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Take pictures

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and play with them And of yourself using the inner camera!

Take pictures of the world outside using the outer camera!

Play with them!

Edit pictures in real time or even after you‘ve taken them!

Create your own personal photo diary

Take your pictures wherever you go!

Play with sounds

Slide through and zoom on your pictures!

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Record sounds!

Speak into the mic!

Pick from your sound samples

Play with them!

Change pitch and speed!

Make your voice sound different

Take music everywhere with you! Add effects! Add filters! Copy AAC files onto an SD card and put it into your Nintendo DSi

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Mix it!

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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES

Issue 529 Friday March 20 2009 £3.25

25 YEARS

04 Wii trade surprise Retail responds to news of the cost price rise for Nintendo’s home console

08 ‘New Woolworths’ debuts

International Media Partner

Former director plans to open 300strong chain, with games a priority

15 Creative Peak South Peak details its plans for new IP and expansion in the UK and Europe

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEM One of the UK’s leading distributors celebrates its silver jubilee. We take a look back at its history – and what it’s planning for the next 25…

EVERY BUYER  EVERY BRANCH  EVERY INDIE  EVERY WEEK

INCORPORATING

Industry still has an image problem, admits Sony boss Games must build on success of BAFTAs and Paddington Academy role, says Ray Maguire by Stuart Dinsey SONY Computer Entertainment’s UK boss Ray Maguire believes the games industry must work harder to change negative perceptions. Writing exclusively for MCV, Maguire has reflected on the recent Department of Health advert which targeted gaming as a dangerously sedentary pursuit.

image of this industry has hardly changed at all. These days our products address a much wider marketplace. But what strategy do we really have when it comes to good news? This is a crucial question for all of us and very much for our trade body ELSPA.” Maguire believes that the industry has many positives to promote, such as this week’s

The industry has changed more in the past five years than the previous 15. But the public’s view has hardly shifted. Ray Maguire, SCE UK

He says that rather than being outraged, the industry must accept a large number of people hold a downbeat view of gaming: “The industry has changed more in the past five years than it did in the previous 15, but the public’s

formal opening of the Paddington Academy, cofunded with the Government. “We have put £2.2m into the Academy, which effectively got the Government to build it. “We have also shown at the BAFTAs that we are a grown-up

Pannell to join Ubisoft

RAY OF LIGHT: SCE UK MD says industry must fight negative views

industry focused on art and creativity. We have many positive messages, such as commercial significance to the UK economy, widening links with education and products that encourage social skills, even fitness. But we are not getting the message across well enough.” Maguire hopes that the industry’s trade body ELSPA

can help to co-ordinate positive messaging about the industry going forward. “We must reach out to the public and the media with our positive actions. And we must get closer to the Government, assisting them with their tasks and becoming partners.”  Read the full piece by Ray Maguire on page 12

‘We’ll widen the gap,’ says GAME by Michael French LEADING SPECIALIST retailer GAME plans to stay ahead of other chains by chasing exclusive deals with publishers and finding other new ways to attract consumers. That’s according to new COO Terry Scicluna, who this week outlined to MCV his “compelling vision for our stores, staff and suppliers” that will ensure both the GAME

and Gamestation chains maintain their leading position. Scicluna said: “GAME and GameStation provide great service – but we’re a specialist, we should always provide that. So how do we make sure there is clear blue water between us and our competitors?” The answer, he said, lies in a number of initiatives, including own brand titles and securing timed exclusives – and possibly even working with developers.

GAME’s COO Scicluna says the chain will stay ahead of its rivals

“One of our pillars is ‘Only at GAME’ or ‘Only at Gamestation’ and we want to develop that. Our research says it is really trusted,” he said. “We’re working through a whole number of options at the moment. I’ve set the team off on a mission to find out what we can do to differentiate us – it’s a great opportunity, and speaking to developers as well could be an option that we would look at for the future.”

UBISOFT’S search for a new UK marketing director is over: the publisher has confirmed to MCV that it has hired Microsoft man Murray Pannell for the job. The impressive swoop ends a six-year stint for Pannell (pictured) at Microsoft, where he was group product manager for Xbox 360 and Games for Windows. Prior to his time at Microsoft, Pannell worked at EA as a part of the publisher’s European marketing team. He joins Chertsey-based Ubisoft as marketing director on April 27th, replacing Jon Rosenblatt – who was appointed European marketing boss for EA Sports at the end last year. “I’m delighted to welcome Murray to the UK team as our new marketing director,” said Rob Cooper, Ubisoft’s UK MD. “He has a wealth of marketing experience and is a popular and well respected industry figure. “With an amazing range of both franchised titles and brand new games planned for the coming months, we’re expecting another successful year and I know Murray has all the experience and drive to bring these products to market in a major way.”

PERSONNEL 34 RETAIL BIZ 39 NEW RELEASES 53 HIGH STREET 54 CHARTS 56

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NEWS

[LEADER] GAME’S PLAN WHEN RETAILERS across the UK reported their financials at the start of the year, and the mainstream media decided to focus on the credit crunch and economic slide, it was irksome to see GAME Group not given enough kudos. In a wash of frowning newsreaders, red arrows and general gloom, GAME was a shining light, beating expectations for the retail market and being one of the few chains to turn a profit. Sure, it is benefitting from the potency of the games industry and is very much the first point of contact for a large chunk of the cash flooding into the market. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they see it as an easy job or are getting complacent, hence COO Terry Scicluna’s talk this week of his ’compelling vision’ for the firm’s GAME and Gamestation chains. While this week’s glimpse into that vision on the cover (we’ll be going in-depth on it all next week) might include reference to that controversial own brand publishing, this is not something – as we said last summer – which should raise fears. Instead, view it as another sign of the efforts a leading retailer will go to in order to secure its position and keep driving customer interest. At a time when there are pressures from supermarkets, online, and even consumer apathy – and customers are being really savvy about how they are spending their money – it’s the kind of ambition you can only admire.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT? A few weeks ago when discussing the DS, I said that Nintendo was bucking conventional wisdom of ‘the only way is down’ on hardware pricing by introducing the more expensive DSi model. Today those words seem a little ridiculous given the ire raised by the hike in the Wii’s trade price – same console, more money. But the issue here isn’t really isolated to Nintendo. It’s just that as one of the most cost-conscious companies in the games industry (remember it doesn’t do anything if it will generate a loss, unlike the ‘invest now, maybe profit later’ approaches taken by everyone else), so is arguably just the first mover on this issue. In our discussion with GAME’s Terry Scicluna he said that these price rises are ’inevitable’; a view you can’t really disagree with when you’re calculating the cost of goods in Euro terms and the pricing can swing up 30 per cent in an instant. So right now, retail shouldn’t be focusing its anger on Nintendo – it should isnstead be working out ways to put together bundles and offers that can offset what will hopefully be a temporary issue. If the economy really can ’talk itself out of the recession’ by finding ways to encourage consumer spending, as one format holder boss suggested to me a few weeks ago, this certainly would be one way to do it. Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk

UK retail ‘stunned’ by Play, Sainsbury’s, Comet, CHIPS and HMV all contemplate street by Christopher Dring UK RETAILERS have told MCV they are ‘surprised’ by news that Nintendo has raised the trade cost of the Wii, and are currently evaluating a new street price. Nintendo Wii’s trade price is set to increase by around £16.50 (approximately £19 including VAT) due to the ‘continuing depreciation of the pound’ – although a similar price rise on Nintendo’s other hardware has yet to materialise.

current price for as long as possible, but of course they will have to raise it. They won’t sell consoles at a loss for a sustained period.” Comet’s Debbie O’Neill added: “The price increase has come as a surprise for us and as you can imagine, not a welcome one. It puts Comet in a difficult position.” ShopTo.com founder Igor Cipolletta understands Nintendo’s decision, but hopes the rise won’t adversely affect Wii sales. He said: “Shopto.com

The price increase has come as an unwelcome surprise for us. It puts us in a bit of a difficult position. Debbie O’Neill, Comet

“We will raise the price of the Wii,” states CHIPS joint MD Don McCabe. “I don’t foresee a problem with the consumer as long as the quality of software continues. “Chains and supermarkets will probably try and hold the

is currently selling the Wii at £166.37, but with the new price there is no margin for us even at £179.99. “I hope that end users will end up accepting Nintendo’s decision and carry on buying the machine.”

One area set to suffer the most from the increase is the independent sector – and some long-serving specialists have warned they may have to drop Wii hardware from their range. “All the big chains will keep the £179.99 price and all the indies are going to look like they are putting the prices up,” said Discover (Stranraer) manager Ronnie McColm. “I am not sure if I will keep stocking the Wii. It will depend on what our rivals do.” Hugh Sim of Bolts Electrical of Shetlands added: “I’m

Luzio leaves Play as Arran the services of ex-EUK senior and was a long-serving member PLAY.COM’S head of games games buyer and long-term of MCV’s Retail Advisory Board. Gian Luzio has left the online industry exec Nick Arran. Prior to joining Play, Luzio giant, MCV has learnt. In his new role, Arran will was employed at Midas as UK Luzio had been employed at take up the new position of sales manager. Play for seven years, and senior buyer picked up three for games at MCV Awards for the major best online Luzio picked up three MCV supermarket, retailer in 2006, Awards – and was and will 2007 and 2008. instrumental in the creation work The Play.com of Play.com Live. alongside games team fellow buyer claimed Golden Gurdeep Joystick awards Hunjan. Arran began his MCV understands that Luzio for best retailer in 2005 and career in the industry working is set to join another leading 2008, securing significant for ill-fated online retailer entertainment retail outfit after market share in Special Reserve, and has since leaving his post. the process. Luzio was also taken on highly successful Meanwhile, supermarket instrumental in the creation of roles at Gamestation, Amazon giant Sainsbury's has secured last year’s Play.com Live event,

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NEWS

Wii price hike

[PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10

price rise  Indies to ditch Wii hardware?

WWE LEGENDS OF WRESTLEMANIA PS3 THQ

2. THE SIMS 3 PC ........................................................EA

3. WWE LEGENDS OF WRESTLEMANIA 360 ....................................................THQ

WII MATTERS: CHIPS’ Don McCabe, Comet’s Debbie O’Neill and ShopTo’s Igor Cipolletta all say their business could be affected by the rise in Wii’s trade price

stunned they’ve put the price up. Demand is still very high at the moment, but if other retailers keep the Wii at £179.99, then I will be forced to stop stocking the console.” Other top retailers, including Asda, Sainsbury’s, HMV, Play and Morrisons have told MCV that they are ‘digesting’ the news, and will announce their new pricing plans in the coming weeks.

joins Sainsbury’s

Gian Luzio and Nick Arran have both moved roles in the UK trade

and most recently, Entertainment UK. During his time at EUK, he was seen as one of the influential buyers in the domestic games business, and was responsible for EUK’s

relationship with Electronic Arts, Sony and Ubisoft. He was tasked with buying software and hardware for all six of EUK’s High Street customers and last year he was named in MCV’s 30 under 30.

Resident Evil 5 set for long-tail success

4. TEKKEN 6 PS3 ..................................................ATARI

5. RIDDICK: ASSAULT ON DARK ATHENA 360 ..................................................ATARI

Full Easter marketing campaign unveiled CAPCOM is elated following the success of last week’s Resident Evil 5, and the publisher is confident the game will continue to sell ‘all year round’. The title claimed over 27 per cent of console game revenues this week, and Capcom plans to bolster sales with a full Easter TV, online and retail push.

job of delivering a high quality piece of entertainment that will continue to reach out to the wider gaming market. “Yes it’s the fastest selling Resident Evil to date, but we’re keen to maintain momentum to sustain a healthy sales curve. “This title is not about day one, week one or

This is the fastest selling Resident Evil to date – but we’re keen to maintain a healthy sales curve. Michael Pattison, Capcom

“As with many of Capcom’s titles, Resident Evil is a brand that transcends games and occupies a space in the wider entertainment category,” said Capcom Europe senior marketing director Michael Pattison. “It’s fair to say we’ve come a long way since the franchise was born in 1996. We put in place a strategy to ensure that Resident Evil 5 would resonate beyond the existing fanbase and so we’re keen not to rest on our laurels based on the first weekend sales. “The team behind the product has done a sterling

360 ..........................................MICROSOFT

7. GHOSTBUSTERS 360 ..................................................ATARI

8. UFC 2009 UNDISPUTED PS3 ....................................................THQ

9. GHOSTBUSTERS PS3 ..................................................ATARI

10. MADWORLD WII....................................................SEGA Week ending March 20th Source: SHOPTO.COM

indeed the first month. “We believe Resident Evil 5 has the quality to continue to be competitive as a choice for consumers throughout the year. “We’re backing that with continued support on TV through April, with online and outdoor ads also featuring beyond Easter, along with extensive retail programmes. “But we’re not done there: We’ve recently announced Versus Mode, which will offer consumers the opportunity to download some additional content.” Capcom: 020 8846 2566

6. ALAN WAKE

[MARKET VALUE]

£30.9m 35

30

25

20

15

10

5

£32.4m

£29.2m

£30.9m

1,320,525 Units

1,223,968 Units

1,223,328 Units

Week Ending February 27th

Week Ending March 7th

Week Ending March 14th

0

Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media

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Retail reports BAFTA boom Video game sales leap at High Street and online chains  BAFTA masks used to highlight software in GAME stores by Christopher Dring RETAIL GIANTS Play.com and GAME have benefited from a sales surge following last week’s BAFTA video game awards. Play.com smashed its target for new customers for the week, with a 14 per cent increase in new customers over the firm’s target figures. Meanwhile, GAME Group’s COO Terry Scicluna told

GAME Award of 2008 which was voted for by the public. “In all GAME stores the nominated games were stickered as official BAFTA nominees, and in the last week the winning games have been re-stickered to highlight their Award success. It was brilliant that over 60,000 people voted for the GAME Award on our specially created site, which then

BAFTA received more media interest than ever this year. It stands to reason that would translate into sales. Anne-Marie Flynn, BAFTA

MCV that a ‘real buzz’ had been created following last week’s ceremony. “The reaction in GAME stores and online to the BAFTAs has been fantastic,” enthused Scicluna. “We’ve been promoting the awards heavily – to raise the profile of the nominated and winning games as well as the

THE WINNERS Best Game: Super Mario Galaxy Action/Adventure: Fable II Sports: Race Driver: GRID GAME Award/Story & Character/Gameplay: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Casual: Boom Blox Technical Achievement: Spore Handheld: Professor Layton and the Curious Village Original Score/Use of Audio: Dead Space Artistic Achievement: LittleBigPlanet

linked through to game.co.uk so that customers could buy the games straight away.” BAFTA’s head of Awards Anne-Marie Flynn was delighted by the news: “BAFTA’s power and influence in terms of films can have a major impact on the box office. This year in games we received more media interest than ever before, so it

Strategy: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution Multiplayer: Left 4 Dead BAFTA One To Watch (in association with Dare to Be Digital):

Boro-Toro

stands to reason that this heightened profile and awareness would translate into an upsurge in sales. “Our sponsor GAME has been a wonderful partner and

has really pulled out the stops to maximise the power of the brand in-store. In addition we have had requests from companies for the artwork to

sticker their games – and I am sure that even more will take advantage of this opportunity in the run-up to Easter.” BAFTA: 020 7734 0022

jOg around in April Gamebridge gets Happy A NEW health and fitness peripheral for Nintendo Wii will arrive in April. Re:creation’s jOG utilises lower body motion sensor technology to measure your steps and translate them to movement in game, not only making gaming a more immersive experience, but also giving a gentle workout, contributing to our recommended 10,000 steps per day. Designed and manufactured by New Concept Gaming, the accessory starred at both Toy

Fair 2009 and CES in Las Vegas. It will be priced at around £24.99 on release. Deputy MD at re:creation Seth Bishop said: “We’ve had an excellent reaction from the trade to date, and jOG forms an important part of our company’s long term strategy in the gaming peripheral market. Toy Fair 2009 is a milestone for jOG and we’re looking forward to bringing it to market in April.” www.recreationplc.com

NEW EURO publisher Gamebridge has revealed details of its first releases. Each will come to market in collaboration with sales and

Nintendo DS gamers – aged just three to five. It will retail at the value price of £19.99. “There is a proven market for this genre of product and at

There is a proven market for this genre of product. We feel we have the right proposition for retail and consumers.

Logan Gunasingham, Gamebridge

distribution partner Rising Star, as revealed in MCV last week. The first game due from the publisher in the UK is Happy Bakery for Nintendo DS on May 29th. It is a cooking simulation aimed at the very youngest of

this price point we feel we can hit the ground running with the right proposition for retailers and consumers,”

said Gamebridge product manager Logan Gunasingham. Other DS titles on the way include Moon in June and Happy Party with Hello Kitty & Friends. Gamebridge is the result of a joint venture between Tokyobased developer Interchannel and Nordic Nintendo distributor Bergsala. It will publish games for all platforms that were created or licensed by Interchannel from studios from Japan and around the world. Rising Star: 01582 433700

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Microsoft hails ‘evergreen’ Xbox 360 Classics range

TRADE BULLETIN

UK office says Halo 3, Mass Effect and PGR 4 price reduction offers retail ‘perennial sales’ by Tim Ingham MICROSOFT HAS predicted that Halo 3, Mass Effect and PGR 4 will go on to become ‘evergreen’ sellers after it added the games to its Xbox 360 Classics Range. The titles will now retail for around £19.99, alongside other Xbox 360 Classics such

Simpsons in a very impressive portfolio of titles that offers great games at incredible value. “These latest three additions are some of the very biggest and best blockbuster games available on any platform.

