THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES
Issue 523 Friday February 6 2009 £3.25
04 Moving on up
24 A slice of Apple
The UK leapfrogs Japan as 2nd biggest sales territory – and starts ‘09 with a bang
The publishing community discusses iPod’s potential as a games platform
06 Essential events
19 In the game
MCV highlights upcoming events as UK trade show Gameplan is confirmed
The In-Game Advertising sector goes under the MCV microscope
07 Mama’s back
14 Ubisoft’s vision
505 Games announces the release of Cooking Mama 2 on Nintendo Wii
The publisher’s CEO Yves Guillemot tells all about his plans for 2009
EVERY BUYER EVERY BRANCH EVERY INDIE EVERY WEEK
Smiths to ditch games... but will anyone notice? SPECIAL REPORT: High Street leaving behind old guard of retail as industry finds new routes to market
WH Smith confirms plan to drop entertainment But Morrisons, Borders and other young guns ready to fill gap by Michael French THE GHOST OF EUK is still haunting the High Street – with WH Smith this week telling MCV that it is to ditch entertainment products – but it seems there have never been more opportunities for games companies to take advantage of new routes to market. WHS, one of the UK’s longest-running retailers, was caught up in supply problems following the collapse of Woolworths and its distribution subsidiary EUK at Christmas. And a paucity of stock has not only driven consumers elsewhere, but sparked the firm to re-evaluate its status as an entertainment provider. “The EUK collapse did not come as a complete surprise to us, although the timing was particularly unhelpful,” a WHS
spokesperson told MCV. “Longterm trends in entertainment look set to continue. We are continuing to implement our strategy to reduce our presence
We are continuing to implement our strategy to reduce our presence in Entertainment. WH Smith
in entertainment to focus instead on books, news and impulse and stationery. “We are committed to providing our customers with a tailored convenience offer.”
It might not sound convenient for publishers who sold their 360, Wii, PC and PlayStation games through the chain. But the news won’t trouble them too much, as retailers such as Morrisons, Waterstones, John Lewis, Next and Borders have all stepped up to join the likes of GAME, GameStation and HMV to satisfy a fast-changing retail landscape. Morrisons has told MCV that entertainment goods have been a key driver for growth – with game sales specifically booming at the supermarket chain. “All entertainments goods are performing above plan, but gaming is outperforming DVD and music as would be expected with the current market dynamics,” games buyer Jon Biggs told MCV. And with the firm having switched to using Music Box
Leisure as its permanent entertainment distributor in the wake of EUK’s collapse, the supermarket is now poised to boost its games offer further.
Gaming forms a very important part of our nonfood offer. Jon Biggs, Morrisons
Biggs added: “All our new and re-fit stores have increased space for gaming which is internally recognised as a very important part of Morrison’s non-food offer.”
Meanwhile, Waterstones has beefed up its games offer, now offering Nintendo’s Touch Generation range in over 100 of its book shops across the UK – a third of its stores. Borders is another bookseller also looking to tap into the booming games market via its GAME concessions. The firm’s head of retail operations James Sneddon told MCV that he’d “like to see a GAME in every Borders store, much like we have a Starbucks and a Paperchase in every store.” And MCV understands clothes retailer Next is eyeing a move to start offering games instore this year after a successful two years selling hardware and software through its catalogue and online store. Additional reporting by Ben Parfitt, Chris Dring and Tim Ingham
PERSONNEL 34 RETAIL BIZ 39 NEW RELEASES 52 HIGH STREET 54 CHARTS 56
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UK industry off to a f [LEADER] BYE-BYE WHS… A few years ago, WH Smith reducing its DVD, music and software offer would have been a serious cause for concern for the UK games industry and its counterparts in other entertainment sectors. Like many consumers my age, Smiths used to be a prime destination for games and hardware for me – its PC range seemed to be the only one on the High Street to rival GAME’s when I was in my teens, and as a student its PlayStation range was excellent. Yet things have changed dramatically, and the WHS operation has been left behind by a market which has grown to a point of boom time not just for our specialists, but a host of newcomers too. While WHS’ problems might have been caused by the same shared factors which have put pressure on other retailers – including the collapse of EUK – its white flag waving could go by without any real fanfare by our sector. This is, after all, a retail brand which is stubborn on pricing and whose games range has lost allure. It’s sad for them, but the market has shifted and WHS has been left behind by the rest of the pack.
…HELLO NEW WAVE Speaking of which: Next, Borders, Waterstone’s... these aren’t places anyone would have thought games could be sold a few years ago. This new wave of games retailers are promising better and bolder range space, a smart integration of product lines to fit alongside their bread and butter stock, and more flexible pricing. Great news for industry and consumers – and proof that the market growth of the past three years is not a fad. So WHS hasn’t left money on the table by retreating from games given that smart and very hungry rivals are circling. However this means publishers and distributors have to be smart, too. Games firms are (unsurprisingly) more than willing to harness this new wave for sales of games both to core gamers and more casual ones – but the onus is now on them to develop and nurture these relationships further.
FLYING THE FLAG News that the UK has become the world’s second largest software market should not only cheer retailers and publishers, but follows our prediction that Britain was set to trump Japan on MCVuk.com last week. You can read more on the right, but one point about the Japanese market’s decline which we haven’t mentioned is how Japan has become a handheld games nation. PSP and DS rule in the territory now that PS2 has dropped off. It’s yet another example of shifts in the games industry changing the market in surprising ways. email@example.com
Unit sales for first five weeks of the year up 37 per cent on 2008 by Tim Ingham THE UK software market has kicked off 2009 by thrashing last year’s January performance – and overtaking Japan to become the second biggest territory in the world. GfK-ChartTrack revealed this week that the UK software market grew by 26 per cent in 2008 – leaving it ahead of Japan in terms of unit sales in the year. And UK GfK-ChartTrack director Dorian Bloch has predicted that the UK can move ahead of Japan in terms of revenue this year – as January’s domestic console software market showed huge like-for-like growth on the same period in 2008. For the first five weeks of this year, the UK console market grew year-on-year by 37 per cent in units and by 21 per cent in terms of revenues. “I haven’t got a crystal ball, but it’s very much a possibility that the UK will overtake Japan in terms of annual software revenue,” Bloch told MCV.
“Japan is certainly in decline at the moment, mainly down to the fact that everyone seems to have already bought a DS or PSP, so hardware sales aren’t driving software sales – although DSi is flying off the shelves. The very sudden
decline of PS2 is also a factor. The Japanese market is about twice the size of ours, so there is room for manoeuvre in terms of people who had a DS four years ago and want a new handheld.” Bloch said the UK’s blistering start to the year could be
ELSPA applauds ASA findings ELSPA has praised its members after the Advertising Standards Agency found that 99 per cent of commercials created for video games were done so “responsibly”. Following a report launched on the back of the Byron Review, UK regularity body the ASA assessed broadcast and non-broadcast ads for video games that appeared in all media between April and June 2008. The survey covered 130 games reelases and 241 individual ads. In total the ASA found that just one ad was unacceptable – a TV spot for Sega’s Condemned 2. The overall compliance rate was 99 per cent.
Rawlinson says games firms do advertise responsibly in the UK
Michael Rawlinson, MD of ELSPA, commented: “The games industry here takes its responsibilities very seriously in relation to the advertising of
games, that’s why the PEGI system has its own advertising rules. I am sure this has significantly contributed to the excellent compliance that the ASA has found in relation to its own codes.” The report concluded: “The compliance rate of over 99 per cent suggests that video games are being advertised responsibly and in line with the CAP and BCAP Codes and that advertisers are targeting their ads at the appropriate audience age groups. The high compliance rate suggests that, in most instances, advertisers are sensitive to which images from the games are suitable to be used in advertisements.”
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flyer in 2009 ‘We are beating Japan’ says ChartTrack
DS’S MARCH TO 9 MILLION
attributed to the cheap sales at stores such as Zavvi. He added: “We need to wait until the middle of the year and have a firm date for DSi’s launch. Then we’ll really know what sort of year we’ll have.”
GfK-ChartTrack director Dorian Bloch has revealed to MCV that the Nintendo DS is teetering on the edge of a nine-million installed base in the UK. He also says that the imminent launch of successor the DSi will give those numbers yet more of a boost. He told us: “We’re approaching nine million DS units sold in the UK. It was at 8.8 million at the end of ‘08, so should pass that number by the end of ’09. That’s a hell of a lot of DS handhelds already in the market, and there are quite a few publishers successfully exploiting those numbers, especially Ubisoft. The DSi launch will stimulate more growth.”
Activision joins the Wii family revolution Publisher unveils new Fun4All games label TV marketing push planned PUBLISHER Activision Blizzard has launched a new label of Wii family games. Kicking off next week with six Wii exclusives, the Fun4All range includes Pirates: Hunt for Blackbeard’s Booty, Monkey Mischief, Block Party, Pitfall: The Big Adventure, Little
“This is a market segment where Activision Blizzard already has significant strength, including some of the largest kids’ movie licences. However, we are committed to making this part of our portfolio even stronger in the future and the Fun4All sub-brand will
TOP 10 KILLZONE 2 LIMITED ED BOX PS3 SONY
2. KILLZONE 2 PS3 ..................................................SONY
3. SOCOM: CONFRONTATION PS3 ..................................................SONY
4. STREET FIGHTER IV PS3 ..............................................CAPCOM
5. RESIDENT EVIL 5 PS3 ..............................................CAPCOM
6. RESIDENT EVIL 5 League World Series Baseball and World Championship Sports. More titles are also set to follow, with the firm hoping to strengthen its family and kids line-up. “The Fun4All range is being launched exclusively for the Wii platform and focuses upon the social element of gaming and bringing family and friends together,” said David Tyler, Activision marketing director.
be one of the platforms we use to achieve this.” Underlining Activision Blizzard’s commitment to the new range, the firm is set to launch a dedicated marketing campaign, including TV and in-store advertising. A two-week TV campaign starts on February 13th and targets children and housewives, supported by a PR campaign focusing first on children and on parents.
‘Major milestone’ for amBX SPECIAL EFFECTS hardware firm amBX this week took a step closer to wider acceptance after signing up as a tools provider for the PlayStation 3. The agreement with Sony Computer Entertainment means that amBX – which recently spun out of Philips via VC funding – can develop its light, sound and colour tech for the PlayStation 3. Developers can also look to build amBX functions into upcoming titles for the format, setting up the chance for the technology to find a userbase beyond the PC – until now the only amBX hardware and games were available for
7. STREET FIGHTER IV 360 ..............................................CAPCOM
8. RACE PRO 360 ..................................................ATARI
9. ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES 360 ..................................................SEGA
10. HALO WARS: LIMITED EDITION 360 ..........................................MICROSOFT Week ending January 31st Source: SHOPTO.COM
PlayStation titles will benefit from amBX special effects, says marketing boss Jo Cooke
home computers. A recent free SDK has also been launched to make amBX more accessible to the industry. Last year the firm said it planned to closer align its offer with the success of brands like Guitar Hero.
“This is a major milestone in the development of amBX as a ubiquitous standard for entertainment sensory experiences,” said Jo Cooke, chief marketing officer, amBX. “The technology has already proven incredibly popular
within the PC games, music, movies and apps markets. The Tools & Middlware License agreement with SCEI will allow us to bring amazing light, rumble, sound and air movement experiences to game users.”
Week Ending January 17th
Week Ending January 23rd
Week Ending January 30th
Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media
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Games industry gets ready for long, hot summer events season UK retail show Gameplan set for June E3 back bigger than ever Leipzig moves from Gamescom clash by Michael French SNOW MIGHT HAVE chilled the UK this week, but the trade should prepare for a hot and busy summer of industry shows and networking conferences. New UK trade and retail event GamePlan this week rounded out the events calendar for the summer. Taking place from June 24th to June 26th in Surrey, GamePlan will offer one-to-one meetings and provide a place
other big shows for retailers including the revamped E3, which this year runs from June 2nd to June 4th in Los Angeles, and the Cannesbased publisher expo IDEF, which runs from June 30th to July 2nd. E3 organiser the ESA this week confirmed that the event, which returns to the LA Convention Center after two years of trialling new formats, has already scored support from over 30 games publishers – and will even welcome the
We congratulate GamePlan’s organisers for stepping forward and encouraging publishers to support it. Kim Bayley, ERA
for retailers and publishers to do business under one roof. The event has been put together after discussions with the trade and has secured the backing of ERA. “We have long argued the case for an event which brings together UK games publishers and retailers in one place,” said Kim Bayley, director general of ERA. “In these cost-conscious times it is all the more necessary to create a focused UK-based event.” She added: “We congratulate the organisers of GamePlan for stepping forward to meet this need, and encourage publishers to give it their full support. Spokesperson Andy Lane added: “UK retailers have wanted an event like for a while. In this climate the event makes real sense.” But June – and indeed the whole summer – is a busy time for industry events. Gameplan is sandwiched between two
ESSENTIAL TRADE EVENTS ‘09 H MARC
GAMES BASED LEARNING London, UK Friday March 20th GDC San Francisco, USA Monday, March 23rd – Friday, March 27th
MCV AWARDS London, UK Thursday, April 23rd
E3 Los Angeles, USA Tuesday, June 2nd – Thursday, June 4th GAMEPLAN Surrey, UK Wednesday, June 24th – Friday, June 28th
return of booth babes to its show floor. Michael Gallagher, ESA CEO commented: “With robust exhibitor sales, high attendee interest, and strong commitments from multiple industry sectors, we are going to ensure the full excitement and energy of this industry is on display.” In other events news in Europe, Leipzig Games Convention organiser Leipziger Messe last week confirmed that it was retooling its show after a date clash with newcomer event Gamescom. The Leipzig event has been transformed into Games Convention Online, which runs from July 31st to August 2nd and will be focused on emerging platforms for online games. Gamescom is still set for August 19th to 23rd. See ‘Essential Trade Events ‘09’ for a full run down of key conferences and shows from now until autumn.
IDEF Cannes, France Tuesday, June 30th – Thursday, July 2nd
DEVELOP CONFERENCE & EXPO Brighton, UK Tuesday, July 14th – Thursday, July 16th DEVELOP INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS Brighton, UK Wednesday July 15th LEIPZIG CONVENTION ONLINE Leipzig, Germany Friday, July 31st – Sunday, August 2nd
GAMESCOM Cologne, Germany Wednesday, August 19th – Sunday, August 23rd EDINBURGH INTERACTIVE FESTIVAL Edinburgh, Scotland Monday, August 10th – Sunday, August 16th
GAMES MEDIA AWARDS London, UK Thursday, October 15th
LONDON GAMES CONFERENCE London, UK Tuesday October 27th
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505 Cooks up Wii Q1 line-up…
Cooking Mama 2 leads the charge this week Key Wii titles hit in March and April too by Michael French MCV AWARD WINNING brand Cooking Mama returns to retail today (February 6th) thanks to a new Wii release. 505 Games’ Cooking Mama 2 boasts fresh 3D visuals for the franchise, new controls and a range of new mini-games. “With 1.3 million units already sold across the Cooking Mama range in the UK alone, we’re confident Cooking Mama 2 on Wii will be our most
we’re looking at a huge first quarter for 505 Games.” The cheerleading rhythm action title We Cheer is also due for release this week. The publisher is pitching the mass-market Wii title as perfect for families, fitness and female gamers. The game includes a number of licensed music tracks from the likes of Hilary Duff and Paramore. Girls remain a focus for the firm in March too, with the release of Diva Girls: Princess
With Cooking Mama selling 1.3 million units, we’re confident Cooking Mama 2 will be our most popular release to-date.
Ralph Pitt-Stanley, 505 Games
popular release to date,” said 505 Games’ sales director Ralph Pitt-Stanley. “To put that in perspective, we’re competing with the kinds of numbers Jamie and Nigella deliver through their cookbook sales. Add our other new Wii titles, including We Cheer, and
Out 20th February 2009 Wii
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on Ice and Diva Girls: Diva Dancers on March 27th. Finally, We Rock Drum King hits Nintendo’s Wii on April 9th and features a raft of licensed rock tracks from The Gorillaz, Queen, Bloc Party and The Clash.
