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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES
Issue 525 Friday February 20 2009 £3.25
04 LA Story
14 Screen digested
Entertainment Software Association CEO Michael Gallagher talks E3
As the world warms up for the Oscars, MCV takes a special look at the state of movie IP in games
05 360 degrees
25 As easy as ABC
Microsoft’s European chief Chris Lewis reveals all about Xbox’s Christmas
We speak to the publishers affected by last week’s magazine circulation figures
06 Grand designs
39 Tom Clancy’s HAWX
Rockstar UK boss Neil Stephen discusses GTA: Chinatown’s release
Ubisoft’s anticipated RTS kicks off our Retail section this week
EVERY BUYER EVERY BRANCH EVERY INDIE EVERY WEEK
High Street’s Good Friday arrives with Nintendo DSi Console enjoys pre-Easter launch on April 3rd Priced £149.99 Plentiful stock promised by Michael French MARK IT in your diary: the new DSi console will hit UK and European retail on Friday April 3rd – offering a ‘stepchange’ to further market growth, according to Nintendo. MCV can reveal that the enhanced DS will be available in white or black, priced £149.99, just as consumer spending ramps up before the Easter weekend. The device launches in North America later on Sunday April 5th. New features packed into the thinner device include a bigger screen, a camera, an SD card slot and better online functions. The DS Lite will also remain available post-launch. “With its new features, the DSi is a significant step-change – more significant than the jump from the original DS to DS Lite,” Nintendo UK’s general manager David Yarnton (pictured above) told MCV.
The format holder believes the new platform will stimulate the market in a tough year. “We expect some people will upgrade, but we also anticipate that we’ll win over people who were still undecided on DS,” said Yarnton. “There are 21 million households in the UK. Each one could conceivably have a DS – or even more than one. “That doesn’t mean we think we’ll sell 60 million and have multiple consoles in every home. But the numbers are very buoyant. This is uncharted territory for the industry.
UBISOFT RESCUES THE WHEELMAN
“The functions of the new device really give the DS unlimited potential.” And in what will be reassuring music to retailers’ ears, Yarnton told MCV that stores can expect a strong flow of DSi stock:
Sainsbury’s slashes Wii SUPERMARKET CHAIN Sainsbury’s fired the first shot in a 2009 hardware price war this week by cutting the cost of the Wii by £20 to just £159.97. The offer comes as part of the supermarket’s new ‘Entertainment Blitz’ promotion, which also includes a number of cutprice Wii games, plus offers across its DVD, music and book ranges. Ads for the range have been run in a variety of mass market magazines including Heat and Now. However, other retailers have not welcomed the shock promotion. One entertainment retail insider told MCV: “Demand for Wii is still so rampant, this just makes no sense. You can still sell them at a premium – certainly at full price. This loss leader is completely unnecessary, and now others will surely be forced to follow suit.”
Rawlinson in as ELSPA boss by Tim Ingham
Publishing sources have confirmed to MCV that Ubisoft has stepped in to publish The Wheelman, after original publisher Midway filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. The Vin Diesel-starring game has been developed by Midway Newcastle in collaboration with the Hollywood action man’s own Tigon Studios, and is scheduled to hit retail next month.
“We’re comfortable with the amount of stock we’ll have available – but we are not going to stop stocking DS Lite. Production of DSi is at a comfortable level and stock availability will be consistent and steady.”
ELSPA has appointed Michael Rawlinson to the position of director general, as current incumbent Paul Jackson steps aside into an advisory role. Rawlinson has been with ELSPA since 1999. He was appointed deputy director general in November 2001 and promoted to MD in 2006. Jackson joined as director
general two years ago, moving over from a role as senior European VP at EA. Rawlinson said: “I want to build on the successes we’ve had, especially in the political field – not just in Westminster, but with political stakeholders. “We need the policy makers to understand that behind the big growth numbers is not always a rosy picture. The problems within retail actually
contract the opportunity for our members to get their products to consumers. The credit crunch plays a big part in that.” Rawlinson will now head up ELSPA’s quest to convince the Government to adopt the PEGI ratings system as the UK’s single statutory age classification. Jackson told MCV that he was now free to work for individual publishers, but was not actively pursuing a role.
PERSONNEL 34 RETAIL BIZ 39 NEW RELEASES 51 HIGH STREET 52 CHARTS 54
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[LEADER] PERSONAL TOUCH COUNTLESS PEOPLE we’ve spoken to in recent weeks have singled out DSi a key highlight of 2009, so Nintendo’s confirmation of date, price, and stock (through MCV, no less) is undoubtedly welcome news. Its success over here seems assured. One part of the pitch behind the device is how the new version emphasises personalisation. Along with all its other improvements, the DSi lets you customise and tailor the machine to your tastes. And David Yarnton assures me that downloadable software samplers can in turn drive owners back into shops. In the age of the iPhone – which no matter how brilliant it is, has stepped into industry waters only to exclude retail – that should come as welcome news, as well.
HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? The DSi’s £149 price also signifies some other interesting, but subtle shifts in our market. Games industry conventional thinking suggest that ‘the only way is down’ – i.e. once hardware has hit a peak, you’ve got to cut the price. But games with add-ons like the £69.99 Wii Fit, Animal Crossing and Wii Talk for £59.99, even third party offerings like Guitar Hero and instruments or House of the Dead bundled with its ‘Hand Cannon’ (which I gladly stumped up over £40 for at the weekend)… These and more have proven that consumers don’t just act on price, they will ignore higher prices in lieu of innovation and/or gimmicks. This, in part, is what will drive DSi sales. So Sainsbury’s cutting the price of Wii seems odd. That’s £20 lost on each unit, just to drive footfall. That doesn’t seem to add up to me.
FAR EASTERN PROMISES Readers who also check MCVuk.com every day will be familiar with the latest news that Square Enix has put in a bid to buy Eidos – exactly as we predicted in early December, don’t forget. And Bandai Namco has detailed its aspirations to buy D3P parent D3, as well. Don’t forget to keep checking our site for the latest on the Square Enix/Eidos and Namco/D3 developments, which seem to be gathering momentum daily. The Square Enix move is looking more like a dead cert as the days pass. The emphasis behind the deal is on European and North American development talent and content like Hitman and Tomb Raider rather than anything else. And rightly so. Don’t count out Bandai Namco from such aspirations, either. The firm has already signed up one Britsoft studio, Blitz, to create some surprisingly good XBLA titles and what is shaping up to be a key Q4 game – the impressive-looking Dead to Rights revamp. And it wants to sign more. Is this a signifier of a serious Japanese publisher fight back in full force after their local market slide? Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk
All are welcome at E3, Summer games event’s ‘rejuvenation’ sees inclusion of international by Michael French UK AND EUROPEAN retailers and media are a ‘primary focus’ for 2009’s E3, ESA CEO Michael Gallagher has told MCV. Late last year, the association which organises E3 announced the event was to return to its original format this coming June after two years operating an unloved, smaller show. Gallagher said that momentum has returned to what he described as a ‘rejuvenated’ event, pointing out that a raft of exhibiting companies have already signed up – including big hitters like EA, Activision, Ubisoft and Take 2 – while the likes of Sega and THQ have ditched their replacement European event in lieu of the LA show (as revealed by MCV earlier this year). The ESA has even removed restrictions on booth sizes to make the show bigger for thirdparties than during its heyday (see ‘Showfloor Show Offs’). “We are extremely excited about the early indicators around E3 and its rejuvenated
format. If there’s a place that you want to go to capture the energy and creativity of the video game industry, on display for the industry and media, there’s one place to be – and that’s in LA from June 2nd to 4th, where all of that will be under one roof,” Gallagher said.
“E3 will be a showcase for the most dynamic form of media in the world. “This year’s event will be a sharp upgrade from the previous two years and we are going back to the target audiences from the shows in 2004, 2005 and 2006. We are
Nintendo and Koch sign up as Awards Sponsors THIS YEAR’S MCV Awards are fast shaping up, with Koch and Nintendo signing up as Retail Category Partner and Events Partner respectively. The MCV Awards take place at The Brewery, London on April 23rd. Codemasters and Gem have previously announced their support of the event, signing up as Exclusive Pre-Drinks Partners. “Nintendo is delighted to maintain its retail partnership with the MCV Awards,” said Nintendo UK general manager David Yarnton. “It is a great
event and offers us a unique way to recognise the frontline people who make such a huge contribution to our industry.” Koch MD Craig McNicol added: “Koch are a great believer in sponshorship and this event is the pinnacle of the
pre-summer events calendar. We will not just slap our logo on a wall but instead try to add to the evening in a unique way.” For information on ticket and table sales, and for sponsorship opportunities, contact: Jodie.Holdway@bhpr.co.uk.
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says ESA boss Xbox 360 Xmas retail and media as a key element to success
sales up 120%
TOP 10 KILLZONE 2 LIMITED ED BOX
Festive period provides the ‘biggest sales in the history of the Xbox brand’
SHOWFLOOR SHOW OFFS ESA is changing the rules on booth sizes for 2009’s E3. After the failed attempt to control booth sizes for the small-scale summits in 2007 and 2008, ESA is now lifting all restrictions, even those which meant format holders had much bigger booths than publishers. “One thing we’re doing is making sure that the booth sizes will be equal between first and third party publishers,” Gallagher revealed to MCV. “It’s a more level playing field. We are taking the controls off so they can capture and display the excitement for the coming year.”
GALLAGHER: “This is the best value event for the European business and media,” says the ESA and E3 CEO
very much targeting international media, international retailers, as well as the North American market. That’s a primary target for us. “At a time when there are certain economic challenges for the European business and media, this is the best value event that they will see all year. And that’s a departure from the previous two years which were exclusively for the North American market.”
MICROSOFT HAS revealed that its 360 hardware sales during Christmas 2008 were up 120 per cent in Europe on the same period in 2007. Speaking to MCV, VP of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business in EMEA Chris Lewis said that the company now enjoyed a sales lead of one million over PS3 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He said: “Christmas 2008 was the biggest sales period in the history of the Xbox brand. Sales of the console were more than double over the period a year before, in excess of 120 per cent in fact. “We’ve had record sales in January too – much better than we anticipated. We’re at over eight million console sales to end of 2008. And according to data from GfKChartTrack, we’ve widened our lead over PS3 in EMEA to around a million units.”
2. KILLZONE 2 PS3 ..................................................SONY
5. RESIDENT EVIL 5 PS3 ..............................................CAPCOM
4. SOCOM: CONFRONTATION PS3 ..................................................SONY Lewis also pledged that the firm would not “turn out the lights” on its marketing blitz, which saw it dominate TV and print last year. “We’re not dusting ourselves down saying ‘we’ve solved that challenge’,” he added. “You’re going to see us continue to invest in keeping things strong. “The UK remains one of our strongest markets. We’ve now been consistently ahead of our competition in terms of Sony for a long and sustained period, and we’re going to keep it that way.”
EA’s Holman turns to Ireland ELECTRONIC ARTS has shuffled its UK team, with well-known EA Sports marketing boss Dan Holman becoming EA group marketing director for Ireland. Holman will oversee all marketing for Ireland, but will continue to be based in the UK. He will report to EA marketing director for the UK and Ireland, Stuart Lang. Holman has enjoyed a very successful spell as EA Sports marketing manager. He has won industry-wide praise for his handling of the firm’s Let’s FIFA ‘09 campaign, which helped push the title to become the fastest-selling football game in UK history.
The campaign has been nominated for two Sports Industry Awards. His ability to juggle the rights to major brands including FIFA, the Premier League NBA, NHL, Madden and the NFL led to him being named in MCV’s ‘dream publisher’ line-up last year. The vacant role of EA Sports marketing manager left by Holman will be filled by FIFA senior product manager Trevor Uzice. Elsewhere at EA, Luke Cousens has moved from his position as product manager for EA Sports to senior product manager, with an enlarged portfolio that now
8. RACE PRO 360 ..................................................ATARI
6. RESIDENT EVIL 5 360 ..............................................CAPCOM
9. HALO WARS: LIMITED EDITION 360 ..........................................MICROSOFT
8. ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES 360 ..................................................SEGA
9. THE SIMS 3 PC ........................................................EA
10. DAWN OF WAR II PC ......................................................THQ Week ending February 13th Source: SHOPTO.COM
RESHUFFLE: Dan Holman becomes marketing director for Ireland
includes new IP like EA Sports Tennis, EA Sports Active and EA Sports Football Academy, along with his existing franchises like Tiger Woods PGA Tour.
And Kerri West has become product manager for The Sims franchise. She reports into the UK marketing manager for the EA Play Label, Claire Ridley. EA: 01483 463500
Week Ending January 30th
Week Ending February 6th
Week Ending February 13th
Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media
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GTA DS tipped to top ‘09 charts Chinatown Wars to be boosted by ‘sophisticated and mature’ marketing campaign, says Rockstar’s UK GM by Michael French ROCKSTAR GAMES is planning to apply its special brand of marketing savvy to next month’s GTA: Chinatown Wars – and reckons the game will be one of the biggest releases of 2009. The franchise’s first DS outing lands on March 20th and Rockstar Games’ UK general manager Neil Stephen has told MCV that the firm is
marketing to excite and enthuse the Nintendo fanboys as well as our loyal fanbase, who have been largely starved of such compelling content on the DS. We hope that a more sophisticated and mature creative to that normally seen on the platform will give it excellent standout in the market across all media.” Stephen added that the game, which is the DS’ first BBFC 18-rated title, is sure to
Our loyal fan base has been largely starved of compelling content on the Nintendo DS. Neil Stephen, Rockstar
planning a ‘sophisticated and mature’ campaign that will not only reflect its BBFC ‘18’ rating, but also draw in a wide range of consumers. “We are bringing a truly unique game to the DS that marks a major departure from most of the other successful titles available to date,” explained Stephen. “In conjunction with this proposition we will apply Rockstar’s expertise in
He added: “We see this as one of our biggest releases for 2009. It is the full GTA experience built and enhanced for the DS with levels of interactivity and innovation that we feel will take the series to exciting new places.”
ADULT DS: The new GTA is set to plug a gap in the DS’ portfolio
Rockstar: 020 7751 2565
DSi ON THE MARKET Rockstar’s Neil Stephen reckons the release of the DSi on April 3rd – two weeks after GTA: Chinatown Wars – will also help spur sales of the title. “The launch of a new piece of hardware will garner a new level of buzz for the system. I think anyone releasing high profile titles on the DS will benefit,” he told MCV. “We also think there is the potential to attract new owners into the market, particularly from our fans who may have played our GTA titles on the PSP.”
find an audience on a platform seen to skew across a lot of non-traditional, younger demographics. “The assumption from a lot of people is that the DS is only for kids, but in setting up for this campaign we did quite a bit of research into the DS market and there are actually a large number of DS owners aged 18 plus who we believe are crying out for a game like Chinatown Wars.”
A4T drops BDA accessories range PERIPHERALS SPECIALIST A4T has dropped the Bensussen Deutsch and Associates range from its line-up. The firm has stated that the accessories have been dropped so it can focus on the launch of two licensed programmes, while the current strength of the dollar compared to the pound has also been a deciding factor. “On February 6th we gave written notice to Bensussen Deutsch & Associates that from immediate effect A4T will no longer be the ongoing distribution partner for their range of gaming accessories in
the UK,” said sales and marketing director Bill Stirling. “We did not take this decision lightly, as we only took over the line in spring 2008 and it takes a lot of time and effort to get any new range to where it needs to be in the market. We did make massive progress and like-for-like sales for December ‘08 compared to December ‘07 grew 150 per cent in the UK according to ChartTrack. “There are two main reasons behind our decision. Primarily, we are at an advanced stage in bringing two new major
licensed programmes to market – one to launch in time for Easter this year and the other just before peak season. The important point about these new ranges is that we will have full control, from product development and production, right through to launch day itself.
STIRLING: A4T is to re-focus its energies by dropping BDA products from its line-up
“Our secondary reason is that purchasing finished goods from an intermediary licensee, such as BDA, particularly with the current strength of the US dollar versus the pound, makes the product range as a whole very uncompetitive in the current UK market. “We are now actively working together with our key customers to ensure that they have an extremely competitive promotional programme leading up to the key Easter holiday period on the BDA line of products.” A4T: 01204 369220
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New UK management team puts Codemasters in pole position
Britsoft stalwart boasts impressive 2009 product slate, featuring quality new racing IP by Michael French BETTER TRADE relations and a line-up of key titles that will excite retail are being promised by the new UK management team leading Codemasters in 2009. The publisher is building up to one of its most prolific years ever, with open world racer FUEL arriving in May, Operation Flashpoint 2 hitting in the summer followed by the return of Colin McRae DIRT – which sees the series’ biggest push ever, across all formats. Those titles are joined by new games in the Overlord series, plus sci-fi MMO Jumpgate. Further down the line in ‘09 is the firm’s first Formula One game – plus more, unannounced titles. Now UK GM Jeremy Wigmore and VP of marketing Alex Bertie are keen to remind retail about the inherent quality of Codemasters’ games, which will make the firm’s releases sure-fire sellers. “Codemasters had lacked a regular communication with retail, but that is changing now,” Wigmore, who joined
Out 13th March 2009 PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2
It’s not only WHAT you know, but WHO you know! Challenge your friends with the original Trivial Pursuit game or find out how well you know them by betting on their answers to gain extra points.
Wigmore (left) and Bertie (right) say May release FUEL leads a charge of quality Codemasters titles which also includes new Overlord, Colin McRae and Operation Flashpoint titles
Codemasters from Atari late last year, told MCV. “The one thing that everyone knows about Codemasters is the quality of its games. That’s never been in doubt. And the people who actually sell the games, the people on the shopfloor at the frontline of our business, are passionate about games – about good games. So the key thing for us to do is make them our evangelists, have them on side and talking about our titles.
