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THE INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Friday December 12 2008 £3.25

COMING JUNE 2009 ghostbustersgame.com

“GHOSTBUSTERS”, the video game: ©2008 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. “GHOSTBUSTERS” with the “GHOST DESIGN” is a registered trademark of Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. “GHOSTBUSTERS” and “GHOSTBUSTERS 2” movies: ©1984, ©1989 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. Game Software excluding Columbia Pictures elements: ©2008 Atari. Atari and the Atari logo are trademarks owned by Atari Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved. 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. “PlayStation”, “PLAYSTATION” and the “PS” Family logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Wii and Nintendo DS are trademarks of Nintendo. ©2006 Nintendo. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.


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COMING MARCH 2009

The Chronicles of Riddick TM & Š Universal Studios. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. All Rights Reserved.Š2008 Tigon Studio - All rights reserved. Atari and the Atari logo are trademarks owned by Atari Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved. "2008 Starbreeze AB, Starbreeze Studios, and the Starbreeze logo(tm) are trademarks or registered trademarks of Starbreeze AB in Sweden and/or other countries. All rights reserved. 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. "PlayStation", "PLAYSTATION" and the "PS" Family logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.


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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES

Issue 517 Friday December 12 2008 £3.25

04 Atari on the up The resurgent publisher tells MCV all about its rescue plan for the UK

07 Sega talks 2009 The publisher’s bosses look ahead to releasing a bundle of new IP next year

24 The state of PlayStation Sony European chief David Reeves discusses the firm’s console business

WITH THIS

ISSUE We take a special look at Nintendo’s literature-based title – 100 Classic Book Collection

EVERY BUYER  EVERY BRANCH  EVERY INDIE  EVERY WEEK

INCORPORATING

£139,000,000 It’s the figure that says everything about the rude health of video games. As other industries struggle to battle the credit crunch, the UK trade’s total Q4 marketing spend has jumped into the stratosphere… by Tim Ingham UK VIDEO games companies have thrown cash in the face of the economic slowdown – spending an incredible £139 million on Q4 marketing as other trades tighten their belts. The huge figure has funded a deluge of above-the-line advertising in the past three months, dominating newspapers and TV ad breaks in the lead up to Christmas. The massive investment has also fuelled giant nationwide retail promotions – including a spate of mall tours. MCV understands that biggest contributors to the mammoth spend are platform holders, with two companies each spending in excess of £20 million since October. The highlights from both firms include gargantuan TV campaigns and massive first

and third party support in the mainstream consumer press. Deputy editor of Marketing magazine Richard Abbot said: “Despite all the talk of marketing budgets being slashed, we have seen massive campaigns not just for the consoles themselves but for games including Banjo-Kazooie and World at War. “Some of these campaigns have the production feel and media spend you would normally associate with a movie release.” And it’s not just core industry businesses that have spent big; retailers have got in on the act, too. The ‘price wars’ that have seen titles such as Call Of Duty: World At War, Fable II and Pro Evolution Soccer slashed have stimulated more games advertising from the likes of Asda, GAME and Tesco than ever before.

METHOD MEN To reach the £139 million figure, MCV collated information direct from publishers and retailers, as well as marketing data experts Nielsen Media Research. We also used figures from media ratecards, advertising agencies and trade insiders. Nielsen’s own research put Nintendo’s spend at over £4 million for November alone. MCV heard whispers that Microsoft had even matched certain publishers’ ad spends for individual products – but the company would not comment when questioned.

SCREEN TO BE BELIEVED: EA’s four-minute FIFA 09 ad was an example of the industry’s incredible marketing spend this Q4

Duncan Willett, trading manager on The Sun added: “We’re posting record weekly display advertising revenues at the moment and the reason for that is simple: The supermarket

value war. Obviously a large part of that is games. Our entertainment revenues are up 19 per cent year-on-year – and gaming has played an integral role in that rise.”

Trouvain heads home with head held high by Stuart Dinsey ACTIVISION BLIZZARD will lose its European boss in the spring, after two years of impressive turnaround. Joerg Trouvain is returning home at the end of March to be closer to his family, switching to a CEO role at German online travel company HolidayCheck. After a role as boss of EA Germany, Trouvain moved over to become president of

European publishing at Activision in April 2007. He took over with the publisher in dire need of revitalisation – from sales to trade relationships and even team spirit. Whilst clearly bolstered by an improved product portfolio, he has meticulously built up local teams, scoring particular success in the UK. With the help of general manager Andrew Brown and an aggressive sales and marketing strategy, Activision capped its

TROUVAIN: Activision Europe boss is leaving in the spring

progress by becoming number one UK publisher last month, with a market share of 18.3 per cent by value. “We have changed the perception of Activision and I must thank my wonderful team for all their hard work,” Trouvain told MCV. “I am now going home to my family, but I am sure that Activision can grow still further in the UK and Europe.” Activision has already begun the search for a successor.

 The list of companies considered in our research included: Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Activision, Ubisoft, EA, Sega, THQ, Eidos, Konami, Bethesda, Disney, Warner Bros, D3P, Rockstar, Midway, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, WH Smith, GAME, Gamestation, CHIPS, Play.com, Amazon, HMV, PC World, Zavvi, Woolworths, Carphone Warehouse and more.

Retail keen on 2009 UK GAMES retail will overcome economic pressure and enjoy another profitable 12 months in 2009, according to this year’s MCV Retail Survey. 86 per cent of store managers insisted they were confident about their business in 2009, with only four per cent admitting to being concerned over the future.  To read the MCV Retail Survey 2008 in full, please turn to page 14

PERSONNEL 34 RETAIL BIZ 35 NEW RELEASES 40 HIGH STREET 42 CHARTS 44


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NEWS

[LEADER] THE ANSWERS ARE IN… THERE ARE ONLY a few surprises in our retail survey this year. Nintendo was named company of the year despite many expressing concern at stock shortages. Supermarkets continued to irk retailers – to the extent that not only were they characterised as the biggest threat to UK retail but many also tried to ironically nominate them as ‘best distributor’. And, as usual, most retailers would love to swap occupations with some of the world’s leading video games designers. But word that 86 per cent of retailers are confident about 2009 (and that 58 per cent think their Christmas takings will trump last year’s) shows retail in a surprisingly upbeat mood. In the current economic climate, that's good to hear. We don’t yet know if the games industry is ‘recession-proof’ – we’ll have to wait until next year to know that answer – but for now signs are good that gaming will remain strong into early 2009.

Retail is in a surprisingly upbeat mood overall. Signs are good that gaming will remain strong into early ‘09.

IS SONY A SLEEPING GIANT?

One company noticeably absent from the survey results this year was Sony. David Reeves was particularly up front in my interview with him this week. He was the first to point out that the Sony story of late is one characterised by financial struggles – a situation the SCEE division specifically is helping the wider organisation claw its way out of. One or two key software releases aside, 2008 hasn’t exactly been a defining year for PlayStation. But that doesn’t mean we should count Sony out just yet. While the company this week announced some 8,000 job losses across its organisation, once the firm’s games division returns to operating profitability, you can bank on it being a lot more aggressive within the games market. Next year may well prove to be the turning point.

139m REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL At first glance, it’s hard to believe that almost £140m has been spent on Q4 games marketing. It’s a ridiculously large number. But aside from moving to the moon, there’s been little you could do this autumn to escape from the gargantuan number of games promotions. If it’s not regular splashes in the national newspapers, then it’s the widely-shown Wii, Xbox ‘Live Your Moment’, and LittleBigPlanet TV ads – or the countless mall tours at shopping arcades up and down the UK. The industry might prove to be more prudent in 2009, but for now the battle for 2008’s sales at the busiest time of year has been a well-fought one. Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk

Rebuilding begins New regional boss expects widened portfolio to bring share growth by Stuart Dinsey ATARI IS looking for more staff and an increased market share in the UK, as its rebuilding process prepares to kick in during 2009. Alberto Gonzalez Lorca is now managing director of the Atari Atlantic region, which includes the UK as well as Spain, Nordic and Latin America.

department ahead of long-term plans being finalised. The recent Atari Live event, hosted by global heads David Gardner and Phil Harrison, was used to outline releases planned for next year and to remind retail that the company remains totally committed to boxed product for the foreseeable future. “We must now get out to retail and explain in further

We want to hire the best people for Atari and we know that we can grow our sales. Alberto Gonzales Lorca, Atari

“We are not saying exactly what positions we want to fill or what our market share target is for the UK, but we do want to hire the best people and we know that we can grow our sales,” he told MCV. Amongst those helping to rebuild Atari in the UK is wellrespected marketing man David Miller, who is currently overseeing the marketing

detail our plans for this new range of titles, plus there will be more added for later in the year,” added Lorca. “This is a very exciting time for Atari and the UK, of course, is hugely important to us. There is some rebuilding to be done, but we are already putting our team together and great progress has been made in assembling a quality range of titles.”

As MCV went to press, Atari unveiled further plans to rebuild its internal studios slate with the acquisition of MMO specialist Cryptic. The developer has three titles in the works, including a Star Trek MMO and Champions Online.  For a full review of the Atari Live event, see pages 20 to 23.

‘We’ll Buy the Best’ CVS AT the ready – US retail superpower Best Buy has confirmed to MCV that it is looking to recruit far and wide as the firm builds its business in the UK and Europe. In May, the American electronics giant announced a partnership with Carphone Warehouse to establish its brand on the Continent. The phone retailer sold 50 per cent of its European and US retail interests to Best Buy for £1.1billion. Best Buy’s European invasion will consist of between 100 and 200 stores

launched throughout the next five years. Now insiders are betting that the firm will look to tap

key names in the games industry and other sectors as it looks to build buying teams

and hire division chiefs. “We do plan to recruit and there will be a big push to recruit across all levels of the business,” a spokesperson confirmed to MCV. At the same time, MCV believes that Best Buy has already signed three prominent members of the UK trade as the team-building process begins. The Best Buy UK team will begin operation from midJanuary next year, out of the London offices of its UK partner, Carphone Warehouse.


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for Atari UK

[PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10

 Key recruitment drive now under way

KILLZONE 2

DON’T GIVE UP THE GHOST: Lorca (inset) says the new Atari line-up, including Ghostbusters, will help the publisher gain greater market share

PS3 SONY

Phones 4U enters the online fray

ATARI’S 2009 LINE-UP RACE Pro The Chase: Felix Meets Felicity Family Ski & Snowboard Eternal Sonata EVE Online Ready 2 Rumble Revolution Ghostbusters

360 DS Wii PS3 PC Wii

January February 14th February February March 12th March PS3/Xbox360/Wii/PC/NDS/PS2 June

Other currently un-dated 2009 releases include: Afro Samurai, Codename Panzers: Cold War, Demigod, Heroes Over Europe, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, Sam & Max Season 2, Tekken 6, The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf

MOBILE PHONE specialists Phones 4U and sister company Dial-a-Phone have launched new e-tail games sites in conjunction with The Hut. Entitled Games 4U and Click-a-Play, the websites sell a range of new and back catalogue Wii, DS, PC, PS2, 360, PlayStation 3 and PSP titles, as well as consoles and accessories. Both websites offer free delivery and up to 50 per cent off certain titles. The outlets are also being marketed through the Phones 4U and Dial-a-Phone websites, with special offers available to existing mobile phone customers.

The portals have been launched with the help of white label specialist The Hut, which also runs Asda’s e-tail portal along with its own website, Thehut.com. “We run these sites like all of our other white label sites,” said The Hut’s head of marketing Caroline Austen. “We deal with maintenance, ordering and the back end, whilst Phones 4U market and promote the site. “Our white label service is a key part of our business and we’ve been producing a number of these sites for some time now – including the one for Asda.” Phones 4U: 0844 880 5688

UK market hits new high… THE UK software market reached its highest sales levels for units and value in 2008 this week – becoming the third biggest ever for both categories. According to ELSPA/GFKChartTrack data, revenue in week 49 was only £1.2 million behind week 52 2007 and £16.4 million behind the biggest week of all time – week 51 last year. Nintendo formats accounted for 51.5 per cent of all software units sold during the week. Wii enjoyed its most successful UK software sales week of all time, up 18 per cent in value and 20 per cent in units.

Meanwhile DS software saw a similar rise – up 19 per cent in units and 17 per cent in value – after the device recorded the largest sales week ever for a console. 360 software was up ten per cent in units and three per cent in value, whilst PS3 software climbed seven per cent in units and remained static in terms of value. Activision Blizzard’s Call Of Duty: World At War took the top spot in this week’s All Format Top 40 for the fourth week in a row. The title has now sold in excess of one million units – and is tipped to be the Christmas No.1.

2. RESIDENT EVIL 5 PS3 ..............................................CAPCOM

3. RESIDENT EVIL 5 360 ..............................................CAPCOM

4. FINAL FANTASY XIII PS3........................................SQUARE ENIX

5. ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES 360 ..................................................SEGA

6. ALAN WAKE 360 ..........................................MICROSOFT

7. TEKKEN 6 PS3 ....................................NAMCO BANDAI

8. HALO WARS 360 ..........................................MICROSOFT

9. STREET FIGHTER IV 360 ..............................................CAPCOM

10. SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION 360 ..............................................UBISOFT Week ending December 6th Source: SHOPTO.COM

[MARKET VALUE]

£90.6m 90 80 70 60 50 40

...AS LADBROKES PLACES ITS BETS Call of Duty: World at War may have already broken the 1m sales barrier in the UK, but the ELSPA-backed predictions for this year’s Christmas No.1 reckon the title will still keep selling right up to Christmas Day. Ladbrokes has given the Activision Blizzard game 2/1 odds for the Christmas No.1, followed by FIFA 09 (5/1), Need for Speed: Undercover (6/1), Gears of War 2 (6/1) and PES 2009 (8/1) Outside bets include Tomb Raider Underworld (25/1), Mario Kart Wii (40/1) and Wii Play (50/1).

30 20

£75m

£82.2m

£90.6m

3,043,323 Units

3,487,443 Units

3,602,790 Units

Week Ending November 22nd

Week Ending November 28th

Week Ending December 6th

10 0

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


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UK retail is too impatient, says 2K boss Publisher’s Christoph Hartmann believes UK game stores are ‘making same mistakes as the music business’ by Tim Ingham GLOBAL PRESIDENT of 2K Games Christoph Hartmann believes that UK retail is the best in the world at creating an ‘event’ for key new products – but its impatience is putting it in danger of losing out to digital distribution. Speaking exclusively to MCV, Hartmann, whose label

“The best thing about UK retail is also the worst,” he told MCV. “There is nowhere else in the world where games are presented as well as at UK retail. Your guys really understand how to create a buzz and an event around a product – even compared to the US. But by the same token, they’re willing to take

There is nowhere else in the world where video games are presented as well as at UK retail.

Christoph Hartmann, 2K Games

has had great recent success with BioShock, said that the UK industry was making the same mistakes that drove music consumers online. He warned against the temptation to slash prices on month-old software in order to make room for new, triple-A releases – something he said UK retailers have been particularly guilty of in 2008.

less and less risk over what that product is.” Hartmann added that the UK High Street is too keen to make money in the early stage of a game’s lifespan, rather than waiting for the consistent income available from back catalogue products. “UK retail slashes prices if something’s not quite hitting its numbers,” he said, “I’m not

BRITISH BUZZ: Hartmann commends UK retailers for the excitement they can generate among consumers for key game releases

talking about a big gap – I’m talking about expecting to sell 1,000 and selling 950. At that level, they call it a failure and want to de-price massively.

“That attitude to some degree killed the music business. By concentrating on the highlights, they up their revenue short-term – but

they’re driving certain important customers away.” 2K’s 2009 line-up includes BioShock 2 and Borderlands. 2K: 01753 496800

Italy to catch UK as Hypermarkets arrive THE ITALIAN video game market has begun to approach the maturity of its European counterparts, France and the UK, as strong retail chains cash in on opportunities for growth.

Atari’s head of Europe Mediterranean region Andrea Colombo told MCV: “For many reasons, [Italy’s] still a couple of years from the more mature markets like the UK or

For many reasons, [Italy’s] still a couple of years from the more mature markets like the UK or French one. Andrea Colombo, Atari

While the market has grown by almost 25 per cent over the course of 2008, it is still seen to be in the early stages of development, but retailers and publishers are confident this is set to change.