OUT 6TH MARCH 2009 Xbox 360, PS3, PC-DVD
505 Games: 01908 607 772
…As Reef goes Rogue for Nintendo THINK THE WII only boasts games for kids? A new title from Reef should provide something for older players looking for an action experience on the platform. PEGI 16+ rated Rogue Trooper: Quartz Zone Massacre will be launched across Europe on February 27th. Based on the 2000 AD sci-fi comic property, the game is Reef’s first title for the Nintendo platform and according to the firm will be one of the Wii’s most engaging third-person action titles yet. “We have high hopes for Rogue Trooper,” said Reef’s managing director Peter Rezon. “The tactical use of stealth as well as the all-out action fit
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 COMIC ACTION: Reef MD Peter Rezon is confident Rogue Trooper will be the Wii’s ‘very best shooter’
perfectly with the Nintendo Wii interface, providing an exciting and immersive gameplay experience. “Rogue has a cult following from when he first appeared in 2000 AD and we have returned to the original
storyline for the Wii version of the game to remind people how Rogue came about. But it is the strong characters and storyline that will have great appeal for gamers of all types. We believe this will become one of the very best shooter
titles available on the Nintendo Wii.” Rogue Trooper is being released through Ubisoft in the UK and Ireland, Digital Brothers in Spain and Atari in France, Germany and Italy.
2009 Wii and Nintendo DS
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Ubisoft’s Imagine range EA UK: ‘We can hits 1m sales milestone shine on iPod’ DS and Wii titles prove successful during the peak selling season Publisher now aims to further grow Games For Everyone range by James Batchelor UBISOFT is celebrating after a stellar performance by its Imagine range over Christmas pushed the series to just under one million annual sales. The line-up of mass-market titles shifted over 300,000 units in the four weeks to Christmas, MCV has learnt, with Imagine Teacher and Imagine Dream Weddings leading the way. “The Imagine series and the broader Games For Everyone portfolio now represent a significant part of Ubisoft’s business,” group brand manager
Mark Slaughter says Ubisoft will continue to support Imagine titles
With Imagine, we were able to offer a broad range of games to a very targeted sector of the market. Mark Slaughter, Ubisoft
Mark Slaughter told MCV. “With Imagine, we were able to offer a broad range of games to a very targeted sector of the market, a sector which we can expect to grow further. The continuing growth of the DS and Wii install bases also represents a significant area of opportunity for us with our more casual games.” Slaughter also revealed the publisher’s determination to keep developing the series. “We will continue to build on and support the Imagine range in the UK,” he said. “We
This year will see even more Imagine titles...
have seen the brand and the individual products gain real appeal for the targeted girls’ DS market. Over the coming year, you can look out for more great games across a wide spectrum of subjects.” Ubisoft: 01932 578000
EA’S UK marketing director has spoken of the firm’s admiration for iPhone and iPod Touch as games consoles – and discussed whether they can rival DS and PSP. Stuart Lang told MCV that the publisher feels it can ‘shine’ on the platform, by dedicating time and investment into first-party development. He said: “We are very excited to be a part of this new platform and believe that this passion, combined with our development talent and some of the best entertainment intellectual property in the world, will enable us to shine in this environment.” The firm has seen particular success on the format with Spore Origins, which was awarded Editor’s Choice from IGN and maintains a four star rating from Apple Users on the company’s App Store. Other popular titles from EA on iPod Touch include Scrabble and Tetris. Lang went on to add: “Spore Origins uses the iPhone accelerometer, Scrabble leverages the touch feature and Tetris uses the touch feature. Our games that have been previously announced but not yet launched
LANG: “We’re excited to be a part of this platform”
will also take advantage of these unique capabilities. “The iPhone is first and foremost a communications device that has unique capabilities such as the accelerometer and touch screen to greatly enhance mobile gameplay. “The iPhone has some similar game capabilities as platforms like the DS and PSP, but it is also unique because it is not a dedicated gaming device. “We expect to see consumers of the DS and PSP clearly prioritise games over consumers who purchase an iPhone. Given that, we’re seeing different usage patterns, and product consumption for each platform, and we are crafting our product offering accordingly,” he concluded. For our full feature on iPod’s chances as games console, turn to page 24.
GET YOUR MESSAGE OUT THERE
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Centresoft secures PlayV signing Birmingham-based distributor takes on PlayV’s games catalogue with immediate effect
by Christopher Dring PLAYV HAS signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Centresoft, MCV can reveal. Among the first PlayV games to be distributed by the Birmingham-based outfit is the educational DS range, Mind Your Language. The publisher is confident that Centresoft’s wide reach will allow it to succeed in the first quarter. “This distribution deal is definitely a major turning point for us and really consolidates our position as we embark on a major push for Q1 2009,” PlayV’s interim MD Luiz Ferreira told MCV. “With lifestyle titles in our catalogue such as Mind Your Language and Pocoyo, we’ll benefit hugely from the wider reach that Centresoft provides. Also, for our more corefocused product like Away: Shuffle Dungeon, War Leaders, Age Of Pirates 2 and B-Team,
EA: Electronic Arts has been granted the exclusive worldwide licence from Ludlum Entertainment to create video games based on the works of Robert Ludlum, including the highy successful Jason Bourne series. Swedish developer Starbreeze Studios is currently working on the first Bourne game.
LITTLEBIGPLANET WINNERS REVEALED Pearson (left) and Ferreira (right) are excited about PlayV’s new deal with Centresoft
links into the independent specialist retailers are crucial. “We couldn’t be happier with this new arrangement and we’re looking forward to capitalising on our product line-up as we grow in 2009.” Centresoft’s commercial director Margaret Pearson added: “We are pleased to be representing PlayV at retail for its entire range of products.
Centresoft and Sony have announced that Adrian Hill of Console Yourself in Pontefract is the winner of last year’s LittleBigPlanet level design competition, which invited independents to design a LittleBigPlanet level with the Sony, Centresoft and retailer logos. Hill’s level is entitled ‘console yourself comp’, with the username ‘megafonzie’, and can be downloaded today. He wins a four-day trip to Las Vegas at the Planet Hollywood hotel. “We were very impressed with the quality of entrants,” said SCEUK LittleBigPlanet product manager Claire Backhouse. Ben Hinchcliffe of Computer and Games Centre of Scarborough, and Mark Cobb of Tomorrow’s World Home Entertainment in Hove, were the runners-up. Both received a PSP 3000 and LocoRoco 2.
PlayV has a great line-up with appeal across all the outlets we service and we are delighted that this ambitious publisher
has recognised the value and stability that Centresoft can bring to its business in the UK.” Centresoft: 0121 625 3388
A4T reveals Dora and Diego DS range PERIPHERALS outfit A4T is targeting the younger audience with its new range of Dora and Diego DS accessories. The new products include travel bags, DS cases and branded styluses, and are set to hit the market in time for the Easter period. “This is a new and very exciting launch for us at A4T,” said A4T sales and marketing director Bill Sterling.
“We have been extremely successful with our licensed character line-up over the last couple of years and we are now at the stage where we are cautious about what we add to this particular area of our business for fear of diluting sales.
“However, Dora and Diego are very popular characters with younger children and we are aware that these will probably be their very first game accessories. We have therefore ensured that the products made available are appropriate for the age group in question.
“For example, anyone who watches the TV series will be aware of the bags that both Dora and Diego wear during their adventures. Both of these will be available to allow the children to carry around their first handheld, accessories and games. We will also have a Dora and a Diego DS Travel Kit and the range will hit stores late February in time for Easter." A4T: 01204 369220
KALYPSO: The publisher has announced a new partnership with Advantage Distribution after the closure of its previous distributor, Pinnacle. While Advantage will supply online retailers such as Play and Amazon with the company's titles, Kalypso will deal directly with other major retailers. MIDWAY: Matthew Booty has been appointed as the new chairman of the board of directors, in addition to his current role as president and CEO. He replaces Peter Brown, who has resigned for personal reasons. SONY: Sony Online Entertainment has arranged an exclusive publishing agreement with PopCap Games, which will see five popular titles brought to PlayStation Network. TFC: The Fighter Collection will release air combat sim DCS: Black Shark worldwide in early 2009. Based in Duxford, the firm develops software for entertainment and military markets, as well as rebuilding WWII aircraft. SQUARE ENIX: The publisher has added to its deals with Western games giants, having secured a deal to publish Activision Blizzard's Quantum Of Solace in Japan.
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Big push planned for latest F.E.A.R. Shooter is first major launch of ‘09 says Warner
HORROR FPS F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin is set to kick-off a month of ‘unprecedented’ triple-A releases. That’s according to Warner Bros’ head of games Spencer Crossley, who is confident the gory title can hold its own against the likes of Killzone 2 and Halo Wars. “The strength of February’s release slate is simply indicative of the current
“This quarter looks like a case of quality over quantity with the titles that are coming to market, which are all looking quite refreshing in terms of storyline, looks and gameplay,” he continued. “F.E.A.R 2 is the first big launch of 2009 and it’s received a great reception from press and consumers so far. It’s very advanced in terms of gameplay
The strength of February’s releases is indicative of the high calibre of titles available in the current market. Spencer Crossley, Warner
marketplace which has seen unprecedented levels of high calibre titles in the last few months,” Crossley told MCV. “It is great for the consumer and the industry. It means the publishing fraternity has to continually produce engaging and compelling games. F.E.A.R. 2 goes above and beyond this commitment, a fact reiterated by the response of retail, consumer and press.
and AI and enhances Monolith’s position as industry leaders in the survival horror genre, being a game that is genuinely terrifying.” Warner Bros’ F.E.A.R. 2 is due for release on Friday, February 13th on Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3, and will be accompanied by a heavyweight print, online and television advertising campaign. Warner: 020 7984 6389
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Nordcurrent looks to rule UK casual sector Eastern European publisher teams up with Trilogy one of our key territories – we are here LITHUANIA-BASED publisher for good. We will be bringing wellNordcurrent is to release its 2009 lineknown properties as well as up in the UK market, some new ideas to the MCV can reveal. consumers in 2009. The firm dipped its toes “Our main focus is on in the UK market last year casual video games that via a partnership with appeal to a mass-market Pinnacle, which resulted in audience. Our games are the release of 101 in 1 developed internally, and we Explosive Megamix for DS. also bring Japanese games to And now the company has Europe. In April, we will be teamed up with Trilogy for Nordcurrent MD releasing a fantastic action new software, including e Alexander Bravv game for Wii that was loved Wii action title Minion: by Japanese gamers and we think it will Everyday Hero. do really well.” Managing director Alexander Bravve told MCV: “We are looking at the UK as Nordcurrent: +370 52310490
HE WEEK T F O N G I A P CAM R DAWN OF WA RELEASED: FEBRUARY 20 FORMATS: PC PUBLISHER: THQ DEVELOPER: RELIC PRICE: £34.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9585
The eagerly anticipated PC RTS is just a few weeks away, and THQ is supporting it with a heavyweight marketing push… ONLINE
An online campaign kicked off on January 21st, which advertised the release of the multiplayer beta. The online campaign will continue to target PC strategy fans from the week of launch and re-target them postlaunch until mid-March. PRINT
THQ has a strong four-month print campaign running across specialist and lifestyle magazines. It began with teasers in January and will continue throughout February, March and into April. PR
The PR team is working on a strong campaign in the run-up to launch with multiple videos, editorial hooks
and promotional activities. THQ is expecting high scores at the review stage. The PR campaign has included four trips to the studio in Vancouver, Canada and has generated four front covers in specialist PC press. RETAIL
POS including pre-order shelves, posters and cardboard standees is planned. THQ is also promoting specific retail initiatives, and has planned site takeovers of retail websites like HMV. Working with Studio Oxmox and Games Workshop, THQ created 150 life-sized Space Marine models to be used in-store as part of the game’s promotion. Consumers will be given the opportunity to win one of these models in a Gamestation competition.
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MCV INTERVIEW YVES GUILLEMOT, CEO, UBISOFT
Ubisoft looks forward The French publisher has just revealed that it enjoyed 17 per cent year-on-year revenue growth over Christmas. Tim Ingham speaks to an optimistic Yves Guillemot about 2009…
Were you excited or disappointed quickly adapt to the market’s changing by your Q3 performance? needs. We take the time to develop I think everyone was holding their titles that are innovative, that fill a breath a little going into the holiday need and that are fun and easy to play season. But in the end the video game and I think this newer audience industry did well, showing software appreciates that. sales growth in the UK of 23 per cent and consoles sales growth of 14 per Is there any feeling at Ubisoft that cent – and that is good news. At Ubisoft the DS or Wii market may be we were confident that we had a linebecoming overcrowded? up that offered games of quality to a We’ve seen that the sales figures for the diverse audience. And the results show DS and Wii are still progressing and that the solidity of our line-up. means we are still conquering new We came out of the season with 17 audiences. So, what we worry about is per cent growth (at a constant exchange ensuring that we are continuing to rate) over last year and we are pleased make the best quality games with that we were able to outperform our innovative concepts like our new Planet targets. We are now looking forward to Rescue line or Combat of Giants: 2009 with our line-up aimed at Dinosaurs. This way, even if the market continuing offering quality and innovative gameplay The audience is continually to the widest possible looking for new, innovative audience.
titles. You constantly have to
Why do you think it renew your offer. was difficult for you and Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft others to gain the impactful sales you wanted from is crowded, we are the first into new some triple-A titles over Christmas? segments and consumers will continue It was a very crowded season this year to look to us for new, fun games. and I think that gamers had to make What we are seeing in this market is some difficult choices. It really was a that the audience is continually looking deeply competitive season with a lot of for new, innovative titles. We saw that titles of great quality coming from many even in an established brand like different publishers. Imagine; the titles that our audiences Ubisoft has come out of the season responded to this year were titles with with several great successes in titles like new concepts like Imagine Dream Far Cry 2, Shaun White Snowboarding Weddings or Imagine Teach. The titles – which has now become our 15th that sold well last year are not the titles multi-million selling brand – and that are selling well this year, so you Rayman Ravin Rabbids TV Party as well constantly have to renew your offer and as the continued success of our casual work to impress the customer. line-up. Our successful season is due to the hard work of our creative and Microsoft is very keen on pushing business teams. 360 to the family consumer, but seems to be doing much of the You continue to have incredible ‘legwork’ (mainstream software) success with your Imagine range itself. Do you think it will succeed and DS casual games. What do you in this task, and can we expect to think sets you apart in this respect see more casual Ubisoft boxed titles compared to other publishers? on Xbox 360 in the near future? We were one of the first creators into Yes, what we are seeing is a gradual this market and our experience shows – shift in the market towards casual. we’ve got the quality and the ability to Microsoft did an amazing job last year of
bringing its price point in line with that of Nintendo and therefore opening up its console to people who may not have purchased it otherwise. So it’s got this great new installed base with the Xbox 360 entering homes where it hadn’t been before. And these homes are going to want to play lots of games – including casual games that can be played together as a family. What stage are you at in terms of your move into creating product for the cinema? We are very excited about the projects that we are working on in this area, but I’m not able to say more about it at this time. What do you think will be the biggest progression for the industry this year? We’ve got a difficult financial context but we are also in the middle of the console cycle, which means that we’ve got a large and growing base of users. So I don’t see it as a year where we will see gigantic technological innovations on the Xbox 360 or PS3, but a year where we will see game creators concentrating on putting out the best quality games possible. We’ve also got a fairly new audience with the nontraditional gamers who have purchased consoles like the DS or Wii and they will become more and more discerning. It’s
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MCV 15/02/09 17
MCV INTERVIEW YVES GUILLEMOT, CEO, UBISOFT our job then to impress all audiences with quality and innovation. When will 3D gaming really take off? What stage are you at with your development of this technology? We’re using 3D technology for Avatar, the game that we are making with James Cameron based on his film that will release later this year, and we’re very excited about it. 3D helps to immerse gamers and gives them the feeling that they are living the adventure of the game – and that is a great thing. It’s definitely a technology that will impress even the most jaded gamer. You’ve previously talked in MCV about a need to move into sports gaming. After Shaun White, will you continue to push into this area – and are there more products coming? This is a difficult genre to break into and I’m 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 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. Are you looking to buy or merge with any publishing or development entity? In particular, if the opportunity to buy into Eidos came about, would you take it? Ubisoft is always on the lookout for studios or brands that will help us to continue our strategic growth. If the right offer came in, could Ubisoft ever be for sale? Our strategy is to continue our strategic internal growth, looking for ways to diversify our portfolio so that we can offer fun, innovative game experiences to all different audiences. We’re successful in that strategy and that is where all of the energy of our team members is going right now.
