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THE FINALISTS


YOUR TEAM YOUR AWARDS CONTENTS

MEDAL OF HONOUR

Retail Independent Retailer

9

Star Store

10

Online Retailer

12

Supermarket

14

High Street Chain

16

PR & Marketing Peripherals & Accessories Brand 20 Game Creative

22

New Game Brand

24

Trade Marketing Team

26

PR Team

28

Game Campaign

30

Marketing Team

32

People & Industry UK Development Team

36

Distribution Team

38

Sales Triumph

40

Sales Team

42

Games Publisher

44

Special Awards MCV Retail Advisory Board: Special Recognition

46

Grand Prix Award

46

Retail Category Partner

Pre-Event Drinks Partner

Peripherals & Accessories Award Partner

After Party Host

New Game Brand Award Partner

Video Partner

Drinks Reception Partner

Games Publisher Award Partner

It really isn’t just about the winning. As this bumper Finalists Guide demonstrates, the MCV Industry Excellence Awards recognise success at all levels within the business. Publishers, retailers, distributors, developers, accessory companies and individuals are each included and considered key to the biggest night of the year. This hugely prestigious trade event is about rewarding teams for their hard work and even harder fought achievements. This isn’t just about big companies, highly resourced departments or big budgets. And even if actually winning may be a bridge too far, it is important that accomplishments are noted. This bumper guide to the 2010 Finalists details why they were chosen and what will be considered by the 100 or so industry judges who choose the ultimate victors. We are very proud of our transparent system of choosing Finalists and then letting a large panel from all sectors of the business pick the winners. We name the judges after they’ve voted … so shout at them, not us, if the result doesn’t go the way you think it should. This year the MCV Awards sold out earlier than ever, taking place at the brilliant Brewery, Chiswell Street, London for the eighth time on Thursday April 22nd. As well as Dom Joly as host and a Just Dance-sponsored after party there will be a few entertainment surprises on the night, including another one of MCVʼs famous awards videos featuring sundry industry execs. Will your boss be in it? Will your team win on the night? All will be revealed very soon. And even if you can’t join us at the Awards, we hope you take some time to consider the praiseworthy efforts of your customers, peers and partners over the 12 months. Best of luck to all.

Stuart Dinsey Publisher, MCV


wishes all the nominees the very best of luck.

www.nintendo.co.uk Š 2010 Nintendo TM, Ž the Nintendo DS logo and the Nintendo DSi logo are trademarks of Nintendo.


Nintendo is once again proud to support this year's retail awards category in what has become one of the UK industry’s most prestigious evenings. The MCV Industry Excellence Awards are unique not only in that they stand as one of the UK’s most coveted awards to win, but also, and more importantly, they reward those behind the games and focus on the people, teams, hard work and determination that go into maximising sales and driving industry growth. Quite simply, it is the only event of its type. When I wrote this introduction for last year’s awards I talked about the certainty of challenge and difficult times ahead of us all regardless of where we sat within the industry. Looking back, no one could have predicted just how challenging and difficult those times have been for us all and we’re not out of the woods just yet. That’s why tonight is all the more important for us as an industry, whether developer or publisher, marketing team or sales team, head office retailer or store manager, to come together under one roof to celebrate what we have achieved in the face of adversity. Our partners and friends at retail have been, and continue to be, crucial in helping us attract new people to video games and in helping us contribute to industry growth. As such, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us achieve a record breaking eleven million Nintendo DS sales and over seven million Wii sales in the UK since their launches in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The retail category awards go that little bit further to recognise, reflect and reward the hard work, determination and excellence on the often overlooked 'frontline' of our industry. From the biggest supermarkets in the land, to the smallest independent store, online retailer or even that one standout ‘star store’, no matter who you are, you have the chance to compete for that accolade and to be recognised for your efforts. The very best of luck to everyone nominated this year – we look forward to catching up with you all at the awards and working with you this year. David Yarnton General Manager, Nintendo UK


THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

RETAIL

FINALISTS Independent Retailer Star Store Online Retailer Supermarket High Street Chain


THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Retail Category Partner

AWARD CRITERIA: Customer service • Product knowledge • Range • Window and in-store merchandising • Commitment to street dates and an orderly market • Marketing activity

Previous Winners

RETAIL

This award returns for 2010. Previous winners include: 2006: ePlay 2007: ePlay 2008: Grainger Games

INDEPENDENT RETAILER Back by popular demand, the independent retailer award puts customer service, product knowledge, and marketing activity at the top of the list of things to consider...

CONSOLE CONNECTIONS

BARKMAN COMPUTERS

Console Connections was established in 1992 by Mark Conacher and Fiona Stafford and comprises two stores, the first in Truro, Cornwall and the other in Barnstaple, Devon. Both outlets sell used and new games, accessories and consoles. The firm boasts competitive pricing and offers a three-day exchange policy on the products it sells. All staff are hardcore gamers and are more than happy to offer advice to their large and loyal customer base. The management boasts that the chain has a professional look, but with an independent feel that its customers enjoy.

Founded by Nick Elliott in 1987 and now celebrating 23 years in business, Barkman Computers in Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey operates from a single store. The outlet focuses purely on new product and doesn’t operate in the second-hand space. Barkman is famous for its diverse range of titles, including hard-to-find delisted games. It also attracts family gamers, with Elliot claiming he sold more titles aimed at girls over Christmas than Modern Warfare 2. As well as game consoles, the company builds custom PCs, which has attracted a loyal customer base.

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GAMES CENTRE

GAME ON

GRAINGER GAMES

This successful indie chain was founded in 1996 by Robert Lindsay and now consists of six High Street stores, with its latest Airdrie outlet opening in July last year. Games Centre is Scotland’s largest indie chain and also has warehouse and office facilities. The firm has a second-hand and new game offer, sells consoles, accessories as well as DVDs and Bluray. The company also boasts deeply knowledgeable staff, competitive prices and an impressive range of games. The firm is open seven days a week and has a dedicated online presence at www.gamescentre.co.uk.

Set up in Saffron Walden in 1997, Game On stocks the usual video games and hardware (as well as pre-owned), but also sells the full Games Workshop and Magic the Gathering lines, as well as other trading cards and collectables. The firm boasts great customer service, complete with a discount loyalty scheme that has over 5,000 members. The company is also looking to branch into new product lines, such as Lego, and claims to be a parent-friendly outlet. The store’s owner, Matthew Brady, says Game On’s success has been aided by its great location and two big window displays.

A former MCV Award winner, Grainger Games had a great 2009, opening five new stores, improving its customer proposition and restructuring its team to ensure support is in place to deliver its three-year expansion programme, while the instore and window merchandising has been improved for continuity across all outlets. Grainger Games has developed its business platform substantially, recognises the importance of close working relationships with the industry, and has a strong commitment to street dates. To that end, Grainger now has a representative on MCVʼs Retail Advisory Board.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Retail Category Partner

AWARD CRITERIA: Sales performance • Product knowledge • Customer service In-store merchandising and compliance • Marketing activity

Previous Winners 2007: Gamestation, Birmingham New Street 2008: Zavvi, Oxford Street 2009: Gamestation, Birmingham New Street

STAR STORE Standing out from the crowd, the individual store that wins this award will have seen impressive sales performance and will show off great service and product knowledge on a day-to-day basis...

ASDA DERBY Asda’s Derby store accounted for almost two per cent of the chain’s sales last year and continues to be at the forefront of the grocery giant’s event launches in the entertainment sector. The launches of both FIFA and Modern Warfare 2 saw over 1,000 people queueing outside the store at midnight for these major releases – no small feat for a generalist retailer. And Asda claims that its partnerships with other retailers has delivered volume selling across all key formats.

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GRAINGER GAMES, HULL Grainger’s Hull store has become the indie chain’s new flagship outlet and is the first of a number of new sites planned by the parent company in Yorkshire. Since opening in September 2009, the Hull site has quickly become one of Grainger’s top performing stores. It is headed up by an experienced and knowledgeable management team in Marcos Dinsdale and Dan Hebden, who quit Gamestation to join Grainger Games, bringing with them six more experienced members of staff. Grainger Games Hull is the chain’s biggest store to date.

GAMESTATION, BIRMINGHAM NEW STREET A previous MCV Award winner, the Gamestation Birmingham New Street store continues to be a diamond within the GAME Group. According to recent mystery shopper surveys, the site has achieved a 100 per cent score on the following metrics: ‘made me feel like a valued customer’; ‘served me in a warm and friendly manner’; product knowledge. And you can’t say fairer than that. The outlet boasts regular in-store marketing initiatives and promotions, including store take-overs for the likes of Modern Warfare 2 and Wii Sports Resort.

