THE INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT W WEEKLY
Friday March 6 2009 £3.25
with your friends and the Minigame Madness! Find the real mummy with your Àashlight! Slash a cannonball! Flip bacon to perfection! You can also use items to give you an edge! Challenge your reÀexes, strategy, smarts and speed with a huge variety of games. Use the Uniqueness of each MySim! All the MySims bring a unique combination of skills. Strength, endurance, speed and luck all play a part in how well they play. Select a team of four who will propel you to victory in every minigame! Fast-Paced Festivals! Play minigames one right after the other in fast-paced chunks of fun to win the monuments! No more walking around a game board! Party On! Any get together turns into a party with up to four players playing more than 50 minigames on the Wii and 40 on the DS. Quickplay modes get you and your friends to the games fast. DS-Speci¿c Feature! Using one game card, friends can wirelessly play against each other in Dream Festival Mode and Mini-game Mode..
Available March 13th www.mysimsparty.com MCV_MySims_Party_V1.indd 2
THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES
Issue 527 Friday March 6 2009 £3.25
04 Konami at 40 Publishing giant celebrates anniversary and Euro boss Neo reaffirms new IP plan
06 Vin Diesel games fuel retail
International Media Partner
Ubisoft and Atari prepare Hollywoodinspired games for release
MCV and 505 e uc Games introd and br the Diva Girls e id in a special gu with this issue
14 - 19 Formats in focus A special series of features grill the bosses of Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft
EVERY BUYER EVERY BRANCH EVERY INDIE EVERY WEEK
Sony makes a Killing PS3 passes 2m UK installed base landmark PSP at 3m sales Killzone 2 debuts at the top of the charts by Michael French SONY’S PSP AND PS3 formats have passed key UK sales milestones as the firm enjoys its first software chart number one for two years. Sony Computer Entertainment UK MD Ray Maguire revealed to MCV this week that the PlayStation 3 has now sold over two million
solid seller all the way through the year.” And having trumped Halo Wars, Maguire said Killzone 2’s success proves the franchise has an assured future. He added: “This is a series with a lot more stories to tell. Killzone 2 has certainly helped drive hardware. I think there were a lot of people out there who wanted something which
There is more longevity for the PS3. There is no reason why it shouldn’t eventually outsell PS2. Ray Maguire, SCE UK
units in the territory, with PSP topping three million. The firm’s PS3-exclusive Killzone 2 outsold the latest title in Microsoft’s Halo franchise last week. “We’ve had very good day one sales of Killzone 2,” Maguire said. “But I am expecting this to be a good
“PSP IS A SLEEPING DRAGON”
really showed the power of PS3 – and now they can see this game is a good reason for them to get on board. “We’re tracking the growth of the PS2 over the same period – and because it has achieved the same thing at a higher price it suggests more longevity for the PS3. There is
Bethesda snares Seaby MARKETING veteran Sarah Seaby has joined Fallout 3 publisher Bethesda as European marketing and PR director. Seaby will report to Bethesda European MD Sean Brennan and will be responsible for developing the overall brand strategy for the firm. “Sarah’s vast experience of marketing triple-A titles and her affinity to the people who
actually make the games ensure she is an ideal fit for Bethesda,” said Brennan. Seaby began her career in the industry with Interplay, then worked for Virgin Interactive and later Take Two as international marketing manager until June 2007. In August 2007 she took a consultancy role with Sega, working on Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, before being hired by Gamecock as European marketing and PR director.
While rumours swirl about an upcoming facelift for PSP, Ray Maguire has told the trade that the device is a ‘sleeping dragon’. He said: “We’ve gone from famine to feast in terms of quality and amount of games. Publishers have woken up to our sales growth and ‘snacking games’ strategy for the device over the last nine months to a year.”
no reason why the PS3 shouldn’t eventually exceed the 9.4m we have done on PS2.” At the same time, PSP is helping drive the industry to reach more consumers. “Our friends at Nintendo have been dominant in the handheld market since forever. Atari Lynx tried and failed,
Game Gear tried and failed, Gizmondo tried and failed. But PSP has tried – and succeeded,” said Maguire. “I don’t think we’ve chipped away at the Nintendo model – we’ve added a new consumer to that area, and made the total market bigger in the same way as they have the Wii.
“So overall our industry has just got bigger and through our products we are touching the lives of many more consumers – which can’t be a bad thing.” A special series of features interviewing key execs from each format holder – Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo – begins on page 14
GOVERNMENT ATTACKS ‘DEADLY’ GAMES The Government’s Change4Life campaign upped the ante in drawing spurious links between games and premature death this week. The British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK and Cancer Research have all lent their name to a new print campaign (pictured here), which shows a gamer risking an early grave by ‘doing nothing’. It has appeared in women’s lifestyle press titles such as Star, Reveal and Heat. The move follows the broadcast of the Government’s Change4Life TV ads, which link playing video games to obesity. The ads have aired since the start of the year.
PERSONNEL 34 RETAIL BIZ 39 NEW RELEASES 50 HIGH STREET 52 CHARTS 54
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[LEADER] TIME 4 FIGHTBACK The British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research and Diabetes UK are all under-appreciated, worthy institutions that do incredible work. God knows, I might need them to save my arse one day. But let’s not pussy foot around: Change4Life’s advertising campaign makes a mockery of everything the industry has achieved in the last decade. And it’s bang out of order. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have all moved Heaven and Earth to provide a more socially embedded and (whisper it) healthy interactive experience with this generation of consoles. Not only have they got the UK’s idle, McDonald’smunching youth actually keen to break a sweat – but, more importantly, they’ve helped them have a genuine giggle with their parents for the first time since “peek-a-boo!” in the pushchair. Change4Life’s heart-in-mouth scapegoating of the video games industry is a troubling indictment of a hypocritical Government which flashes us grins when we generate £4 billion a year for its depleted coffers; but which then turns its back and explicitly tells parents that we’re KILLING THEIR CHILDREN. When MCV asked the industry if it wished to criticise Change4Life’s last effort in January (that winsome ‘harmless’ TV ad in which a camera zoomed in on a gamer’s heart to show fat cells multiplying in his system), it largely fell on deaf ears. Nobody except one brave, bellicose insider dared to risk causing friction with Whitehall and its oh-sogenerous ‘new approach’ to the UK games industry. (One which still doesn’t include a promise of tax breaks to challenge Canada’s mushrooming dominance in the creative sector, by the way). But when Change4Life then attacks our supposed role in the DEATH OF KIDS by pedalling an image of a low-lit nightmare you’d usually associate with the NSPCC, surely it’s the time for us to stand up as an industry and say: “That’s not fair”? Let’s be very clear, because this gets sensitive: Sticking up for video games’ achievements in the face of shrieking propaganda does not show us up as a negligent supporter of obesity in kids. It shows we’ve remembered where our bollocks are – at a time when the Government’s foot is wedged firmly between them.
SONY IN THE ‘ZONE Sony’s promise that 2009 would be the year its software performance exhibited some real muscle has begun to come good – and how. Killzone 2 this week became the fourth fastestselling Sony game in history, across all PlayStation models. It represents a genuine coup for the platform holder – and its first No.1 for two years. Only time will tell if this is truly the year that PS3’s presence in the software market explodes, but one thing’s for sure: The trade will be paying much closer attention to PlayStation’s first-party release schedule going forward. email@example.com
Konami celebrates its Japanese publisher toasts four decades of Metal Gear Solid, Frogger and by Christopher Dring KONAMI achieves 40 years in business this month, and the Japanese company is already looking ahead to its next four decades – with European growth and new IP a priority. The publisher has been responsible for creating some of the most popular video games in the world, including Pro Evolution Soccer, Frogger,
“The teams we employ all strive to make their titles unique and challenging, and this is as true of our current titles for Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as it was for the Mega Drive, Super NES and GameBoy. Konami is built on a basis of quality, and consumers know that we aim high with our release. “For every well-known franchise, we always have new
For every well-known franchise on our schedule, we always have new IPs on the horizon. Kunio Neo, Konami
Castlevania, Dance Dance Revolution, Silent Hill and Metal Gear Solid, and Konami is already on the look out for its next big video game franchise. “Consistency plays a major part in everything Konami does,” Konami of Europe’s president Kunio Neo told MCV. “Throughout the past 40 years, and on the many formats we have supported, we have produced some of the most innovative and memorable titles imaginable.”
IPs on the horizon. Lords of Shadow is going to be a big title for us, and Enchanted Folk for DS is going to surprise a lot of people. We also have a wealth of other new titles in development – it is fine to keep people enthralled with titles they know and love, but the people behind them like to try new stuff to keep themselves fresh, and Konami always encourages this. Mr Kojima’s Boktai – the light-sensitive GBA title, is a great example.”
Neo has also reiterated the firm’s commitment to the European marketplace, which he insists is vital to the publisher’s success over the next 40 years of business in video games. “We in Euope play a major part in Konami’s global business,” he concludes. “Titles such as Pro Evolution Soccer were so strong in Europe, that Japan created versions tailored to European tastes, and we have a major say in all titles that are on the horizon. “Better still, we are now contributing to the development pot with a raft of stunning titles and – as shown with the likes of GTi Club and New International Track and Field – we are being entrusted with the future of respected Konami titles, and charged with taking them forward.” Konami’s line-up for 2009 includes Job Island: Hard Working People, Castlevania: Judgement, and Pro Evo 2009 on Wii. Konami: 020 8987 5730
Payne becomes GamesAid chief ELSPA BOSS Andy Payne has become chairman of industry charity GamesAid. Marketing stalwart Sarah Seaby has been given the post of vice chairman, whilst Mark Ward from Bastion and Richard Stickler from Gem have also been appointed as trustees. The charity has raised over £125,000 since October 2008 through industry-led initiatives. “The new staff changes will help GamesAid specifically in the area of fund raising and communication,” commented Andy Payne.
PAYNE: ELSPA boss has become chairman of industry charity
“Richard has worked on the Gem Golf and Spa Day and has made that a success, and Mark is a senior partner at Bastion,
one of the best known PR firms in the games industry. If he can’t get the GamesAid messages out, no one can.” “This year we want to launch the GamesAid membership scheme and then get cracking with the vote to decide which charities we will adopt. “So far we have managed to catch the baton from the ESC and carry on with the excellent work that they started. So much has been achieved to date, but there is still much we can do. I am really pleased to be working with my fellow trustees.”
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40th birthday nd Pro Evolution Europe key for firm’s future
Ghostbusters and Partnertrans sign up to MCV Awards 2009
TOP 10 RESIDENT EVIL 5 PS3 CAPCOM
New sponsors join top industry event
KUNIO NEO: Konami Europe’s boss is looking ahead to the next 40 years of business
ANTICIPATION for this year’s MCV Awards is gaining pace, with Atari Ghostbusters and Partnertrans signing up as Drinks Reception Partner and Games Publisher Awards Partner respectively. The MCV Awards take place at The Brewery, London on April 23rd. The new sponsors join Koch, Gem, Nintendo and Codemasters, who have already announced their support. “Ghostbusters is one of the most important launches of the year and the MCV Awards gives Atari the platform to promote the title to the business,” commented Atari’s Lee Kirton. “It puts a stake in the ground that says: ‘Ghostbusters launches on June 19th and will be a big event for our industry.’ Atari
will be making the partnership very interactive and guests can expect a few surprises on the night.” Partnertrans’ business development manager Adam McGowan added: “Partnertrans are delighted to be the Exclusive Sponsor for the Publisher Award. As a leading service provider to publishers and developers of video and mobile gaming content, Partnertrans are delighted to be able to pay tribute to the best publisher of the past year. “Putting our commitment behind both the MCV Awards and the Games Publisher Award re-affirms our longstanding commitment to the industry.” For information on ticket and table sales, or for sponsorship details, contact: Jodie.Holdway@bhpr.co.uk ®
Russian publishing giants join forces 1C COMPANY is combining its efforts with publisher SoftClub, in an attempt to overcome ‘financial challenges’ in the Russian market. 1C Company is Russia’s leading PC specialist, while SoftClub is the country’s top console publisher, and the firms are set to combine efforts in areas such as sales and logistics to help strengthen their positions in the face of economic turmoil. “In Russia, the exchange rates are dropping, which has driven up retail prices –
especially for console software,” explained 1C Company’s head of PR Anatoly Subbotin.
teaming up with Russia’s leading console publisher Softclub. Together our expertise in differing retail
Retail in Russia is not healthy at all and I expect big electronic game retailers to go under this year. Nikolay Baryshnikov, 1C
“A lot of Russia’s games come from abroad so this is quite a large problem. In order to cope better we’ve combined our efforts by
environments should help us ride the recession. “In hard times it is better to combine efforts. SoftClub is very strong with retail and
console sales, while 1C specialists in PC, retail chains and wholesale. So we both have lots of individual advantages, making it easier for both companies to cope with the difficulties.” 1C Company’s Nikolay Baryshnikov added: “Retail in Russia is not healthy at all and I expect big electronic and video game retailers to go under this year. Of course we hope this doesn’t happen, but if it does we are confident as we have our own 1C stores.” 1C: 007 495 688-89-29
2. SOCOM: CONFRONTATION PS3 ..................................................SONY
3. RESIDENT EVIL 5 360 ..............................................CAPCOM
4. RESIDENT EVIL 5: STEELBOOK ED. PS3 ..............................................CAPCOM
5. RESIDENT EVIL 5: STEELBOOK ED. 360 ..............................................CAPCOM
6. ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES 360 ..................................................SEGA
7. THE SIMS 3 PC ........................................................EA
8. FINAL FANTASY VERSUS XIII PS3........................................SQUARE ENIX
9. TEKKEN 6 PS3 ..................................................ATARI
10. TOM CLANCY’S HAWX PS3 ..............................................UBISOFT Week ending March 6th Source: SHOPTO.COM
Week Ending February 13th
Week Ending February 20th
Week Ending February 27th
Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media
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Diesel’s video game line-up to fuel Easter retail sales Ubisoft and Atari prepare Hollywood-inspired double whammy by Christopher Dring HOLLYWOOD ACTION man Vin Diesel is set to appear in two blockbuster releases for the Easter period. The Midway-developed, but Ubisoft-published, The Wheelman will hit shelves March 27th, while Atari’s The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena arrives a month later on April 24th. Both publishers have dedicated marketing campaigns planned to ensure Vin Diesel is the gaming star of Easter. “We see the new Riddick appealing to FPS gamers, fans of the Riddick franchise and sci-fi fans,” said Atari’s Chronicles of Riddick product manager Lauren Bradley. “The original game has a tremendous reputation, which we’ll look to build upon. A major print campaign is planned in core gaming, sci-fi, film and men’s
titles. We’ll be taking advantage of the good prelaunch review scores by incorporating them into full page ads, reflective of major film campaigns. “We’ll also be targeting gamers further via an online three week ad campaign. “Based on the level of work put into this game – a blend of the studio’s heritage, Atari’s marketing, retailer support and the feedback we’ve received so far, we have high expectations for the game.” Ubisoft brand manager for The Wheelman Matt Benson added: “After a successful year for Ubisoft, picking up The Wheelman presented a great opportunity to bolster our strong line-up with additional IP, from a studio who have worked hard on the title over the past four years.