French one. But this means enormous space for growth. And the change is happening right now. “The Italian market is dramatically different from the one I knew ten years ago

when I joined the market. It’s becoming increasingly similar to the modern and mature markets, with very strong big chains like GameStop and Blockbuster, and more efficient independent stores like Open Game. The market is now more concentrated, with the top ten retailers covering over 75 per cent of the market.” One of the key challenges the territory faces as it develops is the lack of hypermarkets, according to Black Bean Games’ head of marketing, Fabrizio Vagliasindi. “These channels, which perform much better in other European countries, are weaker here,” he says. “And

MEDITERRANEAN MATTERS: Colombo and Vagliasindi speculate on the impact of hypermarkets in the developing Italian games space

this affects the sales of massmarket products in terms of potential. Buyers are not getting the right mix of product, and the shelves are not being filled properly. This

will be a big area of improvement over the next couple of years.”  For more on the Italian video game market, read our Territory Report on page 32


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Sega to defy economic crisis with new IP drive in 2009

TRADE BULLETIN

Sega Europe MD ‘optimistic’ of another impressive year for the video games industry by Christopher Dring SEGA IS confident it can defy the economic climate in 2009, by bringing a wealth of new IP to market in the New Year. The publisher enjoyed a stellar 2008, and now the company hopes to capitalise on this with a line-up of new IP. Games on display at the firm’s Fast Forward event at Luton Hoo hotel last week included House of the Dead: Overkill, Football Manager Live, Bayonetta and Empire: Total War.

OUT 16th JANUARY 2009 PS3, PC-DVD, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS

The Lord of the Rings Conquest allows players to play through a campaign on both ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ sides of the battles, solo, online and in co-op multiplayer, tackling objectives the way they want.

Our ambitions are to continue to be a profitable publisher, and I think we’re well placed to do that. Alan Pritchard, Sega

MD for Sega Europe North Alan Pritchard is confident these titles will help Sega maintain its position as one of the top five video game publishers.

NEW YEAR: Sega’s Fast Forward event revealed the 2009 line-up

“Our ambitions are to continue to be a profitable publisher, and we’d like to maintain our current market share and publisher ranking,” said Pritchard. “With the

breadth of titles we have, I think we’re well placed to do that. “Sega could be a publisher that just brings out Football Manager, Virtua Tennis, Total War and Sonic to the market. But we need to look outside of our portfolio. New IP is a challenge, which we can see at the moment with many titles probably not achieving their expected levels of sell-through.”

UK sales director John Clarke added: “We’re performing well on Nintendo formats, and we’d like to maintain that. One way of doing that is with new original titles such as The Conduit and Mad World, as well as the more familiar Sega franchises of Sonic, House of the Dead and more casual targeted software.” Sega: 020 8995 3399

Nintendo’s novel idea for DS revealed THOSE LUCKY enough to find a DS in their stocking on Christmas Day will only have to wait one day for the newest Nintendo title. Boxing Day release 100 Classic Book Collection is, as

Wii and Nintendo DS

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

Herman Melville and many other legendary authors. Priced at £19.99, it’s the latest release in the Touch Generations line and effectively turns the DS into an e-book reader; more titles will be made

As this software represents great value for money, we thought launching on Boxing Day is the ideal timing. James Honeywell, Nintendo

the name suggests, a new title which features a huge number of literature greats, including books by Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare,

OUT 23rd JANUARY 2009

available to download via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Nintendo thinks the release not only has mass appeal, but is well placed to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales.

OUT 23rd JANUARY 2009

“As this software represents great value for money we thought that launching on Boxing Day is the ideal timing, working well with the postChristmas sales bonanza and also to offer something new to all of those people who

received a DS Lite for Christmas,” said senior DS product manager James Honeywell. “This launch will clearly stand out amongst the rest of the activity going on."

PS3 and Xbox 360

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

Nintendo: 01753 483700

ea.com


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Reeves rules out ‘PSP2’ plans Sony boss says next-gen handheld not on the cards yet, but concedes lack of software has caused problems by Michael French SCEE PRESIDENT David Reeves has told MCV that Sony currently has no plans for a ‘PSP2’. The exec moved to debunk web reports which earlier this month claimed the firm had signed a memory chip deal for the device. “No, there are currently no plans for a PSP2. I go to Tokyo

has released upgraded versions of the PSP, which have reduced its form factor and added technology like a builtin microphone. “We just launched the PSP3000 so we are still focused on this generation of the platform,” said Reeves. However, he admitted that despite continually improved hardware and firmware, gaming software has been the

The PSP is as successful in numbers as PS2. Its weakness, however, is its software. David Reeves, SCEE

quite a lot and no one has referred to it – I think they have their hands full at the moment,” he remarked in an extensive interview with MCV (see pages 24 and 25). Reeves said that Sony is instead focusing on continually improving the current generation of the handheld format. As Nintendo has done with the DS, which has transitioned to the DS Lite and upcoming DSi handheld, Sony

device’s achilles heel, as developers only have so much time to focus on the variety of competing platforms the current generation has brought with it. “The PSP is as successful in numbers as PS2 – it tracks its numbers in a cumulative basis,” he said. “Its weakness, however, is its software. And that’s because developers, when it comes to placing their bets, have to choose PS3 and

FORMAT FOCUS: Reeves recognises PSP is low in the pecking order for developers, but assures the industry that more software is on the way

360, then Wii, then DS, maybe even PS2 before PSP. It’s the same at our internal studios, where the focus has been on PS3. They’ve also focused a lot on PS2 as well

because we have to get the SingStars out for that format. So PSP games will come – they just take a while longer.” Reeves added that Sony was looking to find new ways that

would further stimulate the PSP market, having already successfully launched a dedicated PSP version of the PlayStation Store for downloadable titles.

Tuition series begins lessons in February PLAYV HAS announced that its range of educational titles will be released on Nintendo DS in February 2009. The Mind Your Language series has been fully accredited by international language school Inlingua and teaches a variety of tongues, including Spanish, French, German and even Japanese. PlayV’s marketing manager Brian Faller said: “We’re really proud to be launching Mind Your Language on Nintendo DS. As a language learning aid, its unique approach is a breath of fresh air compared to existing titles, which rely too

WORD UP: The Mind Your Language covers a range of European languages but also features Japanese

much on the Brain Training or phrase book templates. “Mind Your Language does something other methods can’t make – it makes learning language genuinely fun for anyone, no

matter how young or old.” Each title is divided into four levels of difficulty, teaching players the relevant language from the ground up, going beyond vocabulary and focusing on

sentence structure and grammar for a more comprehensive experience. Players collect several types of words such as nouns and verbs through a series of minigames in order to gain an understanding of the language.

Intuitive exams and tests monitor their progress and allow gamers to reflect on what they have learned. The Mind Your Language games arrive on Nintendo DS on February 13th 2009. Contact: 01582 436 040


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Rising Star looks to become ‘the home of Japanese games’ New strategy and campaign for publisher sees it move to dominate specialist market by James Batchelor RISING STAR GAMES has revealed a new marketing push set to make it as iconic for Japanese content as the likes of graphic novel and animation specialists Tokyopop and Manga. At its recent trade conference in London, the company presented plans for 2009, including an initial product line-up and the new approach to marketing its unique brand. “This is not about giving Rising Star a new brand identity,” explained Rising Star’s head of brand Simon Alty. “This is going to be a

HOMEMAKERS: Rising Star’s Defries and Alty present the publisher’s updated logo and new slogan

bringing Japanese games to the European market, the company will drop its previous

Simon Alty, Rising Star Games

slogan of ‘European expertise with a Japanese heart’ in favour of a new one represented by a campaign logo.

“Our iconic logo is now wrapped up in this ‘home’ of Japanese games graphic and when you think of Rising Star, that’s the single-minded proposition that we’re trying to communicate,” Alty said. “It’s clear, it’s simple and it’s us. “There are brands out there – Manga and Tokyopop – that have done for DVDs and books what we are about to do for the Japanese gaming space. It’s important that we are seen to ‘own’ Japanese games.”

Rising Star will achieve this with a new marketing campaign and strategic partnerships, which should see its products reaching a wider target audience through alternative routes to market. The publisher’s managing director Martin Defries said: “The product we have is good. We have consumer demand for it. We just want to access a broader market than the one we’re reaching at the moment.” Rising Star: 01582 433700

Waterstone’s launches Wii range FOLLOWING the success of its Nintendo DS range, book specialist Waterstone’s has introduced a line of Wii titles to its new Liverpool-based store. Waterstone’s began selling DS Touch Generation titles in a handful of stores last year, with over 100 branches now stocking a selection of DS software. The firm has followed that success with a selection of Wii games being trialled in its Liverpool store, which opened last week. A Waterstone’s spokesperson commented: “We started selling DS software in October last year – just a few stores to start

[IN BRIEF] SYSTEM 3: The publisher is holding an event at London’s Studio Valbonne on December 15th, where attendees will get to see SuperCar Challenge and win £2,000 cash. The media, retailers and others in the industry are welcome. Email chandra@system3.com to register your interest. SEGA: The home of Sonic has launched a new online gaming portal, PlaySEGA, which offers a range of titles to PC and Mac users for free.

This is not about giving Rising Star a new brand identity. This is a new message, with a bold approach

new message, delivered with a bold approach.” Building on its current position in the industry,

Sponsored by

A NEW CHAPTER: Book retailer expands games offering

with, but you can now find the product line in over 100 branches of Waterstone’s. “We launched our new Liverpool store on November

29th and that is the first branch to feature a dedicated Nintendo area, for both DS and Wii, which offers customers the chance to

sample the delights of Wii and DS software for themselves in the store.” Last month, Borders also moved into the video game space with GAME concessions in over 20 of its stores. Borders’ head of retail operations James Sneddon told MCV: “After we reviewed the games market, we decided that getting a concession would be the best option, and we believe that GAME do it better than anyone else. We are delighted to have GAME concessions in Borders.” Waterstone’s: 01628 818 300

LUCASARTS: More downloadable content was released for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, this time containing a new mission set in the Jedi Temple. MICROSOFT: The Xbox 360 manufacturer reported the best ‘Black Friday’ Thanksgiving sales in the console’s history over in the US, outselling the PS3 by a ratio of three-to-one. HARMONIX: The Rock Band developer says that over 500 songs are now available to download and play on its instrument-based rhythm action game. CAPCOM: The Street Fighter IV publisher has revealed the Collectors’ Edition of the game, which will include character figurines, a bonus disc containing the anime movie, a strategy guide and downloadable content.

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

MOBILE.MCVUK.COM


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NEWS

CHIPS relaunches online store New site offers DVDs, CDs and books as well as games  Firm ditches pre-owned from online offerings by Chris Dring THE UK’S largest independent games retailer, CHIPS, has re-launched its ecommerce website with the product offering expanded to include DVDs, CDs and books. The site, which also boasts a new design, no longer features pre-owned stock or mobile phone downloads. And CHIPS’

on price,” McCabe told MCV. “We believe this new site is an evolution of how people shop online. We used to put up a lot of information for each product, but nowadays gamers go to Gamespot, CVG or MCV for all their information needs; so we’ve stripped that down a bit. “Our High Street stores give us an added advantage against

We hope that through the site we can drive people in store and vice versa. It’s a great way for us to utilise all of our channels. Don McCabe, CHIPS

joint MD Don McCabe hopes that the new web portal will be able to compete more closely with the likes of Play and Amazon. “People expect to buy games cheaper on the internet, and so we’re being more competitive

our competitors. We hope that through the site we can drive people in store and vice versa. It would be ideal if a customer who buys online then visits one of our shops to trade the product back in. It’s a great way for us to utilise all of our channels.

CHIPSWORLD: The chain’s new web store boasts a new look and a new product mix

“DVDs, books and CDs are clearly very significant additions,” he continued. “And we have got a great offer

EEK W E H T F O N CAMPAIG The UK’s second-biggest games specialist chain has a big marketing push – based around the Fat Chris character – planned to support its Christmas offers this year… GAMESTATION’S latest Christmas campaign kicked off last month, with special offers backed by extensive TV, print and online advertising. Utilising the ‘Fat Chris’ brand, Gamestation is running a series of ‘half-price hero’ offers including Pro Evolution Soccer 2009, Sonic Unleashed and Fable II for £19.99. The firm has also re-launched its Christmas Advent Calendar – which proved very successful after its debut last year – with a new deal running every day until December 24th. “Gamestation has launched a high impact marketing campaign aimed at delivering

Gamestation is running a series of ‘half-price hero’ offers, discounting key titles to £19.99, and is promoting the deals heavily

on these products. We’ll also be selling other items, which we’ll unveil in the near future.”

The new CHIPS website is live now, and can be found at www.chipsworld.co.uk. CHIPS: 0844 880 5684

N GAMESTATIO ‘gaming for less’ to all our customers, with the help of our friend Fat Chris,” said Gamestation’s head of marketing Emma Kitching. “We have two months of below-the-line activity in store, with new Christmas creativeS, and an integrated media campaign focusing on pushing our brand and value message through TV, press and online.” Along with the advent calendar and half-price hero offers, a new Fat Chris TV commercial is set to appear every week in the run-up to Christmas promoting the deals. Creatives are also set to appear on YouTube, along with in the national press and in specialist magazines and websites. Through the campaign, Gamestation is

hoping to appeal to both its hardcore gaming customer and the emerging casual sector too. “Our core customer base of hardcore and casual gamers remain at the heart of all our marketing communications, but we recognise that at this time of year the market welcomes a much broader audience. And as such we’ve tailored our campaign to suit all our potential customers,” concluded Kitching.


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2008 RETAIL SURVEY

street As another year draws to a close, it’s time to get the debriefing from UK retail. MCV asks the questions that matter to those fighting on the frontline of the industry...


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WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR YEAR? GEARS OF WAR 2 ......................................................30% WORLD OF WARCRAFT: LICH KING....................10% GTA IV ................................................................................8% WII FIT................................................................................5% MARIO KART WII...........................................................5% GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR .................................4% With so many strong releases during 2008, it comes as no surprise to see individual titles become the highlight of UK retail’s year. Microsoft’s 360 epic Gears of War 2 took the plaudits, with a huge amount of store openings and

massive sales. It even defeated the record breaking World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and Grand Theft Auto IV – both of which were greeted by similar snaking queues, press coverage and ringing tills.

Despite stock shortages, Nintendo’s big 2008 titles were still the highlight for ten per cent of the retailer’s surveyed. Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii have been regular fixtures in the ChartTrack Top Ten, further cementing

the platform holder’s market leadership – and growing the Wii’s installed base further still. Finally, Activision Blizzard rounds off the list, with last month’s Guitar Hero: World Tour.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Professor Layton, 360 price cut, customer loyalty, Fallout 3, Dead Space, Fable II, the strength of the PC games market, LittleBigPlanet

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FACING RETAILERS AT THE MOMENT? The biggest threat facing the UK retail community isn’t the growth in DS piracy, stock shortages of even economic uncertainty – but Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons. According to 33 per cent of the retailer’s surveyed, aggressive price promotions by UK’s leading supermarkets has had a big impact on the specialists – affecting sales of new releases and driving customers away from the High Street and into the outof-town superstores. One retailer said:

“Everyone is doing aggressive promotions, so I’d say our biggest threat is ourselves.” Of course the credit crunch made it on the list, as did the growth of online retail and an increase in piracy. Lack of Wii stock was also a major concern, with other retailers highlighting Nintendo stock shortages in general as a major problem facing retailers. However, ten per cent of those surveyed insisted that there were no problems facing their store whatsoever.

SUPERMARKETS........................................................................33% CREDIT CRUNCH.........................................................................13% LACK OF WII STOCK.................................................................10% NOTHING.........................................................................................10% PIRACY..............................................................................................6% PRICE CUTTING FROM RIVALS.............................................5% LOW PRICES THROUGH ONLINE RETAILERS.................5% COMPETITION WITH OTHER STORES.................................5%

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: High trade prices, lack of new IP, overstocks, “everyone’s after a bargain”

2008 HAS BEEN one of the most challenging, exciting and dramatic years in the history of video games retail. Despite traditionally being the quieter time of the year, the first six months saw new iterations in the Metal Gear Solid, Devil May Cry, Grand Theft Auto, Mario Kart, Alone in the Dark, Gran Turismo and Super Smash Bros. franchises – and that’s not including the release of a certain Wii Fit. There’s been no let up this Christmas either. November 14th was hailed as the biggest release day in the industry’s history, with video game retailers anticipating one of the most lucrative Q4 periods ever. And with releases such as Gears of War 2, Resistance 2, LittleBigPlanet, Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, World of Warcraft, Fable II,

Guitar Hero: World Tour, Left 4 Dead, Wii Music, Call of Duty, FIFA ’09, Need for Speed, Sonic Unleashed and Football Manager, who can blame them? RETAIL CHALLENGES

Yet it’s not been a simple case of sticking the games on the shelves and watching the money roll in. For all the positives, 2008 has also been one of the most competitive years so far. There is a host of new retailers stocking games – including Borders, The Entertainer and Next – GAME and Gamestation are opening new stores (as are certain independents), whilst supermarkets, DVD retailers and toy shops are continuing to expand and widen their game ranges.

