THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES
Issue 522 Friday January 30 2009 £3.25
04 Ubisoft’s triumph After a stellar Christmas, CEO Yves Guillemot looks to new signings for 2009
07 Koei: ‘Don’t forget PSP’ Japanese publisher tips Sony format for success with exclusive games
15 MCV AWARDS GUIDE
look A special es tl ti e th t a release Sega will xt e n e th over ths three mon
Everything you need to know about the industry’s biggest night of the year
EVERY BUYER EVERY BRANCH EVERY INDIE EVERY WEEK
Sony plots £4m Q1 ad blitz Platform holder throws weight behind PlayStation 3 amidst reports of financial losses and job cuts at parent key titles from last year. We felt that the chaos of Q4 meant there was a good opportunity for re-promoting our games after Christmas. The creative for the campaign focuses on critical accolade and is aimed at gamers still catching up with all those titles that came out before Christmas. “Additionally the launch of SingStar Queen on both PS2
by Christopher Dring SCE UK has gone on the offensive following last week’s profit warning by its parent company, with a mammoth £4 million Q1 marketing assault. The firm has set aside £2 million for next month’s tripleA FPS, Killzone 2, while the rest will be split between Sony’s Q1 PSP range, SingStar Queen and the re-promotion of last year’s Q4 titles LittleBigPlanet, Resistance 2 and Motorstorm: Pacific Rift. “We have two major campaigns running for the PS3,” SCEE marketing director Alan Duncan told MCV. “Firstly, Killzone 2’s February 27th launch will benefit from massive broadcast support across TV and cinema, along with a major online campaign, in-store support and a great deal of PR activity. “Secondly, we have a campaign to re-promote our
“ Sony is planning a massive marketing blitz for Killzone 2 via TV, cinema, online and in-store support plus a major PR push
Duncan is confident it can match consumers’ sky high expectations: “In the case of Killzone 2 it has become clear to everyone who has seen it that we have a truly great product on our hands, something which is being reflected in the reviews. “The great thing is it has lived up to that original billing and in doing so it brings a new
Killzone 2 provides a glimpse of what PS3 has to offer as a mature platform. Alan Duncan, SCEE
and PS3 will be supported in March. And the PSP’s 2009 begins with activity to launch Resistance Retribution, Buzz! Brain of the UK and new colours added to the range.” Killzone 2 is the PS3’s first major release of the year, and
energy to the most competitive genre. We need to prove that to as many people as possible, hence the massive campaign. Killzone 2 was always going to be an important title to show a glimpse of what PS3 has to offer as a mature platform.”
GAME plans 20 new store openings in ‘09 Dominant chain still committed to dual brands More store openings Prudent head office consolidation by Stuart Dinsey GAME GROUP may be centralising its key management and cutting back on overhead, but the good news for the market is that it remains committed to opening more stores this year. Around 20 sites have been earmarked for launch either as GAME or Gamestation. Some stores may close this year, as per normal housekeeping across the portfolio, but a significant net increase is still expected.
Speaking exclusively to MCV, chief executive Lisa Morgan said: “Everything we are doing is about best positioning for the future. It makes sense to pull
“We’re absolutely committed to both our brands. The 20 new stores opening this year will be GAME or Gamestation depending on location.”
It makes sense to seize the right opportunities for new store openings. Lisa Morgan, GAME
together head office teams, but it also makes sense to seize the right opportunities for new store openings.
Suppliers will be delighted to welcome new stores, given the recent collapse of Woolworths and decline of Zavvi.
Meanwhile, GAME has begun its consultation process for 80 staff after opting to move several head office teams from York to Basingstoke. Gamestation MD Martyn Gibbs will move south, taking the new role of customer and brand director. Basingstoke-based GAME MD Tricia Brennan, meanwhile, becomes commercial and supply chain director. Both execs will report directly to COO Terry Scicluna. Repair, warehouse and call centre teams will stay in York.