GAME, OXFORD STREET

HMV, 360 OXFORD STREET

Another former MCV Award winner, GAME Oxford Street has also achieved a 100 per cent score on mystery shopper surveys for the likes of: ‘made me feel like a warm and valued customer’; ‘served me in a warm and friendly manner’; product knowledge. Store takeovers have taken place for games such as Modern Warfare 2 – which was covered on BBC news reports – plus Wii Sports Resort. In addition, the store has played host to a number of celebrity appearances, including Suzanne Shaw (for Disney’s Sing It), Ian Rush (FIFA 10) and Miss Frank (We Sing).

The store manager at HMV’s flagship Oxford Street store is Martin Jezzard, with James Rumley the manager responsible for the games offer. The games department measures approximately 2,500 sq ft and occupies much of the rear section of the store's ground floor. It carries a comprehensive range of titles across all platforms, as well as HMV’s trade-in games Re/Play offer. Further highlights include a Gamerbase four-player pod, an EA promotional section, a Sony PS3 demo area and an interactive customer space for the Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Retail Category Partner

Online retailers put themselves in place for this award by excelling in delivery and service and by showing commitment to street dates... PLAY.COM

AMAZON

ZAVVI.COM

The four-time MCV Award winner was once again one of the dominant online players of 2009 in games, and continues to be a yardstick by which its rivals measure their own online offering. In June last year the retailer claimed the Which? Best Online Retailer Award for the second year running. The firm’s head of games changed hands this year, with Zavvi’s games boss Patrick Kelly taking up the reins in April.

An ever-present force in online retail, Amazon boasts what’s probably a more extensive range of games and hardware than any other retailer, boosted by its popular second-hand marketplace and connections to other independently run online stores. The firm’s customertargeted home page is still one of the best out there, and there is a wealth of video game content to explore. The firm also got a new games director last year, with e-commerce veteran Chris Poad joining the company in January.

The Hut Group is the fastest rising online entertainment retailer in the UK. The company creates white label websites for a variety of major companies, such WHSmith and LOVEFiLM. It also has several company-owned websites, namely TheHut.com and Zavvi.com. The online giant drastically grew its market share in the games space last year, with several impressive offers on new release. The Hut also has big plans to launch a digital download function this year, while a consumer show and relaunching Zavvi on the High Street could also be on the cards.

Previous Winners 2003: 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009:

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Gameplay Amazon Amazon Play.com Play.com Play.com Play.com

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Retail Category Partner

AWARD CRITERIA: Customer service and delivery • Product knowledge and range • Commitment to street dates and an orderly market • Games-specific marketing activity • Sales growth

RETAIL ONLINE RETAILER

SHOPTO

GAME.CO.UK

GAME CONNECTION

The independently run website is one of the more innovative online stores on the market. In 2009 the firm launched TextTo, a service where customers can check prices and order games via SMS messages. ShopTo also guarantees to deliver games in time for their release date, and if it fails it promises to pay £3 to the customer as a form of compensation. The retailer is particularly popular with the hardcore gamer, with a dedicated forum, a free-to-view electronic magazine and ShopTo TV, where gamers can view the latest trailers.

GAME’s online division boasted excellent customer service even in the face of the Royal Mail strike. Over 500 per cent more copies of Modern Warfare 2 were sent out for day of launch than the second biggest release of 2009, Assassinʼs Creed. The retailer achieved another record year for digital downloads, with a 200 per cent increase year on year. Customers viewed over 50,000 hours of video exclusive content designed specifically for game.co.uk, while specific microsites designed around key titles were rolled out throughout the year. The site also enjoyed a record breaking number of social network followers on Facebook, Twitter and Bebo. And continuing its multi-channel approach, GAME trialled kiosks in-store, as well as a GAME iPhone app.

Game Connection was formed in late 2006 by co-directors (and father and son) Steven and Michael Campbell. In the first year of trading, Game Connection sold around 7,000 items, generating a turnover of around £245,000. Since then, the company has experienced strong growth, with turnover figures of £440,000 and predicted £1m for years two and three respectively. There are a number of key initiatives that makes Game Connection different to other sites. The 50 per cent buy back scheme ensures that customers who buy from the site have ten weeks to enjoy the game and then can return it, claiming back 50 per cent of the value. Game Connection’s reward scheme offers two levels of discount – Gold level and Platinum. The firm also offers a price match promise, plus free first class delivery.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Retail Category Partner

AWARD CRITERIA: Window and in-store merchandising •Games-specific marketing activity Sales growth • Customer service • Product knowledge and range • Commitment to street dates

SUPERMARKET A new award for 2010, this acknowledges large-scale retail chains that stock video games. All of them boast excellent product knowledge and great games-specific marketing...

ASDA

MORRISONS

TESCO

SAINSBURY’S

Having been at the forefront of supermarket games retailing for a decade now, Asda has demonstrated its commitment to category and publishing partners by implementing leading merchandising displays throughout its 373 stores. It has outperformed every year for the past four and by 42 per cent in 2009. Its response to the EUK collapse was first class, with direct relationships being set up within weeks, a new distribution centre added, ten additional colleagues hired from across the games industry – and Asda claims 2009 saw it deliver the highest sales to stores ratio of any supermarket. Its colleague education programme, in partnership with the major format holders, enabled Asda to drive triple digit sales growth of accessories, and deliver record consoles shares.

The fourth largest supermarket chain sees nine million customers pass through its door on a weekly basis. The company won the Oracle Retail Week Award in 2009 too, and is continuing to grow and open new stores on a very frequent basis. Morrisons has a good range of video game software and hardware in most of its stores. The chain boasts a mix of video game customers, including the classic hardcore gamer who comes in for the latest release, as well as the older, female players who are after a copy of Brain Training.

Tesco is the UK’s largest retailer with 2,306 stores in the country – it is also the third largest grocer in the world. The firm wants to make its non-food offer as successful as its food offer, and Tesco Direct – the firm’s online non-food catalogue service – saw sales grow 50 per cent yearon-year for the six-week period ending January 9th. The company bolstered its games team last year with top staff from EUK in a bid to become a dominant force in games, has since expanded its range and is now even trialling pre-owned.

Sainsbury’s is another supermarket looking to drastically increase its presence in the games sector. The grocer recently placed plasma screens in 200 of its 550 supermarkets to promote games and graphics. There are targeted vouchers, press and TV campaigns, as well as a presence in the Sainsburyʼs Magazine. The firm also boasts a range of gaming customers visiting their stores, including avid gamers, gifters, families and bargain hunters who have been tempted in by a special offer – such as the chain’s £26 launch price for Modern Warfare 2 last year.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Retail Category Partner

A second appearance for this award, where customer service, merchandising and range are key...

GAME

GAMESTATION

HMV

The market’s biggest specialist chain refuses to sit on its laurels, continuing to invest heavily in staff training, customer support and the general shopping experience at its stores. According to recent mystery shopper surveys, the chain scored highly in a number of key metrics: ‘Made me feel like a valued customer’ (91.7 per cent); ‘served in a warm and friendly manner’ (96.7 per cent); ‘demonstrated product knowledge’ (93.3 per cent). The chain has welcomed just under three million GAME reward card customers in the last 12 months. And it has held launches for all triple-A titles in stores across the country, with over 320 outlets opening at midnight for the launch of Modern Warfare 2.

Key to Gamestation’s on-going success has been its ‘We won’t be beaten on price’ promise – and it remains the only High Street retailer to promise this. In the past year Gamestation has held exclusive UK launches and midnight openings specifically for its customers. And like its sister chain, GAME, the retailer has scored highly in mystery shopper surveys, with metrics including: ‘Made me feel like a valued customer’ (95 per cent); ‘served in a warm and friendly manner’ (83.3 per cent); ‘demonstrated product knowledge’ (91.7 per cent).

HMV is now widely considered a fully-fledged games specialist after acquiring Gamerbase and launching its own pre-owned offer (Re/Play) towards the end of 2008. The firm continues to widen its games range in-store and online, with an everincreasing amount of floor space dedicated to the sector. The chain has 272 stores in the UK, with sales of £1.15 billion in the last financial year. In May this year HMV launched its Pure card, a loyalty scheme that allows customers the chance to buy limited edition or hard-to-find items that aren’t available on the High Street.