And on top of all of that, the retail community has had to deal with intense price cutting from the leading supermarkets, economic uncertainty, the fall of Woolworths and EUK, high trade prices, too many new releases, last minute VAT cuts and even stock shortages. And so this year’s MCV retail survey has been a mixed bag of joy, anger, disappointment and hope. Take Nintendo as an example. The platform holder was voted company of the year for continuing to expand the games market, but that didn’t stop others venting their anger over huge stock shortages of Wii Fit, Mario Kart, the console itself and Professor Layton – whilst expressing their dismay at the growth in DS piracy.


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WHICH GAMES PUBLISHER WOULD YOU CONSIDER TO HAVE BEEN THE BEST FOR OVERALL QUALITY AND ATTITUDE TO RETAIL IN 2008? UBISOFT.................................................................26% EA..............................................................................25% NINTENDO ..............................................................15% ACTIVISION............................................................13% It was tight at the top in this category, with Ubisoft just narrowly beating super publisher EA. However, many retailers were delighted with the quality of many of Electronic Arts’ 2008 line-up. One

MICROSOFT............................................................12% SONY............................................................................1% ROCKSTAR................................................................1% THQ ..............................................................................1%

retailer told MCV: “EA’s turnaround has been impressive for us, with FIFA catching up Pro Evo, and the likes of Dead Space performing really well for us. Even taking chances on Mirror’s Edge has made a difference.”

Again, despite stock issues, Nintendo have scored highly, with Mario Kart Wii, Wii Fit, Brain Training and Professor Layton highlighted as the reasons. Big years for Microsoft and Activision haven’t gone unnoticed either, with the

quality of both companies’ output impressing the retailers surveyed. And finally, THQ was a popular choice amongst the independents, who were delighted by the firm’s commitment to the sector during 2008.

WHAT TITLE WILL BE THE 2008 CHRISTMAS NO.1? CALL OF DUTY..........................................................56% FIFA 09..........................................................................13% NEED FOR SPEED.......................................................8% PROFESSOR LAYTON................................................7% GEARS OF WAR 2........................................................5% WII FIT.............................................................................4% Well over half the retailers surveyed backed Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: World at War as the game likely to grab the title of 2008’s Christmas number one. One retailer told MCV: “By sheer unit sales, it looks like Call of Duty:

World at War is going to run away with it this year. The demand has been really high and we are selling an awful lot of copies – it is definitely the one we’ve had most people coming in for, so that’s our choice for Christmas No. 1.”

Of course it would be foolish to write off consistent sellers FIFA ‘09 and Need For Speed: Undercover, which continue to fly high in the GFK ChartTrack Top 40. And 13 per cent of those surveyed thinks FIFA could just jump above

Activison Blizzard’s WWII epic. However, a handful of retailers have suggested that Professor Layton and the Curious Village could be a surprise winner – despite many outlets currently being sold out of Nintendo’s latest DS release.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, Left 4 Dead, Resistance 2, Fallout 3, Singstar Abba

Distribution was another contentious area for retail. Whilst many were delighted by the service of the team over at Centresoft, others were so disgruntled that they voted for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda as best distributors. Indies have been grabbing cheap stock from supermarkets for years, yet 2008 saw High Street chains GAME and Gamestation join them, with store managers queuing up in Sainsbury’s on the hunt for cut-price Xbox 360 and Wii hardware. In fact, the behaviour of the supermarkets with their below-cost price cutting was so aggressive this year that 33 per cent of those surveyed voted that the biggest threat to games retail ahead of the economic recession and increased piracy.

Microsoft was one of the big winners of 2008. The launch of Gears of War 2 was hailed as the highlight of 2008, whilst the firm also came second in the overall company of the year category – with 32 per cent of the vote.

And keep a close eye on the guys over at John Lewis and Waterstones too – not to mention US giants GameStop and Play ‘n’ Trade – and who knows what will become of Woolworths. CREDIT CRUNCHED

FUTURE PROSPECTS

Looking ahead to 2009, and retailers can expect the leading supermarkets to only increase their video game presence. And that will just be the beginning. HMV, with its newly-launch pre-owned range, is likely to make further in-roads into becoming a games specialist. Blockbuster is set to roll out even more of its Total Entertainment store concepts, and Grainger Games has plans to open more stores in the North of the country.

Indeed, the collapse of Woolworths is a sign that 2009 might be a tough one for the High Street. Early signs from many of the biggest chains indicate that Q4 sales haven’t been quite as high as expected – with some hoping the VAT cut will provide a significant boost in the weeks to come. Yet with 86 per cent of games retailers confident of another glorious 12 months, there is reason to hope that 2009 can be another exciting year yet for the retail trade.


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2008 RETAIL SURVEY

DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN 2009? YES .........................................................86%

NO..............................................................4%

NOT SURE ..............................................10%

DO YOU SEE YOUR CHRISTMAS TAKINGS TO BE… Despite growing concerns for the economy, games retailers remain optimistic that Christmas 2008 can top the sales achieved in 2007. Nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed were confident of a better performance,

with just 16 per cent expecting lower results from the quarter. Retailers were confident the games industry can continue to buck the economic trend, citing the huge amount of big Q4 releases as the reason why.

GREATER THAN LAST YEAR?.............................58% SAME AS LAST YEAR? ............................................21% LOWER THAN LAST YEAR?...................................16% DON’T KNOW? ...............................................................4%

WHICH THIRD PARTY PERIPHERAL OR BRAND HAS PROVIDED YOU WITH THE BEST SALES AND PROFIT OPPORTUNITY?

Setting aside GAME own brand (which many GAME store managers voted for), A4T and MadCatz proved to be the most popular peripherals brands, taking 18 per cent of the votes from the stores surveyed each.

However, it was a close race with many of the retailers surveyed saying that they were impressed by the quality of this year’s accessory line-up. Although one spoilsport insisted that ‘none of them’ were any good.

A4T ...................................................................................18% MADCATZ .......................................................................18% PDP.....................................................................................9% LOGIC 3 ............................................................................6% VENOM ..............................................................................6%

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Nyko, Competition Pro, Nintendo, Blue Ocean, Datel, VGA

EXSPECT ......................................................................4.5%

WHO WOULD YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE BEST OVERALL COMPANY OF THE YEAR?

In the battle for overall company of the year, Nintendo scraped it with 38 per cent of the vote to Microsoft’s respectable 32 per cent. Nintendo’s consistent sellers and hardware popularity was the driving force behind their victory here – especially after the launch of Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit. Microsoft was praised for their overall quality and aggressive pricing. One retailer commented: “Microsoft has really done a good job this year by helping people afford Xbox 360 consoles

thanks to their price cuts. It is obviously a tough time at the moment and a lot of people are worried about the economy, so their prices have helped keep things going for us.” However, It wasn’t all publishers and platform holders, with retailers GAME and Gamestation making the list following a successful year for the High Street chains. Centresoft also grabbed four per cent of the vote, following a series of competitions, impressive deals and great customer service. Activision Blizzard and EA also make the list.

NINTENDO.................................................................................38% MICROSOFT...............................................................................32% GAME............................................................................................10% CENTRESOFT..............................................................................4% SONY..............................................................................................4% GAMESTATION ...........................................................................4% ACTIVISION.................................................................................3% EA .....................................................................................................1%


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IF YOU USE A VARIETY OF DISTRIBUTORS WHICH WOULD YOU COMMEND FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE? Keyne Distribution With pretty much every big publisher going through Centresoft these days (including recent signing Capcom), it comes as no real surprise to see the distributor come out top in the 2008 MCV retail survey. In fact, many were so delighted by the service offered by the Birmingham-based company, that they voted it amongst the ‘best overall companies for 2008’ as well.

The team at Gem weren’t forgotten either, who also put in an impressive performance during 2008. Yet they were matched this year by newly-formed distributor Keyne – who has become a firm favourite amongst the indies. However, some stores weren’t so pleased, with many refusing to nominate an actual distributor and opting for the supermarkets instead.

CENTRESOFT..............................................................................43% GEM..................................................................................................12% KEYNE ............................................................................................12% IDEAL................................................................................................6% KOCH ................................................................................................6%

IF YOU COULD HAVE ANYONE ELSE’S JOB IN THE INDUSTRY, WHOSE WOULD IT BE?

The retirement of last year’s winner – Microsoft boss Bill Gates – has meant that industry legend and inventor of Donkey Kong, Mario and Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto, has come out top with 20 per cent of the retail vote. Miyamoto might not churn out as many titles as he used to, but his popularity, general genius and worldwide success has seen him emerge triumphant in 2008. Just behind the Nintend designer, Bill and ‘none of them’, was Epic Games’ design director Clifford Bleszinski. The man behind Gears of War took eight per

cent of the vote following the huge critical and commercial success of Gears of War 2 (also voted highlight of the year). Lionhead boss and the face behind Fable II, Peter Molyneux, was the only other games designer on the list, whilst others were tempted by the life of a video games tester and GAME CEO Lisa Morgan. Of course there was plenty vying for a promotion, with store managers nominating their area manager as the job they’d most like to have. And a surprising ten per cent insisted they were perfectly happy where they are.

MIYAMOTO...................................................................................20% BILL GATES..................................................................................15% NONE OF EM – I’M HAPPY WHERE I AM .......................10% CLIFF BLESZINSKI ....................................................................8% A GAMES TESTER ......................................................................6% LISA MORGAN ..............................................................................5% DAVID YARNTON.........................................................................5% MY AREA MANAGER.................................................................4% PETER MOLYNEUX .....................................................................2%

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Ray Maguire, GAME manager, buying department of Gamestation, Satoru Iwata, someone at Blizzard, someone at Capcom, Bethesda boss Robert A Altman, head of EA marketing, head of eBay “so I can stop the selling of dodgy items”, head of Sony, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos

CONTRIBUTORS Blockbuster (Bridgewater), Blockbuster (Ely), Blockbuster (Fareham), Blockbuster (Maida Vale), Blockbuster (Wilmslow), Blockbuster (Woking), Bolts Electrical (Shetland Island), CHIPS (Arnold), CHIPS (Chorlton), CHIPS (Hartlepool), CHIPS (Lytham), CHIPS (Stockton), CKS Entertainment (Online), Close Encounters (Bedford), GAME (Braintree), GAME (Brighton), GAME (Bristol), GAME (Cheltenham), GAME (Chesterfield), GAME (Clacton On Sea), GAME (Coventry), GAME (Cumbria), GAME (Didcot), GAME (Islington), GAME (London (Camden), GAME (London (City), GAME (Maidstone), GAME (Maidstone (chequers)), GAME (Manchester (Trafford Centre)), GAME (Mansfield), GAME (Margate), GAME (Peterborough), GAME (Reading), GAME (Slough), GAME (Southampton), GAME (Stevenage), GAME (Trowbridge), GAME (Welwyn Garden City), Game ON (Essex), Gameseek (Online), Gamestation (Cambridge), Gamestation (Andover), Gamestation (Birmingham), Gamestation (Boston), Gamestation (Bury), Gamestation (Camden), Gamestation (Canterbury), Gamestation (Cwmbran), Gamestation (Exeter), Gamestation (Great Yarmouth), Gamestation (Hartlepool), Gamestation (Ilford), Gamestation (Kilmarnock), Gamestation (Leamington Spa), Gamestation (Luton), Gamestation (Paisley), Gamestation (Redhill), Gamestation (Rotheram), Gamestation (Scarborough), Gamestation (Stevenage), Gamestation (Sunderland), Gamestation (Sutton), Gamestation (Swansea), Gamestation (Wembley), Grainger Games (Various), HMV (Ashford), HMV (Birmingham), HMV (Gloucester), HMV (London), HMV (Plymouth), Outland (Isle Of Wight), PSX (Tyne and Wear), Take the Jag (Online).


Merry Christmas and a big thanks to all our retailers for another great year, from all at Ubisoft

MyCoach


© 2008 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Prince of Persia based on Prince of Persia® created by Jordan Mechner. Prince of Persia is a trademark of Jordan Mechner in the U.S. and/or other countries used under license by Ubisoft Entertainment. Persistent Elite Creation, EndWar, the Soldier icon, Far Cry, Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. Rainbow Six, Red Storm and Red Storm logo are trademarks of Red Storm Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. Red Storm Entertainment, Inc. is a Ubisoft Entertainment company. Brothers in Arms © 2008 Gearbox Software, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Published and distributed by Ubisoft Entertainment under license from Gearbox Software, LLC. SOULCALIBUR™IV & ©1995-2008 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. All rights reserved.


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THE REBIRTH OF ATARI

Atari lives Last week, Atari CEO David Gardner and president Phil Harrison showed off the publisher’s 2009 product line-up to retailers and the media. The event, Atari Live, definitely showed that the firm was alive and kicking – and serving retail. Michael French caught up with the two bosses to find out more… WHEN ATARI’S new CEO David which has seen Gardner and Harrison future is independence, strong product Gardner and president Phil Harrison this breeze in and, in their words “dare to flow, and some higher technology skills summer told MCV that they were take away the bureaucracy”. This has – such as helping retail deal with the planning to rebuild the company around meant stripping out various offices that way that the market is changing online games and not boxed product, overlapped, for instance. “EVE, even though it is not that well there must have been a large contingent Explains Gardner: “We’ve had a lot of known, represents a perfect crossover of of readers who thought that this cleaning up to do – we knew that going what retail is great at. It’s not just effectively meant the restructuring in to it and that at some point it would distributing a game digitally, it can publisher was cutting its losses and come to a head. And a lot of time that create cash into retail through things turning its back on retail. But last week, means changing people. like hint books and time cards.” the Atari Live event for retailers and the “Our approach has been to correct Harrison says that games like EVE media made one thing clear: retail is still and Qubed “take the best of online and the sins of the past. Atari was a very a priority for the firm. decentralised company. package it for our retail partners, In fact, the event may as well have “We also had to clean up the product creating evergreen products – not ones been called ‘Atari Lives,’ so intent were portfolio,” he adds. Gardner characterises which have just a 30 to 60-day cycle on proceedings on reminding those invited Harrison’s first reaction to the games store shelves”. So rather than choose along that the company not only has an Atari did have in the works when he online and use that as an excuse to enviable global distribution network cobegan as akin to the sword-wielding overlook retail, Atari is in fact using owned with Namco Bandai, Afro Samurai. (“There was but also that it is still very certainly blood on the We want people to understand much an active force in retail. carpet.”) that Atari does have plans for Those canned games retail. We’re also selling in EVE OF A NEW ERA have been replaced by an products that didn’t previously “We want people to almost EA Partnershave a retail component. understand that Atari does flavoured line-up. A great David Gardner have plans for retail – it’s portion of the games are not the only thing we’ll be appearing via distribution doing, some of our stuff won’t be for deals with established developers. online as a way to give new products to retail – but to compensate for that we’re retailers. But that’s just half the story for It’s also possible that much of the bringing in products that were online new Atari isn’t just Gardner and ‘new Atari’, as the publisher is also that didn’t previously have a retail Harrison’s reaction to the sins of the old pushing a number of new signings as its component,” explains Gardner to MCV Atari – which also, lets not forget, headline titles for 2009. after an hour-long showcase of around included crimes like shipping out These include Ghostbusters, a new 15 games, two-thirds of which will be unfinished games like Enter The Matrix Riddick game, The Witcher’s debut on launched between January and June 09. and Driv3r just to satisfy financial consoles, and the sixth Tekken game, These include a number of ‘first for deadlines – but a move to redress the which sees the fighter going retail’ products, such as the first boxed frustrations they probably encountered multiplatform for the first time. They release of MMO EVE Online, a at former corporate employers. join releases like RACE Pro, Ready 2 compilation of episodic Sam & Max Adds Harrison: “Atari bought a lot of Rumble, three Namco Bandai-developed adventures, and a bargain price point things and integrated none of them – games Afro Samurai, Family Ski & €30 disc called Q3 (or Qubed) that there were all these duplicated overheads. Snowboard and Eternal Sonata and contains three former Xbox Live Arcade David came in and said ‘Why is it like others (for a full overview of the hits – Rez HD, Lumines and Every this?’ and it turned out no-one had asked product range, turn the page). Extend Extra Extreme. that before. We’ve removed a huge layer REBUILDING THE BRAND Gardner adds: “We want to be the of that management bureaucracy, This variety of SKUs is an interesting online specialist for retail. And as we simplified the structure, reduced costs and mix – different from the range the Atari create this new distribution company increased communication.” of old boasted, and indicative of the with Namco Bandai we think that one But, he adds, stripping away the fat of wider changes going on at the company, of the things we can do to give it a good the business “doesn’t mean that


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THE REBIRTH OF ATARI LIVE AND KICKING: Atari Live brought together hundreds of pan-European press and retail reps to see Gardner (left) and Harrison (right) unveil the publisher’s new product line-up

individual regions like UK are now less important.” Indeed, as we report on page 4 this week, Atari has appointed an MD of its Atlantic region – which includes the UK plus Spain, Nordic and Latin America – and is planning to rebuild its team in the UK as a recruitment drive kicks off. “There’s a lot of opportunities to grow our business in the UK,” adds Gardner. “I’m not sure we had the right product mix in the past. What we’ve shown at Atari Live is much healthier line-up for both North America and Europe. And that will help us attract the right team. But we’re not looking for a UK GM – I don’t want to run an individual country managerstyle operation.” In fact, Gardner says he’s so committed to the UK business that he “hasn’t given up” on the old Atari dream of having a distribution label in Britain. “I think the UK industry is not particularly healthy right now. There are

way too many small players and not enough big players – that’s on both sides of the table, from a retail perspective and a publishing one,” says Gardner. He stops short of spelling out his exact plans, only confirming that Atari is looking at ways it can inspire co-

about reminding the world about the company’s associations and alliances as anything else. So Harrison is as happy to talk about his big aspirations for Ghostbusters – including to prove wrong Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, who rejected the game due to supposed

I would love to turn Ghostbusters into a $100m franchise, just to prove Bobby Kotick wrong.

operation in the industry in a “healthy and helpful” way to make the UK industry stronger. WHO YA GONNA CALL?