“Given the short cycle we had between picking up the title and release, we’re looking at a focussed campaign across TV, online and print to quickly build coverage at launch that works in conjunction with PR and trade activities.” Ubisoft: 01932 578000 Atari: 020 8222 9700
BAFTA can make games ‘mainstream’ BAFTA HAS pledged to make video games a more accepted art form amongst the general public – and help make unfair reportage of the industry a thing of the past. The body has teamed up with UK retail to offer special trade marketing materials for BAFTA-nominated games that, it has told MCV, can be the first step in an association that will challenge biased and sensational reporting about video games. Head of awards at BAFTA Anne-Marie Flynn told MCV:
“The acknowledgement and acceptance by the media of games as ‘mainstream’ entertainment is happening relatively slowly. I think if anyone can change the perception of games it is BAFTA. “If we can encourage more and more developers to join the Academy, take part in events and
support the Awards, in time we believe that BAFTA can play a major part in attracting that kind of interest to video games.” Sony Computer Entertainment UK boss and BAFTA games committee chairman Ray Maguire added: “The association with BAFTA can certainly help to make games less alien
and more trusted with certain sections of the public. We all know that certain newspapers have gone for the jugular in a very unfair way in the past, and they will find that harder to do with credibility if BAFTA’s name is synonymous with the industry.” The BAFTA games Awards take place next Tuesday (March 10th) at the Park Lane Hilton in London, with only a few tickets still remaining. For our full feature on BAFTA and the awards, turn to page 22
GameSpot boasts 4.5m UK readership GAMESPOT RECKONS it is the UK’s biggest games site – and has ABCe figures to back up the claim. An ABC Electronic audit from December 2008 has shown a significant increase in monthly unique users, the site’s parent CBS Interactive has revealed to MCV. GameSpot’s readership has risen from 3.5 million in 2007 to 4.5 million in 2008, an increase of over 29 per cent. Speaking to MCV, CBS’ UK product director of games Geoff Inns said: “Our audit proves that GameSpot UK is the biggest website for video gamers in the UK. We reach significantly more UK gamers than any other site – if anyone wants to target British gamers, they should speak to us.
“The number also proves that GameSpot UK is capturing more of the market growth than any other publication. Games are not just a visual experience, they are a networked and shared experience, and that’s how people like to learn about them. Online uniquely enables that learning. “As the nation’s gaming demographic has altered over the years, GameSpot has expanded and adapted. Some of the developments for the site in 2008 included a new design and the introduction of high-def videos.” Looking forward, GameSpot plans to continue this growth: “We are excited about 2009 and the opportunity for GameSpot UK,” said Inns. “We continue to focus on site functionality and layout, but the most exciting developments will come from some seriously interesting editorial initiatives.” www.gamespot.co.uk
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OUT 13th MARCH 2009 Nintendo DS
For the first time, the popular For Dummies series is now available on the Nintendo DS for fun interactive learning and play with Travel Games For Dummies. Learn to master three popular games: Sudoku, Chess, and Solitaire.
Mastertronic secures EA titles Theme Park, Medal of Honor and Command and Conquer get the budget treatment by Christopher Dring BUDGET publisher Mastertronic has secured the rights to re-publish a number of high profile EA titles on its Sold Out label. Games that have been released in the £4.99 range include Cricket 2004, Madden 2006, Total Club Manager 2005, NBA Live ‘06, Clive Barker’s Undying, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Command
and Conquer Renegade, Command and Conquer Red Alert and NHL 2006, which were all released last week (February 27th). “This is an incredible deal and it means that we can maximise the sales potential of a fantastic range of titles by bringing them to the Sold Out label,” said Mastertronic managing director Andy Payne. “EA’s UK team and Mastertronic will work
together to provide strong selling titles at excellent RRPs, which can only be good news for retail and good news for the consumer. “It just goes to show that there are many publishers out there offering this service. But Sold Out, the originators of republishing, are winning essential contracts because we still offer the best service and the most experience in this profitable area.”
Mastertronic also republished ten EA PC titles during January, including Dungeon Keeper 2, Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun, Theme Park World, Sim City 3000 and Command & Conquer Red Alert 2. Furthermore, the company released Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault on its £9.99 PC Gamer Presents label. Mastertronic: 0845 234 4242
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.
Edge celebrates magazine milestone with 200 covers THE 200TH edition of Edge magazine hits newsagents next week, and boasts a world first: the magazine will be issued with 200 collectors’ covers. The variants include game icons such as Mario, Sonic and Master Chief, alongside forgotten legends such as Dizzy, Q-Bert and Dirk the Daring. Subscribers will receive a custom-produced cover by LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule. Subscribers edition aside, only 200 versions of each cover will be available.
“We were keen to mark Edge’s 200th edition with something special, although we set ourselves a tough task in selecting 200 covers that would represent video gaming’s diversity,” commented Edge magazine’s editor-in-chief Tony Mott. “Ultimately we’re confident that every Edge reader will be able to find something among the final choices that resonates with their gaming life, and we look forward to seeing which designs prove popular.”
OUT 20th MARCH 2009 Nintendo DS
Publishing director of Future’s games portfolio, James Binns added: “Edge is now a truly cross-media brand, with our website delivering timely
news, rich content and community, and our print edition maintaining its high production and design values.”
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.
Future: 01225 442244
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MCV appointed key international partner by E3 as part of revamp Partnership between Expo organisers and leading trade brand as show targets wider international appeal A PARTNERSHIP has been signed between this year’s E3 Expo in Los Angeles and leading games trade title MCV. The agreement is part of E3 Expo’s widened reach this year, with its aim being to attract more accredited retailers and media from outside the US. Published by Intent Media, MCV is Europe’s leading online and print source for trade information. It boasts a
Intent will be actively promoting E3 Expo across a variety of its premier B2B brands, including MCV, Develop, CasualGaming.Biz, Licensing.Biz and Mobile Entertainnment. E3 runs from Tuesday June 2nd to Thursday June 4th at the LA Convention Center. “The 2009 E3 Expo will fully reflect the growth trajectory of the computer and video
The 2009 E3 Expo will fully reflect the growth trajectory of the computer and video games industry. Michael D Gallagher, ESA
daily email news service, print and digital weekly and evergrowing website. “Across our different formats, MCV attracts a combined trade readership of over 265,000 a month. We are the perfect partner for the E3 Expo and very proud to be on board,” commented Intent boss and MCV publisher Stuart Dinsey.
games industry in North America and give a good window into the global industry as well, ” said Michael D. Gallagher (pictured right), CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents US computer and video game publisher and owns the E3 Expo. “We strongly encourage
international attendance from retailers, media and investor analysts.” Exhibitors for this year include Activision, Atari, Bethesda Softworks, Capcom, Disney, Eidos Interactive, Electronic Arts, Epic Games. Koei Corporation, Konami
Digital Entertainment, LucasArts, Microsoft Corporation, Nintendo of America, Sega, Sony, Square Enix, Take Two Interactive Software, THQ, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Interactive. More information can be found on www.E3Expo.com
MAKING A COMEBACK: All eyes are on E3 as the show seeks to expand its international appeal in order to return to its former glories
Rising Star Makes Waves Nordic Racing duo speed into retail RISING STAR Games has teamed up with Making Waves Communications for its DS title Lux Pain’s marketing push. The publisher has sought the services of the marketing agency to help improve public awareness of the Japanese adventure. “We’ve recruited Making Waves to raise the profile of our product line within both the games industry and the otaku community,” Rising Star’s UK and international marketing manager Richard Barclay told MCV.
“As such, Lux Pain will be the subject of their focus too as they engage a range of initiative to promote this title and our range as a whole.” Further announcements from this partnership are
expected over the next couple of weeks. Elsewhere, Rising Star will be focusing its own efforts on marketing Lux Pain, including an extensive online and print
campaign based around various gaming, anime and manga sites and publications. “We are expecting great things from this fantastic game,” said Barclay. “Many journalists have been excited about getting the game for review. The whole game-playing experience which Lux Pain imparts totally epitomises the essence of the Rising Star Games 2009 marketing campaign: the Home of Japanese Games.” Rising Star Games: 01582 433700
BURGEONING publisher Nordic Games has announced a new series of console titles, with the first two Racer games arriving on April 24th. Kart Racer and Truck Racer will be released for Wii, PS2 and PC across Europe. “We used the consumer sales research data from over 2,000 retail-installed game outlet pallets, which led to the conclusion that racing games were great impulse purchases for parents and young gamers
alike, so our strategy was to produce games for this market,” said Nordic’s publishing director Pelle Lundborg (pictured). NGP: +34 952 930 297
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Peripheral firms rush to DSi Accessories manufacturers prepare new product lines to support upcoming hardware by James Batchelor A RAFT of peripheral manufacturers are launching new product lines to tie in with the launch of Nintendo’s DSi next month. Blaze, Venom and Pinpoint are just a few of those preparing kit to support the newest version of Nintendo’s bestselling handheld when it debuts on April 3rd. “With the new member of the Nintendo handheld family launching soon, now is an exciting time for us to launch our new products,” said Pinpoint’s product development manager Tom Armstrong. The first phase of Pinpoint’s DSi line-up will include four new products, starting with the Enigma DSi Premium Pack. This bundle will retail for £14.99 and includes a protective case, earphones, replacement stylus, game cases, a USB charger cable, car charger and more accessories. UK-based distributor Hive Entertainment is also gearing up for the DSi’s release, working closely with the various vendors it is partnerered with to promote their new product lines and ranges of bundles. Venom will have 13 new lines including a DSi Extras Pack, containing screen protectors, screen stylus, game cases and a storage pouch. An
Extras Plus Pack is planned, which will feature all of these and additional accessories. The firm will continue its partnership with Bigben Interactive, releasing updated pink, white and black versions of its popular leather Flip & Play Case, previously released for DS Lite. Venom will also introduce brand new products, including metal polycarbonate cases, metal silver stylus. Blaze will be releasing a range of carry cases, including silicon skins and crystal cases, and a DSi car charger. It will also add to its Xploder range, with an updated Xploder Cheat System for DSi and DS Lite. Competition Pro has a range of bundle planned, including the DSi Starter Pack, DSi Protection Pack, DSi Extras Kit and DSi Essential Travel Pack. These will boast varying amounts of protection cases for both games and consoles, styluses, headphones and more, and will range between £4.99 and £14.99 Finally, up-and-coming peripherals maunfacturer iMP Gaming will be releasing the DSi 13 in 1 Accessory pack, containing everything a new DSi owner could need. A new iteration of the company’s bestselling Pro V Case will also be launching in late April.
[IN BRIEF] ATARI: Jack Slate and his crime-fighting pooch are to be reunited in Dead To Rights: Retribution, a reinvention of the multimillion unit selling action series that tells of how he and his canine companion Shadow first teamed up.
iMP Gaming: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hive Entertainment: 0845 224 3842
Pinpoint: 01606 558428
MICROSOFT: A Resident Evil 5 Xbox 360 bundle will arrive on March 13th. It will include a blood red Xbox 360 Elite, a matching wireless controller, a copy of the game, and an exclusive premium Resident Evil theme for the Dashboard. Standalone red controllers and charging kits will also be available. GUINNESS: The 2009 version of Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition hit the No.1 spot of the UK hardback non-fiction charts last week.
Venom: 01763 272927
SONY: More than 20 million PlayStation Network accounts have been registered worldwide. PSP sales have now passed the 50 million mark, while worldwide sales of PS3 units total at over 21.3 million.
Competition Pro: 01457 819900
CAPCOM: The publisher revealed it is currently working on Lost Planet 2, a sequel to its successful IP first launched in 2007 that sold over 2.2 million units worldwide. Like the original, the game is currently exclusive to Xbox 360.
Blaze: 01302 325225
BigBen Interactive: +33 320 907 200
Wii Hand Cannon shoots to success VENOM HAS seen strong sales for its House Of The Dead: Overkill Hand Cannon, with the peripheral even selling more units than the game itself at selected retail outlets. The Hand Cannon is an officially licenced Wii Remote shell, modelled in the style of the in-game revolver. The peripherals manufacturer has told MCV that it has sold over 29,000 of the 30,000 units that were shipped around the UK.
Venom’s retail feedback has been positive across the board – one large online retailer has even reported that it received more forward orders for the gun than the game itself. “The Hand Cannon is a fantastic product and an opportunity for Venom and Bigben to show the kind of innovative and inspired solutions that we are bringing
to market,” said Venom’s sales director Sue Dawson. “This gun has given our retailers the perfect marketing tool to offer ‘when bought with’ deals or selling convincingly in its own right.” Venom’s marketing manager Tom Hodge added: “The Hand Cannon has been a great success and example of
Venom’s ever-increasing understanding of what customers want. We are looking to build on this success and continue to bring products to market that capture the consumers’ imagination.” Sega’s House Of The Dead: Overkill marked the return of the long-running series. It has garnered positive reviews, and held a position in the charts since its release. Venom: 01763 272927
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WEEK E H T F O N G I CAMPA
L WAR EMPIRE: TOTA
One of the most ambitious RTS titles to ever be developed approaches our shores, escorted by an armada of marketing and promotional initiatives targeting an audience of over nine million people…
RELEASED: MARCH 4 FORMATS: PC PUBLISHER: SEGA DEVELOPER: THE CREATIVE ASSEMBLY PRICE: £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
PRINT Sega has arranged for 13 double-page spreads of advertisements surrounding the game’s launch. These will be found in both specialist and consumer publications and reach approximately 650,000 readers. There will also be three single page ads in The Times, The Guardian and The Independent, hitting a further 1.2 million people. ONLINE The online campaign will achieve a total of 7.5 million page impressions. Ads will be focused on driving pre-orders for Empire to start with, highlighting the exclusive bonus in-game units that are given to those who reserve a copy of the game. After the game’s launch, ads will serve to boost the sell-through of stock through all channels of retail.
IN-STORE A plethora of POS material will be available from Centresoft, including wobblers, standees, oversized boxes, cubes, FSUs and CDUs, either based on the game’s cover art or featuring other artwork alluding to Empire’s epic and groundbreaking naval combat. PR Empire PR activity to date has gained five magazine covers, marking an increase of 150 per cent over previous Total War titles. Early review scores are highly impressive, and they include 94 per cent from PC Gamer, 10/10 from Total PC Gaming and 92 per cent from PC Format. Overall, the above the l ine campaign will rack up 9,339,865 views for Empire: Total War.
GRAN TURISMO BRAND MANAGER REQUIRED
Gran Turismo is not just a game, it is one of the biggest brands in interactive entertainment. To support GT’s continuing growth, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is looking for a proven videogames marketeer with a passion for cars and motorsport. Based in Central London, this key strategic role includes responsibility for: s 3HAPING THE RANGE OF GT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES ACROSS THE %-%! REGION s $EVELOPING MARKETING STRATEGIES AND PROVIDING CAMPAIGN MATERIALS FOR ALL 3#%% TERRITORY OFlCES s "UILDING AND MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS WITH LICENSORS ACROSS %UROPE Please send your C.V. and salary expectations to: HR Admin, Human Resources Department, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, 4th Floor, 10 Great Marlborough Street, London W1F 7LP or email@example.com subject line: Gran Turismo.
“Little King’s Story has the potential to be one of the most involving and addictive games on the Wii” “...we were absolutely gutted when we had to give back the preview version to the developers.” “The first classic of 2009? It could well be...” C
“...one of our most anticipated games of 2009.”
“...shaping up to be one of the most interesting games to watch out for...”
For independent sales, please contact Advantage Distribution on 0121 506 9585
© 2009 Marvelous Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.
For national accounts enquiries, please contact Mastertronic on 0845 234 4242 Licensed to and published by Rising Star Games Ltd.
Coming April 24th
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PLATFORM HOLDER FOCUS: SONY
Guerrilla warfare Sony has made a great start to its year with Killzone 2 at number one this week – and now has installed bases of 2m and 3m respectively for its PS3 and PSP formats. MCV talks to Ray Maguire about the future of PlayStation and finds out his thoughts on the year ahead… Killzone 2 has just been released and is a flagship title for Sony and the PS3. Are you happy with the reaction to the game so far? All of the reviews of Killzone have said ‘well done, you’ve lived up to the expectation from E3 all those years ago’. For me that’s really important because many people looked at that presentation and said our hardware wasn’t powerful enough to make something that good. But Guerrilla has pulled it off. And the reviews suggest it has exceeded expectations. And at retail everyone is reporting really good sales. I am expecting a really good day one – but also for the game to be a good solid seller all the way through. We’ve got good bundles out there and that has picked up nicely according to our early numbers.
