in the evening is good for me, only to be countered by subsequent reports saying that my glass of wine will kill me, or even worse, induce me to punch a copper on the nose. The news story in a recent edition of MCV was equally worrying and welcome. It reported that the SingStar development team says that retail has played a major role in the success of the SingStar series, that they need a presence on the High Street and that boxed product is still very important in today’s market. Well of course it is, just as the High Street plays an important and major role in introducing new formats, accessories and peripherals, as well as selling second-string games and the all-important back catalogue. Yet, we are told by other experts, the future of video games is downloadable content.

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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 29/05/09 75 Sponsored by

MARGIN MAKER Wii Fit continues to top the charts, which means more and more people are spending a fortune on batteries to power their daily fitness routine. Fortunately, Venom has the solution. The peripherals firm’s Wii Fit Battery Pack slots neatly into the underside of the Wii Balance Board and provides up to eight hours of gameplay. It plugs directly into the Wii’s USB port via the 1.2m

FROM THE

FRONTLINE For this week’s Frontline interview, MCV speaks to Game On boss Matthew Brady... How has the market been for you so far this year? Trade had been holding up well until the end of March; it was comparable to last year. But for April we were down when we had three great titles in April 2008 – GTA IV, Wii Fit and Mario Kart on Wii. What games are you most looking forward to this summer? It’s a very strong summer this year with Pokemon Platinum and Wii Sports Resort looking to do well for Nintendo. I think there is a lot of interest in Prototype and Infamous to see if either are as much fun as Crackdown.

cable and can be fully charged in two hours. The Battery Pack comes bundled with Venom’s Wii Fit Silicon Cover. This light blue skin fits snugly over the Balance Board and offers protection for the hefty peripheral. Because it’s made of silicon, the cover also makes the Balance Board more comfortable to stand on during longer sessions of fitness gaming.

Has the loss of Woolworths and Zavvi been a benefit to you at all? We had a Woolworths store right next door so we have noticed an increase in both console sales and budget games. In addition we now sell more chocolate and soft drinks as well. What has been performing particularly well for you? Wii Fit and Mario Kart are consistent sellers every week now we have a stock pile in-store and the availablity seems better in the trade channel.

What’s been underperforming? PSP is struggling for us at the moment. The demand doesn’t seem to be there for any of its new games. What makes your store so unique? As well as stocking console and PC games, we also carry the full Games Workshop range plus other wargaming models and accessories. These other ranges complement video games and the supermarkets don’t have a marginbusting interest in stocking them. Plus you can’t download a Space Marine (yet).

PRICE CHECK

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NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.

Gamestation’s PS3 bundle has everything a console fan could need, with an 80Gb PS3 unit and a nice mix of genres covered with Killzone 2, GTA IV, FIFA 09 and Lost, all for £329.99.

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

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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 76 MCV 29/05/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA

DENMARK

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

Otto Group ...................................................Hamburg Playcom Software Vertriebs .......................Erfurt Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel.....................Erfurt

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

GREECE ENTERTAINMENT TRADING APS AFA INTERACTIVE

Stenholm 1, 9400,

66 Hughes Street, Mile End,

Norresundby, Denmark

South Australia 5031

Phone: +45 70277640

Tel: +61 8823 41355

Fax: +45 70277650 email: sales@entertainment-trading.com Web www.entertainment-trading.com

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

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

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

Web: www.techland.pl Phone: +48 71 354 46 10 Fax: +48 71 354 46 10

ICELAND

AUSTRIA

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

PORTUGAL

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

INDIA

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

Play Art Multimedia Handels GmbH....Rankweil

GATEWAY DISTRIBUTION APS

TM

Gateway Distribution ApS

BELGIUM

+44 1279 408 665 (UK)

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

+45 7026 0870 (DK)

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

dt@gatewaydistribution.dk www.gatewaydistribution.dk

BENELUX

ESTONIA Andrico ..............................................................Tallinn

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

GAMEWORLD Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel Tel: +31 10 298 3838

MILESTONE INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE LIMITED Pramukh Plaza, 2nd Floor, Cardinal Gracious Road, Chakala, Andheri East, Mumbai 400 099, INDIA. Tel: +91 22 28203319 Fax: +91 22 28203334

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

Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es www.planetadeagostini.net

website: www.milestoneinteractive.com

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

INNELEC MULTIMEDIA EBS Benelux

45 rue Delizy,

Lorentzweg 1

93692 PANTIN Cedex, France

3752 LH Bunschoten-Spakenburg

Email purchase: f_alglave@innelec.com

The Netherlands

Email export sales: g_armspach@innelec.com

Phone: +31 (0)33 201 21 00

Tel: 00.33.1.48.10.55.55

Fax: +31 (0)33 201 21 01

Cidiverte Spa ...............................................Gallarate Coop Italia..........................................Sesto F.NO (FI) Digital Bros spa................................................Milano