However, Gardner and Harrison’s new Atari strategy isn’t entirely built on a rejection of what went before, both at Atari and in their previous jobs. Indeed, last week’s showcase was as much

Phil Harrison

low sequel potential – as he is the fact that Atari distributes GTA IV in Taiwan for Rockstar Games. Of course, the championing of Ghostbusters does beg one last question – isn’t the new Atari just building its portfolio on games that no one else wants? What is Atari seeing in the likes of Riddick which Activision isn’t? Although he doesn’t say it outright,

Gardner hints that it’s an ability to see the bigger picture. “We evaluated those games and just because they aren’t a good fit for Activision doesn’t mean they aren’t a good fit for us.” Adds Harrison: “What Bobby, perhaps unhelpfully said, was that those games were franchises which wouldn’t make $100m of revenue and generate sequels. If that’s his benchmark, then fine – and we’d love to aspire to the same benchmarks. But you know what? I would love to turn Ghostbusters into a $100m franchise, just to prove him wrong.” (“And sell it back to him!” quips Gardner.) Most importantly, says Gardner, each game represents a key opportunity for Atari to make money from cutting-edge products in an very old fashioned way: through bricks-and-mortar retail: “All those titles should be profitable – and that, for this company, would be an achievement.”


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ATARI: THE KEY 2009 TITLES GHOSTBUSTERS

Arguably Atari’s biggest game, Ghostbusters will arrive to coincide with the film series’ 25th anniversary in the summer. The franchise is already a big money spinner, having generated over $1bn in revenue from merchandising revenues. Release Date: June 2009

AFRO SAMURAI One of Namco Badai’s trio of releases for 2009, this game is based on a popular anime series and is a hack ‘n’ slash title in the vein of God of War. Release Date: 2009

CODENAME PANZERS: COLD WAR The latest RTS from studios InnoGlow and StormRegion, Codename Panzers offers a gripping strategy adventure set in the midst of the Cold War. Release Date: 2009

DEMIGOD A new offering from esteemed designer Chris Taylor’s Gas Powered Games, Demigod puts players in control of vast armies for a team-based actioner. Release Date: 2009

EVE ONLINE The popular MMO – which has been so successful it has turned developer CCP into Iceland’s third largest exporter – gets its first stab at retail. Release Date: March 12th

HEROES OVER EUROPE The latest instalment in the Heroes series takes aspiring combat pilots into the bullet-ridden heart of major World War II European air battles. Release Date: 2009


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ATARI: THE KEY 2009 TITLES RACE PRO Simbin’s latest racer, this time for 360 and PS3 after a succesful spell on PC, is the first of these games to arrive, rolling out early next year. Release Date: January 2009

READY 2 RUMBLE The classic boxing game gets dusted down and rebuilt specifically for Wii. Should provide an alternative for those bored of Wii Sports’ boxing. Release Date: March 2009

THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK: DARK ATHENA Offering two games in one, this title provides a sequel to the groundbreaking original, plus a HD remake of the first game. Release Date: 2009

SAM & MAX SEASON 2 This crime-busting duo return to retail, collating their episodic adventures, after over a decade away from store shelves (the original was released by LucasArts). Release Date: 2009

TEKKEN 6 For the first time, Namco Bandai’s iconic fighter is making the move to a multiplatform release after years as a PlayStation exclusive. Release Date: 2009

THE CHASE: FELIX MEETS FELICITY This loved-up UK-developed DS title asks players to ensure that a young couple get it together, and is fittingly set to hit retail on Valentine’s Day. Release Date: February 14th

THE WITCHER: RISE OF THE WHITE WOLF The first console outing for the RPG franchise combines a mature and engaging story with ‘unrivalled realtime combat’. Release Date: 2009

FAMILY SKI & SNOWBOARD A follow up to fitness title Family Trainer, Family Ski & Snowbard utilises the Wii Balance Board and offers a mix of snowy sports for families to play. Release Date: February 2009


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MCV INTERVIEW DAVID REEVES, PRESIDENT, SCEE

Action ‘Station 2008 was a key year for PS3 software releases such as Metal Gear Solid and LittleBigPlanet. Michael French speaks to SCEE boss David Reeves to find out his views on the state of the PlayStation business and Sony’s plans for 2009… Firstly, can you give us an update on Aren’t video games already credible the progress made by the Sony in the UK? games business this year? In a sense, but often you get the Two years ago we lost $2bn dollars impression that for the likes of The globally on the SCE business – we Daily Mail and Keith Vaz we’re the thought at the time it was a lot of whipping boy. There’s always something money, but in perspective with things that characterises games as bad – and in like Citibank it’s not that much. And Germany it’s worse, in Holland it’s even last year we lost $1bn dollars. worse and in Scandinavia it’s worse Our target this year is to break even, than all of those. We still haven’t not on a cumulative basis, but on an reached a point where it is accepted like operating business. Our point of view music or films, but you can use market from the 100 markets we work in, we growth to change that. have PS2 which we’re making a profit on, PSP where we also make a profit, What specific market growth and PS3 where, if we just look at it in strategies are you thinking about? Euro terms, we are in a profit on We’ve moved into Russia, the Middle software even though we still make East and beyond – SCEA recently a loss on hardware. It’s likely we will launched the PS2 in South America. get into profit in Europe this year. So SCEE is a Competition is good – it brings solid, safe pair of hands in more consumers, generates for SCE.

that’s just the Sony way. And on that point, another thing we have committed to for supporting market growth is putting out quality hardware – you don’t grow the market by putting out shoddy machines. So we try to make sure that PS3s have a failure rate of just two to three per cent, which is very low by industry standards.

Does that mean once you’ve broken even you will reduce the price of the hardware to stimulate more sales? No, we are not going to go down in price on PS3 – neither are we going to go down in price on PS3 in spring time either. Absolutely not, whatever you might have heard to the contrary. Our strategy is very much value added. That doesn’t mean we are going to add pieces of software – we might add original ideas to the machine. What we want is to make the machine value for money. The long-term objective of the company is the growth of the industry. During the 12 to 13 years we have been in the market, the handheld and static console market has grown by over 350 per cent, which is hugely dramatic. Software has gone up even more, and our objective is to grow the industry to bring it into credibility.

more attention and even attracts bigger ad spends.

David Reeves We also are looking to new demographics. We used to just market to males, but I’d like to think that in SingStar, EyeToy and Buzz – and Nintendo with Wii Fit, Nintendogs and Brain Training – we’ve grown demographically. We also try to do that via a high tie ratio – the ratio on the PSone was about six games to each machine. On PS2 it is 10 to 11 – some markets are even higher, in the UK it’s 12. If you increase the tie ratio you grow the business. The other way to grow it is through online – incrementally and not taking from retail. On PS3 we have used that to attract PC gamers, and even girls and boys aged 14 or so who are used to already downloading content through iTunes and so on. We also grow the market through new products – some work, some don’t,

In this generation there has been a lot of focus on the competition between the three format holders – growing the market has been something Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft have all talked about. In our view, competition grows the market. That’s the exact market force which has led, for an example from another industry, from someone like Dunlop being the only mail trainer company in the 1970s to you having Nike Stores and so many sneaker companies today. Competition is good – it brings in more consumers, it generates more attention and even attracts more advertising money. I would never bad mouth our competition and I genuinely believe they have all contributed to the industry in terms of growing it and helping bring credibility in. That’s what we’d like to have as a legacy. I think that same competition is what has encouraged many to expect another PS3 price cut soon – as people expect a drop in price given that’s the pattern PlayStation hardware has followed in the past. When we came into the industry we started at zero. And we had to have a model that was price elasticity – and as soon as we got the manufacturing price down on PSOne we lowered the price. Same with PS2. But we’re not


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MCV INTERVIEW DAVID REEVES, PRESIDENT, SCEE doing that on PS3 – that’s not the model, but people are expecting it. We’re relying on the fact that the industry will keep growing and while we might have a smaller share of the market we will have an overall increase in sales. So the value added strategy is to continue for some years to come. On the competition, I will say Nintendo have only done good things. They have expanded geographically and dramatically extended demographically. They have never been afraid to try new products, be that hardware, or software or peripherals. In a way, they have strength in silence as they don’t have to say too much. That’s really good, and it works for them. For Microsoft, again, I can understand that, again, they have put money into the market and have initiated growth. In some ways what they have done is brought forward consumers from next year into this year. By bringing the price down they are trying to establish themselves quickly, as they did with the first Xbox. But they have built online in a meaningful way and the competition they have brought to the market place is great. And what about other, newer competitors, like the iPod/iPhone? We anticipate other people will come in, like Apple, and mobile phone companies. Yes Apple is competition and they will get stronger – it will make everyone look up and we will have to get stronger too. So we are in a solid position, but are not lackadaisical. Next year we are probably going to be a little bit more aggressive when we reach the break even point.

STATION MASTER: Reeves says that strong software sales will help propel Sony’s games business towards profitability

What can you tell us about sales figures and numbers for the Sony hardware? The PS2 is doing very well in those new territories, such as Saudi Arabia – it still has a lot of life in it yet. I know MCV recently said it was ‘dead’, but PS2 will live on for at least two years. And it’s still ticking over in the UK. It is a different model to Nintendo and Microsoft – they tend to drop their older hardware straight away – but we like to keep them around as third-party publishers do great business on them. THQ and Ubisoft will do very well this year from PS2, and PES 2009

and FIFA 09 are also big sellers for those formats. And PSP? The PSP is as successful in numbers as PS2 – it tracks its numbers in a cumulative basis. It’s weakness, however, is its software. And that’s because developers, when it comes to placing bets, have to chose PS3 and 360, then Wii, then DS, maybe even PS2 before PSP. It’s the same at our internal studios, where the focus has been on PS3. They’ve also focused a lot on PS2 as well because we have to get the SingStars out for that format. And before you ask – no, there are currently no plans for a PSP2. I go to Tokyo quite a lot and no one has referred to it – I think they have their hands full at the moment. And we just launched the PSP-3000 so we are still focused on this generation of the platform. What about the PS3? As I said, we have a very low failure rate. The format is accepted as multimedia. And we’ve had a great balance of first party software. In fact I think that its the software sales which will help us get to that break even point on PS3. But what we’re doing now is focusing a lot on our own IP – we’ve found companies like Media Molecule, Insomniac and Naughty Dog who have provided key games for us. I’m not saying we’re completely abandoning exclusives, but we don’t have the $50m dollars to spend on securing exclusive content – and we’d much rather put that money not into securing an exclusive but developing another innovative game like LittleBigPlanet. In terms of sales, we are tracking very closely to where PS2 was at this point in its lifecycle. We’re on the PS2 pace – some countries are ahead, some are a little behind. I will comment on the sales figures for PS3. In recent weeks we have outsold 360 in countries like Germany and France, and we’re outselling Xbox and Nintendo about eight to one in Russia. So, overall, while we have sold a lot less than Nintendo – who have done outstandingly well of course – I am confident that in PAL territories our installed base is 300,000 units ahead of Xbox 360. Sales for PS3 are on track and where we want to be for the financial year.


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GMA WINNERS: SIMON MUNK, FHM

A lad state of affairs Simon Munk claimed his second Games Media Award in October for his efforts on FHM’s monthy men’s print publication. Christopher Dring speaks to 2008’s greatest mainstream magazine games writer… Were you surprised by your win? Surprised would be an understatement. I won last year too – so I really thought that there was no way the industry would vote for me or that the GMA organisers would let me win two years in a row. Plus, last year I had just had a baby girl and went part-time. As anyone who has dealt with me in the last year will know, that’s meant I’ve become even more infamously grumpy about being dragged away from my desk in Walthamstow for game demos. Plus, I really don’t think I’ve done anything that amazing in the last year to deserve the award – I’ve been nailed to my desk. Compare that to Rory Buckeridge, now at Nuts. He’s had loads of scoops and exclusives. I was honestly rooting for him to win, not me. But winning has been a very nice icing on the cake that is the imminent arrival of my son – two awards, two babies, two years. And that’ll be it for both awards and babies, I hope!

MUNK-Y BUSINESS: FHM’s Simon Munk has won a GMA for two years on the bounce

What has been the highlight of your career so far? Professionally? Launching Stuff Gamer in the US. It may not have hit the sales we wanted, but I’m very proud of the mag that myself and a small team produced. Personally? Not being quite drunk enough to go skinny-dipping at Microsoft’s X01 in Cannes? Or maybe just working with some top-class journalists – big shouts out to Tim Wapshott, Rory Buckeridge, Gary Cutlack and Al Warmington among many others.

wasn’t the gameplan from the outset. The person who has influenced me most is my best mate Joe. I’ve known him since I was four. Joe always had the latest consoles, Sinclair computers and Micronaut toys when we were growing up. He got me hooked on arcades in Soho when I was 11. If anything, it was my determination to one day get a sodding console or game before Joe that set me down this path. Still can’t hold a candle to him at most shooters, though.

What have proven to be your biggest influences? My biggest influences? Chance and luck. When I left university I would have given my right arm to be a music journalist. I know a few music journalists and I can count on the fingers of one finger the number of ‘em who love their job, their industry, new music. So I count myself lucky to have ended up working in such a friendly industry. And I still enjoy getting to play games for fun and for a living. But that

How important do you feel what the mainstream press writes is in the games sector? I don’t think the mainstream media ‘get’ games properly yet. But the games industry doesn’t ‘get’ mainstream media either. The media doesn’t devote enough space to games, treats games as a geeky hobby and when it does cover games, we know it’s all too often “ban this evil filth”. On the other hand, the games industry’s failure to advertise in

It would be nice to see mainstream journalists stop treating games as a new street drug.

mainstream outlets enough; failure to properly court and feed the mainstream press stories; and, perhaps worst of all, its consistent reliance on shock tactics and ‘hardcore’ games that overdose on violence and sexist imagery doesn’t help. All of that is thankfully changing. If the games industry did one thing to make it work better for mainstream media, it should finish games three months before release. Like with films, this would allow time to both properly market games and prepare reviews for long-lead media. How would you like to see the mainstream media evolve in terms of its treatment of video games? Give me more space and pay me more? Seriously, though – games should be treated like films and TV programmes. So while I wouldn’t expect shock horror stories to die out completely, it’d be nice to see games not always treated by nongames journos like either a baffling piece of technology or a new street drug.