Do you see the game as a driver for hardware sales? It certainly has helped drive sales. I think there were a lot of people out there who wanted something which really showed the power of PS3 – and now is a good reason for them to get on board.
What’s the UK PS3 installed base now? Are you pleased with the format’s progress? We’re past two million units sold in the UK now, and we are really happy with it. If you track back from date of launch, comparing PS2’s run to 2m and PS3’s run to 2m, it’s pretty much the same. But obviously PS3 is a premium product with a premium price tag – it’s had to grow on
a comparable basis with a higher price tag. That shows there is more interest in PS3 than there was PS2. Interestingly, because it has done that at a higher price it suggests more longevity of the PS3 because we have chipped away at
to shorten for games hardware, but one great thing in PS3’s favour in that sense is that we have firmware updates – so the PS3 is constantly evolving. We have been adding more services and functionality into the hardware from the beginning.
There is no reason for the PlayStation 3 not to eventually outsell the PS2’s 9.4m UK install base.
Does that justify the price-tag from your point of view? The price is an emotive aspect of the hardware and is always under speculation. Absolutely. The games side of the PlayStation 3 in terms of processing power and Blu-ray – all those messages have been made and, although some doubted why we chose Blu-ray for instance, are firmly established. What we are now trying to establish in people’s minds is that there are also
Ray Maguire, SCE UK the top end of the triangle. In future there is no reason the PS3 shouldn’t exceed the 9.4m we have done on PS2. And is that throughout the ‘ten year plan’ Sony has often talked about? Yes. People have expected the life cycles
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PLATFORM HOLDER FOCUS: SONY strategy over Christmas, and it means that consumers can get our best games at the time of purchase. In that situation they win both ways – and we will continue to put product with hardware alongside our standalone offer as well. Is there a focus for the platform in 2009 that you can sum up? I think this is the year we build our communities. There has been a big shift in the way people consume our games. If you look at LittleBigPlanet or SingStar – they have their own communities. And that’s changing consumer mindset of ‘get a game, play it for a while, then trade it in’ to ‘get a game, play it as it evolves, the player evolves with it and engages with the community’. It creates more longevity to the product. So our products this year have a lot more stickiness with consumers. Do these online connected games put the brakes on the preowned market? It will alter it. It definitely changes the way people engage with and the attitude they have towards their games.
great services around PS3 and how that will grow over time. But price remains a key issue for PS3 – and a cut was even predicted by one analyst last week. Will there be any movement on that this year? It always amazes me how many people predict price cuts without having seen any of the private financial data we have. Of course, it is key for us to have a price that is attractive to consumers – but at the same time we have a tough market at the moment. Especially here in the UK with the weaker pound. Sony Hardware, for instance, had to raise its prices. PlayStation is doing its best to stay where we are – and whatever we will or won’t do this year it will come from us looking carefully at the financial landscape before we make any decisions. But 2009 will be a tough year – all the areas of our business will require careful management when it comes to finances. Are hardware bundles a good compromise to those retailers or consumers sceptical about price? That’s certainly part of it – and it adds great value for consumers. That was our
What are your thoughts on preowned in general? There are strong arguments for and against. Everyone has a good point of view on it – they can all be argued. I don’t think either is particularly right or wrong. But now that we are getting into an offline/online world, the relationship between the IP holder and the consumer has more traction. It’s now down to the IP holder to see if they can create more online activities which keep that relationship strong and make sure the product remains in the hand of the consumers and is played and enjoyed. New titles were announced for PSP last week. Where’s that format up to? We’ve passed three million in the UK and 50 million worldwide. And there are surprisingly few formats that have sold that many units. PSP is a strange one for us, in the respect that last year we didn’t have too much software for it. Yet quietly the base grew and grew and grew. Now third parties have realised they might have missed a bit of a trick on the format. This year, we’ve gone from famine to feast in terms of quality and
amount of games. But if you look at the evolution of the PSP to a value-added proposition in terms of online content and the availability of snacking software – which gives a new business model for third parties – then you see that it’s an area publishers should invest in. And they have woken up to that over the last nine months to a year – the format itself is a sleeping dragon, and it will awaken. I also think that there was a renewed vigour from consumers once we had the Slim ‘n’ Lite out there as it emphasised the portability of the device. On that point, Nintendo’s own revamped device, the DSi, is out soon. Do you think you are targeting the same set of users? Our friends at Nintendo have been dominant in the handheld market since
We’ve gone from famine to feast on PSP given all the new games coming. The sleeping dragon has awoken. Ray Maguire, SCE UK forever. Atari Lynx tried and failed, Game Gear tried and failed, Gizmondo tried and failed. But PSP has tried – and succeeded. That’s a good story in itself. I don’t think we’ve chipped away at the Nintendo model. We’ve added a new consumer to that area, and made the total market bigger in the same way as they have the Wii. Do you likewise feel any pressure from iPhone/iPod Touch? That has a big games angle, and is a high-end games machine, much like PSP. As I was saying from the evolution of our software offerings, it’s the online stuff, the small snacking games, which are an area of growth in the marketplace. What the PSP has is a great processor inside that can produce good quality games. The mobile phone market for games has been around for a number of years, and the overall quality – despite some strong titles there – has been limited because of the different handsets and infrastructure in that business. iPhone has the advantage of being a single device and is growing a reasonable installed base, but doesn’t have the production power that a PSP has. As a specific games machine, the
PSP is always going to win out. We’re in a great position to take on the interest in these snacking games and produce them at better quality, lower prices, with lower cost of development – that’s a great business model. Is ‘snacking games’ a new strategy for PSP? It’s one that is growing now we have started to sharpen our online activity. Doesn’t that erode the sale of the format’s games at retail? It’s the same situation as the business is facing all over – and goes back to what I was saying before about online content. Plastic discs, be that on PSP or PS3, are still an incredibly efficient way to get a huge amount of data in the hands of consumers. But from a point of view when it comes to creating communities and keeping that content fresh, that’s where online helps us all. Do you think the 2009 software market can grow in the same way it did in 2008? It was a storming year in 2008. And so far 2009 has started off pretty good. My personal view is that it depends on whether the country as a whole feels that we are nearing the end of this financial cycle. Lots of people have stated that we have talked ourselves into this recession, so if we can talk ourselves into a recovery then consumer spending will rise. I don’t know whether that will happen; that’s a countrywide phenomenon. The issue for games is if consumers buy four games or five games – if they buy four, then we will see a slight downturn in the overall business. But the basis of our industry is solid. We are seeing people buying into hardware at record numbers, so the intent is there. Luckily gaming is a cost-effective form of leisure – if you can’t afford to go away on holiday this year, then buy your kids three games. There are fewer retail outlets out there as well, so we’ll all have to think about distribution policies, and how we reach consumers – that will mean more work on sampling activities to be sure people can touch, feel and experience our products. Sony will continue that this year and help consumers understand that what they are getting is best of breed.
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PLATFORM HOLDER FOCUS: MICROSOFT
The X Generation Microsoft’s Xbox team has a spring in its step after announcing 120 per cent year-on-year growth for console sales in the Christmas period, and last week detailing a raft of new digital content for Xbox Live. We grilled European boss Chris Lewis on what’s to come in 2009… It sounds like Micosoft and Xbox had a good Christmas? We have been blown away with our success over that phase. I was bullish about it, I knew to expect success. Christmas 2008 was the biggest sales period in the history for the brand. Console sales were more than double on the previous year. We’re now at eight million Xbox 360 consoles sold in Europe up to the end of calendar year 2008. And we’ve just had record sales in January in EMEA. It’s been a much better start to the year than anticipated. We’re set up very nicely for this year. We’ve built a great business for ourselves, retail and the publishing community. And we’re going to continue to invest in keeping that strong throughout the year. Can you provide any UK specifics? We want to win everywhere, not just in certain geographies. But the UK remains one of our strongest markets. We’re consistently well ahead of Sony for a long and sustained period. We also enjoy particularly good partnership relationships in the UK, with retail and publishers. We’ve been very pleased with the leverage marketing deals we’ve been able to secure with both. We’re in great shape here.
Is your price point perfectly placed in a recession? Can it get any lower? We have reached a critical price point that opens up much more volume. In the UK, by getting to £129 a unit, that opens us up to a much broader purchasing base. We represent fabulous value because we do now offer a wider proposition and experience – not just games, but the richness and breath of
just how visible we’ve been; people telling us in a tongue-in-cheek way that they just couldn’t move for Xbox ads, which is a real compliment to us. I would say no one quite expected us to do as well as we did last year, outside of ourselves. But the fact is that this is just the beginning – it has to be the start of a long-term strategy. You can’t in this businesses turn the lights on very
We have reached a critical price point that opens us up to a much boarder purchasing base. Chris Lewis, Microsoft
Xbox Live. The Xbox Live community is more than 17 million members worldwide and there’s ongoing and very visible marketing. To what extent will the blanket Xbox marketing we saw from yourselves and your publishing partners continue into 2009? Anecdotally, we’ve had a lot of good feedback on
brightly for a short term and then switch them off again. Recently Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot predicted a new generation of consoles in 2011. Was he being premature? Far be it
for me to suggest that he’s ahead of himself – but I can say we see this generation having much longer legs than previous equivalents. There’s an awful lot more still to come, whether that be content, services or platform innovation. We’ll continue to enhance the proposition and I see real legs in this generation of the console as we see it. Xbox Live currently stands at over 17 million members. How big can it get by the end of this calendar year – and what sort of consumers are yet to come to the service are you targeting? We obviously have our own internal goals, but I can’t be specific about where we see the membership going. We’ve beaten all of our expectations on Xbox Live by some margin. It seems very much the central driving
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PLATFORM HOLDER FOCUS: MICROSOFT
force with what’s happening now on Xbox 360. I see a very wide spectrum of people joining for different reasons. It’s not just gameplay, it’s more community-orientated stuff or broadly based around entertainment, rather than just games. I think you’re going to see people engaging and participating with the broad community of Live in the future. Our challenge is to keep that experience as rich and as vital as we can. And we’re great at that. It’s in our DNA. Xbox was architected with online gaming in its very centre from the start. And we’re seeing the fruits of that now. We can continue to revitalise that interface over time when consumers tell us what they’d like to see. Why isn’t retail as concerned about shelf space for Xbox 360 titles as it is for Nintendo releases? We are very much focused on keeping quality very high. In the current climate, the consumer becomes even more central to the focus than even was the case before. It’s absolutely incumbent on us as platform holders to ensure that quality continues to go up and that experience of the consumer continues to be excellent. Any compromise there is done at your peril. Undoubtedly, our third-party publishing
partners have their own very high standards in terms of games they want to bring to the platform. They enjoy developing games for our platform because we give them real latitude for expression that doesn’t exist on other platforms. That’s always been helpful to us and continues to be so. We have to be careful to spread releases evenly, too – so as to not create a logjam for retail – and that takes careful planning.
more focus on Wii. What do you make of it as a strategy? Why do you think he feels he can get something commercially from Wii that he can’t from 360? You know EA is a very close partner of ours and we have an excellent ongoing relationship. We have great mutual success, and that won’t change. I can only assume that’s one reference point of them wanting to take a larger component of the volume that’s available on other platforms.
As Nintendo launches the DSi, are you looking at taking a chunk of There’s still an awful lot more the handheld to come from Xbox 360, be market? that content, service or You’ll hate my platform innovation. answer, but I’ll give it Chris Lewis, Microsoft to you anyway. Ultimately, we’re totally laser-focused on what we’re Having talked to EA on a regular doing in console right now. We’re basis, they have some very robust plans having our greatest level of success for publishing on the 360. I’m sure John ever; we’re seeing the fruits of our feels as positively about our success here labours truly manifest in the market in in EMEA versus where we were a year terms of shares and volume. We ago as I do. We all wanted to see us wouldn’t be contemplating other focus turn the corner in such an important areas right now. We want to make Xbox region, and I know those guys are very 360 an even greater success. happy with our installed base growth.
EA CEO John Riccitiello has said that the company feels it needs
Devices department to acquire a publisher or studio at the right price? Without doubt. All businesses without exception now are looking hard at digressional spend and at operating costs. But I will say that we are profitable as a division. That’s public information. We’re in a good, healthy state economically. Microsoft is prudent in terms of investment areas – and we always keep our eyes open over where acquisitive plans may make sense. Certainly we have got no announcements to make here, other than the fact that we keep our eyes open. We only look for complementary investment areas where they make sense. We’re not immune to the economic problems – nobody is. But the companies that do best in these situations are those that really focus on customer value and continue to spend money on research and development. You will not see us stepping back from investing very heavily in the future.
Has Microsoft still got the capital available in its Entertainment and
BOXING CLEVER: The current generation of Microsoft hardware is here to stay, says Lewis who points to evolving the online interface as a key way to keep consumers interested in the Xbox platform
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PLATFORM HOLDER FOCUS: NINTENDO
Wii are the champions Nintendo is now the undisputable king of the industry, with both the bestselling home console and handheld. So what’s next? The firm’s UK general manager David Yarnton offers his view on the year ahead... Wii had a great year in 2008. What are your thoughts on the year ahead? We are really happy with the numbers and way things have gone. The consistent growth we have seen has been great. And so far the indications are that we are set for a better year this year than even last year. We also have some fantastic product coming up as the year goes on – not just from us, but third parties too. They are releases specifically which are starting to, I supposed you could say, really make use of the Wii’s capabilities and redefine the potential that is there in terms of product development. Games like MadWorld show a move beyond the ‘big head sports’ titles some have complained about in MCV. Will Wii show more of what it can do this year? There’s been a lot of success for thirdparties doing just that on the Wii
Games development takes time, and Wii developers have had to take some time to get to grips with making concepts for it. And what of Wii Sports 2? The original is Wii’s benchmark game… We are looking forward to it, but we’re not talking about the game itself yet. GTA is a big franchise which hits DS this month – and proves how there is choice on those platforms. How will the launch of the game impact the DSi’s arrival? The key thing for me is that GTA on DS proves there are lots of people making a variety of games for the device. The interesting thing about GTA is back with the launch of GTAIV. When that came out last year, Wii Fit was out at the same time – and the two were almost
We as an industry are not usual. Nintendo has broken the mould and changed people’s expectations. David Yarnton, Nintendo
already. I think it’s a mixed perception when people say ‘only Nintendo can succeed on Wii’ – there are a number of big sellers that prove this isn’t the case. Yes, Nintendo has had a lot of success on its formats and has titles in the charts, but when we add up the total sales of titles on our platforms the bulk of it is third party. There is a lot of product out there for Wii – and it’s the quality which is winning through. That’s something important about Wii, and it’s an old sales motto: ‘Price will be forgotten and quality will be remembered’. I think that’s a testament to the success of third party games like Mario & Sonic. So there is a huge opportunity out there – and there are games on the way.
complementary on the market. It showed everyone that there is a real breadth of entertainment in games. DSi launches next month. Globally the DS instal base is close to 100m. There are over nine million sold in the UK. Can you push it further? I think what people have to get in their mind now is that we as an industry are not usual – Nintendo has broken the mould and changed people’s expectations of what the market should be, or how things should sell in video games. We are now appealing to a bigger audience and we – and I mean we as in the industry, not just Nintendo – aren’t narrowly defining ourselves any more.
How will DSiWare work? It’s a similar concept to WiiWare, except at this stage we are just offering bite size software for download which you pay for with Nintendo Points. That includes things like a little notebook application, or just a taste of upcoming products. The iPhone’s pitch is based on similar things. How much of DSi is a response to that? Well we have seen phenomenal
growth on DS – it’s continually growing, and it keeps surprising us and surprising the market. What we as a company are focusing on to drive that is the quality of the games. We’ve developed new hardware to complement that – so any extra functionality we include isn’t so much driven by anything else. What about marketing – how are you supporting the launch? We’ll be making announcements on that further down the line. I can assure you though it will be a typical Nintendo launch – in as far as we have a ‘typical’ launch, we are often trying to do things that aren’t typical. It’s a very important product for us so you can imagine how hard we will push it.