Previous Winners 2009: GAME 2008: GAME (Specialist Retailer) 2008: HMV (Entertainment Retailer)

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Retail Category Partner

AWARD CRITERIA: Customer service • Product knowledge • Range • Window and in-store merchandising • Commitment to street dates and an orderly market • Marketing activity

RETAIL HIGH STREET CHAIN

CHIPS

ARGOS

Don McCabe and Nik Agar’s ever-present independent retail chain is celebrating its 24th year in business this year. In what was a tough year for all of retail, the CHIPS team opened a new store in Leicestershire, relaunched its website and has even begun trialling Xplace games information kiosks in a selection of its stores. CHIPS has 12 company-owned stores and 16 franchised outlets and has its headquarters based in Middlesbrough.

Argos’ presence in the video games market continues to grow. As well as extended space in its main catalogue, Argos also runs a special video game catalogue, which can be viewed in larger stores and was distributed in the consumer specialist press last year. The firm has also recently begun trialling its own pre-owned offer in some 27 of its 735 stores. Argos serves some 130 million customers a year; it hopes to extend its store base to over 800 in the near future and currently employs some 34,000 people.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

PR & MARKETING

FINALISTS

Peripherals & Accessories Brand Game Creative New Game Brand Trade Marketing Team PR Team Game Campaign Marketing Team


THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS Peripherals & Accessories Award Partner

Innovation and product quality are among the top qualities needed for those hoping to win this new award...

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EXSPECT

VENOM

NYKO

Gem-owned peripherals brand Exspect is building a great reputation and portfolio of innovative, well designed and beautifully packaged games peripherals. Exspect’s approach to customers is key, working together to produce high quality products that complement their businesses, whilst providing ongoing marketing and PR support to increase products and brand awareness, using a varied mix of editorial, web and social media. Exspect will continue its growth within the category, whilst introducing a number of licensing associations with Sony, Joystick Junkies, as well as Breast Cancer Campaign and worldwide charity Whatever It Takes.

Despite the economic climate, Venom has continued to innovate with new products, grow the business and hold good stock in order to support its retailers and enable them to achieve maximum sales and margins. Amongst this year’s successes have been the Xbox and PS3 ranges, as well as the Cath Kidston licence collaboration, which saw great numbers in John Lewis’ Christmas Top 100. As a company, Venom is flexible and accessible and can react quickly to any challenge presented. It listens to its retailers, giving them what they require – which was borne out by Venom’s recent success in the MCV Retail Survey.

Nyko is the number one US third party accessory manufacturer, with best-sellers that include the Wii Charge Station, Wii Perfect Shot, Xbox 360 Intercoolers, DSi Zoom Case and Metal Pedal, amongst many more. Nyko prides itself on its innovation, and the unique features and functions that can be found in these products illustrate the benefits.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS AWARD CRITERIA: Innovation • Quality of products • Marketing • Retail strategy • Sales

Peripherals & Accessories Award Partner

PR & MARKETING PERIPHERALS & ACCESSORIES BRAND

A4T

MAD CATZ

HUBB

LOGIC3

Now in its fifth year of trading, Accessories4Technology is going stronger than ever. The company highlighted 2009 as its most successful year to date in terms of launching new brands and licensing agreements. Most notably, A4T released its first products from its own bestselling 4Gamers range for PS3 and PSP – a portfolio the firm plans to develop further this year. The company also won the licensing rights to create peripherals based on the iCarly and Bakugan kids’ properties, as well as the Lonsdale sport brand. More recently, A4T announced it had signed a three-year licensing deal with Electronic Arts to provide accessories for EA Sports Active players.

The veteran peripherals specialist emerged from another successful year, boosted by some hugely popular ranges launched last year. The company performed particularly well in the last quarter of 2009, racking up Christmas sales of $49 million worldwide and reporting impressive growth in Europe. Key successes from the past year have included the officially licensed Street Fighter IV range, including the popular arcade fighting sticks, and its range of branded Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 accessories. Mad Catz is set to maintain this momentum this year with its Super Street Fighter IV range, as well as its own brands such as the Cyborg gaming mice.

Having emerged from its first year of trading in the UK, Hubb Accessories is working hard to establish itself as a familiar name in the peripherals market. Founded by Lygo International back in 2008, the firm already has a healthy range of Wii, DS and PS3 accessories, as well as products for the newly-launched DSi XL. Since the beginning of the year, Hubb has signed several agreements with key UK distributors to extend its reach into the market, now partnered with firms such as Interactive Ideas, Discstribution and GLS Distribution. With its infrastructure really starting to take shape and a passion for peripherals, Hubb is set to go far this year.

Founded way back in 1977, Logic3 continues to be one of the leading accessories vendors in the UK games industry, having started producing peripherals in 1983. The company has since expanded to include BlackBerry, iPhone and iPod accessories, but still maintains its focus on the video games industry through its own brands, such as its SoundStation audio solutions for consoles and handhelds and colourful, MotionPlus-compatible Wii Funchuks. Like many of its rivals, Logic3 has kicked off the year with an extensive range of DSi XL products, as well as new additions to its portfolios for the other formats.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

This new award shines the spotlight on outstanding pieces of game creative, taking into account quality, effectiveness and impact on sales...

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RABBIDS TV SPONSORSHIP IDENTS (UBISOFT)

ENJOY NINTENDO WITH ANT & DEC TV (NINTENDO)

The Rabbids returned to the TV screen last year in true anarchic style with a series of ads shown as 30 second and ten second ident spots. The creative was positioned to capture the crazy and humorous style of the brand and appeal to a kids/teen audience. Funny and irreverent, these ads appealed to the target audience and also to adults too.

Continuing its celebrity-based strategy, Nintendo carried out research and found one option that came out head and shoulders above anyone else in terms of key measures such as likeability, trustworthiness and humour – national treasures Ant & Dec. The campaign also innovated on a media level. For the launch weekend, Nintendo created one specific execution (a 60 second ad where the UK was introduced to Ant and Dec as proper Nintendo fans), which ran as a ‘roadblock’ over the weekend in all major TV programming, and on websites such as YouTube and Yahoo. Then the campaign shifted into 30, 40 and 60 second executions that focused on specific pieces of DS and Wii software, and Ant & Dec interviewing people about why they love those titles.

HALO 3: ODST ‘WE ARE ODST’ TV (MICROSOFT) The ‘We Are ODST’ two minute, 30 second TV spot was a ground-breaking live action/CG ad that premiered on TV, occupying an entire ad break within True Blood. Depicting a soldier’s journey from raw recruit to ODST veteran, it created a huge amount of buzz and excitement and helped the title smash one of the biggest day one numbers of the year.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS AWARD CRITERIA: Quality of the creative • Effectiveness in terms of campaign messaging The creativeʼs fit with the rest of the campaign • Impact on sales

PR & MARKETING GAME CREATIVE (SINGLE EXECUTION)

‘THE GAME IS JUST THE START’ TV (SCE UK) SCE UK’s ‘The Game Is Just The Start’ campaign was designed to demonstrate the best home entertainment PS3 can offer, including music video service VidZone, downloading the latest blockbusters from the PlayStation Video Store, the joys of catch-up TV with BBC iPlayer and Blu-ray movies. In addition, the campaign showed off the great community aspects of titles that make the consumer the star of the show, from making your own brain-teasing quizzes in Buzz!, uploading your best vocal performances on My SingStar Online, to creating unique platform levels in LittleBigPlanet that can get the whole world talking.

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RESIDENT EVIL DARKSIDE CHRONICLES PRINT (CAPCOM)

CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 2 CINEMA (ACTIVISION)

The thinking behind this creative was to take the traditional look and feel of the Wii style of advertising ‘the family on the sofa’ and turn it on its head. The idea of zombies breaking through the TV and invading the happy Wii family environment was an incredibly clever juxtaposition. Says Capcom’s marketing team: “We’re delighted it’s been nominated for an award and the fact that this wasn’t some planned lobbying of the MCV judges and only used in a couple of places shows the kind of impact it had.”

A 60 second creative was rolled out to cinemas nationwide, with the objective being to convey the action-movie feel of the game, plus the dramatic and stunning visuals. There was a strong focus on integrating the creative with the rest of the campaign’s tone and feel. Created by The Ant Farm agency, the advertising achieved a 93 per cent recall (prompted) and 78 per cent (unprompted) amongst those who watched the ad, which played a key role in helping achieve sales of 1.8 million units in the first week alone.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

New Game Brand Award Partner

Quality IP is more important than ever. This award examines innovation, creativity and long-term potential... BORDERLANDS (2K GAMES)

Previous Winners 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009:

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EyeToy Nintendo DS Nintendogs Guitar Hero Assassin’s Creed LittleBigPlanet

For a new property that 2K once told us could “stand shoulder-toshoulder” with the biggest Christmas releases – including Halo, Call Of Duty and GTA – Borderlands has gone on to do rather well for itself. Take-Two’s latest financial results reveal the game has shifted more than three million copies worldwide since its debut back in October. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions achieved Top 10 positions in their respective charts – as well as the All Formats chart – during the game’s first week on sale, while the PC edition took the No.1 spot. The game has been a mainstay in the All Formats Top 40 ever since, with demand being driven by a steady stream of high-profile DLC.