UBISOFT’S KEY ’09 RELEASES It hasn’t announced all of its triple-A titles this year, but Ubisoft’s line-up is already looking impressive… Petz: Monkey Madness Wii ...........................................................................13/02/09 Petz: My Kitten Family DS............................................................................13/02/09 Petz: My Monkey Family DS............................................................................13/02/09 Imagine Ballet Dancer DS............................................................................27/02/09 Grey’s Anatomy DS, Wii ....................................................................13/03/09 Tenchu 4 Wii ..........................................................................20/03/09 Tom Clancy’s HAWX PC, PS3, 360 ......................................................March ‘09 Petz: My Baby Panda DS...........................................................................20/03/09 Imagine My Restaurant DS............................................................................27/03/09 Broken Sword Wii ...........................................................................27/03/09 Imagine Doctor DS...........................................................................March 09 Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood PC, PS3, 360 ....................................................................Q2 I Am Alive 360, PS3 .........................................................................TBC
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MCV 06/02/09 19
Why should we care about
in-game advertising? In-game advertising has always delivered extra revenue for publishers, but with increased competition and concerns over the economy, could it finally hit the mainstream? Christopher Dring speaks to the experts... How has in-game advertising developed over the past 12 months? The focus seems to have shifted from console games to online offerings, and when you compare the audience reach of each sector it makes sense. As console publishers ponder whether an ad-funded free game will reach the market – it’s already going on in the Flash game world. Is in-game advertising becoming more important considering the current economic climate? The sector is only more important to those that care about video game
Managing Director, Game Jacket
audiences. Brands interested in selling fast moving consumer goods only care about quality traffic and they can get that elsewhere. In an economic climate like this, accountability is very important and as money pours out of the advertising sector it will remain in sectors that utilise trusted reporting. Don’t forget that the UK’s leading media sector – by spend – is television and their data is extrapolated from a survey panel of just 5,000 homes. Most digital sectors, including in-game, should be able to count users one-for-one.
What are the biggest challenges facing the sector? It is getting mainstream brands to understand that games are part of popular culture, and that it isn’t just gaming brands that can benefit from ingame ads. Some youth-focused brands have taken the plunge, but the challenge is broadening this customer base. What are your hopes for the future? That the web game audiences continue to grow as they have been, and that somebody finds a better description so we can stop calling them all casual.
FREE-TO-PLAY: TrackMania, which is completely funded through in-game ads, has been a success for developer Nadeo
THE CASUAL CONSUMER For years in-game advertising has been associated with sports titles and racing games. However, over the past few years the focus has shifted to casual software – in particular browser-based flash games. “When the video game industry thinks of in-game advertising, it
naturally pictures billboard ads in PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 games, but the sector is much larger than that,” explains Game Jacket MD Simon Jones. “The appeal of in-game advertising is to deliver brand messages to a user that is heavily engaged with the content as opposed to what we call
‘environmental display’ ads that are near or around content but not in it. “The problem the console market has is scale. The best-selling games only have a reach of a few million users, which is where free-casual games come into play. Comscore data from December 2008 tells us that 52 per cent of the
world’s internet audience passed through a casual games site that month – that’s over half a billion people. “Free-to-play web games provide huge scale and a broad audience. In-game ads in this sector play when the user is engaged and – importantly for advertisers – when the user is open to suggestion.”
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Vice President Europe, IGA Worldwide
CEO, Double Fusion.
Vice President Europe for Business Development, Jogo Media
How has in-game advertising developed over the past 12 months? It’s been evolution over the last 12 months rather than revolution. The key developments have been Sony opening up the PS3 platform, and publishers doing multi-year exclusive deals with vendors. We have seen some interesting names coming in to the ‘freemium’ ad-funded model, including EA and id Software with Quake Live and the groundbreaking Football Superstars game.
How has in-game advertising developed over the past 12 months? Gaming continues to see market expansion through new formats such as DLC titles, browser-based games, and social network software. With that comes an expansion of demographics, and in-game advertising took a step forward in 2008 with the first dynamic advertising titles on the PS3, and the expansion of the in-game advertising paradigm to include new formats.
Is the sector becoming more important considering the economic climate? I think games will continue to over index through the recession, but it will take a hit, which makes new revenue streams all the more important. At the same time advertisers are looking for better return of investment for their spend, which is exactly what in-game ads offer them. It will certainly be an interesting year for people launching premium quality free-to-play titles; they could stand to be benefactors from the current climate.
Is the sector becoming more important considering the economic climate? Advertising is under increased budgetary pressure this year as marketers demand more accountability, innovation and out-ofthe-box ways to reach increasingly fragmented consumers. Fortunately, games are hotter than ever and the penetration with teens and younger gamers continues to expand. This has given in-game advertising revenue growth while more traditional forms of media are seeing a contraction in overall spending.
What are the biggest challenges facing in-game advertising? Meeting up to impossible expectations. Unfortunately the bar for the dynamic network business model was set in the early days by a company that existed only to make its investors and founders very rich very quickly, and I say that without a hint of bitterness, they did do a great job. However, the paradigms they put into place cannot work for those of us looking to build a sustainable business. This situation is compounded by the fact that in-game advertising remains unfairly ghettoised within many parts of the industry, and there are many ignorant people who’d like it to go away.
What are the biggest challenges facing in-game advertising? First, the industry needs to gather together to create a standard ad measurement that can be compared and purchased with other forms of interactive media. Next, some mainstream agencies still think gaming is a niche medium that appeals to a small sector. Finally, some publishers are beginning to realise that getting ad revenues for their titles involves planning, but there are still unrealistic expectations that this is a blank cheque.
What are your hopes for the future? The ultimate aim is mainstream adoption where in-game is a natural constituent part of every major ad campaign. I would also like to see in-game revenues offsetting a significant proportion of development costs and helping teams to push the envelope on new functionality or production values.
What are your hopes for the future? We are hoping that gaming takes a lesson from the music industry. Like with that industry, we’re at an inflection point where business models are up for review. The idea of going to a store and paying £50 for a B title is becoming outdated. We’re envisioning a future where consumers will have multiple choices as to how to get their games – whether fully paid, subscription, lower priced with ads, or free with ads.
What are the benefits of in-game advertising for publishers? Along with retail sales, item sales and subscriptions fees, ingame advertising is adopted by an increasing number of publishers. While refinancing of development costs can be seen as the main reason to embrace in-game advertising, they are also at the core of the business model of some casual gaming portals. Are publishers becoming more receptive to in-game advertising? Piracy, tougher global competition and increasing development costs have initially forced games publishers towards new financing models such as advertising. However, with the growth of the digital media space, in-game advertising becomes more popular, especially now that gaming reaches out to all audience types – thanks to Nintendo Wii and DS. With the addition of the casual game space you are able to target all sorts of audiences and this implies that gaming is no longer only a ‘nerd’ hobby. What is the future for the in-game advertising sector? All forecasts and research institutes predict increasing ad revenues for in-game advertising in the next three years. Seen within the larger entertainment market – including TV and movies – gaming in terms of advertising is notoriously undermonetised. The amount of advertising money spent per £1 worth of content is less than in any other media. While the next generation consoles and the growth of casual gaming will help further generalise the consumption of games among all audiences, it is the growth of online plus multiplayer gaming and net enabled devices (consoles, PCs or mobile devices) that will help in-game advertising become mainstream. From a media-planning perspective, the market is in need of standardisation of measurements and formats. Similar to what happened with online advertising a few years ago, it will happen together with the IAB in 2009 for the in-game advertising industry.
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IPOD VS DS
The new super platform? IT’S ALWAYS been a dead certainty: different demographics will become drawn to different consoles. But there’s one platform that’s threateining to smash that age-old maxim: and it’s not even a ‘proper’ games console. Some leading publishers have already taken note of the iPod Touch’s affect on the market in a big way. The established class – EA, Sega, Warner, Atari and THQ – are all developing their own titles for the format. And with Apple’s dreadnought of a marketing team turning its full attention to games – and making interactive entertainment the focus of its recent TV marketing blitz – even ‘non-games’ companies are getting excited about the device’s potential when it comes to challenging the previously untouchable Nintendo DS. In last week’s MCV (30/01/08), we revealed that Paramount was to launch its self-publishing arm on the iPod Touch, with an adaptation of 1990 Tom Cruise move Days Of Thunder. Paramount outsourced development of the title to US studio Freeserve. The game’s producer, Bruce Morrison, believes the movie giant has made a
wise decision in launching on the platform first – and ignoring DS. “The iPhone and iPod Touch – everyone forgets the Touch but the majority of hits we get from our website come from Touches instead of phones – are already outperforming the DS and PSP if you look at the track record and adoption rate based on where the DS and PSP were six months into life,” he
very much an act of ‘dipping their toe’ in the iPod’s potential – rather than risking major investment on its industry-bending potential. Activision UK MD Andrew Brown says the company is reluctant to give the machine the level of investment or commitment it has pledged to more traditional consoles – but that it isn’t counting out Apple’s chances just yet.
The DS and PSP have been designed as gaming platforms. It remains to be seen if the iPod can compete. Andrew Brown, Activision
says. “Then there’s the App store, a single point of delivery that puts the giants like EA on the same ground as the one-man studio. The surface to creative original games on the iPhone hasn’t even been scratched. There's so much opportunity.” Like Paramount, other publishers have also outsourced development for the system, admitting that asking a third party to create titles for the format is
“Activision Publishing’s strategy regarding mobile gaming has so far been to license its properties to mobile publishers rather than develop and publish the games internally,” he explains. “We consider this to be the most appropriate strategy at this point given that the full potential is still emerging. We view this as the most opportunistic approach to the mobile business given the size of the market
and the limited profitability opportunities for in-house development. “The DS and PSP have been designed as gaming platforms and therefore are able to deliver compelling and rich gaming experiences. It remains to be seen as to whether the iPod can deliver that same rich gaming experience.” Others agree with Activision and Paramount’s strategy. 2K has told MCV that its own creative legend Sid Meier is keen to begin building his own games for the platform – but that, at present, the company feels third-party iPod development is the way to go. However, not everyone is quite so pragmatic. Atari president Phil Harrison is a huge fan of the iPod. He believes the device is “game changing”, and “leading the global charge in innovative handheld technology and changing the way we consume and interact with media”. Sega of America boss Simon Jeffery tells MCV that “iTunes and Apple’s whole banking/payment system is flawless,” adding that “being able to buy a game and have it on your iPod with a couple of clicks is just brilliant”. EA would seem to agree. UK marketing director Stuart Lang says
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MCV 06/02/09 25
IPOD VS DS
Celebrating Creative Excellence
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As Apple’s marketing machine turns its attention towards games – and publishers disagree as to which level they should be supporting it – Tim Ingham asks, could iPod Touch and iPhone really topple DS? iPhone and iPod Touch can both already hold their own against their more traditional gaming rivals – but also offer something unique to users. “The iPhone has some similar game capabilities as platforms like the DS and PSP, but is unique because it is not a dedicated gaming device,” he says. “So we expect to see consumers of the DS and PSP clearly prioritise games over consumers who purchase an iPhone. Given that, we’re seeing different usage patterns, and product consumption for each platform, and we are crafting our product offering accordingly. “We are excited to be part of this new platform and believe passion combined with our development talent and some of the best entertainment intellectual property in the world will enable us to shine in this environment.” Sega, EA and Atari have all brought multiple triple-A licences to the system, but they appear to be a rare breed. There are currently over 1,000 games already on the App Store from more than 500 publishers – but over 300 of those only have one game on the service. Those numbers suggest that Apple’s Greg Joswiak’s claim that DS and PSP
“are scrambling to keep up” with iPod Touch may be little over-confident. But with the DS market becoming overcrowded – and the iPod offering huge potential exposure to new consumers – history may show that, in the end, it took something more than just a ‘proper games console’ to finally dent Nintendo’s mass-market dominance.
Bookings are now being taken for the GAME British Academy Video Games Awards 2009, to be held Tuesday 10 March – don’t miss out!
This year’s Awards are being title-sponsored by specialist retailer GAME. Host and avid gamer Dara O’Briain will bring his unique brand of comedy to the ceremony and the entertainment will continue at the after-show party, featuring .
Masanori Wake, Hudsonsoft Corporate Officer & CC (Consumer Contents) Division President.
To book your tickets, please contact James Rhodes firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7292 5839
“From the viewpoint of exploiting new marketing, I think it's very important. I think the iPod Touch and iPhone will help counter the lower carrier business in the Japanese mobile sector. However, the new format won't become a major competitor to the DS. This is partly down to the price and because maintenance costs are expensive. Additionally, users must arrange wi-fi connection for iPod Touch themselves because it is intended as an audio player originally.”
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MCV 06/02/09 29
FOCUS: DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT EXTENDED SUCCESS: Boxed sales of Burnout Paradise, Fallout 3 and GTA IV could benefit from new DLC
QUEUED FOR DOWNLOAD... Fable II: Knothole Island Release: January 13th The Fable II downloadable content features an entirely new island, with new quests, an ice-covered world and extra weapons. Fallout 3 Release: January 27th/February/ March Bethesda has three packs planned, with Operation Anchorage already released, The Pit coming in February and Broken Steel arriving n March. Burnout Paradise Release: February 6th Toy Cars, Legendary Cars, Party Pack, Boost Specials and Big Surf Island are the names of the DLC coming to PS3 and 360. Tomb Raider: Underworld Beneath the Ashes/Lara’s Shadow Release: February 10th/March 10th Eidos’ two 360-exclusive DLC packs extend the game’s finale and introduces a new playable character. GTA IV: Lost and Damned Release: February 17th The big one. The Lost and Damned features an entirely new GTA IV story that is roughly one-third the length of the original game. Halo 3: Mythic Map Pack Release: Early 2009 The new Halo 3 DLC introduces six multiplayer maps. Half of these are also included in Halo Wars, with the rest coming in Halo 3: ODST. LittleBigPlanet Release: Ongoing Media Molecule has re-started its weekly releases of LittleBigPlanet goodies, including extra costume packs for Sackboy. Guitar Hero: World Tour Release: Ongoing Regular music packs are due for Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3, including Oasis’ Dig Out Your Soul album, released last month.
Digital marketplace An abundance of major 2008 releases are being expanded with downloadable content this year. Christopher Dring speaks to the key players on how DLC can provide a timely boost for retail… WHAT WOULD you say is a key product to stock during February? Halo Wars? Killzone 2? How about an Xbox Live points card. In fact, it would be a good idea to stock up on some of last year’s biggest releases as well, with major downloadable content coming for Grand Theft Auto IV, Tomb Raider: Underworld, Fallout 3 and Burnout Paradise. RETAIL BONUS
“We certainly expect our DLC to boost sales of Fallout 3,” says Bethesda’s European MD Sean Brennan. “There will be significant PR coverage, and Microsoft will be promoting it heavily on Xbox Live. This will attract consumers who missed it pre-Christmas, as well as new hardware owners. The online community is very important and the Live connectivity ratio to installed base is impressive. The
majority of 360 owners in particular will have significant exposure to the DLC and those who have not bought the game will certainly consider it. I would suggest that any retailer reading this ensures sufficient supply.”
Mythic Map Pack, EA has re-released Burnout Paradise complete with extra DLC, and last year Activision published a special edition of Call of Duty 4, which included a code for the game’s Variety Map Pack. “These programmes are a great way for us to share the Our Fallout 3 DLC PR success of the DLC with our coverage will attract new retail partners,” explains consumers who missed Activision brand manager the game pre-Christmas. Simon Wells. “The Call of Duty 4 Game Sean Brennan, Bethesda of the Year SKU has been a Fallout 3 isn’t the only title to get great success over the last year and I’m extra coverage, with Rockstar’s digital sure this is something that will be update of GTA IV enjoying the same looked at closely for future releases. level of column inches as your typical “DLC is very important for Activision. big-budget boxed product. So re-stocking It helps us to maintain product longevity the original game could pay dividends – and satisfies consumer demand for extra if promoted right. content, thus driving brand loyalty. The Furthermore, publishers are keen to ability to satisfy our communities is an tie-in their DLC with retail. Microsoft’s integral element in developing our upcoming Halo Wars Limited Collectors brands and ensuring successful franchise Edition comes with part of the Halo 3 growth for the business.”
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FOCUS: DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT Publishers and developers are increasingly paying more attention to DLC. Gamers are no longer merely treated to an extra weapon or car, but rather extensions to the story, entirely new missions and multiplayer modes. “I think developers already have a great attitude towards DLC,” says Microsoft UK’s head of entertainment and gaming Stephen McGill. “If you look at all of the blockbuster titles of 2008 – Gears of War 2, Fable II, Fallout 3, Mirror’s Edge – they are all hugely supported by DLC. We’re seeing that developers and publishers are recognising DLC as a great way of extending the life of their titles. “Now, DLC is planned right from the early stages of production and is becoming an integral and essential part of game development. Because of this we are seeing sales uplift of the original games when good premium DLC comes out, which benefits retailers, publishers and developers.”