And what about stock? We’re comfortable with the amount of stock we’ll have available – but we are not going to stop stocking DS Lite. Stock availability will be consistent and steady, which is important. Do you see DSi and Lite running alongside for a long time? Will you in time be targeting them at different demographics? There’s a difference in price and functionality – but they are both DS devices and play DS games. So really the market will decide what they want. Our job as far as we are concerned is to make it clear to consumers that they have more choice now, and support
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PLATFORM HOLDER FOCUS: NINTENDO
games that use the camera or the sound functions – which only work on the newer DS. It’s the same as the few DS games that make use of the GBA port. But generally, most DS games will work on the DSi. The launch is more an evolution of the DS – but it is a stepchange, more significant than the step from original DS to DS Lite. Are you aware of high expectations for DSi amongst retail and publishers? It’s good to hear our partners are just as excited as we are. Retail is tough for everyone at the moment, but having a new product is a good opportunity for all of us. It’s the only piece of new games hardware coming out this year, so is perfect for helping drive sales further.
them for however long they want each device. We are not planning to run out of the DS Lite; it will last as long as the demand is there. Do you think consumers will switch from DS Lite ownership to DSi? It’ll be a mixture. We expect some people will upgrade, but we also anticipate that we’ll win over people who were still undecided on DS – the extra features will help convince them. There’s an extra incentive. Will there be games that work on the DSi but not on the Lite? There will be games, given the functionality that the DSi has – such as
HIGH HOPES: Nintendo is confident that the release of DSi on April 3rd will boost its already phenomenal console sales
Nintendo’s had a winning hat trick on DS over the past few months – Professor Layton, Mystery Case Files: Millionheir and 100 Classic Books. What’s next for the Touch Generations line? Those three titles have been phenomenal – seeing them all sell so well was been very rewarding. I have to admit, while we were positive with most of them they still took us by surprise. That shows that there are consumers out there who got into playing games through our formats through Brain Training, and contrary to initial scepticism from some that hasn’t been their only game. They’re now buying Professor Layton and Millionheir – it proves that these new consumers will buy a good game when it comes out.
We have priced DSi at what we think is right, and covered costs. We have to take currency issues into account. David Yarnton, Nintendo
What led you to a £149.99 price point, £50 higher than the Lite? Has Wii’s constant selling at £179.99 proven there is an upper pricing sweet spot you can target? The two are different products – and I think people will pay different things for different technologies. We have priced at what we think is right, and also we have to cover costs. There is a pressure on all products manufactured overseas and then imported in terms of currency that we have to take into account. Piracy and R4 cards have become a hot issue. Most don’t work with DSi. Can you explain your approach? We’ve got a lot of security now in the DS to try and protect us from piracy – obviously with some enhancements we can’t give away our secrets. But the chance to upgrade the firmware has been a good opportunity to fight that. A lot of our third party publisher partners spend a lot of money developing IP and invest a lot of jobs and studios into that, so piracy is something we need to fight.
We’re constantly looking at ways to grow the software library of titles for everyone, and development in that sector is ongoing, although there’s nothing I can confirm at this point. How much do you think the DSi will grow the DS market? Each year we’ve had continual growth on DS, and last year we still increased share even though the Lite was out for two years at that point. Now, with a much more advanced device as well, who knows what kind of growth it could foster. We know from our figures that there are a lot of people out there who don’t own a DS and people who are interested. So we’re looking at things very positively in that regard. There are 21m households in the UK – each one could conceivably have a DS. Or even more than one DS. That doesn’t mean that we’ll sell multiple units into every family and sell over 60m in the UK alone – we don’t think that will happen – but the numbers are still very buoyant. It is uncharted territory for the games industry as far as we are concerned.
AVAILABLE ON PC MARCH 2009
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Epic campaigns in a war-torn fantasy world await you! Use virtual cards to build your unique army Win, trade and auction cards to expand your collection Team up in 2, 4 or 12 player scenarios Instant action â€“ summon units directly into battle Use god spells to devastate your foes Earn rewards and level up your forces
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Not just a
pretty face The BAFTA Awards will bring glitz and glamour to games – but the organisation does much more for the industry all-year round. Tim Ingham reports… WHAT DOES BAFTA mean to you? If you’re anything like the millions who tune into the glamour-drenched TV and movie awards ceremonies, it probably evokes images of chiselled leading men and Hollywood’s divine ladies, all dressed to kill. Yet even on those tuxedo-heavy evenings, its mission goes beyond sheer glitz: it reflects a portrait of both industries to the public as universally revered institutions. And that’s exactly what BAFTA wants to achieve with the games equivalent of its celebrated awards nights – landing at the Park Lane London Hilton next week on Tuesday, March 10th. WIDER ACCEPTANCE
"The acknowledgement and acceptance by the media of games as ‘mainstream’ entertainment is happening relatively slowly – and if anyone can change the perception of games it is BAFTA,” explains BAFTA’s head of awards Anne-Marie Flynn. “Whilst games does not have the ‘star’ attraction of film and television, if we can encourage more and more developers to join the Academy, take part in events and support the Awards, in time we believe that BAFTA can play a major part in attracting that same kind of interest in games.” BAFTA already provides a vital function in terms of the future health of
the entertainment business, presenting the message that – in employment terms – working in TV and film is something for young people to covet. And with this role as a recruitment driver in its blood, it’s little surprise that BAFTA believes it can do the same for games. The organisation believes its ability to make people want to work in games will be welcome news to a UK development business slowly slipping down the global rankings. The UK industry can make rendered art look as sexy and as crisp as any
possible for young people to say ‘I want to do that for a living’.” On the 362 days a year that it isn’t hosting an awards ceremony, BAFTA – a registered charity – is most proud of its position as a place for creative types to come together. The ‘BAFTA dream’ is for creative workers across film, games and television to network at its events and year-round facilities – lighting the touch paper on the possibility of the UK becoming the world leader in crossentertainment product. CREATIVE NETWORK
We believe that BAFTA can play a major part in attracting major mainstream attention to games. Anne-Marie Flynn, BAFTA country in the world but, as BAFTA committee chairman Ray Maguire points out, it is the people that make the business – and BAFTA can help the public realise it. “It’s well documented that the development community is growing in areas where financial incentives are ripe – and the UK is suffering,” he says. “BAFTA can make young people crave to be part of the UK industry and its exciting future. “Not only that, but the name and famous mask hold such weight, the industry’s association with it makes it seem less insular. It makes it seem more
LEGO Batman developer Traveller’s Tales recently met BBC kids’ programming guru Jocelyn Stevenson at a BAFTA event. After developing ideas together, the two collaborated, with Stevenson using TT’s engine for new children’s show What’s Your News? Maguire attests the programme is “visually stunning”. “That’s just the sort of wonderful opportunity that BAFTA can provide for all entertainment industries,” he says. “And as more developers sign up to join, the more of them we’ll see.” By becoming involved with BAFTA, it seems developers stand to benefit from premium networking, publicity and recruitment opportunities – regardless of whether they pick up one of those famous faces come the body’s big night.
AND THE AWARD GOES TO… Over 600 people have signed up to attend this year’s BAFTA games awards, with more expected to grab a ticket before the big night. TV comic Dara O’Briain has signed up to present the event. BAFTA’s head of awards Anne-Marie Flynn says: “Dara is very excited and we have some fun presenters lined up so it promises to be a great night. Whilst we are almost full, we are still keen to encourage as many of the smaller developers to attend as possible, and so a few seats remain for them at a special rate of £199.” The organisation has provided retail with materials to show off which titles have been nominated for a BAFTA – which it hopes will pull in shoppers who recognise the event’s famous mask. To apply for tickets, contact: Kelly.Smith@Bafta.org
[OPINION] David Parfitt, BAFTA Chairman: “The Academy turned its serious attention to Games in 2006, when it recognised the sector as the third pillar of the Academy. For the last 60 years we have celebrated creative achievement in Film, and then Television, but the Academy celebrates all the art forms of the moving image and so it is only right and fitting that we have now turned our attention to this ground-breaking, cutting edge form of entertainment. “Of course in games, it is the developers who are the real stars, and BAFTA would like to play a big part in seeing their work receive the recognition it deserves.”
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NAME OF THE
GAME Leading High Street retailer GAME has signed up to sponsor this year’s awards. GAME Group Chief Executive Lisa Morgan, told MCV: “Last year was huge for the games industry. Once again, we smashed entertainment sales records by reaching out to new audiences and generating excitement and media coverage that used to only be seen for big film premieres. “Despite the challenges in the wider economy, it is right to pause and celebrate the achievements of the industry – and particularly to
“The games industry is a genuinely worldleading industry and it is very appropriate that BAFTA recognises our success alongside other forms of entertainment.”
FAMOUS FACE: Sony UK MD and BAFTA committee chairman says the organisation can help create excitement about the games medium amongst the public
salute those individuals who have excelled at their art and delivered incredible entertainment to families and gamers not just across the UK, but across the world. “The games industry is a genuinely world-leading industry and it is very appropriate that BAFTA recognises our success on the world stage alongside other forms of entertainment. “GAME is very proud to sponsor this year’s Awards. We have seen the excitement build in our stores and online as customers get involved in the public vote – and we’re delighted that more people have voted this year than ever before. “These Awards are a real opportunity to celebrate all that is great about our industry. We are delighted to be the official sponsor and wish all the nominees the very best of luck.”
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GENRE FOCUS: FIGHTING GAMES
comeback trail… With Street Fighter IV riding high in the charts, the beat ‘em up is clearly back. Christopher Dring looks back at the evolution of the genre and discovers that new ideas and innovation are giving dusty fighting franchises a new lease of life… LONG BEFORE the first person shooter dominated the release schedule, the fighting genre reigned supreme. Characters from Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were icons of mid-‘90s gaming, and the various titles in each franchise were amongst the biggest selling games ever in the 16-bit era. But over time this part of gaming genre history has faded a little. While the big names remain, it was last week’s triumphant number one debut for Street Fighter IV which has proven the fighting genre still has power ENTERING THE ARENA
Technically, the genre began life in arcades worldwide in 1976 with Sega’s black and white cabinet, Heavyweight Champ, and then in 1979 with Tim Skelly’s Warrior. However, the beat ‘em up didn’t achieve real critical acclaim until The Way of the Exploding Fist arrived on Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore in 1985 – a game that predated Capcom’s now-legendary Street Fighter series by two years. Nevertheless, it was Capcom that brought the fighter kicking and punching into the mainstream when Street Fighter II arrived in the spring of 1991. To give you an idea of its importance at the time, it could almost be argued as being the era’s Wii Sports – it was part of a popular official Super Nintendo bundle, and its eventual move to Mega Drive was controversial but keenly waited by fans. In time the brawler has appeared on over 20 platforms, influencing every beat ‘em up since,
including Midway’s controversial 1992 hit, Mortal Kombat. “The original idea for Mortal Kombat was inspired by a number of things,” recalls Mortal Kombat senior producer Hans Lo. “Arcade games were huge in 1991 and our company Midway – we were called Williams Electronics at the time – had a state of the art graphics chip that could display very realistic digitised graphics. We were big fans of martial arts movies like Enter The Dragon so we decided to create a game based on a martial arts tournament. As we were able to display such detailed graphics, we wanted to be hyperrealistic so we added blood, which got a huge reaction, and we kept taking it
As games became more mass market in the ‘90s, fighting games became less relevant. Leo Tan, Capcom further. Before we knew it we had an arcade game that had long lines of people wanting to play it.” The beat ‘em up boom was so significant it spawned movies based on the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat franchises. Meanwhile Sega got back in on the act in 1993 with the first in its Virtua Fighter series. Just a year later Namco launched the first in the worldconquering Tekken series, while Nintendo entered the ring with the Raredeveloped Killer Instinct. “Rare had just invested in some expensive Silicon Graphics machines, which we used to develop a unique look by rendering 3D models into sprites,” explains Killer Instinct lead designer Chris Tilston. “We needed some games in which to use this
technique and a fighting game was the logical choice as they were really popular in the arcades. The idea for Killer Instinct really came about from trying to gel the unique characters we had into a theme that seemed believable.” IT’S A KNOCKOUT
However, as quickly as the fighting genre rose to prominence, brawlers began to fade away during the later 1990s. Consumer interest shifted with the advent of 3D gaming, and various new Street Fighter iterations couldn’t recapture that enthusiasm. Simply, the other areas of games were putting up a fight through new evolutions. “I think back then we saw the fighting game market as a bit of a niche, one which had had its day in the sun, and some members of the team wanted to try something new,” Tilston continues. “The massive success of Donkey Kong Country also raised the bar on expectations and it made sense to try and find the next big thing – something which most sequels can’t be because expectations have been set by the previous.” Capcom’s head of PR Leo Tan adds: “I think in the mid-‘90s the gaming culture was quite different to how it is now. The arcade mentality was still in effect and games were still rock hard. Gamers seldom played for the story, it was all about the challenge and proving your worth. I guess as games became more mass market, fighting games became less relevant.” Nevertheless, the fighting genre never completely went away. Wrestling titles became particularly popular when THQ acquired the WWF licence (which became WWE) from Acclaim, launching the now-established Smackdown series in 2000. In 1999 Nintendo struck gold with the fan-baiting Super Smash Bros,
SHOW OF STRENGTH: The power of recent releases like Street Fighter IV and upcoming games like Tekken 6 (pictured) prove that the beat ‘em up is a durable genre
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GENRE FOCUS: FIGHTING GAMES
RETAIL FIGHTERS Bleach: Dark Souls March 13th Sega’s unique and popular DS fighter based on the manga comic returns, with multiple modes and 44 playable characters. Ready 2 Rumble Revolution March 20th Along with a ‘sophisticated’ boxing engine, Ready 2 Rumble is set to appeal to a wider audience with recognisable characters based on celebrities. Punch Out!! Summer 2009 Nintendo’s popular Punch Out!! franchise is returning to the ring this year on Wii, and is being developed by Next Level Games.
while the likes of Dead or Alive, Tekken, Soul Calibur and Mortal Kombat kept the category strong. “If you look at each iteration of Mortal Kombat, there has been something new with each game,” comments Hans Lo. “Each MK brought
Until, that is, the past twelve months, which has seen the brawler make a dramatic and triumphant return to the charts. Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii held the number one position in the UK charts for two weeks last year, just before Soul Calibur IV grabbed the
The beat ‘em up genre is simply one of the longeststanding and was never going to go away. Phil Brannelly, Ubisoft
something new to the table that was fun and exciting. Because of this, Mortal Kombat has survived and grown where many have just faded away.” READY TO FIGHT BACK
Despite a smattering of chart hits, the fighting genre hasn’t come close to recapturing the popularity it enjoyed during the ‘90s.
coveted top spot. Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe may have been released during one of the busiest periods in the industry’s history, but it still notched up 1.8 million in global sales. And of course Capcom’s long-awaited Street Fighter IV is the biggest number one of 2009 so far. It’s also a viable genre for new digital titles too – XBLA releases based on
movies The Warriors and The Watchmen are also fighting games. “There was a dry period of pretty standard beat-em-ups, but this genre is simply one of the longest standing and was never going to go away,” comments Ubisoft’s Phil Brannelly, who looked after the launch of Soul Calibur IV last year. “It just needed a shot in the arm and Soul Calibur IV has helped kick that off.” And with Tekken 6, Punch Out!!, more Mortal Kombat and a new Ready 2 Rumble coming on the horizon, not to mention rumours of a new Killer Instinct, there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the genre’s future. Atari’s Lee Kirton concludes: “The fighting genre is definitely still a major contender in video games, as proven by the sales of Street Fighter IV. Tekken and Street Fighter are the biggest fighting brands in video games, so we’re very confident that Tekken 6 will perform well on its release later in the year.”