“When someone walks into a retailer and asks for help, I want that shop to recommend our games. The quality of our products is exceptionally high – so we’re planning to emphasise that fact.” Bertie added: “Because we are not just a British publisher, but also a developer with three great internal studios and relationships with key developers in Europe, a lot of the sensitivities we have are relevant for this market.
“That makes us much more commercially relevant in this market than some of our competitors, who tend to approach things from either a very Japanese or North American point of view with their products or strategy. “I’d say the unique Brit and European flavour that our games have gives us a competitive edge over a lot of other publisher line-ups.”
OUT 20TH MARCH 2009 Nintendo DS
The ultimate fun, quirky game that intertwines Puzzle and Platform genres. In this two-in-one adventure, guide explorer Henry Hatsworth through five exotic worlds, fight a variety of opponents, and venture through more than 30 levels, while taking on outrageous world-ending bosses.
Codemasters: 01926 814 132
Activision bolsters PR SouthPeak signs ACTIVISION BLIZZARD has appointed Johanna Hakala to its PR team. Hakala joins as senior PR executive, and will be in charge of both the LucasArts and Red Octane accounts. Hakala has signed up from Indigo Pearl, where she handled PR for Glu, Midway, Atari and 2K Games. Alongside Hakala, Frank PR has been secured as Activision’s consumer and lifestyle agency for its products. “I am really excited to see these developments within our PR department,” said Activision’s head of PR for UK and Ireland Kate Ward.
“Johanna is a valuable addition to the internal team and Frank PR’s creativity and team structure promises to provide even greater strength for the campaigns we have planned in 2009.” Activison: 020 3060 1000
CENTRESOFT AND SouthPeak have signed an exclusive deal that will see the Birmingham-based distributor handle both primary and secondary distribution of the publisher’s titles in the UK. SouthPeak is another publisher to be hit by the loss of former distributor Pinnacle. The firm’s entire back catalogue will be distributed by both Centresoft and its sister company PDQ.
“SouthPeak is an ambitious, rapidly growing, international publishing force, which requires strong support at retail to enable the company to continue its growing brand,” said Centresoft commercial director Margaret Pearson. “Centresoft and PDQ are delighted to be working with SouthPeak and we are confident that this is a relationship that will deliver remarkable results.”
OUT 10TH APRIL 2009 Xbox 360, PS3, PC-DVD
On the eve of the Cuban revolution, a major mob meeting in Havana takes a bloody turn. The Don of your family is killed, and you must take the reigns and lead your battered organization. Build up your arsenal, forge alliances, and make whatever deals you need to as you fight off attacks and strike back at your rivals. There’ll be a price on your head and a target on your back, but don’t take it personally. After all, it’s only business.
Centresoft: 0121 625 3388
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MadWorld to rip-up retail in March Sega hunts down mature Wii audience with action brawler Title arrives on UK High Street on March 20th by Christopher Dring SEGA’S ultra-violent MadWorld will hit shelves on March 20th, MCV can reveal. The title, which has been developed by Japanese studio Platinum Games, is being targeted at the elusive adult Wii market. And the game’s producer Atsushi Inaba is confident it can plug a gap in the format’s release schedule. “The Wii is the most popular console in the world but there are not many titles tailored to adult gamers, so we thought we’d be able to give this audience something the console has been missing,” he
told MCV in an exclusive interview. “Plus the Wii has allowed us to create a fantastic control system which is great fun to use. “The first main concept was to make a fun game. We wanted a game with impact, action and entertainment and one that is very different from existing games on the console.” MadWorld has already hit the headlines with its violent content, but Inaba is optimistic that consumers can look past the blood and guts and enjoy the title’s unique gameplay. “In terms of the violence, we expected to have some criticism,” he admitted.
“But at the end of the day we are creating a game that is suitable only for a mature audience. Some people may take offence, but you just can’t
Focus signs with Big Fish FOCUS MULTIMEDIA has inked a new publishing and distribution deal with major US casual software specialist Big Fish Games. Focus will publish five Big Fish Games titles on PC this year, including key games from the Mystery Case Files and Hidden Expedition franchises. Titles will include Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst and Mystery In London: On The Trail Of The Jack The Ripper. Mystery Case Files is the bestselling ‘hidden object’ franchise of all-time, shifting over three million units to date – and a Nintendopublished DS version is currently riding high in the All Formats chart.
Craig Johnson, managing director of Focus Multimedia, said: “Focus has worked hard to blaze a trail for PC casual games at UK retail. To maintain
our market-leading position we continue to licence only the very best titles from the very best developers and publishers in this sector. As a leading player, Big Fish Games understands and shares our vision of owning and substantially growing the PC casual games space here in the UK.” Paul Handelman, vice president of licensing at Big Fish Games, added: “Partnering with the UK’s premier software distributor is an incredible opportunity to bring Big Fish Games’ top brands to a new audience. “Focus has a terrific team, and we are delighted to be collaborating with them.”
please everyone. I hope gamers will appreciate it as entertainment and not focus on the irreverent violent content.” Sega: 020 8995 3399
INABA: Producer says he expects criticism for Madworld’s violence
Just Flight soars despite Sim X crash JUST FLIGHT is optimistic about its business despite the loss of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X developer ACES. Earlier this year Microsoft closed the studio, raising concerns over the future of its Flight Simuator series, for which Just Flight sells expansions. However, the studio’s closure is not a setback for the publisher. “We see this as a massive opportunity for all flight sim add-on publishers,” Just Flight’s operations director Dermot Stapleton told MCV. “Flight Simulator has been one of the most successful franchises in gaming history
and it has spawned a huge market for add-ons. “However, there has always been a degree of uncertainty about when the next version would be released, and whether existing products out would be compatible. “It seems that the latest version Flight Simulator X, will be the sim of choice for the next few years and so we can use this period of stability to develop more complex products, safe in the knowledge that the platform won’t be undergoing any kind of radical change.” Just Flight: 0845 234 2471
Focus: 01889 570156
GET YOUR MESSAGE OUT THERE
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Morrison’s distie eyes rapid expansion Supermarket’s EUK replacement Music Box Leisure recruits, looks for new retail partners by Tim Ingham MUSIC BOX LEISURE is on the prowl for new retail accounts – as Morrisons appoints the firm its long-term exclusive distribution partner. Morrisons told MCV that its future supply route would be handled by Music Box last week, after the company stepped in following the collapse of its former wholesaler EUK at Christmas. Music Box has this week revealed that it is “looking for opportunities” to work with more retailers – and adding to its games buying staff to deal with increased workload. A job vacancy currently advertised reveals that the
company is looking to hire games buyers as it ‘grows our games buying division at all levels with those who have experience in the games market’. It adds: ‘The video games market is becoming a big part of the MBL business and those who produce results can look at truly exciting career prospects.’ Music Box games buyer Dan Whitehead told MCV: “We deal with 35 publishers, and we need more people to deal with the workload in games. Our games operation is going from strength to strength. He added: “We’re always looking for other opportunities
[IN BRIEF] MIDWAY: The company’s American arm has filed petitions with the US Bankruptcy Court to protect it from creditors under Chapter 11. Midway’s European operations are reportedly unaffected by the shock move.
and to service other retailers.” In addition to supermarkets, Music Box supplies motorway service stations and ferries. Its strategy is to source product from entertainment companies and create multi-
WEEK E H T F O N G I A CAMP ER IV STREET FIGHT
So far, Street Fighter IV has appeared on more than 22 front covers, with additional press coverage planned. Capcom’s agency has also planned a full national and lifestyle push in February.
displaying the game in flagship Gamestation, HMV and Tesco stores. Shoppers were able to try out Street Fighter IV for themselves and given the chance to win some exclusive merchandise. ONLINE
A full range of POS is available through Centresoft, using the game’s recognisable characters to draw in consumers. A nationwide stores tour took place in early February,
Site takeovers will include The Sun and the Sky Sports Network. Ads will feature heavily on FHM and Nuts. TV
A constant TV campaign will run throughout the year,
buy ranges tailored to each retailer’s requirements. As well as Morrisons, the Lancashire company also serves Co-Op, Somerfield, Makro, Wilkinsons and more.
DISNEY: Disney Online has launched DisneyXD.com, a new online and mobile web destination targeted at kids and ‘tweens’. The site features several actionbased games, as well as new videos and community features.
MusicBox: 01772 455000
SEGA: The publisher has unveiled Rebellion’s new Aliens Vs Predator title. It will be Sega’s first game bearing the Aliens licence and is set to arrive in 2010, ahead of Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines.
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 20 FORMATS: 360/PS3
Street Fighter’s return is upon us, and Capcom has prepared a suitably huge marketing campaign… PRINT
SONY: The platform holder has revealed that total worldwide sell-in of PSP units to date, including the PSP-1000, 2000 and 3000 models, has reached 50 million units.
DEVELOPER: CAPCOM PUBLISHER: CONTACT PRICE: £39.99
consistently driving DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT sales with promotions designed to target 12 CONTACT: 0121 625 3388 to 34 year-old males.
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD: Activision has confirmed Bizarre is working on two James Bond titles. A racer will arrive before the end of 2009, while a shoot ‘em-up has been delayed to 2010 to avoid any negative impact of launching alongside the new Call Of Duty.
Capcom created a nostalgia video with talking heads reminiscing on their memories of the first Street Fighter era in the early ‘90s. A partnership with LoveFilm will see 100,000 Street Fighter IV branded envelopes sent out to the online retailer’s users throughout February.
EA: Electronic Arts has revealed that FIFA 09’s userbase is playing an average of 1.25 million online matches per day, and has announced that it will launch the new Ultimate Team mode for Xbox 360 and PS3 on March 19th to celebrate.
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Publishers braced for BAFTA battle GTA IV, Dead Space, Call of Duty 4, Fable II, and LittleBigPlanet nominated at GAME-sponsored awards event by Christopher Dring SONY, Rockstar, Microsoft and Activision will go head-to-head at this year’s GAME British Academy Video Games Awards. BAFTA announced its full list of nominations last week ahead of the March 10th awards ceremony at the
London Hilton on Park Lane. The event is being held in association with GAME and will be hosted by stand-up comedian Dara O’Braian. Activision’s highly acclaimed Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare leads the charge with seven nominations, while Grand Theft Auto IV, Dead
Space, Fable II and LittleBigPlanet are also up for multiple awards. Movie director Steven Spielberg could also claim his first video game award, with Wii puzzler Boom Blox nominated in the casual games category. The games are to be judged by a panel of industry experts.
AND THE NOMINEES ARE... ACTION AND ADVENTURE Call of Duty 4 Dead Space Fable II Grand Theft Auto IV Prince of Persia Tomb Raider: Underworld ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT Assassin’s Creed Call of Duty 4 Dead Space Gears of War 2 LittleBigPlanet Metal Gear Solid 4 BEST GAME Call of Duty 4 Fable II Fallout 3 Grand Theft Auto IV Rock Band Super Mario Galaxy CASUAL Boom Blox Buzz! Quiz TV
Guitar Hero: World Tour LittleBigPlanet SingStar Vol. 2 Wii Fit
GAMEPLAY Call of Duty 4 Grand Theft Auto IV Left 4 Dead Mario Kart Wii Rock Band Super Mario Galaxy HANDHELD Geometry Wars: Galaxies God of War: Chains of the Olympus The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass Patapon Professor Layton and the Curious Village Soul Bubbles MULTIPLAYER Buzz! Quiz TV Call of Duty 4 Gears of War 2 Left 4 Dead Mario Kart Wii Rock Band
ORIGINAL SCORE Assassin’s Creed Dead Space Fable II Fallout 3 LittleBigPlanet Metal Gear Solid 4
STORY AND CHARACTER Assassin’s Creed Call of Duty 4 Fable II Fallout 3 Grand Theft Auto IV Mass Effect
SPORTS FIFA ‘09 Football Manager 2009 Motorstorm: Pacific Rift Pure Race Driver: GRID Wii Fit
TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT Assassin’s Creed Fable II Fallout 3 Grand Theft Auto IV LittleBigPlanet Spore
STRATEGY Advance Wars: Dark Conflict Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 Ninjatown Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution SOCOM: Tactical Strike Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise
USE OF AUDIO Call of Duty 4 Dead Space Gears of War 2 GTA IV LittleBigPlanet Super Mario Galaxy
BAFTA ONE’S TO WATCH AWARD (in association with Dare to Be Digital) Boro-Toro Origamee VegeMe GAME Award of 2008 (The only award to be voted for by the public) Call of Duty 4 Fallout 3 Gears of War 2 Grand Theft Auto IV Guitar Hero World Tour Left 4 Dead LittleBigPlanet Professor Layton and the Curious Village Wii Fit World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
20.02.2009 www.streetÄghter.com ©CAPCOM U.S.A., INC. 2008, 2009 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. “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.
Exclusive Capcom Distribution Partner. Contact the Centresoft Capcom Team. Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 121 625 3818
FINAL FANTASY® CRYSTAL CHRONICLES®: Echoes of Time™: © 2009 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved. CHARACTER DESIGN: Yasuhisa Izumisawa. The CRYSTAL CHRONICLES logo and ECHOES OF TIME are registered trademarks or trademarks of Square Enix Co., Ltd. CHRONO TRIGGER®: © 1995, 1999, 2008, 2009 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved. CHARACTERS：© 1995, 1999 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved. © 1995, 1999 BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA. DRAGON QUEST®: The Hand of the Heavenly Bride: © 2008, 2009 ARMOR PROJECT/BIRD STUDIO/ARTEPIAZZA/SQUARE ENIX All Rights Reserved. © KOICHI SUGIYAMA THE HAND OF THE HEAVENLY BRIDE is a registered trademark or trademark of Square Enix Co., Ltd. My Pet Shop™: © TAITO CORPORATION 2007, 2009 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
SIZE IS EVERYTHING OUT NOW
Whatever people say, we all know size matters, as SQUARE ENIX’s stunning range of Nintendo DS™ games amply demonstrates. You see, though they all ﬁt comfortably into your back pocket, each and every one is full to bursting with unforgettable characters, captivating storytelling, and countless hours of Grade A gameplay. Proof, if any were needed, that great things can come in small packages!
Rhapsody™: © 2003-2009 NIPPON ICHI SOFTWARE INC. © 2009 NIS Europe, Inc. All rights reserved. Rhapsody is a trademark of NIPPON ICHI SOFTWARE INC. VALKYRIE PROFILE®: Covenant of the Plume™: © 2008, 2009 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved. Developed by tri-Ace Inc. Character Illustration: KOU YOSHINARI/YOU YOSHINARI. VALKYRIE PROFILE and COVENANT OF THE PLUME are registered trademarks or trademarks of Square Enix Co., Ltd. Disgaea® DS: © 2003-2009 NIPPON ICHI SOFTWARE INC. © 2009 NIS Europe, Inc. All rights reserved. Disgaea is a trademark of NIPPON ICHI SOFTWARE INC. DRAGON QUEST, FINAL FANTASY, 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.
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OSCAR SPECIAL: MOVIE GAME FOCUS
The reel deal THIS WEEKEND the cream of Hollywood will convene in LA for the Academy Awards. It’s the annual defining event for the movie business – and this year, the games industry wants some of the limelight. 2009 is one of the most prolific years yet for games based on film studios’ IP. But, let’s be honest, the industry’s track record with movie-licensed games is hardly the stuff deserving of a Hollywood star. For every Goldeneye there’s a Balls of Fury or, worse, an ET. And yet, things are changing. The rise of movie studios in the games industry has been
unprecedented in recent years, and that in turn seems to have sparked better relationships between licensors and licensees, and more ways for developers to work with established IP. OSCAR-WINNING PERFORMANCES
Publishers are frank that this change has been necessary. “Traditionally and historically the industry has been guilty – through no fault of its own – of rushing out a product for the day of the movie’s release,” admits Warner’s head of games Spencer Crossley. “Most publishers weren’t releasing their movie games that closely with the film – just at the same time.” And an even more explicit example: the press release for Sega’s Iron Man 2 game stresses ‘an enhanced gameplay experience.’ The implication being that extra development time will redress the balance after less-than-stellar reviews marred the release of the first title in the franchise.
Success or failure of a movie title will depend on how fun it is and how well the licence translates to the experience. Not the Metacritic rating. David Tyler, Activision
For years the industry has been blockbuster films. But as a wealth Christopher Dring discovers But while the Hollywood glitterati will be hoping for the big prizes at Sunday night’s Oscars, are review scores and critical reception important to movie-licensed games? According to some leading publisher execs, praise in the press is perhaps not as relevant given that games based on films are, in many respects, mass market fodder. “It is important to note that many licensed titles are targeted at kids, many of whom don’t differentiate between a 70 per cent game and a 90 per cent game,” explains Activision’s head of marketing David Tyler. “In many instances, success or failure
2009’S GAMING BLOCKBUSTERS ATARI The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (March) Ghostbusters (June) “This brand new Chronicles of Riddick title follows on from the critically acclaimed Escape from Butcher Bay, which is regarded by most as one of the greatest movie video games ever created,” explains Atari’s head of PR Lee Kirton. “As for Ghostbusters, the game has been a media favourite since it was first announced quite a while ago and we’ve been working solidly with the developers to make sure the ultimate Ghostbusters game will be delivered.”
D3P Astro Boy (Winter) Coraline (May) “Coraline is geared towards young tweens, fans of the movie and also Neil Gaiman fans,” states D3P European MD Adam Robers. “There aren’t many movie titles for the tween girl audience that offers the quirky storyline that Coraline has to offer.”
DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS Bolt (Out Now) Hannah Montana: The Movie Game (April) “Disney has always been renowned for epic storytelling,” enthuses Disney’s head of marketing Keely Brenner. “Our movie-inspired titles expand upon the stories by providing a deeper insight whilst taking consumers beyond the boundaries of the film but still staying true to the property. Some examples of innovation include the dancing mechanics on the latest High School Musical 3 games.“
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OSCAR SPECIAL: MOVIE GAME FOCUS
guilty of abusing movie licences, with poor iterations of of new tie-ins are readied for release later this year, that attitudes towards Hollywood IP have changed… will depend on how fun the game is and how well the licence translates to the experience, not the Metacritic rating.” D3P’s European MD Adam Roberts adds: “Kids games and licences sometimes take a beating in the press. I assume this is because they’re not groundbreaking. I’ve worked on several big sellers that averaged below 50 per cent – does that make them poor games? Maybe, but
kids’ games need to be fun, engaging and value for money.” This year’s haul of licensed titles in not just vast, but varied, with offerings for kids and adults, plus games based on IPs new and old (see ‘2009’s Gaming Blockbusters’, below). And it’s easy to see why. At this point in the generational cycle and in this economic climate, licensed IP is a safe bet. When it comes to creating audience appeal, part of the hard work in capturing consumer attention has been done, either by mass media
HOLLYWOOD MARKETING The movie business has been paying increased attention to the video games industry. Major entertainment firms such as Paramount are getting more hands-on with the sector, while the likes of Vin Diesel, Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg are working on games of their own. It’s through this crossover that movie-inspired titles not linked to specific films are being created, such as Midway’s The Wheelman. Even the advertising for these video games have been inspired by big-budget film campaigns. “Marketing for games like Stranglehold and The Wheelman is influenced by the movie world,” says Uber Agency’s MD Richard Benjamin. “Much like John Woo in Stranglehold, Vin Diesel is a sellingpoint for The Wheelman, and it is importan for people to know that he’s involved, so we adopt movie-style marketing. Publishers do get concerned that consumers will feel that this isn’t a game
but a movie. So 80 per cent of what we do is influenced by film, with the other 20 per cent focused on making sure people know that this is a game. “For The Wheelman we’re trying to tap into film cliché. The TV commercial will look like a film trailer, with a voice-over, quick edits, widescreen borders and so on.” “Comparatively there’s not a lot of freedom with licensed products. When we worked on Happy Feet we were limited by what images we could use. And I was concerned that there was nothing to distinguish the title from the film marketing.”
“There’s not a lot of marketing freedom with licensed titles, as we have to adhere to the imagery and directives of the movie companies.”
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June) Monsters Vs. Aliens (April) X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May)
Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince (July) The Godfather II (April) G.I. Joe (August)
“Movie-based video games allow gamers to immerse themselves in the familiar environments, which they experienced on the big screen,” claims Activision’s head of marketing David Tyler. “The gameplay within our titles such as in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen also provides an opportunity to extend the audience’s experience beyond the movie, through extended storylines that are included exclusively within the video game.”
“The Harry Potter video games are unique in many ways,” says executive producer for the Harry Potter franchise Jonathan Bunney. “We bring the story, world, characters and action to life to a level of authenticity that other games cannot.” The Godfather II product manager Kevin Flynn adds: “The first Godfather game closely followed the plot of the film whereas The Godfather II has more freedom and is inspired on the movie sequel yet goes beyond the storyline – allowing players to really immerse themselves in the fiction.”
“I think it’s safe to say that Ubisoft is known for bringing a unique creative vision to our film titles,” says a Ubisoft spokesperson. “In King Kong, we created a whole new story that complemented the film and allowed the gamer to play as himself or as Kong. For Avatar, we are working very closely with James Cameron to bring his unique 3D stereoscopic interactive experience to life. When Ubisoft signs a film licence, it is often because the director of the movie specifically wants to work with our creative development teams.”
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OSCAR SPECIAL: MOVIE GAME FOCUS
advertising or the history of cinema. That’s not something the games industry should be ashamed of, says Jonathan Bunney, the executive producer for EA’s Harry Potter games: “Using licensed properties reduces the odds of failure. But this approach is not just true of games – it’s true of movies and TV. Look at the recent BAFTAs – Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, The Reader and Revolutionary Road are all based on previous works. I don’t hear anyone saying ‘Yeah Slumdog cleaned up at the BAFTAs, but it was a licensed IP.’ I understand that many licensed games are not as good as some new IPs, but the licence isn’t the thing that stops the game being good; it’s the game itself.” Developers and publishers are also learning to be more creative with movie properties. Upcoming titles including The Godfather II, Watchmen, Chronicles of Riddick, Ghostbusters and even Disney’s Bolt are influenced by movies, but not based on their stories. “From a creative point of view, making a game that is an extension of the movie offers more possibilities,” says a Ubisoft spokesperson. “We’ve got amazing creative talent in our studios and it’s always gratifying to be able to let them bring their own ideas to the property and work in close collaboration with the film’s creative team to give birth to a whole new experience.” Disney’s head of marketing Keely Brenner adds: “Our games always look
As the video game audience continues to broaden, publishers are starting to pay attention to alternative movie properties. It’s not just the typical kids and action movies that are attracting game firms, with properties aimed at girls growing in popularity. “The attitudes of game publishers have changed for the better,” says Paramount’s vice president of interactive licensing Luke Letizia. “In the past games based on movie and TV content have had a spotty track record, so for the multi-platform triple-A titles, we’ve seen publishers greatly narrow the field of licences and pursue only established, big-franchise IP, such as The Godfather. “Conversely, another notable change has been the introduction of new platforms that have broadened what was once a narrow, targeted demographic. This has enabled film studios to offer new releases and catalogue titles that wouldn’t necessarily have resonated prior to this. This has led to greater accuracy in developing and marketing more niche games – such as our upcoming Mean Girls title – to their proper audience.” Aardman’s licensing manager Robert Goodchild concurs: “With consoles
skewing younger and appealing to the whole family, the combination of a strong family-focused licence with a well executed game has the potential to attract a broader audience than ever before. Publishers are now looking out to competing industries, particularly the toy market, where licensed property accounts for over 30 per cent of all sales.” As some publishers look to alternative movie properties, others are being more selective with the games they choose to cover. So the oncoming boom of games based on movies has in turn spurred publishers to be more discerning over the licences they pick up. “Not too long ago, this market seemed to offer growth,” says Sega UK’s sales director John Clark. “So now we see most publishers represented in what is a busy sector.” Vice president of licensing for Sony Pictures Consumer Products, Mark Caplan adds: “Films, game shows, CGI films, sports, are just some of the categories that continue to be of interest to publishers. If anything, the industry has become more selective over whether a licensed property makes sense for a video game.” So it seems that the games industry hasn’t just woken up to the best ways to treat games, taking them beyond merchandise, but has perfected the quality of its licensing work. That goes some way to explain why 2009 is shaping up to be such a bumper year for games based on films – which in turn should ensure a busy year for retail.
Thor Aliens vs Predator Captain America Iron Man 2 Aliens: Colonial Marines
Watchmen Wanted The Terminator: Salvation
to provide a unique experience and expand the consumer’s relationships with specific characters and stories so the game doesn’t just complement the film but expands upon it.” THE SELECTION PROCESS
The attitudes of game publishers have changed for the better. We’ve seen publishers greatly narrow the field of licences and pursue only established, big IP. Luke Letizia, Paramount
ALSO COMING SOON:
Sega continues its deal with Marvel, which now covers three superhero properties, THQ follows Wall-E with Pixar’s computer animated adventure Up, while Warner plans new titles based on its impressive 2009 movie line-up…
The acclaimed Pixar, the studio behind animated classics such as Wall-E, Toy Story and Ratatouille, is back in 2009 with animated adventure Up. The film’s story tells of a 78 year-old man called Carl, who tries to fulfil his late wife’s dream of exploring mountains. THQ is in charge of the game, which is due in time for the cinematic release in October.
Sega has a wealth of movie tie-ins coming in 2009 and 2010. A deal with Marvel covers comic characters Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, while the firm also has the Aliens licence.
Some of this year’s biggest movies are coming from Warner, including adult superhero movie Watchmen and a new Terminator starring Christian Bale. Games based on these films, along with a title based on last year’s action flick Wanted, are due later this year.
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18 MCV 20/02/09
OSCAR SPECIAL: WARNER BROS. INTERVIEW SPENCER CROSSLEY, UK HEAD OF GAMES
Licence to thrill Who better to ask about the ways the movie business has intersected with the games industry than Warner Bros., which successfully established itself as a fully-fledged publisher last year. Michael French catches up with the UK head of games Spencer Crossley…
Warner’s Q1/Q2 range is quite a contrast to the family-orientated titles you released last year. Why is that? I think that variety is a good indication of what Warner is all about. We are a massive media company with an eclectic intellectual property mix. The games market is a mass market now, so we are looking at how to target our IPs – and who to target them at. That’s why in the last four months we have launched LEGO Batman, which won a children’s BAFTA, and Guinness World Records – two great family games. And now, just months later, we have an 18-rated horror game for adults on the way. The key thing is that our mix of IP lets us explore the various avenues in the market. And not just in a consumer sense – it’s an approach we have for retailers too. You’ve been at Warner for a year now. In that time, what have you seen that Warner, which of course built its reputation in Hollywood, is able to bring to the market that other games stalwarts – the EAs and Ubisofts of the world – cannot? The proposition from Warner Bros. is that we are one of the largest entertainment companies in
the world. So the leverage we have in a marketing sense is huge across a variety of media – DVD, cinema and games. Our reach really is second to none. And we deal in amazing brands. From a cost point of view we can amortise the financial impact of that kind of wide-reaching marketing, because if you are linking up with a theatrical release our buying spend is great. As well as entertainment, I think Warner brings a lot of professionalism into the industry, plus plenty of commitment – the company is incredibly committed and dedicated to having a significant presence in the games space.
We see our games as entertainment properties as opposed to ‘just’ video games. Spencer Crossley, Warner
So is your message to retail that Warner may be new to the games industry, but it’s an entertianment company you can trust with surefire sellers that will get a lot of support? Yes, especially given some buyers are now being more selective as the market gets crowded with product. Warner is an entertainment company first and foremost with an eclectic mix of IP and fantastic marketing ability. What we are offering is that I can sit in front of retailers – especially the multientertainment retailers – and along with my colleagues in our other fields like DVD, create a proposition around a brand that says ‘this is more than just a game’. What is Warner’s view on new IP? All the Warner releases so far have
been movie licences, brands or franchises. There will, without doubt, be new IP coming from Warner. But again, our strategy is around brands, and it is very hard to create a gaming IP from scratch. The great thing for us in terms of those licences is that three of our releases – Wanted, Watchmen and Terminator – are truly iconic to the mass market, while a franchise like F.E.A.R. is iconic to gamers. A lot of the Q1/Q2 Warner line-up also seems to be very focused on core gamer titles for 360 and – what about the DS and Wii? That’s just the way the slate fell and how our products are evolving. We’re fully committed to games for the Nintendo DS and Wii, as proven by the LEGO Batman and Guinness releases from last year – and this summer’s LEGO Battles. What about that kind of ‘dream IP’ that Disney has spoken about in the past – is Warner Bros. interested in trying to find a brand or property that could start in video games and then move out to films, animation and so on? Our current strategy for new opportunities is a combination of both focusing on the brand but also, as shown by the Watchmen episodic game, embracing new technology and where that leads us. So we might have a mix where strong properties find new revenue streams that run alongside traditional retail. Terminator is your big game for the summer. What are your hopes for that title? We have high expectations. The previous three films were all substantial number one hits, and there is a great love of that IP. I believe there is a statistic that says over 50 per cent of cinema-goers have some kind of affinity with Arnie as the Terminator, which is the kind of franchise power that can only help us when we launch the game. The title is very in tune with the movie production as well – again, this is something that comes from Warner’s leverage in entertainment.
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EXCLUSIVE UK DISTRIBUTION
www.venomuk.com • tel: +44(0)1763 272927 • firstname.lastname@example.org •email@example.com
OFFICIAL LICENCED PRODUCT
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THE BIG QUIZ
THE This week saw the first MCV/Xbox 360 Industry Quiz take place at a brand new venue (full story and pics in next week’s Off The Record pages). But, as ever, the lavish collection of prizes up for grabs on the night is on offer to every MCV reader. Are you smart enough to give us the right answer to these questions? THIS WEEKEND sees the 81st Academy Awards ceremony, universally known as The Oscars, take place in Los Angeles. It is one of the most glamorous and prestigious nights in the entertainment calendar, with beautiful and important showbiz people gathered to compete for glittering prizes and industry kudos. Which brings us neatly to the MCV/Xbox 360 Industry Pub Quiz. Okay, there was no sign of Brangelina at London’s Sway Bar on February 19th. But there was an Oscars theme, as the assembled retailers, media starlets, publishers and chancers celebrated the launch of the Xbox Live-exclusive Award Winners add-on for Scene It? Box Office Smash. The new pack, which became available on February 13th, features 300 new questions covering award winning films and actors over the decades, with clips from nearly two dozen gong-laden classics to enjoy. The release of Award Winners continues a growing trend for the release of substantial new content for major titles. This week also sees the release of The Lost and Damned, exclusive new content for GTA IV available only on Live, making 360 the only place to play the complete GTA. Earlier in the year Lionhead launched Knothole Island, extending the Fable II story via a Live download. There are also, of course, a whole host of constantly updated new tracks available for music games such as Lips, Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band 2.
1) WHICH TEAM WAS THE LAST TO PLAY AGAINST CHELSEA UNDER PHIL SCOLARI? A) Arsenal B) Hull C) Burnley
2) IN WHICH YEAR WAS THE FIRST EVER OSCAR CEREMONY? A) 1927 B) 1928 C) 1929
3) WHICH PLAYER SCORED THE FIRST TRY IN THIS YEAR’S SIX NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP? A) Harry Ellis B) Rickey Flutey C) Andy Goode
THE BOOTY BANK Courtesy of Big Quiz sponsor Microsoft and eight round sponsors, one lucky winner will bag this lot…
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MCV 20/02/09 23
THE BIG QUIZ
BIG QUIZ 4) WHAT IS THE NAME OF MALE MODEL ZOOLANDER’S GROUNDBREAKING POSE? A) Magnum B) Blue Steel C) Le Tigre 5) WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE NEW RTS GAME SET IN THE HALO UNIVERSE? A) Halo Evolved B) Halo Wars C) FIFA ‘09
6) WHICH GROUP HAS RECORDED ‘JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH’ AS THIS YEAR’S OFFICIAL COMIC RELIEF SINGLE? A) The Saturdays B) The Sundays C) Happy Mondays 7) TO WHICH MICRO-BLOGGING SITE DU JOUR DOES STEPHEN FRY SEEM MORE OR LESS ADDICTED? A) Twotter B) Twitter C) Twatter 8) WHO PLAYS THE TV CHARACTER TONY SOPRANO IN THE GREATEST TV SERIES OF ALL TIME, THE SOPRANOS? A) James Gandolfini B) Gandalf C) Dean Gaffney
SEND YOUR ANSWERS TO THEBIGQUIZ@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
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MCV 20/02/09 25
MEDIA SPECIAL: FUTURE
Seeing into the Future The UK games media’s latest ABC circulation figures were revealed last week. Tim Ingham begins a series of features looking at publishers’ reactions by chatting to Future’s James Binns and Robert Price… Your Official PlayStation magazine did well. What’s your secret? James Binns: It’s about PS3 coming through. There’s some stronger games arriving on PS3 now. The latest ABCs cover a period where the likes of Resistance and LittleBigPlanet came out. Currently OPM has Killzone 2 on the cover and is doing really well. For a £5.99 magazine to show growth suggests it’s a resilient product, given the state of the economy – and a testament to the editorial assets of the team. Our combined reach on PlayStation is four times bigger than the only rival out there. In the next six months we’re going to launch an Official PlayStation Magazine website for the first time. There aren’t many focused websites that just look at single formats. Then we’ve got the addition of a digital magazine on PlayStation Network. The work we’re putting into being first on console should really help us along. Official Nintendo Magazine saw a slight rise for the full year year. DS and Wii have such a wide-ranging audience: who’s the core readership? JB: We’ve got a couple of Nintendo titles. NGamer is unashamedly hardcore. It’s the descendent of a fantastic Nintendo mag called SuperPlay, in terms of the staff that work on it and the effort they put in. ONM is fairly hardcore. It’s comfortable covering the broader range of titles. But we’re careful about remembering we can’t fit everyone n that audience. We’re more No More
for the brand, in line with our licencees and PC Gamer USA, and the website. And we’ve launched events around the PC Gamer brand. If the market changes against you with PC boxed product, you have to respond.
