MCV Masthead:Layout 1
THE INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
Friday June 12 2009 £3.25
The truth will be written in blood, November 2009. © 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. “PlayStation”, “PLAYSTATION” and “PS” Family logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies and are used under license from Microsoft. Software platform logo (TM and ©) EMA 2009.
THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES
Issue 541 Friday June 12 2009 £3.25
05 Sleeman returns
14 Land of the Living
Former Pinnacle boss founds new publisher with DS, Wii, PC and download focus
Eidos life president Ian Livingstone discusses the state of the UK market
04 Playing politics
19 E3: The verdict
The Conservative Party and Labour talk tax breaks and Government influence
Leading publishers and retailers tell MCV what they really thought of 2009’s show
09 A rental note
30 Come what May
Blockbuster UK expands games offering to include DS and Nintendo rentals
MCV presents the full UK ELSPA/GfKChartTrack sales results for last month
EVERY BUYER EVERY BRANCH EVERY INDIE EVERY WEEK
All guns blazing Activision ready to fight to double European market share Q4 battleplan includes attacks on new genres BEST LINE-UP EVER? Publishing CEO and president Mike Griffith says that Activision's portfolio of games puts it way ahead of the competition – and that November’s Modern Warfare 2 will be the biggest title ever released in the Call of Duty franchise. He told MCV: “This is arguably the best competitive position we have ever had – our titles are overall very strong where our competitors’ line-ups are sparse. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will likely be the largest and most successful Call of Duty game we have ever had. If you look at what Modern Warfare and its successor World at War did, they innovated and greatly stepped forward each time – Modern Warfare 2 will be no different.”
by Michael French ACTIVISION will double its European market share and stake a claim in the $4bn action game genre in the next few years, according to its CEO Mike Griffith. Speaking exclusively to MCV, the heavyweight publisher detailed a widereaching strategy to grow a stake in what it calls its ‘underdeveloped’ European business. The firm wants to generate 50 per cent of its revenue in the territory, via a mixture of new IP, new music games and established franchises. “In Europe we ought to have our fair share – the overall game market is, roughly speaking, evenly split between Europe and North America and that should be what our business looks like," Griffith told MCV. “We've been steadily growing our European
business by adding more marketing and selling capability.” According to Griffith, just a third of Activision’s business is currently generated in Europe. New turntable music game DJ Hero and youth-oriented pop song title Band Hero are both “drivers in audience expansion,” Griffith explained.
done a great job of providing better music content that is more appealing to local consumers. You will see that continue to be pushed in that way. The launch of Guitar Hero Metallica should be appealing to Europe and coincides with their tour. DJ Hero should be more appealing to Europe too.”
The overall games industry is split 50/50 between America and Europe - and our business should look like that. Mike Griffith, Activision
He added: “We’ve been expanding with better content that is more appealing to the European population – Guitar Hero is a great example where, in the March quarter, sales doubled compared to last year. And that was because we have
Activision's first major racing game property Blur, in development at its newer internal UK studio Bizarre Creations, will also be key to satisfying European tastes when it rolls out to retail later this year, added Griffith.
“And DJ Hero is a significant departure into the club, hip hop and rap scene and is creating tremendous energy and interest,” he said. “It should do particularly well in Europe, where that genre of music is strong. It has an opportunity to significantly expand the userbase. He added: “It’s all about getting the right capability – which we now have. Now it’s about delivering the content, which we continue to be focused on. “That’s why we are enthusiastic about the continued growth prospects in Europe because we have seen growth and we are still under-developed.” Griffith also believes that Modern Warfare 2 will be “the biggest Call of Duty title ever” – and a clear Xmas No.1 contender.
ACTION VISION Although Activision maintains a stringent approach to new IP, the publisher is planning to make a bold move into the $4bn action genre. “New IP is risky – most of them fail. Our approach is balanced and measured, very selective,” explained Griffiths. “But the action genre is $4bn in size. That will be our next major entry into a space where we are significantly under-developed. We haven’t detailed any specifics yet, that will come later, but it will be a very similar approach to our strategy in racing, where there was a big opportunity and the consumers weren’t being served.”
PERSONNEL 39 RETAIL BIZ 43 NEW RELEASES 54 HIGH STREET 56 CHARTS 58
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[LEADER] AND TO THE WINNER… EVER SINCE I got back from LA I’ve been regularly asked: who won E3? The answer is usually clear, based on the buzz around each company’s announcements, which of the three format holders made the biggest and best impression. This year I don’t think the decision is that simple…
UK parties start courting industry Shadow Culture Minister says he’s keen to bring in tax breaks – as new Labour Culture boss reaches out to games developers
COMMONS SENSE: Vaizey (far left) and Bradshaw both praised the industry this week
Microsoft relied on wow factor to open the show. Nothing wrong with that; celebrity appearances, the long-expected reveal of a new peripheral and fanboy-pleaser Kojima are not to be sniffed at. However, already-established Rock Band aside, each of them (especially Natal, hidden behind closed doors) lacked any tangible product for us to really care about (or for retail to order) just yet. On the other hand, there were 12 other very, very impressive 360 titles shown off – some exclusive, some shared with PS3. But after six months where it has released only one key product – and a Halo spinoff at that – these merely redressed the status quo rather than drove the company forward, it seemed.