GAME remains committed to both High Street brands, says Morgan
PERSONNEL 36 RETAIL BIZ 37 NEW RELEASES 46 HIGH STREET 48 CHARTS 50
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[LEADER] LEANER GAME MEANS BUSINESS ‘War is over’, we declared back in May 2007, after GAME delivered the incendiary news that it had devoured Gamestation. Now – after 21 long months that have seen spats with the Competition Commission and a huge amount of speculation over what ‘consolidation’ would mean for the two firms – we can finally say it again. But this time, the ‘war’ hasn’t been played out on the High Street. It’s been GAME HQ’s private battle, of how to merge a duo of specialist retail behemoths, whilst keeping two sets of recalcitrant, fiercely brand-loyal consumers happy – and not destroy the core teams that have made both companies such a success. Oh, and to make sure they get it right against the backdrop of a cruel recession. You know, simple stuff. By and large, it looks as though Lisa Morgan and her team have got it spot on. They are clearly still one of the most (if not the most) robust chains on a wobbly UK retail map, with 701 stores at their disposal. But now, they’re streamlined, organised – and set up to deal with economic turbulence. Of course, it’s sad to see 80 jobs put at risk in York, but for those moaning that the company has somehow sullied the Gamestation heritage, remember this: Gamestation has grown from 217 UK stores at acquisition to over 250 outlets. And it’s brought fresh employment to a whole lot of people on the way.
SONY DIGS DEEP FOR UK It’s not just echoes of GAME’s hunger that link today’s front page to 2007. Back at Christmas that year, before everyone was squealing about a ‘crunch’ here and a ‘slowdown’ there, we revealed Sony was to spend ‘a whopping £4 million’ on PS3’s extravagant first Christmas. January 2009 offers a very different picture. Sony’s parent is slashing jobs, with reports of a severe lack of cash in the business. Of course, all of this means that for Q1 in the UK, SCE UK can only afford to spend… ‘a whopping £4 million’. I thought Sony was supposed to be skint? With that level of expenditure, they look readier than ever to take on moneybags Microsoft in the UK.
UBISOFT’S SILENT VICTORY Far Cry 2, Shaun White Snowboarding and Rayman TV Party. The consensus amongst the trade is that they perhaps didn’t perform as Ubisoft would have hoped over Christmas. Looks like Ubisoft didn’t get the memo. Both the company’s core titles and evergreen Imagine range sold steadily into the New Year, generating over e500 million in three months. Little wonder Yves Guillemot is smiling – and talking about branching out into new areas when the rest are chaining down what little they’ve got. firstname.lastname@example.org
Guillemot: We’re feeling sporty after Xmas Ubisoft looking to add to Shaun White franchise in sports portfolio Firm on the prowl for studios by Tim Ingham UBISOFT CEO Yves Guillemot has told MCV that the publisher has its sights set on claiming a greater chunk of the sports games market during 2009.
title in the United States and recorded 2.3 million unit sales worldwide. And now Guillemot has his sights set on doing battle with the likes of Electronic Arts and 2K in the wider sports games market – and hasn’t ruled out
Shaun White Snowboarding was our first tie-in with a professional athlete and it has been a huge success. Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft
The firm’s Shaun White Snowboarding title helped it generate over €500 million in the three months to December 31st – a 12 per cent year-onyear rise. The game was the quarter’s number two sports
the acquisition of a development specialist to help him do so. He told MCV: “[Sports] is a difficult genre to break into and I am extremely pleased with the results; Shaun White
Snowboarding was our first tie-in with a professional athlete and it has been a huge success worldwide. “Working with Shaun White has been great and I think that shows in the fun and excitement of the game when you play it. This is definitely an area in which we plan to grow our presence.” He added that Ubisoft was “always on the lookout” for studios or brands that will “help us to continue our strategic growth.” Ubisoft: 01932 578000
Paramount targets iPod Touch PARAMOUNT is set to shake up the industry by selfpublishing its first movie licence in Europe – on the Apple iPod. The movie giant will publish Days Of Thunder – a game based on the 1990 auto-racing film starring Tom Cruise, Robert Duval and Nicole Kidman – later this year through Apple’s App Store. The title has been developed by US studio Freeserve, which has also been commissioned to create more titles for Paramount in the future. Freeserve producer Bruce Morrison told MCV: “The iPhone and iPod Touch are already outperforming the
FREESERVE: Days of Thunder dev is excited by Apple’s iPod
Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, if you look at the track record and adoption rate based on where the DS and PSP were six months into their lives.