FUTURISTS: Games Publisher Binns and Chief Executive Price are confident in the resiliance of Future’s print brands and the emergence of newer online propositions
Heroes than Imagine Babies. We accept that and leave some of the money on the table. But the inclusiveness of our model ensures the ONM website is able to service a much wider audience. We’ve also launched Girl Gamer with Panini and that’s the UK’s biggest games magazine, with a 300,000 distribution. There were declines for the Official Xbox 360 Magazine. Why do you think this has come about? JB: With a magazine of that scale, you need to compare it to the men’s lifestyle titles. Maxim was down 41 per cent yearon-year and Official Xbox now outsells it comfortably. The audience is showing resilience. With the expansion in audience Microsoft is pushing, it’s looking positive. Your PC games portfolio has had a mixed year. Is that just a sign of the market – or is there more to it? JB: You never take your audience for
People do not give up specialist interests in a recession. If anything they go back to them more than they would in a better economy. Robert Price, Future
granted. Our sales declines have mirrored some of the activity in the market in terms of PC boxed product. We did some number crunching and reckon that PC boxed product dropped by around 23 per cent year-on-year. Our sales are all below or in line with that drop. PC Gamer is going through a step change. We’re pushing a globalisation
ABC RESULTS AT A GLANCE Title
Official Nintendo Magazine
Official PlayStation Magazine
Official Xbox 360 Magazine
Xbox World 360
PC Zone PC Gamer PSW
Is there are a worry that a site like CVG can pinch readers from your own magazines? Robert Price: I don’t think so. One of our key messages is that we’re reaching more gamers than ever before through more channels. As we’re in very difficult economic conditions, our audience becomes more valuable because of it. We don’t believe that the continued success of CVG and GamesRadar in any way damages our magazine performance – quite the opposite. It drives readers. Are you looking to work with more retailers on your corporate publishing side? RP: It’s part of our strategy. Our content is unquiely valuable – that’s why people like Tesco and GAME want to work with us. We absolutely see it within our remit to be producing that content for our partners. And that strategy will continue.
THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT Future Publishing MD Robert Price says the company’s overall performance showed good results across its special interest portfolio: “The ABCs we’ve announced today show the resilience that [Future CEO] Stevie Spring talked about in MCV before Christmas. “Seven of our top ten titles announced growth in these ABCs. 23 of 51 we announced grew in 2008. I would argue we were one of the top two performing publishers across the UK. Music titles Classic Rock and Metal Hammer are doing brilliantly – overtaking NME in this period. Our film mags and guitar mags continue to grow – alongside Mac Format and T3. “People do not give up specialist interests in a recession. If anything they go back to them more than they would in better economic times.”
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MEDIA SPECIAL: IMAGINE
Imagine the possibilities Future’s major rival in the specialist games media space owns some of the biggest magazines on the market – and is gearing up for a major online launch. James Batchelor speaks to MD Damian Butt… Tell us about your ABC results. Overall, I’m pretty pleased. Gaming magazines have bounced back quite well. A lot of people were quite worried that games magazines were suffering near the end of 2008 and that 2009 would be a continuation of that, but actually sales have been very encouraging in January and February. We’ve got some nice, strong magazines that are still doing well, so overall we’re pleased and looking forward to 2009. Are there any plans to expand your print portfolio this year? Probably not that I can see, at the moment. We either occupy or have launched in pretty much every area. We’re not keen on cluttering up the shelves, so we’re focusing on building and developing the titles that we’ve got. For gaming, it’s going to be massively online for us, as well as driving what we’ve got. But on a wider perspective, we’ll be launching four to five new magazines this year and we’ll also be acquiring new titles as well.
BUTT: “We’ve got some nice, strong magazines that are still doing well; we’re looking forward to this year.”
really affected the core base of games magazine readers. You’ve still got the people who appreciate the fact that they’ve got a magazine in their hands that’s trustworthy. It’s mainly been the floating readership that has been mopped up by the gaming websites, so the occasional spikes that you used to get at certain key times aren’t as
We’ve got low debt and we’re a strong company with good revenue. We’re seeing 2009 as a period of opportunity. Damian Butt, MD
Acquisitions are something of a hot topic at the moment, because there are so many coming up. Have gaming websites had a significant effect on your business in the last 12 months? I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s been a pronounced effect in the last 12 months. Generally, have they had an effect? Of course they have, but it hasn’t
efficient and as well placed to ride out the recession as any company in the UK. We’ve got a very strong team. The portfolio, the spread and the risk profile we’ve got are very good. We’ve got low debt and we’re a very strong company with good revenue, so we’re seeing 2009 and 2010 as being a big period of opportunity and growth. The fact that we’re launching a big website and new magazines has been giving people here confidence that we’ve got a steady hand on the tiller. Some have said that NowGamer is a symbol that we’re in a very strong position and not too worried about the economic outlook.
pronounced as they used to be. The net effect is that the sales trends of the magazines tend to be a lot smoother throughout the year without all these crazy variations. The one thing worth mentioning is that the websites we’ve had and the ones we’ve launched have had a fantastically positive effect on driving subscriptions for the magazines that we do have, as well as driving sales of back issues for other products.
What do you see in store for specialist print magazines in 2009? The bloated publishers, the ones that have a lot of debt and are a bit too fat, will expire or be cut down quite significantly. I can easily see a lot of acquisitions happening, a lot of specialist magazines being acquired or dying completely. You’ll probably see a trimming of some of the portfolios, as well as entire companies and groups being put up for sale or closing down. The companies that are well run or have diverse revenue streams should survive quite happily and probably take advantage of the opportunities, then emerge stronger out the other side. Certainly, I’m not worried at all – in fact, I’m quite looking forward to it. It’s nothing but opportunities. We’ve very well funded, have low debt, are in a very good position and still very cash-generative. How are you adapting your business to survive the recession? No matter how well run a business, you’re always going to see some effects. But I think we’re as well run, as
ABC RESULTS AT A GLANCE Title
You closed nRevolution this year – do you have any plans to bring it back, or will you find another way to cater to the Nintendo market? We have no plans to bring it back – in fact, we think there are going to be more casualties in the Nintendo market. We’re focusing on covering Nintendo solely through NowGamer. We think we’ll be able to do this much better through the site and because of the audience profile for Nintendo, it’s more suited to the sort of people that would visit NowGamer. Plus, we cover Nintendo in GamesTM.
NOWGAMER Imagine boss Damian Butt discusses new online venture NowGamer: “This is our first big website platform, it’s new technology and it’s also the basis for all of our big sites coming up, so for us it’s absolutely critical and it gives us a brilliant opportunity to get all of that original content and make it available online. “It is different from the others: it’s very clean, it’s very readable, it’s uncluttered. It uses the latest technology, which means you can do all sorts of really cool customisation tricks with it. It’s very easy to use, thanks to the intuitive search and filtering techniques, which allows for easy access to more than 5,000 reviews going back to 1995 on all formats. “The amount of content we’ve got in there is good, especially with the wealth of retro content on there thanks to Retro Gamer, which you don’t see on any other gaming sites.”
360 GAMER: THE UKâ€™S FASTEST GROWING XBOX 360 MAGAZINE
Equivalent to over 26,000 copies sold per month XBOX 360 SECTOR GROWTH SINCE JUNE 2006 ABC AUDIT
$ "'% " !!&
Editorial Enquiries: Simon Phillips (07968 894949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) To Advertise: Rob Cox (01202 606390 or email email@example.com) Retailers should contact WMMD on 0121 7883112 to stock the magazine MCV ad_Gamer 54 v5.indd 1
29 MCV525_final:Layout 1
MCV 20/02/09 29
MEDIA SPECIAL: UNCOOKED
A rare breed 360 Gamer is your flagship publication in games. How’s it fared for you over the past 12 months? 360 Gamer is becoming more and more of an important magazine for us now. We put a lot of work in, but at the same time, we are a little bit taken aback at how well we’ve made that work. We’ve got 12.9 per cent growth period-onperiod and the market’s performed considerably lower than that. We’re bucking the trend, so we must be doing something right. The only other mag with growth in the 360 market is Xbox World 360 as I understand it. What’s your core audience, and why are they coming to your magazine rather than your rivals’ publications? People are sticking with our mag. The editorial side is incredible and experienced – Simon Phillips came to us from Imagine over a year ago. We’ve
360 Gamer’s portion of the Xbox magazine market grew in last week’s ABC results. Tim Ingham speaks to sales director Tarik Alozdi…
still got a frequency of three weeks that means we can turn round news quicker than our competitors. We’ve had a series of strong covers, because we’re able to get exclusives off the back of our frequency. We don’t really put anything else than core Xbox news, previews and features in our magazine. We don’t have lifestyle-type feature in the magazine. There’s no filler. Your web portfolio includes Gamer.TM and your 360 Gamer site. How are they shaping up? Honestly, we have had to really look at our online side, in respect of the fact it really takes time to establish a strong online product in the marketplace. It flew when it started and we could have kept it like that. But the recession has affected us. Out of our staff of 25, we had to lay off four guys – and that came on the online side, because it was the
We were going to do that now, but instead we’re are going to hold off a little bit. 360 Gamer is still a strong brand, and the print magazine and online both still support each other really well. But we’re not an enormous company and we’re realistic about risk.
ALOZDI: Uncooked Media’s sales director is delighted by the success of 360 Gamer
biggest risk area for us as a company. We’re still updating both sites, but we’re not turning round the page impressions as we would like while we wait for an opportunity to invest in them.
Can you see yourself launching any new product in the next year? The economic situation makes things risky for new magazine launches. First, you’ve got the fact that core advertisers are having lower sales projections and are less likely to have bigger marketing budgets, which in turn affects advertising revenue. But also, retailers are charging a lot more for shelf space than they were last year.
ABC RESULTS AT A GLANCE Title
As easy as ABC
It’s been a great six months for PS3 titles, but not for 360 or PC magazines. MCV provides a guide to the results...
Official Playstation Magazine Play Powerstation PSM3 PSW
Tim Clarke Nick Jones Ryan Butt Dan Dawkins Ian Dean
Emma Cul James Haley James Haley Emma Cull Emma Cull
Future Publishing Imagine Publishing Imagine Publishing Future Publishing Future Publishing
01225 442244 01202 586200 01202 586200 01225 442244 01225 442244
53,644 26,464* ** 26,202 24,118
360 360 Gamer Official Xbox 360 Magazine X360 Xbox World 360
Jon Denton Simon Phillips John Hicks Simon Miller Tim Weaver
James Haley Rob Cox Emma Cull James Haley Emma Cull
Imagine Publishing Uncooked Media Future Publishing Imagine Publishing Future Publishing
01202 586200 01202 606385 01225 442244 01202 586200 01225 442244
12,939 18,073 63,908 26,068 31,030
N Gamer Official Nintendo Magazine
Nick Ellis Neil Long
Emma Cull Emma Cull
Future Publishing Future Publishing
01225 442244 01225 442244
PC Format PC Gamer PC Zone TotalPCGaming
Alan Dexter Ross Atherton Ali Wood Russell Barnes
Charles Said Emma Cull Jas Rai James Haley
Future Publishing Future Publishing Future Publishing Imagine Publishing
01225 442244 01225 442244 01225 442244 01202 586200
18,003* 32,619* 19,023* **
Edge Games Master GamesTM Retro Gamer
Tony Mott Robin Alway Rick Porter Darran Jones
Julian House Emma Cull James Haley James Haley
Future Publishing Future Publishing Imagine Publishing Imagine Publishing
01225 442244 01225 442244 01202 586200 01202 586200
28,898 40,940 21,677* **
July 1st 2008 to December 31st 2008 unless otherwise stated
* Annual ABC figures January 1st 2008 - Dec 31st 2008 ** Title has chosen not to ABC at this time
30-31 MCV525_FINAL:Layout 1
30 MCV 20/02/09
MEDIA SPECIAL: ONLINE
A web of opportunity Print magazines may steal the limelight during ABC week, but a wealth of online-only brands have made a real impression in games. Tim Ingham reports…
THE ‘OLD GUARD’ of pen and ink publishing might be holding their own in tough economic times – but it seems the place to be if you want to expand in games media is online. From Future’s GamesRadar Network (which pulls in 10 million gamers around the world) to smaller, independent sites likes Play.tm, the majority seem to have found a growing audience – and continue to thrive. One of the biggest players on these shores is the UK’s version of giant US portal IGN. Unlike other online offerings, the site offers much more than just top-notch games content. European general manager Justin Keeling says that a site as big as IGN needs to diversify in order to ensure it can keep increasing readership. “Where we also categorically differ from other well established UK gaming websites is that we also produce and deliver a wide range of entertainment content including coverage of film, TV gadgets and comics,” he explains. “Our philosophy is to ensure we provide not only the most diverse and comprehensive range of gaming editorial on the web, but to also provide entertainment and lifestyle content that we know our readers also love.” Smaller sites have found quick success by focusing on a loyal, hardcore gaming audience. But even these are having to adapt as the core gaming demographic widens. Play.tm is owned by independent UK company Ferrago, which also provides games content to sites including Jolt.co.uk and Playboy UK. Technical director Jason Cartwright says the company has learnt to react to the demands of an ever-changing readership. “The audience we reach out to varies greatly – from hardcore PC tweakers at Jolt, through console fans at Play.tm, to the heavily mainstream audience that doesn't even class themselves as ‘gamers’ at Playboy,” he explains. “As with the rest of the industry we find lot our content now defies traditional classification. It appeals to 18 to 34 males, and much wider markets.
IGN boss Justin Keeling says diversification is key for major online sites
“Casual gaming is providing an entry point for people to explore our coverage of established game content.” COOL ‘SPOT GameSpot UK’s success suggests that an online consumer games launch – if executed correctly – can enjoy the sort of growth a new magazine in the the crowded print market can only long for. Launched in August 2006, its speedy ascent means it now regularly enjoy more than 60 million page impressions each month – and has registered over 3.5 million UK visitors. These lucrative traffic figures
attracted the attention of giant CBS Corporation, which acquired the company in May last year for $1.8 million, from former parent CNET. Product director for games, entertainment and video at CBS Interactive Geoff Inns tells MCV: “We will soon be announcing our December 2008 ABCe audit figures and expect to see a significant rise. GameSpot UK has achieved significant year-on-year growth without making any acquisitions. We only measure UK gamers in our visitor data and exclude any visitors from other countries in our
SEEN ON SCREEN: (Clockwise from top left) Kiziko, IGN UK, Play.tm and Gamespot UK are all finding success online
30-31 MCV525_FINAL:Layout 1
MCV 20/02/09 31
MEDIA SPECIAL: ONLINE RULE BRITANNIA metrics to ensure that our partners have a transparent picture of our performance. “We are very confident that the online games media space will continue to grow. GameSpot UK has rapidly increased its reach in the last three years and there is absolutely opportunity for further expansion.”
There is absolutely opportunity for further expansion and success in the online games media space. Geoff Inns, CBS Corporation
MIXING IT UP IGN agrees that believes that the future is bright for online games media businesses: large and small; corporatebacked and independent. The site has seen 14 per cent growth year on year in the UK in terms of unique users, with over four million visiting every month. Page impressions are up by over 30 per cent year-on-year. The firm boasts that it’s been careful to attract exactly the sort of gamer that advertisers are chomping at the bit to interact with. “We ran our first bespoke UK research project last year that revealed some startling results,” says Keeling. “97 per cent of our IGN.com UK readers have used the site to make a games purchase decision which is testament to our UK editorial and the influence our opinion has on what games they buy. On that note – our recent research revealed that IGN.com UK users contribute 60 per cent of total annual UK software sales.” Diversification online no longer just means ‘writing about new stuff’, Keeling explains: “A huge growth area over the last 12 months has been the development of our PC software digital distribution arm, www.direct2drive.co.uk, where customers download-to-own retail copies of PC games. “It has seen over 300 per cent yearon-year growth in total sales and recently became EA’s largest independent digital distribution outlet outside of their own EA Store for their MMO smash Warhammer Online.” It’s obvious that the maxim ‘online is new/print is old’ no longer holds water. The media as a whole has moved on – and online is facing its own challenges and pressures to evolve. But with ‘Web 3.0’ coming over the horizon, even in these recession hit times, it appears the opportunities to expand reach in the market are endless. Print is certainly not ‘dead’ – but online looks more alive than ever.
Like their publishing counterparts, online companies have had to learn to expand their portfolio, whether by signing deals to provide content, launching new portals – or taking existing sites under their wing. Yukay Media is a young company doing just that. The sales agency represents over 30 specialist gaming sites in the UK, including Kikizo.com, Totalvideogames.com, FileFront.com, Cheatcc.com, Play.tm, Jolt.co.uk and ConsoleMonster.com, through to platform specific brands such as NintendoLife.com, Totally360.com and Pocketgamer.co.uk. “As a business we look after all our clients’ ad space and marketing solutions, offering manufacturers and media agencies a single buying point to a huge audience,” explains Yukay managing partner Iain Kelly (pictured). “The strength lies in the variety as there’s a vast range of audiences, content, environment and opinion. We work closely with a number of key publishers to provide innovative marketing solutions.” Kelly says that despite the widening demographic of the gaming audience, the sites Yukay
The recession has hit print publishers’ launch plans - but Yukay believes there is still plenty of opportunity online. works with rely on their ‘bread and butter’ readership. “Hardcore gamers have definitely been the backbone of what we do and are a very valuable target audience,” he explains. “They’re incredibly loyal to specific sites, and aren’t shy about voicing opinion on the ad campaigns we run. This amount of feedback gives us a good understanding of our audience and has allowed us to shape campaigns.” The current recession might have postponed the opportunity for print publishers to launch new titles on the newsstands, but Kelly believes there is still plenty of opportunity to make money online. He says: “We’ll be two years old in March. I remember starting up, being endlessly lectured by so-called ‘experts’ that another digital sales network wasn’t needed. The digital games media space is very competitive with some great well established companies such as Gamespot, IGN, Future and high quality independents like Eurogamer. Publishers in our network will be launching five or six new sites in 2009 so the growth continues apace.” www.yukaymedia.com
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BEST GRAPHICS TECHNOLOGY
For stock orders please call Clair Radford at Centresoft on 0121 625 2893.
© 2008 Disney. NINTENDO DS IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO. Release dates, product names, and/or visuals shown are of product currently in development and may be subject to change.