Although a wealth of digital add-ons can be found on PlayStation Network and WiiWare, Microsoft has been the most active platform holder in the DLC space. The firm has signed unique content for Tomb Raider: Underworld and Fallout 3, and has reportedly spent $50 million to secure two exclusive Grand Theft Auto IV packs.
number that cannot be taken lightly, and developers and publishers are absolutely rethinking their business models to incorporate additional content to sit alongside boxed product wherever possible. Of course Live points are a very efficient and profitable revenue driver for retail as well.” Although downloadable content can provide additional revenue for publishers, We are seeing sales uplift of it can also be vital to a the original games when good brand’s continued DLC comes out, which benefits success, particularly for retailers and publishers. music titles such as SingStar, Rock Band Stephen McGill, Microsoft and Guitar Hero. “We’re thrilled to have some “Downloadable content is a very incredible premium DLC for third party important part of the Guitar Hero titles like GTA IV coming up, and that’s experience,” states Red Octane senior without mentioning our own gamebrand manager Ian McClellan. expanding content,” continues McGill. “The key to successful DLC is “Our Live platform continues to go listening to what our fans want. We from strength-to-strength. We recently asked our UK Guitar Hero community announced that Live has generated over what bands they would like to see in $1 billion worth of revenue from World Tour, and they said Oasis. So at transactions. This is an incredible the launch of the game we had three
songs available as DLC from Oasis’ Dig Out Your Soul album. “We are also at the stage in 2009 where, in addition to physical product launches such as Guitar Hero: Metallica, we will be releasing DLC weekly – and we believe this is a successful strategy for the franchise.” BRAND BUILDING
With new DLC released on a weekly basis, it appears the digital download market is starting to hit its stride. However, publishers are keen to point out that this isn’t a replacement for retail releases, but a way to grow brands and develop fan bases, so that everyone can benefit in the long-term. “DLC certainly won’t be a substitute for packaged goods,” concludes Brennan. “Rather it should be seen as a way to extend product life cycles at retail by maintaining consumer interest and creating value for money. It’s also very beneficial in terms of building brands and enhancing relationships with the consumer.”
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Indigo Pearl Tel: 0208 964 4545 www.indigopearl.com
infinite Field Marketing Solutions Tel: 01793 829196 www.infinitefms.com
Intent Media Tel: 01992 535647 www.intentmedia.co.uk
Root Tel: 0207 739 2277 www.thisisroot.co.uk Sarsen Software Tel: +44 (0)845 8679685 www.sarsensoft.co.uk
Side UK Tel: +44 (0)20 7631 4800 www.side.com
Skyscraper Tel: +44 (0)20 7631 5308 www.skyskraper.net
Studio CO2 Tel: +44 (0)1483 414415 www.studioco2.com
The Audio Guys Tel: +44 (0) 1926 813546 www.theaudioguys.co.uk
The Pixel Tel: 01275 831676 www.thepixel.com
Ăœber Tel: 0114 278 7100 www.uberagency.com
Media Safari PR Tel: +44 (0) 1225 731 388 www.mediasafari.co.uk
Aardvark Swift Recruitment Tel: 01709 876877 www.aswift.com
ELSPA Tel: 0207 534 0580 www.elspa.com
Outsource Media Tel: +44 (0)207 713 9000 www.omuk.com
Amiqus Tel: 01925 252588 www.amiqus.com
Eye-D Creative Tel: +44 (0)20 7407 1440 www.eye-dcreative.co.uk
Peppermint P Tel: +44 (0)207 240 2645 www.peppermintp.com
Datascope Recruitment Tel: +44 (0)20 758 06018 www.datascope.co.uk
Feref Tel: +44 (0) 20 7292 6300 www.feref.com
RealtimeUK Tel: 01772 682363 www.realtimeuk.com
Game Options Tel: +44 (0)1382 731909 www.gameops.co.uk
Fluid Tel: +44 (0)121 212 0121 www.fluidesign.co.uk
Rocketbox Tel: +49-511-8984384 www.rocketbox.de
Lis Welsh Search and Selection Tel: +44 (0)1858 545355 www.liswelsh.co.uk
32-33 MCV523_final:Layout 1
In association with
Tel: +44 1 480 210621 www.usspeaking.com
.CO.UK/SOURCEBOOK Specialmove Consultancy Tel: +44 (0) 141 585 6491 www.specialmove.com
Orange Studio Tel: +39 051 588 04 50 www.orangestudio.it
Volt Europe Tel: +44 (0)1737 774100 www.volteurope.com
Serco Games Research Tel: 020 74216487 www.sercogamesresearch.com
Harbottle & Lewis LLP Tel: 020 7667 5000 www.harbottle.com Sheridans Tel: 0207 079 0103 www.sheridans.co.uk
LOCALISATION, QA AND TESTING 4-Real Intermedia Tel: +49 (0)69 80 90 88-0 www.4-real.com
Arvato Digital Services Tel: 0121 502 7800 www.arvatodigitalservices.com
Dischromatics Tel: 01495 243222 www.dischromatics.co.uk
Scaleform Tel: +1 301 446 3200 www.scaleform.com
BRIFFA Tel: 0207 288 6003 www.briffa.com
MANUFACTURING SERVICES UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING Tel: +44 1 480 210621 www.usspeaking.com
Creative North Studios Tel: +44 (0)1484 487904 www.creativenorth.co.uk
Trilogy Logistics Tel: 0845 456 6400 www.trilogy-uk.com
U-Trax Tel: +31 30 293 2098 www.utrax.com
UK DISTRIBUTION AND LOGISTICS Games Without Frontiers Tel: +44 (0) 845 430 8735 www.gameswithout.com Gem Distribution Tel: 01279 822822 www.gem.co.uk
OK Media Tel: +44 (0)20 7688 6789 www.okmedia.biz Technicolor Home Entertainment Services Tel: 0208 987 7829 www.technicolor.com Total Console Repair Tel: 0871 9181721 www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION AFA Interactive Tel: +618 8234 1355 www.afainteractive.com.au
Interactive Ideas Tel: 020 8805 1000 www.interactiveideas.com dtp entertainment AG Tel: +49 (0) 40 66 99 10 â€“ 0 www.dtp-entertainment.com
Absolute Quality Tel: +44 (0)141 220 5600 www.absolutequality.com Meroncourt Tel: +44 (0)1462 680060 http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk Babel Tel: 01273 764 100 www.babelmedia.com
Cenega Service Team Tel: +48 22 574 2578 www.cenega.com
Enzyme Labs Tel: +1 (450) 229 9999 ext. 312 www.enzyme.org Localsoft Tel: +34 952 92 93 94 www.localsoftgames.com
Pinnacle Software Tel: 020 8309 3934 www.pinnacle-software.co.uk
PlayV Email: email@example.com www.playv.co.uk
Scratch Busters Tel: 01992 535701 www.scratchbusters.co.uk
Entertainment Trading Tel: +45 70277640 www.entertainment-trading.com
Funtastic Tel: 61 3 9535 5888 www.funtastic.com.au
THQ Asia Pacific Tel: +613 9573 9200 www.thq-games.com/au Virgin PLAY Tel: +34 91 789 35 50 www.v2play.com
34 MCV523_final:46 MCV515
Sponsored by 34 MCV 06/02/09
Sheridans grows games legal team Media expert joins law firm Double Fusion’s double hiring New face at AVG Microïds hires Da Costa SHERIDANS MORRIS BENTATA (right) has joined law firm Sheridans as a partner who specialises in sports and media. As a leading expert in the sports and media sector, Bentata will be working across Sheridans’ portfolio of games developers and publishers to help strengthen the company’s position within the industry. His appointment has been made in response to the growing synergy between all sports-related areas and entertainment media. Sheridan’s managing partner HOWARD JONES said:
DYLAN PUGH also joins after holding a number of positions with Ad2One.
“Morris is a highly commercial, technically gifted specialist lawyer. His experience, ambition and talent make him an excellent fit at Sheridans and I have no doubt that he will make a significant impact in all our core areas of leisure, media and entertainment in the sports work that he does.”
DOUBLE FUSION The in-game advertising company has announced two additions to its sales team, with a duo of new executives joining the UK office. MICHAEL BAYSTON has taken on the role of senior sales manager for Europe. He was previously group head at News Group Media, where he was responsible for sites such as Sun Online, Page3.com and News Of The World Online.
AVG CRAIG KENSEK has been appointed global product reviews director at AVG Technologies. He previously held a similar position at McAfee. MICROÏDS ABRIAL DA COSTA has joined adventure games specialist Microïds as vice president of marketing and sales. He will be responsible for negotiating distribution
partnerships for upcoming and back catalogue Microïds titles. He will also develop new distribution channels and endeavour to boost digital sales. Da Costa has several years of experience within the games industry, beginning his career as head of the video games segment at Fnac Group, one of the leading retailers of cultural and technological products in France. Microïds managing director ROCH ROUSTAN said: “Abrial’s recruitment is a reflection of the strengthening of our sales practise across the world, which is a strategic priority for us.”
AN EPIC COLLECTION OF OVER 40 GAMING CLASSICS
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Relive the glory of your SEGA Mega Drive days with over 40 classic games from Sonic The Hedgehog™ to Streets of Rage™!
© SEGA. SEGA, the SEGA logo and SEGA MEGA DRIVE ULTIMATE COLLECTION are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA Corporation. All other trademarks are owned by their respective owners. Developed by Backbone Entertainment Inc., a division of Foundation 9 Entertainment. “2”, “PLAYSTATION” and “PS3” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. All Rights Reserved.
Key features: ✦ The most comprehensive collection of classic SEGA titles: Sonic The Hedgehog™, Golden Axe™, Ecco the Dolphin™, Streets of Rage™, Columns™, Altered Beast™ and many others!
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COMING FEBRUARY 20th 2009
39 MCV523_final:43 MCV462
RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES PRICE CHECK CHARTS NEW RELEASES
ALSO THIS WEEK... EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR P44 Sega’s award-winning real time strategy series returns to PC KONAMI’S DS RANGE P46 Eledees, Castlevania and Bomberman make up Konami’s stellar Q1 line-up RUNE FACTORY P48 Harvest Moon meets RPG gaming in Rising Star’s latest DS release
It’s a battle between the big action blockbusters, as Killzone 2 and Halo Wars go head-to-head on February 27th
SPECTROBES P49 Disney’s monster-collector arrives on Nintendo DS later this month
HIGH STREET P52 Indie retailer U-Play is questioned in this week’s tale from the frontline
OUT 27TH FeBRuARy ON NINTENDO DS
SO Many PeTs. SO MuCh Fun.
Tel: 01279 822 822 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 020 8664 3456 Email: email@example.com
Tel/Fax: 0121 625 3818 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.mYpeTShOpgame.COm PUBLISHED BY
© TAITO CORPORATION 2007, 2009 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. SQUARE ENIX and the SQUARE ENIX logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. NINTENDO DS IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.
RETAILBIZ: HALO WARS 40 MCV 06/02/09
Microsoft’s monster franchise returns, and this time it means war. Christopher Dring takes a closer look at Ensemble’s final masterpiece…
THE FRENZY THAT greeted the Halo 3 managed a still-impressive 94. release of Halo 3 has been seldom seen The series has also won countless in the video game industry. awards, IGN voted Halo the ‘greatest The finale in Bungie’s trilogy made an ever Xbox title’, while Halo 3 won incredible $170 million in just 24 hours in the US, Although real-time strategy beating the previous titles have typically struggled record held by Halo 2 on consoles, Halo Wars has (which notched up $125 been specifically designed for million). And in total the the Xbox 360. franchise has sold in excess of 20 million units worldwide. It has spawned a graphic TIME magazine’s game of the year novel that sold 100,000 copies, several award and the Edge prize for Interactive best-selling books, multiple soundtracks, Innovation. clothes, toys and host of other popular Although the game’s story has merchandise. received its fair share of plaudits, the The trilogy isn’t just a big seller, with series’ multiplayer functionality is what each game receiving its share of critical has set it apart from other first person acclaim too. Halo: Combat Evolved on shooters. Halo 3 is still one of the most Xbox scored a whopping 97 on played Xbox Live titles thanks to its Metacritic, Halo 2 achieved 95, while many online functions nad multiplayer
modes, with new maps being released on a regular basis. Considering Halo’s massive and continued success, the weight of expectation on developer Ensemble’s shoulders is significant, as the firm gears up to release the series’ first real-time strategy title.
Halo Wars boasts all the visual flair and iconic imagery that has made the franchise so popular over the past seven years, but now coupled with Ensemble’s ability to create award winning RTS games. Set before the original game, Halo Wars puts players in command of the armies of the UNSC warship Spirit of Fire. Each army consists of familiar and new UNSC units as they do battle against the
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COLLECTORS CORNER Alongside the traditional boxed copy of the game, Microsoft is also releasing an impressive Halo Wars Limited Collector’s Edition. The limited edition Halo 3 pack was a huge sell-out in 2007, and Microsoft has followed that up with an equally contentpacked Halo Wars set. The edition features three new Halo 3 maps from the upcoming Mythic Map Pack, a unique in-game vehicle called the Honour Guard Wraith, six leader cards, and a Spirit of Fire patch. The set also includes Halo Wars: Genesis, a stunning graphic novel by Phil Noto, Graeme Devine and Eric Nulund, which chronicles the very first military campaign against the covenant. The collector’s edition has a retail price of £49.99.
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 27 FORMATS: XBOX 360 PUBLISHER: MICROSOFT DEVELOPER: ENSEMBLE PRICE: £44.99 DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 01279 822822
Covenant, the alien coalition that wants to destroy mankind. Although real-time strategy titles have typically struggled on consoles, Halo Wars was developed by the team at Ensemble Studios, famed for developing the award winning RTS series, Age of Empires. The game is also set to be Ensemble’s final ever title, with the studio set to close after its release. So expectations are high that Halo Wars will defy the RTS/console stigma and become a truly spectacular next-gen experience – and form a fitting swansong for the team.
Like its FPS cousin, realtime strategy game Halo Wars boasts a raft of online and co-op multiplayer functions
Built from the ground up for Xbox 360, Halo Wars has been designed specifically for console gamers, with a new control system and intuitive interface that allows consumers to easily alter armies, move troops, and engage in epic battles. Ensemble’s revolutionary new control system also extends to resource management, with the firm promising a fluid console RTS experience. It’s not just RTS enthusiasts who should be excited, as Halo fans are also in for a treat with Halo Wars. Using Serina, an artificial intelligence persona, gamers must direct legions of UNSC soldiers, Warthogs, Scorpions and other familiar Halo vehicles, which all have their own individual strengths and weaknesses. The game also rewards more adventurous gamers, who can make use of ancient Forerunner
technology that can be found hidden throughout the various battlefields. LIVE FOREVER
Along with a top campaign mode, Halo Wars also boasts a full online multiplayer mode, with skirmishes supporting up to six players using the New Xbox Experience. It’s not just three-against-three online play either, as the game also features a two player co-operative mode that’s played over Xbox Live. Considering the blockbuster success of the Halo franchise and Ensemble’s ability to develop the best real-time strategy titles on the market, there is every reason to expect Halo Wars will continue the franchises’ award-winning, record-breaking success. So make sure to stock up in time for its February 27th release.
RETAILBIZ: KILLZONE 2 42 MCV 06/02/09
Sony’s answer to Halo, Call of Duty and the like, is Guerrilla’s sci-fi blaster Killzone 2. Christopher Dring takes a look at one of the most anticipated PS3 games of the year…
SONY’S KILLER FPS and one of the “The first thing people notice about first major releases of 2009 has already Killzone 2 is how it looks,” says UK sparked the sort of fevered internet product manager Phil Lynch. debate usually reserved for the Halos, “Once gamers get hold of a controller GTAs and Zeldas of the world. and start playing, they soon realise that Killzone 2’s early reviews have been it’s like nothing they’ve ever resoundingly positive, including a string experienced in a game before. of perfect scores. And press and consumers alike The infantry have some of the have been quick to praise most sophisticated artificial the game’s astounding intelligence ever seen in visual flair. interactive entertainment. Following on from Killzone on PS2 and Phil Lynch, Sony Killzone Liberation on PSP, Killzone 2 puts players in control of “As you know, Guerrilla has been Sergeant Tomas Sevchenko, an working on this title since before we experienced veteran from special forces launched PS3, and as a first party unit The Legion. Along with his unit, developer it has a thorough Tomas must travel to the hostile world understanding of what is under the of Helghan and defeat the evil PS3’s hood. The realism of character superhuman race called the Helghan. models, the landscapes, and the
animations is a sight to behold and from a gameplay point of view, serves to totally immerse the player in the hostile environment of Helghan. “On the subject of gameplay, from the moment you place the Blu-ray disc into your PlayStation 3 and Alpha team crash land into the bank of Corinth river, you are subjected to a visceral sensory overload. The sound of bullets whizzing past your head, the electrical storms raging above and explosions all around serve to give the player the unique sense of vulnerability of being dropped into the middle of a ferocious ground incursion. All this before you actually encounter the Helghast infantry, which have some of the most sophisticated artificial intelligence ever seen in interactive entertainment.”