SCRIBBLENAUTS (WBIE)

EA SPORTS ACTIVE (EA)

With more than one million copies shipped on a format dominated by first-party titles, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment’s Scribblenauts is a Nintendo DS title unlike any other. The game, developed by 5th Cell, is an innovative new title which allows players to write anything and solve everything. Players can combine countless objects to create wildly original scenarios. Scribblenauts has won numerous industry awards and acclaim, including Best Original Game and Best Handheld Game from E3 Game Critics representing 29 top media outlets. The game was also featured as part of more than a dozen ‘Best of 2009’ video game lists, spanning enthusiast to parenting publications, highlighting its broad appeal and truly innovative gameplay. A sequel has just been announced.

Entering the new space created by Nintendo’s Wii Fit, EA Sports Active is a landmark platform for EA Sports. To launch the title, EA identified and signed a great roster of talent and brand ambassadors including Alesha Dixon, Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy. They enabled EA to reach each segment of its target audience with powerful, credible messaging. The hype surrounding the launch of the title was impressive and led to UK pre-orders of 10,288. More impressive are the follow-up sales figures. Week one sales were 31,431 (on a forecast of 30,000 units) and cumulative week four sales were 124,335 (102,943 were forecasted). To date some 271,436 units have been sold.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

New Game Brand Award Partner

AWARD CRITERIA: Commercial success • Long-term brand potential Innovation and creativity • Marketing support and impact

PR & MARKETING NEW GAME BRAND

BAYONETTA (SEGA)

DJ HERO (ACTIVISION)

JUST DANCE (UBISOFT)

Bayonetta has been Sega’s biggest selling new IP on nextgen formats to date, as well as its highest scoring next-gen game ever. Not a bad start for this new IP. Widely regarded as a new benchmark for action games, the title scored 10/10 in Edge, only the 11th game to have received this accolade. A groundbreaking TV campaign supported the demo, the first for any title before the game has been released, and this contributed to a 25 per cent uplift in demo downloads. The stylish TV spot featured La Roux’s In For The Kill as the soundtrack, generating much discussion. Furthermore, an extensive online ad campaign promoted the demo availability, while a cinema campaign around Avatar, plus a print campaign, further underlined the success of the title.

A new direction for Activision’s Hero range of music titles, DJ Hero launched in October last year – and established itself as the highest grossing new IP of the year. Global superstars such as Jay-Z and Eminem, plus renowned DJs such as Jazzy Jeff, Grand Master Flash and Zane Lowe all helped play a role in taking the DJ’ing experience to the masses.

From nowhere to number one in the charts, with well over half a million units sold to date, Just Dance has clearly offered something new and exciting to casual gamers. The brand, in a relatively short period of time, has established itself and shown potential to become a long standing brand for the market. Consumer feedback has been consistently positive, with a strong desire for further iterations. A fundamental part of Just Danceʼs success was down to an effective marketing campaign, with all the elements of the plan working together in order to drive trial and awareness. By generating word of mouth from trials and PR channels, followed up with a strong TV campaign and online and print media support, this culminated in a major success for Just Dance.

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25


THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Supporting the trade with marketing is more vital than ever, with communication, creativity and efficiency all key aspects for the teams involved...

Previous Winners This award returns for 2010. Previous winners include: 2005: Nintendo 2006: Microsoft 2007: Ubisoft 2008: Electronic Arts

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ELECTRONIC ARTS

SEGA

MICROSOFT

Store staff education and communication are key to EA’s retail partnerships. EA reps visit every GAME/Gamestation store each month, providing staff with up-to-date product information, while store staff conferences take place regularly, giving retailers the chance to see the latest and upcoming product and meet the games’ producers. Pre-order campaigns are also rolled out to the trade, with promotions over the past year resulting in the doubling of pre-orders on certain titles. The launch of EA Sports Active last year saw new interactive POS introduced to stores, while EA teamed up with EMI to create ‘Beatlemania’ in retail sites. Whilst sponsoring Gamerbase stores last year, giving consumers the chance to trial EA titles for free, EA has not forgotten the independents and continues to tailor pre-order and value promotions for this sector.

The channel marketing team at Sega has supported retailers with initiatives that have built upon instore and online activity, whilst remaining within budget and produced in good time. To offer even better value, Sega bought into many ATL opportunities such as TV, online and press tagging. A first last year for Sega was to unite with HMV to bring Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games successfully to Hyde Park for a Winter Wonderland event, where it attracted an estimated two million visitors. Special preorder initiatives were successful for the publisher and its retailers last year. These included: Football Manager 2010 personalised sleeve with Play.com, branded journal with GAME and an FM10 thermal flask for HMV; a specially created Manga DVD, replica ornamental gun and Special Edition Bayonetta packs.

Working closely with its partners and delivering first class campaign execution means that Microsoft games products continue to stand out at retail. And last year the format holder upped the ante with what it describes as ‘incredible’ in-store presence for the console that delivered industry-leading attach around the Xbox ecosystem. In addition, the firm rolled out standout POS for Halo 3: ODST and Forza 3. Impressively, Microsoft launched 11 different retail-led TV executions, way and above other activity from other platforms.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS AWARD CRITERIA: Effective communication of product or brand messages Creativity • Influence on sales performance • Efficiency and customer service

PR & MARKETING TRADE MARKETING TEAM

NINTENDO

SONY

ACTIVISION

UBISOFT

Trade marketing at Nintendo is a key focus for the business – nearly everybody in the company contributes to making it as impactful and effective as possible. General manager David Yarnton always has strong ideas, the sales team works hard to plan and deliver thorough campaigns and the marketing team always looks to see how it can help produce top notch instore plans. The sales team is supported by Nintendo’s agency Reach, which contributes to trade marketing by communicating with store managers about launches, distributing POS and interacting with consumers at the point of purchase. During peak season, Nintendo brought on an extra 30 trained gaming enthusiasts, called the ‘Gold Team’. Over 2,700 stores received live game sampling and more than 204,000 customers enjoyed hands-on experiences.

SCE has always placed much emphasis on retail and, with 2009 a big year for both PS3 and PSP, this stepped up apace, with Sony providing significant support to its retailers direct and via distribution partner Centresoft. A major aspect this year was the true translation of campaign assets into retail, creating theatre around key releases such as Uncharted 2, Heavy Rain and EyePet, with sampling in-store, providing monthly showreels with the latest first and third-party content, educating consumers about PS3 and PSP functionality, whilst also providing kits to dress PlayStation areas dependent of game launch. The national PlayStation House tour linked up with retailers GAME and Play.com, driving footfall in-store and online, helping its partners increase their sales throughout the important Christmas period and beyond.

The UK trade marketing team drove major retail events during 2009 across all Activision releases. It supported DJ Hero with a major retail-led pre-awareness campaign, with related offers for consumers, from 50 Cent/Mary J Blige to exclusive 12-inch record picture discs. DJ Hero was also brought to life at retail conferences and went on tour in December, along with other titles, wowing audiences in some of the UK’s largest shopping centres. Titles such as Prototype became a major summer success, thanks to programmes put in place at retail by the trade marketing team to generate excitement and presence at store level. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 was one of the largest and longest trade marketing campaigns undertaken by the team. The scale and complexity of bringing it all together was a big effort – but certainly paid off.

Last year’s release schedule being heavily focused around Christmas ensured a major task to maximise share of voice on shelf and in the minds of consumers for Ubisoft’s portfolio of titles. Planning began in February and kicked off at E3. Ubi ensured that while consumers searched online for major gaming news, its titles were present to convert into early pre-orders. In fact, last year saw a historic shift: where traditionally titles deliver huge numbers in the month before launch, Ubisoft managed to drive consumers to pre-order titles much earlier. Trade marketing also incorporated other areas of marketing into its plans, increasing the efficiency of above the line activity. Activities included the Just Dance shopping mall tour, free Rabbid downloads available via retailers and early hands-on opportunities with Assassinʼs Creed in local stores.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

2009 saw an array of original and inventive campaigns from PR teams across the games industry...