GERMANY

Newave Italia...................................................Firenze Promovideo SRL ...........................................Senago

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

CYPRUS DTP ENTERTAINMENT AG Goldbekplatz 3-5, 22303 Hamburg, Germany

GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD

Fax: +49 (0)40 66 99 10 10

1 Alkaiou Street / Office 1 /

email: s.lass@dtp-entertainment.com

Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus

Web: www.dtp-entertainment.com

Tel: +49 (0)40 66 99 10 0

tel. +357 22 666612

Avenida de Loulé nº 123 1069-152 Lisbon, Portugal Tel. 00351 21 31 46 51 0 Fax 00351 21 31 61 12 5

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

SERBIA

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

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

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

v.2 PLAY. LDA Studio Office Marquês de Pombal –

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

NETHERLANDS

E-mail: info@ebs-benelux.com

www.greatgames.com.cy

08034, Barcelona, Spain,

email: distribution@milestoneinteractive.com

ITALY

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

Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D,

FRANCE

Web: rishi@gameworld.nl

Website: www.ebs-benelux.com

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE

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

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

TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE

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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 29/05/09 77

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...

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

USA

SINGAPORE

TURKEY

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

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

SOUTH AFRICA Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg

UNITED STATES

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

SPAIN

BASCO, INC.

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

VIDEO GAMES DISTRIBUTOR

Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID

Tel: 1-917-627-3000

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

Fax: 1-718-228-4401 Email: sales@bascodistribution.com Web: www.bascodistribution.com

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

DREAMGEAR, LLC

distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es

20001 S. Western Ave.

www.planetadeagostini.net

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

VIRGIN PLAY Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11, 28046 Madrid, Spain Tel: +34 91 789 35 50 Web: www.virginplay.es

U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC. DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid

16700 Schoenborn St.

Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas

#2 North Hills, CA. 91343

JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo

Tel: +1 818 920 9393

Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona

info@usgamesdist.com www.usgamesdist.com

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

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

PLUTO GAMES GAME OUTLET EUROPE AB PO Box 5083 S-650 05 Karlstad, Sweden Phone: +46 54 854750 Fax: +46 54 854759

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

E-mail: info@gameoutlet.se Website: www.gameoutlet.se Modern Pluto Trading LLC...............Saudi Arabia Panvision....................................................Stockholm

NXT Global LLC .................................................Dubai

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

Pluto Derinton Games LLC............................Egypt

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

FRANCE

THE US VIDEO GAME market has seen its second successive monthly fall in sales, dropping 17 per cent year-on-year. Sales in April reached $1.03 billion, according to research firm NPD. That figure includes sales of software, hardware and accessories. Last year, April sales reached $1.24 billion. Coupled with the 17 per cent year-on-year decline in March, the US market has now seen the positive growth in January and February negated. Year-to-date market sales in 2009 now sit at $5.28 billion, four per cent below last year’s performance. NPD analyst Anita Frazier said that the year-onyear decline is largely due to the unprecedented success of April 2008, a month which saw the release of Grand Theft Auto 4 IV and Mario Kart Wii. However, she added that the blow has been cushioned due to the Easter period landing in April this year. “While April sales might appear soft on the surface, it’s important to remember that April is being compared against a month (April 2008) that realised nearly 50 per cent growth over April 2007,” she said. “This year’s performance still represents the second-best performance for the industry in the month of April, besting April 2007, which is the previous second-place holder by 26 per cent.” She added that the strong results seen throughout last year will continue to challenge expectations for the rest of 2009, implying that year-over-year comparisons in the months ahead will show more negativity. “But May should be an easier comparison than the last two months have been,” she said. Frazier also noted that year-on-year unit sales were down by just five per cent, with market figures hurt more by the natural decline in average selling prices. “While the continued difficult economic environment is a factor to consider, our monthly Consumer Spending Indicator study still shows that video games is the category that consumers tell us they’re least likely to cut their spending on in coming months.” Having been on the brink of sign off in November last year, the French government has now given final approval to new laws that could lead to the prosecution of anyone found to have downloaded copyrighted material on three separate occasions. The Creation and Internet bill was passed by a vote of 296 to 233 by the Lower House last week, with the seal of approval granted by the Senate earlier this month. Under the rules, a new state agency will send warning emails followed by a letter to illegal file sharers. If caught downloading a third time, a user’s internet connection will be severed.

PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR

DIRECTORY

DISTRIBUTION

KEY CONTACTS

CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL SERVICES Wrapstar.................................(0)7778 204970

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

DISTRIBUTION Creative Distribution ...........020 8664 3456 DVD Technology .......................01189 215 999 Discstribution ........................0845 430 8735 Gem ............................................01279 822800 Ideal Software..........................01767 689 720 Logic3 ........................................01923 471 000 Meroncourt ..............................01462 680060 Teejay ...........................................0116 216 1442

LOCALISATION Partnertrans................................01753 247731 Testronic....................................01753 653 722 Universally Speaking................01480 210621 STORE FITTINGS AMA ............................................01924 507 217 Retail Entertainment Displays01733 239001

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

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

THE NEW FORCE IN ENTERTAINMENT

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

DISC REPAIR TDR ...........................................01202 489 500

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

DISTRIBUTION

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ITEEJAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0116 216 1442 . . . . . . . . . www.teejaydistribution.com

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

DISTRIBUTION

DISTRIBUTION

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

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

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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISTRIBUTION

EDITORIAL PLANNER Some of the special issues coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the market... FRIDAY JUNE 12th

E3 REVIEW We offer a thorough and comprehensive look back at this year’s E3 Expo, reporting on each and every revelation as well as the potential impact they will have on the industry. We cover the Big Three’s presentations and the inevitable surprises, as well as the major developments from the other crucial publishers.

MAY MARKET SHARE REVIEW With so many high profile releases this month, including X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Hannah Montana: The Movie Game, and EA Sports Active, we crunch the numbers to see what effect they have had on the market. We also look at what gaming trends are emerging, which titles continue to exceed expectations and which platform holders and publishers are triumphant as the summer truly begins. FRIDAY JUNE 19th

DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL MCV takes an in-depth look at the big issues involved in the alwaysimportant distribution sector. We speak to the major players about the future of the supply chain, and how they will be tackling the challenges ahead for the distribution side of the games trade.

ALL EYES ON COLOGNE As the industry comes down from its E3 high, we turn our attention to the next big games event in Cologne. MCV takes a closer look at the upcoming Gamescom to find out why the industry should go and how the event is shaping up to surpass that of its Leipzig-based predecessor. FRIDAY JUNE 26th

SUMMER PERIPHERALS SPECIAL The accessories sector enjoyed a fantastic 2008, with the continued success of Wii, DS, Rock Band and Guitar Hero having a positive effect on the market. And now the leading peripherals firms are preparing to launch their latest range of items for the summer period. MCV provides a detailed run down of the latest products that are set to take the retail community by storm.

TERRITORY REPORT: FRANCE With Ubisoft and Infogrames, France is one of Europe’s biggest video game territories. MCV takes a closer look at how the country’s video game output is evolving, and speaks to the key retailers, developers and publishers on the current challenges affecting the region. FRIDAY JULY 10th

IDEF REVIEW MCV reflects on this year’s Interactive & Digital Entertainment Festival, one of Europe’s key interactive entertainment trade shows. We report back on the companies and games in attendance, speaking to key players in our industry and other exhibitors. FRIDAY JULY 17th

TERRITORY REPORT: SOUTH AMERICA In the latest MCV Territory Report, we look to the developing countries of South America and their developing video game industries. We discuss what challenges publishers face and who the key retailers are.

FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT: LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . www.uksales@logic3.com

CHRIS.DRING@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

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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 Blitz Games Studios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1926 880 000 Broadsword Interactive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1970 626299 Denki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.denki.co.uk Lightning Fish Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1295 817 666 nDreams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44(0) 1252 375754 Razorback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.razorback.co.uk Realtime Worlds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1382 202 821 Rebellion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1865 792 201 Stainless Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . jobs@stainlessgames.com Strawdog Studio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1332 258 862 TOOLS Epic Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +1 919 870 1516 Fork Particle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 00 (1) 925 417 1785 bluegfx. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1483 467 200 Natural Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0)1865 250575

Distributors of CD, DVD, Blu-ray, SD-Ram, Micro-SD, and lots, lots more...