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With electrical storms overhead and bullets raining all around upon you, can the Helghan be defeated...?
KILLER MARKETING Sony UK’s marketing machine is going into overdrive for Killzone 2. “We’ve been planning the marketing campaign for Killzone 2 for some time now,” explains UK product manager Phil Lynch. “We’ve booked certainly the biggest TV campaign that I’ve ever managed at PlayStation. Our tease creative will give viewers a glimpse of what’s to come, building on the already palpable anticipation that the game has generated. “Our 30-second advert, which begins on the week of launch, uses a unit that allows us to record actual game footage. We’ve booked premium 18–34 male slots across all TV including Sky, C4, ITV and the cable channels, as well as specific spots around Champion’s League and relevant TV shows that fit the Killzone 2 brand values. “Following on from TV, we’ll continue the momentum with a cinema campaign. And, as extremely positive reviews are coming in thick and fast, we’re going to include some of the scores and quotes that Killzone 2 is currently racking up in both specialist and lifestyle press.”
“Our tease creative will give viewers a glimpse of what’s to come, building on the already palpable anticipation that the game has generated.”
Hype for Killzone 2 began life at E3 2005, with PS3 fans eagerly awaiting the game’s final release. Sony has also backed the game with a monster £2 million UK ad campaign (see ‘Killer Marketing’ for a full run-down of what to expect), to ensure the game is a major hit for the platform holder. GREAT EXPECTATIONS Killzone 2 promises to be an incredibly immersive experience
“Killzone has been a very important property for us on both PlayStation 2 and on PSP,” continues Lynch. “Killzone 2 has been, for better or worse, intrinsically tied to the console since we released the now infamous target render trailer at E3 2005. So both our fans and the gaming community on the whole have been keeping a close eye on the game’s progress since then. “As a result, expectations from gamers are sky high for this title and so
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 27 FORMATS: PS3 PUBLISHER: £44.99 DEVELOPER: SONY PRICE: GUERRILLA GAMES DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
are ours. With the quantum leap in production values and totally immersive gameplay experience that Guerrilla have been passionately working on, we’re confident that not only PlayStation fans, but all FPS fans will be blown away by the game. “I think that with Warhawk’s multimodal gameplay, Resistance 2’s unprecedented online modes and now with Killzone 2’s raw, unrelenting, immersion in a total theatre of war, the PlayStation 3 has definitely got a portfolio of credible gamers’ games.”
“What we're attempting with our online campaign has never been done before,” he continues. “In essence, we’re creating a webgame based on a Firefox and Internet Explorer app that consumers can download to their computer. In the game players can create a squad with up to three friends. Once activated, and when the user is browsing the internet, their screen will be ‘attacked’ by Helghast as they browse pages. They can alert their squad members to come and help them, and if the team can collaboratively vanquish the Helghast threat, they’ll get their score posted onto the leaderboard and be in with a chance of winning some prizes and unlock additional content. “During the month of launch we’ll run press ads – both double page spreads and single page executions – using screens captured in hi-resolution from the game. “Finally, we're embarking on a nationwide sampling tour, which will allow consumers to get handson and compete in a mind blowing environment. Watch out for more info on dates and locations.”
RETAILBIZ: EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR 44 MCV 06/02/09
Flying the flag for PC games this quarter is the return of Sega’s acclaimed Total War series. MCV travels to the 1700s and loads a musket… THE TOTAL WAR series is one of the technology starts to play a part on the most respected and successful battlefield – although, of course, there franchises in PC gaming history. is still plenty of room for tactics, The franchise has a dedicated fan base courage and, occasionally, diplomacy. of strategy connoisseurs, with previous As ever with The Creative entries in the series achieving massive Assembly’s blue ribband IP, the epic critical acclaim (see ‘Total Success’). scale of the world is balanced by the And the fifth iteration is on course to easy accessibility of the action. On land be the greatest title to date, setting new or sea, this is stirring stuff, with the standards not just for the series but in whiff of gunpowder never far away. the wider PC RTS genre as a whole. One of the easiest ways into the The pattern with the Total War heart of the game is through a franchise is for evolution to follow narrative-driven single player campaign revolution; for enhancements and Empire: Total War is a cast improvements to be iron certainty to prove a added after groundhuge hit with its fans and breaking leaps forward. expand the brand further. Empire: Totar War sees us at the revolutionary stage of the cycle, marking a radical mode called ‘The Road to departure via an all new game engine, Independence’. Here, players brand new settings and, for the first experience three different stages of time ever, full naval combat. America’s battle to transform itself from It starts in 1700, amidst civil war a defiant colony to an independent and the founding of the United States world power, switching roles from a of America – and in the years of High stalwart of the occupying British forces Seas warfare. The campaign spans to a leader of the revolution overseeing Europe, America and the East, with the birth of a nation. players becoming general, admiral and For newcomers, it’s a perfect crash even emperor of their nation as they course in all the aspects of Total War, strive to dominate the combustible and and a great stepping stone towards still shifting 18th Century world. It is a broader battles in which they take pivotal time not just in the shaping of charge of whole units. modern geo-political boundaries, but Empire: Total War has been created also in the nature of with feedback from the franchise’s warfare, as huge and dedicated fan base in mind right from the get-go, so is certain to please the loyal supporters of the Total War series. The game also boasts some of
TOTAL SUCCESS The Creative Assembly’s historical turn-based strategy series began life in 2000 with the Japanese-based Shogun: Total War. The developer switched publishers from EA to Activision in 2002 for Medieval: Total War, which spanned Europe, North Africa and the Middle East between 1095 and 1453. Sticking with Activision for its third release, Creative Assembley’s Rome: Total War was released in 2004. The game received massive critical acclaim, with a 92 per cent average on Metacritic, and won various awards from IGN, Gamespot and PC Gamer. It also took the game critic award at E3 2003. The firm kept the critics happy with 2006’s Sega-published Medieval 2: Total War, which averaged an impressive 88 per cent on Metacritic, with a series of perfect scores. All titles in the series also received a wealth of expansion packs, and in 2006 The Creative Assembly and Sega also released Total War: Eras, which featured the first three games in the franchise. Altogether, the Total War series has sold millions of copies worldwide, with a host of dedicated websites and forums.
the most stunning visuals in PC RTS history. Sega won’t just be relying on the game’s fan base and impressive gameplay to see it sell though, as the publisher has a big marketing push planned. The firm has a specialist print campaign running in the national press (in The Guardian, The Times, National Express and The Independent), in consumer publications (such as Stuff and Empire) and on websites CVG, Gamespot and IGN. The Empire: Total War trailer is also amongst the most watched trailers on Eurogamer.TV, and Sega also has Totalwar.com, A Total War Myspace page and an Empire: Total War Facebook and YouTube presence to satisfy fans of the franchise. The publisher is also set to release a special edition of the game too. With a host of new options and modes to play with, Empire: Total War is a cast iron certainty to prove a huge hit with them and to expand the brand’s audience even further.
RETAILBIZ: EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR WWW.MCVUK.COM
RELEASED: MARCH 4 FORMATS: PC PUBLISHER: SEGA DEVELOPER: THE CREATIVE ASSEMBLY PRICE: £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
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RETAILBIZ: RISE OF THE ARGONAUTS 46 MCV 06/02/09
Codemasters sets sail for Ancient Greece as players are invited to battle alongside the world’s oldest heroes in Rise Of The Argonauts. James Batchelor takes on monsters that would make Lara Croft quiver… EVERYONE loves a hero. They are possibly the most recognisable and most commonly used character archetype in fiction, and have been since the dawn of time. From today’s high-octane protagonists like James Bond and Indiana Jones to older icons such as Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes, history’s storytellers have brought us more memorable heroes than video game companies could ever hope to emulate.
exploring the seas for a mythical artefact: these concepts are more than familiar to gamers, and yet have rarely been depicted in the world’s most interactive form of entertainment. Rise Of The Argonauts rectifies this. Drawing inspiration from the most iconic stories of the time, Codemasters’ latest release combines several of the legends, creating the ultimate showcase of heroes and villains from the morethan-distant past. As the title suggests,
Rise Of The Argonauts draws inspiration from the most iconic stories, legends and heroes of all time.
And yet while filmmakers, authors and developers continue to search the depths of their imaginations and mankind’s past for inspiration when creating heroes – or pulling them wholesale from another medium – few seem to explore the origins of heroism. MAGNIFICENT MYTH
The Grecian myths of ancient times are probably the oldest source of heroes and tales of triumph over evil. Battling with Gorgons that turn their foes into stone with a single glance; navigating a labyrinth in search of a monster;
the tale of Jason And The Argonauts forms the basis for the game, but consumers can also expect other recognisable characters to appear. Players take on the role of Jason, the warrior king famed for taking down several evil titans and recovering a certain woolly artefact. Joining his ranks are Hercules, Achilles and other legendary warriors who fight by his side, helping gamers to overcome tougher foes or to fend off foot soldiers while they take on a larger boss. As they progress on their quest for the Golden Fleece, Jason and his fellow
SHIELD OF DREAMS: Beefcake Jason stars in Rise Of The Argonauts
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 6TH FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3, PC DEVELOPER: LIQUID ENTERTAINMENT PUBLISHER: CODEMASTERS PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 01279 822800
RETAILBIZ: RISE OF THE ARGONAUTS WWW.MCVUK.COM
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Argonauts will gain experience and improve their abilities thanks to the RPG elements. However, rather than micromanaging statistics and items like in a traditional RPG – which always slows down the experience – the levelling mechanic here is disguised with a more appropriate theme in which heroes appease the Gods. THAT’LL BE THE DEITY
By choosing which God they wish to dedicate their actions to, players will see their characters develop in different
ways, both in terms of abilities and temperament. Their choices will even affect the story and the different quests that become available, giving the game greater scope and plenty of replayability. The emphasis of the game, however, is the combat. Carefully choosing their team of Argonauts for each battle, aspiring heroes take on hordes of lethal foes, using their devastating special attacks to keep the evil forces at bay. Overall, there’s plenty here to get both fans of adventure and fighting games keen to draw their swords.
MEDITERRANEAN MARVELS Whilst it’s true that the tales of Ancient Greece and its surrounding nations have rarely been a subject for video games, not all publishers have ignored this veritable goldmine of characters and adventures: GOD OF WAR (SONY, PS2) Sony’s critically acclaimed hack-and-slash series grants players control over Kratos, a troubled ex-solider possessed by the spirit of a malicious deity. SPARTAN: TOTAL WARRIOR (SEGA, XBOX/PS2) An ambitious third-person combat game from Total War developers The Creative Assembly, throwing gamers into epic battles against legions of seriously hard Roman troops. AGE OF EMPIRES (MICROSOFT, PC) The first entry in Microsoft’s long-running RTS series focused on the earliest campaigns of Greece and its neighbours. 300: PATH TO GLORY (WARNER BROS, PSP) The PSP-only adaptation of the hugely popular film, 300, which followed Leonidas on his quest against the evil Persians.
RETAILBIZ: KONAMI DS RANGE 48 MCV 06/02/09
Konami flaunts its strong line-up for Q1, providing DS owners with enough quality titles to cater for every conceivable
LOST IN BLUE 3
FOLLOWING on from the successful Dawn Of Sorrow and Portrait Of Ruin, this latest instalment in the Castlevania series pits players as a member of vampire hunting order Ecclesia. This organisation has sworn to defeat the evil forces of Dracula and sends players to battle the vampire’s minions through 20 explorable areas. A major addition is the new Glyph attack system, which boasts over 100 combinations to create devastating special attacks. These can be unlocked and powered up as your character progresses through the game, with other items improving some of the hero’s key attributes. The Glyph battle system is also used in the online fights, where players can compete head-to-head with other DS users from around the world. Meanwhile in multiplayer mode gamers will be able to find, sell and buy items that can be used in the main campaign. The game also features connectivity with the upcoming Wii brawler Castlevania: Judgement, allowing owners of both titles to unlock special weapons for use in the handheld adventure.
THIS IS THE third instalment in the long-running survival RPG. Players control one of two characters stranded on a desert island. Exploring the mysterious island, they must be resourceful and work hard to survive the elements long enough to discover their new home’s secrets. They can either work alone or team up with other characters in order to gather food, fresh water and set up a shelter. Once done, players can enjoy more than 20 mini-games depicting island activites, such as rafting down a river and communicating with dolphins. There are even multiplayer campfire cook-offs, where players use the stylus to prepare and cook whatever food they can gather from the island in order to create a meal that will aid their survival. As they progress through the game, the troubles of their character’s past are unlocked in a series of flashback episodes, each of which contains clues that may help them escape the island. Completing one of the two main storylines will unlock two additional characters, amounting to four ways to play through the game.
AN RPG FROM the creator of the critically acclaimed Shadow Of Memories, Time Hollow is similarly flavoured with temporal twists and paradoxes, exploring how meddling with the past can have sever repercussions on the future. When a young student wakes up on his 17th birthday, he finds himself in a reality where his parents died 12 years ago, removed from time by an unknown entity. Armed with a Hollow Pen, a mysterious device that can create tunnels to the past, our hero sets off to reverse this, changing the past to return his parents to the present. Players use the stylus as their own version of the pen, drawing around people or items of interest in order to discover more about its past or future. If someone close to Horo dies, he can travel back into the past and prevent this from occurring. However, gamers must strike a balance with this power. If they do not show restraint when interfering with time, the events of history are changed too much and the game ends. As well as being written by Junko Kawano, the game is anmated by famed anime studio AIC.
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 6TH
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 6TH
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 6TH
CONTACT: 020 8987 5730
CONTACT: 020 8987 5730
CONTACT: 020 8987 5730
RETAILBIZ: KONAMI DS RANGE WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 06/02/09 49
taste. James Batchelor can’t decide what to play first…
ELEDEES: KAI AND ZERO
GAMING’S MOST iconic pyromaniac returns to DS, having undergone a visual makeover and acquired a number of new elements that promise to update the time-honoured gameplay. While maintaining the classic style of previous Bomberman games, Bomberman 2 gives players greater freedom in more open arenas. However, to keep the action focused and create the intensity the series is known for, players now have to complete specific missions within a set time limit. Objectives can range from destroying a set number of blocks to escaping the level, or blowing up key targets such as energy cores. To complete these within the allotted time, players will need to make good use of the classic power-ups, including multiple bombs and power bombs. Bomberman 2 also features a greater degree of customisation, allowing gamers to change the hero’s appearance and abilities via items unlocked in the single-player mode, with over 160,000 accessories available. And, of course, it wouldn’t be Bomberman without a range of multiplayer modes, which can now be played online, too.
THE SEQUEL to the 2007 Wii title, Eledees: The Adventures Of Kai And Zero retains the hide-andseek mentality of the Wii original. Omega Eledees, beings of supernatural power, have been hidden throughout a magical land and must be located if power is to be returned to the world. Players control Kai, the 10 year-old protagonist of the original Eledees as he tries to find his way home. They must search each level from top to bottom and complete a series of mind-bending puzzles in order to find the Eledees. Kai’s capture gun can be upgraded with the powers bestowed by the Omega Eledees themselves, giving it new functions that will help to unlock new areas and defeat the game’s seven bosses. The more you find and capture, the stronger you become. The Omega Eledees each have an afinity with a different element, such as fire, wate or ice, allowing you to freeze water, levitate rocks and more. Players can also connect to three other DS owners online and engage in frantic battles as they compete head-to-head to see who can capture the most Eledees within a set time limit.
SET IN A magic school, this delightful game allows young players to work their way from being a humble student to a master wizard as they attempt to earn their Magician Licence. Enrolled into the special school with over 100 fellow pupils, they must learn and master spells in order to pass their exams and complete the game. However, strange things are afoot at the magic college. Mysterious beings appear in the school once a week and it’s up to players to fend them off and defend their classmates. The spells they’ve learned will be crucial here, and learning more will allow them to investigate further. Players can even enjoy life between classes, as they go shopping for school supplies or take up hobbies to pass the time. They can make friends with the school’s students and teachers, and even go on dates. The school is bursting with life and seemingly harmless gossip may be key to unlocking the school’s darkest secrets. Your character can be transferred to another copy of the game, where they gain extra tuition and skills, and will report on this when they return.