“Then there’s the App store, a single point of delivery that puts the giants like Electronic Arts on the same ground as the one-man studios. A guy can decide to try a very different and experimental game and not have to deal with publishers saying no, board members saying no, and well anyone saying no. The surface to creating original games on the iPhone hasn’t even been scratched. There’s so much opportunity.” In July last year, Paramount announced it would release DS game adaptations of its movie licences Mean Girls, Pretty In Pink and Clueless in the US through Legacy Publishing.
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PlayV on the hunt for new UK boss MD David Hope exits firm’s Luton office
GUILLEMOT ON UBISOFT’S Q3 RESULTS “I think everyone was holding their breath a little going into the holiday season but in the end the video games industry did well, showing software sales growth in the UK. At Ubisoft, our results show the solidity of our line-up. We came out of the season with 17 per cent growth at a constant exchange rate over last year, and we are pleased that we were able to outperform our targets.”
PLAYV IS looking for a new UK boss to increase the firm’s sales, after UK MD David Hope left the company. Hope joined PlayV when it set up its UK office in June last year. The company, a joint venture between Spanish label Virgin Play and Dutch publisher Playlogic, has seen recent releases underperform in a crowded market. Sales manager Luiz Ferreira will act as interim MD until a replacement is found. Playlogic executive VP Rogier Smit told MCV: “We have let David go and we’re looking for a suitable replacement. We are speaking to a couple of candidates. We have a big line-up on the horizon and want the right person in place to get the sales up. They’ve not been at the level we expected they would be. It’s unfortunate that David had to go, but we’re confident Luiz will do a good job in the interim.”
the US. The firm also owns a production company, which has produced a series of TV programmes including The Baby-sitters Club. The company’s Elastic label was set up to expand Scholastic Interactive’s entertainment portfolio, and future games will feature content based on Scholastic IP as well as original and third-party licensed properties. Goosebumps HorrorLand is an adventure game set in a fright-themed amusement park, while Ultimate I Spy is a 3D puzzle game. Both titles were developed by UK-based studio Gusto Games. Elastic: 001 212 689 6360
TOP 10 KILLZONE 2 PS3 SONY
2. SOCOM: CONFRONTATION PS3 ..................................................SONY
3. RESIDENT EVIL 5 PS3 ..............................................CAPCOM
4. STREET FIGHTER IV HOPE DEPARTS: David Hope joined PlayV in June last year
The Luton-based subdistributor’s upcoming titles include Hello Pocoyo, B Team: Metal Cartoon Squad, Lola and Virginia, and its Mind Your Language range. All are due for release on the DS this quarter. The firm is also set to release Real Madrid: The Game on Wii, DS and PSP. In addition to publishing, the firm also provides national PR and account management alongside financial management and administrative office support. PlayV: 01582 436040
Scholastic sniffs out UK expansion BOOK PUBLISHER Schoolastic is eyeing up the UK market with its video games label, Elastic. Elastic released Ultimate I Spy on Wii and Goosebumps Horrorland on Wii, DS and PS2 in the US last year. And now the publisher is targeting the UK sector, by seeking out potential distributors. “At this time we are not currently distributed in the UK but hope to be in the near future,” a Scholastic spokesperson told MCV. Scholastic is a North America book publisher, famed for its Goosebumps franchise and for publishing the Harry Potter book series in
5. RESIDENT EVIL 5 360 ..............................................CAPCOM
6. STREET FIGHTER IV 360 ..............................................CAPCOM
7. RACE PRO 360 ..................................................ATARI
8. ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES 360 ..................................................SEGA
9. THE SIMS 3 PC ........................................................EA
10. HALO WARS: LIMITED EDITION 360 ..........................................MICROSOFT Week ending January 24th Source: SHOPTO.COM
Week Ending January 10th
Week Ending January 17th
Week Ending January 23rd
Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media
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Warner Bros to Terminate rivals with cross-media IP promotion Publisher ready to flex marketing muscle for new F.E.A.R, Wanted, Watchmen and Terminator titles by Michael French WARNER unveiled its line-up for the first half of 2009 last week – and made no secret of plans to grab market share using big licences. The publisher, fresh from the success of family-oriented products LEGO Batman and Guinness World Records last year, is planning to target massmarket consumers with a sequel to F.E.A.R, a game of last
Crossley, the firm is lining up an equally high-profile marketing push to back all of the releases. “Warner is an entertainment company first and foremost with an eclectic mix of IP and fantastic marketing ability,” he told MCV. “The idea for us is to create a proposition around a brand that says more than just ‘this is a video game’. “Terminator, Wanted and Watchmen are iconic titles
The idea for us is to create a proposition around a brand that says more than just ‘this is a video game’. Spencer Crossley, Warner
year’s box office hit Wanted and hotly-tipped new movies Watchmen and Terminator: Salvation. All will be available by the end of June. And according to Warner’s UK head of games Spencer
from a mass-market point of view – and the games are not just licensed spin-offs, they are great titles in their own right as well,” added Crossley. “And when it comes to the games accompanying theatrical
WARNER BOOSTS MARKETING TEAM TERMINATOR: Warner’s Spencer Crossley (above) is aiming for a mass-market audience
releases, our buying spend is even greater as we can amortise the marketing cost as the buzz builds for the movie releases.” Warner: 020 7984 6389
The publisher has also boosted its marketing team with the appointment of Paul Rundle, who hails from outside the games industry. Rundle has worked for the likes of Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson, and is senior national account manager at Warner. “Experiences from my previous roles will help Warner Brothers develop their video games department into a major revenue and growth driver for the WB business,” he told MCV.