Tekken 6 Autumn 2009 The first Tekken available on Xbox 360 is being published in the UK by Atari, and features online play and customisable fighters. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Smash-Up Christmas 2009 From the makers of Smash Brothers and Dead or Alive comes a fourplayer brawler for Wii that coincides with the Ninja Turtles’ 25th anniversary. WWE Legends of Wrestlemania March 2009 A spin-off to THQ’s much-loved Smackdown series hits shelves to coincicide with WrestleMania XXV. A new Smackdown is also due before the end of the year. Mortal Kombat 9 2010 After the success of MK Vs. DC, the Mortal Kombat team is returning to its roots with enough blood and violence to satisfy its adult fanbase.
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TERRITORY REPORT: CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
Eastern promise The games industry in Eastern and Central Europe continues to grow, but is the current economic climate holding the territory back? Christopher Dring investigates…
IN STARK contrast to Western European territories, the PC is the platform of choice for Eastern and Central European gamers. Although the territories lack any official ChartTrack data, leading publishers and developers in the territory are confident the market has grown during 2008, driven primarily by the boom in casual gaming. “In 2008 we saw a significant growth in clients interested in the next-gen consoles,” explains Przemek Marmul of Polish distributor Techland. “Compared to Western Europe the install base of consoles is still quite low in Poland, and 2008 has marked the first moves into the console arena. The predominant platform is still the PC. What comes as a surprise is the marginal market share of the Wii platform, which is a huge success in Western Europe. “The biggest challenge at the moment is a quickly growing casual gamers market. It obviously is facilitated by a couple of factors including the overall salary growth and the increased awareness of computers – PCs are not only a tool but are also now seen as an excellent entertainment centre. Furthermore, the development in the console market and their relatively lower prices are also reflected in the growth of the casual market.”
CZECH THIS OUT
The popularity of casual gaming in the Eastern and Central European territories has not only impacted retail sales, but the development community too. Russian-made Tetris may be the most renowned casual game to come from the territory, but Eastern Europe is filled with top casual game studios, promoting the Casual Games Association to launch a conference in the Ukrainian city of Kyiv. “We were initially attracted to the region because of the strong educational system, work ethic and past history of blockbuster content such as Tetris,” says Casual Games Association’s managing
director Jessica Tams. “That’s not to mention the less well-known work of Alawar, Puzzle Lab, Nikitova, Sandlot Games and Nevosoft, which have topped the casual games charts. At our last count, Russian and Eastern Europe developers are creating more than one third of the Top 10 content on major portals. In fact, one of the Top Five online distributors of casual games recently told us that more than 50 per cent of the developers delivering content are in Eastern Europe and Russia.” Despite the growth in the casual arena, a concern sweeping the Eastern and Central European markets is the economic turmoil. It means that many countries, including Poland, Russia and the Ukraine, are suffering due to exchange rates driving up prices of imported software. “In Russia, the exchange rates are dropping, which has driven up retail
I’d like to see more space given to games. In other countries retail is far more organised than in Russia. Anatoly Subbotin, 1C Company prices – especially for console software,” comments 1C Company’s head of PR Anatoly Subbotin. “A lot of Russia’s games come from abroad so this is quite a large problem. In order to cope better with the difficulties we’ve combined our efforts by teaming up with Russia’s leading console publisher Softclub. Together our expertise in differing retail environments should help us ride the recession.” He adds: “Retail in Russia is not healthy at all, I expect big electronic and video game retailers will go under. Of course we hope this doesn’t happen, but if it does we are confident as we have our own 1C stores. “I’d like to see more space given to games in stores. In other countries games retail is far more organised than in Russia.” CEO of Polish publisher City Interactive, Marek Tyminski, continues: “Currently the Euro/Polish zloty
exchange rate has increased the pricing level of games, which is reducing demand. The Polish slowdown in the economy is behind the West and expected to drop over the next few quarters. However macroeconomic projections say Poland will be less influenced by the world crisis than the US or the UK. “In terms of retail, the major market share in Poland belongs to German Media Markt and Saturn stores with the second place being held by the local retailer EMPiK – which is similar to HMV. There are a number of supermarket groups: Carrefour, Tesco, Real and a few others that stock video games too, while the market share of independents has already decreased to a low single digit.” THE PIRACY PROBLEM
Although the economic climate is the primary concern for Eastern and Central European game firms, the ever-present problems posed by piracy is also a key area that needs to be looked at to help the industry during 2009. “Piracy is still the factor that poses the biggest problem for local publishers and developers in Ukraine,” says GSC GameWorld’s Oleg Yavorsky. “Another challenge, which came along with the notorious economic crisis, is the cash return from retail and chains. In Ukraine, a considerable share of the market is still made up by small street and underground passage stalls, where pirated games and movies are sold predominantly. In our territory, we need to expand the distribution of licensed products, curb piracy and increase the buying capacity of the population.” Marek Tyminski concludes: “Going forward, the industry in our territory should work closer in order to influence the piracy issue, gain a stronger perception of the video games segment and address the problem of the lack of official ChartTrack data and sufficient market research.”
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TERRIT0RY REPORT: CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
Countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland
Countries: Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova
Currencies: Euro, Czech Koruna, Forint, Liechtenstein Frank, ZĹ‚oty, Swiss Frank
Currencies: Ruble, Estonian kroon, Lats, Lithuanian litas, Belarusian ruble, Leu, Moldovan leu, Hryvnia
DISTRIBUTORS Play Art Multimedia Handels (Austria) Koch Media GmbH (Austria) Antec (Hungary) CD Project SP. (Poland) Techland (Poland) ABC Software GmbH (Switzerland)
DISTRIBUTORS Akella (Russia) Hitzona (Russia) Noviy Disk (Russia) Soft Club (Russia) Vellod (Russia) Andrico (Estonia)
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Sponsored by 34 MCV 06/03/09
Activision names new Euro boss Former FMCG exec joins publishing giant Nickelodeon gains global chief Promotions for EA UK team ACTIVISION BLIZZARD THIBAUD DE SAINTQUENTIN has been named as the publisher’s new senior VP and MD of European publishing for the firm. De Saint-Quentin (right) starts on March 9th, replacing outgoing JOERG TROUVAIN. He will oversee the company’s strategy for Europe and will be based at its UK HQ in Stockley Park, reporting to chief customer officer BRIAN HODOUS. He joins from a 20-year stint at Kraft, where most recently he served as vice president of its coffee business.
“The European market is critical to our continued profitable growth plans and we’re delighted to have a talent of Thibaud’s calibre on board to guide the organisation to even higher levels of success,” Hodous stated.
MTV NETWORKS Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products has promoted JEAN-PHILLIPE RANDISI to managing director of NVCP International. Previously holding the same position for EMEA, Randisi will now be responsible for all of the MTV Networks division’s operations outside the US. He will be based in London, and will oversee consumer product licensing efforts with key clients such as THQ and Paramount. “As the key architect of our international growth to date,
Jean-Philippe is best positioned to lead our next phase of development by identifying new consumer product extension for our core brands,” said NVCP’s president Leigh Anne Brodsky. EA Electronic Arts has made several changes to its UK team, with DAN HOLMAN, TREVOR UZICE, LUKE COUSENS and KERRI WEST all taking up new positions. Holman has been named group marketing director for Ireland, leaving his previous role as EA Sports marketing manager, where he was instrumental in such successful
campaigns at the publisher’s Let’s FIFA 09 ads. Former FIFA senior product manager Trevor Uzice has been appointed as Holman’s successor. Cousens has been promoted from EA Sports product manager to senior product manager. He will now oversee a larger portfolio covering new IP such as EA Sports Tennis, as well as existing franchises like Tiger Woods PGA Tour. Meanwhile, West has been appointed as product manager for The Sims franchise. She will report to the EA Play label’s UK marketing manager, CLAIRE RIDLEY.
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“Sonic and the Black Knight is a thrilling tale of swashbuckling adventure powered by a jet engine.”
“Sonic And The Black Knight looks set to provide another solid Sonic adventure. Safe to say, it’s a good time to be a hedgehog fan.”
© SEGA. SEGA, the SEGA logo, the SONIC TEAM logo, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG and SONIC AND THE BLACK KNIGHT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA Corporation. Wii AND THE Wii LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NINTENDO. All Rights Reserved.
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RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES PRICE CHECK CHARTS NEW RELEASES
WITH THIS ISSUE... MCV takes a look at 505 Games’ new Diva Girls line of games for young female gamers
ALSO THIS WEEK... MUSHROOM MEN P42 Southpeak’s Wii and DS titles look to serve core gamers and the casual set PUZZLE QUEST: GALACTRIX P43 A new version of the cult puzzle adventure game boasts a sci-fi twist CODENAME PANZERS P46 Atari’s tank and military action franchise focuses on the Cold War CLUB PENGUIN P47 Disney’s hugely popular virtual world gets a DS spin-off HEINZ WOLFF’S GRAVITY P48 Koch enters the brain game arena with a title featuring a prominent scientist DYNASTY WARRIORS P48 Big robots invade classic hack-n-slash series in Koei’s 360 and PS3 release
ENTERING THE RING The long-running boxing series Ready 2 Rumble returns, courtesy of Atari
HENRY HATSWORTH P49 Look out Professor Layton, EA has a new adventure hero ready for DS HIGH STREET P52 Our regular section offers charts, price check and our indie store interviews
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RETAILBIZ: READY TO RUMBLE REVOLUTION 40 MCV 06/03/09
Atari is reinvigorating a much-missed boxing franchise with a host of new features – and parodies… by Tim Ingham TALK ABOUT a knockout franchise. The original Ready 2 Rumble boxing game, released on Dreamcast, PSOne and N64 back in 1999, was a knuckleduster of a hit, beautifully bringing together cartoon exaggeration and the blood ’n’ sweat of a real life bout. Sadly the title – which built on the appeal of Nintendo’s own Punch Out! – never got the chance to pull in the mainstream adulation that perhaps it should; mainly because, well, a lot of people weren’t gaming ten years ago. A sequel followed in 2000, but it didn’t take long for it to become clear that the franchise’s potential to appeal to the whole family would never be realised. Until now, that is – as Atari reinvigorates the franchise.
The publisher’s update to the series will not only bring a nostalgic grin to the faces of the late ‘90s gamers everywhere – but also breathes new life into Ready 2 Rumble’s exposure. ALL YOU NEED IS GLOVE
Releasing Ready 2 Rumble: Revolution on Wii will finally allow the game to get into the hands of mums, dads, uncles and all of the consumers it didn’t get noticed by first time round. Atari product manager Lauren Bradley explains: “As this is the first time the Ready 2 Rumble franchise has been brought the Wii, it is poised to reach a wider audience than ever before and our media selection reflects this. “The larger-than-life characters, family-friendly humour and Wii remote
and nunchuck controls will appeal to a broad selection of casual gamers. “We’re confident that the property’s history and the hilarious multi-player functionality will make the game a popular choice for the Wii market.” The OTT characters from the original game – which came as a welcome change of pace from the ultra-serious pugilists in more straight-lace boxing sims of the time – have been added to and improved on. SPITTING IMAGES
The title’s ability to parody the world of sport and entertainment remains unchanged, however – with leading lights from the world of movies, sport and music all being put through the wringer. From David Beckham to Shaun White, the light-hearted ribbing of the
RELEASED: MARCH 20 FORMATS: Wii PUBLISHER: ATARI UK DEVELOPER: AKI PRICE: £34.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9590
rich and famous is in full effect. Each is brought to life through over-the-top moves, improved facial animations and damage textures. And in what will come as welcome news to long-term Ready 2 Rumble fans, the caricature of ring announcer Michael Buffer (‘The Voice of Champions™’) and his famous “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” trademark call has returned. This one should uppercut the charts when it’s released later this month.
RETAILBIZ: READY 2 RUMBLE REVOLUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 06/03/09 41
We’re confident that the property’s history and the hilarious multi-player functionality will make this a popular choice. Lauren Bradley, Atari
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RETAILBIZ: MUSHROOM MEN: THE SPORE WARS/RISE OF THE FUNGI 42 MCV 06/03/09
Southpeak is readying a pair of platform games in a symbiotic release that Mother Nature would be proud of… by Will Freeman CONSIDERING the role of the platform genre in Nintendo’s early history, it’s a little strange the Wii hasn’t played host to more titles that focus on the proven ledge-leaping format. Sensing a gap in the market, developer Red Fly Studios has created an ambitious platformer in the traditional mould, which is to share release date with its narrative prequel on the DS. While Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars for the Wii offers a complete, standalone title, Rise of The Fungi on DS allows gamers to experience the extended background story to Southpeak Games’ distinctively eerie new franchise. THE SECRET GARDEN
Set in a unique world tucked behind the potting shed, the Mushroom Men games introduce players to a conflict at grass roots level. After the passing of a comet humans have deemed safe, a shower of green space dust settles on earth and bestows many floral forms with sentience, and mutates plants and animals into warlike communities. The result is a curious and rather beautiful world, where rabbits become lumbering goliaths and flowerbeds twisted, towering forests. There’s cheery darkness to the game world that will be familiar to fans of Tim Burton’s movies, and it is bound to attract the attention of console owners overwhelmed by the saccharine palettes typical of releases for Nintendo’s console. “Mushroom Men is a traditional platformer, something we feel has been really lacking of late on Wii” explains Southpeak’s product marketing manager Ed Blincoe. “In fact, I can’t remember the last good example of this genre I played on my Wii. With this is mind we’re targeting the gamers who bought their Wii and haven’t touched it since then because they’ve been put off by the barrage of party and horsey games.” Southpeak has a firm eye on a demographic that is certainly under-
FUNGI TO BE WITH RELEASED: MARCH 20 FORMATS: WII, DS PUBLISHER: SOUTHPEAK DEVELOPER: RED FLY STUDIO PRICE: £39.99 (WII)/£29.99 (DS) DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3883
Southpeak’s faith in the hardcore appeal of its new IP is clear, and it is hoping to see gamers move their batteries from Xbox 360 controller to Wiimote upon release. In fact, the publisher is so confident that it even has its own suggestion for retailers looking to stock the pair of Red Fly Studios games. “Retailers may need to put in a new Wii section near the 360 or PS3 titles so consumers won’t have to barge their way through all the mums and little girls buying a new pet game,” says Southpeak’s Blincoe.
supported on the Wii, and is confident that the primary 14 to 24-year-old market it is targeting is ready to buy more Wii games.
We’re targeting Mushroom Men at the Wii demographic who have been put off by the barrage of party and horsey games. Ed Blincoe, Southpeak
“A lot of people are saying that this is the year the Wii finally starts to attract gamers back and we fully expect Mushroom Men to form a part of that resurgence,” enthuses Blincoe, adding: “Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars is a core gamer’s game. It looks and plays like a first party title with the same level of accessibility and broad appeal.” The gameplay in the Mushroom titles should certainly satisfy the tastes of
franchise’s intended customers. The Spore Wars is built around a thirdperson action-platformer that focuses on combat and exploration, while Rise of the Fungi is a ‘2.5D’ side-scroller that is likely to stand out on DS. With the launch date nearing, Southpeak has its marketing engine running at full speed. “We’re targeting the the consumer press with Mushroom Men through both print and online with a heavy media buy,” reveals Blincoe. “We also have a big pre-order push through the specialist online press which will run into and through launch with traditional ad units accompanied by channel and site takeovers.”