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 13TH
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 20TH
CONTACT: 020 8987 5730
CONTACT: 020 8987 5730
CONTACT: 020 8987 5730
RETAILBIZ: RUNE FACTORY: A FANTASY HARVEST MOON 50 MCV 06/02/09
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 13TH FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: MARVELLOUS ENTERTAINMENT DEVELOPER: RISING STAR GAMES PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: MASTERTRONIC CONTACT: 01582 433700
Rising Star Games is publishing a title that combines two very different demographics as the worlds of Harvest Moon and RPGs meet. James Batchelor won’t be able to defeat evil until he’s milked the cows… IT’S ONE OF the most recognisable and yet the least explored of all fantasy clichés. The humble farmboy’s life is thrown into chaos when, through a series of unfortunate or unexpected circumstances, he is sent on a quest to save a princess or perhaps the entire world. It is the classic storytelling mechanic that allows a character to traverse the entire scale of heroism, starting out as nothing more than an innocent bystander and ending up a legendary saviour. The Legend Of Zelda’s Link and Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker both went through the same experience. But while they were able to cast off their responsibilities in favour of adventuring, surely some heroes still have to maintain their farm? FARMBOYS UNITE
Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon explores this concept. While the protagonist still bears the heavy burden of defeating evil, he still has to attend to his crops and livestock, with the harvest funding his adventure. Based on the hugely popular Harvest Moon series, Rune Factory takes the depth of a farming simulator and combines it with the epic nature and gameplay of an RPG. “The Harvest Moon series has been extremely successful in Europe, as well
as Japan and the US,” says Rising Star’s UK and international marketing manager Richard Barclay. “It has just celebrated its tenth anniversary, a stretch which has spawned over 20 games bearing the Harvest Moon brand. By adding RPG elements to the traditional gameplay, Rune Factory effectively opens up the brand to a whole new audience – gamers who have never experienced Harvest Moon before or those who had previously not considered trying it out.” Taking the role of a hero who has lost his memory, players are employed by a mysterious young woman called Mist to tend to her farm in exchange for food and aid. In order to discover the secrets of their past, gamers must explore the deep, monster-filled caves surrounding the village of Kardia – but gaining access to these requires working hard enough to gain Mayor Godwin’s approval. When they’re not questing, players can toil the fields to please Mist and sell crops and livestock to earn money for their equipment. Additionally, all the expected elements of a Harvest Moon title are present, including the ability to create new items, furnish homes, befriend the local villagers and even choose a wife to settle down with.
EPIC: Whether ﬁghting monsters or tending to the farm, there is more than enough to keep fans and newcomers both busy and satisﬁed.
The game offers an experience you won’t find in either the RPG or farming genres. While the two sectors have their own distinct demographics, Rune Factory blurs the line between them, creating a product that will appeal to both audiences. “Rune Factory is in a unique situation in terms of positioning,” says Barclay. “On one hand it has the Harvest Moon brand behind it, carrying over a massive fanbase that already knows about the game. On the other, its RPG gameplay also serves as an introduction to gamers who have never experience a Harvest Moon title before.” TRIP TO MARKET
Rune Factory is in a unique situation in terms of position. We expect it to perform well at retail. Richard Barclay, Rising Star Games
Barclay adds: “We will be targeting both groups, although the primary audience is still our core Harvest Moon fanbase through our established community channels. We are confident that, with the brand heritage backing Rune Factory, it will perform well at retail. “As this is a ‘pillar’ title for us, we are putting an enormous amount of support behind marketing and PR, which we expect to translate into sales. Print and online activity throughout gaming and youth titles and websites will feature heavily, as well as the usual support required at retail to ensure success.”
RETAILBIZ: SPECTROBES WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 06/02/09 51
Disney’s collectible fossilised space beasties return in Spectrobes: Beyond The Portals, which continues the story of the 2007 original. James Batchelor becomes an interplanetary patrol officer… SINCE NINTENDO unleashed the global phenomenon of Pokémon, developers have struggled to recreate the magic of collecting, training and battling monsters. Imitators have come and gone with little to no success, but a more recent contender came closer than anyone else and arguably outdid Pikachu and friends in terms of ambition. While Pokémon clings to its retro graphics and failed to take full advantage of the DS’ unique functionality, Disney’s Spectrobes wasn’t afraid to try something new. As well as boasting stylised 3D character models and a real-time combat system, capturing monsters was far more exciting than simply chucking a ball at their opponent. IT’S ALIVE
To ensnare a Spectrobe, players have to use every function of the DS imaginable, from digging with the touch screen for excavating the creature’s fossilised remains, to using the microphone to blow any dust away. The microphone is also used to revive the creature as players breathe life into them and call to wake them up. Throw in a storyline with rich characters and a threat to the galaxy, and you have a title every bit as entertaining as Nintendo’s money-printing franchise. For the sequel, Disney is continuing to expand on the concepts behind the series, with Spectrobes: Beyond The Portals featuring a wealth of new additions. As well as new characters
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 27 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: DISNEY DEVELOPER: JUPITER CORP. PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
and monsters to encounter, the game also features a new perspective and interface to make it more accessible to a wider range of players. THE NEXT EVOLUTION
The game picks up where the original left off, as interplanetary patrol officers Rallen and Jeena continue to discover, excavate, awaken and train the Spectrobes. While they do so, the heroic duo also look further into mysteries surrounding the strange portals that lead to distant dimensions. The biggest addition to the game is the switch to a 3D perspective, making it easier to navigate environments and experience the world of Spectrobes in all its colourful glory. If players get truly stuck, the new map on the top screen improves the game’s exploration. The multiplayer functionality has also been expanded. Spectrobes trainers can now battle each other online for the first time via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Beyond The Portals even incorporates DGamer, the publisher’s innovative technology that creates an online community across all of its DS games.
52 MCV523_final:43 MCV467
RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 52 MCV 06/02/09
Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more
Music and Mayhem strike soon Whether they prefer a relaxing, musically-themed RPG or an intense, combo-chaining beat ’em up, consumers will find themselves spoilt for choice when Eternal Sonata, Street Fighter IV, F.E.A.R. 2 and Dragon Quest hit shelves... TITLE
PS3 / XBOX 360 PSP / DS / Wii / PS2 DS DS DS Wii PS3 / XBOX 360 DS / Wii / PS3 / PS2 / XBOX 360 PS3 XBOX 360 / PS3 / PC Wii / PC / DS Wii Wii Wii DS DS DS DS DS Wii Wii Wii DS DS Wii Wii Wii / DS XBOX 360 DS DS Wii
Action/Adventure Action Action Action Action Action Action Action Action/Adventure Horror Action Horror/ Light Gun Sports RPG Self-Improvement Self-Improvement Self-Improvement Self-Improvement Self-Improvement Mini Game Action Petz Petz Petz Mini Game Adventure Puzzle Racing RPG Puzzle Sports
505 Games D3Publisher South Peak Konami 505 Games THQ THQ Disney Interactive Atari Warner Games 505 Games Sega Activision Blizzard Konami V.2 Play V.2 Play V.2 Play V.2 Play V.2 Play Activision Blizzard Nintendo Ubisoft Ubisoft Ubisoft Activision Blizzard Activision Blizzard Deep Silver Atari Rising Star Games Ubisoft Activision Blizzard
0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 020 8987 5730 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 020 8987 5730 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0845 456 6400 0845 456 6400 0845 456 6400 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0121 506 9585 01582 433700 0845 456 6400 0121 625 3388
Advantage Centresoft Centresoft Open Advantage Advantage Advantage Centresoft Advantage Centresoft Advantage Centresoft Centresoft Open Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Koch Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy Centresoft Centresoft Koch Advantage Mastertronic Trilogy Centresoft
PS3 / XBOX 360 DS DS PC Wii Wii PC PS3 DS DS DS Wii PC XBOX 360 / PS3 PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 DS DS / Wii / XBOX 360 PC / PS3 / XBOX 360
Action Military Air Combat Action Action Edutainment Edutainment RTS RPG RPG Action RPG Racing Kids Compilation Fighting Self-Improvement Sports Action
THQ Ghostlight V.2 Play Kalypso Media Midas Midas THQ Square Enix Square Enix Konami V.2 Play Capcom Blast Sega Capcom Nintendo RTL South Peak
0121 506 9585 01376 555333 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 01376 555 333 01376 555 333 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 020 8987 5730 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0845 234 4242 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388
Advantage Open Centresoft Advantage Open Open Advantage Centresoft Centresoft Open Centresoft Centresoft Mastertronic Centresoft Centresoft Koch Koch Centresoft
Wii / DS PC
Zoo Digital 505 Games
01279 822 800 0121 506 9585
FEBRUARY 13th Battle Fantasia Ben 10: Alien Force Big Bang Mini Bomberman 2 Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Sacrifice Deadly Creatures Destroy All Humans: Path Of The Furon Disney's Bolt Eternal Sonata F.E.A.R 2 Project Origin Hotel For Dogs House of the Dead: Overkill Little League World Series Baseball 2008 Lost In Blue: Shipwrecked Mind Your Language: Learn English Mind Your Language: Learn French Mind Your Language: Learn German Mind Your Language: Learn Japanese Mind Your Language: Learn Spanish Monkey Mischief Naruto Clash Of Ninja Revolution 2 Petz: Monkey Madness Petz: My Kitty Family Petz: My Monkey Family Pirate Hunt for Black Beard's Booty Pitfall The Big Adventure Professor Heinz Wolff's Gravity Race Pro Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon Scrabble 2009 World Championship Sports
FEBRUARY 20th 50 Cent: Blood On The Sand Allied Ace Pilots B Team: Metal Cartoon Squad Ceville Clever Kids: Farmyard Fun Clever Kids: Pirates Dawn Of War 2 Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice Dragon Quest: The Hand Of The Heavenly Bride Eledees: Adventures Of Kai And Zero Lola and Virginia MotoGP Wii Mr Bean Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection Street Fighter IV Walk with me! Do you know your walking routine? Winter Sports 2009: The Next Challenge X-Blades
FEBRUARY 27th Army Men: Soldiers Of Misfortune Cryostasis
MUSTSTOCK .........................ETERNAL SONATA
MUSTSTOCK ......................STREET FIGHTER IV
Released: February 13th Format: PS3 Publisher: Atari Distributor: Advantage Contact: 0121 506 9585
Released: February 20th Format: Xbox 360, PS3 Publisher: Capcom Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388
The former 360 exclusive RPG finally arrives on PS3. Based heavily on the works of Frederick Chopin, players accompany the deceased composer through a magical world inspired by his music. The PS3 version contains new quests, characters and music.
The legendary beat-’em-up series returns to show rivals how it’s meant to be done. Street Fighter IV retains everything that made the franchise so popular, including a stylish 2D art style, while bringing in enough new features and characters to satisfy fans.
IGN “This DS remake accurately reproduces the strategy of the original and adds a few modern graphical flourishes...”
GameSpot “...the touch-screen only interface is outstanding. The game makes such tremendous use of the stylus to manipulate terrain that you might stick around for an extra couple of levels just to play with this feature.”
MARKETING ACTIVITY _________________________________________________________________
Extensive print and online campaign throughout February and March
Out February 27th www.risingstargames.com
© 2008 Electronic Arts Inc. EA, the EA logo and Populous are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All rights reserved.
RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 54 MCV 06/02/09
INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS THIS WEEK
SKATE 2 FORMAT: 360
DEVELOPER: EA BLACK BOX PUBLISHER: EA
LORD OF THE RINGS; CONQUEST 360
WII FIT Wii
CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR 360
LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST PS3
CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR PS3
CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE 360
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS
PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE CURIOUS VILLAGE DS
CALL OF DUTY 4: WARFARE GAME OF THE YEAR ED PS3
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 PC
MARIO KART WII Wii
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA
SKATE 2 PS3
NINTENDO NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SEGA NINTENDO
TOMB RAIDER UNDERWORLD PS2
SAINTS ROW 2 360
LEFT 4 DEAD 360
BULLY: SCHOLARSHIP EDITION 360
EIDOS THQ EA
GUITAR HERO III: LEGENDS OF ROCK 360
NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER 360
MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES Wii
ROCKSTAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
Charts compiled by Game Guide/Complete EPOS Solutions. For more information about Complete EPOS Solutions call 01543 370002. For more information about the Game Guide call 01606 836347.
SKATE 2 TRIUMPHS OVER LORD OF THE RINGS EA’S SKATE 2 has debuted at No.1 in the Indie Charts after its first week on sale, pushing Lord Of The Rings: Conquest down to No.2. The game is the second EA title in as many weeks to take the top spot. While the 360 version of Skate beats Lord Of The Rings on Microsoft’s platform, the Tolkien brawler has the upper hand on PS3 as Skate 2 enters the chart at No.6, just below Conquest at No.5. Elsewhere, EA’s other titles slip several places, with Left 4 Dead down to No.16 and Need For Speed: Undercover plummeting 13 places to No.19. Activision Blizzard’s Call Of Duty franchise fares well this week, with the 360 and PS3 versions of both World At War and Modern Warfare all present in the chart, spread between No. 4 and No.11. As can be expected, the 2008 iteration is outselling 2007’s Call Of Duty 4.
“Activision Blizzard’s Call Of Duty franchise fares well this week, with both World At War and Modern Warfare present in the chart.” The PS3 edition of Modern Warfare is the highest of five reentries this week, outperforming the likes of Football Manager 2009, Tomb Raider: Underworld, Bully: Scholarship Edition and Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games. Nintendo still dominates its own platforms in the Indie Charts with four first-party titles in the Top 20, but only one third-party game present: Mario & Sonic, the company’s joint venture with Sega. Despite topping the mainstream charts, Wii Fit only achieves fifth position at independent retail. James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk
week’s Frontline interviewee is Shabir Hussain FROM THE FRONTLINE This of Oxford indie U-Play Games Exchange… What challenges are facing your store at the moment? There’s a lot of uncertainty out there, with lots of businesses coming in and going out. It’s the uncertainty of not knowing what is around the corner, even on the larger scale of the UK’s economy in particular, but particularly in our industry. It keeps us on our toes, which I think is a good thing because it means we’ll take measures to stay in the game. We’re determined to keep up with our rivals and keep our customers happy. What does your store offer that others don’t? We’ve got a more customer-orientated approach. We know our regulars well, so we’ll do a better deal for them. We’re a
local branch so we know the people in the area well and they trust us. That’s built up over the last six years, and it’s something you don’t get from indies with multiple branches because they have higher turnovers of staff and customers. How do you expect business in 2009 to compare to last year? I believe games manufacturers are going to be more cautious, especially with supplies. We’ve already had problems with Skate 2, where fresh stock hasn’t been freely available. I think that will become a trend as publishers are more cautious and take fewer risks in terms of stock. There may even be fewer titles this year – the industry could be on a bit of pause this year.
ble at a l i a v All A
For more information contact sales - 01256 385 251
NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.
TO TAKE PART PLEASE CONTACT: JAMES.BATCHELOR@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 06/02/09 55 Sponsored by
Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM
My Fitness Coach
Football Manager Live
Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness
Rock Band 2 (Solus)
DS, Rising Star
IN STORE: KING’S LYNN
NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.
Save over £100 with this Xbox 360 bundle, which includes a Premium console, an extra controller, Gears Of War 2, Kung Fu Panda and Lego Indiana Jones.
Consumers who choose to pre-order Halo Wars from GameStation will receive a code to download a U.N.S.C Flaming Warthog for use within the game.
Pre-order the Killzone 2 PS3 Console Bundle, including the game and an 80Gb unit, and receive an exclusive Killzone theme for the console’s Cross Media Bar.