SONY/JOHN DOE

Previous Winners 2003: Sony/Jackie Cooper 2004: Microsoft/Red 2005: Microsoft/Red 2006: Nintendo 2007: Nintendo 2008: Nintendo 2009: Nintendo

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Over the last year, the SCE UK PR team and John Doe have been responsible for some of the biggest hardware and software launches in the market, securing an unprecedented amount of press coverage, across a broad spectrum of media. Successfully launching the new PS3 Slim and PSP go, the team also helped establish new IPs, such as InFamous, EyePet and Heavy Rain, whilst continuing to build upon the success of established franchises such as SingStar, Uncharted 2 and God of War. The team’s innovative and well executed campaigns have consistently cut through, attracting new and existing consumers to engage with the PlayStation platform.

ELECTRONIC ARTS/SHINE, MISCHIEF, BRANDO EA and EA SPORTS’ ongoing and deep, strategic relationships with all publishing houses has resulted in year-round stand out coverage in core media. The team’s timely supply of code, assets and spokespeople has paid dividends, with high quality editorial achieved throughout the year. EA teams are reaching far beyond traditional media outlets too – engaging new media with community, fan site and bloggers with initiatives and events. Covers gained for all major EA franchises in 2009 included almost 35 covers on EA Games titles alone, plus a record-breaking five for FIFA 10, including the world exclusive announcement cover with Edge. The EA SPORTS team successfully took them into new territory by targeting women and mummy bloggers for EA SPORTS Active.

SEGA/LUNCH, MISCHIEF Sega’s PR team has prided itself on originality over the past year, citing Aliens vs Predator as a key example. The firm introduced splitrun covers on PSM3 magazine to highlight different character differences, plus special flipped covers on Play gave the launch of the game ‘event’ status. A boxed edition of PC Zone tied in with the review and there was a two-month campaign on IGN. Two themed events featured cameos from Alien, Predator and Marine cosplayers, multiplayer gaming, films in the background and interviews with Rebellion, plus there was a laser tag event at Bunker 51 and a themed basement event at High Road House, Chiswick. Other highlights included 20 press covers, strong reviews for Bayonetta, including three 10/10 scores and 18 9/10 scores, and Football Manager activity with Harry Redknapp.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS AWARD CRITERIA: Originality and imagination in the execution of campaigns • Effective use of existing materials and creation of new materials • Responsiveness and relations with the media

PR & MARKETING PR TEAM

MICROSOFT/JCPR

NINTENDO/RED

ACTIVISION/BHPR

UBISOFT

Microsoft’s PR team had another solid year, notching up outstanding work on game campaigns, covering off Xbox Live activity and the Sky TV launch. The team also instigated fantastic influencer and product placement work (dominating placement on the nation’s favourite soaps) around Xbox 360, the publisher’s game campaigns and Microsoft PC peripherals.

Nintendo’s ongoing PR in the UK consistently sends an important positive message to the UK media, Government and families that gaming is something to be played and enjoyed by everyone. Highlights from 2009 include the Change4Life partnership, where Nintendo remains the only video games company to link up with the UK Government and seek to change the negative stereotypes that still dog our industry. Launching Wii Sports Resort in ‘tropical locations’ across the UK saw six cities join the Wii Sports Resort party, which included taking over Birmingham’s Urban Beach. The arrival of Nintendo DSi was warmly welcomed by the media, while November brought the black Wii and New Super Mario Bros Wii, where Nintendo brought the ‘voice of Mario’ Charles Martinet to the UK for 22 interviews across TV, radio, print and online.

Activision and its agency, the 22year-old BHPR, knows how to make noise and get the right kind of attention and coverage for its clients, whether it’s enlisting Pixie Lott and The Saturdays with the respective launches of Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero, or securing a week-long residency for DJ Hero at Radio 1.

2009 marked a stellar year for Ubisoft’s PR team, culminating in the launches of Assassinʼs Creed II and dance blockbuster Just Dance, both of which achieved ubiquitous presence across the media in the lead up to Christmas. Much of the activity was rooted in a desire to push properties beyond the traditional gaming space and take them into the arena of broader entertainment brands. This included a film premiere for Assassinʼs Creed Lineage, the creation of a party bus stunt for Just Dance and a shopping trolley being driven around London to promote Rabbids Go Home. The team is supported by agencies Lunch and Cohn & Wolfe, which worked on specific projects. Press events played a big part in Ubisoft’s PR strategy in 2009, ranging from a themed multiplayer tournament to a celebrity studded launch party.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

The best game campaigns pull creativity and communication together effectively – but only one can win...

Previous Winners 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009:

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PlayStation 2 Nintendo DS Gears of War Halo 3 Wii Fit

FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 (MICROSOFT)

UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES (SONY)

WII SPORTS RESORT (NINTENDO)

‘Where Dreams Are Driven’ was the tagline of Microsoft’s creative for Forza 3, with the campaign running across print, online and TV. It appealed to car fans’ aspirations, showcasing beautiful cars in beautiful locations, whilst displaying the inviting, accessible elements of the game by having all of the driver’s doors open, encouraging consumers to step into one of these dream cars. The creative was backed up with strong in-store presence for the game, with stand-out in-store POS and messaging, culminating in an interactive ‘Road To Forza’ that leveraged social media to drive awareness of the launch event.

Using Nathan Drake as the focal point of the campaign – wrapped up in the PlayStation Game Is Just The Start brand creative, this was a cohesive campaign from the team at SCE UK. Creativity was used in the media buying, choosing specific spots around key 16-34 viewing so that Sony maximised reach and frequency. A prelaunch teaser TV ad ended on an Uncharted cliffhanger moment, inviting viewers to a dedicated site. At launch a 14week media partnership with Sky sponsoring the Sky 1 Action movie of the week and the Discovery Channel invited consumers to enter a competition to win the money-can’t-buy experience of living like Nathan Drake. This was supported with advertorials in The Sun, plus 30 second TV slots. And post-launch, SCE ran another burst of TV from Christmas Day.

Nintendo went tropical for the launch of Wii Sports Resort, from tropical island launch events with key retailers, to a huge touring island and cover-wraps of national newspapers. A threemonth TV campaign reached a broad audience, targeting 16 to 44-year-olds. The TV creative focussed on showing off the abilities of MotionPlus. Various sporting professionals were brought on board to demonstrate the precision the add-on brings to Wii Sports Resort and later ads will see these stars competing to show how enjoyable the multiplayer mode will be. Online takeovers took in all major gaming sites, including MSN, delivering more than 4.3 million impressions across the two weeks of launch.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS AWARD CRITERIA: Effective communication of product or brand messages • Creativity and execution • Influence on sales performance • Impact versus budget available • Media strategy

PR & MARKETING GAME CAMPAIGN

MODERN WARFARE 2 (ACTIVISION)

ASSASSIN’S CREED II (UBISOFT)

The results speak for themselves, as Modern Warfare 2 sold three million units in its first eight weeks, and was bought by an incredible five per cent of British households in its first week alone. The campaign itself covered all bases – anticipation, quality, rumours, controversy and ultimately achieved the biggest entertainment launch of all time. The launch programme culminated in the first ever Leicester Square premiere for a video game, attended by the Black Eyed Peas, Goldie, Jessie Metcalfe and Dizzee Rascal. The UK team achieved the highest global attach rates for MW2 on both Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms and even managed to deliver £250,000 to the War Child charity.

A killer announcement strategy marked the start of Ubisoft’s campaign for ACII. The firm identified a ‘transmitter’ audience and targeted these early adopters via PR and online teasers. Specialist and mainstream media followed, generating five covers in the gaming press. ACII was then officially unveiled at Sony’s press conference during E3 and Ubisoft supported the press coverage with heavyweight advertising spots on TV (during The Gadget Show and The Da Vinci Code) and online (The Sun and Gamespot). As the release date approached, Ubi stepped up the promotions, securing exclusive reviews in OPM and OXM, whilst rolling out its biggest TV campaign to date.

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THE SIMS 3 (EA) EA encouraged an early awareness campaign for The Sims 3 via PR and community days, giving hands-on experience to Sims fans and delivering one of EA’s highest ever pre-order numbers. A digital media and TV teaser campaign then reached some 4.3 million 16 to 24-year-olds, whilst partnering with Play.com saw EA roll out the first UK airing of The Sims TV commercial. The heavyweight TV campaign reached 9.3 million 16 to 24-year-olds, with EA supporting this strategy with high visibility online takeovers across gaming and mainstream media, outdoor posters, radio promotion on XFM and Galaxy Networks, a countdown clock on Metro and PR activity with Pixie Lott. And the results speak for themselves: the game beat expectations by 20 per cent and exceeded The Sims 2 sell-through by over 20,000 units.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Putting the spotlight on the marketing team, effective communication, creativity and campaign impact rate highly here...