These classics are steady, valuable and evergreen titles that customers will perenially be interested in. Stephen McGill, Microsoft

as Crackdown, Gears Of War and Saints Row. Microsoft’s head of gaming and entertainment Stephen McGill told MCV: “We’re very pleased to add these three fantastic titles to our range of Classic titles, joining the likes of Assassin’s Creed, Need For Speed: Most Wanted and The

“Classics as you’d expect don’t normally generate the kind of pre-orders you’d see on triple-A new releases, and are instead steady, valuable and evergreen titles that we know customers will perennially be interested in and will continue to engage with.”

OUT 27th MARCH 2009 PC-DVD

BattleForge is an online real-time strategy game. In the game players are Skylords, beings with god-like powers that summon legendary creatures to do their bidding. Creatures, units, spells and buildings are represented by virtual trading cards, which are brought to life in the game through cutting edge animated graphics

MCGILL: Microsoft’s head of entertainment says new Classics range additions will be yearround sellers

McGill took the opportunity to enjoy Microsoft taking 55 per cent of week one sales for Resident Evil 5. He added: “There’s a regular release of great new games on Xbox 360 as you’d expect – Resident Evil 5 being the latest example of a

huge multi-format release that gained its lion’s share of sales on our platform – but our Classics range is a key way for customers to be reminded of the portfolio that already exists.” Microsoft: 0870 601 0100

‘Gamers want new IP,’ says South Peak OTHERS might be cutting back on new IP, but South Peak has told MCV that it is committed to original ideas. The publisher is releasing a number of titles based on new IP over the next few months – including Velvet Assassin,

Xbox 360, PS3, PC-DVD

On the eve of the Cuban revolution, a major mob meeting in Havana takes a bloody turn. The Don of your family is killed, and you must take the reigns and lead your battered organization. Build up your arsenal, forge alliances, and make whatever deals you need to as you fight off attacks and strike back at your rivals. There’ll be a price on your head and a target on your back, but don’t take it personally. After all, it’s only business.

European MD Jonathan Hales told MCV in an exclusive interview this week. “So finding that right mix of IP and quality is what is important to us – I’m sure all the publishers say that, but for a newer company like ours that

Finding the right mix of new IP and quality is important. For a new company, that approach is key. Jonathan Hales, South Peak

Raven Squad and Section 8 – as it looks to establish its brand in the UK. “People are always looking for something new,” UK and

OUT 10th APRIL 2009

OUT 5th JUNE 2009

approach is key. Our point of view is that it’s better to spend our marketing budget on good promotion rather than spend it on a licence.”

PC/Mac-DVD HALES: South Peak boss says UK office’s duties could soon grow

The publisher’s products come from signings made by its US HQ – combined with titles it acquired from Gamecock last year. Explained Hales: “We are a sales and marketing office,

but that could change in future to include product development too.”  Read the full interview with Hales on page 15 South Peak: 0203 178 4110

Create unique Sims with personalities and control their lives. Customise everything from their appearances to their homes. Fulfil their life destiny making their wishes come true (or not!). Explore new locations around town. Go online to connect with other players and show off your creations. Get inspired by the endless creative possibilities and unexpected moments of surprise and mischief.

ea.com

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‘New Woolworths’ calls for games industry backing ahead of launch Games to dominate entertainment section of new venture from Woolies’ former director  300 stores planned by Tim Ingham THE FORMER commercial director of Woolworths has told MCV that games will play a “key role” in his new nationwide retail chain. Tony Page has secured £10 million in funding for his new venture, which will contain

“As far as our entertainment offer goes, games will be at the heart of it,” he told MCV. “Games and DVD will play a really key role there and should take up much more shelf space than music.” The chain will stock many of the product lines that made Woolworths famous. However,

There’s a role for us in those market towns where there aren’t many alternatives for entertainment consumers.

many of the same product lines of Woolworths. Page says he can acquire up to 300 stores in the next three years in the UK’s market towns – many of them in exWoolworths locations. Page is yet to name the business, but says the first outlet will be open in June. An office will be established in Maidenhead this month.

Tony Page

Page said that the video games industry would have to engage with the business if games were to be a success. “The key for us is to make sure we can find appropriate, consistent supply, and without Entertainment UK we’ve got to look at other players for assistance. We want the support from the entire entertainment industry.

NEW LOCATIONS: Tony Page has highlighted several empty High Street stores in UK market towns

“The credit crunch is on our side this time. There are a lot of properties that are lying empty. We’re always looking for landlords – and we will do so much more aggressively once we’re set up and have

money in the bank. There’s a role for us in those market towns – there aren’t many alternatives for entertainment consumers at the moment since Woolworths went into administration.”

In this week’s On The Radar, MCV takes a closer looks at Atari’s upcoming release slate...

AFRO SAMURAI Released: March 27th Formats: Xbox 360, PS3 Afro battles to avenge his father’s death in this blood-splattered hack n’ slash. True to the original anime, it features Samuel L. Jackson and music from The RZA.

 

ON THE RADAR

“There are high expectations for Atari’s 2009 line-up. Working with Namco Bandai’s games, as well as different developers and publishers, allows us to broaden our offering and include more family-orientated releases, such as Family Ski and Snowboard, Namco Museum and Ready to Rumble Revolution. Having acquired Cryptic Studios, MMOs will increasingly feature, both on PC and console, including Champions Online and Star Trek Online. [OPINION] Titles such as Chronicles of Riddick, The Witcher, Demigod and Tekken 6 will further underpin our credentials in the core gaming market. With a rapidly maturing market and a dramatically diverse audience, it is important for us to ensure that our multi-platform games such as Ghostbusters are tailored for each platform. That’s why the PS3 and 360 game is being developed independently from the Wii and DS versions.” Lauren Bradley, Product Manager, Atari UK

CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK: ASSAULT ON DARK ATHENA Released: April 24th Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Assault on Dark Athena is the all new Riddick campaign. The acclaimed Escape from Butcher Bay has also been remade, giving two games on one disc.

Page added that the chain would concentrate on chart titles, with a small presence for back catalogue titles. Woolworths ceased trading in January this year, leaving 27,000 people unemployed.

[ALSO COMING] GAMES FOR LAPTOP RANGE Released: March 27th Formats: PC NARUTO SHIPPUDEN 4 Released: May Formats: PS2 CHAMPIONS ONLINE Released: Spring Formats: PC

NAMCO MUSEUM VIRTUAL ARCADE

DEMIGOD

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE VIDEO GAME

Released: April Formats: 360

Released: May Formats: 360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, DS

Released: June 19th Formats: 360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, DS

30 classically addictive arcade games available exclusively on Xbox 360 including nostalgic favourites such as Pac-Mania, Dig Dug and other titles making their console debut.

Demigod blends action, strategy and role-playing elements into a thrilling new experience where the player can wage massive, earth-shattering battles across a series of arenas.

Featuring a new story based two years after Ghostbusters II, Ghostbusters: The Video Game lets the player battle well-loved and brand new ghosts across New York City.

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Sponsored by

Zoo becomes Zushi Games Brand new British publisher emerges following brief dalliance with US ownership by Stuart Dinsey A NEW LABEL called Zushi Games launches next month, built from what was previously Zoo Digital Publishing. The original Sheffield-based Zoo was bought by US outfit Greenscreen Inc a year ago, but bosses Ian Stewart and Barry Hatch regained control of the firm via a management buy-out in November.

“As a business, we will be better off independent. We’re a British company again and we’re very confident for the future but that isn’t to say we would not look to partner with someone else in the future. That will depend on the opportunities and needs of the business. “Greenscreen has since changed its name to Zoo Inc, which has brought about the

We are a British company again and as a business we will be better off being independent. Ian Stewart, Zushi

The new Zushi company and label will be launched with its own portfolio of Nintendo Wii and DS titles, whilst also boosting its portfolio by distributing some Greenscreen (Zoo Inc) games. “The original deal just didn’t work out as well as it was supposed to. Things certainly weren’t helped by the economy,” Stewart told MCV.

VENOM: The peripherals manufacturer has moved into a new 13,000 square foot warehouse and office building in Hertfordshire. The extra warehouse space enables the firm to hold all its stock in one location. NORDCURRENT: Minon: Everyday Hero will be released for the Wii on the April 24th, with a retail price of £29.99. SEGA: House Of The Dead: Overkill has entered the Guinness World Records for the most swearing found in a game. The title boasts 189 uses of the f-word.

need for us to change our name to Zushi.” Zushi expects to release 2025 titles a year. The first titles in its line-up include the Wii Fit balance board-compatible Skate City Heroes, plus Puzzle Kingdoms for Nintendo Wii and DS, which is developed by the studio that made the popular Puzzle Quest.

NEW ZOO: Stewart (left) and Hatch (right) regained control of the Sheffield-based outfit via a management buy out in November

Also on the schedule are self-developed titles Jelly Belly’s Ballistic Beans, Love Is In Bloom and Smiley World Island Challenge. “Small publishers can survive in the market. In fact, this is a good time to be fleet of foot. We don’t have the

same pressures as the big boys,” added Stewart. “Zushi will focus on midprice titles with realistic expectations but watch this space as there are exciting opportunities ahead for some big titles.” Zushi: 0114 263 6030

Grainger targets four new stores INDIE CHAIN Grainger Games has expanded its presence in the North East by opening the first of four new stores. The indie opened the doors to its new branch in Thornaby, North Yorkshire on Friday March 20th. Three additional branches will be opened over the next two months across the North East. The retailer’s managing director Stephen Bowyer said: “This year we have identified four new premises and continued with our expansion plans. March and April will see new stores opening in Thornaby, Byker, Billingham and Darlington.”

[IN BRIEF]

STORE GROWTH: Grainger Games has highlighted four new premises

One of the most rapidly expanding indies in the UK, Grainger Games has come a long way since starting as a single market stall. Within the first eight years of business, the

company opened nine stores, as well as a head office and distribution centre. Grainger Games continued to open new stores, with more than five outlets introduced

during 2008, as the retailer developed a strong presence in the North East. “Because of our self sufficiency, we are able to move quickly when potential new premises are identified,” said Bowyer. “Once a location has been found and the legal process has been completed, we can stock and open a new store in a week. “We are now a major employer in the North East, and have built up a strong brand following. We hope to continue with the planned growth, expanding into new areas in the near future.” Grainger: 0191 218 1829

CAPCOM: Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, a follow-up to 2007’s The Umbrella Chronicles, has been announced. The game will arrive this winter. NINTENDO: More than 100 million DS units have been shipped worldwide. 83 titles have achieved sales of more than one million units each, while seven have shifted over 10 million copies each. CYBERSPORTS: Football Superstars, the publisher’s football-based MMO, has been improved with a range of new features and additions. This includes the introduction of Sheffield FC’s home grounds, celebrating the signing of a shirt sponsorship deal with the world’s oldest football club.

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NEWS POTENTIAL: Oxygen is looking to capitalise on the success of brain training games with its Challenge Me range

Oxygen enters selfimprovement sector Publisher ‘trains brains’ with duo of new DS releases by Christopher Dring PUBLISHER Oxygen is set to capitalise on the ‘brain training’ boom with its new DS range, Challenge Me. The new line launches next week with Challenge Me Brain Puzzles and Maths Workout, with more titles scheduled for the beginning of next year. Each game is aimed at both the younger and older DS users, and the firm is planning an extensive TV and online marketing campaign in support “Challenge Me is a new Oxygen label aimed at bringing new titles for the growing self-improvement consumer segment,” said the firm’s Emma Jenkins. “We think the range will perform

strongly given the growth in the selfimprovement market segment, the strength of video games as a whole and the value price point we’ve selected for the titles. “We’re marketing the games as a range to maximise cross-sell opportunities for the initial and future titles. Right now we are in the midst of a strong, mainstream gaming and lifestyle PR campaign that will continue beyond the launch at the end of this month. Building on this awareness, there will be an online and TV marketing blast at the end of March through April targeted primarily at the adult self-improvement audience.” Oxygen: 01933 442660

Avanquest campaign gets gamers motoring THE OFFICIAL GAME OF THE MOVIE

APRIL 2009

For independent sales please contact Advantage on 0121 506 9585.

MOVIE OUT WEDS 8 APRIL

DRAGONBALL Motion Picture © 2009 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Based on the DRAGONBALL graphic novel series created by Akira Toriyama. All rights reserved. DRAGONBALL TM & © Bird Studio/Shueisha, Inc. All rights reserved. Game: © 2009 NBGI. “PlayStation”, “” and “PSP” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Memory Stick Duo™ may be required (sold separately). The ratings icon is a registered trademark of the Entertainment Software Association. All other trademarks belong to their respective owners.

AVANQUEST is giving away a free driving lesson with every copy of its upcoming title Pass Your Driving Theory Test DS. The game arrives in March and is designed to help hopeful drivers to learn enough to pass their theory test. While similar titles have been released on DS in the past, this is the first to offer a free driving lesson, which will be from LDC, the UK’s third biggest driving school, and worth £26.

“Our free driving lesson with each copy of Pass Your Driving Theory Test DS is a practical benefit and a value for money offering when you consider the software retails at £19.99,” said Simon Reynolds, Avanquest’s European games director. “With 1.5 million learner drivers taking their theory test each year, the potential market is huge and self replenishing every year. We expect this offer to attract learner drivers and enable retailers to fulfil a great need in the market.” Avanquest: 01962 835000

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MCV 20/03/09 11

NEWS

EEK W E H T F O N G I A CAMP MADWORLD

Sega’s super stylish and ultraviolent Wii action game lands at retail this week, and the publisher has backed the hardcore title with a hefty amount of marketing activity… Online Sega is focusing its efforts on a heavyweight online push to specialist and mainstream websites. The publisher promises that the online campaign will take place in high impact areas, with special launch zones, countdown calendars, re-skins and channel takeovers. Traditional banners and MPUs will also be used. TV Another major part of the campaign is a two-week long terrestrial and satellite TV push. The campaign is set around post-watershed programmes that target 16-34 year-olds, such as film, sport, comedy and drama. Print As well as reviews, features and various brand activation stunts, Sega

RELEASED: MARCH 20 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: SEGA DEVELOPER: PLATINUM GAMES PRICE: £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388 has also placed several single page ads in specialist video game publications. PR MadWorld has already notched up extensive coverage, including multiple features and magazine covers in the likes of Edge and Official Nintendo Magazine. Sega has also been releasing special ‘sports trailers’ and mini-games, that have been seeded through key blogs and community websites.

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RAY MAGUIRE WRITES FOR MCV

“Our industry has changed, now let’s change how we are viewed” From BAFTA collaboration and university courses to Paddington Academy funding and Games Based Learning programmes, our industry has much to be proud of. But, as the recent Change 4 Life advert has demonstrated, negative perceptions remain in the wider world. How do we lose them? Sony Computer Entertainment’s UK managing director Ray Maguire explains…

I MUST ADMIT that when I first saw the Change 4 Life ‘PlayStation’ ad I felt exactly the same way as everyone else. How could this happen? How could the Department of Health and the charities, the ad agency, all get this so wrong? It was sloppy marketing to say the least and typical of what we have come to expect from certain quarters when it comes to our stereotype. But if you put yourself in the position of their marketing department, then what would you do to gain the greatest awareness of obesity and sedentary lifestyles? Clearly, the ad targeted many people’s paranoia, the kind that is often amplified by media such as the Daily Mail. But anyone who knows anything about games, which is half the population these days, will have immediately dismissed the ad as irrelevant. The other half, who don’t play games, would have immediately accepted the stereotype.

The industry has changed more in the past five years than in the previous 15, but the general public’s image of this industry has hardly changed at all. Games marketing in the 1980s and ‘90s was anarchic and controversial, with giant poster ads featuring baths full of blood for Resident Evil and all sorts of other shock tactics.

Recently, following the Byron Review, the industry has had to deal with the Government looking into the way we run our business. The work done by ELSPA since then has been tremendous. But there is still a disconnect between ELSPA and many of its members, as there doesn’t seem to be a joined up approach to promoting industry positives. ELSPA has had to We are a grown up industry significantly up its game promoting creativity. But we because of Byron and it must link with education and has its strongest ever board, populated by Government more in future. leading publishers and platform holders. But That’s what the population saw. And there is a real need for all of us to look that’s what they remember. Whilst our at the games industry’s image. We must industry used this strategy to appeal to try to correct the stereotypical opinion what was then its only target market, that non-gamers have of us. we left a dangerous legacy. As the BAFTA Video Game Awards These days, of course, our products recently demonstrated, this is now a address a wider marketplace. But what grown-up industry centred on art, strategy do we have when it comes to creativity and innovation. good news? This is a crucial question for Our charity initiatives, such as the all of us, and our trade body ELSPA. ESC’s original pledge to the Paddington

Academy (which saw us raise £2.2m and the Government put in £20m to green-light the project) are very impressive. Over £11m has been raised by this industry over the years, which by any industry’s standards is a very decent amount. But guess what? No one knows about that. The games industry must constantly demonstrate when it has been a cause for good. We must explore what elements we have that are positive, such as our contribution to GDP and technical training at colleges and in-house. We provide hugely good value entertainment and we have growing links with education. We are a modern, growing industry that promotes art and creativity. The products that we make often aid social interaction, improving life skills and even fitness. ELSPA and the industry at large must find ways of getting a lot closer to the Government, to assist them with their tasks. We must become partners. Then the stereotype might just fade.