Thurstmaster’s latest joystick, the T.16000M, boasts a superior level of accuracy thanks to its revolutionary new technology. Dubbed H.E.A.R.T, the new Hall Effect Accurate Technology promises precision levels 256 times greater than that of most rival systems. The joystick allows for over 16,000 different values on each axis, amounting to over 268 million values spread out over the various directions the stick can move in. H.E.A.R.T also removes any friction the device might encounter, minimising the
danger of mechanical wear and guaranteeing consistent accuracy. There are also no dead zones around the joystick. The T.16000M is fully compatible with any computer, and features a number of predefined control setups for the most popular games and simulators. Interactive Ideas: 0208 805 1000
56,57 MCV523_FINAL:46-47 MCV405
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 56 MCV 06/02/09
Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM
OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2 4 3 5 6 7 10 9 8
 [FULL PRICE]
PROFESSOR LAYTON DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
FIFA ‘09 EA CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 KONAMI LEG0 BATMAN WARNER BROS. WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 THQ GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED LUCASARTS SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI: PERSONA 3 KOEI
PSP THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
WII FIT FORMAT: WII
COD: WORLD AT WAR 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC
FIFA ‘09 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, PC
PROFESSOR LAYTON DS
SKATE 2 360, PS3
MARIO KART WII Wii
WII PLAY WII
MY FITNESS COACH WII
TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360 EIDOS
NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER
LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST 360, PS3, PC
MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES Wii, DS
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 SEGA LEGO INDIANA JONES LUCASARTS PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 KONAMI LEGO BATMAN WARNER BROS. STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED LUCASARTS WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 THQ CRISIS CORE: FINAL FANTASY VII SQUARE ENIX MIDNIGHT CLUB: L.A. REMIX ROCKSTAR
DEVELOPER: EA CANADA PUBLISHER: EA
PUBLISHER ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA NINTENDO EA
DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360
GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS
CARNIVAL: FUNFAIR GAMES Wii, DS
SHAUN WHITE SNOWBOARDING DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, 360, Wii, PC UBISOFT
PS3, Wii, 360, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
LEGO INDIANA JONES DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360, PSP
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360, PS3, PC
GUITAR HERO III: LEGENDS
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 MAC, PSP, PC
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
NINTENDO 2K PLAY
PC CD-ROM PUBLISHER
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
DEVELOPER: BUZZ MONKEY PUBLISHER: EIDOS
1 2 3 6 4 5 8 7 9
TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD
3 2 5 4 6 7 8 9 18
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO MARIO KART DS NINTENDO MORE BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. NINTENDO 42 ALL-TIME CLASSICS NINTENDO BIG BRAIN ACADEMY NINTENDO MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES SEGA NINTENDOGS: LABRADOR & FRIENDS NINTENDO 100 CLASSIC BOOK COLLECTION NINTENDO
[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]
360, PS3, Wii, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV ROCKSTAR WOW: WRATH OF THE LICH KING ACTIVISION BLIZZARD C&C: RED ALERT 3 EA THE SIMS 2: DOUBLE DELUXE EA CSI: NEW YORK UBISOFT FOOTBALL MANAGER LIVE SEGA CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SPORE EA FALLOUT 3 BETHESDA
6 2 4 3 NEW
9 5 8 7
DEVELOPER: SPORTS INTERACTIVE PUBLISHER: SEGA
56,57 MCV523_FINAL:46-47 MCV405
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 06/02/09 57
seventh week at the top of the All Formats Charts, despite a 17 per cent drop in sales. Supply issues appear to be a thing of the past for Nintendo’s hardware and software combo. The platform holder has also increased stock of Professor Layton And The Curious Village, which has risen six places into fourth position, with a whopping 54 per cent jump in sales.
L FORMATS Highest New Entry
LEGO BATMAN DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
Highest Top 40 Climber WARNER BROS. SONY
COD4: MODERN WARFARE 360, PS3, PC, DS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
PRO EVO 2009 PS3, PS2, PSP, PC, 360
SONIC UNLEASHED 360, Wii, PS3, PS2
GEARS OF WAR 2 360
BIG BRAIN ACADEMY: WII DEGREE WII
FALLOUT 3 PS3, 360, PC
LEFT 4 DEAD 360, PS3, PC
MARIO KART DS DS
MORE BRAIN TRAINING DS
NEW SUPER MARIO BROS DS
WALL E DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360, PSP
FABLE II 360
KUNG FU PANDA PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360, DS
LEGO STAR WARS SAGA DS, PS3, 360, WII
RESISTANCE 2 PS3
WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 09 360, PSP, PS2, PS3, DS, WII THQ
BIG BEACH SPORTS WII
TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 09 PS2, PSP, PS3, WII, 360
PC CD-ROM THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
FIFA ‘09 LITTLEBIGPLANET SKATE 2 RESISTANCE 2 LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER GRAND THEFT AUTO IV TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR
DEVELOPER: TREYARCH PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
EA SONY EA SONY EA EA ROCKSTAR EIDOS ACTIVISSION BLIZZARD
[FULL PRICE] TITLE
WORLD OF WARCRAFT
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
WOW: BURNING CRUSADE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD THE SIMS 2: MANSION & GARDEN EA AGE OF EMPIRES III MICROSOFT THE SIMS 2: FREETIME EA THE SIMS 2: BON VOYAGE EA THE SIMS 2: SEASONS EA THE SIMS 2: OPEN FOR BUSINESS EA THE SIMS 2: UNIVERSITY EA PEPPA PIG: ACTIVITY PACK GSP/AVANQUEST
DEVELOPER: BLIZZARD PUBLISHER: ACTVISION BLIZZARD
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12
MARIO KART WII MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES SHAUN WHITE SNOWBOARDING GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR ANIMAL CROSSING: LET’S GO TO THE CITY SONIC UNLEASHED RAYMAN RAVING RABBIDS TV PARTY SUPER SMASH BROS: BRAWL CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR
2 3 8 5 7 10 4 9 10
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
1 3 2 9 4 10 7 5 6 12
1 4 2 3 6 5 8 9 15 10
WEEK ENDING 31/01/09
Evergreen duo Mario Kart Wii (eighth place) and Wii Play (seventh position) underline Nintendo’s Top Ten dominance. However, Activision Blizzard stands firm in second spot with Call of Duty: World at War, despite an 11 per cent sales drop, while Electronic Arts’ FIFA ’09 rises a place to third with a nine per cent increase.
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
NINTENDO SEGA UBISOFT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD NINTENDO SEGA UBISOFT NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR FIFA ‘09 LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST GEARS OF WAR 2 FABLE II LEFT 4 DEAD TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE
2 5 3 4 7 9 17 8 6
(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack
HEALTH SENSATION Wii Fit has notched up its
DEVELOPER: EA BLACK BOX PUBLISHER: EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA EA MICROSOFT MICROSOFT EA EIDOS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISTRIBUTION
DIRECTORY KEY CONTACTS
CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL SERVICES Wrapstar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0)7778 204970 DISTRIBUTION Creative Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 020 8664 3456 Gem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 Ideal Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01767 689 720 Logic3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471 000 Meroncourt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01462 680060
Gem Creative Get your message out Gem Creative offer retail specific design and production support including trade & consumer advertising campaigns, Point of Sale, marketing collateral, repackaging, bundling and concept solutions.
Contact Neil Handa Gem Distribution Ltd St George House Parkway Harlow Business Park Harlow Essex CM19 5QF 01279 822822 www.gem.co.uk POS
One integrated solution Flyers
GEM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.gem.co.uk
GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR Total Console Repair Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21
LOCALISATION Absolute Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0141 220 5600 Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 Testronic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 653 722 Universally Speaking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01480 210621 STORE FITTINGS AMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01924 507 217 DISC REPAIR TDR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01202 489 500 Perfect Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 020 8778 5164 RTI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01895 252 191
IDEAL SOFTWARE . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1767 689720 . . . . . . . . . . www.idealsoftware.net CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL SERVICES
WRAPSTAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 7778 204970 . . . . . . . . www.wrapstar-skins.com
CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION. . . . 0208 6643456 . . . . www.creativedistribution.co.uk
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EDITORIAL PLANNER Some of the special issues coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the market... FRIDAY FEBRUARY 20th
GAMES MEDIA FOCUS With the release of the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s 2008 statistics, MCV takes a look at the UK’s games media, highlighting the highs and lows of the year. We also look to see what trends are emerging as print battles to keep up in an increasingly online-focused world.
MOVIES IN VIDEO GAMES As the stars take a stroll down the red carpet for the 2009 Oscars, we deliver a full round-up of the Hollywood-infused games heading to retail this year, from adaptations of the summer’s blockbusters to original projects under familiar licences. With more and more companies employing Tinseltown talent to improve their titles, has the line between games and movies vanished? FRIDAY FEBRUARY 27th
TERRITORY REPORT: EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE On the other side of our home continent, the Eastern and Central areas are home to unique cultures of their own. Where there are people, there are gamers, and MCV investigates how they are supplied, speaking with the major retailers and publishers in these regions to find out how different things are for those on the other side of Europe. FRIDAY MARCH 6th
MCV AWARDS FINALISTS SUPPLEMENT Prepare for the MCV Awards with this comprehensive guide to the potential winners. Get the lowdown on each of the finalists for every category, as we explore each nominee’s history and their chances at securing victory when the awards are finally handed out on the evening of April 23rd. FRIDAY MARCH 13th
DUPLICATION AND COPY PROTECTION MCV takes a look at the process between the end of a game’s development and its release, whereby the discs are protected against piracy and replicated ready for distribution. We speak to the key players in this sector in order to shed some light on this crucial, but often overlooked segment of the industry. FRIDAY MARCH 27th
TERRITORY REPORT: AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND Australia is regularly in the gaming press, with many of the biggest adult games having to be edited before they can be released. Down Under due to the lack of an ‘18’ certificate. MCV investigates the state of the Australian and New Zealand video game markets, speaking to suppliers, key industry personnel and analysts. FRIDAY APRIL 3rd
DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL The digital game sector has never been more popular. 2008 saw the release of downloadable titles like Braid and Lost Winds, while highly anticipated DLC for Fallout 3 and GTA IV are on the way. MCV takes a closer look at this ever-expanding sector, and speaks to all the key service providers.
FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT:
CHRIS.DRING@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . email@example.com
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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR
SUPPORT YOUR PRINT ADVERTISING WITH AN
Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month. STUDIOS 7 Seas Technologies ......................................www.7seastech.com Atomic Planet...........................................+44 (0) 1642 871 100 Blitz Games Studios..................................+44 (0) 1926 880 000 Broadsword Interactive ..............................+44 (0) 1970 626299 Denki ................................................................www.denki.co.uk Fuse Games ..........................................firstname.lastname@example.org Oxygen ....................................................+44 (0) 1933 446437 Realtime Worlds.......................................+44 (0) 1382 202 821 Rebellion .................................................+44 (0) 1865 792 201 Stainless Games...................................email@example.com Strawdog Studio.......................................+44 (0) 1332 258 862 TOOLS bluegfx ....................................................+44 (0) 1483 467 200 Epic Games ....................................................+1 919 870 1516 Fork Particle ...............................................00 (1) 925 417 1785 Natural Motion ..........................................+44 (0)1865 250575
ONLINE PRESENCE £450 PER MONTH SITE WIDE BUTTON Size: 300x100 pixels File type: Animated Flash swf or animated gif
£550 PER MONTH TOP 4 BUTTON PLUS EMAIL NEWSFLASH Size: 140x120 pixels File type: Static jpeg or animated gif
SERVICES 3D Creation Studio ..................................+44 (0) 151 236 9992 Absolute Quality .......................................+44 (0)141 220 5600 Air Studios ...............................................+44 (0) 207 794 0660 GAMEINDUSTRYJOBS.eu .............................+31 3110 7504580 High Score...............................................+44 (0) 1295 738 337 Partnertrans .........................................................01753 247731 Philips amBX .......................................................www.ambx.com Testronic Labs ...........................................+44 (0)1753 653 722 Tsunami Sounds.......................................+44 (0) 207 350 2828 Universally Speaking ................................+44 (0) 1480 210 621 To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and every week in MCV) contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All subscription requests should go to email@example.com
For further online advertising information please contact
Lesley.Blumson@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535647
MCVUK.COM March ‘08 Page Views 471,735 Sessions served 304,870 Unique Visitors 215,754
Feb ‘08 404,964 242,537 163,712
www.mcvuk.com MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk
MCV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01992 535647 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.mcvuk.com
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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR
Insider’s | Guide
TOTAL CONSOLE REPAIR . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21. . . . . www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk LOCALISATION
This week we speak to Sini Downing, director of creative-writing team Sidelines... How was 2008 for Sidelines? Last year was Sidelines’ first year representing writers for the games industry. It was exciting to get the word out that we’re here and have such a talented group of creative writers.
ABSOLUTE QUALITY . . . . . . +44 (0)141 220 5600 . . . . . www.absolutequality.co.uk LOCALISATION
What are you most looking forward to in 2009? Continuing our quest to highlight the importance of not only good writing, but having the right writer for the job. What would you like to see change for the better within the games industry? To have writers be part of the team from as early on as possible. Writers can bring more than narrative arcs and dialogue to a game – with their imaginations they can help build on developers’ ideas, whether it’s firming up the story, taking characters on a journey or adding that zing of
PARTNERTRANS . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.partnertrans.com
humour. All those pieces together help make a game even better. What are your targets for the next 12 months? To make sure that everyone knows we’re here and getting all of our writers signed on to great projects – there are some really interesting concepts out there and Sidelines wants to be the one to put the word on the page for each. We want industry domination. Do you have any plans for expansion and have there been any new developments? We’ve already worked on some great casual and social games and will continue to expand into those genres, as well as provide writers for traditional games. We’ll be building our team of writers to cover the ever-growing types of writing.
58-63 MCV523_final:Layout 1
TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR LOCALISATION
SUPPORT YOUR PRINT ADVERTISING WITH AN
For further online advertising information please contact
Lesley.Blumson@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535647 TESTRONIC LABORATORIES . . . +44 (0) 1753 653 722. . . . www.testroniclabs.com
MCV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01992 535647 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.mcvuk.com
UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING . . . . . . . 01480 210621 . . . . . . . . . . . www.usspeaking.com
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk
HIGH PERFORMANCE OPTICAL DISC REPAIR SYSTEMS Eco Senior Fully Automatic Repair System
Entry Level Repair System
Call 01895 252191 for Introductory Offers Eco Master
50 disc Automatic Repair System
AMA DISPLAYS . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1924 507217 . . . . . . . . . www.ama-displays.co.uk
High Speed Optical Disc Inspection System
RTI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01895 252191 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.rtico.com
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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISC REPAIR
DIARY DATES ‘09 From the MCV Industry Pub Quiz to the PC Retail Awards, here are all the essential industry dates to get in your diary…
FEBRUARY 2009 D.I.C.E. SUMMIT Wednesday, February 18th Friday, February 20th Las Vegas, USA www.dicesummit.org
MARCH BAFTA 09 Tuesday, March 10th Park Lane Hilton, London www.bafta.org/awards/video-games GAME BASED LEARNING Thursday, March 19th Friday, March 20th The Brewery, Barbican, London www.gamebasedlearning2009.com PC RETAIL AWARDS 2009 Thursday, March 19th Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington firstname.lastname@example.org GDC 09 Monday, March 23rd – Friday, March 27th San Francisco, USA www.gdconf.com
MCV/XBOX 360 PUB QUIZ Thursday, February 19th Sway Bar, London dave.roberts@ intentmedia.co.uk The MCV/Xbox 360 Pub Quiz gives retailers, suppliers and the media the chance to show off their general knowledge skills in an appropriate arena for our industry – the local pub. There will be thousands of pounds’ worth of prizes up for grabs to the best performers on the night, as well as loads of topnotch booze and food.
MULTIPLAY M FESTIVAL Friday, April 10th Monday, April 13th Stoneleigh Park, Southampton www.mfestival.com.
JUNE E3 Tuesday, June 2nd – Thursday, June 4th LA Convention Centre, LA www.e3expo.com
JULY DEVELOP CONFERENCE 2009 Tuesday, July 14th – Saturday, July 16th Brighton, UK www.develop-conference.com GAMES CONVENTION ONLINE Friday July 31st Sunday, August 2nd Leipzig, Germany www.leipziger-messe.com
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk
MCV INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS Thursday, April 23rd The Brewery, London jodie.holdway@ bhpr.co.uk The biggest night in the games industry calendar returns to the Brewery and will feature awards split across three categories; Retail, PR and Marketing, and People and Industry. A whopping 650 representatives from all corners of the UK games trade will be attending this essential industry event.
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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 62 MCV 06/02/09
International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA
All Interactive.................Helensvale Town Centre
Otto Group ...................................................Hamburg Playcom Software Vertriebs .......................Erfurt
ENTERTAINMENT TRADING APS AFA INTERACTIVE
Stenholm 1, 9400,
66 Hughes Street, Mile End,
South Australia 5031
Phone: +45 70277640
Tel: +61 8823 41355
Fax: +45 70277650 email: email@example.com Web www.entertainment-trading.com
GATEWAY DISTRIBUTION APS
Asia Pacific HQ - Level 8/606 St.Kilda Rd,
Gateway Distribution ApS
Melbourne, Vic, Australia, 3004
+44 1279 408 665 (UK)
+45 7026 0870 (DK)
Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel.....................Erfurt
Pan Vision Norway.....................................Trollasen
Centric ...............................................................Athens Nortec Multimedia.........................................Athens Zegetron S.A....................................................Athens
HUNGARY Antec .............................................................Budapest
1042 Budapest, Arpad UT 112, Hungary Tel: +36 1 369 2686
MPX.no .......................................................Sandefjord Platekompaniet....................................................Oslo Massemedia AS...........................................Notteroy Pan Vision Norway..............................................Oslo
POLAND CD Projekt Sp. z o.o......................................Warsaw
ESTONIA Andrico ..............................................................Tallinn
Fax: +36 1 272 0109
Web: www.techland.pl Tel: +48 71 341 76 95
Fax: +48 71 343 98 96
Koch Media GmbH...............................Rottenmann
TECHLAND Sp. z.o.o. Kazmierza Wlk 27, 50-077 Wroclaw,
Red Ant...................................Baulkham Hills, NSW
Play Art Multimedia Handels GmbH....Rankweil
COMGAME 576 LTD
THQ AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND & ASIA.