Previous Winners 2003: 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009:

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Electronic Arts Electronic Arts Activision Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo

MICROSOFT

NINTENDO

ACTIVISION

Microsoft raised the bar with its marketing creatives in 2009, with key spotlights on Forza Motorsport 3 and Halo: ODST. The Forza campaign ran across print, online and TV, playing to the aspirational, emotional feelings petrol heads get by showcasing beautiful cars in beautiful locations. Meanwhile, the haunting Halo 3: ODST TV ad featured ground-breaking live action/CG footage and premiered on UK TV by occupying an entire ad break during True Blood. Finally, Microsoft’s brand advertising campaign for Xbox 360 depicted game, movie and music experiences in a credible and social way and featured voice-overs from the likes of Jo Whiley and Simon Pegg. Microsoft was the number one advertiser during X Factor throughout December.

As the market has matured, Nintendo has placed more emphasis on disruptive, breakthrough marketing as the format holder continued its mission to bring in new users to gaming, irrespective of age or gender. This began at the start of the year with new mums being targeted via the Wii Fit ads featuring Louise Redknapp. Wii Sports Resort saw Nintendo take on a tropical theme, which continued during the summer. And the over-45s were next on the company’s agenda, with Professor Layton and Brain Training being promoted on uncharted ground for the games market – the likes of Readers Digest, Classic FM and during Countdown and This Morning. To finish off the year, Nintendo turned to Ant and Dec in a series of TV ads, which weaved real consumers into the communication.

As if notching up record-breaking sales with Modern Warfare 2 wasn’t enough, Activision’s UK marketing team went into overdrive in 2009, picking up five Golden Joystick Awards and three BAFTAs along the way. It launched the biggest entertainment event of all time, achieved the highest grossing new IP of 2009 (DJ Hero), worked with Doritos to deliver a £1 million media co-campaign with Guitar Hero and delivered a marketing campaign that gave £250,000 to the War Child charity to help change the lives of children globally who are affected by war.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS AWARD CRITERIA: Effective communication of product or brand messages • Creativity • Influence on sales performance • Impact versus budget and resource level

PR & MARKETING MARKETING TEAM

UBISOFT

SONY

SEGA

ELECTRONIC ARTS

Ubisoft rolled out effective marketing campaigns that clearly delivered results. With Call of Juarez 2, the team knew it had a decent game during a quiet time of the year, so increased its investment to include TV support and a strong ‘gold rush’ consumer promotion – as a result, the game became a surprise summer hit. With Assassinʼs Creed II, the challenge was to ensure the firm hit the mainstream and maximised sales. A strong campaign kicked off in May, six months ahead of release and built on the back of impressive reviews. And with Just Dance, the marketing of the title made a real difference. Ubi invested heavily in pre-launch trial and awareness and supported the title with strong TV investment. And the efforts paid off, with the title becoming the publisher’s most successful Wii game to date.

In the past year the team have met many different challenges with great success through innovation, intuition and sheer hard work. Highlights have included launching the new PS3 with ‘The Game is Just the Start’ campaign across every channel from TV to shopping centres; getting across the unique offering of Heavy Rain; broadening the appeal of the brand through EyePet and a five month blockbuster campaign for Uncharted 2.

Headed up by new UK marketing director Amanda Farr, Sega worked creatively during 2009 to maximise sales. Smart booking saw Sega grab the last spot during the X Factor final, which was seen by over 15m people, and it had the first spot on Big Brotherʼs launch night. Elsewhere, Sega took three-minute take-over spots during Aliens on E4 and Predator on Channel 4 during the week of release of AvP. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games was the main sponsor of Toonattik, the biggest kids’ weekend programming, for three months, with bumpers running 20 times per weekend. Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing sponsored Cartoon Network during half term, while the firm has signed a threeyear sponsorship deal of the Sonic Spinball Ride and a themed room in the Alton Towers Hotel at the UK’s biggest theme park.

2009 saw EA’s UK marketing team engineer hits and ensure must-have buzz status amongst the key influencing core gamers for titles such as Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age, Left For Dead 2, Danteʼs Inferno and Battlefield Bad Company. The company grew its share on Nintendo platforms to become the number one first party publisher, thanks to titles such as EA Sports Active, Grand Slam Tennis, Tiger Woods 2010, Hasbro Family Game Night, Harry Potter, MySims and Flips. And it drove its blockbusters, such as FIFA 10, The Sims, NFS Shift, Mass Effect 2, Bad Company and The Beatles Rock Band, to stand-out entertainment status.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

PEOPLE & INDUSTRY

FINALISTS UK Development Team Distribution Team Sales Triumph Sales Team Games Publisher


THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

All UK-based teams or studios were eligible for this award, regardless of international ownership. Innovation and acclaim were among factors considered when picking the best...

ROCKSTAR LEEDS

ROCKSTEADY STUDIOS

SLIGHTLY MAD STUDIOS

Rockstar’s handheld studio continues to impress, having turned out GTA: Chinatown Wars and Beaterator for a variety of formats over the last 12 months. What’s most striking is how the former title has managed to take advantage of a diverse array of host hardware, from the innovative DS original, through to the PSP remake and highgrossing iPhone release from the start of the year. It was good compensation for a year without a ‘real’ GTA release on consoles.

London-based Rocksteady was a relatively unknown studio a few years ago – its only credit was Urban Chaos: Riot Response from 2006. Until Batman: Arkham Asylum landed in August 2009, that is. The game, praised for both its faithfulness to the comic book icon and raft of innovative features, catapulted Rocksteady into the premier league of games development. It’s sold over two million units since and the studio, originally founded in 2004, has since been acquired by Warner Bros and is now hard at work on a sequel.

Signing your first game to EA is praise enough. But being entrusted with the job of reinventing a franchise like Need For Speed is unheard of in such circumstances. But that’s what happened at Slightly Mad Studios, formed early last year from the closure of Blimey! Games. Need for Speed: Shift took the game into simulation territory, and helped revitalise the brand in the competitive racing genre.

Previous Winners 2003: 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009:

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Rockstar North Sony London Studios Rockstar North Bizarre Creations Traveller’s Tales Codemasters Rockstar North

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS AWARD CRITERIA: Consistency of product quality Sales performance • Critical acclaim • Innovation

PEOPLE & INDUSTRY UK DEVELOPMENT TEAM

FREESTYLE GAMES

CODEMASTERS STUDIOS

SPORTS INTERACTIVE

The studio behind DJ Hero, the largest grossing new IP of 2009, Freestyle Games is based in Leamington Spa and London and gained critical acclaim for its entry into the music gaming genre. Both the peripheral and music remixes have breathed fresh air into the market and demonstrated how to be über cool whilst they did it.

The team at Codemasters further extended a successfully rebooted series with DiRT 2, which has enjoyed strong sales in Europe, but now the US as well. The studio also enjoyed strong success with the reworking of Operation Flashpoint. It was a challenging project to reinvent a nine-year-old title for a contemporary console generation, but Codemasters did so with great success, it being the number two selling title in October 2009 after FIFA 10.

It was another great year for the Sports Interactive team, with Football Manager 2010 – the sixth iteration of the series – going to number one in its first week of release, knocking FIFA 10 off the top spot and beating Wii Fit Plus, Tekken 6 and GTA: Episodes from Liberty City. Review scores were high too, with the game notching up 93 per cent from IGN and 90 per cent with the likes of the Telegraph, Total Video Games, Videogamer, PC Gamer, Eurogamer and Total PC Gaming. Continued innovation has been key to FMʼs success, with the latest version featuring improved match engine, match analysis, new user interface, tactical overhaul, news centre and new data editor. Meanwhile, studio founders Oliver and Paul Collyer have received MBEs.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Many of the industry’s unsung heroes belong to the distribution sector. Here we look at speed of service and order fulfillment so that we can sing their praises...

Previous Winners 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009:

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Gem Centresoft Centresoft Koch Media Centresoft Centresoft

GEM

KOCH

CENTRESOFT

Over the past 25 years Gem has built a reputation for excellence in the leisure and IT supply chain, supplying a diverse product and category range to UK retail on behalf of many leading brands and manufacturers. Gem strives to create new opportunities in existing and emerging sectors of the market, with unrivalled customer support. During a tough year for the industry, Gem has managed to grow its business significantly to over £265m in sales (from £225m the previous financial year). Gem also saved one of its competitors, Trilogy, from collapse last year, investing significantly to provide increased support to vendors and customers.