For Sales Enquiries Please Contact Centresoft on: 0121 625 3883

Copyright Š 2008 SouthPeak Interactive Corporation. "SouthPeak", "SouthPeak Interactive", "SouthPeak Games" and their related logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SouthPeak Interactive Corporation. All rights reserved. Copyright Š 2008 Replay Studios GmbH. Replay Studios, the Replay Studios logo, and Velvet Assassin, Violette Summer, the Velvet Assassin logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ME Enterprises GmbH, Germany and used under license by Replay Studios. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

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MCV INTERVIEW JONATHAN HALES, SOUTH PEAK

Creative Peak Sure, the games publishing scene is dominated by the heavyweights. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for newcomers according to South Peak. As the publisher prepares a slate of new IP for the games market, Michael French caught up with UK and Europe MD Jonathan Hales… Not everyone is familiar with the South Peak story – can you remind us who the company is? South Peak started life as a distributor in North America that moved into publishing its own games. A few years ago the company released 25 per cent of its shares in order to gain expansion capital, and has more recently secured over $12m in private funding to support our publishing plans. We like to view ourselves as the fastest growing company in the business – just last month the company reported revenue earnings of $17.3 million for the three months up to end of December 2008. In terms of South Peak in the UK, I joined as MD in August 2008, and since then have been building the team up. Previously the operation in UK and Europe was run from the US, but the company has learnt we need a dedicated team here that is focused on the territory. And South Peak bought Gamecock late last year. How has that gone? On a product basis, it gave us a number of great titles, such as Dementium and Velvet Assassin, which we are really excited about. I think one of the great things about how the two businesses have come together is that it has given us real momentum. We are very much an indie brand – that’s the way South Peak set itself up, and that’s how Gamecock was run. We work with independent developers and give them the chance to be creative. For retail we really want them to take notice and understand that a publisher doesn’t have to be one of the big five to succeed on individual titles. So what are the key games on the way from South Peak? We have a number of key titles, which include Velvet Assassin, Section 8 and Raven Squad. Velvet Assassin is a great spin on the WW2 genre game and is based on the life of a real person. Raven Squad is a

HALES’ STORM: The South Peak MD is preparing for the release of three major new IPs: Velvet Assassin, Section 8 and Raven Squad

very innovative RTS and FPS – we are really looking to blend the genres, not offer just a watered down version of the two together. Section 8 is probably the one we are most excited about – it has had great press feedback and has a load of unique game features.

themselves, but establishing a new IP is a trickier job. So our point of view is

There’s a lot of new IP We want to show that you there – but other don’t have to be one of the publishers have been big five to succeed as a cautious about new publisher in the market. properties. Jonathan Hales, South Peak We understand the importance and difficulty of it. Given the cover story in MCV a that it’s better to spend our marketing few weeks back and the general feel budget on good promotion rather than from bigger publishers, it makes it quite spend it on a licence. topical to talk new IP. I see why some of the large firms are being more cautious, If others are cutting back does that but if you’re in the luxury position of create an opportunity for you? being a Sega or a Codemasters then you Definitely. People are always looking for have established brands to roll out something new. Which is why we are regularly – same with FIFA. That’s not carefully picking our platforms, and a lot to say those franchises are not easy in of our focus is around 360, PC and PS3.

Does that mean no Wii and DS titles? No, but on DS my view is that it’s not impossible to launch a new brand and make money from it – provided you are part of a big company and have all the backing you want. It’s a bit easier on Wii – but still a challenge – whereas 360/PS3 owners are always looking for something new – they will give new IP a chance. And going back to that point about marketing, I’d rather spend money on getting ads and packaging right for those formats to help support those new IPs. The great thing about the industry today, and a company like South Peak, is that there really is a platform for everyone – there are plenty of opportunities out there.

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MCV 20/03/09 17

GEM AT 25: FIRST LOOK

25 SPARKLING

YEARS

rates its 25th As distributor Gem celeb to the key players at anniversary, MCV talks k back at the the firm, and takes a loo er the years… company’s evolution ov

anyone’s a long time in is S R A E Y 5 2 world of hyper-evolving e th in t bu – book long time. s an especially video games it’ ry different of 1984 was ve The landscape ay, HD age of online pl t en rr cu r ou to ctive’ gaming. graphics and ‘a s Famicom that Nintendo’ It was the year d Mario n by storm – an (NES) took Japa tised face self as the digi m hi d he is bl ta es es, David . On these shor of the industry legendary a was becoming Braben’s Elite le’ of the e on the ‘conso piece of softwar Micro. day – the BBC t up. ar, Gem was se In that same ye ayer in pl e firm is a huge These days, th tion o games distribu the PC and vide s for e UK, with plan sector within th line. In the nsion in the pipe pa ex an pe ro Eu contracts lucrative retail games sector, and Xbox, Take Two with the likes of ost it one of the m Nintendo make . ers around important play birthday, brates its 25th le ce m fir e th As Chris aging director we talk to man t logy and produc Peacock, techno Velsen, nVa n rector Dea di t en pm lo ve de director and marketing and commercial y, the or st t the firm’s hi Simon Lee abou e, plac and of the market changing face stry is headed… where the indu

s large over WELCOME: The Gem logo loom headquarters the company’s impressive Essex

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GEM AT 25: INTERVIEW

View from the top Gem’s evolution over the last 25 years has affected every corner of the games industry – and the company isn’t finished yet. Tim Ingham talks to MD Chris Peacock, commercial and marketing director Simon Lee and product director Dean Van-Velsen...

How does the Gem of 25 years ago differ from the Gem today? Chris Peacock: We started off on a marketing stall selling games from the back of a lorry, now we’re a £400-plus million group. From that point of view, there’s no real comparison between the two businesses. We’re part of a significant group of businesses called DCC, which is something in excess of £6 billion annual turnover.

it. There was absolutely a degree of luck, but he exploited a chance that was booming at the time. It just goes to show that if you have a solid business model to begin with and the desire, ambition and skills to exploit it, you can make a multi-million pound business. Could anyone do it today? I think it would be an awful lot more difficult.

limitations were. Today, you would have difficulty because it’s not a new market – there’s competition everywhere. It was a real moment in time.

Pinnacle, Jack Of All Games, EUK, Andromeda and Just have all fallen by the wayside in the distribution sector. What’s kept Gem so successful? CP: MCV did a front page Gem was established in a story years ago, and the pioneering era. Today, there’s Dean Van-Velsen: When headline was, ‘Evolve or competition everywhere. It Gem started, we knew we die’. The reality is that as were in an exciting industry a business, Gem has was a real moment in time. that was going to grow and absolutely evolved. We’ve Dean Van-Velsen, Gem become something. But no evolved away from just one here could have imagined that the Look at the indie businesses that have video games and just independents into video games industry would turn into come and gone in the last decade: the other sectors and areas, brand areas, the anything of the size that it has – or we ePlays, Software Stores and dozens of development Gem created when Gem would play such a significant role in others. There are very few that have Logistics started – it’s all about that. One of the things we capitalised gone from indie to chain to something evolution. on very quickly was the PC market. bigger and stronger. It’s a hell of a lot That really was the start of the growth. more difficult than it was 25 years ago. Which single achievement are you most proud of after 25 years? What was it about the environment DVV: If you look back at those times, it CP: Still being here. In view of the you began in that meant the was a pioneering era. You were often people that aren’t, I think that’s a business could grow so quickly? the first company to do something. massive achievement considering where CP: [Gem chairman] Paul Donnelly very Today you don’t have that luxury. In we’ve come from. The number one is much saw the opportunity and went for those days, you didn’t know what the really maintaining the relationship

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MCV 20/03/09 19

GEM AT 25: INTERVIEW

Simon Lee to right) Gem’s Chris Peacock, READY FOR MORE: (From left bright for the company looks e futur the that agree and Dean Van-Velsen

we’ve had with Microsoft for 21 years now. To be Microsoft’s sole UK Xbox distributor and their longeststanding PC software and peripherals distributor in the UK is testament to the job we do for them. Simon Lee: Each of those bits of business has had to be won by a tender process. Nothing was awarded to us, or given because we were already an incumbent. That’s something to be very proud of, I think. What has kept those relationships so tight-knit? DVV: It’s never been about what Gem wants to achieve. It’s about what our customers and suppliers want to achieve and – our flexibility in meeting those needs. CP: We’ve opened up new areas of opportunities for our partners, into areas like catalogues, convenient credit stores and mobile phone retailers. There are significant accounts we trade with today that we didn’t this time last year, let alone ten years ago – and they’re starting to take bigger and bigger shares of the retail market. That’s one thing we’ve really delivered. We’re always

aggressively looking for new customers and opportunities. We do it so they don’t have to. Any plans for new partnerships with games publishers? CP: We’re always in discussions with people. The video games market is still a very important one to us. The relationship we have with our exclusive partners – Xbox, Take Two, Codemasters and Zoo Digital – is very important. Of course we would like to add more publishers to that, but it would have to be on the right terms that make it viable for both parties. The mix between primary and secondary distribution would also have to be right to make it attractive. The one thing we’ve noticed over the last ten years is how more publishers are going direct to more customers. You get models where maybe only two to three per cent of their business is done on a physical buy/sell basis – the rest is done on primary distribution terms. That’s not an area we’d be overly keen to get involved in. PDQ already does a great job in that primary distribution space.

What would you say was the biggest launch of Gem’s history? CP: We did the primary and secondary distribution for the UK and a number of other European territories for Xbox 360. It was absolutely massive. In terms of workload, we’d never seen anything like that before. So physically that was definitely the biggest product launch ever. It was challenging because of the

We are always in discussions with publishers. The video games market is still a very important one to us. Chris Peacock, Gem scale and the timescales involved, but we overcame it and it was a great success. Dreamcast was big, Xbox was bigger and Xbox 360 was even bigger. SL: The GTA release meant moving over one million units in 24 hours. And the strangest thing was that it was like it wasn’t happening. It all went so smoothly. We brought all of the staff in on the days around launch, expecting problems. And the phones just didn’t ring.

Where do you see the Gem business in another 25 years? CP: In the last three years, we’re now not just a UK-based distribution business. We’re a UK-based distribution business with a UK logistics facility and a UK creative studio. We have a UK brand, a UK and European brand with Exspect and our first European venture with Banque Magnetique. In its own right that will be a €200 million business in France. In five years time, I see us having built the Expect brand so that it’s got half a dozen sub-brands within it; we already have Exspect distribution in Europe and the Middle East and we’re looking into distribution into Australia, North America and Asia. Our move into distribution in France is the first step of Gem’s European expansion strategy. We’re looking at a couple of other acquisition opportunities in other territories. Then you look at the current economic climate, opportunities will arise for us to acquire businesses that we could get for a very good price. I wasn’t envisaging us in North America just yet, but beyond that, who knows.

IV`Z Ild! GdX`hiVg <VbZh  '@ <VbZh ldjaY a^`Z id Xdc\gVijaViZ <Zb dc gZVX]^c\ i]Z '* nZVg b^aZhidcZ VcYidi]Vc`i]Zb[dgVaai]Z^g]VgYldg`dkZgi]ZnZVgh

Š 2009 Take-Two Interactive Software. Rockstar Games, the Rockstar Games logo, 2K Games, the 2K Games logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Take-Two Interactive Software. All other marks and trademarks are properties of their respective owners. All Rights Reserved.

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MCV 20/03/09 21

GEM AT 25: WHO’S WHO?

Who is

?

We all know the Gem business and its prestigious clients, but who are the people that actually make up its stellar workforce? MCV shows off the company’s famous faces… Chris Peacock Managing Director

Simon Lee Commercial & Marketing Director

Peacock spent 12 years at sister company Micro-P before joining Gem in 1996 as sales director. In 2007 Gem founder Paul Donnelly became company chairman and Peacock was promoted to managing director. Peacock’s lead has been instrumental in the company reaching its goals, including the acquisition of new business such as French distributor Bangue Magetique and realising its growing turnover, currently in excess of £200m.

Lee joined Gem after many years of experience in the video games industry, particularly with EUK. His position of commercial and marketing director oversees the purchasing and Gem Creative department, as well as responsibility of the product management team, which works closely with key vendors. He also builds relationships with potential new vendors, sources and launches new products and organises distribution deals.

Darren Houghton Sales Director

Dean Van Velsen Technology & Product Development Director

Houghton joined Gem in 2001 from Sega. He was later promoted to sales director and now oversees the entire sales floor and business development. Gem’s turnover was £90m when Darren joined and it’s grown to well over £200m, which demonstrates his contribution to the business. Houghton is extremely passionate about his colleagues whom he describes as genuinely enthusiastic, passionate and grounded individuals who all share the same ambition.

Van Velsen joined Gem in 1987, making him one of the longest serving and experienced members of staff. He started in an account management role, but has since held a number of senior positions in the company including Microsoft product manager and more recently marketing director. Van Velsen now performs the new role of technology and product development director and is responsible for researching and identifying emerging trends.

Alan Lynch Logistics Director

Douglas Yarker Finance and Operations Director

Lynch has responsibility for running Gem’s Distribution Centre and the Gem Logistics facility. Boasting a dispatch accuracy level of 99.99 per cent, Gem’s distribution centre provides many services including primary and secondary warehousing, end user fulfilment, reverse logistics and a vast range of added value services including security tagging, bundling, repackaging and POS distribution.

Yarker worked at Gem’s sister company Micro-P for a number of years before joining Gem as finance director over ten years ago. His responsibilities include control of Gem’s finances, operational growth, acquisition goals, corporate strategy and risk management.

Neil Meredith Commercial Director, Exspect

Tracey Tennison General Sales Manager

Meredith founded popular accessories brand Exspect in 2004. The brand was later acquired by Gem and has grown significantly. Last month, Meredith was promoted to the role of commercial director where he oversees the development of the Exspect brand, as well as looking at strategic partnerships with customers and suppliers. Developing future partnerships with licensees and acquisitions also plays a key part of his goals.

Tennison joined Gem in 2005 with ten years of experience managing a sales team. She has since been promoted to the role of seneral sales manager, reporting to sales director Darren Houghton. She is responsible for managing all sales activity in the national accounts, catalogue, leisure and business sales departments. She also builds relationships with new customers and vendors to support product requirements in existing and new categories.

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GEM AT 25: WHO’S WHO? Richard Stickler Senior Product Manager

Donna Richardson Product Manager

Stickler joined Gem in 2004 in the newly formed product management department. He was recently promoted to the role of senior product manager, where he holds relationships with key vendors and development of new vendors within Gem. He is involved in all aspects of product management, including the launch of new products.

Richardson re-joined Gem in 2007, bringing with her over ten years of experience in the industry. She has a sound understanding of buying, distribution, publishing and retail. Performing the role of product manager, Richardson is responsible for relationships with key vendors – driving sales with key accounts and creating business plans.

Neil Handa Marketing Manager/Gem Creative

Lesley Garland Business Development Divisional Manager

Handa joined Gem’s marketing department in 2002 with five years of experience from IT distributor Avnet, where he held the position of European product manager. He grew the capabilities of the marketing team and oversaw the channel marketing plans and PR for all vendors, maximising their messaging to the channel.

Garland works in a key area of growth for Gem’s future – business development. Lesley is responsible for identifying new business opportunities within traditional and non traditional markets UK-wide. Lesley has forged relationships with customers including TK Maxx, Stressless Journeys, ISA, The Daily Telegraph and Swains.

Zoe Morgan Leisure Software Divisional Manager

Keeley Munden Buying Manager (Business)

Morgan’s role includes sales management responsibilities for Xbox, leisure and business accounts. Heading up a team of 14 account managers and looking after 550 independent retailers, Zoe works with key publishers in obtaining exclusive independent promotions including Microsoft, Take Two, Codemasters and Symantec.

Munden has held various roles within Gem over the past ten years, mainly in the purchasing department. Keeley manages the business buying team which looks after key vendors including Microsoft, Symantec, Linksys, Netgear and Sage. Munden also manages vendor relationships, rebates and business plans.

Gareth Philips Business Software Divisional Manager

Gemma Walters Buying Manager (Leisure)

Phillips celebrates his tenth year in the business this year after joining the company from Xerox. He started as the assistant to Chris Peacock and progressed into the role of business analyst where he spent three years based in the Accrington office, helping to implement a new sales system before progressing in to his current role.

Walters has a number of years experience working in the purchasing department, specialising predominately in leisure product. She manages the leisure buying team which includes exclusive vendors such as Xbox, Take 2 and Codemasters. As well as overseeing the purchasing strategies of Gem, she also manages vendor relationships.

WHAT IS GEM? Now you know the people, it’s time to learn about Gem’s divisions, and what each of them do…

MANUFACTURE

SALES & DISTRIBUTION

GEM LOGISTICS

GEM CREATIVE

OWN BRAND

 Procurement  Replication (Sercom Solutions)  Design and packaging

       

    

    

 Own brand products  Part of ‘Made for iPod’ programme  Cases and accessories for: - iPod - Video game consoles - Laptops - Mobile/portable products

Sales Vendor management Finance Operations Distribution Returns logistics Ecommerce & IT services Commercial: - Product management - Purchasing/inventory management

Primary distribution Secondary distribution End user fulfilment Import/Export Retail ready solutions

Gem Logistics provides national logistical solutions to suit the needs of any operation.

Trade Marcoms Media buying Retail solutions Publishing Trade PR

- Dedicated in-house solution - Cost effective - Efficient - Unique added value service

Exspect produces popular and uniquely designed innovative cases, covers and accessories.

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GEM AT 25: THE XBOX STORY

The rub of the

green

TOWERING INFLUENCE: Gem says that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the most demanding launch in its history

Gem’s Xbox account has been the bedrock of the firm’s business since it launched in 2002. Tim Ingham profiles its ascent… WHEN Gem picked up the Microsoft account back in 1988, it had no idea that the software and PC behemoth would one day be excelling in the console market. And it had no idea whatsoever of the effect that would have on their business. Gem’s bosses remember the UK launch of the original Xbox only too well. The console took the UK market very much by surprise when it hit shelves in March 2002 – and the company itself didn’t really know what to make of it. MD Chris Peacock explains: “As with most people in the market, if I’m being honest, we didn’t know how seriously Microsoft were taking it.

might of Sony’s all-conquering PlayStation brand. Of course, today Xbox boasts that its new baby – the Xbox 360 – is outselling PS3 in Europe. But when did Gem first realise that the brand it exclusively handles was moving into a position to rival Sony? “I don’t think we did on version one,” admits Peacock. “Although it was a successful product in its own right, we didn’t believe it would get up to the level that Sony was at. It’s probably only when Microsoft started chipping away at some of Sony’s franchise exclusives on 360 – when they first said ‘GTA is coming out on our format’.