Groß Electronic .......................................Rohrnbach
ecofilmes...............................Sao Joao Da Madeira TM
FINLAND Panvision Oy.......................................................Turku
Horelec S.A. ...........................................Bruxelles
EMC GROUPE CASINO..........Croissy Beaubourg
CLD Distribution S.A. .........................Fernelmont
MILESTONE INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE LIMITED Pramukh Plaza, 2nd Floor, Cardinal Gracious Road, Chakala, Andheri East, Mumbai 400 099, INDIA.
Tel: +91 22 28203319
INNELEC MULTIMEDIA 45 rue Delizy, 93692 PANTIN Cedex
Fax: +91 22 28203334
PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034, Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 firstname.lastname@example.org www.planetadeagostini.net
email: email@example.com website: www.milestoneinteractive.com
v.2 PLAY. LDA
Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel
Email purchase: firstname.lastname@example.org
Studio Office Marquês de Pombal –
Tel: +31 10 298 3838
Email export sales: email@example.com
Cidiverte Spa ...............................................Gallarate Coop Italia..........................................Sesto F.NO (FI) Digital Bros spa................................................Milano
Avenida de Loulé nº 123 1069-152 Lisbon, Portugal Tel. 00351 21 31 46 51 0 Fax 00351 21 31 61 12 5
Leader Spa.................................Gazzada Schianno
DTP ENTERTAINMENT AG GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD
Goldbekplatz 3-5, 22303
1 Alkaiou Street / Office 1 /
Tel: +49 (0)40 66 99 10 0
Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus
Fax: +49 (0)40 66 99 10 10
tel. +357 22 666612
Newave Italia...................................................Firenze Promovideo SRL ...........................................Senago
NETHERLANDS Gameworld BV............................Capelle A/D Ijssel Micromedia BV...........................................Nijmegen Favour Games..................................................Tilburg Rigu Sound B.V................2153 GB Nieuw Vennep
AKELLA 12/1 Bolshaya Novodmitrovskaya st., 127015, Moscow, Russia Phone: +7 (495) 363-4612 Fax: +7 (495) 363-4615 http://en.akella.com
TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE
64-65 MCV523_final:Layout 1
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 06/02/09 63
The International Distribution Guide is dedicated to promoting companies outside of the UK. If you are looking for new customers overseas, then look no further...
ABC Software GmbH.......................................Buchs
Noviy Disk .......................................................Moscow Soft Club..........................................................Moscow
ARAL Import..................................................Istanbul Nortec Eurasia...............................................Istanbul
SINGAPORE Replay Interactive....................................Singapore
SOUTH AFRICA Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg
Nu Metro Interactive ......................Johannesburg
VIDEO GAMES DISTRIBUTOR Tel: 1-917-627-3000
Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID
Lamee Software S.L. .....................................Madrid
Marques de Monteagudo 18,
20001 S. Western Ave.
28028 Madrid, Spain`
Torrance, CA 90501
Phone: 310-222-5522 x 111
Fax: 310-222-5577 Contact: Moris Mirzadeh Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034, Barcelona, Spain,
U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC.
Tel: +34 93 492 08 89
16700 Schoenborn St.
#2 North Hills, CA. 91343
Tel: +1 818 920 9393 email@example.com www.usgamesdist.com
VIRGIN PLAY Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11,
UAE Red Entertainment Distribution ..................Dubai
28046 Madrid, Spain Tel: +34 91 789 35 50 Web: www.virginplay.es
DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid
Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas
PO Box 10705, Office 103-104
JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo
Emirates Islamic Bank Building,Dubai, UAE.
Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona
www.pluto-games.com Tel: +971 4261 8111
Fax: +971 4261 8112
Bergsala AB............................................Kungsbacka Panvision....................................................Stockholm SIBA AB ...................................................Gothenburg
Modern Pluto Trading LLC...............Saudi Arabia NXT Global LLC .................................................Dubai
Pluto Derinton Games LLC............................Egypt
Following the news that leading Australian games distributor Red Ant has been placed into administration, publishers have confirmed to MCV that they have already begun evaluating their options in the territory. A Capcom spokesperson told MCV: “Our official response is that we are aware of the situation with Red Ant and are currently evaluating our options. “Certain recent news reports have speculated that owing to the financial status of Red Ant that the release dates of Capcom’s forthcoming titles in this territory may be delayed. Capcom would like to state it does not expect any such delays.” MCV also spoke to a Konami spokesperson, who stated: “As has been widely reported, Red Ant has gone into administration. Konami is currently reviewing its Australian distribution and will not be affected by Red Ant’s unfortunate demise. “The agreement between Konami and Red Ant was due to commence this month onwards, with sales yet to start on the agreed titles. Konami offers its
sincerest sympathies to those affected at Red Ant, but will not be commenting further.” Rising Star Games has also reassured the Australian trade over the collapse of Red Ant. International commercial manager Ben Chalmers-Stevens said: “I would like to make it clear that AFA Interactive have now been looking after the Rising Star distribution business since August 2008. Clearly it’s sad news for the industry as a whole when a wellrespected business fails; however we are now very well placed with the excellent team at AFA Interactive to launch the entire Rising Star Games line-up.” Elsewhere, South Australian attorney general Michael Atkinson has defended the Classification Board’s refusal to introduce an 18 age rating for games released in the territory, claiming that games are more harmful than movies. “I don’t support the introduction of an R18+ rating for electronic games, chiefly because it will greatly increase the risk of children and vulnerable adults being exposed to damaging images,” Atkinson told GameSpot.
PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
GBL_MCV print adver_v2
19th-20th March The Brewery, Barbican, London
Video Games, Social Media and Learning. learn through play, 99% of boys and ❛97%People of girls age 12-17 play video games ❜
Among the speakers
BBC FACTUAL ENTERTAINMENT
The power of collaboration between the games industry and the world of education has the potential not only to raise the bar but to move the game industry into an area that is more financially secure LORD DAVID PUTTNUM
integrate games within learning across the curriculum ❛ If we can we can make education the proper competition for our children’s minds ❜
NOLAN BUSHNELL, FATHER OF THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY
Tom Watson MP Minister for Transformational Government
Our best teachers can look at children ❛ playing games and can draw out of it a whole lot of learning outcomes and that’s what’s happening. ❜
Nolan Bushnell Father of the video game industry Ian Livingstone Co-founder of Eidos
PROFESSOR STEPHEN HEPPELL
Do not miss the opportunity to attend the inaugural Game Based Learning Conference being held in London at The Brewery, EC1 on March 19th-20th.
Game Based Learning Conference 2009
Here you will join other thought leaders, policy makers, innovators, key practitioners, developers and publishers from the worlds of education, entertainment software and consumer electronics in a vital conversation about how video games and social media are having a profound impact on the quality of learning and teaching practice whilst creating a whole new marketplace.
Terry Deary Author, Horrible Histories Derek Robertson Learning & Teaching Scotland Sean Dromgoole CEO, Some Research
Sponsorship and exhibition enquiries please contact Isabel Fernandes on +44 20 7511 8773 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Taylor Commissioning Editor, Education, Channel 4
Register now at
Chris Deering Chairman of Codemasters
use code: intentgbl09
Official airline carrier
67 MCV523_final:47 MCV443
MCV 06/02/09 67
Fund set up to honour musician
An open letter to the development community… WHEN BAFTA announced that it wished to give the same attention to the video game art form as that afforded to film and television, I am sure that there were many raised eyebrows. While some wondered what took BAFTA so long, others probably questioned whether the Academy had a right to be at the table at all. As the new chairman of the BAFTA Games committee I want to share our ambitions. In addition to recognising the highest achievements in video games, we also aim to give members, and the public, a chance to learn from leading practitioners. We aim to provide a forum for knowledge to be shared across all disciplines the Academy represents.
We are only at the start of our journey. With just over 150 games members in the Academy out of 5,000 UK members, we know we have a way to go, but
We want key creatives to become members of BAFTA and to have a voice…
our ambition is for the Academy’s membership to represent the cream of the development community and to be the place to meet like-minded practitioners from film and TV.
BAFTA is a registered charity with a strong educational remit across all the sectors the Academy represents, and its members frequently participate in mentoring schemes. We want to attract the real creative, development talent to join the Academy and to mount events, which you want to come to and take part in. We want to put on the best master-classes, lectures, Q&A sessions and awards in the business, to attract the most talented membership and to raise public awareness of this unique art form. We want key creatives to become members and to have a voice. We would also like to hear suggestions you might have for keynote speakers for the
Annual Lecture and how you think the Academy can serve the development community in terms of events. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com. Aside from the great events on offer, with a great bar and restaurant, our headquarters can be like a central London office for out-of-town developers to meet publishers – and membership is tax-deductible. If you want to learn more about becoming a member, taking part in a jury, or attending our Awards, visit www.bafta.org, drop me an email or contact the Academy’s Games officer Kelly Smith on 0207 292 5845. Thanks, Ray Maguire, Chairman, BAFTA Games Committee & MD, SCEE UK
A further tribute to ‘good guy’ Tim Best I WAS terribly sad to hear of Tim Best’s passing. He was one of the good guys. Tim was not especially well known in the modern games industry, but he as much as anyone contributed much to video and computer games over three decades. I first met Tim in February 1985 at the LET Show, an early trade show for a growing home
TIM BEST: The games industry legend passed away last year
computer games market. Tim was the editor of LET magazine. As a competitor to the newly founded CTW, my inexperience led me to believe that this would be my first taste of competitive jousting and posturing. How wrong I was. Tim was funny, friendly and engaging. Warm and outgoing, he was someone I came to know and like hugely from that day.
Over the years his humour and easy-going nature was always something that I enjoyed. His loveable inclination to be a miserable git was part of his charm. I like to think that, like many, many others out there, I was one of his friends. Best wishes, Simon Harvey, BHPR
I HAVE started a Cancer Charity donation fund in memory of the late games musician Richard Joseph. Richard was, and still is, much loved by his family, friends and fans. His sound work in the industry is the stuff of legend and for this he will be remembered. But to many the abiding memory of Richard is the man, the friend, the good listener, the wicked anarchic humour. And for me he will always be one of my few role models, a mentor to the balance of freedom and stability, creativity and business. To me, losing him has been like having one of my creative arms cut off. If you remember Richard, or feel moved to make a donation, then please go to http://www.justgiving.co m/jonhare. Donating through Justgiving is quick and secure. And, if you’re a UK taxpayer, Justgiving makes sure 25 per cent in Gift Aid, plus a three per cent supplement, are added. As you make your donation remember the flame of creative spirit that Richard always carried with him and if it is in your heart then remember to carry this spirit with you too. Let it light up your work and keep it in a safe place to pass on to later generations. Jon Hare
68 MCV 06/02/09
PIC OF THE WEEK “DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!” We’re surprised Brian Blessed has forgiven the industry for not producing a next-gen Flash Gordon video game. But here he is, cuddling up with Bastion’s Dan Griliopoulos at the Little Princess press launch at Toy Fair last week. Note the Peter And The Wolf T-shirt. Respect.
OFF THE RECORD This week, Bastion catches up with a legendary booming voice (and its owner) as 1C wraps up in the cold. Elsewhere, one of MCV’s own asks you to give generously for a worthy cause - and Ian Livingstone answers our questions... ON THE RUN MCV’s very own Dave Roberts is running the Bath Half Marathon on March 15th to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. You can sponsor him, and contribute to a very worthy cause, by going to justgiving.com/daveroberts2. In fact, yeah, do that. It’ll make you feel good inside and your God will love you even more.
OF THE WEEK “Do I play an instrument? I play guitar on Rock Band on the Xbox. Does that count?” England football star Theo Walcott answers questions from six year-old Jack Stott in The Guardian.
Psssst... Which publisher boss – whose firm had a No.1 hit at the end of 2008 – cheekily entered MCV’s competition to win Sega goodies last week?
MCV 06/02/09 69
READ ALL ABOUT IT When will the national newspapers get a grip on games – and stop talking nonsense? Here’s this week’s worst offender…
“The report blamed computer games and TV... for ‘the lurch to more violence... which we know can breed mental illness’.” The Daily Mail 03/02/2009
RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD
MCV takes soundings from its Retail Advisory Board on the biggest issues of the day. The current members are... LISA MORGAN, GAME
DUNCAN CROSS, ASDA
MARTYN GIBBS GAMESTATION
DON MCCABE, CHIPS
TIM ELLIS, HMV
GIAN LUZIO, PLAY
ICE, ICE, BABY
CAROLINE AUSTEN, THE HUT
A source at 1C has sent us in so many pictures of UK MD Peter King, we could make our own calendar. This one would be a good image for this week of course, but Pete and 1C PR boss Anatoly Subbotin aren’t freezing in the UK snow here; they’re frolicking in London’s Ice Bar. And if you don’t want one of these coats, you’re not human.
JON BIGGS, MORRISONS
Pic Source: www.e3girls.com
DEBBIE O’NEILL, COMET
GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON
DAVID POULTER, DSGI
IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO
ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS
OFFICIAL: BOOTH BABES ARE BACK Remember when E3 scrapped everything fun? When it became purely for ‘business and media’? Then you’ll remember when they banned the booth babes. Well, this year they’re back. And it’s just as well. Because the LA expo just isn’t the same without some horrendously mishapen lady parts to liven things up.
PLEASE EMAIL US YOUR FUNNIEST INDUSTRY PICTURES AT
STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK
70 MCV 06/02/09
lives HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? A mixture of playing games, golf, poker, writing, reading and drinking good red wine. I used to relax watching Manchester City. Heroic failure offered some sort of strange comfort. These days City makes me anxious and nervous; the richest club in the world and about to buy everybody? Now we have the burden of expectation. People will start hating us soon. Surely that should be reserved for Man Utd and Chelsea? WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE GAME, FILM AND ALBUM OF ALL TIME? Does anybody have a favourite anything? If favourite game means the one I’ve played the most, then it’s Championship Manager (managing Man City, guaranteeing more heroic failure). If it means current favourite, then on console it’s Fable 2 and handheld it’s Professor Layton. Favourite film? It’s hard to decide between Pulp Fiction and Blade Runner. Blade Runner I suppose if pushed, although 40 years ago it would have been
Some Like It Hot. My favourite album of all time is Electric Ladyland by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Jimi was the man. But on another day it would be Kind of Blue by Miles Davis or The Stone Roses’ first album.
This week, Eidos’ Creative Director and all-round games legend Ian Livingstone answers the questions that some other execs don’t dare take on...
the Tomb Raider movie set (still recovering from that), Eidos E3 parties, low development costs, Indin videos, fun and still being young enough to remember people’s names.
WHO’S THE FUNNIEST PERSON YOU’VE EVER MET? Peter Cook. Sadly, he passed away in 1995 but I will always remember many years ago spending a few hours with him on a sunny terrace bar in Spain which overlooked a tennis court where four rotund and ability-challenged Brit tennis players were playing a game of mixed doubles. With his deadpan face and monotone voice, Peter began his private commentary on the match, describing in cruel detail the clothing and non-athleticism of players and their hopeless attempts at rallies. I was close to death with laughter. WHEN WERE THE GOOD OLD DAYS? Ah, the good old days. Fond memories of living in a van during the early days of Games Workshop, seeing the first copies of Warlock of Firetop Mountain appear on the bookshelves, the euphoria of the first Tomb Raider game launch, meeting Angelina Jolie on
“I remember meeting Ange lina Jolie on the set of the Tomb Raide r movie. I’m still recovering.”
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU LAUGHED UNTIL YOU WERE RED IN THE FACE? It was 2004 and I was half way up Kilimanjaro with a fine bunch of industry stalwarts. I was trying to sleep in the dead of night in a very small hut occupied by myself, Andy Payne, Sean Dromgoole, Dave Noble, Doron Garfunkel and
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Graeme Struthers. The sleeping arrangements were such that Sean’s head was in close proximity of Dave’s rear. Needless to say Sean took exception to Dave’s repeated expulsion of high altitude gas, threatening severe punishment should it
happen again. It did... immediately... but it was me, and not Dave, who was the culprit. Unaware, Sean set about Dave as I convulsed with muffled laughter in my sleeping bag until I could keep silent no longer. School kid humour at its best.
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MCV is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation and the Periodical Publishers Association. Membership of the ABC and PPA provides our advertising partners with confidence in our circulation statements. For the 12 months ending December 2007, MCV had an average weekly net circulation of 9,086. MCV’s circulation is 100 per cent named and zero per cent duplicated.
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