Expanding Exspect makes staff changes GEM’S PERIPHERALS subsidiary Exspect has created eight new vacancies as its plan for expansion gathers pace. The positions have been created in the company’s UK and Hong Kong offices, as it makes changes to its executive staff in Europe. The firm has promoted general manager Neil Meredith to the newly-created position of commercial director, focusing on product development and building relationships with key retailers. “Our existing partnerships with hardware brands and winning retailers are something we feel is fundamental to the ongoing success of Exspect, said Meredith.
My primary focus will be to develop this strategy further and help the team implement that effectively. “This will be achieved through a combination of investment in the brand, product development and some strategic collaborations or acquisitions.” Meanwhile, Martin Green has re-joined Exspect and will assume the vacant general manager role. The firm is set to move into new, much larger offices in Stoke-on-Trent later this year in order to provide the capacity it requires for planned future growth. Chris Peacock, managing director of Gem added: “The
MOVING UP: Exspect’s general manager Neil Meredith has been promoted to the new role of commercial director
growth in Exspect has been fantastic. Neil and the team have taken the brand to number one in the iPod accessories market and have gained a significant share of the video game accessories market. “Martin Green will take over the day-to-day responsibility for running the business while Neil will focus on strategic customer and supplier relationships, European expansion and brand acquisitions. “Since completing a successful launch with Gem’s French subsidiary, Banque Magnetique, distribution agreements are now in place for the majority of Europe and the Middle East.” Exspect: 01279 822 800
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Koei: ‘Don’t ignore PSP’
Japanese publisher prepares to release Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce for Sony system Sega, there are high budget PSP titles coming. “When I’ve been speaking to retailers about our own games for PSP I have been trying to deliver the message that it’s not only us, but a raft of products coming from publishers which support the platform. And it’s exclusive content too, not ports as we
by Michael French RETAILERS MUST not overlook the PSP as key format exclusives arrive for the device in 2009, Koei has warned. The Japanese publisher is preparing to release a new title for the handheld, Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce, later this year. And the firm says the
PSP has sold consistently well at retail. But we need to get the message out about quality software. Will Curley, Koei
release is just one in a key lineup from fellow publishers including Capcom, Sega and Square Enix which prove its viability. “There’s no secret that retailers are seeing less and less PSP product coming through,” Koei’s VP of sales and marketing Will Curley told MCV. “But I know internally from our own teams, and also amongst companies like Capcom, Square Enix and
Out 20th February 2009 Wii
The first ever 2 in 1 Nerf blaster. Fire real Nerf darts or swap in the Wii remote to use in game. Wreak havoc and perfect your blasting skills or challenge friends to clashes. CURLEY: Koei sales and marketing boss has urged retailers to take note of ‘quality’ new PSP games
saw on the machine in the past.” Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce arrives in April, with a new version of Capcom’s Monster Hunter plus Sega’s Phantasy Star Portable and Square Enix’s Final Fantasy Dissida also all due later this year too. Sony is also lining up a Resistance and new Buzz title for PSP as well.