RETAILBIZ: PUZZLE QUEST: GALACTRIX WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 06/03/09 43
The Puzzle Quest series returns, bringing rich narrative and addictive gameplay together for a game with appeal to both core and casual gamers… by James Batchelor THE ORIGINAL Puzzle Quest has become remarkably popular for a game that can be considered as a simple casual title. Combing familiar puzzle mechanics with a detailed fantasy storyline and RPG mechanics clearly broadened the concept’s appeal. Originally released via download systems such as Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, the popularity of the first game prompted D3P to provide retail versions for handhelds, consoles and PC. First game, Challenge Of The Warlords, even spawned a sequel. Now D3P looks to continue that success by expanding the franchise into a new genre: science fiction. Puzzle Quest: Galactrix promises to deliver the same addictive gameplay and narrative scope as its fantasy predecessors, this time transporting players to a galaxy in peril. RELEASED: MARCH 13 EPIC QUEST
When a scientific accident provokes an alien race to hunt down mankind, players must take on the role of a heroic space pilot charged with uniting a galactic empire to fend off the invaders. As they strive to bring the political factions together, they must upgrade their own ship and the space fleet, and all through the series’ own brand of puzzling. The game is still based on the common puzzle mechanic of matching a set number of icons by swapping them around on a grid. Successfully doing so powers up your special abilities and attacks, which can be used at any time to turn the tide of the battle. However, the developers have strived to tweak the formula, changing the shape of the board and making additions that not only reinvigorate the game, but will also provide a fresh experience for veterans. “With an all new futuristic sci-fi setting, the hexagonal board reacts to gravity depending on the player’s location in the universe,” says D3P’s PR and marketing executive Marlene Fitzsimmons. “Galactrix brings a blend of the same fan-favourite gameplay elements with new ones such as
retaining a structure accessible enough to appeal to gamers of any ability. Giving the action a context comparable to that of more elaborate games is enough to draw the more avid gamers and has been key to the series’ popularity so far.
FORMATS: PC, DS PUBLISHER: D3P DEVELOPER: INFINITE INTERACTIVE PRICE: £24.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
negotiating factions, hacking leapgates and collecting blueprints which offer a captivating new adventure to explore and conquer.” The gameplay is relaxing enough to satisfy casual gamers, but cerebral enough to entice the hardcore consumers. As they take on other characters head-to-head, players must make full use of the turn-based gameplay, matching as many symbols as they can before their turn ends. As with the previous Puzzle Quests, defeat does not necessarily see gamers punished as they are rewarded with psionic powers at the end of each match, depending on their performance. Replacing the gold from original games, Galactrix’s puzzles feature tokens that allow gamers to improve their ship’s power and defence systems. The depth of these options elevates Puzzle Quest beyond the casual sector and further towards RPG, while still
OLD GAME, NEW ‘TRIX
Puzzle Quest: Galactix is a unique puzzle game with an RPG twist loved by hardcore and casual gamers alike. Marlene Fitzsimmons, D3P
“Puzzle Quest: Galactrix is a unique puzzle game with an RPG twist loved by hardcore and casual gamers alike,” adds Fitzsimmons. “Challenge Of The Warlords has a massive fanbase and we’re hoping for the same with Galactrix – and more. It’s an exciting new addition to the Puzzle Quest universe.” The game is launching on Xbox Live and PSN on the same day as the retail releases, which can only serve to promote the game to DS and PC owners. D3P has also crafted an extensive marketing and PR campaign based around the flash and PC demos, which can be sampled on the game’s official website. This allows players to try out the new gameplay and get a taste for the storyline before they buy it – as well as creating the danger of getting addicted on their lunchbreak.
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RETAILBIZ: CODENAME: PANZERS COLD WAR 46 MCV 06/03/09
Atari brings the latest in the Codename Panzers series to the frontline of retail, delivering a solid RTS experience to fans of the genre…
In order to earn this option, players need to build up their Prestige Points by taking out enemy units and capturing Points Of Interest, the key points on the map. Once they have raised enough points, fresh units can be sent to any captured point with a single click, delivering reinforcements straight to the front line. The sheer depth of the game will also appeal to RTS fans. Every unit at your
to eight players, allowing them to engage in epic Cold War battles. WHEN IT comes to games, tension is a Catering to both the veteran superb weapon to have in your arsenal. followers of the franchise and fans of It can provide a suitable atmosphere for the genre, Codename Panzers: Cold the likes of horror games or get the War is set to be a promising release for adrenaline pumping in FPS titles. So Atari, which is keen to see how well the what better way to boost the appeal of game performs once it hits the shelves. an RTS than basing it on a tension“Codename Panzers: Cold War, the packed episode of modern history? latest in the acclaimed series, is set to The Cold War conflict saw the reward Atari with a solid performance relative peace between in the RTS category,” says Allied and Soviet forces Lauren Bradley, Atari’s UK Codename Panzers is set to balancing precariously on a product manager. “The reward us with a solid knife edge, in a time where element of customisation performance in the real-time a single word out of place for your unit and attacks, strategy category. could potentially provoke a as well as the Prestige nuclear attack. Points system which Lauren Bradley, Atari awards bonuses, will keep TANKS FOR THE MEMORIES disposal can be fully customised, both in fans hooked.” The long-running Codename Panzers terms of its appearance and its arsenal. Atari’s main target audience is the series now turns to this era to provide Tanks, for example, can be equipped established fanbase for the Codename the backdrop for its latest strategy with flamethrowers, amphibian devices Panzers series and similar tactical titles, offering. The developers have gone to and camouflage nets, giving players although the publisher hopes to expand great lengths to represent this conflict even more options when making the game’s appeal to wider audience of realistically, with faithful recreations of tactical decisions. They can even create males aged 15 to 34. the tanks of the time. their own unique livery for their armies. To accomplish this, the firm will As with all RTS games, managing The game features highly detailed instigate a large online advertising your units is crucial, but Codename visuals, which look even more impressive campaign running for three weeks Panzers doesn’t distract the player when players zoom closer into the around the game’s launch. Ads will from the action with the tedious task battlefield, thanks to the game’s upgraded appear on core gaming and PC-centric of building bases. Instead, players can engine, boasting several improvements websites, with the campaign add to their troops by calling for over its predecessors. There is also an incorporating site takeovers, banners reinforcements. online multiplayer mode catering for up and video MPUs. by James Batchelor
RELEASED: MARCH 13 FORMATS: PC PUBLISHER: ATARI DEVELOPER: INNOGLOW/ STORMREGION PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9585
RETAILBIZ: CLUB PENGUIN: ELITE PENGUIN FORCE WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 06/03/09 47
Disney Interactive brings its online games portal, Club Penguin, to retail in a move that will boost both the site itself and the company’s DS sales... by James Batchelor AS MORE and more online offerings find their way to retailer’s shelves, Disney prepares for the UK launch of Club Penguin: Penguin Elite Force. This charming title is based on the publisher’s online games portal, Club Penguin, which has attracted millions of young gamers since its launch in October 2005. Presenting them with a virtual island to explore, Club Penguin allows them to literally waddle around the snowy plains and mountains, making new friends and taking on a variety of brief but enjoyable mini-games. It presents a fun and sage online environment that children and their parents can enjoy, and has gained a solid and safe reputation, particularly since it was bought by Disney in 2007. Now the company is bringing out a retail version, not only catering for established fans when they’re away
Familiar Club Penguin games will also be available, including such hits as Cart Surfer, Jet Pack Adventure and Ice Fishing. These can now be experienced in a whole new way, having been modified to account for stylus control and the dual screen view. Some games, such as Snowboarding and Dance Challenge, will be exclusive to the DS version, drawing Club Penguin’s online players who want to enjoy new content. The handheld nature of the game will also prove to be a selling point, and the game can even interact with the online portal it is based on. JOIN OUR CLUB
“It is the only game for the Nintendo DS that allows kids to play in the Club Penguin world anytime and anywhere,” explains O’Donohue-Hill. “Plus, Elite Penguin Force is compatible with the popular online world, so coins you earn
Club Penguin has been a genuine phenomenon in the United States, topping many retailers’ DS charts. Faye O’Donohue-Hill, Disney
from their computer, but also enticing new followers with the penguins’ amusing antics. “Club Penguin started as an online world where kids could have fun, make friends and explore in a safe environment and has proved to be a global phenomenon through word of mouth alone,” says Disney Interactive’s UK PR manager Faye O’Donogue-Hill. “Following in its footprints comes the Nintendo DS game Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force, and the signs suggest that this will be every bit as successful, with an impressive US launch and positive early reaction in the UK.” P-P-P-PICK UP SOME STOCK
Elite Penguin Force boasts a secret agent theme, with the mini-games based around various missions that see players investigating suspicious happenings in the Club Penguin world. All of the minigames will be based around numerous espionage mainstays, such as gadgets, disguises and cool spy vehicles.
in the DS game through playing fun mini-games and completing secret missions can be uploaded and used online. Kids will love being able to play the game and earns coins wherever they go.” As well as allowing players to transfer their hard-earned coins to the online version, Elite Penguin Force also connects directly with the virtual world, enabling fans to download new missions and weekly newsletters. This adds to the game’s replay value and keeps them in touch with the online community. To promote the game’s release, Disney will be running a heavyweight online campaign targeting Club Penguin’s established audience. A threeweek campaign will run on Miniclip.com and other leading kids’ sites, as well as advertorials running on leading parents’ sites. Additionally, three months of print ads have been arranged in various children’s and parents’ magazines from February to April, including a double
RELEASED: MARCH 13 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: DISNEY INTERACTIVE DEVELOPER: 1ST PLAYABLE PRODUCTIONS PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
page spread in OK! Magazine. Selected publications will also be running competitions and other promotions. “Club Penguin has been a genuine phenomenon in the US, topping many retailers’ DS charts,” says O’Donohue-Hill. “Popularity of Club Penguin has snowballed around the globe and the launch of the DS game in the UK should be eagerly anticipated with the safe nature of the brand offering for kids and piece of mind for parents.”
BEAK OF HIS POWERS: Club Penguin provides a platform for a massive worldwide community
RETAILBIZ: DYNASTY WARRIORS/PROFESSOR WOLFF’S GRAVITY 48 MCV 06/03/09
Koei merges its ever-popular Dynasty Warriors series with the Japanese phenomenon of Gundam, bringing the gaming and anime audiences together... by James Batchelor
RELEASED: MARCH 27
Koch enlists Professor Heinz Wolff to help develop its latest IP, introducing gravity-based puzzles to the ever-inquisitive Nintendo demographics... by James Batchelor
FOR THOSE NOT in the know, Gundam is an anime franchise where characters battle in giant mechanical suits. As far flung from honourable swordsmen as this may be, it proved to be a popular choice for a Dynasty Warriors spin-off. Unfortunately, an untimely release meant the original never got the attention it deserved. Koei hopes to rectify this with Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2. “We are hoping to continue to drive interest in the Dynasty Warriors: Gundam brand,” says Koei’s PR and marketing manager Mikey Foley. “The first title was overshadowed by the big Christmas releases from other publishers and the Japanese release of Dynasty Warriors 6. FIGHTING BACK
“Even though the sell-through was not where we wanted on day one, we believed in the game’s quality and have continued to back the IP through 2008 with sampling at cosnumers’ shows, a downloadable demo on Xbox Live and PSN, and community marketing online. “For Gundam 2, we have a better awareness amongst Warriors fans and action game fans. Overall we hope to beat the original Gundam in sales and customer satisfaction.”
PUBLISHER: KOEI DEVELOPER: KOEI PRICE: £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 01462 476130
Koei will support the game with an extensive campaign. While the firm looks for further opportunities to get playable code into the fans’ hands, the publisher will be running advertising and editorial in Neo, a key publication for Gundam 2’s target audience. THE CALL TO ARMS
There will also be ads in Official PlayStation Magazine, identified as a popular magazine among Koei fans, and the game will be the focus of a site takeover on Eurogamer around Gundam 2’s release date. Retail will also prove to be crucial: “We are very thankful to have several long-term retail partners that support Koei and the Dynasty Warriors series,” says Foley. “Between us we have built up a good understanding of the increasing sales potential of the series in each retailer. We hope to deliver another quality product that will be profitable for all. Our main goal is to comfortably exceed the sell-through of the first game.”
RELEASED: OUT NOW FORMATS: WII, DS
FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3
IN THIS INNOVATIVE puzzle game, players must take the full force of gravity into account as they try to guide a ball safely from one end of the level to the other. The game has been developed in conjunction with its namesake, a notable German professor, and published under Koch’s Deep Silver label. “Professor Heinz Wolff’s Gravity stands apart in terms of visual and gameplay design,” says Koch’s head of marketing and PR Amy Curtin. “This is a cunning puzzle game that sucks you in with its simplicity and then delivers a real challenge. There are 100 levels to tackle, and the trial and error nature makes it highly addictive.” FALLING TO CONSOLES
Having already released a successful PC version, the game is now coming to Nintendo platforms, with the Wii version a particular cause for excitement for the ambitious distributor. “Puzzle games have tended to be single player experiences but Gravity on the Wii opens up the challenge for the whole family so they can work together to find a solution,” says Curtin. “This makes Gravity a unique and fresh take on the puzzle genre.
PUBLISHER: DEEP SILVER DEVELOPER: DEEP SILVER PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 0870 027 0985
“Then there are the fantastic minigames that create the traditional party game experience that has proved so successful on the Wii.” FUTURE GRAVITATIONS
With the PC iteration already a proven success, the positive press attention given to these new editions will raise awareness of Gravity’s strengths. “We have had some fantastic review scores for the Wii version, with both GamesMaster and Official Nintendo Magazine awarding it 80 per cent,” Curtin says. “We also launched a substantial TV advertising campaign, so we expect even stronger sales to develop over time.” Koch is keen to work with Professor Wolff on additional games, transforming Gravity into a full-blown franchise. “We believe we have a great central concept,” says Curtin. “It has also been a delight working with the Professor and we would love to continue the association.”
RETAILBIZ: HENRY HATSWORTH WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 06/03/09 49
KEEPING IT ORIGINAL Since John Riccitiello returned as CEO in 2007, the EA of today looks like a very different beast than it did a few years ago. One of the main characteristics of its new strategy is a willingness to gamble on new IP – a move which even the most cynical gamers appreciate. In recent times a host of brand new and wholly-owned games brands have emerge from the US publisher. Headline successes have included survival horror title Dead Space, stylish first person platformer Mirror’s Edge, Will Wright’s sim epic Spore and chart-topping co-op shooter Army of Two. There have also been some casual success too with Steven Spielberg’s high-profile Boom Blox and adventure Zubo. So Hatsworth is certainly in good company. “We’re pleased to be launching a truly unique, EA-owned IP to the DS market which really appeals to most DS gamers, regardless of gender or age,” EA product manager Alice Brandvik tells MCV. “We’re expecting the quirky nature of the game to build intrigue. It’s definitely one of those games that becomes really hard to put down once you start playing.”
Electronic Arts seeks to outperform Nintendo’s Professor Layton and the Curious Village with their own well-dressed cerebral hero, Henry Hatsworth…
RELEASED: MARCH 20 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: EA
“The truly unique and defining feature to the game is its ‘2-in-1’ nature, totally integrating platform and puzzle gaming. “While you’re guiding Henry through the platform elements of the game in the top screen, your actions will have an effect on the puzzle aspect in the lower screen, with defeated enemies dropping into the puzzle. “The only way to fully defeat these enemies is to drop into the puzzle
by Ben Parfitt
FEW FORMATS have successfully spurned as many new games genres as Nintendo’s DS. Whilst Brain Training, Nintendogs and the like continue to sell like hot cakes, in recent weeks they’ve been joined by another potentially ongoing Nintendo classic – Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Having set the Japanese software market on fire, Layton is currently setting about Retailers can expect doing much the same over something truly different. here. Its success suggests The game will appeal to a that the public is hungry wide range of DS fans. for titles that fuse puzzling Alice Brandvik, EA with other forms of gaming. In Layton’s case it screen and colour-match the blocks to was narrative, and in the case of EA’s finally eradicate them from your travels. Henry Hatsworth In The Puzzling Likewise, switching over to the puzzle Adventure, it’s the very purest of screen during gameplay will also have Nintendo pursuits – platforming. an effect on your platform capers, giving HATS OFF TO YOU Henry power-ups, extra health and “The intrepid explorer, Henry bonus treasures.” Hatsworth needs your help to find lost As with many titles on the DS, the treasure in the shape of a mystical accessible nature of the gameplay and golden suit,” EA product manager Alice broad concept ensures it has a wide Brandvik tells MCV. enough appeal to draw in a huge
audience from the handheld’s demographic. EA is confident that the game will appeal to DS owners of all ages. “The game is hugely addictive and appeals to a really diverse audience,” says Brandvik. “Younger kids will enjoy the wacky storyline and fast-paced gameplay, while older DS fans will really enjoy its retro feel and humourous touches. “Retailers can expect something truly different in Henry Hatsworth. The game has plenty of humour, British eccentricities and unique gameplay, with appeal to a wide range of DS fans.” For marketing and promotion, EA will be focused on conveying the game’s experience through hands-on time, with support from the usual ads in various forms of media. “Our marketing plans for Hatsworth include targeting DS fans through print and online as well as in-story demos to get the game into people’s hands,” says Brandvik. “We really want to build word of mouth thrugh focusing on Nintendo media and encouraging trial.”