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MARKET RESEARCH

Viewing habits Market research specialist Carrick James examines the media viewing, online, and buying habits of the games industry’s younger audience. MCV looks at some potentially vital information for marketers everywhere… WEBSITES [1]

POP STARS

BOYS

[1]

(aged 7-14)

WHAT PARENTS BOUGHT FOR XMAS

BOYS

[1]

(Aged 5-6)

(aged 7-14) 1. Toys and Games

1. Google [2]

2. YouTube

1. 50 Cent

[2]

2. Clothes

2. Justin Timberlake

3. Sweets/Chocolate

3. Yahoo

3. Timbaland

4. Books/CDs/DVDs

4. BBC

4. High School Musical [3] 5. Rihanna

5. Stationery/Arts & Crafts

[2]

5. CBBC [3]

[3]

[1]

(Aged 9-10) 1. Clothes

[2] [1]

GIRLS

[1]

(aged 7-14)

2. YouTube

GIRLS

3. Books/CDs/DVDs

(aged 7-14)

4. Toys and Games [3]

5. Video games

[1]

(Aged 13-14)

1. Girls Aloud

1. Google [2]

2. Sweets/Chocolate

[2]

2. High School Musical

3. BBC Schools

3. Leona Lewis

4. Disney

4. Rihanna

5. Bebo

5. Sugababes [3]

[3]

1. Clothes [2]

2. Money/Vouchers 3. Books/CDs/DVDs 4. Sweets/Chocolate

[3] There’s not a huge difference in the online viewing habits of girls and boys. Google is understandably the most popular destination for those youngsters on the look out for information, but it’s the popularity of YouTube that will have marketers excited. Many publishers have already made great use of the portal, with trailers and specialist channels, whilst Sega’s big Football Manager reveal took place through YouTube. Elsewhere and the BBC continues to be a dominant online force, whilst Disney’s website is still a big attraction for young girls.

The team over at THQ might want to consider toning down the violence in its upcoming PS3 and 360 release: 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. The rapper is the most popular music star in a poll of 7-14 year-old boys, but the game has been rated ‘18’ by the BBFC. Nintendo’s decision to use Girls Aloud in its marketing materials is backed up by Carrick James’ research, which places the pop act as the most popular music stars amongst young girls. It’s good news for Disney too, as its monster High School Musical franchise scores highly with both girls and boys.

5. Toiletries/Make-Up

Despite the growing acceptance of gaming in the mainstream, the above survey implies parents are still reluctant to buy video games for their children. Music, DVDs, clothes, books, sweets and toys were preferred to video games in all age categories, with video games only managing fifth place in the 9-10 age range. Parents preferred to buy clothes for their 9-10 and/or 13-14 year-old children, whilst 5-6 year-olds were more fortunate, receiving toys for Christmas.


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Carrick James Market Research is the leading agency specialising in child and youth research.

COLLECTIBLES [1]

[2]

(Aged 5-6)

SPORTS STARS [1]

(Boys aged 7-14)

WHERE PARENTS SHOP [1]

1. McDonald’s

1. David Beckham

1. Woolworths

Happy Meals

2. Ronaldo

2. Asda

2. Kinder Surprise

[2]

3. Wayne Rooney

[2]

3. Argos

3. Doctor Who

4. Man Utd players

4. Next

Action Figures

5. Michael Owen

5. Adams 6. Toys R Us

4. Bratz Cards [3]

(For 0-4 year olds)

5. KFC Kids Meal toys [3]

McDonald’s is the world’s biggest distributor of toys, so we’re told. It’s one of those factoids that belongs in a pub quiz. So all those publishers who have backed their latest games with Happy Meal promotions could be onto a real winner. Unsurprisingly, Doctor Who is still a big winner in the collectibles market, so perhaps now would be the ideal time to release a fully-fledged Doctor Who video game, especially with no full series due in 2009. Finally, there appears to be no room for the endlessly popular Pokémon Cards. However, these are probably skewed towards the slightly older audience.

As FIFA, Football Manager and Pro Evo shows, we love our football. And it looks as if EA’s decision to use Wayne Rooney in its marketing was a good one, with the Manchester United striker making it into third place in the list of most popular sports stars amongst 7-14 year-old boys. Based on the survey, Konami made a great decision in signing an agreement with Manchester United for Pro Evo 2009, with Man U players dominating the top five. However, there was no sign of any other sports’ personality on the list – no Olympic star or F1 champion – but at least there’s no Didier Drogba either.

[3]

As gaming continues its march into the mainstream, publishers are increasingly targeting the pre-school age range with its latest software. So it is reassuring to see stores that stock a large quantity of games make it onto the list. Asda, Argos, Toys R Us and Woolworths boast the largest range of video games, yet even clothing outlet Next is making tenative steps into the video games retail space. Of course seeing Woolworths top the survey makes you wonder if the chain could have avoided its recent plight if it focused more of its energies on the younger market…


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MCV INTERVIEW DAVID POTTER, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, EMEA, SITEL

Sitel that never sleeps An unsung hero of the still-growing online field is Sitel, which has provided round-the-clock support for some of the biggest MMOs. Jonathon Harker speaks with the firm’s David Potter to find out more… For readers that might not know, could you outline the range of services that Sitel provides? Sitel provides chat, ticket and email management support plus forum moderation, community management, billing enquiries and technical support across Europe. This is for MMOs such as City of Heroes, City of Villains, Guild Wars, EVE Online and Football Manager Online, as well as support for all Sony Playstation consoles and related games and online services. The markets covered include UK, Germany, France, Russia, Spain, Italy and others. This requires Sitel to recruit and train game masters who provide support for all players in-game assisting where

budget. The difference between a boxed game and an online game is that a boxed game is a product and an online game is a service. This requires a whole different infrastructure and capability that game firms don’t naturally possess. Do you feel that games firms have overlooked moving online so far? Will they miss out if they don't move into this market soon? All games companies are moving into online whether they are purely console/handheld-based or PC-based. All games are becoming more networked and either have online components or are entirely online-based. This is driven by increased broadband

A boxed game is a product. An online game is a service. It requires a completely different infrastructure.

possible in their progression in the games, their enjoyment, enhancing the community and ensuring that they remain loyal customers of the developer/publisher. How much can games firms save by outsourcing as opposed to setting up an operation themselves? The immediate saving is in capital expenditure as there is no requirement for capital for things like premises and technology. Provided they have the right partner who can provide process improvement and productivity on a likefor-like basis the running cost improvement can be at least 10 to 20 per cent. When you add in labour arbitrage by taking advantage of outsourcers’ near or off shore locations this can rise to 30 to 50 per cent. The additional financial benefit is that the costs can be calibrated to subscriber number activity such as chat ticket volume rather than carrying a fixed internal headcount – making it easier to

penetration and the availability of online-enabled consoles that are regularly used. Every traditional publisher is really at a different stage concerning diversifying into more online activities – some have a head start and expertise, while others have yet to make the transition and so risk being left behind. Also, within the online space traditional companies are likely to come up against new competitors that already operate within online games. What are your projections for the increase in games-related online activity, and how will you meet these needs? According to Screen Digest, the Western market for MMOs (including subscriptions and microtransactions) is €1.45bn ($1.98bn) in 2008, and forecast to grow to €2.9bn ($3.97bn) in 2012. Sitel provides global scale with over 150 contact centres and supporting 36 languages in 27 countries.

LOOKING AHEAD: Potter says that Sitel can help traditional boxed publishers move online

Do you think there is an increasing need for games publishers to sign up outsourcing services like these? There is an increasing need as developers do not necessarily want to be burdened with premises and people on their balance sheet. They wish to focus purely on the gameplay, development and distribution leaving experts in customer management to serve and retain their customers. Outsourcers can provide better focus, geographical capability, opening hours and flexibility to rampup/ramp-down resources as and when demand requires.


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rt in a p n e k a t d n a d orte p p u s ’s t a h t e n o r a e y is h t iz u Q Thanks to every b Pu y r t s u d n I V C M / the Xbox 360

9 0 0 2 n i e u n e v w e n r u o t a u o y See

Next Quiz: Thursday, February 19th The Sway Bar, Holborn Contact Orlaith.Kennedy@intentmedia.co.uk


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TERRITORY REPORT: ITALY

BATTLE FOR SUPREMACY Despite the worldwide popularity of Nintendo’s Wii, the PS3 is the Italian console of choice with the largest installed based. However, growth has slowed for Sony during 2008, with Wii sales up a massive 133 per cent and Xbox 360 also hot on the PlayStation’s heels. However, all home consoles are a long way off from the sales enjoyed by the DS and PSP. Installed base

Year To Date (YTD)

YTD Vs 2007 YTD

PS2 .............................................................. 4,410,000 .................................................. 134,000 ....................................................-51% PS3 .............................................................. 430,000 .................................................... 143,000 ......................................................14% Xbox 360 .................................................. 360,000 .................................................... 85,000 ......................................................42% Wii ................................................................ 400,000 .................................................... 175,000 ....................................................133% DS ................................................................ 1,700,000 .................................................. 425,000 ....................................................23% PSP .............................................................. 1,200,000 .................................................. 230,000 ....................................................12%

Source: Parker Consulting

THE FACTS: Population: 60,000,000 Capital: Rome Currency: Euro GDP: (per capita) $35, 745

DISTRIBUTORS Cidiverte Spa (Gallarate) Coop Italia (Sesto F.No) Digital Bros spa (Milano) Leader spa (Gazzada Schianno) Newave Italia (Firenze) Promovideo SRL (Senago)

KEY RETAILERS GameStop, Mediamarket, Blockbuster, Auchan, Open Game

The Italian Job The Italian video game market – much like the rest of the world – has managed to defy economic uncertainty and enjoy huge growth during 2008. Christopher Dring speaks to the key players…

IN TERMS of value, the Italian video games market has grown nearly 25 per cent during 2008. It’s the sort of statistic that has seen Italy become a major player in the games sector, as is the news that – according to GameVision – Italian gamers spent more money during the summer of 2008 than consumers in any other European territory. Yet despite this, the Italian video game market has yet to reach the maturity of its French and UK counterparts, with huge opportunity for further growth in 2009 and beyond. “The Italian market is still in the early stages,” says Atari’s head of Europe Mediterranean region, Andrea Colombo. “For many reasons it’s still a couple of years from the more mature markets like the UK or French one. But this means enormous space for growth. And the change is happening right now.

“The Italian market is dramatically different from the one I knew ten years ago when I joined the market. It’s becoming increasingly similar to the modern and mature markets, with very strong big chains like GameStop, Blockbuster or Auchan and more efficient independent stores like Open Game. The market is now more concentrated, with the top ten retailers covering over 75 per cent of the market.” INDIE SUCCESS

Despite the arrival of big chains like GameStop, games retail is vastly different in Italy compared to its European siblings. Independents dominate the sector, whilst big supermarkets remain relatively unsuccessful, and this creates a series of

opportunities and logistical challenges, as head of marketing for Black Bean Games Fabrizio Vagliasindi, explains: “The important difference in the Italian market compared to other Europeans sectors is the big percentage still in the hands of the independent stores,” he says. “This makes it more difficult for distribution, but at the same time gives more opportunity to reach different segments of the market with the right proposition. “One of the biggest challenges, though, is the low share of Hypermarkets. These channels, which


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TERRIT0RY REPORT: ITALY Marco Accordi Rickards, Director of the Italian Video Games Developer Conference

Fabrizio Vagliasindi, Head of Marketing, Black Bean Games

Andrea Colombo, Head of Europe Mediterranean region, Atari

perform much better in other European countries, are weaker here. And this affects the sales of mass-market products in terms of potential. Buyers are not getting the right mix of product, and the shelves are not being filled properly. This will be a big area of improvement over the next couple of years.” Although the retail sector is some way off its European rivals, the Italian development community is starting to get the global recognition it deserves. Italian talent can be found at many of the biggest studios worldwide, and the country boasts some top development houses including Ubisoft Studios Milano and Milestone. Last month also saw the opening of the first Italian Video Game Developers conference in Milan. “IVDC ‘08 has had an extraordinary response, it really surpassed our

In a few years, The Italian development sector has the potential to challenge the rest of Europe. Marco Accordi Rickards, IVDC

expectations,” comments IVDC director Marco Accordi Rickards, who is also president of the Italian Association of Interactive Multimedia Works (AIOMI). “Over 500 professionals came to Milano for the Conference and we had every single Italian game developer represented, including the biggest like Milestone, Ubisoft Studios Milano and Artematica. The B2B area was crowded by publishers, developers and young talents and the recruitment tables – which were set up by the major software houses – were always busy. “Italy has a lot of potential,” he continues. “We have a reputation of being creative, talented and open minded people – just look at the fashion industry. At IVDC 2008 it’s been clear that Italians are capable of achieving great results in the game development

area: people like Ready at Dawn founder Andrea Pessino, Marco Corbetta at Crytek, Alessandro Bartolucci at Infinity Ward, Angelo Pesce at EA or Alessandro Monopoli at Codemasters are all living proof of the ‘Italian way’ of doing games. “However, Milestone, Artematica, Raylight, Black Sheep, Twelve and SpinVector are showing that it’s not necessary to go abroad anymore to have success in the industry. I really think this is very important, because the Italian game development sector has the potential to improve and, in a few years, challenge the other European countries.”


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PERSONNEL

Local appointment boosts Codies Codemasters localisation manager gets new assistant  O’Connell leaves EA Sports  Two join Southpeak CODEMASTERS  The Britsoft publisher has made a key addition to help its global business as GAELLE LEYSOUR DE ROHELLO is brought in to the company’s localisation team. She started in November as assistant localisation manager, bringing over a decade of previous experience in the field to the team, having worked with SCEE. She will work under current localisation manager DANIEL SCHAEFERS. “After pushing localisation at Codemasters to a new level

Alten8. Not only is he bringing with him his years of experience, but also crucially his SGX engine, which will be the core of many of our games moving forward.”

I am pleased that we could recruit an experienced localisation expert for our rapidly growing localisation needs,” said Schaefers. “Gaelle will contribute to guaranteeing triple-A localisation for all our titles.”

ALTEN8  STEVE GOODWIN has joined Skull Monkey Games, the development arm of the Alten8 Media Group, as head of development. Alten8’s CEO PAUL ANDREWS said: “We are very pleased to have Steve heading up the Skull Monkey development division here at

EA  After six years at the company, GLEN O’CONNELL has left to pursue a career in sports marketing. “Glen has contributed an enormous amount to our success over the past few years and he will be missed by all of us in the EA Sports label,” said EA Sports president Peter Moore.

SOUTHPEAK  Southpeak have made a duo of appointments as it took on FELIX BRADSHAW as European sales director and ED BLINCOE as European product marketing manager. Blincoe and Bradshaw both boast several years of working within the industry at companies such as Codemasters.

Buy from:


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RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES  PRICE CHECK  CHARTS  NEW RELEASES

WITH THIS ISSUE... Nintendo walks us through its literature compilation for DS, 100 Classic Book Collection

ALSO THIS WEEK... NEOPETS P38 Capcom brings the popular online teen network to console KILLER NIC P39 EuroTech helps out PC gamers with its nifty Network Interface Card NEW RELEASES P40 We round up the full release schedule for the rest of 2008 and beyond

FLIPPIN’ GREAT EA releases the long-awaited sequel to its skateboarding sim. Page 36

HIGH STREET P42 We hear from indie Voodoo Consoles – and check up your prices CHARTS The latest weekly ELSPA/GFKChartTrack sales rankings

P44


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RETAILBIZ: SKATE 2 36 MCV 12/12/08

EA’s ode to sidewalk surfing returns with twice as many tricks to its name, meaning it’s all set to exceed the standards established by its predecessor. Will Freeman gets on board…

WWW.MCVUK.COM

WHEN EA’S Skate debuted last year, it almost immediately won the affection of real skateboarders, wowing a demographic whose relationship with video games had previously been apathetic at best. Few would have guessed that the work by developer Black Box would have rivalled the long running Tony Hawk series, but in reality it set new standards in the extreme sports genre, bringing the public an accessible simulator with all the rebellious credentials to give it the edge needed to woo a huge customer base and numerous gushing reviews. Now the sequel is ready for release, bringing gamers the same innovative approach to control and level design that made Skate such a success. Riding a fine line between a focus on a bolstered

feature set and a dedication to the purity of the original release, Skate 2 takes gamers to the fantastical city of New San Vanelona. Loosely based on the skateboarding hotspots of Barcelona, San Francisco and Vancouver, Skate 2’s sprawling landscape re-imagines the first game’s setting after a mysterious catastrophe that has led to a complete rebuild of the city. DECK THE MALLS

The most significant improvement comes with the new catalogue of tricks, which offers a variety to rival the Tony Hawk games without loosing the emphasis on the clarity of the first game’s infamous Flick-It control scheme. While Skate only provided for the most traditional forms of the sport, its sequel caters for a vast range of elaborate

THE WHEEL DEAL: You’ve got to look good while skating, so players can equip their ‘boarder with the latest decks and coolest clothes


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RETAILBIZ: SKATE 2 WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 12/12/08 37

KNEES UP: The joy of Skate was its accuracy in recreating the thrills and intricacies of skateboarding

manoeuvres and ostentatious stunts, all grounded in the gritty reality that Skate 2 makes its own. BOUTS OF OLLIE

Black Box’s second skating title also introduces the ability to dismount the board and move objects around, which not only allows players to build new lines and custom challenges, but has also provided the environment creators with opportunity to design a far more involving game world. While there’s a wealth of new features designed to entice the nonskater like the Graphics Creator, which allows users to design their own visuals for clothing and decks, and an increased prominence of bone breaking bails and gory detail, EA’s game maintains the level of authenticity that is so important

in holding the attention of the sizable skateboarding community. The game’s January release takes advantage of a period without any competition from a Tony Hawk game, meaning Skate 2 is likely to be very popular at retail. Thanks to the impeccable reputation of the first game, and the ongoing popularity of skateboarding culture as a whole, EA’s next extreme sports release should enjoy plenty of success in the opening months of 2009. RELEASED: JANUARY 23 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3 PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS DEVELOPER: BLACK BOX PRICE: £49.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 623 3388

SKATES, CAMERA, ACTION In keeping with the DIY ethics that have long defined the sport, Skate 2 includes a significantly improved editing tool, which lets players create videos of their most impressive antics and share the footage across the online Skate community. Replicating the long-established trend in real world skating for filming

every switch flip and K-grind, now full camera control offers the opportunity to create more elaborate user generated content. A comprehensive edit sweet provides for some truly impressive functionality, and a more user-friendly process for sharing videos should ensure the feature proves highly popular.