“There is a vibrant market for PSP titles aimed at the core gamer,” Curley added. “In many ways all these titles represent the next-gen of PSP. That’s the message we are trying to get out there, both
around our game Strikeforce and also about PSP content from other publishers. No retailer ever complains that they are struggling to sell the hardware – it has been a consistent success. But in software terms we have to get the message out that quality, exclusive titles are there and coming in the future.” Koei: 01462 476 130
DSGi combines brands for new trial store DSG INTERNATIONAL has launched a new store combining both PC World and Currys. The trial store covers approximately 15,000 square feet and is based in Weybridge, Surrey, offering a mixture of products from both retailers’ portfolios. “The trial combining Currys and PC World store forms part of the company’s ‘renewal and transformation plan’ announced last year, a key element of which is refitted stores offering easier, better shopping for customers,” said DSGi’s head of media relations David Poulter. “We’re delighted with all the new formats, which are clearly delivering for customers. The
COMBINED MIGHT: DSGi says that the new hybrid Currys and PC World store will ‘offer easier, better shopping’ to consumers
stores have reported sales on average 15 to 25 per cent ahead of their respective chains. We are also receiving extremely positive feedback to our new customer service and
product knowledge training, the first phase of which has been delivered to some 20,000 store colleagues. “Weybridge was chosen for the trial because there is no PC
World in close proximity. Generally, when a Currys and PC World store trade on the same retail park, both stores benefit, as they have different customer bases.” Poulter said that DSGi hopes the trial store will continue to deliver strong results, creating “another string to our bow” alongside the successful refitted stores. “The customer focus that the renewal plan is delivering to the business is vitally important to us,” he added. “We are delighted that the trial combined store is also proving successful, but we would need to conduct further trials before announcing any specific plans.”
OUT 6TH MARCH 2009 Xbox 360, PS3, PC-DVD
On the eve of the Cuban revolution, a major mob meeting in Havana takes a bloody turn. The Don of your family is killed, and you must take the reigns and lead your battered organization. Build up your arsenal, forge alliances, and make whatever deals you need to as you fight off attacks and strike back at your rivals. There’ll be a price on your head and a target on your back, but don’t take it personally. After all, it’s only business.
OUT 13th MARCH 2009 Wii and Nintendo DS
MySims Party lets you and your friends throw down with the MySims! Up to 4 players can test their wits, quickness and skill in 40+ minigames, each hosted by a different MySim! Outwit friends by selecting the right team who will carry the day in contests based on strength, endurance, speed and luck.
DSGi: 0844 800 2030
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GTA IV DLC points card will provide a boost to retailers Microsoft plots further exclusive downloadable content, too by Christopher Dring RETAIL WON’T miss out on the buzz surrounding GTA IV’s downloadable content – Microsoft has created a specially-branded Xbox Live points card to support the digital-only release. The expansion pack has received extensive press coverage over the last week ahead of its February 17th launch. And now Microsoft is hoping the DLC will also significantly boost sales of the original GTA IV in its boxed format, as well as drive sales of the points card. “GTA IV has garnered unprecedented praise and acclaim worldwide and I’m very excited about having a whole new story to experience,” Microsoft UK’s head of gaming and entertainment Stephen McGill told MCV. “The release of The Lost and Damned on Xbox Live means the masses of people who already have the original game should be very excited, plus it’s the perfect opportunity
GTA IV expansion The Lost and The Damned may be download-only but retailers will still benefit from its release
for those who haven’t yet experienced the greatness of Grand Theft Auto IV to jump in. “You can also expect to see The Lost and The Damned branded Xbox Live Points cards at retail as we know many gamers love to go to retail to buy the points for premium DLC.” Along with the two Xbox Live-exclusive DLC packs,
Microsoft has also secured exclusive content for Fallout 3 and Tomb Raider. And the firm is looking to grab more exclusives moving forward. “Although we have no details to share right now, we see third party content as a critical factor in driving the success of the console,” continued McGill. “So we will be making investments to ensure we’ve got some great, exclusive premium DLC to support it.” Microsoft: 0870 601 0100