34 MCV525-final:46 MCV515
Sponsored by 34 MCV 20/02/09
Stanhope brings Tesco closer to games Former EUK games chief boosts supermarket Six hired at The Hut Partnertrans expands in Europe TESCO JOHN STANHOPE has been named senior buying manager at Tesco as the supermarket looks to expand its presence in games retail. Stanhope previously served as games chief at former distributor EUK, as well as various other positions during his 21 years with The Woolworths Group, including head of commercial at defunct retailer MVC. Speaking to MCV, Tesco entertainment director ROB SALTER said: “We’re delighted to welcome John to the team and it highlights our clear
STANHOPE: New Tesco recruit becomes senior buying manager
ambitions for games in 2009. John’s arrival strengthens our team while his knowledge and experience will allow these ambitions to be realised.”
THE HUT The Hut Group has brought six new recruits into its admin and design divisions. ANURAAG JAIN has been named IT director, having previously served with Betfair.com. DOMINIC STARKEY has joined the group as head of ecommerce from Littlewoods Football Pools. The design team has been boosted with the addition of two new web designers, HALA MOODIE and RICH PICKFORD. TINA
HIDDERLY also joins as customer services team leader. In addition, DARREN RAJANAH has been appointed as head of finance. The Hut Group’s CEO MATTHEW MOULDING said: “I am delighted to welcome our new recruits to the company and look forward to the valuable contribution they will each bring. Both online retailers and ecommerce markets are growing, which presents opportunities for us to continue our expansion. “I am truly excited by the prospect of building the business further and we can
only do this with the right people on board.” PARTNERTRANS The localisation agency has appointed ADAM MCGOWAN as business development manager at its newly-opened UK office. McGowan previously served with Brash Entertainment and Codemasters Gaming Online. He will be responsible for bolstering Partnertrans’ European operations as the company expands – spearheading its UK PR and marketing efforts and developing the business.
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BEST GRAPHICS TECHNOLOGY
For stock orders please call Clair Radford at Centresoft on 0121 625 2893.
© 2008 Disney. NINTENDO DS IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO. Release dates, product names, and/or visuals shown are of product currently in development and may be subject to change.
39 MCV525_final:43 MCV462
RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES PRICE CHECK CHARTS NEW RELEASES
LOCKED ON Tom Clancy takes to the skies in Ubisoft’s new flying simulator. Pages 40-41
ALSO THIS WEEK... NEW PLAY CONTROL! P42 Nintendo’s new range kicks off with Pikmin and Mario Power Tennis RHAPSODY P44 Square Enix’s musical RPG finally comes to the UK on Nintendo DS PERSONA 4 P44 The acclaimed PlayStation 2 RPG battles its way to Europe ONECHANBARA P45 D3 Publisher’s Bikini Zombie Slayers head to Wii and Xbox 360 FUN4ALL P46 Six new Wii family titles make up Activision’s Fun4All range BATTLEFORGE P48 Magic the Gathering meets Command and Conquer in EA’s new RTS GRAND AGES: ROME P49 The Romans are back in Kalypso’s city-building strategy game JOHNNY BRAVO P50 The popular cartoon franchise arrives on Nintendo DS courtesy of Blast THE TIMES CROSSWORD P50 The classic word puzzle targets the mass-market audience on DS
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: TOM CLANCY’S HAWX 40 MCV 20/02/09
Tom Clancy fans will be on Cloud Nine as Ubisoft’s HAWX finally approaches, delivering incredible dogfighting action. James Batchelor leaps into the cockpit…
TOM CLANCY’S HAWX is the first talented developers of Blazing Angels, game under the literary licence to raise this brand new IP will cater for all air above the Earth’s surface and take place combat enthusiasts and first-person amongst the clouds. The action focuses shooter fans. We like to think of it as on aerial combat, sharing both the style GRAW-in-the-air.” and the development team of the While still boasting the depth of a Blazing Angels series. Instead of the hardcore Tom Clancy title, HAWX will rusty planes of the World Wars, HAWX cater for mainstream audiences as well, will follow the Tom Clancy tradition and feature the We want to install HAWX as latest, state-of-the-art and the reference title in an meticulously researched untapped genre. We think of military hardware of the it as GRAW-in-the-air. present. However, unlike the Phil Brannelly, Ubisoft majority of flight-based games on the market, the emphasis in thanks to the inclusion of an Assistance HAWX is on accessibility rather than mode that aids any gamers lacking the rigid simulation. Ubisoft’s senior brand split-second reflexes required by fighter manager Phil Brannelly tells MCV about pilots. how the game will stand out from its “Players can ease into their flight competitors: missions and gain a level of comfort “First and foremost, we want to with the use of the Assistance mode,” install HAWX as the reference title in Brannelly explains. “Once employed, what is still an untapped genre. Marrying players can take full advantage of their the Tom Clancy universe with the technological support through the
Enhanced Reality System and gain maximum piloting security. This is particularly useful for novice aviators, turning them into elite pilots. “The E.R.S is the core of the HAWX flight experience: aircraft interception trajectories, incoming missile detection, anti-crash system, damage assessment, tactical map, and weapons trajectory control. It also allows players to issue orders to their squadron and other units, making this system as iconic to HAWX as the Cross-Com system is to Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter.” As a result, the game has been targeted at a much wider audience than similar titles in the genre. Ubisoft is targeting 12 to 24 year-old FPS fans, predominantly male, who are looking to break away from an arguably oversaturated genre but still seeking an experience that is just as cinematic and exhilarating both on and offline.
RETAILBIZ: TOM CLANCY’S HAWX WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 20/02/09 41
NEED FOR SPEED: The landscapes will blur as gamers pilot high-tech aircraft at breakneck speeds, all in stunning current-gen graphics
CLANCY THAT Tom Clancy’s moniker graces several series of video games, each of which has become extremely successful. Good omens for HAWX’s potential as a budding franchise. RAINBOW SIX – Based on the novel of the same name, these games have expanded beyond their literary origins to become a terrorist-hunting sensation in their own right. GHOST RECON – The shoot-‘em-up series puts players on the frontlines of tomorrow’s battlefields with stateof-the-art weaponry at their disposal. The Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfare tiles have been particularly popular. SPLINTER CELL – Focusing on espionage and stealth, these covert ops games see players don the three-eyed night vision goggles of ageing spy Sam Fisher. ENDWAR – The latest addition to the Tom Clancy universe, EndWar gives players command over entire military forces as they attempt to resolve a global conflict. Notable for its voice-controlled interface.
“It’s a huge audience to go for but we have invested heavily to migrate as many as possible,” says Brannelly. “Of course, we will put in place a communication plan to also target flight enthusiasts and current air combat fans but we are really looking to grow this genre.” SELECTING WINGMATES
As can be expected, Ubisoft is putting significant resources behind this latest Tom Clancy title in order to ensure it’s as successful as it predecessors. Marketing initiatives cover all forms of media, including print, online and TV, and even sees the renewal of previous agreements that have worked well with other Clancy titles. “We have partnered with LoveFilm again to build on the very successful Rainbow Six: Vegas campaigns we ran with them previously,” says Brannelly. “These will target existing LoveFilm subscribers who own a console and deliver HAWX content to the previous campaigns’ database.
FOX THREE: Missile attacks can come from any angle, so gamers need to have quick reﬂexes to survive
“We are also producing a HAWX ezine in partnership with Cranberry Publishing, which will contain games features, videos, a preview and a very in-depth feature on the future of modern combat,” he adds. “This will be available as a free download direct from our online creatives, newsletters, the official HAWX website, and anywhere else we can possibly think of.” The publisher has already started its press campaign, with teaser ads appearing in a range of publications over the Christmas period and a number of upcoming placements planned in flight magazines such as PC Pilot. Brannelly also reveals online marketing is imminent. “From mid-February, we will have an online campaign running across specialist gaming sites,” he says. “We are also heavily targeting our intended market across mainstream sites, including MSN, Sky, FHM and Empire for Tom Clancy film buffs from around launch. In total, we are booking over eight million impressions of rich media adverts.”
RELEASED: MARCH 6 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3, PC PUBLISHER: UBISOFT DEVELOPER: UBISOFT MONTREAL PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: TRILOGY CONTACT: 0845 456 6400
HAWX has already received plenty of positive press attention since its unveiling, so gamer awareness is high. However, Ubisoft will endeavour to draw in a wider crowd. ON THE AIR
To this end, TV will prove to be the most important marketing tool, deemed by Brannelly to be “extremely important to installing a brand new IP these days”. “TV gives us the huge exposure HAWX will need to generate the awareness and establish it as the No.1 air combat game. Expect to see the 20-second and 30second creative across channels such as Sky Sports, Dave, ITV2, E4 and Bravo, reaching a total of 3.5 million viewers.”
RETAILBIZ: NEW PLAY CONTROL! 42 MCV 20/02/09
Classic Gamecube software is set to enjoy a new lease of life on Wii with Nintendo’s New Play Control! series. Christopher Dring embraces the past…
THE ARRIVAL of Pikmin as one of the first New Play Control! games perfectly illustrates the philosophy and potential of the new range. Pikmin is already a well-loved and successful franchise, but New Play Control! Pikmin is a whole other ball game. It’s a title that makes the most of the Wii’s point-and-select functionality and adds new dimensions and fun elements to the whole experience – none of which would be possible on anything but the Wii. “Pikmin uses an all-new point and click control system that makes selecting, grouping and giving orders to your Pikmin more fluid and intuitive,” says Nintendo junior product manager Zoe Cooper. “In addition to the new controls, an all-new updated save method will now allow players to re-start play from any day, which is perfect for re-trying a particularly puzzling challenge.” First released in 2002, Pikmin casts players as a spaceman called Captain Olimar who has crashlanded on a very unsual planet inhabited by some very unusual creatures – the Pikmin. They are half-animal, half-plant and completely loveable. Unfortunately, they share the planet with
RELEASED: OUT NOW FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: NINTENDO DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 08700 270 985 some rather more hostile creatures who try and stop Olimar from continuing on his galactic quest. In order to do this, the Captain needs to collect 30 sections of his crashed spaceship, which are now scattered across the planet. Thankfully, the Pikmin are there to help him. Each of them has its own strengths: Red Pikmin can survive fire, Blue Pikmin can survive in water and Yellow Pikmin can destroy obstacles with rock bombs. Players control them individually or in groups of up to 100. On the Wii, as part of the New Play Control! Range, Pikmin is a more accessible and tighter game than the title that spawned it, with players in full command of the non-stop action. As with the rest of the New Play Control! range, retailers can expect a mix of nostalgic Gamecube fans and new Wii accolytes to snap this one up.
THE SECOND game in the New Play Control! Series is a perfect candidate for the full Wii treatment. Mario Power Tennis was already a fun game packed with classic characters and supercharged action on the GameCube. The big difference now, of course, is that players use the Wii remote like a racket, transforming the title into an intuitive, physical experience, whilst retaining all the quirks and features that make it much more than just a sports sim. Players can choose to play as one of a host of characters from the Mario franchise, including the man himself, of course. They can then decide either to play ‘regular’ tennis or tennis-themed mini-games. They can serve and smash their way through tournaments in singles and doubles matches, unlocking a variety of new characters and extra mini-games and different courts along the way, eventually progressing to an extremely challenging star tournament. Because the game is now on the Wii, players can perform different strokes by flicking the remote and utilising the motion sensitive controls. There are four levels of control difficulty: Easy, Medium, Technical and Difficult.
RELEASED: MARCH 6 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: NINTENDO DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 08700 270 985 “Mario Power Tennis will instantly feel like a whole new game, as it makes full use of the Wii Motion Sensor controls, and has you swinging the remote like a tennis racket, but playing as your favourite Mario characters,” says Nintendo junior product manager Zoe Cooper. “Mario Power Tennis, will offer four different control options, from easy to hard and will allow you to use the remote to make a variety of shots, from overhand strikes to backhands and, of course Power Shots, which are different for each character. “As well as a variety of control options, Mario Power Tennis will offer an all new split screen for two player mode, as well a full range of courts.” Graduates of Wii Sports will be first in the queue to get their hands on this updated Nintendo classic.
RETAILBIZ: NEW PLAY CONTROL! WWW.MCVUK.COM
THE CREDIT crunch has hit Captain Olimar hard... and in Pikmin 2 he returns to the world where he had his first adventure – this time to save his company. He is on a mission to collect treasure strewn all over the planet in order to pay off a debt of 10,000 pokos. Which, to those of you who haven’t picked up on it, is a form of currency in Pikmin’s world. Luckily, Captain Oliver has a helpful assistant, Louie, with him. And, of course, he also has the devoted assistance of the cutesy, heroic Pikmin. Players control both the main characters to defeat their enemies, create more
MCV 20/02/09 43
RELEASED: 2009 TBC FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: NINTENDO DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 08700 270 985 Pikmin and solve puzzles. There are new Pikmin to discover that didn’t appear in the first game, including purple and white variants. However, there are also 60 different species of randomly generated enemy characters – and dungeons dotted about everywhere.
NEW MARKETING CONTROL Nintendo isn’t merely releasing these new titles and sitting back, as the platform holder is running a full TV marketing campaign for both Pikmin and Mario Power Tennis. The firm is also supporting the game with in-store material, including FSDUs, wobblers and window posters. “Each title will have its own marketing campaign, which started with Pikmin on February 2nd,” explains Nintendo junior product manager Zoe Cooper. “But the range as a whole will be represented in all marketing activity, either through an end frame on the TVC, or the pack shots as part of the POS. New Play Control! has its own branding, which can be represented in both our above and below the line marketing.”
ONE OF NINTENDO’S most loveable characters swings onto the Wii via an update of another GameCube classic. Donkey Kong runs, jumps, battles, swings on vines and collects bananas and baby apes throughout rich jungle environments. He can also hitch rides on parrots and bounce of pinball-like obstacles.
RELEASED: 2009 TBC FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: NINTENDO DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 08700 270 985 Along the way, players battle enormous beasts and even participate in boxing matches with rivals.
RETAILBIZ: RHAPSODY & PERSONA 4 44 MCV 20/02/09
Princesses, dolls and mischievous talking cats. Against such an avalanche of cuteness, only our sweetest Ed Fear can survive… WITH THE Western world still seemingly gripped by Mamma Mia! fever – not to mention the tweenage demographic mourning the end of the High School Musical trilogy – the musical is, somehow, back in vogue. Which makes it pretty much the perfect time for Square Enix to unleash a musical RPG onto the marketplace. Originally released on the PSOne by Atlus in 2000 – but never on PAL shores – Rhapsody tells the story of Cornet, a girl who has the mysterious ability to talk to puppets, and her flying doll companion Kururu. In traditional fairytale style, Cornet has her eyes on a certain Prince Charming. But she wins a competition to be his bride, and he’s accidentally turned to stone by an jealous evil witch and her army of adorable cats. Okay, so maybe it’s not that traditional after all. MUSICAL MAGIC
Light-hearted and full of physical comedy – with a liberal dash of musical interludes – Rhapsody could very much be seen as an entry point to the JRPG genre (and, dare we say it, is pretty
RELEASED: MARCH 20 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX DEVELOPER: NIPPON ICHI PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
squarely aimed at girls). Based around an accessible turn-based fighting system that’s simple enough to provide a gentle introduction to the genre, the cuteoverload fairytale storyline will no doubt find a warm reception in the DS’s family userbase. The game has also been updated to take full advantage of the DS’s capabilities. Not only is there full touchscreen input support, but players are also given the ability to use the microphone to play the ultracute minigames.
There’s murder going down in the local high school in Atlus-developed Persona 4, and Ed Fear’s the man with the Holy Water… SURVIVING AT school was always something of a trial. If it wasn’t navigating the complicated social webs without becoming food for the spiders, it was the relentless monotony of chemistry classes, or the awkward stolen glances at girls. Which is probably why Atlus’ Persona series, which mixes highschool drama with blood-thirsty demons and strings of mysterious murders, is so on the money. While previous entries in the series have taken place deep within inner-city Tokyo, Persona 4 shifts the action to the Japanese countryside – but remains as brutal and simultaneously hip as it’s always been. A string of local disappearances have been tied to the mysterious Midnight Channel – an alternate reality accessed through TVs. A group of high-school students must explore this bizarre realm to solve the unfurling murder mystery – confronting large doses of twists and turns along the way. TURNING JAPANESE
At its roots it’s a typical Japanese RPG, each playable character has a Persona
RELEASED: MARCH 13 FORMATS: PS2 PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX DEVELOPER: ATLUS PRICE: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
– a spiritual entity – that can be raised, fused and generally messed around with to add a huge amount of variety to the game. Players can also choose how the protagonist spends his school days, picking which lessons to attend and thus affecting the character’s development. And if none of that has persuaded you, perhaps the fact that, according to Metacritic, Persona 4 was the bestrated PS2 game of 2008 will persuade you that this is one hellishly-good RPG.
RETAILBIZ: ONECHANBARA WWW.MCVUK.COM
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RELEASED: FEBRUARY 27 FORMATS: WII, XBOX 360 PUBLISHER: D3PUBLISHER DEVELOPER: TAMSOFT PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
D3P’s intense undead slaughterfest is set to bring sexy thrills and bloody kills to the genre on Wii and Xbox 360. James Batchelor averts his eyes… THE LATEST titles to grace consoles from the halls of D3P, OneChanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers and OneChanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad do exactly what they say on the tin. The two games, released on Wii and Xbox 360 respectively, aim to sex up the hack-n-slash and zombie horror genres with their voluptuous protagonists. Taking on the role of sisters Aya and Saki, gamers must battle the undead in a considerably more lighthearted venture than the standard gorefilled massacres usually found on shelves. “OneChanbara is a hack-n-slash series that doesn’t take itself too seriously,” says D3P’s PR and marketing executive, Marlene Fitzsimmons. “The franchise has already seen success in Japan,
HOT: OneChanbara’s sultry heroines will appeal to any man with a Wii or Xbox 360
which demographic is the target audience for these titles. “Babe in bikinis, slaying zombies – need I say more?” says Fitzsimmons. “The sexy girls in bikinis are definitely where most people focus their attention, so these games are definitely geared towards males. OneChanbara also has a ready-made target audience as a popular fan favourite ported from Japan.”