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RETAILBIZ: NEOPETS PUZZLE ADVENTURE 38 MCV 12/12/08

Capcom brings a popular online ‘tween’ virtual world to console as a puzzler. Tim Ingham regresses to those tender years…

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THE WAY marketing people tell it, the ‘tween’ stage of life is one of the best eras of our excistence; where innocence meets risqué in a delicious cocktail of pure enjoyment. But most of us know different. It’s the chaotic stage between pre-pubescent bliss and hormone-driven excess; the purgatory of wanting to fill our senses with the opposite sex, but still feeling the need to call them ‘wee pants’. Luckily, there are certain distractions that make the whole phase slightly easier. And online virtual world Neopets is one of those – and how. After being set up in November 1999 by two entrepreneurs, the site grew so quickly it ended up being sold for $160 million to Nickelodeon parent Viacom six years later. Traffic growth has continued to astound watchers – meaning now is a perfect time for Capcom to bring the title to console. Rather than ape the social networking side of the online portal, Capcom’s Wii, DS and PC title relies on puzzle adventure to keep the kids hooked – but remains deeply set in the storylines of the online site. “Capcom is working to expand the breadth of our catalogue to gamers of all

ages and Neopets is a perfect brand for us to bring to casual and family gamers,” said senior vice president for licensing at Capcom Entertainment, Germaine Gioia. “Combining Capcom’s experience, the rich world of Neopets, and Infinite Interactive’s skills in the puzzle/adventure genre makes a perfect match.” Based on the classic board game, Reversi, Neopets Puzzle Adventure includes 150 different quests across vast Neopian lands, a variety of the most popular customisable Neopets to choose from, and several mini-games.

RELEASED: JANUARY TBC FORMATS: WII/DS/PC PUBLISHER: CAPCOM DEVELOPER: INFINITE PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

And as a bonus to Neopets fans, players will be able to earn codes throughout the game that connect back to the Neopets site. These will allow players to unlock exclusive items that can be used back in their virtual world on neopets.com.

THE NEOPETS PHENOMENON

A 2004 Nielsen report stated that people were spending around three hours a month on Neopets, more than any other site in its Nielsen category. By May 2005, the site boasted about 35 million unique users, 11 million unique IP addresses per

month, and four billion web page views per month. In February 2008, comScore ranked it as the ‘stickiest’ kids entertainment site with the average user spending two hours and 45 minutes on Neopets. Most of the site’s users are female and under the age of 18.


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RETAILBIZ: KILLER NIC WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 12/12/08 39

PC gamers need fret no more as EuroTech Distribution releases a network card dedicated to reducing lag and latency: Bigfoot’s Killer NIC. James Batchelor is about to get frag happy… WITH ONLINE multiplayer games becoming increasingly popular, PC gamers can still boast to be the market leaders, able to indulge in some delights not yet available to console owners. While Xbox Live and PlayStation Network are constantly expanding, offering wider varieties of online gameplay, the PC can still cope with the most players simultaneous, from 64player deathmatches to the thousands that quest together in numerous MMOs. However, as ambitious as game developers have become, even the most advanced gaming rigs and the fastest internet connections can struggle to cope with the sheer volume of data being sent between computers all over the world. Lag and latency are the price of having access to the biggest online community, where even a few seconds of delay can cost players their score and their virtual life. To that end, EuroTech Distribution has launched a new high-performance Network Interface Card in order to alleviate PC gamers’ frustrations. Bigfoot’s Killer NIC is available in two editions (M1 and K1), and is the only network card on the market that

manages to reduce lag by bypassing the Windows Network Stack. Instead, Killer cards offload network traffic away from the CPU and into its built-in network processing unit. This frees up the CPU’s resources so that it can boost frame rates, resulting in smoother, more responsive gameplay during particularly frantic online bouts. Unlike other lag solutions, there are no patches, no special manipulation and no game integration required. Owners simply plug in their new card and play.

general manager and vice president of sales Mike Cubbage. “It provides an opportunity to up-sell from a ‘dumb NIC’ to a specialised gaming network card that makes online games faster and smoother.” Users can manually control how the Killer manages bandwidth across all of their applications in order to further improve their machine’s performance. They can even run in-game applications directly on the card, not only providing faster gameplay but also

It is the only solution that can truly make a customer’s PC optimised for the very best online gaming performance Mike Cubbage, Bigfoot

The K1 model has a 333mhz Linux processor, while the M1 is equipped with a 4000mhz version. As a result, the M1 will process faster and FNApps will run on the card itself. “The Killer NIC is a gaming network card that helps a retailer further tap into one of the fastest-growing industries: the gaming industry, and specifically the online gaming segment,” said Bigfoot’s

allowing them to multitask, running programs such as BitTorrent and Game Patcher in the background. The card also forms a hardware firewall, stopping intruding signals and data without affecting gameplay. “The Killer NIC delivers a great new cross-sell to increase sales when working with customers interested in gaming components like graphic cards

RELEASED: AVAILABLE NOW FORMATS: PC PRICE: £199.99 (M1), £129.99 (K1) DISTRIBUTOR: EUROTECH DISTRIBUTION CONTACT: 0870 458 0011

and fast processors,” Cubbage says. “It is the only network card hardware solution that can truly make a customer’s PC optimised for the very best online gaming performance. KILLER APP

“Just like an optical drive, power supply or case, the Kiler NIC is a more permanent upgrade to your system – it’ll provide the same benefit to your online gaming in your next system as well, unlike video cards that seem to lap each other in performance every year or so.” EuroTech is continuing to promote the Killer’s technology around the world with a combination of print and online advertising, as well as working to sponsor and prize local LAN gatherings and other competitions. “We’re piloting a gaming team sponsorship program in Europe, where team gaming has a lot more influence,” adds Cubbage. “In addition, we’re running special pre-Christmas promotions.”


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RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 40 MCV 12/12/08

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more

EA Two major releases for both PS3 and Xbox 360 land on retail’s lap early next year from Electronic Arts, in the shape of action battle title Lord Of The Rings: Conquest and the second in the Tony Hawk’s-challenging Skate series... TITLE

FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

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

Coach Sandbox Action Fitness Pets

Ubisoft THQ EA Ubisoft Capcom

0845 456 6400 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0845 456 6400 0121 625 3388

Trilogy Advantage Centresoft Trilogy Centresoft

360 / PS3

Skating

EA

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

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

RTS Action/Adventure Action Platformer Edutainment Edutainment RTS Fishing Children's Kids RPG RPG Action/Platform First Person Shooter RPG Party Game Action

THQ 505 Games Disney Interactive Konami Midas Midas Sega Rising Star Games 505 Games Blast Konami Konami Blast Midas Konami 505 Games South Peak

0121 506 9585 0121 506 9590 0121 625 3388 020 8987 5730 01376 555 333 01376 555 333 0121 625 3388 01582 433700 0121 506 9590 08452 344242 020 8987 5730 020 8987 5730 0121 625 3388 01376 555 333 020 8987 5730 0121 506 9590 020 8309 3600

Advantage Advantage Centresoft Open Open Open Centresoft Mastertronic Advantage Mastertronic Open Open Centresoft Open Open Advantage Pinnacle

PC DS

Action Puzzle

City Interactive Atari

020 8309 3600 0121 506 9590

Open Advantage

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

Action Action Action Horror Petz Petz Petz

Capcom THQ THQ Warner Games Ubisoft Ubisoft Ubisoft

0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0845 456 6400 0845 456 6400 0845 456 6400

Centresoft Advantage Advantage Centresoft Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy

Wii PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 DS

Racing Fighting Racing

Capcom Capcom Midas

0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 01376 555 300

Centresoft Centresoft Open

JANUARY 16th My Chinese Coach Saints Row 2 The Lord of the Rings: Conquest My Fitness Coach Neopets Puzzle Adventure

JANUARY 23rd Skate 2

FEBRUARY 6th Age Of Empires: Mythologies Battle Fantasia Bolt Castlevania: Order Of Ecclesia Clever Kids: Farmyard Fun Clever Kids: Pirates Empire: Total War Harvest Fishing Hotel for Dogs Johnny Bravo Lost In Blue 3 Lost In Blue: Shipwrecked Mr. Bean's Wacky World Of Wii Skyscraper Time Hollow We Cheer X-Blades

FEBRUARY 7th Motor Max The Sun Crossword Challenge

FEBRUARY 13th Bionic Commando Deadly Creatures Destory All Humans: Path Of The Furon F.E.A.R 2 Project Origin Petz: Monkey Madness Petz: My Kitty Family Petz: My Monkey Family

FEBRUARY 20th MotoGP Wii Street Fighter IV Super Speed Machines

MUSTSTOCK ..........................LOTR: CONQUEST Released: January 16th Format: PS3, 360, PC Publisher: EA Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 020 8995 3399

Built by the team that created critical fave Star Wars: Battlefront, LOTR: Conquest offers mass skimishes and plenty to atisfy the most hardcore LOTR movie fan. Expect this to stimuate sales as it become the first major release of the New Year.

MUSTSTOCK .......................................SKATE 2 Released: January 23rd Format: PS3, 360 Publisher: EA Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 020 8995 3399

The first Skate game earnt praise from gamers and critics alike, stealing the thunder of Activision’s market leading Tony Hawk’s games. Now the series is back for a second bite at the cherry, featuring all-new stars, stunts and stumbles to proceedings. One to watch.


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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 42 MCV 12/12/08

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Sponsored by

INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

1

TITLE/FORMAT

PUBLISHER

RESISTANCE 2 FORMAT: PS3

DEVELOPER: INSOMNIAC PUBLISHER: SONY

2

1

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR 360

3

4

NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER 360

4

9

TOMB RAIDER UNDERWORLD 360

5

3

LEFT 4 DEAD 360

6

13

MARIO KART WII WII

7

2

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR PS3

8

10

TOMB RAIDER UNDERWORLD PS3

9

5

NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER PS3

10

8

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 PC

11

11

GEARS OF WAR 2 360

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

EA SEGA

12

WII PLAY WII LAST REMNANT 360

14

15

DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS

NINTENDO SQUARE ENIX NINTENDO

SONIC UNLEASHED 360 14

17

SEGA

MORTAL KOMBAT VS DC UNIVERSE 360

MIDWAY

SONIC UNLEASHED WII

SEGA

18

19

WII MUSIC WII

19

7

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WRATH OF THE LICH KING PC

SUPPLY problems caused by EUK’s demise into administration were last week blamed on Resistance 2’s reasonably poor showing in the GFK-ChartTrack All Formats Top 40. The alien-bothering FPS landed at No.10 – by no means a disaster for a single-format release, but perhaps lower than most of us expected. Whether true or not, the knock-on effect of EUK’s troubles obviously didn’t affect the indie sector, with the PS3 sequel gunning down the Xbox 360 version of Christmas No.1 favourite Call Of Duty: World At War.

EIDOS

MICROSOFT

18

20

EIDOS

NINTENDO

12

16

EA

EA

13

15

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

RESISTANCE SHOOTS DOWN CALL OF DUTY

NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

FIFA 09 360

EA

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

“The lack of Wii Fit and Professor Layton in the Top 20 shows the influence of Nintendo’s stock supply can have on indies’ sales.” Electronic Arts dismisses the idea that Need For Speed games aren’t popular with the hardcore, with an impressive showing at No.3 for Undercover on Xbox 360 – a rise of one place from the previous week. Tomb Raider: Underworld is another climber, up five places to fourth spot; perhaps a direct result of Eidos’ mammoth Christmas marketing exercise. Mario Kart Wii’s rise of seven places – up from No.13 to No.6 – just goes to show the huge influence of Nintendo stock supply on the chart. Sadly, so does the lack of the names ‘Wii Fit’ or ‘Professor Layton’ in the entire top 20. Today (Friday, December 12th) sees the release of Ubisoft’s Prince Of Persia. A perennial hardcore favourite, it should do well in next week’s list. Tim.Ingham@intentmedia.co.uk

week’s Frontline interviewee is Jo Freeman, coFROM THE FRONTLINE This owner of Loughbrough indie Voodoo Consoles… How has November been so far for Voodoo Consoles? November has started off slow, with the present economic situation affecting sales, but the past week has picked up significantly. However, there have been too many releases being crammed into the same weeks. What has been selling particularly well for you? For us, Call Of Duty: World At War is selling superbly, but also the DS game Professor Layton And The Curious Village. What has performed below expectations? Two titles that immediately spring to

mind are WWE: SmackDown Vs Raw 2009 and Midnight Club: Los Angeles, despite promotion efforts. What makes Voodoo Consoles so unique at UK retail? I would say along with our welcoming, friendly atmosphere and service we always make sure we go out of our way to help all of our customers. They know they can rely on us. What has been the biggest challenge for your store in 2008? There have been two: The credit crunch, which has hit retail as a whole hard, and the extremely low pricing of new releases by supermarkets. We have had to work hard to ensure our survival.

ble at a l i a v All A

For more information contact sales - 01256 385 251

NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.

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


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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 12/12/08 43 Sponsored by

Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM

PRICE CHECK NORTHAMPTON

Resistance 2

You’re in the Movies Bundle

Pokémon Ranger

Sonic Unleashed

Skate It

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360, Microsoft

DS, Nintendo

Wii, Sega

Wii, EA

IN STORE N/A

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£39.99

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£27.99

£29.99

£39.99

N/A

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£29.99

£29.99

£39.99

£34.99

£34.75

£24.46

£29.35

£29.35

£34.25

£34.25

N/A

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N/A

£32.29

£37.98

£24.46

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£29.35

£37.79

£39.97

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ONLINE

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MARGIN MAKER

NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.

The leading rentailer is offering a pre-owned DS Lite plus any pre-owned game or accessory from a selected range for a mere £79.99.

The price of both PS3 and Xbox 360 editions of Bethesda’s Fallout 3 has been lowered to £27.39 as part of GAME’s continuing Deal Of The Week.

The PC version of Activision’s Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is now available for £3.99 to Amazon customers, representing a saving of over £30.

Nintendo continues its efforts to bring families together, now allowing couchloads of people to communicate from around the world through their Wii. The new Wii Speak peripheral works as a microphone that, once settled comfortably on top of the sensor bar, can pick up speech from anyone in the room. Designed for use with the

dedicated Wii Speak Channel, this accessory also enables ingame voice chat when playing with other people online in Animal Crossing: Let’s Go The City. As with any of Nintendo’s online systems, children using Wii Speak will only be able to contact people they have exchanged friend codes with.  Koch: 08700 270 985


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RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 44 MCV 12/12/08

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Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM

OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

4 3 2 5 12 11 7 15 16

[1] [FULL PRICE]

TITLE

DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

NINTENDO NINTENDO NINTENDO DISNEY

UBISOFT

2

4

MARIO KART WII Wii

NINTENDO

3

3

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

4

5

DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS

5

2

NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER

6

7

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

7

13

FALLOUT 3 PS3, 360, PC

BETHESDA

8

12

WII FIT Wii

NINTENDO

9

8

WII PLAY Wii

10

9

GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR

11

14

MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES Wii, DS

12

20

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

NINTENDO SEGA

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

PUBLISHER

NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 THQ CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD QUANTUM OF SOLACE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD STAR WARS: FORCE UNLEASHED LUCASARTS LEGO INDIANA JONES LUCASARTS MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD WALL  E THQ

PUBLISHER

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA LEGO BATMAN WARNER BROS. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 SEGA PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 KONAMI WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 THQ MIDNIGHT CLUB: LA REMIX ROCKSTAR STAR WARS: FORCE UNLEASHED LUCASARTS CRASH: MIND OVER MUTANT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD LEGO INDIANA JONES LUCASARTS

RE

TITLE

DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA

[5]

PUBLISHER NINTENDO EA NINTENDO

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

EA

NINTENDO PS3, Wii, 360, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

SEGA

WARNER BROS.