DEVELOPER: EA TIBURON PRICE: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
TREASURE HUNT: Henry Hatsworth combines platforming and puzzlebased gameplay
50 MCV527_final:43 MCV467
RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 50 MCV 06/03/09
Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more
GTA on the run in late March Gaming’s Most Wanted returns as Rockstar prepares to release Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, forming the most high profile DS release this month. Console owners can look forward to Job Island, Resident Evil 5 and HAWX... TITLE
PC DS PC DS PC PC DS PC DS DS / Wii Wii PC / DS / PSP XBOX 360 / PS2 / PS3 / Wii DS DS PS2 / Wii / DS / PSP Wii Wii / DS DS PC DS DS / PC PS2 / Wii / PC / DS / PSP PS3 / XBOX 360 DS XBOX 360 / PS2 Wii PS3 Wii DS DS PC DS XBOX 360 / PS2 / PS3 / Wii PC
RPG Action Self-improvement Adventure Strategy RTS RPG MMORPG Fashion Action RPG RTS Action Self-Improvement Self-Improvement Racing Simulation Mini-games RPG Card games Action Puzzle/RPG Sports Survival Horror Sports FPS First Person Shooter FPS Platform RPG Card games Action Mini-games Board game RTS
Playlogic Sega EA Disney Interactive Atari THQ Konami Atari 505 Games Ubisoft Konami Slitherine Activision Blizzard V.2 Play V.2 Play Activision Blizzard Deep Silver EA Square Enix EA 505 Games D3Publisher V.2 Play Capcom Ubisoft Activision Blizzard Midas Sony Sega Konami Midas Ubisoft EA EA Ubisoft
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Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Advantage Advantage Open Advantage Advantage Trilogy Open Koch Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Koch Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Advantage Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Trilogy Centresoft Open Centresoft Centresoft Open Open Trilogy Centresoft Centresoft Trilogy
DS / Wii PSP Wii / PC Wii Wii / DS Wii / DS PC PC PC PC PC PC DS DS DS Wii / PS2 / DS PS2 / PSP PSP
Adventure FPS Mini-games Beat-'em-up Racing Chess Simulation Action RPG Simulation FPS Simulation Action Racing Puzzle Action Platformer Action
Ubisoft Activision Blizzard Zoo Digital Konami Zoo Digital Deep Silver Atari Atari Atari Atari Atari Atari Rockstar Midas EA Zoo Digital Activision Blizzard Konami
0845 456 6400 0121 625 3388 01279 822 800 020 8987 5730 01279 822 800 0870 027 0985 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 01279 822 800 01376 555 300 0121 625 3388 01279 822 800 0121 625 3388 020 8987 5730
Trilogy Centresoft Gem Open Gem Koch Advantage Advantage Advantage Advantage Advantage Advantage Gem Open Centresoft Gem Centresoft Open
MARCH 13th Age Of Pirates: City Of Abandoned Ships Bleach: Dark Souls Brain Training For Dummies Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force Codename Panzers: Cold War Company Of Heroes: Tales Of Valor Enchanted Folk And The School Of Wizardry EVE Online Fashion Designer: High Fashion Grey's Anatomy Job Island: Hard Working People Military Commander: Europe At War Millennium Series Championship Paintball 2009 Mind Your Language: Learn Japanese Mind Your Language: Learn Spanish Monster Jam Urban Assault My Animal Centre MySims Party Persona4 Poker For Dummies Pop Town Puzzle Quest: Galactrix Real Madrid: The Game Resident Evil 5 Sam Power: Footballer Secret Service Skyscraper SOCOM: Confrontation Sonic and the Black Knight Suikoden: Tierkreis The Big Deal Tom Clancy's HAWX Travel Games For Dummies Trivial Pursuit World In Conflict Complete
MARCH 20th Broken Sword: Templars - The Director's Cut Call Of Duty 3: Roads To Victory (Platinum) Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree Castlevania: Judgement Chrysler Classic Racing Fritz Chess Games For Laptop: Chris Sawyer's Locomotion Games For Laptop: Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure Games For Laptop: Neverwinter Nights & Expansions Games For Laptop: Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 & Expansions Games For Laptop: Tactical Ops Games For Laptop: Tycoon City New York Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Gravity Zero Racing Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure Jelly Belly Ballistic Beans Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops/Coded Arms doublepack
MUSTSTOCK ................GTA: CHINATOWN WARS
MUSTSTOCK .........................JOB ISLAND: HWP
Released: March 20 Format: DS Publisher: Rockstar Games Distributor: Gem Contact: 01279 822800
Released: March 13 Format: Wii Publisher: Konami Distributor: Open Contact: 020 8987 5730
The most ambitious DS game to date, GTA: Chinatown Wars marks new territory for the handheld and breaks new ground for the franchise. The words ‘Grand Theft Auto’ alone will sell this, but the fact that the game is shaping up nicely seals the deal.
Konami expands on its Island series with this enchanting mini-game collection. Hard Working People tells of a meteor strike that will devastate the Earth and charges players with earning enough money to fund a superlaser to destroy it.
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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 52 MCV 06/03/09
INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS THIS WEEK
STREET FIGHTER IV FORMAT: 360
DEVELOPER: CAPCOM PUBLISHER: CAPCOM
STREET FIGHTER IV PS3
SEGA MEGA DRIVE COLLECTION PS3
SEGA MEGA DRIVE COLLECTION 360
THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: OVERKILL Wii
6 7 8
WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR PC F.E.A.R 2: PROJECT ORIGIN 360
THQ WARNER BROS.
50 CENT: BLOOD ON THE SAND 360
CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR 360
MARIO KART WII Wii
PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE CURIOUS VILLAGE DS
LEFT 4 DEAD 360
RACE PRO 360
F.E.A.R. 2: PROJECT ORIGIN PS3
INDIES BOOSTED BY NOSTALGIC RELEASES FOND MEMORIES are the flavour of the week in the Indie Charts as the top four positions are seized by new entries firmly rooted in the past. Street Fighter IV, hailed as a return to form for the legendary beat ‘em up series, took first and second place. Interestingly, the Collector’s Edition of the game hasn’t been as popular, with only the Xbox 360 version appearing in the Top 20 in 16th place. Meanwhile, Sega’s latest compilation of its greatest titles, Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection, took third and fourth positions, proving gamers are still keen to part with their disposable income in order to relive past delights.
“Street Fighter IV took ﬁrst and second place, but the Collector’s Edition wasn’t as popular, only managing to take 16th place.”
MYSTERY CASE FILES: MILLIONHEIR DS
BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE PS2
STREET FIGHTER IV: COLLECTORS EDITION 360
LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST 360
50 CENT: BLOOD ON THE SAND PS3
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360
CAPCOM NINTENDO EA THQ ROCKSTAR GAMES
Charts compiled by Game Guide/Complete EPOS Solutions. For more information about Complete EPOS Solutions call 01543 370002. For more information about the Game Guide call 01606 836347.
The more contemporary games that made their debut this week also fared well, with Dawn Of War II, 50 Cent: Blood On The Sand and Race Pro all entering the Top 20 in their first week on sale. This week’s re-entries include Left 4 Dead and The Lord Of The Rings: Conquest, both appearing in the lower half of the Top 20. The 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV also returned, undoubtedly driven by the release of The Lost And Damned. As a result, only eight of the titles that appeared in last week’s charts have held onto a place in the Top 20. Among the survivors, horror games are particularly popular, with House Of The Dead: Overkill and F.E.A.R. 2 still selling well. James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk
week’s Frontline interviewee is Ronnie McColm FROM THE FRONTLINE This from Scottish independent Discover… What makes your store unique? Well for one thing, we have Wii Fit in stock. We’ve only been out of stock for two weeks since September/October. We always try and get stuff that people have trouble getting elsewhere.
Particularly Nintendo’s stuff because titles like Mario Kart Wii are constantly selling out. Obviously when the DSi comes out we’ll try and put as much stock out as possible because that’s bound to sell out quickly.
Has anything been underperforming? The PS3. It’s the price – £300 is a bit expensive right now, so that makes it harder to shift. The Xbox is about half that, so I’m selling Xbox 360s every week, but I’ve only sold two or three PS3s since Christmas.
What is the one thing you would change about the games industry? Probably the way the big companies treat the independents, if only in terms of price. When a new release comes out, I’ll charge X amount of money and then I see Asda are offering it at some ridiculous price, which is £10 below cost price. Even online – sometimes people will pre-order stuff from you, but then go on to Amazon because it’s a couple of quid cheaper.
What are the challenges facing your store? It’s just getting stock, and making sure we’ve got everything that people want.
le at b a l i a All Av
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
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The Lost & Damned Points Card
Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection
Dawn of War II
Street Fighter IV
IN STORE: BEDFORD
NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.
Nintendo’s DSi is available to pre-order in black or white for the reduced price of £146.80, representing a saving of almost £5 for cash-strapped handheld gamers.
Save £12.00 when preordering a black or white DSi with Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games for £167.98. Other games and SD Card bundles also available.
Nintendo’s fans can save a couple of quid when preordering a black or white DSi from online retailer ShopTo for the reduced price of £147.99.
Customisation is as popular as ever today, so Wrapstar continues to offer unique skins that allow DS owners to make their beloved handheld stand out. The skins come in a variety of patterns and textures, and are all made from hi-tech cast vinyl. Unlike the calendered vinyl usually found in gadget and handheld skins, this is much more resistant to abrasion, stretching, scratches and general wear and tear. This means it offers better protection for the
DS, making the device even more tough and durable. The skins are interchangeable, meaning gamers never have to settle for one design. They can be removed quickly and cleanly, leaving no residue behind. Wrapstar’s skins have also been custom designed for the DS, matching Nintendo’s stylish consoles perfectly. Wrapstar: 0208 996 0650
54,55 MCV527_final:54-55 MCV525
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 54 MCV 06/03/09
Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM
OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2 4 6 5 7 9 8 3 10
 [FULL PRICE]
PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD FIFA ‘09 EA TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD EIDOS 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
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
FIFA 09 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 MIDNIGHT CLUB: L.A. REMIX LEGO BATMAN MANHUNT 2 WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 STAR OCEAN: SECOND EVOLUTION
KILLZONE 2 FORMAT: PS3
HALO WARS 360
DEVELOPER: MONKEY BAR GAMES PUBLISHER: D3P EA EA SEGA KONAMI 2K WARNER BROS. ROCKSTAR THQ SQUARE ENIX
STREETFIGHTER IV 360, PS3
WII FIT Wii
PROFESSOR LAYTON DS
SEGA MEGA DRIVE COLLECTION 360, PS3
FIFA ‘09 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, PC
COD: WORLD AT WAR 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC
BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE PS2, Wii, PSP, DS
MARIO KART WII Wii
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD D3P NINTENDO
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360, PS3, PC
DISNEY’S BOLT PS3, PS2, 360, DS, Wii
COD4: MODERN WARFARE 360, PS3, PC, DS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES Wii, DS
GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR
WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR II PC
SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING 360, PS3
WII PLAY Wii
NINTENDO ROCKSTAR DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS
PS3, Wii, 360, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER
F.E.A.R 2: PROJECT ORIGIN 360, PS3, PC
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
DEVELOPER: GUERRILLA GAMES PUBLISHER: SONY
DEVELOPER: MONKEY BAR GAMES PUBLISHER: D3P
BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE
2 3 4 6 5 7
BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE
4 2 3 6 5 7 8 9 11
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO MARIO KART DS NINTENDO DISNEY’S BOLT DISNEY NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. NINTENDO BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P MORE BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO 100 CLASSIC BOOK COLLECTION NINTENDO MYSTERY CASE FILES: MILLIONHEIR NINTENDO MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES SEGA
[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]
DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360
WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR II
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 SEGA WOW: WRATH OF THE LICH KING ACTIVISION BLIZZARD F.E.A.R 2: PROJECT ORIGIN WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE C&C: RED ALERT 3 EA THE SIMS 2: DOUBLE DELUXE EA GRAND THEFT AUTO IV ROCKSTAR THE SIMS 2: APARTMENT LIFE EA TOM CLANCY’S ENDWAR UBISOFT CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
2 4 3 7 5 9 6 NEW
DEVELOPER: RELIC PUBLISHER: THQ
54,55 MCV527_final:54-55 MCV525
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 06/03/09 55
THE BATTLE of the platform holders intensified
Microsoft’s Halo Wars had to settle for second
this week, with Sony’s Killzone 2 going head-to-
place, with 17.6 per cent of Halo 3’s record breaking
head with Microsoft’s Halo Wars.
launch figure. However, the strategy title managed
with its first All Formats Number One since God of
War 2 in April 2007. The game was also the firm’s second fastest-selling PS3 title, behind last year’s
GT5: Prologue, and it is the publisher’s fourth fasting selling game of all time.
L FORMATS Highest New Entry
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
Highest Top 40 Climber
MY FITNESS COACH Wii
50 CENT: BLOOD ON THE SAND 360, PS3
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS
THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: OVERKILL Wii
CARNIVAL: FUNFAIR GAMES Wii, DS
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 MAC, PSP, PC
RACE PRO 360
LEGO INDIANA JONES DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360, PSP
TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360 EIDOS
PUZZLER COLLECTION DS
LEGO BATMAN DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360
PRO EVO 2009 PS3, PS2, PSP, PC, 360
MARIO KART DS DS
WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 PS3, PS2, 360, PSP, WII, DS
SAINTS ROW 2 PC, PS3, 360
NEW SUPER MARIO BROS DS
SONIC UNLEASHED 360, Wii, PS3, PS2
HALO 3 360
SHAUN WHITE SNOWBOARDING DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, 360, Wii, PC UBISOFT
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
UBISOFT WARNER BROS. KONAMI SONY NINTENDO
NINTENDO SEGA MICROSOFT
WORLD OF WARCRAFT
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
MYSTERYVILLE 2 GSP/AVANQUEST WOW: BURNING CRUSADE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD THE ORANGE BOX EA BEJEWELED 2 FOCUS AMAZING ADVENTURES: LOST TOMB FOCUS THE SIMS 2: MANSION & GARDEN EA AGE OF EMPIRES III MICROSOFT THEME HOSPITAL SOLD OUT SETTLERS: HERITAGE OF KINGS FOCUS
5 7 4 3 8 2 6 13 10
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
STREET FIGHTER IV SEGA MEGA DRIVE COLLECTION SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING FIFA ‘09 CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR LITTLEBIGPLANET CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE 50 CENT: BLOOD ON THE SAND GRAND THEFT AUTO IV
1 2 NEW
6 3 4 7 10 8
DEVELOPER: GUERRILLA GAMES PUBLISHER: SONY
WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
CAPCOM SEGA KONAMI EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SONY ACTIVISSION BLIZZARD THQ ROCKSTAR
[FULL PRICE] TITLE
DEVELOPER: BLIZZARD PUBLISHER: ACTVISION BLIZZARD
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
MARIO KART WII THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: OVERKILL MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE ANIMAL CROSSING: LET’S GO TO THE CITY GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR FAMILY SKI & SNOWBOARD DISNEY’S BOLT WINTER SPORTS 2009: THE NEXT CHALLENGE
2 3 4 5 6 7 NEW
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
to outsell the previous fastest-selling RTS, Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, by three-to-one. Elsewhere, Wii Fit drops 11 per cent in sales, tumbling from second to fourth place, and the latest in Konami’s Silent Hill series debuts at No. 11. Christopher Dring
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
STREET FIGHTER IV SEGA MEGA DRIVE COLLECTION SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR GRAND THEFT AUTO IV RACE PRO FIFA ‘09 CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE 50 CENT: BLOOD ON THE SAND
4 6 2 7 14 9
NINTENDO SEGA SEGA D3P NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ATARI DISNEY KOCH MEDIA
1 1 3
(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack
This time it was Sony that emerged victorious,
WEEK ENDING 28/02/09
DEVELOPER: ENSEMBLE PUBLISHER: MICROSOFT CAPCOM SEGA KONAMI ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ROCKSTAR ATARI EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD THQ
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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 GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR Total Console Repair Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21
AMA DISPLAYS . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1924 507217 . . . . . . . . . www.ama-displays.co.uk CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL SERVICES
GAME DEVELOPER HotGen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0)20 8603 0555 LOCALISATION Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 Testronic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 653 722 Universally Speaking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01480 210621 STORE FITTINGS AMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01924 507 217 Retail Entertainment Displays. . . . . . . . . . . . 01733 239001 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
IDEAL SOFTWARE . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1767 689720 . . . . . . . . . . www.idealsoftware.net
GEM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.gem.co.uk
56-61 MCV527_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 MARCH 13th
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 at the Brewery, London.