Whatever the challenges, whatever the criticism, Microsoft has broken them down one by one. Dean Van Velsen, Gem

The one thing you can see from the way their business has evolved in the last eight years is exactly how seriously they do take it. “They’ve put serious, serious resource behind it – whether that’s in acquiring studios or giving resource to the business in the UK and elsewhere. And I think we were a little sceptical that it was a long-term strategy for them. We put the resource behind it that it merited. And we’re absolutely delighted with where the product has ended up.” A ‘SOFT LAUNCH

The Xbox might have been the new kid on the block (the BBC described it as looking “like a James Bond hypergadget”), but massive releases such as Halo, Fable and Splinter Cell soon saw it become a real rival to the

“Also, we saw them throw all that money behind Halo and Gears of War, and realised they had the marketing power to really take Sony on. “It’s probably only been in the last two years that we’ve really started to see Microsoft building the console into the market leading product it stands as today.” Technology and product development director at Gem Dean Van Velsen adds: “The UK for Microsoft is their second biggest territory outside of the US. And we’d like to think we played a significant part in that. One of the interesting things has been that whatever the challenges thrown at them, whatever the criticism was, gradually they broke down each one of those one by one.”

However, the online power of the first system, and its mass popularity gave the console a massive boost – and Gem certainly noticed. LIVE AND LET LIVE

Van Velsen says: “The online experience was an industry-changing dynamic. There was a bit of trepidation: ‘Wow. Is that really going to happen? Will it really change the market place?’ Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, but God did it.” So what now for Xbox? As commercial and marketing director Simon Lee explains, Gem’s certainly prepared for a rosy future: “Xbox’s market share is growing and growing. I don’t think anyone could have prophesised in those early days that they would outsell Sony in such a relatively short space of time. “They have clearly demonstrated they’ve got the format, the resources and, above all, the software titles to make it a huge success.”

GEM MD CHRIS PEACOCK ON XBOX 360 “We weren’t given the level of advanced information that you might expect we were. Technically, the product looked fantastic. It addressed a lot of the issues consumers had with the first generation Xbox. You could store it vertically, for one. They had really listened to the market – both consumer and trade – and taken the learnings form Xbox version one. “The 360 is a fantastic product, but the name threw people a bit at first. Everyone was expecting ‘Xbox V2’ or something. But when the product hit the market, it was a very significant step forward for them.”

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GEM AT 25: MEDIA RETROSPECTIVE

CELEBRATING 25 YEARS 25 years in the video games channel generates a lot of media cuttings. Here’s a selection of of Gem’s finest moments...

Gem and Pinnacle fou ght for the Sega Dream cast account - but the Ess ex boys won out

ly (left) and product Chairman Paul Donnol ht) in days gone by (rig sen Vel Van n boss Dea

eared in some The Gem logo has app years... the r ove ads interesting

Gem’s Van Velsen spe aks out on an indust ry issue – something the compan y hasn’t been shy to do over the years

Codemasters wishes Gem a Happy 25th Birthday

Be part of the fastest growing publisher. Now recruiting PR and marketing positions recruitment@codemasters.com

© 2009 The Codemasters Software Company Limited (“Codemasters”). “Codemasters” ® is a registered trademark owned by Codemasters. The Codemasters logo is a trademark of Codemasters. All Rights Reserved.

GEM 25yrs advert v002.indd 1

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D I G I T A L

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C O M B A T

S I M U L A T O R

for PC DVD • Fly the Ka-50 "Black Shark" attack helicopter • Highly-detailed and mouseinteractive six-degrees-offreedom cockpit • Most realistic flight dynamics ever created for a helicopter flight simulator • Battle against Insurgent and modern militaries over detailed and authentic terrain • Fly both stand- alone missions, training, and campaign missions. or fly with friends in cooperative or head-tohead multiplayer • Full featured Mission and Campaign Editors included

SIMULATION MODE The most realistic helicopter flight dynamics system ever created for a PC flight simulation. Accurate modeling of all aircraft systems including engines, fuel, weapons, navigation, and other systems.

TWO GAMES IN ONE Game mode flight dynamics makes flying the Black Shark easy and can be best flown with a game pad. Use the Game mode "Easy Radar" and other assists to easily find and destroy the enemy.

Launch 3rd April 2009

GAME MODE 95%

9.2 outstanding

WWW.DIGITALCOMBATSIMULATOR.COM The Fighter Collection Ltd, Imperial War Museum, Duxford Airfield, Cambridge, CB2 4QR, England, UK. © 2008 The Fighter Collection. DCS and DCS:Black Shark are registered trade marks of The Fighter Collection Ltd. All rights reserved. © 2008 Eagle Dynamics. All rights reserved.

Tel: 01279 822 822 Email: sales@gem.co.uk

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MCV 20/03/09 29

RETAIL PROFILE: SHOPTO

ShopTo’s company ShopTo is fast becoming the most popular independent games specialist on the web, and has a host of innovative new ideas planned for 2009. Christopher Dring speaks to company CEO Igor Cipolletta… ShopTo has been busy promoting its business over the past year, with a series of new features. How has this boosted your business? ShopTo is still a new business as this is only our third trading year, but we are absolutely delighted with our growth so far. Over the last 12 months we have seen a continual increase in terms of registrations, visits and of course sales. The business was up 113 per cent in terms of sales compared to 2007. The most impressive statistic for us was the number of new customers we were getting on a daily basis. To average 1,000 new customers per day tells us that we are making progress in the market and our commitment to the community is being recognised. The majority of our growth has come from recommendations by our customers. What are your targets for 2009? 2009 promises to be a key year in the growth of ShopTo as we have many exciting ideas lined up. We are fast becoming the website of choice for gamers because of our unique service. We have continually met demand and this is backed up by our increasing number of pre-orders. For Killzone 2 we hit the 10,000 preorder mark for release day, which proves our system is working. If we continue at our current rate, we will have a customer base of between 500,000 and 700,000 with a forum member count of over 60,000 by the end of the calendar year. Figures like this prove our standing in the games community. We have already outgrown our current premises in

Bracknell and will, in April, move to a modernised facility of over 65,000 sq ft. We also have plans to take delivery of our first fully-automated pick and dispatch machine, which can handle 8,000 orders per day. Our aim for the year is to increase and stabilise our market share and to keep offering new exciting services to improve the shopping experience. What separates ShopTo from its rival online game outlets? One of the new projects we have is to give our customers a complete unbiased look at the top titles each quarter with our impressive ShopTo – The Essential Guide. We launched the magazine last quarter with great success and this is something we are extremely excited by. The print run each time will be a minimum of 50,000 and features reviews from Eurogamer. Each copy of the magazine includes a unique discount code of £3 for any of the titles featured. Of course we are not

SHOP TILL YOU DROP: ShopTo CEO has unveiled a series of new concepts such as its TexTo service

We are fast becoming the website of choice for gamers because of our commitment and unique service. Igor Cipolletta, ShopTo

the first store to print a magazine, but this publication is not a sales tool. It is a games review magazine first and foremost. Also, we do not just believe in great pricing and reliability, but in creating a community. We like to encourage customer feedback as much as possible. We are trying to build a complete package, from reviews, trailers, customer opinions, selling used products, and release date information, right through to checkout and after service. We have recently launched two truly unique concepts. Firstly we have the TextTo service that allows customers to access their account, check availability and order games via text messaging. It only costs the price of a standard text, and by signing up customers will receive exclusive special offers. We realise that this is a unique way to shop and that people need to get used to the idea and feel confident that it works. The service is in place now and we expect it to gradually build up over time.

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MCV 20/03/09 31

RETAIL PROFILE: SHOPTO

The second new service is the Release Date or Compensate scheme. We appreciate that the majority of people worry about getting their game on the day of release, and therefore decide to wait until it is available in store. We want to compete with the High Street on this, and so we hope our compensation concept will encourage more people to come to us instead of going down the shops. We are really putting ourselves under a lot of pressure with this idea but we believe it shows people how serious we are. To qualify for the offer, all the customer has to do is have the pre-order in their shopping basket by midday on the Wednesday before the game is released. If the game arrives after the release date, then the customer can claim £3 in store credit. All of the above services, as well as SellTo – where gamers can sell their old titles through us – are currently on the website. However, these are not selling tools but a service to our customers.

Many online independent websites have been cropping up over the past 12 months. Do you expect this trend to continue? I do see other independents trying to break into online retail as the High Street is a tough place at the moment and limits you to a certain demographic.

Are you concerned about the current economic climate? I feel we are in a strong position at the moment as we are a self-funded operation. We have not grown because of any funding from banks or Government schemes, but down to our cash flow decisions.

Online retail reaches a far wider audience than the High Street, which is the appeal, but you have to be prepared to satisfy demand with your service. Our knowledge of the games industry from previous organisations gives us a great advantage and one that we draw from a lot.

Whereas other companies within the industry are downsizing, we are only concerned with opportunities of growth. However, as a games industry, we need to re-think our strategy in the current economic climate. We don’t want the games industry to go the same way as the DVD market but we are not

far away. There’s a lot of lazy selling and not enough people looking at different ideas. It is easy to give large chains large volumes and think ‘job done’, instead of working with specialists and finding new ways of promoting products to the right audience. We pride ourselves on being one of the cheapest around, but we do this in response to our rivals. We are also looking for market share, which others don’t need to do. But still the devaluing of products continues to happen. Some publishers over the last year have changed their model and it has benefited. Certain others have stood still and paid the price. We need to keep strict pricing guidelines from publisher to retail and, as mentioned, find other routes to the market to make up the numbers. Even if 2009 looks bleak, I still feel the games industry, and more importantly ShopTo, can have a very successful year. Yes it will be tough but that only means we have to work harder to achieve results.

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sourcebo YEAR-ROUND PRINT & ONLINE PROMOTION FOR ALL INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT SERVICE COMPANIES

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OK Media Tel: +44 (0)20 7688 6789 www.okmedia.biz Technicolor Home Entertainment Services Tel: 0208 987 7829 www.technicolor.com Total Console Repair Tel: 0871 9181721 www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk

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Sponsored by 34 MCV 20/03/09

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PERSONNEL

Dale hired as Microsoft Euro VP New Microsoft retail exec hired  Koch HQ expands localisation team  Audiomotion’s dual appointment MICROSOFT  JEREMY DALE has been named as the new EMEA regional vice president of retail sales and marketing for the Entertainment and Devices division. The Former Motorola exec will be responsible for expanding the reach of Microsoft’s consumer products and brand throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “I think we are living in really exciting times at the moment,” said Dale. “This company stands to bridge the three screens that consumers use every day: PC, mobile phone and TV.”

magazines such as 360 Live and gamesTM. Ebenschwaiger held a position at EA.

DALE: Set to strengthen Microsoft in the EMEA region

He added: “I’m happy to be joining a very strong and growing organisation with a great deal of upward momentum, and I’m looking forward to being part of that team.”

KOCH  The distributor has expanded its quality assurance department in the international production team, recruiting two new junior product managers. ANN-KRISTIN WITTER and CHRISTOPH EBENSCHWAIGER join the team and will be responsible for functionality and compliance quality assurance respectively. Witter has worked at Vivendi Games as well as

BLAZEPOINT  The company has named GARY LITTLEDYKE as its new director of sales and marketing. He will be responsible for all UK and overseas sales, marketing and business development for Blazepoint’s commercial and defence sectors. Littledyke boasts over 20 years of experience in the supply, installation and support of computer hardware.

AUDIOMOTION  Motion capture studio Audiomotion has two new recruits – RACHEL TUDHOPE and COLM MASSEY. The newly-graduated Tudhope and former employee of Vicon Motion Systems joins as motion capture specialist. Massey takes on the head of R&D position, bringing his experience from NaturalMotion, a company he co-founded.

39 MCV529_final:43 MCV462

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RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES  PRICE CHECK  CHARTS  NEW RELEASES

BACK OF THE NET! Konami’s popular PES franchise kicks off once again on Nintendo Wii

Page 40-41 ALSO THIS WEEK... LITTLE KING STORY P42 The promising simulation RPG finally arrives on Wii via Rising Star Games MOTO RACER P43 Nobilis’ definitive motorbike racing game skids on to Nintendo DS LUX PAIN Rising Star brings this dark DS adventure to Europe next week

P44

FOOTBALL ACADEMY P46 EA delivers football trivia and a host of soccer-based mini-games to DS CID THE DUMMY P46 Oxygen’s inventive new action hero crash lands on multiple formats IMAGINE DOCTOR & MY RESTAURANT P48 Ubisoft publishes further girl gaming magic in time for Easter DISGAEA DS P49 Square Enix’s tactical RPG is reborn on DS, with new multiplayer modes FINAL FANTASY CHRONICLES P49 A Final Fantasy for younger gamers that can be played across both Wii and DS STORMRISE P50 Sega follows the success of Empire: Total War with this new console RTS THE WHEELMAN P51 Diesel returns in this multi-format Hollywood-inspired action game BELLA SARA P52 Horses and trading cards combined for Codemasters’ PC and DS release

XZk`m`j`fe%Zfd Dfejk\ijmj%8c`\ej Ÿ)''0;i\XdNfibj8e`dXk`feCC:%8cci`^_kji\j\im\[%>Xd\Ÿ)''08Zk`m`j`feGlYc`j_`e^#@eZ%8Zk`m`j`fe`jXi\^`jk\i\[kiX[\dXibf]8Zk`m`j`feGlYc`j_`e^#@eZ%8cci`^_kji\j\im\[%D`Zifjf]k#N`e[fnj#k_\N`e[fnjM`jkXJkXikYlkkfe#OYfo#OYfo*-'#OYfoC@M<#Xe[k_\OYfocf^fjXi\kiX[\dXibjf]k_\D`Zifjf]k^iflgf]ZfdgXe`\j#Xe[Ê>Xd\j]fiN`e[fnjËXe[k_\N`e[fnjM`jkXJkXikYlkkfecf^fXi\lj\[le[\ic`Z\ej\]ifdD`Zifjf]k%ÊË#ÊGcXpJkXk`feËXe[ÊGC8PJK8K@FEËXi\i\^`jk\i\[kiX[\dXibjf]Jfep:fdglk\i<ek\ikX`ed\ek@eZ% E@EK<E;F;J#N``8E;K?<N``CF>F8I<KI8;<D8IBJF=E@EK<E;F%8ccfk_\ikiX[\dXibjXe[kiX[\eXd\jXi\k_\gifg\ik`\jf]k_\`ii\jg\Zk`m\fne\ij%

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RETAILBIZ: PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 40 MCV 20/03/09

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The Wii iteration of Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 approaches, enhancing the unique interface used in the 2008 game to widen its appeal... by James Batchelor WHILE THE Xbox 360 and PS3 are relatively similar in terms of power and how games are developed for them, Nintendo’s Wii is a completely different beast, requiring a entirely separate approach when games are developed. The same applies to Konami’s longrunning Pro Evolution Soccer series. For its 2008 edition, the publisher held off releasing the Wii version until the following spring in order to give the

hopes for this game are very high,” says PES Team leader Jon Murphy. “Last year’s game demonstrated that the series can still surprise, and this year’s game offers massive leaps in virtually every area.” As with any Wii game, control is key. By now developers have largely got to grips with how the Wii Remote and Nunchuk can be used, but there is still room for improvement. As a result, PES 2009 on Wii will boast no less than three control methods, with the

With awareness of the quality of the Wii game high from last year’s version, retail can expect a strong seller. Jon Murphy, Konami

game the time required to get the most out of Nintendo’s unique console. It was released to favourable reviews and sold well, prompting Konami to continue this more careful focus on future iterations. For PES 2009, the publisher’s PES Team has built on the success of its 2008 predecessor, finely tuning the game’s mechanics and controls to the Wii’s specifications in order to provide the ultimate football experience for the console’s demographic. “PES 2009 for Wii continues the innovative stance of its predecessor, and adds a wealth of new elements, so our

principle one being the intuitive ‘point and drag’ control scheme from last year’s game. This interface has now been enhanced, making it more instinctive to defend and shoot in the middle of tense matches. Players use the Nunchuk or Remote to control the player currently in possession of the ball, while simultaneously selecting the footballer they wish to pass to, or direct them into a new area for a safer pass. “Players will have total control, simple as that,” says

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RETAILBIZ: PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 WWW.MCVUK.COM

Murphy. “We have listened to feedback about last year’s game and taken the point and click system forward. As a result, shooting, passing and tackling have been targeted, and are now easier to effect and contribute to the flow of the game much more.” While this will suit many Wii gamers, other control options have also been introduced in order to cater for a wider audience. Players can now use the Classic Controller or Wii Remote held sideways to control PES 2009, offering more traditional PES controls by allocating the various chips, shots and balls to individual buttons on each controller. These new systems become particularly useful in co-operative mode. As two players take to the pitch side-by-side, one uses the standard point and click setup while the other uses a Classic Controller or Wii Remote. The second player can then direct the other players on the pitch, setting up easier passes and shots for the first player. The additional control schemes also expand the target audience of the games beyond hardcore gaming football fans. “The introduction of a new ‘classic’ control system that uses either the retro joypad or a Wii Remote means that PES

MCV 20/03/09 41

2009 can be played in two ways: one for the ardent fans and one for the novice,” Murphy explains. “Both offer all the control you would expect from a PES game, but within two very different control systems.” NEW TO THE PITCH

Two key inclusions are the new single player modes. Firstly, the UEFA Champions mode now allows fans to work their way through the popular European football club competition. Secondly, the new Master League mode challenges players to take a lowly team from bottom of the league to championship glory by hiring key talent and employing the best tactics in each match they play. Gameplay options from the 2008 version also make a return, but have undergone several improvements. The Champions Road mode has also been expanded. This is an incentivebased scenario in which players are presented with a series of individual challenges, such as scoring a hat-trick or stringing multiple passes together. Success yields cash bonuses, which can be invested in improving their chosen club’s facilities, with everything

from oxygen capsules to private jets available for purchase, all of which will entice better players to the team. The game’s online mode has also been improved, catering for up to eight players facing off against each other in two teams of four across two consoles. Alternatively, friends can enjoy fourplayer matches offline, even using their Mii avatars on the pitch. “With its stunning brand recognition, and awareness of the quality of the Wii game high from last year’s version, retail can expect a strong seller,” says Murphy. “New elements such as Champions League, the new control elements and Master League will make PES 2009 for Wii one of Spring’s big hitters.”