GORE BLIMEY TITILLATING TALES
Each sister follows her own storyline as she searches for answers to the mysteries surrounding their ancestors, battling
With hot sisters and bouncing boobs, OneChanbara certainly stands apart from other zombie shooters. Marlene Fitzsimmons, D3P
spawning five games, mobile applications, a feature film and toys all based on the video games. “There is a cult following for OneChanbara out there. With all the hardcore games on the market right now, OneChanbara brings some fun to the forum.” Aya and Saki continue the tradition of strong female video game protagonists whose seductive looks are just as deadly as their combat prowess. As a result, it shouldn’t be too difficult to work out
The two versions of the game offer significantly different experiences, not only promising that singleconsole gamers get a title tuned to their platform of choice, but also encouraging owners of both formats to pick up two copies.
the legions of zombies that are terrorising their home city. As their adventure progresses, the sisters slowly learn who is behind the undead threat and work furiously to stop them. As they build up their fury by decapitating the walking cadavers, the girls can unleash Rage mode. This hidden power only lasts for a limited time but gives them even more strength and agility to use against their enemies, as well as making even more blood and gore flow across the screen.
The Wii version focuses on motion-senstive action, with a control scheme modelled around Nintendo’s unique controller. Players must master their samurai skills with specific gestures through the Wii Remote, physically cutting their foes down as they battle their way through Bikini Zombie Slayers. The Xbox 360 version, meanwhile, takes full advantage of the superior hardware to make the adventure – and the girls – look even better. It also features an exclusive dress-up mode, allowing gamers to swap the outfits on Aya, Saki and the other temptresses found in Bikini Samurai Squad. To promote the OneChanbara duo, D3P has prepared an extensive print and online campaign, with some sexy creative based on the two protagonists “designed to capture the attention of any red-blooded male”. Fitzsimmons adds: “As a fun, quirky title with hot sisters, bouncing boobs and plenty of sexual innuendos, OneChanbara certainly stands out from the other zombie shooters out there.”
RETAILBIZ: FUN4ALL RANGE 46 MCV 20/02/09
PIRATES: HUNT FOR BLACKBEARD’S BOOTY On the hunt for Blackbeard’s treasure, gamers must swashbuckle their way through a series of challenges. The game features full co-operative and competitive multiplayer modes.
SHIVER MY TIMBERS: Gamers must slash their Wii remote across three different environments
A series of 20 chimp-inspired party games that have been designed with four-player multiplayer action in mind. Games include Monkey Dodgeball, Monkey Droppings, Math Wiz, Rhino Rampage, Flying Monkeys and Salmon Slap.
Gamers are encouraged to take on friends and family in 20 neighbourhood-inspired challenges, including Chariots of Fruit, Balloon Rescue, Garage Juggle and Picnic Pests. The game allows for up to four players, with eight characters to choose from.
GOING BANANAS: Choose from four monkeys and unlock a variety of four-player mini games
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: A load of streetinspired party games make up this Wii release
enon s phenom e m a g y mil ed the fa ristopher Dring in jo s a h n n4All. Ch the face… u Activisio F e g n a ii r e in with its W smacks a relativ gly unwittin
CONSIDERING the success of titles such as Carnival Funfair Games, Wii Play, Game Party, Big Beach Sports, Mario and Sonic, and even Ubisoft’s Imagine range, it comes as little surprise to see Activision Blizzard turn its attention to the family gaming sensation. Released under the new Fun4All umbrella label, Activision’s range kicks off with six Wii-exclusive titles, namely Pirates: Hunt for Blackbeard’s Booty, Monkey Mischief, Pitfall: The Big Adventure, Block Party, World Championship Sports and Little League World Series Baseball. And the publisher is optimistic that its Fun4All label can become a leading brand in the family gaming space.
“In the short term, we are looking to offer a great range of products that provide family fun for everyone,” explains Activision Blizzard’s UK marketing director David Tyler. “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. The controls are fun and easy to use, whether that be waving your arms to swing from vines in Pitfall to sword fighting in Pirates: Hunt for Blackbeard’s Booty. The Wii functionality is always a focus because if you can’t play the game with relative ease the fun element soon vanishes, especially for children.
RETAILBIZ: FUN4ALL RANGE WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 20/02/09 47
PITFALL: THE BIG ADVENTURE
LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES BASEBALL
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SPORTS
Playing as the athletic treasure hunter Pitfall Harry, gamers must swing through a series of new worlds and battle evil. The game also includes Pitfall and Pitfall 2 as bonus content.
Using the Wii Remote, gamers must bat their way to first base in the Skills Challenge mode before embarking on the World Series. There are 26 teams to choose from, with 90 collectables to be had.
Activision joins the Wii sports revolution, with games based on Tennis, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Basketball and Ice Hockey. There are 22 activities for gamers to play, with full multiplayer modes.
THE BIG HIT: The latest Pitfall boasts ten mini games, 60 levels and unique Wii controls
SWING AWAY: Full Wii Remote functionality and a mass of game modes will drive this game’s success
SPORTING GREATS: Activision’s title boasts six main sports with 22 different activities based on them
“Our long-term expectations for the new range is to drive a successful brand, which families recognise as an affordable source of fun and enjoyable gameplay.” FAMILY SALES
Last year’s record breaking UK games sales (as reported by ChartTrack), were credited to the on-going success of casual and family gaming, particularly on Nintendo’s Wii and DS. And Activision Blizzard’s new line-up is certain to follow the success of similar ranges launched last year. “Family gaming is a market segment where Activision Blizzard already has significant strength, including some of
the largest kids movie licences,” continues Tyler. “However, we are committed to making this part of our portfolio even stronger in the future and the Fun4All sub-brand will be one of the platforms we use to achieve this.
entertainment for the whole family to get involved with.”
RELEASED: OUT NOW FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
The new line-up covers a range of genres, including sporting, party and adventure titles. And Activision Blizzard is planning a dedicated marketing campaign, The Fun4All range is being complete with TV launched exclusively for Wii advertising and a big PR and focuses upon the social push in support of them. element of gaming. “We have a strong, two-week TV campaign David Tyler, Activision starting on February 13th and targeting kids and housewives,” “Our Fun4All titles offer a variety of concludes Tyler. gameplay challenges and gives younger “This will be supported by an gamers a chance to engage with fun exciting PR campaign focusing primarily characters that appeal to both children on children and secondly on parents. and their parents, making it great
PRICE: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
“Consumers should see and experience the Fun4All brand in-store across a broad cross section of retailers and we are anticipating a solid sales performance for the titles from launch.” The Fun4All range is designed especially for the Wii’s fanbase. World Championship Sports is certain to appeal to Wii Sports fanatics, while Monkey Mischief and Block Party will attact fans of Wii party games. And for just £19.99, the titles could well shake up the Wii charts in 2009.
RETAILBIZ: BATTLEFORGE 48 MCV 20/02/09
The latest addition to the RTS genre draws inspiration from trading cards as EA’s BattleForge infuses strategy gaming with a little magic. James Batchelor hopes he has been dealt a decent hand…
NO MATTER how elaborate their rules and mechanics are, no matter how detailed their illustrations are, trading card games just aren’t a very active affair. With hundreds of examples out there, most notably the likes of Magic the Gathering and the World Of Warcraft trading card, these hybrids of D&D and Top Trumps are entirely dependent on players’ imaginations. BattleForge, the upcoming RTS from EA, rectifies this by offering a much deeper and more cinematic experience, while still holding true to the systems that make trading card games so popular. Based on an original fantasy universe, EA’s new title sees gamers build their own decks and utilise them tactically in order to emerge victorious from each battle. The only way to build new units is to earn the required card rather than through the traditional route of
RELEASED: PC FORMATS: MARCH 27 PUBLISHER: PHENOMIC DEVELOPER: ELECTRONIC ARTS PRICE: £34.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
constructing bases and training new warriors. Instead of having to depend on this time-consuming process, players simply select the card they wish to use and the required units spring into life on the battlefield. In addition to the actual combatants, cards are also used to represent spells and buildings, streamlining the gameplay to form something reminiscent of Magic the Gathering
“Players have a deck of trading cards representing different units that they can drop directly into battle to counter opponents’ moves.” A key feature of BattleForge is the online focus. While there will be single player campaigns and scenarios, allowing aspiring commanders to hone their skills and learn the intricacies of the card-based system, the game truly comes into its own when played online. The game supports ranked player vs. players The feedback from the beta duels and even includes has been very positive, and a range of co-op scenarios pre-orders are currently that cater for teams of tracking well. two or four players. Alternatively, gamers can Will Graham, EA engage in epic 12-way battles. There are no queues, no battles for the ultimate experience. awkward statistical screens – just a deck In fact, success against human of cards and player instincts. opponents will be crucial to expanding The result is a unique RTS experience. players’ decks. Emerging victorious from The focus is shifted away from tedious any of these scenarios will yield new building and resource management and cards, or gamers can buy and trade for geared towards intense battles, where additional ones online. Whether directly gamers can adapt to the situation by trading through the marketplace or throwing cards into the field on the fly. bidding in the online auction hall, only “BattleForge is a truly accessible RTS active community members will get that does away with traditional basetheir hands on the most powerful cards. building and focuses instead on fastThe game has already undergone moving tactical action,” says EA product public beta-testing, which goes to show manager Will Graham. that there’s demand for the final version.
“The feedback from the beta has been very positive with most people playing for a sustained period of time,” says Graham. “Pre-orders are currently tracking well and will ramp up as we implement pre-order mechanics closer to launch.” REAL TIME MARKETING
“In terms of marketing, we will be targeting the RTS community, and heavily promoting the beta to get people to experience the game,” continues Graham. “There will be an advertising spend online to push pre-orders, targeted across a range of specialist and broader audience sites. Community events will also drive player trials. “Furthermore, we will be reaching out to specialist, sci-fi and fantasy, and mainstream press to raise awareness of the game, and we’re holding a launch event for press and key influencers.” Should BattleForge prove to be a success, then this will just be the beginning as EA develops the IP further with possible future games in the series. Graham concludes: “We are taking RTS in a brand new direction, which we hope will attract new audiences and help us to develop a long-term franchise that we can sustain and build upon in the future.”
RETAILBIZ: GRAND AGES: ROME WWW.MCVUK.COM
The sequel to popular city-building title Imperium Romanum comes to PC next month. Christopher Dring grabs his trusty sword and invades most of Europe…
MCV 20/02/09 49
WHAT HAVE the Romans ever done for us? If you look past sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, they’ve also been responsible for cracking video game material. In fact, the Roman Empire has been a popular era of choice for the PC strategy genre, with smash hit titles including Rome: Total War, Spartan: Total Warrior, Caesar and Age of Empires. And it’s a trend that developer Haemimont Games has capitalised on with its city-building Rome-based strategy series. “Grand Ages: Rome portrays the crumbling of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire,” explains Kalypso’s commercial director Andrew Johnson. “The time period is 77 BC to 30 BC. The player is put in the shoes of a Roman administrator, whose family
RELEASED: MARCH 6TH FORMATS: PC PUBLISHER: KALYPSO MEDIA DEVELOPER: HAEMIMONT GAMES PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9595
opposed Sula’s dictatorship and were exiled into Africa. This is a turbulent time in history with the forming of the First Triumvirate between Crassus, Pompey and Caesar, the rise and fall of Caesar and the events following his death. The player accepts missions from prominent figures including Pompey,
series, and its impressive visuals are sure to grab the attention of many new gamers too. Publisher Kalypso Media is set to promote the game with an impressive advertising campaign. “Following the success of Imperium Romanum both here and in Europe, we really want to put a strong media campaign behind this title,” says Johnson. We will support Grand Ages: “We’re already getting a Rome with trade and lot of interest from the consumer marketing – online, press, and we hope that Grand Ages: Rome will on radio and in print. enjoy the success we Andrew Johnson, Kalypso anticipate upon release. Caesar, Cleopatra and Marc Anthony.” “We are looking to support the title Grand Ages: Rome is a sequel to last with trade and consumer marketing, year’s Imperium Romanum – but it’s no online competitions, local radio minor update. The setting has been competitions and off the page revamped, while the developer has advertising. We will also have a heavy worked hard to create an improved and sustained campaign online. There is campaign and combat system – and a a good following for titles like Grand multiplayer mode for up to four players. Ages: Rome and, in a similar way to The game’s new features and in-depth other titles from Kalypso Media, the gameplay is set to delight fans of the game has an evergreen appeal to it.”
RETAILBIZ: THE TIMES CROSSWORD CHALLENGE & JOHNNY BRAVO 50 MCV 20/02/09
Atari delivers one of the most popular puzzles of all time to Nintendo’s mass-market DS. Christopher Dring gets cryptic… BEFORE SUDOKU changed the puzzle landscape with its mindbending, number-crunching ways, the world became addicted to the humble crossword. The ancient word puzzle has been a regular feature in newspapers for nigh on 100 years, beginning life in 1913 when the Sunday New York World printed its first ‘WordCross’ puzzle. THE TIMES ARE A’CHANGING
Since then, the crossword’s simple premise has made it one of the most popular puzzle pastimes in the world. It’s been a regular feature in books, websites, newspapers and magazines for decades. The Times Crossword Challenge isn’t the first time the puzzle has come to DS either – Atari released The Sun Crossword Challenge last year. And now the publisher is going upmarket, with 1,000 concise and cryptic crosswords from the broadsheet. The new game boasts a
RELEASED: OUT NOW FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: ATARI DEVELOPER: SANUK PRICE: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9590
QWERTY keyboard, undo options, interactive hints and feedback, and varying difficulty levels. The mass-market appeal of the crossword makes The Times Crossword Challenge an ideal fit for Nintendo’s DS, and the tie-in with The Times will attract the hundreds of thousands who play the newspaper’s crosswords every day. PUZZLING ON A BUDGET
The game has also been priced with the mass-market in mind, with a credit crunch-friendly price of just £19.99. So there is every reason to expect that The Times Crossword Challenge will criss cross its way off retail shelves.
The muscle-filled ladies’ man returns to video games in Mastertronic’s colourful new DS release. Tim Ingham gets acquainted… ALONGSIDE The Simpsons and Spongebob, Johnny Bravo is one of those rare cartoons that both titillates the young and offers the odd nugget of spot-on satire for parents. With this wide audience in mind, Mastertronic is bringing the franchise back to that most family-friendly of consoles, the DS. The memorably wordy Johnny Bravo Hukka-Mega-Mighty-UltraExtreme Date-O-Rama invites gamers to engage in a plethora of mini-games related to the TV show. BRAVO, SIR
Players can use the DS stylus to try and beat their opponent in the ‘Muscle Madness’ weightlifting event or throw rubbish in recycling bins (or straight at their opponents) in ‘Taking Out the Trash’. Other mini-games include using the Cheese-O-Vac suction gun to vacuum up a plague of mice, then blowing into the DS microphone to clear the collected rodents.
RELEASED: OUT NOW FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: BLAST DEVELOPER: MUMBO JUMBO PRICE: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: MASTERTRONIC CONTACT: 0845 234 4242
The game has the same look and feel as the TV series, largely thanks to the involvement of Johnny Bravo creator, Van Partible. The artist designed the cover artwork, as well as drawing specific character art. The eponymous protagonist comes with a weight of previous exposure, not only appearing regularly on Cartoon Network since 1998 but also starring in his own movies and DVDs. Marketing and PR manager at Mastertronic Kirsty Payne commented: “Johnny Bravo has a regular slot in the Cartoon Network comic and enjoys phenomenal popularity across all age groups. It’s a strong brand backed up with a hilarious game."