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, replicated ready for distribution and the packaging is made. 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 20th
PRE-OWNED SPECIAL As the global economy continues to suffer, retailers and consumers are increasingly turning to the pre-owned market to increase margins and save the pennies. MCV provides a series of features on the pros and cons of the often controversial second-hand video game sector. FRIDAY MARCH 27th
NINTENDO DS SPECIAL Nintendo’s global smash hit, the DS, is set to take the world by storm once again with the launch of the DSi. In preparation of the console’s release, MCV takes a look at the handheld’s already impressive history, and talks to retailers, publishers and peripheral manufacturers on what the trade can expect from Nintendo’s hot new product.
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 has been made available in recent weeks. 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.
FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT:
CHRIS.DRING@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org
56-61 MCV527_final:Layout 1
TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISC REPAIR
HIGH PERFORMANCE OPTICAL DISC REPAIR SYSTEMS Eco Senior Fully Automatic Repair System
Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month.
Entry Level Repair System
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.......................email@example.com
Call 01895 252191 for Introductory Offers Eco Master
50 disc Automatic Repair System
High Speed Optical Disc Inspection System
nDreams ................................+44(0) 1252 375754 Realtime Worlds ...................+44 (0) 1382 202 821 Rebellion..............................+44 (0) 1865 792 201
RTI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01895 252191 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.rtico.com DISTRIBUTION
Stainless Games ...............firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. All subscription requests should go to firstname.lastname@example.org MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk
56-61 MCV527_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 STORE FITTINGS
This week MCV speaks to Amiqus’ head of games recruitment Stig Strand… Could you tell us a little about Amiqus? Amiqus is one of the top five UK-based specialist recruitment suppliers to the games industry. We deliver a quality service to publishers and developers across the UK and EMEA. RETAIL ENTERTAINMENT DISPLAYS . . 01733 239001 . . . . . . . www.reddisplays.com LOCALISATION
What services do you offer? We offer permanent and contract staff to the games industry – not only in key specialisms of development and publishing, but across the whole business, including central services such as HR, finance, procurement and IT. We believe we’re the only firm in our sector which has this level of service and breadth of knowledge. Tell us something about Amiqus we didn’t know. We were originally established in Warrington, Cheshire as a joint venture with James Caan of Dragons’ Den fame.
PARTNERTRANS . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.partnertrans.com
Any exciting new developments happening at your company? We are currently investing in our technology infrastructure to enhance our reach throughout the industry. This includes a brand new website which we’re launching in the next few months, as well as new cutting edge internal technology. What are your hopes for the rest of the year? We’re working hard in the current economic climate to highlight the positives in our industry, the great roles that are available, and the talented people we speak to every day. Although 2009 has its challenges, we are confident that there will be great jobs for great people. We are looking to continue our expansion into Canada and the US and we hope to see our customers at trade events throughout 2009.
56-61 MCV527_final:Layout 1
TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR LOCALISATION
TESTRONIC LABORATORIES . . . +44 (0) 1753 653 722. . . . www.testroniclabs.com LOCALISATION
UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING . . . . . . . 01480 210621 . . . . . . . . . . . www.usspeaking.com
For all your Wii, DSi, iPhone and interactive toy development needs. Contact today.
One of Europe’s leading premier interactive game developers.
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.
HotGen Ltd. 7th Floor, Sunley House, Bedford Park, Croydon, Surrey. CR0 2AP United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)20 8603 0555 Fax:+44 (0)20 8603 0521 www.HotGen.com HOTGEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0)20 8603 0555 . . . . . . . . . . . . www.HotGen.com
Venmill Buffer from £1595
01202 489 500
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk
56-61 MCV527_final:Layout 1
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 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
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 that gives credit to the industry's most deserving
JULY DEVELOP CONFERENCE 2009 Thuesday, July 14th – Thursday, July 16th Brighton www.develop-conference.com 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 GAMESCOM Wednesday, August 19th Sunday, August 23rd Cologne, Germany www.gamescom-cologne.com
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk
PC RETAIL AWARDS 2009 Thursday, March 19th Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London jodie.holdway@ bhpr.co.uk
MCV's sister publication holds its prestigious awards for the PC retail industry. With all the categories from the 2008 event – and the addition of the new Industry Achievement award – the 2009 ceremony is set to be the social event of the year for anyone involved in the PC retail sector, and a well deserved celebration for the nominees.
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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 62 MCV 06/03/09
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 Fax: +48 71 343 98 96
PORTUGAL 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 -
ITALY INNELEC MULTIMEDIA 45 rue Delizy, 93692 PANTIN Cedex
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
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
Cidiverte Spa ...............................................Gallarate
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
Hitzona.............................................................Moscow Noviy Disk .......................................................Moscow
Gameworld BV............................Capelle A/D Ijssel
Micromedia BV...........................................Nijmegen Favour Games..................................................Tilburg
Rigu Sound B.V................2153 GB Nieuw Vennep
DTP ENTERTAINMENT AG GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD
Goldbekplatz 3-5, 22303 Hamburg, Germany
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
COMPUTERLAND DOO Kumodraska 45
11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Pan Vision Norway.....................................Trollasen
Tel:+381(0)11 309 95 95
Fax:+381(0)11 309 95 96
TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE
62,63 MCV527_final:Layout 1
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 06/03/09 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 JAPAN
SOUTH AFRICA Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg
BASCO, INC. VIDEO GAMES DISTRIBUTOR
Nu Metro Interactive ......................Johannesburg
Tel: 1-917-627-3000 Fax: 1-718-228-4401
Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID
Lamee Software S.L. .....................................Madrid
DREAMGEAR, LLC FRIENDWARE
20001 S. Western Ave.
Marques de Monteagudo 18,
Torrance, CA 90501
28028 Madrid, Spain`
Phone: 310-222-5522 x 111
Contact: Moris Mirzadeh Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034,
U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC.
16700 Schoenborn St.
Tel: +34 93 492 08 89
#2 North Hills, CA. 91343
Tel: +1 818 920 9393
VIRGIN PLAY Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11,
Red Entertainment Distribution ..................Dubai
28046 Madrid, Spain Tel: +34 91 789 35 50 Web: www.virginplay.es
PLUTO GAMES DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona
PO Box 10705, Office 103-104 Emirates Islamic Bank Building,Dubai, UAE. www.pluto-games.com Tel: +971 4261 8111 Fax: +971 4261 8112
Bergsala AB............................................Kungsbacka Panvision....................................................Stockholm
Modern Pluto Trading LLC...............Saudi Arabia
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The infamous R4 card, a device that allows DS owners to play pirated games and homebrew applications, has been successfully banned from sale in Japan. Kotaku reports that the Tokyo District Court has granted an injunction against the manufacturers of the R4 that makes it illegal for it to be sold at retail. In response, Nintendo, Square Enix and Capcom have backed the decision, labelling the R4 as a ‘violation’ of Japanese law. Many retailers had reportedly already removed the device from shelves for fear of prosecution, but this new legal ruling should see it vanishing from the country’s shops altogether. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Square Enix are both celebrating the success of Xbox 360 exclusive RPG Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope, which has entered the Japanese software charts in top spot. The game’s sales of 162,000 units eclipsed closest contender Mario & Luigi RPG 3 on DS, which claimed second position. Nintendo of America has dated a number of its upcoming big releases for the next quarter, and Punch Out’s arrival on May 18th leads the way. Also dated for the home machine is Excitebots: Trick Racing, the latest extension to the Excite franchise, which will be released on April 20th, and GameCube remake Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, which will join the New Play Control! range on May 4th. Funcom’s chief financial officer Olav Sandnes has stepped down from his position at the MMO publisher to take up a role in a different sector following the firm’s confirmation of losses in Q4 2008. He will remain in the role until a successor is found. In total, Funcom suffered an operating loss of $23m for the final quarter of last year. Revenues for the quarter, however, grew to $9m, up $1.2m yearon-year. It also reported a full year net-loss of $39m. It pinned the numbers on the lagging performance of MMO Age of Conan, whose user numbers are now believed to be below 100,000 – at one stage the game boasted 700,000 subscribers. Swedish prosecutors on Monday set out their case against The Pirate Bay, the internet’s leading BitTorrent file-sharing site, which at any one time has thousands of games, films and MP3s on offer that are free to download. Companies pursuing the site for damages include Warner Bros., MGM, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony, Universal and EMI, with claims totalling in excess of $12m to cover revenues lost due to illegal file-sharing.
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66 MCV527_final:47 MCV443
66 MCV 06/03/09
Aggressive pricing and bulk buying by supermarkets has only accelerated indies’ turning to pre-owned stock to drive sales, says our indie retailer forum user
‘Supermarket buying power has distorted the market’ An impassioned indie argues the case for survival of what he calls ‘the industry’s real specialist retailers’ IF YOU THINK the indie sector has been quiet in 2009 I suspect that many, like myself, are concentrating all their energies on their shop in one way or another. Personally, I’m getting worried. In our shop the main brand is DVD and a good selection of Blu-ray films also. The games in our shop, I would say, are 90 per cent preowned – we simply cannot afford to give Centresoft or Gem a minimum £300 order at a time. We did try this when we first started out last May 2008, but since then up till now we have been taking on many more pre-owned titles. And the kids and adults alike are happy with their swaps. I’m furious with all the supermarkets in the games sector. Asda vs Morrisons and
Tesco vs Sainsbury in the battle for supremacy… Who cares? These tossers are killing off us indies. Supermarkets should have never been allowed to sell the entertainment world to the casual consumer. How the
to their local supermarket and purchased it elsewhere. Otherwise the game becomes a loss leader, we lose money on selling it cheaper – and we feel the pinch from that, and then from the next sale and so on and so on.
Asda vs Morrisons and Tesco vs Sainsbury’s in the battle for supremacy... Who care? These tossers are killing indies.
Indie retailer on mcvuk.com/forum
bloody hell are we all meant to compete? It means we just cannot place small orders with the leading distributors. I don’t want five copies of Street Fighter IV sitting on my shop shelf for the next two months knowing that our local consumers have all been down
For games point of sale Centresoft have done a sterling job on providing us with as much as possible over the months. Although we haven’t been placing orders with them – for obvious reasons; i.e. credit crunch – they have been understanding in the fact that
we are still trying to pull local consumers into our shop to pre-order new titles. I’m hoping that all this will change and our local consumers will realise that it’s not just bloody Morrisons that does games and maybe they would be willing to spend an extra couple of quid to keep us in the game (no pun intended). Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and any other bloody supermarket or chain that thinks that they have the God given right to sell games as a loss leader, should clear off out of the industry, and give us indies the room to breathe. Us specialists know what we are talking about when it comes to selling these products – we’re not some spotty geek who works in Sainsbury’s or Tescos who, when asked about a gam,e has no knowledge or
desire to indulge their passion to the consumer. We are the dying breed – so take yer celery sticks you lot and shove it where the sun don’t shine! Anonymous indie retailer
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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.
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Terry Deary Author, Horrible Histories Derek Robertson Learning & Teaching Scotland Sean Dromgoole CEO, Some Research
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68 MCV 06/03/09
PIC OF THE
WEEK Garry Williams (and his mesmeric ability to combine celeb hunting with caucasian hip-hop hands) is back! This time, we capture MC Master Tronic with UK grime maestro Kano, plus unfamous mate. One for Garry to add to an odd photo collection that includes snaps with Spike Lee and Gus from EastEnders. Oh, how the other half live...
OFF THE RECORD
This week, Mastertronic’s Garry Williams meets a UK grime star as HMV does its bit for charity. Elsewhere, Nintendo’s Rob Saunders spills the beans...
READ ALL ABOUT IT When will the news editors of the UK’s national newspapers get a grip on games – and stop talking absolute nonsense? Here’s this week’s worst offender...
“Worried parents call for cinemastyle age ratings on ‘dangerous’ video games.” The Daily Mail February 27th, 2009
FETT ENGINE DIPLOMACY: KAZ HE DO IT? After some legendary ding dongs with Xbox – often played out on MCVuk.com – worldwide PlayStation boss Kaz Hirai found out this week that his department now encompasses Sony Vaio, the firm’s PC line. Which means he’ll now have to work closely with Microsoft and its operating system Windows. And you thought you had some tricky relationships to deal with in your office...
MCV’s own ad exec Rob Baker has launched a band so ‘rawk’ that Guitar Hero fans would be proud. Rob (far left) bangs skins in The Fetts and has a number of gigs coming up. You can learn more about the band at: www.thefetts.co.uk
MCV 06/03/09 70
ustry execs stop It’s the area of the mag where ind UK’s head of PR talking shop. This week, Nintendo stions... Rob Saunders answers our que
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
“Mentally, my inspiration is Yoda. Satorially, I’d have to give it to Marty McFly.”
JON BIGGS, MORRISONS
DEBBIE O’NEILL, COMET HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK?
WHO'S THE FUNNIEST PERSON YOU'VE EVER MET?
Turn off my Blackberry - although leaving the country is the only real way to escape.
After asking around and by broad consensus, I am the funniest person I know.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE GAME, FILM AND ALBUM OF ALL TIME?
WHO WAS YOUR INSPIRATION WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG - BOTH PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY?
Super Mario Bros. 3, Tron and Heartbreak by 808s a truly outstanding album, ahead of its time that in five years everyone will claim they loved and were the first to buy.
HMV’S FIGHTER FEVER
WHAT'S YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY?
HMV Cambridge held a Street Fighter 4 comp at the end of last month, raising a bundle of cash for the retailer’s charitable partner CLIC Sargant. Simon Wan (centre, top image) was the eventual champion, winning a copy of the game and a giant Millies Cookie for his efforts.
As cheesy as it is – getting the call from Nintendo. On top of that, there really are too many to mention without compromising members of the press and NUK personally and professionally.
Mentally, it’s Yoda. Sartorially, I’d have to give it to Marty McFly. WHEN WERE THE 'GOOD OLD DAYS'? 1991 to 2001: Those halcyon/heady days of high school and Uni, before real life kicked in and when playing Goldeneye in your pyjamas until 6pm wasn't frowned upon. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU LAUGHED UNTIL YOU WERE RED IN THE FACE? Tuesday, 11th May, 2006, 21:56.
GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON
DAVID POULTER, DSGI
IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO
ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS
STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK
505 Games’ Diva Girls will bring ‘Girl Power’ to a new generation. But which girl band used the phrase in the ‘90s? Answer correctly and win a copy of each game in the range.
A. The Spice Girls B. The Sugar Girls C. Boyzone
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ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2008
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