X-Box 360 - Wii - DSi - PS3 new release games & accessories UK Sales: ...............................01189 215 999 European Sales: ......01189 215 916 sales@dvdtech.com DVD TECHNOLOGY . . . . . . . . . 01189 215 999. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.dvdtech.com CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL SERVICES

SERVICES 3D Creation Studio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 151 236 9992 Air Edel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 207 486 6466 Air Studios. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 207 794 0660 High Score . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1295 738 337 Ian Livingstone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1483 421 491 Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1753 247 731 amBX UK Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.ambx.com Specialmove. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 141 585 6491 Tsunami Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 207 350 2828 Universally Speaking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1480 210 621 COURSES University of Hull . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1482 465 951

To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and every week in MCV) contact jaspreet.kandola@intentmedia.co.uk. All subscription requests should go to mcv.subscriptions@c-cms.com WRAPSTAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 7778 204970 . . . . . . . . www.wrapstar-skins.com DISTRIBUTION

DISC REPAIR

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

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

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

DISC REPAIR

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUNE E3 Tuesday, June 2nd – Thursday, June 4th LA Convention Center, Los Angeles www.e3expo.com

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

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

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

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

GAME ON! LONDON Tuesday, June 23rd – Wednesday, June 24th Olympia Exhibition Centre, London www.gameonlondon.co.uk GAME HORIZON CONFERENCE Tuesday, June 23rd – Wednesday, June 24th The Sage, Newcastle www.gamehorizonconference.com IDEF Tuesday, June 30th – Thursday, July 2nd Palais des Festivales, Cannes, France

www.idefexpo.com

JULY DEVELOP CONFERENCE 2009 Tuesday, July 14th – Thursday, July 16th Hilton Metropole, Brighton www.develop-conference.com

Organised in association with Microsoft’s Xbox 360, the industry’s biggest 5-a-side tournament returns. Registration has now closed – good luck to all those taking part. The event pitches teams from across the industry against each other and there will be plenty of Xbox giveaways and prizes on the day, courtesy of Microsoft. The event improves with every year – we hope to see you there.

DEVELOP INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS Wednesday, July 15th Hilton Metropole, Brighton www.developmag.com GAMES CONVENTION ONLINE Friday, July 31st Sunday, August 2nd Leipzig Messe, Germany www.leipziger-messe.com

AUGUST EDINBURGH INT. FESTIVAL Monday, August 10th – Sunday, August 16th TBC, Edinburgh www.edinburghinteractivefestival.com GDC EUROPE Monday, August 17th Wednesday, August 19th Cologne, Germany www.gdceurope.com GAMESCOM Wednesday, August 19th Sunday, August 23rd Cologne, Germany www.gamescom-cologne.com UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING . . . . . . . 01480 210621 . . . . . . . . . . . www.usspeaking.com

MCV & XBOX 360 GAMES 5S Friday, June 12th Barnet, London www.gamesfives360. co.uk

THE DEVELOP QUIZ Thursday, June 18th Sway Bar, Holborn jaz.kandola @intentmedia.co.uk The latest outing for this essential networking event will pit 20 teams of five against each other. Studios, publishers, QA, recruitment and localisation companies are all invited to attend, with a full night of entertainment and competition on offer. First prize is a £2,000 advertising credit in Develop print or online, plus a trophies and bottles of champagne.

MCV Ad 230x315

20/5/09

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Language Matters

At Testronic Labs, we understand that the smallest linguistic error or cultural faux pas can ruin a game’s reputation. That’s why our localisation service focuses on providing an authentic experience that conveys the idioms, atmosphere and energy of the original. Covering an extensive range of languages and media – from in-game text to marketing collateral, audio recordings and websites, Testronic Labs offers a truly comprehensive and reliable service for localisation and localisation QA. Talk to Testronic Labs. We're here when language matters.

For this, and to see our full range of games services, please contact us at: www.testroniclabs.com l sales-tl@testroniclabs.com l twitter: testroniclabs l visiting E3, Los Angeles

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Off The Record

WWW.MCVUK.COM

This week, we celebrate the fundraising efforts (and daft wigs) of GAME, and ask you to dip into your pockets for the industry’s running man...

PIC OF THE WEEK Under normal circumstances, Off The Record is suspicious of people in pink sunglasses. (The last one we met shimmied over to us in a nightclub and tried to sell us some ‘magic beans’). But we’ll put our rule on hold for Zara Clohessy and fellow staff from GAME in Lichfield, Staffordshire (pictured here and to the right). The benevolent crazies managed to raise over £2,000 for Action For Children with a sponsored ‘70s disco day – and followed it up with a rockin’ Guitar Hero fancy dress competition. “I’ve never worked with such a great bunch of people,” Zara told us. It’s pretty hard to take the piss out of such a nice statement. So we won’t even try. Bravo to all.

KEEP ON RUNNING Gamestation’s Frazer Locke annually appears on these pages, promising to earn himself plenty of aches, pains and callouses in the name of charity – and this year is no different. The exec is ‘doing a 118 118’ – but, you know, all serious and that – by running the Edinburgh Marathon on May 31st, all in the name of The No Surrender charity: a fantastic organisation which helps young cancer sufferers deal with the trauma of their disease. He’s already 75 per cent on the way to his £2,000 target, and if you fancy making his 27 mile ordeal all the more worthwhile, you can sponsor him at: www.justgiving.com/frazerlocke–edinburgh09.