Passionately evolving its services for customers and suppliers alike, Koch continues to dominate the sector between wholesale distributor and overburdened (with own IP) publishers. Aggressively spearheading Nintendo’s new business push, the distributor has an impressively wide customer base, with the likes of Marks and Spencer now buying Nintendo through it. Additionally, with sales representatives in both Sweden and Holland, Koch Media can now exploit the Nordic and Benelux territories as an extension of the UK sales activities, giving the trade a low cost of entry to these regions.

As one of the biggest distributors in the industry, Centresoft has time and again proved itself to be worthy of a market leader, boasting distribution partnerships with the most prominent games publishers – including Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Sony, Sega, Capcom and more. As such, it has had to handle some of the biggest launches ever to hit the UK, such as Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Mario & Sonic, Resident Evil 5 and Uncharted 2. Centresoft has also been expanding its partnerships over the last year, signing everyone from smaller publishers such as Majesco and Nordic Games to international retail giants such as Best Buy’s European arm.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS AWARD CRITERIA: Speed of service • Order fulfillment • Customer service Product condition • Commitment to an orderly market

PEOPLE & INDUSTRY DISTRIBUTION TEAM

CREATIVE

ADVANTAGE

Emerging from a highly successful year of trading, Creative Distribution went from strength to strength in 2009 and is set to achieve even greater feats before this year is out. The company reported a record turnover of £38 million in its last fiscal year – more than double the amount recorded in the previous year. And far from resting on its laurels, Creative has now set its sights even higher, aiming to surpass a turnover of £50 million. The distributor expanded its European presence last year with a number of agreements to deliver product to non-traditional retailers on the Continent, as well as in the UK. It also plans to launch departments that will wholesale with entirely different industries.

Established back in 2003, Advantage continues to supply solutions that address the changing distribution needs of both retailers and publishers. The company has strengthened its operations in recent years as an independent sales and distribution firm, with its own dedicated management structure and sales force. Advantage maintains great working relationships with its partners at notable publishers such as Namco Bandai Partners, THQ and 505 Games, helping them launch such popular titles as Ghostbusters, Star Trek Online, Tekken 6, Darksiders, UFC Undisputed 2009 and Cooking Mama 3. The company has also continued to expand its client database, signing a variety of new publishers such as Iceberg Interactive.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

There’s a clue in the name. This award will go to a video game that has surpassed expectation when it comes to sales... WE SING (NORDIC GAMES)

STREET FIGHTER IV (CAPCOM)

New publisher Nordic Games showed true promise with its karaoke IP last November. We Sing debuted in seventh place in the full-price Wii charts and was second only to SingStar Take That in the karaoke genre. The game sold through its entire initial shipment within weeks, and Nordic was quick to muster a second shipment – which also sold out. The publisher has been working hard to satisfy demand ever since. Nordic Games is already working on a follow-up to We Sing, with plans to establish it as a key franchise in the karaoke gaming market.

The triumphant return of Capcom’s long-running beat ‘em up series grabbed the headlines last February, with Street Fighter IV selling 2.5 million copies worldwide within a month of its release.The game became the biggest selling No1 of 2009 at the time of its launch, and holds the honour of being the bestselling ‘traditional’ fighting game since the UK charts began back in 1997. It managed to hold on to a Top 10 position in the ELSPA Gfk Chart-Track All Formats chart for three weeks. The upcoming expanded version Super Street Fighter IV is expected to top these accomplishments.

UFC 2009 (THQ) Further bolstering THQ’s fighting portfolio, UFC 2009 Undisputed marked a strong debut for what is shaping up to be just as successful a franchise as its WWE-licensed brother. The game took No1 when it was released in May last year and held onto its throne for two consecutive weeks. Even after it was toppled from the coveted top spot, it survived several more weeks in the Top 10. THQ announced last month that more than 3.5 million copies of the game have been shipped worldwide and interest is ramping up for its 2010 sequel, due this May.

Previous Winners 2007: World of Warcraft (Blizzard) 2008: Cooking Mama (505 Games) 2009: Fallout 3 (Bethesda)

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS AWARD CRITERIA: Sales performance • Product expectations • Over-achievement

PEOPLE & INDUSTRY SALES TRIUMPH

CLUB PENGUIN: ELITE PENGUIN FORCE (DISNEY) Disney’s companion title to the popular online kids’ games site, Club Penguin, has been a mainstay in the DS charts since launch, and has racked up global sales of 1.5 million units. The game debuted at No 2 in the DS charts back in March, beginning an impressive ten-week stint in the Top 10 – with a further fiveweek stretch through November and December after the game was re-released for Christmas. Club Penguin also fared well in the All Formats charts, launching in sixteenth place and holding onto a Top 40 position for a further six weeks.

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LEGO BATMAN (WBIE) LEGO Batman: The Videogame, published by Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment and developed by TT Games, the award-winning team behind the LEGO Star Wars series of games, is a genuine sales triumph, selling over one million copies in the UK. Despite launching in late 2008, a majority of the game’s UK sales were in the last 12 months – proving the LEGO brand’s power and the evergreen potential of the LEGO Batman itself.

ASHES CRICKET 2009 (CODEMASTERS) Ashes Cricket 2009 was Codemasters’ first All Formats No 1 hit for four years and the first time a UK publisher had reached the top of the charts since Eidos in 2007. According to ChartTrack, the game was “far and away the biggest launch for a cricket title ever”. Hitting shelves in the heat of last year’s Ashes competition, Codemasters’ companion title sparked a massive surge of interest in digital cricket. Ashes Cricket 2009ʼs successful debut saw it sit for two weeks at No 1 in the ELSPA Gfk All Formats charts, racking up a further four weeks in the Top 10.

JUST DANCE (UBISOFT) Just Dance has enjoyed a phenomenal sales success. Initial hopes were strong but the actual results from launch to the end of March will be five times higher than the expected 185,000 units planned. The game entered the chart at number 100 with 3,000 units sold in the first weekend. Over the next two weeks sales grew over 1,400 per cent to over 63,000 units as the marketing campaign really kicked in. Sales have continued to grow, with customer demand exceeding all expectations, enabling Just Dance to become the first title to knock Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 off the top of the charts, despite appearing on just one format. Sell-through is now in excess of 500,000 units, making Just Dance Ubisoft’s most successful Wii game ever, just nine weeks after launch.

41


THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Sales teams are vitally important. But only if they successfully get games into retail, show great customer care and know their products...

Previous Winners 2003: 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009:

42

Microsoft/Gem Sony/Centresoft Activision THQ THQ Ubisoft Sega

ELECTRONIC ARTS

UBISOFT

SONY

Grabbing back the number one value and volume publisher listing last year speaks for itself. And yes, having the brands that EA boasts does help. But the sales team clearly doesn’t sit on its laurels, despite boasting seven different All Formats number one titles in 2009 – more than any other publisher. For example, EA has committed to early and regular product showcasing for retailers, at three bespoke events. It has worked closely with the trade to tackle difficult market challenges, helping out with inventory supply and channel control. And the team has created a promotional and bundle strategy designed to maximise in-store and online execution.

Ubisoft’s sales team has a diverse catalogue of titles to work with, which needs strong product knowledge and creativity across both Ubisoft’s core and casual games. The team has maximised this expertise in all product areas, which has culminated in a strong share across every platform from number three to number one independent publisher on every individual platform. While the Ubisoft sales team exploits every opportunity across its catalogue, it has also delivered some individual huge sellers, such as Assassinʼs Creed (over one million units) and Just Dance (in excess of 500,000 units). The Ubi sales team is also helped by the Infinite field team of nine people.

This year SCE UK’s sales team has been focussed on working closer with retail partners in a very challenging environment. It has worked hard to understand crucial touch points for them and aimed to collaborate in a flexible way to make sure retailers have achieved their objectives. The team has also aligned its behaviour to understand how key stakeholders within its retail partners’ businesses interact and clearly aligned retail activities to enhance Sony’s strong marketing and PR communication messages. The above, coupled with a more robust approach to the bread and butter of availability management, forecasting and stock management, has led to PlayStation as a category outperforming the market over the last 12 months, as well as individual IP launch successes such as Infamous, Uncharted 2, EyePet and Heavy Rain.

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS AWARD CRITERIA: Product knowledge • Depth of advance information Telesales customer care • Field sales reliability • Sales performance

PEOPLE & INDUSTRY SALES TEAM

ACTIVISION

MICROSOFT

NINTENDO

SEGA

The Activision sales team took retail partnerships to a new level in 2009, using category management and a wide range of shopper and consumer insights to tailor programmes for specific audiences. The sales team’s efforts were instrumental in mirroring the publisher’s media programmes and driving breakthrough successes that included helping Modern Warfare 2 to become the biggest entertainment launch event of all time, helping Guitar Hero 5 combat Beatlemania, propelling Prototype to become the fourth best selling new IP of 2009 (volume) and making DJ Hero the highest grossing new IP of 2009.