RELEASED: MARCH 27 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: KONAMI DEVELOPER: PES TEAM PRICE: £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 020 8987 5706

PROMOTIONAL KICK-OFF The Wii edition of PES 2009 will be supported by an extensive and highly targeted marketing campaign to ensure awareness is high as the game arrives.  Print ads will be appearing in a range of publications, including specialist and mainstream magazines as well as football press.  The online campaign will see banners appear on various leading

portals aimed at both gaming consumers and football fans.  A six-sheet shopping mall campaign will see huge ads appearing at retail centres around the country, targeting consumers as they shop.  PES 2009 hoardings will appear at the home stadiums for Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspurs, as well as featuring prominently during various other matches.

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RETAILBIZ: LITTLE KING’S STORY 42 MCV 20/03/09

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Rising Star Games prepares to herald the arrival of its first new IP of the year, Little King’s Story, which grants players control over a young king and his fledgling kingdom… by James Batchelor AT A TIME WHEN the shelves are awash with ageing IPs, new franchises need to work hard to impress the everinsatiable gaming public. Last year was a particularly strong year for original IP with the likes of Dead Space, LittleBigPlanet and Professor Layton all making their successful debuts, so as one of the first new properties of 2009, there is plenty of expectation for Little King’s Story. Brought to UK shelves by Rising Star Games, Little King’s Story is a charming Wii title that puts players in control of establishing the young King Corobo’s kingdom. Rather than physically doing anything for himself – he is royalty, after all – the king can only develop his realm by leading and commanding groups of subjects, directing them as they carry out tasks that will help his domain prosper. “We’re all very excited about Little King’s Story here at Rising Star Games,” the publisher’s product marketing assistant Yen Hau says. “Not only because we’ve had the pleasure of seeing its development from concept to fruition, but also because of the people involved as well as it being genuinely a very good game. “Over the past year or so, we’ve come to love King Corobo and the inhabitants of Alpoko and because we’ve been working hard on the project for so long, it’s very important to us that the product performs well.” KING’S RANSOM

Described by Hau as the company’s biggest release since No More Heroes, Little King’s Story is aimed at possibly the widest audience Rising Star has targeted so far, with its endearing gameplay and appealing premise catering for Wii owners of every taste. The game boasts a fairytale book-esque art style that will instantly catch the eye of younger games or fans of the console’s more

adorable offerings, while the ability to custom build an entire kingdom by ordering around the local residents will satisfy more active gamers. Hau sums up Little King’s Story’s appeal, explaining why the title will stand out from the plethora of Wii titles already available: “The first reason is the game itself – it’s amusing, charming and surprisingly deep. It’s no conincidence that the previews all reflect that behind the cute graphics lies a game where there is a fair amount of strategy involved as well as humour that many over the age of 20 would appreciate. Players of any profile, be they young, old, casual or core will find something for themselves within the many layers of Little King’s Story. “Another key factor, especially for the core market, is the development team. From the initial planning stages, many creators who have worked on some of the biggest franchises in Japanese gaming were involved at one stage or another, including titles such as Harvest Moon, Final Fantasy XII, Dragon Quest VIII, Kingdom Hearts, Mario & Luigi RPG and No More Heroes. Their influences are immediately evident throughout Little King’s Story.” Using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, players guide the king around the fantasy land with a group of loyal subjects in tow. These characters can be assigned different jobs, giving

Little King’s Story is amusing, charming and surprisingly deep. It has both humour and strategy. Yen Hau, Rising Star Games

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MCV 20/03/09 43

THE KINGDOM COME

RISING STAR’S YEN HAU is confident that Little King’s Story will appeal to anyone who owns a Wii. As a result, a hefty marketing campaign is in the works to ensure public awareness. “We have planned a number of activities to get the Little King’s Story message across,” he says. “Along with the usual blitz over print and online advertising, we will also run a number of roadshows which will continue past the release in mid-April and culminate with our attendance at the London MCM Expo in May.”

them new abilities. Soldiers, for example, can defeat enemies and monsters, while farmers can dig for treasure that will fund the kingdom’s expansion.

These roadshows are currently planned to run throughout May and over the summer, giving Rising Star the chance to keep promoting the game after the London event. There will also be in-store campaigns, with POS available to both national and indie retailers. “To reach the mass audience, we are also planning several product demonstration days to non-specialist press, allowing these journalists to have an extended play of the game in advance with the opportunity to reach their audiences,” adds Hau.

RELEASED: APRIL 24 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: RISING STAR GAMES DEVELOPER: MARVELOUS ENTERTAINMENT PRICE: £34.99

FIT FOR A KING

Initially, fledgling monarchs will only be able to command five characters, creating a level of strategy as they balance which abilities are most essential on their travels. Completing quests and constructing new buildings will improve the Little King’s kingdom. This growth in power boosts Corobo’s renown, allowing him

DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 01582 433700

to command greater numbers of his loyal subjects. Far from being a passive game focused solely on construction, Little King’s Story boasts a plot that will see players challenging the leaders of the seven neighbouring kingdoms. While maintaining order and their citizens’ happiness throughout the game, gamers will constantly need to plan ahead as they prepare for conflict and conquest. This one offers real potential to rule over other Wii releases when it is released next month.

Ascaron’s Moto Racer looks to dominate the racing genre on DS by recreating the thrills of motorbikes on the dual-screened handheld… RACING IS perfectly suited to handheld gaming. Races are short, sharp and generally quite intense, providing everything gamers want from bitesize playing sessions. And yet, the genre has yet to take off on DS when compared to the likes of puzzle games and pet simulators. Seeking to rectify this, Ascaron’s Moto Racer DS brings the adrenalinefuelled joys of motorbike racing to the DS. Rather than using the directional buttons, as is traditional for the handheld, the game’s key feature is that it uses the touch screen for steering. “The unique Stylus Precision Handling enables players to race and perform exciting stunts using the stylus, which is a first for a Nintendo DS racing game,” says Ascaron’s managing director Roger Swindells. “Players become immersed in the game, interacting directly by using the stylus to accelerate, brake, change direction and jump.” WHEELY GOOD

D-pad controls are also supported for fans of more traditional gameplay. Either control scheme can be used in the game’s four different modes, including Grand Prix, Traffic, SuperCross and Freestyle, as well as in

RELEASED: APRIL 3 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: ASCARON DEVELOPER: ARTEFACTS STUDIO PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9585

the game’s multiplayer mode, which caters for eight players. “Retailers can expect Moto Racer DS to be highly sought after,” says Swindells. “Launching alongside the new DSi console enhances its potential. “The game was recently described by Official Nintendo Magazine as ‘something the DS could do with’.” The game will be supported by a high profile PR campaign, which is currently gaining coverage in motorbike, gaming, male consumer lifestyle, teenage and national print press. This is in the form of a wide array of reviews, interviews, features and competitions. Online, reviews of Moto Racer DS will appear on the larger online gaming websites, as well as enthusiast and consumer lifestyle online press. Ascaron has also prepared a £40,000 TV campaign that will run across nine key channels, including Dave, Sky Sports, Nick and Jetix.

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RETAILBIZ: LUX PAIN 44 MCV 20/03/09

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Rising Star’s paranormal detective story Lux Pain hits DS soon, intriguing gamers with rich narrative and impressive character design...

by James Batchelor An interesting point and click romp, Rising Star’s Lux Pain thrusts players into a web of intrigue as they battle with an invisible enemy. When a series of bizarre murders leave Kisaragi City in a state of fear, a secret organisation known as FORT dispatches one of its number to solve the problem. The murders have been caused by a powerful mind parasite known as SILENT, which can control any infected humans. Players take on the role of Atsuki, the FORT member chosen to eradicate this threat because of his special skill: he has the ability to see SILENTs.

BEHAVIOUR PATTERNS RELEASED: MARCH 27 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: RISING STAR GAMES DEVELOPER: KILLAWARE PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: MASTERTRONIC ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 01582 433700

Every NPC players will encounter will have their own voice and their own personality, and this will be key to identifying those who are infected by SILENT. Changes in behaviour as the storyline progresses will indicate whether or not they are still human. If players suspect someone, they must use their psychic

powers to find and expel it before it penetrates the victim’s heart. “We are expecting great things from this fantastic interactive detective game,” said Rising Star’s product marketing assistant Tyrone Walcott. “Lux Pain is a new IP with massive potential due to its rich character design and engaging storyline. It’s an intense paranormal mystery adventure game ideally suited to fans of the supernatural.

We are expecting great things from this fantastic game, with its rich character design and engaging plot. Tyrone Walcott, Rising Star “Its striking Japanese setting and artwork also complements fans of Japanese culture, manga and anime. Lux Pain totally epitomises the essence of our Home Of Japanese Games campaign.” While Lux Pain’s Japanese heritage ties in with the publisher’s established fanbase, Rising Star is keen to expand its demographic with this title. “Primarily, we’re targeting 15 to 24 year-old male and female mystery and manga/anime fans as the game is a great example of this genre,” says Walcott.

“This is something of a departure for Rising Star. In this case, our campaign targets are not only long-standing game fans accessed through the games industry’s traditional consumer marketing activities, but also the Otaku community (Japanese anime and manga comics, books and films fans who also play games as part of their lifestyle choices). “We’ll be marketing this title to both groups, although the primary audience is still core gamers and will be communicated through our established route-toconsumers channel. We are also communicating to Otaku community within their own domains.”

MAKING CONTACT

Lux Pain will be advertised with full page colour ads in various anime and manga publications, as well as being featured as part of the Home Of Japanese Games campaign appearing in NGamer and Official Nintendo Magazine over the next three months. The DS channels of leading gaming, anime and manga sites will host Lux Pain skyscrapers and MPUs, and Rising Star will be running direct to consumer e-mail campaigns with its customers.

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THE

HOT

LIST

Develop 100 lists the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 100 most successful games studios based on key criteria including data from GfK-ChartTrack, NPD, Famitsu and Metacritic plus industry soundings

Published with Develop in May and MCV on Friday May 15th See new microsite at www.develop100.com from Thursday May 7th 10,000 copies plus digital edition. Additional circulation of Develop 100 at Develop Conference Brighton in July and Develop Industry Excellence Awards Edited by Owain Bennallack >>>>>>>>>

Ad copy deadline: Wednesday April 15th Contacts Jaspreet.Kandola@intentmedia.co.uk for advertising and sponsorship opportunities

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RETAILBIZ: CID THE DUMMY/FOOTBALL ACADEMY 46 MCV 20/03/09

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Footballing fans get a chance to show off their knowledge rather than their skills for a change in EA’s trivia and activity compilation Football Academy... Crash landing onto consoles this week is Oxygen’s latest action platform hero, CID The Dummy… by Christopher Dring

RELEASED: APRIL 17 FORMATS: PC, PS2, WII, PSP

IN A WORLD where safety is paramount, the Crash Impact Dummy reigns supreme. At least, that's according to Oxygen’s new safety-obsessed platformer, which introduces the gaming community to a new action hero, CID The Dummy. “CID The Dummy has the ability to capture the core kids market with its unique safety-conscious crash test character,” product manager Oliver Birch explains to MCV. “There are few titles targeting this age bracket on Wii, PSP, PS2 and PC formats, which are likely to have received the attention we have with this distinctive and loveable character. We will be represented well at retail and have a full range of support campaigns to push high sales volumes at this value price point.” A DUMMY RUN

In CID The Dummy, gamers must climb walls, swing on ropes, burn obstacles, destroy exploding barrels, bound on springs and destroy walls. Oxygen feels that there is a gap in the market for children’s adventure titles. “The game will introduce platform puzzles and pitfalls to this audience, providing them with an opportunity to solve or avoid some of the exciting

PUBLISHER: OXYGEN DEVELOPER: TWELVE INTERACTIVE PRICE: PC: £19.99 PS2: £19.99 WII: £24.99 PSP: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

gameplay scenarios – timed doors, lever combinations to unlock passages and secret rooms, rotating blades, treacherous ground and underwater levels,” continues Birch. “This is a title with a positive message to children who will immediately bond with the key character and his humorous adventure. We feel there are gaps in the market (and on the shelf) for this type of adventure targeting this younger demographic. The game will be a favourite over the Easter holidays and will keep both parents and children happy as a result.” In order to ensure Easter success, Oxygen is embarking on a promotional marketing campaign in kids’ lifestyle press, which features, competitions and giveaways. The firm is also running an online and TV campaign focusing on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Pop! and Jetix.

by James Batchelor FOOTBALL FANDOM extends beyond ball control and cheering for your favourite team. Outside the stands and off the pitch, football can be one of the most complex, intricate cultures known to man, with fans able to hold lengthy discussions about players, management, tactics, transfers and all manner of topics. This in-depth knowledge of Britain’s favourite sport is rarely called upon in video games, leaving the likes of pub quizzes as the only outlet for supporters to show off their knowledge of the beautiful game – but no longer. Released today (March 20th), EA’s Football Academy allows gamers to flex those cerebral muscles and display the skills that don’t quite come across in the likes of FIFA and Pro Evo. Combining trivia with mini-games, this title explores every aspect of football and puts players to the test. ON THE BALL

As with the publisher’s more traditional football games, EA has signed top talent to appear in the game. World famous coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is on hand to offer his expertise and experience to players, offering his exclusive hints and tips on how to become a true expert on the sport.

RELEASED: MARCH 20 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS DEVELOPER: EA PRICE: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

By far the most active element of Football Academy are the mini-games. This series of challenges will test what players know about the game, from identifying players and teams to understanding formations. They will also teach them new tricks as they use the stylus in activities, such as Sharp Shooter, in which they will learn the key to scoring the perfect goals. Throughout these challenges, players will be rated on their knowledge with their performance dictating their Football IQ. A higher IQ not only proves they have a greater understanding of the game, it also serves to unlock extra content. Additionally, they can prove their knowledge by building their own Academy dream team, choosing from a range of the world’s superstar footballers. Successfully progressing through the various sections of the game will earn players Academy badges. Only by collecting all of these can they become the ultimate football fan – and complete their Academy training.

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RETAILBIZ: IMAGINE DOCTOR & IMAGINE MY RESTAURANT 48 MCV 20/03/09

The Imagine range has become the flagship series for young girls on DS, and now Ubisoft is gearing up to release new games Imagine Doctor and My Restaurant in time for Easter…

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by Christopher Dring THE GROWTH in casual gaming, and the mass-market success of Nintendo’s Wii and DS has caught the attention of the young girl audience. Nintendo made sure to capitalise on this, releasing new colours for the DS aimed at families, and Ubisoft has taken this one step further with its Imagine video game range, designed specifically for girls aged bsix to 12 years-old. The series has been a phenomenal success. More than 20 games currently exist in the range, which have racked up more than £1 million in sales in the UK alone. Over Christmas Ubisoft shifted over 300,000 Imagine titles, and now the publisher is gearing up to release two new games in time for Easter: Imagine Doctor and Imagine My Resaurant. “Imagine Doctor allows players to take on the role of the new doctor in town,” group brand manager Mark Slaughter explains to MCV. “They are encouraged to care for patients, and pay as much attention to their symptoms as their personal history. The game leads them to make a diagnosis on a patient via fun minigames and to follow this by dispensing advice and prescriptions. “There are many different characters to interact with throughout the game and players can develop friendships as well as train with more experienced doctors. It is a really well rounded product that taps into a rich aspirational area for young girls. Just as we found

RELEASED: MARCH 27 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: UBISOFT DEVELOPER: WIZARBOX (DOCTOR) CREATIVE PATTERNS (MY RESTAURANT) PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: TRILOGY CONTACT: 0845 362 7769

with Imagine Teacher, being a doctor is a career that sits high on girls’ lists. Slaughter adds: “Imagine My Restaurant is a cooking simulation set in the elegant environment of a prestigious French restaurant. Under the direction of a famous chef, the player must fulfill the clients’ expectations, and is judged on dishes’ quality, execution speed and presentation. “There is an ongoing plot within the game with a food critic that desperately wants to trap the restaurant staff and take away a star rating. Players can only avoid this by taking total control of the

and will cover ITV, Channel 5 and multi-channel. ROLE MODELS

The firm is also set to run a print campaign in the Girl Gamer supplement, which is inserted into leading girl publications including Mizz and Bliss, and will appear this month. And the firm is also planning a big PR push in support of the series. “The marketing campaign will be supported by a strong PR campaign for both games, targeting all girls’ magazines and websites, as well as national press and key broadcast media,” adds The Imagine range continues Slaughter. to perform extremely well at “There will also be a press retail and these new titles will interview day with Fearne be well supported. and Holly, with interviews Mark Slaughter, Ubisoft scheduled to appear in such titles as Bliss, Girl Talk, Girl, Go Girl, Mizz and Sugar.” restaurant and its service, as well as the Spearheading the campaign will be a food they deliver to their customers. major competition for fans to win the The game features over 70 recipes for opportunity to meet Fearne and Holly – players to experiment with.” and this will be replicated online at NEW CHALLENGES www.imaginegame.com, the official One of the key parts in the success of website of the Imagine range. the Imagine range has been the marketing “The Imagine range continues to campaign, once again featuring celebrity perform extremely well at retail and these ambassadors Fearne Cotton and Holly new titles will be well supported with Willoughby. both above and below the line activity.” “The Imagine range will be back on The return of Ubisoft’s celebrity-backed TV this Easter with an ad that focuses TV campaign is reason enough to stock up on Doctor, but also incorporates other on the ever-expanding Imagine range. key titles from the range, including My And Imagine My Restaurant and Restaurant and Teacher,” continues Imagine Doctor are set to continue the Slaughter. series’ success, as these must have titles The campaign will run for three for young female DS owners arrive on weeks, between April 9th and April 30th, shelves this Easter.