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RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 20/02/09 51
Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more
Retail gets ready for new Halo It is set to be a busy first quarter for retail time strategy fanatics. THQ’s Dawn of War II has only just landed at retail, and in the weeks ahead gamers can look forward to Empire: Total War, Stormrise and Ensemble’s final RTS, Halo Wars. TITLE
Wii / DS DS PC PC PC PC Wii DS Wii XBOX 360 DS DS PS3 DS DS DS DS PC PC DS PC PC DS / PC / Wii PC XBOX 360/ Wii DS Wii PC PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 DS Wii PC DS PC PC
Action Platform Survival Horror RTS RTS FPS Action Puzzle Sports Strategy Platformer Imagine FPS Simulation Simulation Simulation Simulation Sports RTS Action Sports FPS Pets Sports Action/Adventure Strategy Action RTS Horror Action Action RTS Action Simulation RTS
Zoo Digital Ignition Entertainment Mastertronic Mastertronic Mastertronic 505 Games Capcom THQ Atari Microsoft V.2 Play Ubisoft Sony Deep Silver Deep Silver Deep Silver Deep Silver Mastertronic 505 Games Ignition Entertainment Mastertronic 505 Games Capcom Mastertronic D3Publisher Rising Star Games Reef Entertainment Mastertronic Konami Disney Interactive 505 Games Ubisoft Ignition Entertainment Mastertronic V.2 Play
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DS PS3 / XBOX 360 DS DS DS PS3 Wii DS / Wii DS DS PC / PS3 / XBOX 360
RPG Action/Advent Action Action Action Action Sports Puzzle Sports Mini Game Action
V.2 Play 505 Games South Peak THQ Gammick Konami Nintendo Deep Silver Ubisoft THQ Ubisoft
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Sega Disney Interactive
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FEBRUARY 27th Army Men: Soldiers Of Misfortune Boing! Docomodake Clive Barker's Undying (Sold Out) Command & Conquer Red Alert (Sold Out) Command & Conquer Renegade (Sold Out) Cryostasis Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop Dropcast (Valusoft) Family Ski & Snowboard Halo Wars Hello Pocoyo Imagine Ballet Dancer Killzone 2 Let's Play: Fashion Designer Let's Play: Firemen Let's Play: Pet Hospitals Let's Play: Schools Madden NFL 2006 (Sold Out) Men Of War Metal Slug 7 NBA Live 06 Necrovision Neopets Puzzle Adventure NHL 2006 (Sold Out) Onechanbara Populous Rogue Trooper: Quartz Zone Massacre Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (Sold Out) Silent Hill Homecoming Spectrobes: Beyond The Portals The Destiny Of Zorro Tom Clancy's EndWar Tornado Total Club Manager 2005 (Sold Out) War Leaders: Clash Of Nations
MARCH 4th Empire: Total War
MARCH 6th Away: Shuffle Dungeon Battle Fantasia Big Bang Mini Elements of Destruction Elite Forces Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots (Platinum) New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis Professor Heinz Wolff's Gravity Sam Power: Footballer SpongeBob SquarePants: Frantic Fry Cook Tom Clancy's HAWX
MARCH 13th Bleach: Dark Souls Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force
MUSTSTOCK ..................................HALO WARS
MUSTSTOCK .....................EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR
Released: February 27th Format: Xbox 360 Publisher: Microsoft Distributor: Gem Contact: 01279 822 822
Released: March 4th Format: PC Publisher: Sega Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388
The blockbuster Halo franchise is back in the first of two new games this year. Halo Wars is Ensemble’s swansong title, and boasts superb visuals and amazing RTS gameplay. It could also be this quarter’s biggest video game, so stock up.
Sega’s huge new PC RTS has already enjoyed very impressive review scores and several PC magazine front covers. Empire: Total War is also one of 2009’s most anticipated PC titles, with fantastic visuals, sea-based battles and in depth gameplay. It sails to shelves on March 4th.
RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 52 MCV 20/02/09
INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS THIS WEEK
WII FIT FORMAT: Wii
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
MYSTERY CASE FILES: MILLIONHEIR DS
CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR 360
PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE CURIOUS VILLAGE DS
CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR PS3
MARIO KART WII Wii
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 PC
SKATE 2 360
THE FIRST major wave of new releases has reshaped the Indie Charts but failed to remove Wii Fit from the top spot. The Nintendo fitness game continues to hold on to the No.1 position, mirroring its own success in the mainstream charts and driven by the nation’s traditional post-Christmas health kick. Nintendo also leads the wave of new entries, with Mystery Case Files: Millionheir marking the highest position for a newcomer at No.2, boosted no doubt by a strong TV marketing campaign. Below this, the revamped GameCube title New Play Control! Pikmin is the second highest debut of the week at No.11.
CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE GOTY EDITION 360
LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST 360
NEW PLAY CONTROL! PIKMIN WII
BURNOUT PARADISE: THE ULTIMATE BOX PS3
NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD NINTENDO
NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
NEW RELEASES FAIL TO TOPPLE WII FIT
EA NINTENDO EA
MIDNIGHT CLUB: LOS ANGELES 360
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS
BABY LIFE DS
ROCKSTAR NINTENDO DEEP SILVER
MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES WII RISE OF THE ARGONAUTS PS3
RESISTANCE 2 PS3
NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER 360
SEGA CODEMASTERS SONY
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.
“Racing titles proved to be one of the two most popular genres alongside shoot-’em-ups, which were dominated by Call Of Duty games.” EA’s Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box, another re-release albeit with additional content, is just below at No.12, beating Need For Speed and Midnight Club as the most successful title in its genre on the more advanced formats. Codemasters’ Rise Of The Argonauts also debuts in the Top 20 at No.18. Racing titles proved to be one of the two most popular genres this week, with four titles in the Top 20 led by Mario Kart Wii at No.6. Shoot-‘em-ups also claimed four places this week, with Activision’s Call Of Duty franchise dominating this space with three games in the chart. Despite slipping in the mainstream charts, Skate 2 leaps back into the Top 10 at independent retail, as one of ten re-entries this week. Other re-entries this week included Resistance 2, SimAnimals, Brain Training and Mario & Sonic. James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk
this week’s Frontline, MCV speaks to Paul FROM THE FRONTLINE For Kenright from Bracknell indie Virtual Games… How are supermarkets affecting your business? Obviously supermarkets have been affecting our business, especially on new triple-A titles. However we do get quite a few customers who come to us from the supermarkets when they need help with their games or consoles, because of our high standards of aftersales service. What challenges do you face from online retailers? The main issue is the online stores breaking street dates. Customers want things as soon as possible, which can cut into our sales when they buy online to receive their games early. Distributors must be supplying them early.
What’s selling well at the moment? Both Call of Duty 4 and Call of Duty: World at War are still showing strongly on all formats. Wii Fit sells very well when we can get hold of it. As well as this we are seeing a surge of retro sales, both in games and consoles. Are you planning any upcoming marketing or promotions? We’re currently running a Beat The Boss promotion across all our stores, where customers can win their purchases for free on the roll of a dice. What are your plans for 2009? It will be a year where we consolidate what we’ve got and look out for areas where we can improve our service.
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 20/02/09 53 Sponsored by
Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM
Rise of the Argonauts
Burnout Paradise: Ultimate Box
New Play Control! Pikmin
Square Enix, DS
IN STORE: WESTON-SUPER-MARE N/A
NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.
PSP-owning film buffs can pick up two UMDs from the online retailer for £10. The selection on offer includes The Simpsons Movie, Borat, 300, and Die Hard 4.0.
Reduced to £395.10, this Elite Xbox 360 bundle comes with the console, an extra controller, Halo 3, Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, Mass Effect and a charging kit.
Shooter fans can save £70 when they buy an 80Gb PS3 bundled with Sony’s Resistance 2 and Activision Blizzard’s Call Of Duty: World At War for £309.99.
If you’re tackling the zombie apocalypse, you need to have the right equipment. House Of The Dead: Overkill players will soon find that the key to survival – and, subsequently, the best high scores – is unlocking and upgrading the in-game weapons. To improve both the gamer’s immersion and the weapon’s accuracy, Venom has released the official Overkill Hand Cannon, a stylised gunstyle shell for the Wii Remote. This peripheral is modelled in the shape of a hefty ‘70s Colt revolver, and bears the game’s official licence. The soft hand grip makes it comfortable enough for
LOADED: Players can feel like they have a real firearm to keep zombies at bay.
lengthier sessions of zombiemaiming and the sturdy construction will help gamers aim more accurately. It’s also compatible with the Wii Nunchuk for use with other shooters on the console. Venom: 01763 272927
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RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 54 MCV 20/02/09
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 3 4 5 6 8 18 7 10
 [FULL PRICE]
MYSTERY CASE FILES: MILLIONHEIR DEVELOPER: BIG FISH GAMES PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
FIFA ‘09 EA TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD EIDOS CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 KONAMI NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA LEG0 BATMAN WARNER BROS. WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 THQ GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED LUCASARTS
PSP THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 STAR OCEAN: SECOND EVOLUTION MIDNIGHT CLUB: L.A. REMIX LEGO BATMAN WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 LEGO INDIANA JONES
5 9 RE
WII FIT FORMAT: WII
F.E.A.R 2: PROJECT ORIGIN
MYSTERY CASE FILES: MILLIONHEIR DS
COD: WORLD AT WAR 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC
FIFA ‘09 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, PC
MARIO KART WII Wii
DEVELOPER: EA CANADA PUBLISHER: EA D3P SEGA EA KONAMI SQUARE ENIX 2K WARNER BROS. THQ LUCASARTS
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA
WII PLAY WII
MY FITNESS COACH WII
PROFESSOR LAYTON DS
MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES Wii, DS
LEFT 4 DEAD 360, PS3, PC
GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR
BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE PS2, WII, PSP, DS
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360, PS3, PC
PS3, WII, 360, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: OVERKILL WII DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS
CARNIVAL: FUNFAIR GAMES Wii, DS
NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER
SEGA NINTENDO 2K PLAY
DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360
LEGO BATMAN DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360
TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360 EIDOS
PC CD-ROM PUBLISHER
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
2 3 4
DEVELOPER: MONKEY BAR GAMES PUBLISHER: D3P
BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE
2 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
PROFESSOR LAYTON NINTENDO DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO MARIO KART DS NINTENDO NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. NINTENDO MORE BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES SEGA 100 CLASSIC BOOK COLLECTION NINTENDO 42 ALL-TIME CLASSICS NINTENDO CHRONO TRIGGER SQUARE ENIX
[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
F.E.A.R 2: PROJECT ORIGIN WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE WOW: WRATH OF THE LICH KING ACTIVISION BLIZZARD C&C: RED ALERT 3 EA GRAND THEFT AUTO IV ROCKSTAR THE SIMS 2: APARTMENT LIFE EA THE SIMS 2: DOUBLE DELUXE EA CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD CSI: NEW YORK UBISOFT FOOTBALL MANAGER LIVE SEGA
2 4 3 12 6 8 7 5
DEVELOPER: SPORTS INTERACTIVE PUBLISHER: SEGA
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MCV 20/02/09 55
celebrate Friday the 13th last week. Sega’s new
again, with Wii Fit notching up its fifth
House of the Dead shuffles onto the scene, securing 15th position in this week’s charts, while Left 4 Dead crawls up four places into eleventh. But it was Warner’s. F.E.A.R. 2 that really inspired the horror crowd, landing in second place. The FPS recorded 50 per cent of its sales on 360, 31 per cent on PS3 and 19 per cent on PC.
consecutive number one position despite a ten
Highest New Entry
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
Highest Top 40 Climber
PUZZLER COLLECTION DS
SKATE 2 360, PS3
LEGO INDIANA JONES DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360, PSP
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 MAC, PSP, PC
COD4: MODERN WARFARE 360, PS3, PC, DS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
SHAUN WHITE SNOWBOARDING DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, 360, Wii, PC UBISOFT
LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST 360, PS3, PC
MARIO KART DS DS
PRO EVO 2009 PS3, PS2, PSP, PC, 360
NEW SUPER MARIO BROS DS
MORE BRAIN TRAINING DS
GUITAR HERO III: LEGENDS
UBISOFT LUCASARTS SEGA
EA NINTENDO KONAMI NINTENDO NINTENDO
360, PS3, Wii, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
SONIC UNLEASHED 360, Wii, PS3, PS2
TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR ‘09 PS2, PSP, DS, 360, WII, PS3
BURNOUT: THE ULTIMATE BOX PS3, 360
BIG BEACH SPORTS WII
SAINTS ROW 2 PC, 360, PS3
QUANTUM OF SOLACE PC, PS3, PS2, DS, 360, Wii ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
DISNEY’S BOLT PS3, PS2, 360, DS, WII
PC CD-ROM THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS
WORLD OF WARCRAFT
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
BEJEWELED 2 FOCUS THE SIMS 2: MANSION & GARDEN EA WOW: BURNING CRUSADE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD AGE OF EMPIRES III MICROSOFT CSI: 3 DIMENSIONS OF MURDER UBISOFT AMAZING ADVENTURES: LOST TOMB FOCUS COMPANY OF HEROES THQ PEPPA PIG: ACTIVITY PACK GSP/AVANQUEST SETTLERS: HERITAGE OF KINGS FOCUS
10 2 4 3 15 5 RE
DEVELOPER: BLIZZARD PUBLISHER: ACTVISION BLIZZARD
published titles in the Top Ten this week, including
Mystery Case Files: Millionheir, which steps up a place to three, with a 25 per cent sales increase.
F.E.A.R 2: PROJECT ORIGIN
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR LITTLEBIGPLANET FIFA ‘09 RESISTANCE 2 CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE GRAND THEFT AUTO IV LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST BURNOUT PARADISE: THE ULTIMATE BOX GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR
WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
DEVELOPER: MONOLITH PUBLISHER: WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
MARIO KART WII THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: OVERKILL MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR SHAUN WHITE SNOWBOARDING ANIMAL CROSSING: LET’S GO TO THE CITY TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR ‘09 SONIC UNLEASHED RAYMAN RAVIN’ RABBIDS TV PARTY
2 3 5 6 8 11 7 9
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
EA SONY ACTIVISSION BLIZZARD ROCKSTAR EA EA EA
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO NINTENDO SEGA SEGA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD UBISOFT NINTENDO EA SEGA UBISOFT
F.E.A.R 2: PROJECT ORIGIN
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
LEFT 4 DEAD CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR FIFA ‘09 GRAND THEFT AUTO IV SKATE 2 GEARS OF WAR 2 GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST SAINTS ROW 2
4 1 3 11 2 7 8 6 9
per cent drop in sales. There are five Nintendo
1 1 3 2 4 10 7 6 12 9
WEEK ENDING 14/02/09
(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack
L FORMATS 29
Of course, the real winner was Nintendo once
HORROR FANATICS came out in force to
DEVELOPER: MONOLITH PUBLISHER: WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA ROCKSTAR EA MICROSOFT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA THQ
56-61 MCV525_final:Layout 1
TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR
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
AMA DISPLAYS . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1924 507217 . . . . . . . . . www.ama-displays.co.uk CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL SERVICES
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
WRAPSTAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 7778 204970 . . . . . . . . www.wrapstar-skins.com DISTRIBUTION
For further online advertising information please contact
Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535647
SUPPORT YOUR PRINT ADVERTISING WITH AN
GEM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.gem.co.uk
56-61 MCV525_final:Layout 1
EDITORIAL PLANNER Some of the special issues coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the market... FRIDAY FEBRUARY 27th
TERRITORY REPORT: EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE On the other side of our 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 of 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 LostWinds, while highly anticipated DLC for Fallout 3 and GTA IV have just been made available. MCV takes a closer look at this ever-expanding sector, and speaks to all the key service providers. FRIDAY APRIL 10th
TERRITORY REPORT: CHINA AND ASIA The Far East contains several unique markets that do things very differently to the rest of the world. Publishers and platform holders alike have to jump through completely different hoops to see their products released here. We look at how the territory’s video games industry works and what opportunities it offers. FRIDAY APRIL 27th
SELF IMPROVEMENT AND NON-GAMES SOFTWARE With the success of Wii Fit and Brain Training inspiring a wave of less traditional and more beneficial titles, it’s time to analyse this sector of the market. We look at what the future holds for non-games.
FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT:
CHRIS.DRING@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . email@example.com
56-61 MCV525_final:Layout 1
TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISTRIBUTION
Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month.
STUDIOS 7 Seas Technologies ..................www.7seastech.com 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 Ndreams................................+44(0) 1252 375754
IDEAL SOFTWARE . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1767 689720 . . . . . . . . . . www.idealsoftware.net
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 SERVICES 3D Creation Studio ..............+44 (0) 151 236 9992 Air Edel................................+44 (0) 207 486 6466 Air Studios ...........................+44 (0) 207 794 0660 GAMEINDUSTRYJOBS.eu..........+31 3110 7504580 Ian Livingstone .....................+44 (0) 1483 421 491
CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION. . . . 0208 6643456 . . . . www.creativedistribution.co.uk DISTRIBUTION
Partnertrans .........................+44 (0) 1753 247 731 Philips amBX....................................www.ambx.com Razorback ...............................www.razorback.co.uk Testronic Labs .......................+44 (0)1753 653 722 Tsunami Music .....................+44 (0) 207 350 2828 Universally Speaking ............+44 (0) 1480 210 621 COURSES Goldsmiths.............................+44 (0)20 70785052 University of Hull ..................+44 (0) 1482 465 951 To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and every week in MCV) contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All subscription requests should go to email@example.com MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk
56-61 MCV525_final:Layout 1
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’s Insider’s Guide interviewee is Steve Walsh, Meroncourt’s sales director…
ABSOLUTE QUALITY . . . . . . +44 (0)141 220 5600 . . . . . www.absolutequality.co.uk LOCALISATION
PARTNERTRANS . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.partnertrans.com
How has the past year been for Meroncourt? 2008 was another robust year for Meroncourt, which included a move to bigger and newer premises, and one that finished on a high. December saw the highest sales we have ever had.
Tell us something we didn’t know about Meroncourt. While we are mostly known for distribution, we also have a warehousing and fulfilment side to the business. Plus, as of January 2009, we accept PayPal payments.
What’s the best thing about working for Meroncourt? The fact that you get plenty of independence and the ability to try new ideas even if they seem obscure, unorthodox and step away from normal procedures. Also, the fact that customer service is still the highest priority. We represent a high quality range of vendors within the UK, catering for various areas of the market, who are all flexible and willing to look at new and innovative marketing ideas, and we are always looking for new partners to help expand our business.
Do you have any plans for expansion? We have plans to expand our range this year and are well advanced on a couple of new brands. We anticipate 2009 being a tough year so whatever we do will be controlled and justified as necessary for the business. Do you have any amusing office stories to share with MCV readers? They’re all from the Christmas party, so I have to save them all to avoid embarrassing anyone. No one remembers anything after the party, though.
56-61 MCV525_final:Layout 1
TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR LOCALISATION
TESTRONIC LABORATORIES . . . +44 (0) 1753 653 722. . . . www.testroniclabs.com
PERFECTPLAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . 020 8778 5164 . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.perfectplay.co.uk
We’ll make sure your disc repair is up to scratch All the disc repair options you need, from entry level machines to state-of-the-art electronic systems. Call or visit our website to find out more.