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RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD

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

DUNCAN CROSS, ASDA

WE CAN WORK IT OUT? Off The Record can’t let our favourite story of the week go by without mention. According to The Sun, former Mrs. McCartney Heather Mills requested a six-figure sum to appear in Capcom’s Bionic Commando. Not do a voice. Actually appear. As Heather Mills. Seriously. A spat has now kicked off between the not-at-allgoldigger and the newspaper. Oddly, Capcom is remaining silent on the issue. But that could well be because they’re all laughing too much. (ps. For those of you who began reading this all excited because we’d say something naughty about her amputated leg just because she ‘allegedly’ shafted a Beatle, shame on you).

MARTYN GIBBS, GAMESTATION

DON MCCABE, CHIPS

TIM ELLIS, HMV

KEITH SHARPE, PLAY.COM

CAROLINE AUSTEN, THE HUT

JON BIGGS, MORRISONS

DEBBIE O’NEILL, COMET

NEW PR LEGEND ARRIVES... Congratulations to Ubisoft PR queen Lidia Rumley from all at Off The Record following the birth of her latest little prodigy, Milo. The special little fella popped out last week – and we’re happy to report that the family are doing very well.

GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON

PETER WILLIS, DSGI

IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO

ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS

STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK

WHAT A JOKER Distributor Centresoft gave local indies a chance to get their hands on Eidos’ much-anticipated new Batman title Arkham Asylum last week, throwing a competition for the best player to win superhero-related goodies. The winner was Ryan Burchett from Powerplay, pictured here produly displaying his prize: a limited edition piece of grinning Joker artwork. Eidos’s Leila Chapman and Centresoft’s Laura Pearce supply the slightly more disarming smiles.

JOANNA HUNT, TESCO

GURDEEP HUNJAN, SAINSBURYS

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PLEASE EMAIL US YOUR FUNNIEST INDUSTRY PICTURES AT

OFFTHERECORD@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

DRINKING IN LA The worldwide publishing and retail community might have told MCV that they’re keen for a return to the ‘glory days’ of old for this year’s E3, but there’s a good reason why the words ‘circus’ and ‘carnival’ are also used to warn of just how mental it could get. Here, we show off some of the greatest snaps that Off The Record ever took during the ‘excessive’ expos of years gone by...

EDITORIAL: 01992 535646



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MCV is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation and the Periodical Publishers Association. Membership of the ABC and PPA provides our advertising partners with confidence in our circulation statements. For the 12 months ending December 2008, MCV had an average weekly net circulation of 8,833. MCV’s circulation is 100 per cent named and zero per cent duplicated.

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

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

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

ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2008

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

Become the ultimate Autobot™ or Decepticon™ in TRANSFORMERS™: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, the official game of one of 2009’s biggest blockbuster films. Unleash your power to determine the fate of Earth as the ultimate war rages across the globe. Every second counts as you experience TRANSFORMERS like never before!

Multiplayer: Play with your friends online in co-op challenges or brutal head-to-head battles. Choose Your Character: Your favourite Autobot or Decepticon is at your fingertips—upgrade your weapons, level up your robot, and use unique abilities to fight the way you’ve always imagined. More than Meets the Eye: An all new system gives you precise control as you instantly switch between Robot, Vehicle, and Weapon modes at any time. Intense Heroic Missions: Seconds can make the difference between survival and destruction as you drive, fly, fight and shoot your way through gripping levels.

Wii™ and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system: All new offline co-op gameplay lets you team up with a friend! Gesture-driven control system exclusively for the WiiTM!

Nintendo DS™: Choice of two games, AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS, each with unique storylines, missions and characters. Compete with up to 4 players via Wi-Fi connection, and combine both skus for the biggest DS battle ever!

PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system: Fight, fly, drive and shoot through intense arcade-style missions! Battle your friends in Wi-Fi multiplayer modes!

HASBRO and its logo, TRANSFORMERS and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. © 2009 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. © 2009 DreamWorks, LLC and Paramount Pictures Corporation. Paramount and the Paramount logo are trademarks of Paramount. TM © 2009 Paramount. All Rights Reserved. Game © 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision is a registered trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. ‘2’, ‘PlayStation’, ‘PLAYSTATION’ and ‘PSP’ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. NINTENDO DS, Wii AND THE Wii LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NINTENDO. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

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MCV539 May 29th 2009