Wrapstar’s ‘Pod play WRAPSTER has announced it will soon be producing bespoke corporate skins for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The company has already developed good working relationships with a number of publishers, creating skins for both consoles and handhelds featuring artwork from the likes of Atari, Namco, Capcom and EA. “We’re expanding our remit to offer publishing clients the chance to make their brand stand out from the crowd with bespoke promotional skins that can be used for sales and marketing activities,” said Wrapster’s MD Max
Haddow. “With the big players such as Sega, Atari and Apple producing quality games that are set to position the Apple’s devices as key gaming units, having titles specific skins produced allows publishers an effective way to market to the core user.” Wrapster has already released its first skin for the device, with a Roadrunner Records-skinned iPod Touch given away through Kerrang! to celebrate the release of Roadrunner United: The Concert. Wrapster: 020 7240 2645
Pre-owned demand sparks repair boom TOTAL DISC Repair has announced a steady rise in demand for its products, thanks to the popularity of secondhand games. The company is Europe’s largest supplier of disc repair machines, selling products such as the popular Disc-Go-Devil to businesses and retailers that specialise in selling or renting pre-owned games and DVDs. “Even in times of recession, sales of traditional entertainment stay healthy,” said Total Disc Repair’s UK sales manager Anthony
Golden. “Specifically, the public are now renting DVDs rather than dining out, or buying and trading preowned games to save money, which really illustrates to retailers the value and profitability of disc repair and disc maintenance.” The Disc-Go-Devil is the firm’s most successful product, having sold over 1,000 units in the UK in the last year. It is capable of repairing up to 50 discs a day, fixing heavy damage to a variety of media types, including Blu-ray. TDR: 01202 489 500
For independent sales, please contact Advantage Distribution on 0121 506 9585
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Recession means better games, says man who ‘founded’ industry Atari founder claims publishers should choose low-cost innovations over big budgets by Michael French THE ‘FOUNDING FATHER’ of video games’ reckons the recession can encourage innovation – by forcing publishers to stop overspending on games production. Nolan Bushnell, who founded Atari, told MCV that
“When we were designing games at Atari, everything we did was about costs – but unlike today, where the stakes are so high for games development, we did everything to keep the budgets small,” he told MCV. “The world’s most innovative game is still to be discovered – the next Tetris or Pong is still
The industry should focus more on better, cheaper innovations rather than pricey copycat shooters.
‘big budget, me too’ games are holding the industry back. Speaking as he is named BAFTA’s 2009 Fellow, he said that spending less on making games – as he did when designing the likes of Pong – would kill “copycat products”.
Atari founder Nolan Bushnell says spending less encourages innovation
‘tunnel vision’ single-player games that are played “sitting at home alone”. Although he sold Atari in the late 1970s, Bushnell has backed a number of new video game startups, including a restaurant chain that offers
out there. The industry should focus on that instead of another zombie FPS game.” He added that publishers and developers should keep encouraging gamers to play socially with lower-cost titles, rather than giving them
the first edition of a companion title could achieve,” said UK marketing director Paul Ken. “Launching a book into the games market was always a slightly brave step. So we were thrilled with both the sales and feedback from readers. “For the second edition, our expectations are that we’ll extend the Gamer’s
HMV: HMV has denied ever being refused credit insurance, after a source told MCV the firm faced difficulty getting cover in 2007. A spokesperson clarified: “In last week’s MCV, a source suggested that in Christmas 2007 suppliers were not extending insurance to HMV. This statement is completely inaccurate, and we have experienced no such issues.” TIGA: The trade association has secured £56,000 to help UK games firms who want to attend GDC. The funds are part of UKT&I’s Tradeshow Access scheme, which is open to small and mediumsized enterprises.
casual games alongside food, an in-game advertising firm, and a service where online gamers can bet against each other. “As technology moves forward there are still plenty of avenues that the industry has yet to fully explore,” he added.