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The Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles franchise returns to Nintendo Wii and DS this month with Echoes of Time…

The definitive edition of the very first game in Square Enix’s acclaimed tactical RPG series is scheduled to arrive on DS next month…

by Christopher Dring

by Christopher Dring

SQUARE ENIX’S acclaimed Final Fantasy series has spawned multiple films, toys, books and spin-off titles, plus the Nintendo-exclusive franchise, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. The very first Crystal Chronicles arrived on GameCube in 2004, and Square Enix has since brought the series to DS with Ring of Fates and WiiWare with My Life as a King. Each title has been designed as a more accessible Final Fantasy game, with the aim of capturing Nintendo’s typically younger audience. And the latest title in the series is no different. “Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time has been designed as a casually playable action adventure role playing game,” says assistant product manager Craig Parker-Wood. “The title is a more accessible take on the Final Fantasy universe, that allows players to experience exhilarating real-time battles with intuitive controls.” The game is to be released on both DS and Wii, and incredibly allows

RELEASED: MARCH 27 FORMATS: WII & DS PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX DEVELOPER: SQUARE ENIX PRICE: WII: £34.99 DS: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT, GEM, CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION, TRILOGY CONTACT: 020 7324 5200

gamers to play co-operatively no matter what platform they are on. It is also ideal for adventure gamers, Crystal Chronicles fans, as well as lovers of anime and manga. MARKETING QUEST

Echoes of Time is also being supported by a full marketing campaign, which will feature competitions, and a print campaign in the likes of Official Nintendo and Imagine FX. Square Enix is also set to takeover Yahoo! Games and banners on Gamespot and MSN have also been booked. This marketing push, coupled with the Final Fantasy name, is sure to boost sales of the growing franchise. Retailers can expect this series to go from strength to strength.

BEGINNING life on Sony’s PS2 in 2004, Disgaea has become one of the most critically acclaimed modern RPGs. The series has largely appeared on Sony platforms, with editions on PSP, PS2, and in February Square Enix released Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice for PlayStation 3. Now the series is returning to its roots, with a remake of the original game.

RELEASED: APRIL 3 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX DEVELOPER: NIPPON ICHI SOFTWARE PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT, GEM, CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION, TRILOGY CONTACT: 020 7324 5200

all the higher thanks to the recent PS3 success and we’re confident that this will be the latest success story for the popular series.”

PASTURES NEW

“Disgaea DS is the definitive version of the first chapter in the critically acclaimed and wickedly wacky Disgaea strategy RPG series,” explains assistant product manager Craig Parker-Wood. “The game’s funky visual style is perfect for anime fans. And retailers can expect a benchmark brand in strategy gaming, that is the perfect title for Nintendo’s handheld. “The DS has a proven pedigree of success with titles that stimulate the brain and Disgaea’s charm and characters set it apart from the more traditional fare on the platform. Brand awareness is

STARTING OVER

With the DS edition, Square Enix has made several key improvements, including updates to the game’s control and battle system. And the publisher has also included a new multiplayer mode and a brand-new single player challenge complete with its own unique ending unavailable in the original version. Being a remake of the original game, Disgaea DS is sure to appeal to adventure, RPG and Square fans who have yet to experience Disgaea. And there are enough new modes to entice existing fans of the series, too.

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RETAILBIZ: STORMRISE 50 MCV 20/03/09

Sega and The Creative Assembly are set to follow up the critical and commercial success of Empire: Total War with console-exclusive futuristic strategy, Stormrise…

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“We needed something that was fast and simple, but didn’t compromise the freedom and control that the player would experience,” adds Bhopti. “What we didn’t want to do was abridge the RTS experience just to make it accessible on consoles. “The solution was remarkably simple. All units on the play field are represented on-screen by a small icon. When a player holds the right thumbstick out in any direction a light beam is emitted from the centre of the screen in that

by Christopher Dring

THE REAL time strategy game is on the comeback trail. Just a few weeks ago (February 27th to be precise), Microsoft proved there was life left in the genre with Halo Wars, which shot to number two in the All Formats Charts. That was followed by Sega’s highly anticipated Empire: Total War. The game rocketed into first position, making it the first PC-only No. 1 in nearly 18 months And the next game set to Working on the Total War capitalise on the RTS renaissance is the Sega’s series has given us a robust Stormrise, a futuristic title grounding in what it takes to that developer The Creative make a successful RTS. Assembly promises will Vispi Bhopti, The Creative finally establish the RTS on Assembly home consoles. given direction. To move to any unit, “It certainly has been a busy period regardless of distance, the player simply for RTS on consoles,” comments The rolls the thumbstick around until the Creative Assembly’s Vispi Bhopti. light beam is highlighting the relevant “A successful and fulfilling transition icon, and then they let go. For shorter, beyond PC is well overdue for the genre.” local area movements, you simply flick ISSUES OF CONTROL that same stick in a direction to go to One of the problems with console RTS the nearest unit. The end result is titles is the lack of keyboard and mouse simple and lightning fast.” control, which is why the genre has Stormrise is set on a barren earth that worked so well on PC. And The Creative has been devastated by a catastrophic Assembly has looked to overcome this event years before, and sees the Echelon with its unique ‘whip’ control system. and the Sai battle to survive.

RELEASED: MARCH 27 FORMATS: PC, PS3, 360 PUBLISHER: SEGA DEVELOPER: THE CREATIVE ASSEMBLY PRICE: PS3 & 360 £44.99, PC £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3817

The Echelon race survived through hibernation, while the Sai is a tribal faction which adapted to the environment. Having evolved differently, both races have failed to co-exist and the future of the planet is placed in jeopardy. TOTAL EXPERIENCE

The Creative Assembly has focused on creating a unique RTS by using the expertise it acquired working on the Total War series. “Working on Total War has given us a grounding in what it takes to make a great RTS,” continues Bhopti. “It allowed us to tackle the challenge of bringing RTS games to consoles with the confidence that we are well versed in the basics that make this genre work. “That said, we approached this project with the understanding that what works on PC does not always translate to the living room.” Stormrise is coming at an ideal time to capitalise on the success of Dawn of War II, Halo Wars and Empire Total War. And Sega is also promoting the title, with a dedicated online campaign, featuring skins, MPUs and channel takeovers on specialist websites. The publisher has also booked print ads, which should ensure that Stormrise will march off retail shelves come release.

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The world of Hollywood crashes onto consoles this week in Vin Diesel’s latest action adventure… by Christopher Dring VIN DIESEL RETURNS to video games in an original property for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, created this time by Midway Newcastle: The Wheelman. The game brings Hollywood production values to the sandbox driving genre, putting players through a fast-paced adventure set in Barcelona. “It’s exciting to see such a close development partnership between Vin Diesel’s Tigon Studios and the Midway studio,” says brand manager Matt Benson. “The Wheelman is a great example of how Hollywood pacing, polish and direction can come together with the interactive medium of gaming to deliver an engaging, fun, accessible, action experience, and those qualities are exemplified in all aspects of the gameplay.” HOLLYWOOD FLAIR

The game’s Hollywood approach has been key to its success, and not just in the game’s marketing – which has been inspired by movie-style advertising – but in the title’s gameplay and visuals too. “A defining feature of The Wheelman is the Hollywood production values imbued in every single aspect of the game,” adds Benson. “There’s a full story driven arc set in a highly detailed and glamorous recreation of Barcelona, engineered to deliver a variety of intense driving and on-foot action, and a plethora of side missions for the player to complete at their own choice and pace. “The Hollywood approach applies to the gameplay also; it’s extremely accessible and fun – and anyone can pick up the pad and drive and shoot like an all action hero, performing outrageous stunts and manoeuvres.”

RELEASED: MARCH 27 FORMATS: 360, PS3, PC PUBLISHER: UBISOFT DEVELOPER: MIDWAY NEWCASTLE PRICE: 360: £39.99, PS3: £44.99 DISTRIBUTOR: TRILOGY CONTACT: 0845 362 7769

Ubisoft is targeting a slightly younger, more casual audience with the Midway-developed title, and hopeS to gain some mainstream appeal with the game’s striking visuals and the use of Vin Diesel himself. “Critically, we’re expecting positive feedback across the board from both the mainstream and specialist press,” adds Benson. “We think that title has a broad commercial appeal. Whilst core gamers will appreciate the variety of gameplay, we think that this game’s audience is a younger, broader, more casual audience to GTA and Saints Row.” MOVING TARGET

The Wheelman is set to be a critical hit, and is sure to entice GTA-fans, movie-lovers and general admirers of Mr. Diesel

himself. But Ubisoft won’t rest there, and has put together a dedicated marketing plan, despite only picking up the game from Midway last month. “Given the short cycle we had between picking up the title and release, we’re looking at a short, focussed campaign,” concludes Benson. The campaign will appear across TV, online and short-lead print media to quickly build coverage around the game’s release. Ubisoft will also use PR, CRM and trade activities to deliver frequency post-launch.”

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RETAILBIZ: BELLA SARA 52 MCV 20/03/09

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RELEASED: MARCH 20 FORMATS: DS, PC PUBLISHER: CODEMASTERS DEVELOPER: RAZORBACK PRICE: DS: £24.99, PC: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 01279 822824

The world of horses and card collection combine in Codemasters latest DS and PC release…

series to DS and PC and capitalise on the growing girl gamer market. “We all know how strong the young female market is on the DS and Bella Sara is a game that provides them with something new, a world filled with magical horses,” explains Codemasters brand manager Leon Sanders. “Bella Sara itself is hugely popular, with over 2.5 million registered users online and millions of cards sold worldwide. The game allows players to

is only available inside the retail edition of the game. IN 1887 the first baseball card was There are over 200 virtual trading released. It was an event that has cards which gamers can collect, and spawned an entire industry, which is each one is based on the official cards today dominated by the likes of currently available worldwide. The inPokémon and Magic: The Gathering. game cards can also be traded with For years the act of trading cards have friends over wi-fi, and there is a series of been a popular pastime on UK secret codes to be found throughout the playgrounds, particularly amongst young game that can unlock exclusive items males. But now it has come time for on the Bella Sara website. girls to get collecting, with the Bella The rise in casual and family gaming Sara collection. has seen the female Bella Sara was the gaming market grow We all know how strong the brainchild of Denmark social dramatically over the past young female market is on worker Gitte Odder twelve months. Special DS DS. Bella Sara provides them Brændgaard, who wanted to colours, and game ranges create an alternative trading such as Ubisoft’s Imagine with something new. card game for girls. The line-up and 505 Games’ Leon Sanders, Codemasters cards first appeared in stores Diva Girls collection has in 2006, and have steadily grown in groom, care for and ride the horses, helped drive the girl gaming market to popularity since, winning countless whilst collecting hundreds of Bella Sara new levels, and more and more awards and gaining worldwide cards which can be traded with friends publishers are looking to capitalise on distribution. who also own a DS. As players progress this expanding sector. they will unlock different areas of the HORSING AROUND CHOMPING AT THE BIT game world and new challenges, along The cards themselves feature illustrated In Bella Sara for DS and PC, with unique codes to unlock exclusive horses with ‘inspirational’ messages on Codemasters has brought Brændgaard’s items on the Bella Sara website.” them. Many of the cards also feature charming world to life, with a wealth of Codemasters has stayed true to Bella codes that allow collectors to unlock a features that will appeal to fans of the Sara’s heritage, promoting creative play virtual version of their horse on the series. But the game targets more than with positive messages. The game website, making it a complete invites girls to ride and care for up to six just existing fans, and invites in young interactive experience. girl gamers who may never have heard magical horses, including a new The concept has been a hit in of the card series in the first place. character. And for the Bella Sara multiple countries, and publisher Bella Sara gallops onto store shelves fanatics out there, the game boasts an Codemasters has opted to bring the today (March 20th) on both PC and DS. extra, unique, real-life trading card that by Christopher Dring

Codemasters’ new DS game offers horse fans the chance to care for and ride horses while also building their Bella Sara card collection

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Stormrise thunders onto shelves Sega’s Stormrise leads the upcoming releases with an innovative take on bringing the RTS genre to console. Afro Samurai caters for action fans, joining other imminent releases such as The Wheelman, Ninja Blade and Battleforge... TITLE

FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

PS3 / XBOX 360 PC PC PSP / PS3 / PS2 DS DS PC Wii / DS PSP DS / Wii PC PC PC PC PC PC PC DS DS DS / Wii / PS2 DS PS2 PSP DS / PC / Wii / PS3 / PS2 / 360 DS Wii PC PSP / PC / Wii / PS2 DS PS3 / XBOX 360 PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 PSP Wii

Action/Adventure Simulation RTS Quiz Puzzle Puzzle Puzzle Sports Compilation RPG Simulation Action RPG Simulation FPS Simulation Adventure Imagine Imagine Action PG/Action RPG RPG Adventure Adventure Sports Puzzle Sports Adventure RTS Action Compilation Sports

Atari Just Flight EA Sony Oxygen Oxygen Kalypso Media 2K Games Ubisoft Square Enix Atari Atari Atari Atari Atari Atari Kalypso Media Ubisoft Ubisoft Zoo Digital Rising Star Games Koei Koei Activision Blizzard Disney Interactive Konami D3Publisher V.2 Play Square Enix Sega Ubisoft Ubisoft Ubisoft

0121 506 9590 0845 234 4242 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 020 8309 3600 020 8309 3600 0121 506 9585 01279 822 800 0845 362 7769 020 7324 5200 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 01279 822 800 01582 433700 01462 476 130 01462 476 130 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 020 8987 5730 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 020 7324 5200 0121 625 3388 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769

Advantage Mastertronic Centresoft Centresoft Pinnacle Pinnacle Advantage Gem Trilogy Open Advantage Advantage Advantage Advantage Advantage Advantage Advantage Trilogy Trilogy Gem Mastertronic Open Open Centresoft Centresoft Open Centresoft Centresoft Open Centresoft Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy

PS2 / Wii PS2 / Wii DS DS XBOX 360 PC / Wii Wii / DS PSP / Wii DS PC / Wii PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 Wii / PC

Music Music FPS RPG Action Sports Action Action RPG Action Sports Racing

Nordic Games Nordic Games South Peak Square Enix Microsoft Playlogic Zoo Digital Ubisoft Square Enix Playlogic Blade Interactive Zoo Digital

+46 54 854 750 +46 54 854 750 0121 625 3388 020 7324 5200 01279 822 800 0121 625 3388 01279 822 800 0845 362 7769 020 7324 5200 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 01279 822 800

Open Open Centresoft Open Gem Centresoft Gem Trilogy Open Centresoft Koch Gem

Wii DS Wii

Children's Children's Music

505 Games 505 Games 505 Games

0121 506 9585 0121 506 9590 0121 506 9585

Advantage Advantage Advantage

DS

RPG

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0121 625 3388

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MARCH 27th Afro Samurai Air Hauler Battleforge Buzz! Brain of the UK Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles Challenge Me: Maths Workout Crazy Machines Don King Boxing Double Pack: Open Season, Surf's Up Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes Of Time 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 Gobliiins 4 Imagine Doctor Imagine My Restaurant Jelly Belly Ballistic Beans Lux Pain Mana Khemia Mana Khemia: Student Alliance Monsters Vs Aliens Phineas and Ferb Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 Puzzle Quest: Galactrix Real Madrid: The Game Rhapsody Stormrise The Wheelman Triple Pack: PoP Rival Swords, Driver 76 & Rainbow Six Vegas

World Sports Party

APRIL 3rd Dance Party Club Hits Dance Party Pop Hits Dementium Disgaea DS Ninja Blade Pool Hall Pro Smiley World Island Challenge Tenchu Shadow Assassins Valkyrie Profile: Covenant Of The Plume Vertigo WSC Real 09: World Snooker Championship Yamaha Supercross

APRIL 9th Diva Girls: Princess on Ice Dive Girls: Diva Dancers We Rock: Drum King

APRIL10th Away: Shuffle Dungeon

MUSTSTOCK ...................................STORMRISE

MUSTSTOCK .............................AFRO SAMURAI

Released: March 27th Format: 360, PS3 Publisher: Sega Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388

Released: March 27th Format: 360, PS3 Publisher: Atari Distributor: Advantage Contact: 0121 506 9585

This new take on consolebased RTS games has been developed for the Xbox 360 and PS3 from scratch. Players direct units from the ground, rather than the traditional aerial perspective, and can switch between groups with a flick of the stick.

Based on the hit anime series starring Samuel L. Jackson, Afro Samurai sends players on a journey of revenge. Jackson lends his voice to Afro once more as he seeks out his father’s killer and the game retains the style and graphic violence of the anime.