13

16

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

14

22

WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009

15

17

GEARS OF WAR 2 360

16

6

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

KONAMI

LUCASARTS THQ

DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360

MICROSOFT

17

28

FAR CRY 2 PC, PS3, 360

UBISOFT

18

15

CARNIVAL: FUNFAIR GAMES Wii, DS

2K PLAY

19

35

FABLE II 360

20

10

RESISTANCE 2 PS3

PC CD-ROM

FIFA ‘09

9

[4]

[FULL PRICE]

1 3 5 4 2 6 7 8

[3]

DEVELOPER: EA CANADA PUBLISHER: EA

TITLE

FORMAT: DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360 DEVELOPER: TREYARCH PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

LAST WEEK

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

1 THIS WEEK

1

PSP

[2]

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR

NINTENDO

FIFA 09

2 4 3 5 6 7 8 17 12

TOP 40ALL

PUBLISHER

NINTENDOGS: LABRADOR & FRIENDS MORE BRAIN TRAINING BIG BRAIN ACADEMY HSM 3: SENIOR YEAR COOKING GUIDE: WHAT TO EAT? IMAGINE: TEACHER MARIO KART DS NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES

[ENTERTAINMENT - FALL PRICES]

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

MICROSOFT SONY

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

PUBLISHER

1

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV ROCKSTAR CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD C&C: RED ALERT 3 EA WOW: WRATH OF THE LICH KING ACTIVISION BLIZZARD FALLOUT 3 BETHESDA SPORE EA LEFT 4 DEAD EA FAR CRY 2 UBISOFT THE SIMS 2: DOUBLE DELUXE EA

RE

2 5 3 6 7 4 8 9

DEVELOPER: SPORTS INTERACTIVE PUBLISHER: SEGA


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RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 12/12/08 45

Top 20 at No.22, followed by Nintendo’s Animal

Call Of Duty: World At War racks up a full month at No.1, unhindered by new releases or the traditional Christmas bestsellers, such as FIFA and Need For Speed. It was a disappointing week for new releases, as the highly-anticipated Prince Of Persia fails to place higher than No.30. Grand Theft Auto IV for PC was the highest new entry, missing out on a place in the

Crossing: Let’s Go To The City at No.26. Discounts and promotions seem to be having a significant effect on the charts too. Fable II for instance, has leapt 16 places to No.19 after having its price halved at GameStation. Other chartclimbers include Far Cry 2, and WWE SmackDown Vs RAW 2009. James Batchelor

PS3

L FORMATS Highest New Entry

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

Highest Top 40 Climber

21

11

WII MUSIC Wii

NINTENDO

22

RE

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV PC

ROCKSTAR

23

27

NINTENDOGS: LAB & FRIENDS DS

NINTENDO

24

19

KUNG FU PANDA PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360, DS

25

29

GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Wii, DS

26

NEW

ANIMAL CROSSING: TO THE CITY Wii

27

21

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

28

25

MORE BRAIN TRAINING DS

29

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

NINTENDO

30

NEW

PRINCE OF PERSIA 360, PS3, PC

31

23

BIG BRAIN ACADEMY DS

32

18

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 MAC, PSP, PC

SEGA

33

RE

SONIC UNLEASHED 360, Wii, PS3, PS2

SEGA

34

24

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

SEGA

35

38

SHAUN WHITE SNOWBOARDING

SONY UBISOFT NINTENDO

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

MIRROR’S EDGE PS3, 360, PC

37

33

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

38

30

WALL  E DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360, PSP

39

26

PROJECT GOTHAM RACING 4 360

40

RE

SINGSTAR ABBA PS3, PS2

PC CD-ROM THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

EA DISNEY THQ MICROSOFT SONY

PUBLISHER

1

THE SIMS: MANSION & GARDEN

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

VIRTUA FIGHTER GRABIT BUMPER BRAIN PUZZLE PACK UWISH GAMES WORLD OF WARCRAFT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD RACER PACK UWISH GAMES SUDOKU CLASSIC GREENSTREET DOGZ 4 FOCUS MULTIMEDIA SPORE: CREEPY & CUTE PARTS PACK EA SNIPER: ART OF VICTORY CITY INTERACTIVE CREATE CITY UWISH GAMES

RE RE

2 RE RE RE

3 4 RE

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

RESISTANCE 2 LITTLEBIGPLANET FIFA ‘09 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD FALLOUT 3 MOTORSTORM: PACIFIC RIFT PRINCE OF PERSIA GRAND THEFT AUTO IV

NEW

14

DEVELOPER: TREYARCH PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

SONY SONY EA EA EIDOS BETHESDA SONY UBISOFT ROCKSTAR

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

DEVELOPER: MAXIS PUBLISHER: EA

PUBLISHER

1

MARIO KART WII

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

WII FIT WII PLAY WII MUSIC ANIMAL CROSSING: LET’S GO TO THE CITY GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES CARNIVAL: FUNFAIR GAMES RAYMAN RAVING RABBIDS TV PARTY SHAUN WHITE SNOWBOARDING

4 2 3 NEW

7 6 5 9 12

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

XBOX 360

[BUDGET PRICE]

TITLE

PUBLISHER

NINTENDO

LITTLEBIGPLANET PS3

39

TITLE

WARNER BROS.

32

36

[FULL PRICE]

1 2 6 4 3 5 9 8

WEEK ENDING 06/12/08

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

NINTENDO NINTENDO NINTENDO NINTENDO WARNER BROS. SEGA 2K GAMES UBISOFT UBISOFT

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

1

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

GEARS OF WAR 2 FALLOUT 3 FABLE II NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERGROUND TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD FIFA ‘09 FAR CRY 2 LIPS GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR

3 7 8 2 6 4 12 11 9

(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack

VERY LITTLE change at the top this week as

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: TREYARCH PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD MICROSOFT BETHESDA MICROSOFT EA EIDOS EA UBISOFT MICOROSFT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

[SOURCE]

[ANALYSIS]


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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISTRIBUTION

DIRECTORY KEY CONTACTS

CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL SERVICES Wrapstar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0)7778 204970 DISTRIBUTION Creative Distribution . . . . 020 8664 3456 Gem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 Ideal Software . . . . . . . . . . . 01767 689 720 Keyne Distribution . . . . . . . . . 0870 1216051 Logic3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471 000 Meroncourt . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01462 680060 Music Express . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0113 234 4112 GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR Total Console Repair Ltd . . 087 19 18 17 21

LOCALISATION Absolute Quality . . . . . . . . . 0141 220 5600 Partnertrans . . . . . . . . +49 (0)2104 172660 Testronic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 653 722 Universally Speaking. . . . . . . 01480 210621 STORE FITTINGS AMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01924 507 217 DISC REPAIR TDR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01202 489 500 Perfect Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . 020 8778 5164 RTI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01895 252 191

Gem Creative Get your message out Gem Creative offer retail specific design and production support including trade & consumer advertising campaigns, Point of Sale, marketing collateral, repackaging, bundling and concept solutions.

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

Packaging

Publishing

One integrated solution Flyers

Brochures

Trade PR

Media Buying

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

CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL SERVICES

DISTRIBUTION

WRAPSTAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 7778 204970 . . . . . . . . www.wrapstar-skins.com

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

DISTRIBUTION

DISTRIBUTION

Keyne Distribution "Looking for a new reliable supplier! Look no further!"  Software and hardware distributor  All top platform new releases in stock  Flexible next day delivery to the UK and most European destinations  Over 500 different products in stock at all times  Terms of trading will be 30 days on insured Customers  Shipping is by Customers account, or on our UPS - Fedex or DHL account.  The fastest growing independent distributor in the United Kingdom

Tel: 0870 1216051 Fax: 0870 1216053 Email: phil@keynedistribution.co.uk Unit C105, MKTWO Business Centre, 1-6 Barton Road, Water Eaton Ind Est, Milton Keynes, MK2 3HU

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

KEYNE DISTRIBUTION . . . . . . . . 0870 1216051. . . . . . . phil@keynedistribution.co.uk


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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 DECEMBER 19th

REVIEW OF THE YEAR With what is surely the biggest year ever for the video games trade drawing to a close, there is plenty to talk about in MCV’s Review of the Year. We take a look back at the stories that rocked the industry and examine the highs and the lows of 2008. We’ll also take a look at what the trade believes 2009 has got in store for gaming. FRIDAY JANUARY 9th

50 THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2009 Let’s face it, the post-Christmas hangover that we call New Year can be a touch depressing, but there’s no need to be a miserable old sod – there’s plenty coming up. To prove it MCV will list 50 things to look forward to in 2009. If you’ve got any suggestions, let us know. FRIDAY JANUARY 16th

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

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

GFK CHARTTRACK YEAR REVIEW The figures are in. But what was the biggest game of the year? Which formats flourished while others floundered? And which games bucked expectations to become the bestselling games of the year? MCV takes a close look at the GFK ChartTrack statistics and provides the ultimate summary of the sales bonanza 2008 provided to the games industry. FRIDAY FEBRUARY 05th

MCV AWARDS PREVIEW We take a look forward to the biggest night in the trade’s calendar – at the only awards voted by the industry, for the industry. This year’s event, which takes place on Thursday, April 23rd, features new awards categories to reward teamwork, staff and innovation in publishing, distribution and retail sectors. The venue for the bash is The Brewery, Chiswell Street, London.

IN-GAME ADVERTISING MCV investigates one of the most lucrative and misunderstood sectors in the modern industry. With expert advice and case studies from the leading companies in the sector, we’ll take a look at the state of play, both in terms of online and boxed games – and discuss where the market is expected to move in the future.

FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT:

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


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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR

SUPPORT YOUR PRINT ADVERTISING WITH AN

Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month. STUDIOS 7 Seas Tech ..................................................www.7seastech.com Atomic Planet...........................................+44 (0) 1642 871 100 Blitz Games Studios..................................+44 (0) 1926 880 000 Broadsword Interactive ..............................+44 (0) 1970 626299 Creative North ...........................................+44 (0)1484 487904 Fuse Games ..........................................careers@fusegames.com Oxygen ....................................................+44 (0) 1933 446437 Realtime Worlds.......................................+44 (0) 1382 202 821 Stainless Games...................................jobs@stainlessgames.com Strawdog Studio.......................................+44 (0) 1332 258 862 TOOLS bluegfx ....................................................+44 (0) 1483 467 200 Epic Games ....................................................+1 919 870 1516 Fork Particle ...............................................00 (1) 925 417 1785 Natural Motion ..........................................+44 (0)1865 250575

ONLINE PRESENCE £450 PER MONTH SITE WIDE BUTTON Size: 300x100 pixels File type: Animated Flash swf or animated gif

£550 PER MONTH TOP 4 BUTTON PLUS EMAIL NEWSFLASH Size: 140x120 pixels File type: Static jpeg or animated gif

SERVICES 3D Creation Studio ..................................+44 (0) 151 236 9992 Absolute Quality .......................................+44 (0)141 220 5600 Air Studios ...............................................+44 (0) 207 794 0660 Cadjobs .........................................................+31 107 504 588 Datascope ...............................................+44 (0) 20 7580 6018 Partnertrans .............................................+49 (0) 2104 172 660 Philips amBX .......................................................www.ambx.com Testronic Labs ...........................................+44 (0)1753 653 722 Tsunami Sounds.......................................+44 (0) 207 350 2828 Universally Speaking ................................+44 (0) 1480 210 621 COURSES Goldsmiths ................................................+44 (0)20 70785052 University of Hull......................................+44 (0) 1482 465 951 To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and every week in MCV) contact jaspreet.kandola@intentmedia.co.uk. All subscription requests should go to mcv.subscriptions@c-cms.com

DISTRIBUTION

For further online advertising information please contact

Lesley.Blumson@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535647

MCVUK.COM March ‘08 Page Views 471,735 Sessions served 304,870 Unique Visitors 215,754

Feb ‘08 404,964 242,537 163,712

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

MCV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01992 535647 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.mcvuk.com


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

Insider’s | Guide

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

This week, Insider’s Guide speaks to speak with Funtastic’s Gavin Wulfsohn...

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

Tell us a little about the Funtastic business... Funtastic is the Australian and New Zealand distributor for many leading global brands, such as Disney, Razor, and Leapfrog. As traditional toy consumers migrate to electronic games, it was a logical extension for us to set up an interactive business unit. Funtastic Interactive is only three years young and going from strength to strength. Are you looking to expand in future? Absolutely – we have had triple digit growth in our second year and approaching the same in our third year. We won an industry award last year for the fastest growth in the interactive industry, something which we are particularly proud of. We are currently talking with a few prospective distribution partners and are actively seeking new

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

distribution opportunities for the AUS/NZ territory. What’s the best thing about your job? The interactive industry is new to the company, but our growth has been enormous and this environment has allowed us to evolve our own divisional culture and operate outside traditional Funtastic norms. We can be as creative and risqué as the industry will allow, so we have a nice blend of corporate and relaxed, and our small passionate nimble team can respond to opportunities rapidly. This environment combined with a love for the industry is what makes me get up every morning. Any amusing office stories to share with MCV readers? You haven’t lived till you’ve seen grown men demonstrating Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour on Wii – hilarious.


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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR LOCALISATION

SUPPORT YOUR PRINT ADVERTISING WITH AN

ONLINE PRESENCE

For further online advertising information please contact

Lesley.Blumson@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535647 TESTRONIC LABORATORIES . . . +44 (0) 1753 653 722. . . . www.testroniclabs.com

MCV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01992 535647 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.mcvuk.com

LOCALISATION

DISC REPAIR

We’ll make sure your disc repair is up to scratch With TDR, you’ve a tried and tested way to increase your disc repair business and generate extra turnover and profit as a result. Call or visit our website to Venmill Buffer find out more. from £1595

01202 489 500

www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

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

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

HIGH PERFORMANCE OPTICAL DISC REPAIR SYSTEMS Eco Senior Fully Automatic Repair System

Eco Smart

Entry Level Repair System

Call 01895 252191 for Introductory Offers Eco Master

50 disc Automatic Repair System

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

www.rtico.com RTI-inbox@rtiuk.co.uk

High Speed Optical Disc Inspection System

RTI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01895 252191 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.rtico.com


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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISC REPAIR

DISC-GO-DEVIL Only

£666 Plus VAT

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

JANUARY CES INTERNATIONAL 2009 Thursday, January 8thJanuary 10th Las Vegas, USA www.CESweb.org BETT 2009 Wednesday, January 14thSaturday, January 17th Olympia, London www.bettshow.com

MARCH BAFTA 09 Tuesday March 10th Park Lane Hilton, London www.bafta.org/awards/video-games PC RETAIL AWARDS 2009 Thursday, March 19th Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington Katie.rawlings@intentmedia.co.uk

HELL OF A PRICE FOR A WICKED MACHINE. Introducing the new Disc-Go-Devil - a stunning price-performance breakthrough in disc repair. O O O O

O

One-stage, fully automated repair Simple to use Small and robust History function for accurate monitoring of usage 30 day money-back guarantee and 1 year warranty as standard

GDC 09 Monday, March 23rdFriday, March 27th San Francisco, USA www.gdconf.com

E3 Tuesday, June 2ndThursday, June 4th LA Convention Centre, LA www.e3expo.com GAMEHORIZON CONFERENCE Thursday, June 23rd-24th The Sage, Newcastle, UK www.gamehorizonconference.com

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

AUGUST

www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk/devil

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

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

JUNE

JULY

01202 489 500

MCV/XBOX 360 PUB QUIZ Wednesday, February 19th AKA Bar, London dave.roberts@ intentmedia.co.uk

GAMESCOM Wednesday, August 19thSunday, August 23rd Cologne, Germany www.gamescom-cologne.com

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


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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 52 MCV 12/12/08

WWW.MCVUK.COM

International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA

CYPRUS

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

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

GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD AFA INTERACTIVE 66 Hughes Street, Mile End, South Australia 5031 Tel: +61 8823 41355