Guinness guns for the mainstream THE GUINNESS World Records is targeting both casual and core consumers for its 2009 Gamer’s Edition. Last year’s title topped the non-fiction bestsellers list, and this year GWR has been listening to readers in order to create an even-stronger offering. “Our main Guinness World Records book has been around for 55 years and sells millions of copies every year, and we were careful to manage our own expectations about what
Edition brand into both the games community and the broader mainstream. We were careful to listen to the feedback to the first edition, and to create a book that responded to their areas of interest – and that means both casual and hardcore gamers.” The firm also encourages games companies to get involved in the book,
highlighting the PR value in running World Record events. “We’ve found from our experience at the big events that there’s strong PR value for gaming companies in recordsetting,” adds Ken. “The media pick-up is hugely increased when an event is seen as an official Guinness World Record attempt. Plus, if the record attempt is visual and successful, it stands a great chance of getting into the next edition of the book.” www.guinnessworldrecords.com
EIDOS: The UK publisher has closed its Manchester studio. 14 staff have been made redundant. The company said the move came as it looks to “focus on highquality titles that deliver long-term franchise value”. MICROSOFT: Further job cuts were revealed as the head of Games For Windows Chris Early was made redundant. Meanwhile ACES, the studio behind the Flight and Train Simulator series has been closed. WHSMITH: The retailer reported that like-for-like sales from its High Street stores had fallen seven per cent for the 20 weeks ending January 17th, while overall like-for-like sales including online fell by five per cent. MIDWAY: Midway has shipped approximately 1.8 million units of Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe worldwide. The company is already working on the next Mortal Kombat title.
Rising Star Games Authentic, cutting edge, Japanese. For Harvest Moon, please contact Koch on 0870 027 0985
For national account enquiries, please contact Mastertronic on 0845 234 4242
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New Retail Advisory Board unveiled The cream of UK retail sign up to keep MCV informed of the latest goings on and trends on the High Street KEY PERSONNEL from Morrisons, DSGi and The Hut have joined MCV’s Retail Advisory Board for 2009. The Retail Advisory Board is an elite group of the trade’s top games buyers, which ensures MCV keeps close to the burning issues and trends on the High Street. The members of the board are also responsible for picking the winner of the Special Recognition accolade at the MCV Awards 2009. New members of the RAB in 2009 includes Jon Biggs, games buyer at supermarket giant Morrisons, David Poulter, trading manager for gaming at DSGi, and Caroline Austen, head of marketing at rising online retailer The Hut. The new recruits join RAB luminaries such as GAME CEO Lisa Morgan, Gamestation MD Martyn Gibbs, Asda’s head of games Duncan Cross and HMV’s head of games Tim Ellis, and will now become regular contributors to the magazine.
“We are delighted to welcome Jon, Caroline and Dave to our Retail Advisory Board,” said MCV editor-inchief Michael French. “The Retail Advisory Board members have already become an integral part of MCV’s editorial offering, and
are vital in keeping us up-todate on the latest developments at retail.” Other new members of the board are to be revealed over the coming weeks, including a key games exec from the new team at Best Buy UK. MCV: 01992 535 646
RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD
ON THE RADAR: DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS Our new weekly feature looks at the upcoming release schedules for leading publishers. This week: Disney… "In 2009 Disney will continue to create compelling IP and innovative franchises. “We are kicking the new year off with a bang. Bolt, based on the hit movie, is coming to consoles on the February 13th. Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals, sequel to the hit DS game, follows on February 27th. “Meanwhile, Club Penguin, the online phenomenon for kids, waddles on to DS in March. April then sees the release of Ultimate Band on Wii and DS, which offers the chance to become a rock star without pricey peripherals." Keely Brenner UK & Ireland Head of Marketing,
[RELEASESCHEDULE] February 6th
HSM 3: Senior Year Dance (Special Ed)
February 13th Disney's Bolt Wii, DS, 360, PS3, PS2 Disney’s latest CG film has already topped the US Box Office and will undoubtedly do the same in the UK. Expect sales of the game to match. February 27th Spectrobes: Beyond The Portals DS The Spectrobes series first arrived in 2007 and has since become a key orinal IP franchise for Disney. The sequel makes use of the company’s DGamer social networking technology for online games. March 13th Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force DS This spin-off of the very popular Disney-owned kids’ virtual world gives players the chance to take their penguin characters on secret agent missions - and even unlock other gameplay functions by logging on to the MMO via Nintendo WiFi Connect. March 27th
Phineas and Ferb
April 10th Ultimate Band Wii, DS Disney makes a bold step into the music game genre with this title. Like Wii Music, the game lets younger players make all kinds of sounds with no extra peripherals needed. May 8th
Hannah Montana: The Movie Game
Wii, DS, 360, PS3, PS2
IN CINEMAS EVERYWHERE AND AVAILABLE ON MAJOR PLATFORMS
Scooter not in game
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