Venmill Buffer from £1595
01202 489 500
UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING . . . . . . . 01480 210621 . . . . . . . . . . . www.usspeaking.com
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk DISC REPAIR
SUPPORT YOUR PRINT ADVERTISING WITH AN
HIGH PERFORMANCE OPTICAL DISC REPAIR SYSTEMS Eco Senior Fully Automatic Repair System
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Call 01895 252191 for Introductory Offers
For further online advertising information please contact
Lesley.Blumson@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535647 MCV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01992 535647 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.mcvuk.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…
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
APRIL 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 GAMES CONVENTION ONLINE Friday, July 31st Sunday, August 2nd Leipzig, Germany www.leipziger-messe.com
AUGUST EDINBURGH INTERACTIVE FESTIVAL Monday, August 10th – Sunday, August 16th Edinburgh, Scotland www.edinburghinteractivefestival.com
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk
GAMESCOM Wednesday, August 19th Sunday, August 23rd Cologne, Germany www.gamescomcologne.com
MCV INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS Thursday, April 23rd The Brewery, London jodie.holdway@ bhpr.co.uk The biggest night in the games industry calendar returns to the Brewery and will feature awards split across three categories; Retail, PR and Marketing, and People and Industry. A whopping 650 representatives from all corners of the UK games trade will be attending this essential industry event.
DEVELOP CONFERENCE 2009 Tuesday, July 14th Saturday, July 16th Brighton, UK www.developconference.com The Develop Conference & Expo is where the European developer community come together to learn from each other and share experiences, be inspired by world renowned experts and gurus, get up-to-date with the latest development tools and techniques, make new contacts and catchup with old ones.
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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 62 MCV 20/02/09
International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA
All Interactive.................Helensvale Town Centre
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
Groß Electronic .......................................Rohrnbach
Playcom Software Vertriebs .......................Erfurt
Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel.....................Erfurt
CD Projekt Sp. z o.o......................................Warsaw
GREECE Centric ...............................................................Athens Nortec Multimedia.........................................Athens Zegetron S.A....................................................Athens
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)
Red Ant...................................Baulkham Hills, NSW
ESTONIA Andrico ..............................................................Tallinn
Koch Media GmbH...............................Rottenmann Play Art Multimedia Handels GmbH....Rankweil
FINLAND Panvision Oy.......................................................Turku
Horelec S.A. ...........................................Bruxelles
EMC GROUPE CASINO..........Croissy Beaubourg
CLD Distribution S.A. .........................Fernelmont
Tel: +48 71 341 76 95
ecofilmes...............................Sao Joao Da Madeira TM
MILESTONE INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE LIMITED Pramukh Plaza, 2nd Floor,
PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE
Cardinal Gracious Road,
Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D,
Chakala, Andheri East,
08034, Barcelona, Spain,
Mumbai 400 099, INDIA.
Tel: +34 93 492 08 89
Tel: +91 22 28203319
Fax: +91 22 28203334
email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.milestoneinteractive.com
v.2 PLAY. LDA Studio Office Marquês de Pombal – Avenida de Loulé nº 123 1069-152 -
45 rue Delizy, 93692 PANTIN Cedex France
Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel
Email purchase: email@example.com
Tel: +31 10 298 3838
Email export sales: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: +48 71 343 98 96
ITALY INNELEC MULTIMEDIA
Email: email@example.com Web: www.techland.pl
GATEWAY DISTRIBUTION APS
TECHLAND Sp. z.o.o. Kazmierza Wlk 27, 50-077 Wroclaw,
ICELAND THQ AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND & ASIA.
Pan Vision Norway..............................................Oslo
Otto Group ...................................................Hamburg
Tel. 00351 21 31 46 51 0
Coop Italia..........................................Sesto F.NO (FI)
Fax 00351 21 31 61 12 5
Digital Bros spa................................................Milano Leader Spa.................................Gazzada Schianno
Newave Italia...................................................Firenze Promovideo SRL ...........................................Senago
NETHERLANDS Gameworld BV............................Capelle A/D Ijssel
Cidiverte Spa ...............................................Gallarate
AKELLA 12/1 Bolshaya Novodmitrovskaya st.,
127015, Moscow, Russia
Phone: +7 (495) 363-4612
Rigu Sound B.V................2153 GB Nieuw Vennep
Fax: +7 (495) 363-4615 http://en.akella.com
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
NEW ZEALAND Gamewizz..........................................................Albany
Hitzona.............................................................Moscow Noviy Disk .......................................................Moscow
Pan Vision Norway.....................................Trollasen
MPX.no .......................................................Sandefjord Platekompaniet....................................................Oslo
TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE
62,63 MCV525_final:Layout 1
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 20/02/09 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...
INTERNATIONAL NEWS SOUTH AFRICA
Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg Nu Metro Interactive ......................Johannesburg
VIDEO GAMES DISTRIBUTOR
Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID
Lamee Software S.L. .....................................Madrid
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.bascodistribution.com
Capcom has appointed Nu Metro Interactive as the sole distributor of its titles in South Africa. The new agreement is effective immediately and will see Nu Metro Interactive take on the responsibility for the distribution, sales and marketing for all of Capcom’s releases in this territory. Nu Metro Interactive will launch the distribution relationship with the highly anticipated Street Fighter IV and Resident Evil 5, which are scheduled for release on PS3 and 360 on February 20th and March 13th respectively.
Marques de Monteagudo 18, 28028 Madrid, Spain`
20001 S. Western Ave.
Torrance, CA 90501 Phone: 310-222-5522 x 111
Fax: 310-222-5577 Contact: Moris Mirzadeh Email: email@example.com
PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034, Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC.
16700 Schoenborn St. #2 North Hills, CA. 91343 Tel: +1 818 920 9393
Research from the Nielsen Company and the Monitor-Plus advertising monitoring service showed that the games industry reportedly spent $823 million on marketing and promotion in the US during 2008. The $823 million spent amounts to less than four per cent of the industry’s total revenue of $21 billion in 2008, Kotaku reported. Notable marketing spends from last year include Ubisoft’s $10 million push for Shaun White Snowboarding, buying up all of the advertising space during the series premiere of South Park, and Rockstar, which placed colossal buildings promoting GTA IV in almost every major US city.
VIRGIN PLAY Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11, 28046 Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34 91 789 35 50
Red Entertainment Distribution ..................Dubai
DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo
Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona
PO Box 10705, Office 103-104 Emirates Islamic Bank Building,Dubai, UAE.
Tel: +971 4261 8111
Fax: +971 4261 8112
SIBA AB ...................................................Gothenburg
Modern Pluto Trading LLC...............Saudi Arabia
ABC Software GmbH.......................................Buchs
NXT Global LLC .................................................Dubai Pluto Derinton Games LLC............................Egypt
TURKEY ARAL Import..................................................Istanbul Nortec Eurasia...............................................Istanbul
Publisher and developer Square Enix is to publish Activision Blizzard’s James Bond: Quantum of Solace on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and PS2 in Japan, Andriasang has reported. The game, which is developed by Call of Duty: World at War studio Treyarch, was released alongside the film last year in Europe and North America. 007: Nagusame no Houshuu, as it will be known in the territory, will be released on all platforms on March 26th. Capcom has confirmed that it has chosen THQ as its new distribution partner in Australia and New Zealand. The news comes following the closure of Australian distributor Red Ant after it went into administration. At the time, Red Ant’s key clients Capcom and Konami said they were confident a means to distribute their games in the country would be found – while THQ’s IceStorm team said they would happily lend a hand.
PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
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sourcebo YEAR-ROUND PRINT & ONLINE PROMOTION FOR ALL INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT SERVICE COMPANIES
ACCESS SOURCEBOOK ONLINE AT: WWW.INTENTMEDIA
CREATIVE AND PROMOTIONAL SERVICES 3DI Tel: 0845 4582898 www.threedi.net
an.x Tel: 0207 785 7156 www.anxagency.com
Ark VFX Tel: 0114 268 4999 www.arkvfx.net
Barrington Harvey Tel: +44 (0)1462 456780 www.barringtonharvey.co.uk
Bastion Tel: +44 (0)20 7421 7600 www.bastion.co.uk
Candy Lab Tel: +44 (0)20 7031 0888 www.candylab.co.uk
Dilute Recordings Tel: +44 (0)1483 306834 www.diluterecordings.com
DKPM Tel: 0845 111 0312 www.dkpm.co.uk
Game Frontier Tel: 0870 420 2424 www.gamefrontier.com
Gem Creative Tel: 01279 822800 www.gem.co.uk
Frontroom Tel: 020 7384 5400 www.frontroom.com
Head First Tel: 0161 228 6699 www.head-first.co.uk
IGA Worldwide Tel: +44 (0)20 7250 4340 www.igaworldwide.com
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
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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
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 MCV525_final:47 MCV443
MCV 20/02/09 67
NEW IP: Simon Alty is concerned about the loss of original content
New IP is vital for our future Dear MCV, In reaction to the headline in last week’s issue ‘Labels Retreat from New IP’ – I have to ask the question, how have we come to this? Have we not learned the lessons of the music and movie industries we so oft quote ourselves as being bigger and better than? Now, please don’t get me wrong – I’ve been round this interactive block enough times to understand the need for a balanced portfolio of products of all shapes and sizes. However, new IP is the lifeblood and very fabric of our industry. It is what made us the dynamic and revolutionary force that has enabled us to challenge the monolith entertainment formats. We were the punks of the entertainment world and it appears we are now resorting to a ‘Greatest Hits’ tour. Industry observers please note that this attitude is a generalisation and does not exist amongst those of us,
including I suspect the companies quoted, who care about the long-term viability of our industry. As an industry we have long recognised that it is the games makers who fuel the passion in us as publishers, and who hold the keys to our future. These are the pioneers and visionaries that drive our business forward. Deprive them of new ideas, of the blank sheet of paper, and we will never again have the moments of clarity when we first see a truly new IP. Gaming moments created from new IP proves there’s no substitute for great gameplay. My kids are still playing Mario 64 to this day, I can remember when the alleged casual game Harvest Moon received a huge cheer at a hardcore otaku convention, and when clubbers got motion sickness as WipEout ushered in true 3D gaming. I recall standing nervously amongst armies of passionate clans at a GRAW convention, and sitting
open-mouthed as I play my own level design on LBP against friends in Australia. This list is endless, but if we take last week’s headline literally, these moments could be over.
New IP is the lifeblood and very fabric of what makes our industry unique.
As we shy away from the unknown and chase the supposed mass market gamer, detractors of new IP should note the driving force behind this sea change towards ‘casual’ sequels. Where would these sequels be without the revolution brought about by Wii? A console that is a genius piece of new IP in its own right. It appears that the mantle
for originality and creativity in realising the gaming IPs of the future lie with those companies prepared to take a chance with their talent and continue to encourage the new ideas for the future. At Rising Star Games we have taken the tried and tested originality of our Harvest Moon team and they have envisioned what we believe to be the first true new IP of the year in Little King Story. I’m not just saying this – watch out for it – it’s a joy! One of those moments. We will fight, kick and shout as loud as our profit generating budgets will allow to ensure that the true gaming fan (whatever label we as an industry choose to give them) knows about our new IP. We care and are driven because we want everyone to have the new experiences and emotions we enjoy. Maybe last week’s headline ushers in a new status quo for the industry where we will model ourselves on the movie
studios and independent scene of the film industry. Maybe my heart lies with the likes of a Film 4 or Miramax of the games world. Maybe it’s just a Rising Star Games thing. But I hope we’re right. Simon Alty, Head of Brand, Rising Star Games
LATEST NEWS STRAIGHT TO YOUR MOBILE Bookmark us in your phone:
68 MCV 20/02/09
PIC OF THE
OFF THE RECORD This week, we present a wacky-looking American, a cheeky glamour model and some spooky goings-on at Gamestation in Birmingham. Elsewhere, Codemasters’ Rod Cousens spills the beans on his working life... CHEEKY GIRL The UK industry’s increasing ability to appeal to balls-out, salivating Nuts worshippers continues unabated. Here, Southpeak Games presents glamour model Jodie Dart dressed as lead character Ayumi from action slasher X-Blades. [Insert your own ‘she could do some real damage with that pointy pair’ gag here].
HERE COME THE YANKS... The eagle-eyed amongst you would have spotted a story a few weeks back about US retailer GamerDoc readying a UK launch for this year. If it truly happens, then we can only hope the company brings its customers over the Atlantic with it... not least this fine specimen, shown here picking up a generous competition prize of a Wii. Some serious effort has gone into that beard, folks. The poor assistant looks more than a little relieved to have some inanimate matter between them to protect her.
Pale skin, hunched shoulders and eyes that haven’t seen daylight in months. Birmingham New Street’s Gamestation staff have surely seen a few individuals that match this description in their time. But none would have come as scary as the real life Alma that arrived for the official in-store F.E.A.R 2 launch party last week – pictured here with Warner trade marketing boss Rose Buahin. It’s all very well posing, but someone should really take a look at that cut, you know.
MCV 20/02/09 69
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
CAROLINE AUSTEN, THE HUT
CORRY-ING FAVOUR Kudos to Metro newspaper’s designers this week for reacting to the news that Coronation Street is to be made into a DS game with a rather splendid effort. Not only was craggy-faced pint-puller Bett Lynch’s head plonked on top of Lara’s body, but stuttering Fred Elliot’s mug was superimposed onto Donkey Kong’s inimitable hirsute frame. The clear winner here, however, was the delectable graphic pun of ‘Grand Theft Barlow’, featuring everyone’s favourite book bothering sherry-sipper, Ken.
WHAT WERE THEY
DEBBIE O’NEILL, COMET
GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON
Never mind how they got made, it’s how these stinkers got played that still shocks us – especially after such stinging review scores...
DAVID POULTER, DSGI
No.11: Rap Jam Volume 1. YEAR: 1995 FORMAT: SNES Fresh from his exemplary showing in last month’s Celebrity Big Brother, we look back at a game in which you could play as Coolio, leaping over fellow rap stars including Queen ‘Lady Marmalade’ Latifah. In the game of basketball. Amazing. Let's get this straight: You got to pretend to be a rapper pretending to be good at basketball. Public Enemy, LL Cool J and Warren G, this is on your CV, too.
JON BIGGS, MORRISONS
IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO
JASON... AND ON... AND ON Hats off to Codemasters for PR stunt of the week... Kicking off a competition in which the winner guarantees themselves a year’s supply of Codies games, should they agree to name their newborn Jason. The comp is in celebration of the release of the publisher’s Rise Of The Argonauts, starring... you’ve guessed it.. Jason. We can only hope that the world is blessed with more Jasons in the hunky mould of singer Donovan and developer Kingsley (pictured above).
PLEASE EMAIL US YOUR FUNNIEST INDUSTRY PICTURES AT
ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS
STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK
70 MCV 20/02/09
HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? At the moment, it’s largely family planning! Away from work, I also enjoy music, movies, cooking and travelling. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE GAME, FILM AND ALBUM OF ALL TIME?
Favourite game: Zelda (N64) and Ant Attack (Spectrum) Favourite film: American Beauty, Schindler’s List and The Blues Brothers. Favourite album: Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles; Dark Side of The Moon, Pink Floyd; The Who Live at Leeds and lots of stuff by the Nine Inch Nails (Hurt especially).
WHO’S THE FUNNIEST PERSON YOU’VE EVER MET?
Roger Large is amusing. Ned Browning used to have me in stitches. John Phillips (he of Bug Byte fame!) has provided many a chuckle. But then there are a lot of ‘jokers’ in our industry too – they are up there with politicians.
This week, Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens answers our nosey questions on his life away from games – and his favourite moments from his time in the industry...
I had a lot of fun with Mr. Arakawa and Howard Lincoln of NOA – it was cabaret. For off-limits, out-ofearshot, non-stop gags, Jim Davidson was hysterical as was Frank Skinner. I’m sure that The Mighty Boosh would be too.
WHAT’S YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY? Finding lovely Clare who became my wife. SoftAid being launched at The Indin was momentous as it kickstarted the charity work we have done. WHO WAS YOUR INSPIRATION WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG? Personally it was Carl Ziegler, who mentored me and gave me breaks. In sport, I always found
“For the most part, the ind ustry ride has been a blast. I’ve had a lot of fun in my time.” Muhammad Ali and George Best inspirational. In our industry, Larry Probst deserves a lot of praise too. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CAN REMEMBER LAUGHING UNTIL YOU WERE RED IN THE FACE? Normally, when I’m accompanied by a large glass of red wine! One thing I
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always remember is Peter Bilotta sitting on a donkey, mountain trekking in Turkey. That made me fall about. For the most part, the industry ride has been a blast – I’ve had a lot of fun in my time. WHEN WOULD YOU SAY THE ‘GOOD OLD DAYS’ TOOK PLACE? Yesterday!
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ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2008
MCV has an exclusive media partnership with Famitsu - Japan’s leading video games analyst and news source
es l a s n o i l l i m e on n a h t e r o m h Wit
mama bal! o l g s e go 0’ 2 & erts ’ 0 1 dv 7th a TV air 2 on arch M
Sales: 0121 506 9585 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"Cooking Mama" is a trademark of COOKING MAMA LIMITED. "Cooking Mama 2 World Kitchen" © 2006, 2008 COOKING MAMA LIMITED. All rights reserved. Published by 505 Games S.r.l. Published and distributed by 505 Games. Wii AND THE Wii LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NINTENDO.
n i w o n s ’ a m a m i i W e h t n o 3D With
GREA T NEW FRIEN DS from a roun world! d the
The whole world’s cooking with Mama. Take snapshots of your favourite recipes to admire Create the look you want with character customisation Take control of Mama in all new mini games – Mama will ﬁx it!
OUT ! W O N