1 Alkaiou Street / Office 1 / Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus tel. +357 22 666612 www.greatgames.com.cy

GERMANY

Coop Italia..........................................Sesto F.NO (FI) Digital Bros spa................................................Milano Leader Spa.................................Gazzada Schianno Newave Italia...................................................Firenze Promovideo SRL ...........................................Senago

DTP ENTERTAINMENT AG Goldbekplatz 3-5, 22303 Hamburg, Germany Tel: +49 (0)40 66 99 10 0 Fax: +49 (0)40 66 99 10 10 email: s.lass@dtp-entertainment.com Web: www.dtp-entertainment.com

DENMARK

GREECE

QVS ENTERTAINMENT TRADING APS Stenholm 1, 9400, Norresundby, Denmark Phone: +45 70277640 Fax: +45 70277650 email: sales@entertainment-trading.com Web www.entertainment-trading.com

THQ AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND & ASIA. Asia Pacific HQ - Level 8/606 St.Kilda Rd, Melbourne, Vic, Australia, 3004 Web: asiapac-sales@thq.com Tel: +6139573.9203

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

NEW ZEALAND Groß Electronic .......................................Rohrnbach Otto Group ...................................................Hamburg Playcom Software Vertriebs .......................Erfurt Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel.....................Erfurt

Australia email: paulelliot@qvsoftware.com.au Web: www.qvsoftware.com.au Tel: 61 2 9748 2555

NETHERLANDS

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

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

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

POLAND

HUNGARY

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

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

COMGAME 576 LTD GATEWAY DISTRIBUTION APS Gateway Distribution ApS +44 1279 408 665 (UK) +45 7026 0870 (DK) dt@gatewaydistribution.dk www.gatewaydistribution.dk

1042 Budapest, Arpad UT 112, Hungary Tel: +36 1 369 2686 Fax: +36 1 272 0109 Email: bzsolt@576.hu Web: www.576.hu

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

Red Ant...................................Baulkham Hills, NSW

AUSTRIA

ESTONIA

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

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

TECHLAND Sp. z.o.o. Kazmierza Wlk 27, 50-077 Wroclaw, Poland Email: business@techland.pl Web: www.techland.pl Tel: +48 71 341 76 95 Fax: +48 71 343 98 96

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

INDIA TM

BELGIUM Horelec S.A. ...........................................Bruxelles CLD Distribution S.A. .........................Fernelmont

BENELUX

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

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

Contact Data......................................................Breda

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

45 rue Delizy, 93692 PANTIN Cedex France Email purchase: f_alglave@innelec.com Email export sales: g_armspach@innelec.com Tel: 00.33.1.48.10.55.55

MILESTONE INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE LIMITED

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE

Pramukh Plaza, 2nd Floor, Cardinal Gracious Road, Chakala, Andheri East, Mumbai 400 099, INDIA. Tel: +91 22 28203319 Fax: +91 22 28203334 email: distribution@milestoneinteractive.com website: www.milestoneinteractive.com

Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034, Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es www.planetadeagostini.net

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

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

v.2 PLAY. LDA Studio Office Marquês de Pombal – Avenida de Loulé nº 123 1069-152 Lisbon, Portugal Tel. 00351 21 31 46 51 0 Fax 00351 21 31 61 12 5

TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE


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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 12/12/08 53

The International Distribution Guide is dedicated to promoting companies outside of the UK. If you are looking for new customers overseas, then look no further...

RUSSIA

INTERNATIONAL NEWS UNITED STATES

Self-titled ‘conservative Christian’ Floridabased investment firm The Timothy Plan has published a Christmas shopping guide for parents that is designed to alert them to potentially offensive content in many games currently on the market. The list includes titles such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Silent Hill: Homecoming, No More Heroes, Fallout 3, Hellgate London, Gears of War 2 and Saints Row 2. The report also features Activision-Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, for its inclusion of alcohol consumption, the fact it’s addictive and the occasional use of the word ‘damn’. Which, brilliantly, is starred out in the report. Other inclusions are Rockstar’s Bully: Scholarship Edition (comic mischief and ‘gay’ achievements), Devil May Cry 4 (demonic), Metal Gear Solid 4 (tobacco) and Army of Two, which is chosen for its ‘homoerotic undertone between the two main characters’.

KOREA

350 billion won ($200m) is being invested into the Korean games industy by the nation’s government, Gamasutra is reporting The investment is set to last until 2012, with the Korean government hoping to expand the country’s games exports to $3.39 billion a year – placing the nation among the three biggest games markets in the world.

JAPAN

Figures from Famitsu publisher Enterbrain show that the DSi sold 535,379 units in its first month on sale, just fractionally behind the month one sales of the DS Lite, which in its day managed sales of around 550,000. Total sales for the machine in the territory, including numbers for the original DS, DS Lite and DSi, now stand at 24,239,590.

ROMANIA

Ubisoft Romania is to increase its headcount over the coming months, adding more than 120 to the 650 people currently employed at the publisher’s various locations in the country By mid-2009, 75 will join the office in Bucharest, which serves as Ubisoft’s regional centre in the country, while the Craiova location will offer 51 additional vacancies. Ubisoft Romania is expecting to close 2008 with investment worth 15 million Euros.

AUSTRALIA

The Australian ratings board has blocked the release of Warner Bros’ F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin due to ‘high-impact’ violence. Warner Bros’ has reported that it will appeal the decision.

SWEDEN Bergsala AB............................................Kungsbacka Panvision....................................................Stockholm SIBA AB ...................................................Gothenburg

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

AKELLA 12/1 Bolshaya Novodmitrovskaya st., 127015, Moscow, Russia Phone: +7 (495) 363-4612 Fax: +7 (495) 363-4615 http://en.akella.com Hitzona.............................................................Moscow Noviy Disk .......................................................Moscow Soft Club..........................................................Moscow Vellod...................................................................Mitishi

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

SOUTH AFRICA

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

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

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

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

DREAMGEAR, LLC

FRIENDWARE

20001 S. Western Ave. Torrance, CA 90501 Phone: 310-222-5522 x 111 Fax: 310-222-5577 Contact: Moris Mirzadeh Email: moris@dreamgear.net

Marques de Monteagudo 18, 28028 Madrid, Spain email: juan.bustamante@friendware.es

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

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034, Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es www.planetadeagostini.net

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

PLUTO GAMES VIRGIN PLAY Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11, 28046 Madrid, Spain Tel: +34 91 789 35 50 Web: www.virginplay.es DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona

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

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

PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK


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sourcebook YEAR-ROUND PRINT & ONLINE PROMOTION FOR ALL INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT SERVICE COMPANIES

ACCESS SOURCEBOOK ONLINE AT: WWW.INTENTMEDIA

CREATIVE AND PROMOTIONAL SERVICES 3DI Tel: 0845 4582898 www.threedi.net

an.x Tel: 0207 785 7156 www.anxagency.com

Ark VFX Tel: 0114 268 4999 www.arkvfx.net

Barrington Harvey Tel: +44 (0)1462 456780 www.barringtonharvey.co.uk

Bastion Tel: +44 (0)20 7421 7600 www.bastion.co.uk

Candy Lab Tel: +44 (0)20 7031 0888 www.candylab.co.uk

Dilute Recordings Tel: +44 (0)1483 306834 www.diluterecordings.com

DKPM Tel: 0845 111 0312 www.dkpm.co.uk

ELSPA Tel: 0207 534 0580 www.elspa.com

Eye-D Creative Tel: +44 (0)20 7407 1440 www.eye-dcreative.co.uk

Feref Tel: +44 (0) 20 7292 6300 www.feref.com

Fluid Tel: +44 (0)121 212 0121 www.fluidesign.co.uk

Game Frontier Tel: 0870 420 2424 www.gamefrontier.com

Sarsen Software Tel: +44 (0)845 8679685 www.sarsensoft.co.uk

Gem Creative Tel: 01279 822800 www.gem.co.uk

Side UK Tel: +44 (0)20 7631 4800 www.side.com

Frontroom Tel: 020 7384 5400 www.frontroom.com

Skyscraper Tel: +44 (0)20 7631 5308 www.skyskraper.net

Head First Tel: 0161 228 6699 www.head-first.co.uk

Studio CO2 Tel: +44 (0)1483 414415 www.studioco2.com

IGA Worldwide Tel: +44 (0)20 7250 4340 www.igaworldwide.com

The Audio Guys Tel: +44 (0) 1926 813546 www.theaudioguys.co.uk

Indigo Pearl Tel: 0208 964 4545 www.indigopearl.com

The Pixel Tel: 01275 831676 www.thepixel.com

infinite Field Marketing Solutions Tel: 01793 829196 www.infinitefms.com

Ăœber Tel: 0114 278 7100 www.uberagency.com

RECRUITMENT Intent Media Tel: 01992 535647 www.intentmedia.co.uk Outsource Media Tel: +44 (0)207 713 9000 www.omuk.com

Peppermint P Tel: +44 (0)207 240 2645 www.peppermintp.com

RealtimeUK Tel: 01772 682363 www.realtimeuk.com

Rocketbox Tel: +49-511-8984384 www.rocketbox.de

Root Tel: 0207 739 2277 www.thisisroot.co.uk

Aardvark Swift Recruitment Tel: 01709 876877 www.aswift.com Amiqus Tel: 01925 252588 www.amiqus.com

Datascope Recruitment Tel: +44 (0)20 758 06018 www.datascope.co.uk

Game Options Tel: +44 (0)1382 731909 www.gameops.co.uk

Lis Welsh Search and Selection Tel: +44 (0)1858 545355 www.liswelsh.co.uk

Specialmove Consultancy Tel: +44 (0) 141 585 6491 www.specialmove.com


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In association with

2008

Tel: +44 1 480 210621 www.usspeaking.com

.CO.UK/SOURCEBOOK Volt Europe Tel: +44 (0)1737 774100 www.volteurope.com

Serco Games Research Tel: 020 74216487 www.sercogamesresearch.com

SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING Tel: +44 1 480 210621 www.usspeaking.com

Creative North Studios Tel: +44 (0)1484 487904 www.creativenorth.co.uk

BRIFFA Tel: 0207 288 6003 www.briffa.com Harbottle & Lewis LLP Tel: 020 7667 5000 www.harbottle.com Sheridans Tel: 0207 079 0103 www.sheridans.co.uk

LOCALISATION, QA AND TESTING 4-Real Intermedia Tel: +49 (0)69 80 90 88-0 www.4-real.com

OK Media Tel: +44 (0)20 7688 6789 www.okmedia.biz U-Trax Tel: +31 30 293 2098 www.utrax.com

UK DISTRIBUTION AND LOGISTICS Games Without Frontiers Tel: +44 (0) 845 430 8735 www.gameswithout.com Gem Distribution Tel: 01279 822822 www.gem.co.uk

Interactive Ideas Tel: 020 8805 1000 www.interactiveideas.com

Absolute Quality Tel: +44 (0)141 220 5600 www.absolutequality.com Meroncourt Tel: +44 (0)1462 680060 http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk Babel Tel: 01273 764 100 www.babelmedia.com

Cenega Service Team Tel: +48 22 574 2578 www.cenega.com

Enzyme Labs Tel: +1 (450) 229 9999 ext. 312 www.enzyme.org Localsoft Tel: +34 952 92 93 94 www.localsoftgames.com

Orange Studio Tel: +39 051 588 04 50 www.orangestudio.it

Arvato Digital Services Tel: 0121 502 7800 www.arvatodigitalservices.com

Dischromatics Tel: 01495 243222 www.dischromatics.co.uk

Scaleform Tel: +1 301 446 3200 www.scaleform.com

LEGAL SERVICES

MANUFACTURING SERVICES

Technicolor Home Entertainment Services Tel: 0208 987 7829 www.technicolor.com

Total Console Repair Tel: 0871 9181721 www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk

INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION AFA Interactive Tel: +618 8234 1355 www.afainteractive.com.au

dtp entertainment AG Tel: +49 (0) 40 66 99 10 – 0 www.dtp-entertainment.com

Pinnacle Software Tel: 020 8309 3934 www.pinnacle-software.co.uk

Entertainment Trading Tel: +45 70277640 www.entertainment-trading.com

PlayV Email: dhope@playv.co.uk www.playv.co.uk

Funtastic Tel: 61 3 9535 5888 www.funtastic.com.au

Scratch Busters Tel: 01992 535701 www.scratchbusters.co.uk Trilogy Logistics Tel: 0845 456 6400 www.trilogy-uk.com

THQ Asia Pacific Tel: +613 9573 9200 www.thq-games.com/au

Virgin PLAY Tel: +34 91 789 35 50 www.v2play.com


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OFF THE RECORD

This week, we take a look back at the rowdy Xbox 360 MCV Pub Quiz – and all of the lovely faces of the attendees. Elsewhere, we enjoy the festive celebrations of Sega and its retail guests....

1. SAINSBURYS

1. HMV

3. TURNER

4. AMAZON

5. FUTURE

6. THE SUN

7. 505 GAMES

8. HANDLE RECRUITMENT

9. MICROSOFT

10. D3P

11. HMV.COM

12. UBISOFT

14. PLAYV

13. EA

15. KOCH MEDIA

SCORECARD 1=

SAINSBURY'S

64

1=

HMV

64

3

TURNER

61

4

AMAZON

60

5

FUTURE

59

6

THE SUN

59

7

505 GAMES

58

8

HANDLE

57

9

MICROSOFT

54

10

D3PUBLISHER

53

11

HMV.COM

52

12

UBISOFT

50

13

EA

49

14

PLAY V

39

15

KOCH MEDIA

33


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MCV 12/12/08 57

BURNING RUBBER

When the saying “I love a man in uniform” was first coined, we doubt its lovely lady creator had this lot in mind. Journalists including The Guardian’s Steve Boxer, Future’s Adam Hartley, CVG’s Mike Jackson and TV’s own Paul Vale came to blows on the go-kart track to celebrate the release of Konami’s GTI Club+ on PSN – accompanied for photo purposes by the mandatory ‘hotties’.

ICE, ICE SEGA

Another MCV Pub Quiz, another bunch of sozzled industry types. You really excelled yourself at last week’s bash – our last at Holborn’s AKA Bar. To mark the occasion, Microsoft provided a rather wonderful Lips ‘karaoke’ after party, which gave non-victors (including MCV’s own Lesley Blumson and Rob Baker, Xbox’s Sam Leigh and EA’s Simon Smith-Wright) the opportunity to sing away their pain (below). The quiz itself was a draw for the first time in history, with Sainsbury’s and HMV sharing the spoils.

Sega certainly knows how to throw a party. After showing off its 2009 line-up in the glamorous surroundings of Luton Hoo hotel, the Sega team and their retailer friends donned woolly hats for a bit of ice skating, hog roast and beer. Whilst the likes of Stefan McGarry and Fay Burgin (above) could certainly strut their stuff, poor ol’ sales director John Clarke (bottom left) was not so steady – regulary stumbling from one corner to the next (and even over the carefully constructed barriers). Other attractions at Sega’s winter wonderland included a giant Sega dome, bumper ice cars, a coconut shy and even candy floss. Meanwhile, the Sega men could be found at the ‘test your strength’ attraction – trying to ‘out man’ each other with a big hammer. Grrr.


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58 MCV 12/12/08

WWW.MCVUK.COM

W IN !

CLA FIVE SSI CO C B PIE OOK S O COL F 100 LEC TIO N

The ever-generous souls at Nintendo are will be giving five copies of 100 Classic Book Collection to one lucky MCV reader. To be in with a shout, answer the following:

HOW MANY JANE AUSTEN NOVELS APPEAR IN THE 100 CLASSIC BOOK COLLECTION? a) 4 b) 5 c) 6 SEND YOU ANSWER TO CLASSICBOOK@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK EDITORIAL: 01992 535646



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Staff Writer: James Batchelor James.Batchelorr@intentmedia.co.uk

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

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

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

ADVERTISING: 01992 535647



FAX: 01992 535648

Please address all enquiries to:

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

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

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

MCV is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation and the Periodical Publishers Association. Membership of the ABC and PPA provides our advertising partners with confidence in our circulation statements. For the 12 months ending December 2007, MCV had an average weekly net circulation of 9,086. MCV’s circulation is 100 per cent named and zero per cent duplicated.

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

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

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

ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2008

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


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Afro Samurai® & © 2006 TAKASHI OKAZAKI, GONZO / SAMURAI PROJECT. Program © 2008 NAMCO BANDAI Games America 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. “PLAYSTATION” is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.


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MCV517 DECEMBER 12TH