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INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

1

TITLE/FORMAT

PUBLISHER

KILLZONE 2 FORMAT: PS3

DEVELOPER: GUERILLA PUBLISHER: SONY

2

2

HALO WARS 360

MICROSOFT

3

NEW

TOM CLANCY H.A.W.X 360

MICROSOFT

4

NEW

EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR PC

5

NEW

TOM CLANCY H.A.W.X PS3

6

NEW

EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR SPECIAL FORCES EDITION PC

7

15

WII FIT WII

8

6

PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE CURIOUS VILLAGE DS

9

14

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360

10

7

STREET FIGHTER IV PS3

11

5

SEGA MEGA DRIVE COLLECTION 360

SEGA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

SEGA MICROSOFT

CAPCOM

12

RE

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR 360

4

STREET FIGHTER IV 360

14

12

WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR PC

15

9

SILENT HILL HOMECOMING 360

16

3

HALO WARS LIMITED COLLECTORS EDITION 360

17

RE

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 PC

18

13

MARIO KART WII Wii

RE

FIFA 09 PS3

20

19

DESPITE A WAVE of high quality new releases, Sony’s Killzone 2 has held onto the No.1 spot in this week’s Indie Charts. The game continues to outsell its Microsoft rival Halo Wars, as well as new entries such as Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X and Empire: Total War. Both editions of the newest entry to the Tom Clancy universe sold particularly well, taking the third and fifth positions, with the 360 sku outselling both versions of Empire: Total War. Together they represent around seven per cent of indie sales this week, making H.A.W.X the top selling IP of the week.

NINTENDO ROCKSTAR GAMES

13

19

SEGA NINTENDO

KILLZONE 2 REMAINS VICTORIOUS IN INDIE CHARTS

CAPCOM THQ KONAMI MICROSOFT SEGA NINTENDO EA

BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE PSP

D3P

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.

“Rising stars this week are Wii Fit and GTA IV, which leap up the charts despite being the oldest releases in the Top 20.” The Special Forces Edition of Empire: Total War may not have outsold the standard version, but was able to keep up with it in terms of sales, just two places below its counterpart at No.6. Conversely, the Halo Wars: Collectors’ Edition plummeted to 16th place this week, having been in third place last week alongside the standard game, which maintains its hold on the No.2 position this week. After a brief absence last week, the Call Of Duty series has returned to the Indie Charts with World At War rising to No.12. Other notable returns include Football Manager 2009 at No.17 and FIFA 09 at No.19. Rising stars this week are Wii Fit and Grand Theft Auto, which rise to No.7 and No.9 respectively, despite being the oldest releases in the Top 20. James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk

week, MCV speaks to Simon Sharp from Bude, FROM THE FRONTLINE This Cornwall-based independent GamePad… What makes your store unique? The fact that you can try any game before you buy on one of our screens. We’ve got a six foot HD projector, two 42-inch plasmas, and you can play every console in our store. We run a series of competitions all the time, which 150 kids take part in every year. Has any format/game been underperforming? PC has dropped considerably, but that’s just because of piracy and I think that’s going to be the biggest problem with the DSi – because of the SD card slot. Already I’m getting emails from places in China and Japan offering me games on the cards. I get the emails every other day from different suppliers, but

we don’t have anything to do with anything counterfeit. What is the one thing you would change about the games industry? It’s unfair for us to have to compete with someone like GAME. I can buy a 360 Elite and a game from GAME for £199, but I have to buy it from the only official supplier for £180 + VAT without a game. And recommended retail prices – someone must be plucking those out of the air. I’ve never seen a game sell for £49.99, but that’s what all the distributors are always trying to tell you. They sell us games at £30-33 a unit, and once you’ve added VAT, we only make a couple of quid profit. Plus, if we don’t sell out, we’ve lost money.

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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PRICE CHECK

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Empire: Total War

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Celebrating the release of H.A.W.X and ten years of Tom Clancy games, there are reductions on Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, and GRAW games, starting at £9.99.

This Nintendo and Sega bundle includes a Wii, Mario & Sonic, Wii Play (with its free Remote), Samba De Amigo, an extra nunchuk and a set of Wii Maracas, and all for £249.99.

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Halo fans can get their hands on this ultimate bundle, which includes an Xbox 360 Elite console and copies of Halo 3 and the newly released Halo Wars, for £219.99.

WHILE THE PSP’S widescreen LCD display may be ideal for watching UMD movies, it means gamers need to take care while transporting and storing the device. Venom offers a solution in the form of the new PSP Flip & Play case. Following on from the success of its DS version, this latest release provides the same convenience and protection to Sony’s handheld audience. The leather finish gives the case an element of style and fits comfortably around the

PSP, offering high quality protection for the device. Thanks to the container’s design, players can play their handheld without having to actually remove it from the case by simply flipping open the lid. Conveniently, gaps have been left in the outer casing so gamers still have full access to the PSP’s various buttons and connection ports. Venom: 01763 272927

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OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

NEW

2 3 5 4 7 8 6 9

[1] [FULL PRICE]

TITLE

PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TITLE

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD FIFA ‘09 EA TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD EIDOS PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 KONAMI WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 THQ NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA LEG0 BATMAN WARNER BROS. GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

FIFA 09

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER PATAPON 2 PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 LEGO INDIANA JONES MIDNIGHT CLUB: L.A. REMIX WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 2009

RE

7 8 RE

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA D3P SEGA EA SONY KONAMI WLUCASARTS 2K THQ EA

FORMAT: PS3, 360

DEVELOPER: CAPCOM PUBLISHER: CAPCOM

LAST WEEK

2

3

WII FIT Wii

3

4

TOM CLANCY’S H.A.W.X. 360, PS3

4

6

PROFESSOR LAYTON DS

5

2

KILLZONE 2 PS3

6

8

FIFA ‘09 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, PC

7

9

COD: WORLD AT WAR 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC

8

1

EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR PC

[4]

[5]

RESIDENT EVIL 5

THIS WEEK

DEVELOPER: ATLUS SOFTWARE PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX

1 2 3 4 5 6

1

PUBLISHER

1

PSP

[2]

[3]

[FULL PRICE]

PERSONA 4

1 2 3 5 4 6 7 8 9

TOP 40ALL

PUBLISHER

CLUB PENGUIN: ELITE PENGUIN FORCE DISNEY DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO MYSTERY CASE FILES: MILLIONHEIR NINTENDO MARIO KART DS NINTENDO NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. NINTENDO BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P 100 CLASSIC BOOK COLLECTION NINTENDO DISNEY’S BOLT DISNEY MORE BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO

[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]

TITLE

PUBLISHER NINTENDO UBISOFT NINTENDO SONY EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SEGA

9

5

HALO WARS 360

10

17

MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES Wii, DS

SEGA

11

NEW

SOCOM: US NAVY SEALS CONFRONTATION PS3

SONY

12

10

BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE PS2, Wii, PSP, DS

MICROSOFT

D3P

13

7

STREET FIGHTER IV 360, PS3

CAPCOM

14

23

MARIO POWER TENNIS WII

NINTENDO

15

14

WII PLAY Wii

NINTENDO

16

NEW

CLUB PENGUIN: ELITE PENGUIN FORCE DS DISNEY

17

12

DISNEY’S BOLT PS3, PS2, 360, DS, Wii

18

15

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360, PS3, PC

DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS ROCKSTAR

19

11

SEGA MEGA DRIVE COLLECTION 360, PS3

20

21

MY FITNESS COACH Wii

PC CD-ROM THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

SEGA UBISOFT

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

PUBLISHER

1

EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 SEGA WARHAMMER 40,00O: DAWON OF WAR II THQ WOW: WRATH OF THE LICH KING ACTIVISION BLIZZARD THE SIMS 2: DOUBLE DELUXE EA C&C: RED ALERT 3 EA GRAND THEFT AUTO IV ROCKSTAR EVE ONLINE ATARI F.E.A.R 2: PROJECT ORIGIN WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE COD 4: MODERN WARFARE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

2 3 4 5 6 7 NEW

8 RE

DEVELOPER: CREATIVE ASSEMBLY PUBLISHER: SEGA

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RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS MCV 20/03/09 57

As many in the industry predicted, Resident Evil 5 rides its wave of hype straight to number one in the All Formats chart for this week. The game is Capcom’s biggest ever launch – which of course makes it the best performing

Resident Evil game ever too. While the previous game did incredibly well on Wii, game number five has wowed the next-gen consoles. 55 per cent of sales were on 360, with 45 per cent on PS3.

PS3

L FORMATS Highest New Entry

21

22

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

Highest Top 40 Climber

DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS

22

18

GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR

23

19

NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER

24

29

LEGO INDIANA JONES DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360, PSP

25

24

CARNIVAL: FUNFAIR GAMES Wii, DS

26

36

MYSTERY CASE FILES: MILLIONHEIR DS

NINTENDO

PS3, Wii, 360, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360

EA

LUCASARTS

NINTENDO

27

20

COD4: MODERN WARFARE 360, PS3, PC, DS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

32

THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: OVERKILL Wii

29

28

PUZZLER COLLECTION DS

30

NEW

31

16

MARIO KART WII Wii

32

26

TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360 EIDOS

33

34

PRO EVO 2009 PS3, PS2, PSP, PC, 360

34

27

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 MAC, PSP, PC

35

31

F.E.A.R 2: PROJECT ORIGIN 360, PS3, PC

36

8

LEGO STAR WARS DS, 360, PS3, WII

37

30

HALO 3 360

38

33

LEGO BATMAN DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, 360

39

13

SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING 360, PS3

RE

MARIO KART DS DS

PC CD-ROM THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

SEGA UBISOFT SEGA NINTENDO

KONAMI SEGA WARNER BROS. LUCASARTS MICROSOFT

40

WARNER BROS. KONAMI NINTENDO

PUBLISHER

1

WORLD OF WARCRAFT

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

WOW: BURNING CRUSADE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD MYSTERYVILLE 2 GSP/AVANQUEST AMAZING ADVENTURES: LOST TOMB FOCUS BEJEWELED 2 FOCUS THE ORANGE BOX EA THE SECRET OF MANGROVE MANOR GSP/AVANQUEST THE SIMS 2: MANSION & GARDEN EA PEPPA PIG: ACTIVITY PACK GSP/AVANQUEST MYSTERY IN LONDON: JACK THE RIPPER FOCUS

2 3 5 6 4 12 7 9 NEW

TITLE

PUBLISHER

RESIDENT EVIL 5

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

KILLZONE 2 TOM CLANCY’S H.A.W.X. STREET FIGHTER IV CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR FIFA ‘09 SEGA MEGA DRIVE COLLECTION LITTLEBIGPLANET GRAND THEFT AUTO IV PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009

DEVELOPER: CAPCOM PUBLISHER: CAPCOM

WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

SONY UBISOFT CAPCOM ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA SEGA SONY ROCKSTAR KONAMI

[FULL PRICE] TITLE

DEVELOPER: BLIZZARD PUBLISHER: ACTVISION BLIZZARD

PUBLISHER

1

WII FIT

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

MARIO POWER TENNIS MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: OVERKILL SONIC AND THE BLACK KNIGHT MARIO KART WII FAMILY SKI & SNOWBOARD BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE ANIMAL CROSSING: LET’S GO TO THE CITY WINTER SPORTS 2009: THE NEXT CHALLENGE

3 4 5 NEW

2 7 6 9 8

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

XBOX 360

[BUDGET PRICE]

TITLE

[FULL PRICE]

1 1 2 3 8 7 4 5 9 12

WEEK ENDING 14/03/09

2K PLAY

28

SONIC AND THE BLACK KNIGHT WII

Elsewhere, there’s no surprises to see DS title Professor Layton continuing to sell well given a current media push re-promoting it. But a newcomer has made a strong debut on DS – Disney’s Club Penguin. No doubt benefitting from the virtual world’s huge audience, this could well be one of the first times a PC-only online game has made the leap to consoles, and is one to watch for continued sales. Michael French

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

SEGA SEGA SEGA NINTENDO ATARI D3P NINTENDO KOCH MEDIA

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

1

RESIDENT EVIL 5

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

TOM CLANCY’S H.A.W.X. HALO WARS CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR STREET FIGHTER IV FIFA ‘09 GRAND THEFT AUTO IV SEGA MEGA DRIVE COLLECTION CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR

2 1 4 3 7 6 5 9 11

NINTENDO

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: CAPCOM PUBLISHER: CAPCOM UBISOFT MICROSOFT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD CAPCOM EA ROCKSTAR SEGA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

[SOURCE]

[ANALYSIS]

(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack

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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

For further online advertising information please contact

Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535647 SUPPORT YOUR PRINT ADVERTISING WITH AN

ONLINE PRESENCE

WWW.MCVUK.COM

GEM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.gem.co.uk

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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISTRIBUTION

EDITORIAL PLANNER Some of the special issues coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the market... 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 its launch, MCV takes a look at the handheld’s already impressive history, and talks to retailers, publishers and peripheral manufacturers about 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 Digital downloads have 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.

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 APRIL 17th

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.

SELF IMPROVEMENT AND NON-GAMES With the success of Wii Fit and Brain Training inspiring waves of less traditional and more beneficial titles, it’s time to analyse this sector of the market. MCV looks at what the future holds for self-improvement titles and ‘non-games’, and how publishers are working to capture the audience of this market. FRIDAY APRIL 24th

MCV AWARDS WINNERS Find out who emerged victorious from this year’s Awards ceremony, as MCV brings you a full report on the biggest night in the games industry calendar, which rewards the most deserving companies and the attending representatives for industry excellence.

LOCALISATION AND QA SPECIAL Good localisation is growing in importance as publishers look to expand their reach into emerging markets. MCV talks to the leading QA and localisation specialists on the latest developments facing the sector.

FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT: LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . www.uksales@logic3.com

CHRIS.DRING@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

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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.

STUDIOS

Eco Smart

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.......................careers@fusegames.com

Call 01895 252191 for Introductory Offers Eco Master

50 disc Automatic Repair System

www.rtico.com RTI-inbox@rtiuk.co.uk

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 ...............jobs@stainlessgames.com Strawdog Studio ...................+44 (0) 1332 258 862 TOOLS bluegfx ................................+44 (0) 1483 467 200 Epic Games ................................+1 919 870 1516 Fork Particle............................00 (1) 925 417 1785 Natural Motion.......................+44 (0)1865 250575 SERVICES 3D Creation Studio ..............+44 (0) 151 236 9992 Air Edel................................+44 (0) 207 486 6466 Air Studios ...........................+44 (0) 207 794 0660 GAMEINDUSTRYJOBS.eu..........+31 3110 7504580 Ian Livingstone .....................+44 (0) 1483 421 491

CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION. . . . 0208 6643456 . . . . www.creativedistribution.co.uk DISTRIBUTION

Partnertrans .........................+44 (0) 1753 247 731 Philips amBX....................................www.ambx.com Razorback ...............................www.razorback.co.uk Testronic Labs .......................+44 (0)1753 653 722 Tsunami Music .....................+44 (0) 207 350 2828 Universally Speaking ............+44 (0) 1480 210 621 COURSES Goldsmiths.............................+44 (0)20 70785052 University of Hull ..................+44 (0) 1482 465 951 To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and every week in MCV) contact jaspreet.kandola@intentmedia.co.uk. All subscription requests should go to mcv.subscriptions@c-cms.com MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk

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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR

Insider’s | Guide

TOTAL CONSOLE REPAIR . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21. . . . . www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk STORE FITTINGS

This week’s Insider’s Guide interviewee is Venom’s sales director Sue Dawson…

RETAIL ENTERTAINMENT DISPLAYS . . 01733 239001 . . . . . . . www.reddisplays.com LOCALISATION

Tell us something we didn’t know about Venom. We are working on some really exciting and confidential new releases – can’t say too much.

of our retailers and we intend to develop this business by continuing to listen to the buyers and creating outstanding solutions.

What are the latest exciting developments at Venom? We have just moved into fantastic new premises, employed two new members of staff, have a fantastic line-up of DSi products for launch, and we are ready to drive some very impressive numbers with the amazing new Bigben Sonic range of accessories.

What are you looking forward to most in 2009? The new products that are on the way, as well as new business and continued growth in our market share.

Do you have any plans for further expansion? Yes, we have enjoyed massive growth over the last couple of years and won impressive additional market share. We enjoy good relationships with all PARTNERTRANS . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.partnertrans.com

What is the best thing about working at Venom? Every day presents a new challenge. I work with an excellent group of people who are professional, knowledgeable and most of all great fun to be around. Each one of us treats Venom as if it is our own and we all share a common goal of building and maintaining an exceptional company.

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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR LOCALISATION

GAME DEVELOPER

TESTRONIC LABORATORIES . . . +44 (0) 1753 653 722. . . . www.testroniclabs.com LOCALISATION

TM

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.

DISC REPAIR

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

www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISC REPAIR

DIARY DATES ‘09 From the MCV Awards to the PES Industry Rankings, here are all the essential industry dates to get in your diary…

MARCH 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.

MAY LONDON MCM EXPO Saturday, May 23rd – Sunday, May 24th London, Excel www.londonexpo.com

JUNE E3 Tuesday, June 2nd – Thursday, June 4th LA Convention Center, 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 Tuesday, 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 GDC EUROPE Monday, August 17th Wednesday, August 19th Cologne, Germany www.gdceurope.com GAMESCOM Wednesday, August 19th Sunday, August 23rd Cologne, Germany www.gamescom-cologne.com TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk

PES INDUSTRY RANKINGS Thursday, March 26th Paramount Club, Centre Point, London www.pesrankings.com/ industry

MCV is proud to join Konami once again in hosting the PES Industry Rankings, an exclusive industry competition to establish who is the champion of PES 2009. Many players from across the industry will compete in a series of one-on-one matches, so sign up now as spaces are limited.