It was another good year for Microsoft’s games team, but – with Nintendo’s strength in the family sector and Sony’s rise in the hardcore market – it hasn’t been an easy ride. And Microsoft’s sales team has been key to the format holder and publisher’s success over the past year. In particular, the team delivered impressive results around Halo 3: ODST, Forza 3 and, of course, Xbox 360 hardware.

Improved levels of stock availability, consistent dialogue and trade marketing support for distribution, coupled with more responsive and effective trade initiatives for retail, saw Nintendo’s commitment for change manifest itself throughout 2009. And the firm saw exceptional sell-through performances during the year, including 2.5m DS, over 1.8m Wii, over 1m Wii Fit Plus, over three million Wii Sports Resort, over 800,000 New Super Mario Bros Wii, and over 500,000 Professor Layton and Pandoraʼs Box.

It’s been another successful year for Sega as a multi-format publisher, with the company generating over £80m of retail games spend in 2009 and being ranked as the fifth biggest publisher of the year in the UK. Key successes for the company last year were Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Football Manager 2010. Business planning has been at the forefront of Sega’s retail drive and to this end the sales team has held regular presentations meetings with its key retail partners, whilst also holding a major retail conference.

WWW.MCVUK.COM

43


THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Sales are important when it comes to assessing games publishers, but so are trade relations, product quality, customer service and marketing agility...

Games Publisher Award Partner

ACTIVISION

SEGA

ELECTRONIC ARTS

Activision launched the biggest entertainment property of 2009, indeed of all time, with Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, whilst also releasing the largest grossing new IP of the year in DJ Hero and rolling out the fourth best-selling (by volume) new IP of 2009 with Prototype. Not a bad year, by any means. But, despite the arrival of the muchhyped Beatles Rock Band, the publisher saw off the rival with its Guitar Hero 5, also delivering a campaign that donated £250,000 to the War Child charity.

It was another successful year for Sega as it consolidated its position as a key UK publisher, ranking the fifth biggest games firm in the business and generating some £80m of retail games spend. During the year, Sega achieved enviable critical acclaim, including three 10/10 scores for Bayonetta, whilst FM 2010 was the highest scoring Football Manager title since 2007. Meanwhile, the Sega Select Scheme has been hailed as one of the most innovative and rewarding retail initiatives in the market, providing incentivised volume plans, marketing and catalogue/campaign deals to its partners.

There’s no arguing with the fact that EA is the market leader, and last year the firm gained market share in the boxed product sector, shipping 19 titles rated 80 or better. In 2009 it reclaimed the number one publisher slot from Nintendo and became the number one third party publisher on Wii. It enjoyed its strongest commercial launch to date with FIFA 10, delivering an 86 per cent share of the football category and boasted its best critical launch ever, with Mass Effect 2 seeing sales up 100 per cent on the original. Add in best ever sales of Sims 3, a successful launch of new IP in EA Sports Active – and more – and it’s smiles all round at EA.

Previous Winners 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009:

44

EA Nintendo Nintendo Activision Blizzard

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THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS

Games Publisher Award Partner

AWARD CRITERIA: Sales development • Product quality Trade relations • Customer service • Marketing agility

PEOPLE & INDUSTRY GAMES PUBLISHER

UBISOFT

SONY

MICROSOFT

NINTENDO

Last year cemented Ubisoft’s number three, third party publisher position and saw the firm enjoy continued sales in the casual sector, whilst also boasting multi-platform sellthrough of over one million units of Assassinʼs Creed II. In addition, titles such as Just Dance and My Fitness Coach have secured Ubisoft’s position in the lucrative Wii sector. Meanwhile, 2009 also saw the first real evidence of Ubisoft’s ambitions to be more than just a games publisher with things like the Assassinʼs Creed movie and book, Rabbids toys and iPhone apps.

Over the last 12 months, Sony Computer Entertainment has continued to grow the market, with the introduction of the PS3 Slim and PSP go, coupled with the release of a broad range of new and established IPs, such as InFamous, Uncharted 2, EyePet, SingStar Take That, Heavy Rain and God of War 3. Continually striving to innovate through its marketing, PR and sales campaigns, SCE UK has enjoyed both commercial success and critical acclaim for the work it has undertaken.

It was another solid year for Microsoft as a publisher, aside from its successes as a format holder. The firm delivered one of the highest rated and biggest selling titles of the year in Forza Motorsport 3, whilst it continued the epic Halo franchise with Halo 3: ODST. Both titles achieved impressive day one and on-going sales to beat even internal expectations.

There’s no doubting Nintendo’s importance as a format holder – DS hardware has now sold over 11 million units, making it the biggest selling console of all time in the UK; Wii has sold over six million units, cumulatively meaning that over 60 per cent of all hardware sold in the UK in 2009 was on Nintendo formats. But the icing on the cake was the fact that Nintendo sold more software than any other publisher last year. Pushing the boundaries of innovation, commercial highlights include Wii Fit Plus notching up over a million sales last year; Wii Sports Resort claiming three million sales; New Super Mario Bros Wii over 800,000 units; Professor Layton and Pandoraʼs Box shifting over 500,000 sales.

WWW.MCVUK.COM

45


THE FINALISTS 2010 YOUR TEAM • YOUR GAMES • YOUR AWARDS AWARD CRITERIA (RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD SPECIAL RECOGNITION): Sales performance Attitude and efficiency • Innovation • Success within budgetary constraints • Long-term vision and problem-solving

Previous Winners 2007: Margaret Pearson (Centresoft) 2008: Paul Donnelly (Gem) 2009: Andy Yates (Nintendo)

SPECIAL AWARDS MCV RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD: SPECIAL RECOGNITION This is a special award voted for entirely by the MCV Retail Advisory Board, who represent the leading retailers in the UK. Finalists and winners are chosen based on their attitude to retail, enthusiasm and performance... MCV RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

RALPH PITT-STANLEY

DORIAN BLOCH

PENNY HUMPHREY

(505 Games)

(GfK Chart-Track)

(Electronic Arts)

Lisa Morgan

Duncan Cross

Martyn Gibbs

Don McCabe

Tim Ellis

Keith Sharpe

Sarah Jasper

Jon Biggs

GRAND PRIX AWARD Last but not least is the Grand Prix. Nothing about this award will be revealed until on the night of Thursday April 22nd. Our highest accolade, this prize rewards any UK-based brand or company which has enjoyed commercial and critical success, whilst also showing the highest level of support at trade level. Previous winners have included Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Sony and Microsoft. The winner of the award is decided exclusively by the team at MCV – but no one has yet complained about our final decision... Peter Moore, EA

Azeem Sadiq

Graham Chambers

Peter Willis

Igor Cipolletta

Anthony Stocker

Stephen Staley

Joanna Hunt

Gurdeep Hunjan

Previous Winners

MATT CASTLE

MIKE SHERLOCK

ROY STACKHOUSE

(Disney Interactive Studios)

(Square Enix)

(Activision)

46

Phil Moore

2003: 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009:

Microsoft Electronic Arts Nintendo Sony Nintendo Nintendo EA Sports

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MONETISING MOBILE

SPEAKERS: We have signed up a number of top speakers to share their experience in the app space. These include...

Monetising Mobile is a new kind of conference hosted by Mobile Entertainment

ANDREW FISHER CEO of Shazam RUSSELL BUCKLEY VP of global alliances, AdMob JUAN LOPEZ-VALCARCEL director of digital at Pearson DAVID GIBBS general manager of mobile, Sky

Wednesday, May 26th • BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London

How to make mobile apps pay their way

Conference & Dinner from £199

JULES EHRHARDT head of biz dev, Ustwo VOLKER HIRSCH strategy advisor, Scoreloop NICHOLAS LOVELL founder of Gamesbrief PHIL NORTHAM Samsung Mobile

An ME Event

PATRICK MORK VP of marketing, GetJar

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

CAROLINE VAN DEN BERGH head of product, Golden Gekko RAY ANDERSON CEO, Bango ...and more to be confirmed

Gold Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsor

If you are interested in speaking at the event please contact Tim.Green@intentmedia.co.uk or call +44 (0)1992 535646


Retail Category Partner

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Pre-Event Drinks Partner

Peripherals & Accessories Award Partner

New Game Brand Award Partner

After Party Host

Drinks Reception Partner

Games Publisher Award Partner

Video Partner


MCV Awards Finalists Supplement 2010