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International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA

DENMARK

All Interactive.................Helensvale Town Centre

ENTERTAINMENT TRADING APS AFA INTERACTIVE

Stenholm 1, 9400,

66 Hughes Street, Mile End,

Norresundby, Denmark

South Australia 5031

Phone: +45 70277640

Tel: +61 8823 41355

Fax: +45 70277650 email: sales@entertainment-trading.com Web www.entertainment-trading.com

Groß Electronic .......................................Rohrnbach

Playcom Software Vertriebs .......................Erfurt

POLAND

Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel.....................Erfurt

CD Projekt Sp. z o.o......................................Warsaw

GREECE Centric ...............................................................Athens Nortec Multimedia.........................................Athens Zegetron S.A....................................................Athens

HUNGARY

Poland

Antec .............................................................Budapest

Asia Pacific HQ - Level 8/606 St.Kilda Rd,

Gateway Distribution ApS

Melbourne, Vic, Australia, 3004

+44 1279 408 665 (UK)

Web: asiapac-sales@thq.com

+45 7026 0870 (DK)

Tel: +6139573.9203

dt@gatewaydistribution.dk www.gatewaydistribution.dk

Red Ant...................................Baulkham Hills, NSW

AUSTRIA

ESTONIA Andrico ..............................................................Tallinn

Koch Media GmbH...............................Rottenmann Play Art Multimedia Handels GmbH....Rankweil

FINLAND Panvision Oy.......................................................Turku

BELGIUM

FRANCE

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

distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es

Fax: +91 22 28203334

www.planetadeagostini.net

email: distribution@milestoneinteractive.com website: www.milestoneinteractive.com

ISRAEL

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

GAMEWORLD

France

Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel

Email purchase: f_alglave@innelec.com

Tel: +31 10 298 3838

Email export sales: g_armspach@innelec.com

Web: rishi@gameworld.nl

Tel: 00.33.1.48.10.55.55

Gibareio.............................................................Nicosia

INDIA

Hed-Arzi......................................................Or-Yehuda

BENELUX

CYPRUS

Email: business@techland.pl Web: www.techland.pl

Sena ................................................................Reykavik

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

GERMANY

Lisbon, Portugal

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

RUSSIA

Promovideo SRL ...........................................Senago

Hitzona.............................................................Moscow Noviy Disk .......................................................Moscow

NETHERLANDS

Soft Club..........................................................Moscow

Gameworld BV............................Capelle A/D Ijssel

Vellod...................................................................Mitishi

Micromedia BV...........................................Nijmegen Favour Games..................................................Tilburg

SERBIA

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

email: s.lass@dtp-entertainment.com

www.greatgames.com.cy

Web: www.dtp-entertainment.com

NEW ZEALAND Gamewizz..........................................................Albany

COMPUTERLAND DOO Kumodraska 45

NORWAY

11000 Belgrade, Serbia

Pan Vision Norway.....................................Trollasen

Tel:+381(0)11 309 95 95

MPX.no .......................................................Sandefjord

Fax:+381(0)11 309 95 96

Platekompaniet....................................................Oslo

mail:games@computerland.rs

Massemedia AS...........................................Notteroy

website:www.computerland.rs

TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE

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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 20/03/09 65

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

SINGAPORE

UNITED STATES

Replay Interactive....................................Singapore

SOUTH AFRICA Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg

BASCO, INC. VIDEO GAMES DISTRIBUTOR

Nu Metro Interactive ......................Johannesburg

Tel: 1-917-627-3000 Fax: 1-718-228-4401

SPAIN

It has been confirmed that Monster Hunter G will require users to pay an additional fee if they want to play it online – a first for Nintendo’s Wii console. Siliconera reports that the game, which is not currently scheduled for release outside of Japan, will come with a free 14 day online trial. However, after that gamers will have to pay either 800 Wii Points for 30 days online play, 1,500 Points for 60 days or 2,000 Points for 90 days.

Email: sales@bascodistribution.com

Ardistel. S.L..................................................Zaragoza

Web: www.bascodistribution.com

Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID

Lamee Software S.L. .....................................Madrid

USA

DREAMGEAR, LLC FRIENDWARE

20001 S. Western Ave.

Marques de Monteagudo 18,

Torrance, CA 90501

28028 Madrid, Spain`

Phone: 310-222-5522 x 111

email: juan.bustamante@friendware.es

Fax: 310-222-5577

www.friendware.es

Contact: Moris Mirzadeh

INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

Email: moris@dreamgear.net

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034,

U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC.

Barcelona, Spain,

16700 Schoenborn St.

Tel: +34 93 492 08 89

#2 North Hills, CA. 91343

distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es

Tel: +1 818 920 9393

www.planetadeagostini.net

info@usgamesdist.com

NEW ZEALAND

www.usgamesdist.com

VIRGIN PLAY Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11,

UAE Red Entertainment Distribution ..................Dubai

28046 Madrid, Spain Tel: +34 91 789 35 50 Web: www.virginplay.es

PLUTO GAMES DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona

SWEDEN

PO Box 10705, Office 103-104 Emirates Islamic Bank Building,Dubai, UAE.

Tel: +971 4261 8111 Fax: +971 4261 8112

Panvision....................................................Stockholm

Modern Pluto Trading LLC...............Saudi Arabia

SIBA AB ...................................................Gothenburg

NXT Global LLC .................................................Dubai

SWITZERLAND

Pluto Derinton Games LLC............................Egypt

TURKEY ARAL Import..................................................Istanbul Nortec Eurasia...............................................Istanbul

A leading New Zealand official has said that parents who allow their kids access to mature games should face prosecution – and possibly a spell in jail. Current New Zealand law allows for the prosecution of parents who do not prevent their children accessing media rated above their age, with fines of NZ$10,000 or three months imprisonment legally permissible. “They might think the offence is silly, but it ain't,” Government censor Bill Hastings stated, according to GamePolitics. “There would certainly be some shock value to prosecuting a parent who gives their under-18 child access to a restricted game. It would send out a message that the enforcement agency means business.”

www.pluto-games.com

Bergsala AB............................................Kungsbacka

ABC Software GmbH.......................................Buchs

Circuit City closed the last of its 567 stores last week, putting an end to the firm’s retail operation in the US. The company’s expiration has been a drawn out and public affair, having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last November and going into liquidation in January. Meanwhile, GameStop’s share price slipped following the announcement of Amazon’s entry into the pre-owned games market. GameStop CEO Dan DeMatteo has dismissed the online retailer’s second hand ambitions. “I give the probability of this working at zero,” DeMatteo told Edge. “While customers wanted to buy a new, say, Killzone 2, they weren’t going to wait the week or two weeks it took to get the credit.”

SWEDEN

The Swedish prosecution of the owners of BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay has ended with the site’s defence lawyers arguing that the four accused cannot be held accountable for the conduct of the website’s users. “It is not proved that Fredrik Neij has earned any money, just that The Pirate Bay's advertising revenues have gone to paying the site's costs,” defence lawyer Jonas Nilsson stated, according to TechRadar. “It is a completely legal technology that is offered by The Pirate Bay. It is an open site where users themselves upload content. There is certainly a lot of copyrighted material, but this is an internet problem, not The Pirate Bay problem.”

PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

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MCV FORUM

‘There’s no need for specialist knowledge at UK retail in 2009’ One industry insider has lost patience with indie games stores... Dear MCV, With regards to the letter from an anonymous indie retailer who wrote: ‘Supermarket buying power has distorted the market’ (MCV, March 6th). I genuinely sympathise with the plight of the indies, and have done ever since the days when the market they helped to pioneer started to prove irresistably attractive to the rest of retail. In a previous life I was an

adding RAM, graphics cards etc. That was when an indie’s specialist knowledge was essential to the local market. It was a service which the supermarkets could never have offered and were not remotely interested in. And as a result gaming belonged to the indies. History records how it was you guys who helped to develop the console market and you were key in

Please, let’s put to bed the myth that ‘specialists know what they’re talking about’. It’s a dated soundbite.

‘indies champion’, doing my naive best to stand up and speak for you guys in the face of inevitable progression. But please, can we put to bed this nonsensical myth about “us specialists know what we are talking about when it comes to selling these products”. It is a dated soundbyte in 2009 and serves no purpose today. It wasn’t so many years ago that gaming and the PC hardware markets were closely intertwined. Indies built and sold computers as well as consoles and software. But those were the days when it was a gamble as to whether your PC could run a game and consequently the indies enjoyed fruitful times increasing the spec of PCs,

developing the culture and the userbase of this exciting new entertainment form. But that was then and this is now. Today there is no need for specialist knowledge. As far as computing goes, who bothers upgrading anymore? A PC is close to a disposable product. Most are specced to the teeth and if yours goes down, you pop to Tesco and put a new one on your trolley for the same price a printer used to cost in the old days. As for the console market, it’s here, it’s developed and it’s mass market. There is no specialist knowledge needed to sell Street Fighter IV. The purchasing decision has already been made before the buyer enters the store (if he doesn’t choose to buy online), thanks

to the brilliant work of the publisher’s marketing department. The buyer knows the product is going to work and there is no need for any hand holding between retailer and buyer at any stage. If specialist knowledge was needed to sell this stuff, there would be no online marketplace. So let’s cut the crap once and for all. I genuinely do feel for you guys. You are the fathers of gaming retail and the kids have taken it away from you. The world and the market has moved on. But you’re never going to find any rescue or consolation in peddling out-of-date soundbytes. You lot have been doing it for years. It’s not helped you before, and it ain’t gonna help you in the future. It’s the retail equivalent of saying; “I fought in the war, doncha know!” Name and address supplied

LATEST NEWS STRAIGHT TO YOUR MOBILE Bookmark us in your phone:

MOBILE.MCVUK.COM

‘Can we use your characters...’ I AM emailing you as a result of the Government’s Change4Life campaign explicitly linking early death and young gamers. Your industry is obviously (and with justification) extremely angry at this, especially as ELSPA has spent considerable time and money exploring the benefits of video games in a learning context. I love games (I was manager of Software Plus in Hereford for three years, a retail store that sold computer games). I play games on PC and PS3, my boys love them and they have contributed a great deal to their learning skills. Although my main business is a Printing Agency out at Holme Lacy, I am also in a partnership with my good friend, Karl Dixon. Karl is a renowned cartoonist and illustrator who worked for seven years for legendary comic The Dandy. We are in the process of producing educational comics for UK schools to aid literacy skills, as part of the Read A Million Words campaign. This project will benefit this country and future generations. Given the negative publicity the gaming industry is currently receiving, we were

wondering if MCV’s readers would like to get involved in some way. We feel that if some of the game characters could be used in the comics (such as Spyro, Mario, Sonic, Crash Bandicoot etc.), it would make them more interesting to children. The stories would be something they could relate to. This would be great publicity for the gaming industry – you would actually be seen contributing to children’s education. We have already met one of the biggest publishers in games that have said they are interested in the idea. In addition, we had a meeting with my local MP Paul Keetch just after Christmas and he thought our idea was a brilliant concept. He has put our proposal to the Education Minister and it is currently being reviewed at Westminster. As these matters can take some time, we are also exploring the possibility of doing this through individual councils. If your organisation and its members would like to get involved in any way, please get in touch at: Mike@spencerprint.co.uk. Mike Spencer, Spencer Print

mcv-e3-official-mar12.pdf

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4:15:48 PM

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M

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CM

CY

CMY

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The 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 Expo) is the must-attend event of the year for the global interactive entertainment industry. There's no better place to experience and test-drive the newest computer and video game products and technologies. Register online at www.E3Expo.com

June 2-4, 2009 å L.A. Convention Center å E3Expo.com

© Entertainment Software Association 2009

MY

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OFF THE RECORD PIC OF THE WEEK

Jacko had The Moonwalk. Chubby Checker had The Twist. Los del Rio had The Macarena. And now Future Publishing’s James Binns can add his illuminating take on the art of dance to these heavyweights, with ‘The Finger’. Binnsy’s rhythmic poking knows no bounds. It can be playful, sensual, emotive or – as captured here at the BAFTA after party – accompany a boogie-assisted moment of self-reflection.

WATCH THE BIRDY Industry faces were out in force at the BAFTAs, whether it was Develop magazine’s deputy editor Ed Fear biting down on his excitement at meeting Jonathan Ross (left) – or EA’s own Jonathan Goddard cuddling up to his Eidos PR management counterpart Chris Glover (right).

This week, MCV goes behind the scenes at the BAFTAs, waves goodbye to a PDQ stalwart – and gets porky with Popcorn Arcade...

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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

CELEBRITY SQUARES Of all of the celeb icons at the event, Jonathan Ross (above, right) stole the most celeb column inches – even though, as he put it on stage, he’s “sticking to scripts from now on”. The star of the show, however, was host Dara O’Briain (above, left) whose obvious passion for gaming paved the way for rapturous applause come the end of the show.

DON MCCABE, CHIPS

TIM ELLIS, HMV

RICHARD CHAPPLE, PLAY.COM

CAROLINE AUSTEN, THE HUT

STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE Attendees of the classy BAFTA after-party were in fine voice on the dancefloor. Bethesda’s Sarah Seaby (bottom right) can’t resist a singalong, but she was only slightly outdone in the passion stakes by the gentleman below, who even included some jazz hands for effect. Sir, we salute you.

JON BIGGS, MORRISONS

DEBBIE O’NEILL, COMET

GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON

PETER WILLIS, DSGI

IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO

ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS

STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK

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PLEASE EMAIL US YOUR FUNNIEST INDUSTRY PICTURES AT

OFFTHERECORD@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK

GOOD LUCK EILIR PDQ’s receptionist Eilir Turner (pictured) is retiring at the end of this month after 20 years service for the firm. Over to MD Andrew Waterhouse... “She related several humorous situations to me from over the years recently, including Adam Roberts’ entry into reception one day with his trouser legs rolled up speaking German – but the best were probably either of these two:  ”The legendary (John) Parker came into a crowded reception one day complaining of stomach pains caused by a dodgy curry he had eaten the night before in the Balti sector of town. This caused a few disparaging looks from the others present but nothing like the effect he had when he sat down. Parker had secreted a whoopee cushion under his coat and proceeded to let rip to everyone's horror/amusement. Eilir fell off her chair.”

h TAKING THE TAPE erts completed the Bat rcial director Dave Rob Intent Media’s comme e money for rais to g nin run was day. He half marathon last Sun worth the effort, you help convince him it was Macmillan Nurses. To at: ortunity to donate can take your last opp /daveroberts2 om g.c ivin stg /ju p:/ htt

 ”When our management buyout went through, the offices were split in two and reception was taken over by US Gold/Eidos. Eilir was relegated to a makeshift area which had enough room for two seats and two standing. This was compounded by a new reception desk five foot high. The effect to anyone entering reception was that of a coffin with a head (Eilir’s) protruding out of the top – something which the visiting publishers were only too quick to point out, by regularly asking what time the funeral service was due to start.” If any MCV reader would like to wish Eilir best of luck for the future, feel free to email her on: eilirt@centresoft.co.uk

EDITORIAL: 01992 535646



Managing Editor: Lisa Foster Lisa.Foster@intentmedia.co.uk

Advertising Manager: Lesley Blumson Lesley.Blumson@intentmedia.co.uk

Please address all enquiries to:

Editor-In-Chief: Michael French Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk

Advertising Executive: Rob baker Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk

Associate Editor: Tim Ingham Tim.Ingham@intentmedia.co.uk

Art Director: Stuart Moody Stuart.Moody@intentmedia.co.uk

MCV, Intent Media, Saxon House, 6a St. Andrew Street, Hertford SG14 1JA.

Retail Editor: Ben Parfitt Ben.Parfitt@intentmedia.co.uk Staff Writer: Chris Dring Chris.Dring@intentmedia.co.uk Staff Writer: James Batchelor James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk Contributors: Ed Fear, Andrew Wooden, Will Freeman

ADVERTISING: 01992 535647

Design: Adam Butler Adam.Butler@intentmedia.co.uk Production Manager: Suzanne Powles Suzanne.Powles@intentmedia.co.uk Business Development: Dave Roberts Dave.Roberts@intentmedia.co.uk Contributing Editor: Samantha Loveday Samantha.Loveday@intentmedia.co.uk Circulation & Marketing: Hannah Short Hannah.Short@intentmedia.co.uk



SAVING BACON The team at Digital Design Interactive (parent of Popcorn Arcade) have come up with a novel video to promote new Wii release Farmyard Party – staging their own Benny Hill-esque battle between an evil butcher and some rather animated piggies. Check it out at: www.popcorn-arcade.com

FAX: 01992 535648 Finance Director: Hilary Cole Finance Manager: Siobhan Cook Assistant Finance Manager: Michael Canham

Managing Director/Publisher: Stuart Dinsey Stuart.Dinsey@intentmedia.co.uk Telephone: 01992 535688

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MCV is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation and the Periodical Publishers Association. Membership of the ABC and PPA provides our advertising partners with confidence in our circulation statements. For the 12 months ending December 2008, MCV had an average weekly net circulation of 8,833. MCV’s circulation is 100 per cent named and zero per cent duplicated.

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS United Kingdom £150 l Europe £175 l Rest of the World £250 To order your subscription via Visa, Mastercard, Switch or AMEX or to make changes to your subscription details, contact mcv.subscriptions@c-cms.com or call 01580 883848.

SAXON HOUSE, 6A ST. ANDREW STREET, HERTFORD, HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND SG14 1JA Intent Media specialises in trade titles for entertainment and leisure markets. As well as MCV, Intent publishes PC Retail for retailers and suppliers to the computer trade, Develop Magazine for games programmers, producers and artists, ToyNews for all sectors of the toy industry and Mobile Entertainment.

Intent has also recently launched BikeBiz and MI Pro. www.intentmedia.co.uk

ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2008

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