SHOWING VITALITY? Only in this industry could Nintendo’s line-up be branded average or boring, as it was by some. Despite the oddly robotic presentation, two Mario games, an add-on of 2009’s best-seller, an imminent sequel to Wii Sports, plus as many hardcore pleasers as new titles were perfectly pitched. Vague and wacky, the Vitality Sensor reminded us Nintendo has diverse tastes. Remember: it was that attitude that fuelled record market growth. Yet third parties only got a sniff of the action, a blink-and-you-miss-it moment in the spotlight. That seems to fly in the face of Nintendo’s assertion that it doesn’t dominate its platforms…
ACTION STATION So it was Sony which really made the biggest progress. Yes, keen readers of MCVUK.com knew the PSPgo and Motion Sensor were coming, but these were still real statements of intent. And they’re real products, arriving in stores soon. The confident two-hour PlayStation showcase can be misread as showing off, but the commitment to exclusives and internal development, plus the brave reveal of the first digital-only games device impressed. So, I guess that makes Sony the ‘winner’. Well, not exactly. (Or rather: yep, I’m copping out.) Instead, I reckon the real victors of E3 were outside contenders. Namely Activision and Ubisoft. One the classic American corporate goliath, with franchises galore; the other a French fancy with wild ideas for the almost unpronounceable ‘confluence’ – merging of game and film. Together, they demoed some of the most varied but at the same time tripleA product at the show – and some of the most hotly awaited games full stop. Given E3 is a software showcase, that’s surely what counts the most. Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk
[OPINION] by Tim Ingham THE CONSERVATIVE Party’s Shadow Arts and Culture Minister has told MCV that he would be keen to set up a games industry equivalent of the UK Film Council should the party win power. Ed Vaizey also spoke of his desire to negotiate tax breaks for UK developers – but stopped short of promising that
sure that the right courses are available. “Then you get onto the big landscape issues. Tax breaks is one, which is certainly something I’d be working very hard to achieve. The other is video games being represented at Governmental level. You’ve got the UK Film Council, but you don’t have a UK Video Games Council. That’s something I’d like to remedy.”
There’s the UK Film Council, but no UK Video Games Council. That’s something I would like to remedy. Ed Vaizey, Conservative Party
studios would be given greater subsidies under a Tory Government. “The video games industry needs the Government to show interest in them – and I don’t think that’s been coming,” Vaizey told MCV. “That’s something that would change very quickly under a Conservative Government. “There are a number of small, practical things you can do to make a difference to the industry – getting stuck into the skills agenda and making
The news comes in a good week for The Conservative Party, which gained 27.7 per cent of UK votes in last week’s European elections – dwarfing Labour’s 15.7 per cent, which came in behind both The Tories and UKIP. However, the Government’s new Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw this week gave a boost to UK studios, suggesting that Labour’s upcoming Digital Britain report – published later this month – would carry good news for the industry.
Michael Rawlinson Director General, ELSPA “We welcome Ben Bradshaw’s appointment as the new Secretary of State at the DCMS. We are encouraged that Ben’s previous work as a BBC news correspondent will mean he has first-hand knowledge, experience and understanding of the problems facing the creative industries sector. “We look forward to meeting with Ben soon and discussing how our industry can continue to work with the Government to ensure games retain their place as a world leader in the sector. We will, of course, also be explaining the significance and importance of PEGI becoming the single classification system for games in the UK. We wish him well in the post.”
Bradshaw – handpicked for the position in PM Gordon Brown’s new reshuffled Cabinet – told The House Of Commons on Monday: “We recognise the importance of the video games industry to the British economy. Research and development tax credits are available for the industry, and we are looking at introducing further tax breaks.”
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Pinnacle team returns with P2 Sleeman and Whiteside form new publisher Key kids licences already signed up by Michael French
2. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ............................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
3. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 PS3 ............................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
4. PROTOTYPE PS3 ..........................................ACTIVISION
5. GHOSTBUSTERS PS3 ..................................................SONY
6. PROTOTYPE BACK IN BUSINESS: Whiteside (left) and Sleeman (right) plan to offer licensed titles to retail and new IP via download
We are looking for new innovative gaming content that will help us achieve our goal of chart success. Peter Sleeman, P2 Games
with Wii, DS and PC titles due within months. Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracy Beaker The Game will be available on DS and PC from August 28th. Meanwhile Peppa Pig The Game will be
TOP 10 UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES
THE DEMISE of Pinnacle Software hasn’t slowed some of its former senior management – two of its staff have already formed a new publishing outfit. P2 Games is formed by Peter Sleeman and Gerry Whiteside and will focus on DS, Wii, PC and digital download games. Previously the two had spearheaded Pinnacle’s push into publishing games prior to the collapse of its parent firm. The new publisher’s first signings are top kids brands Tracy Beaker and Peppa Pig,
7. OPERATION FLASHPOINT 2: DRAGON
Sleeman explained: “We look forward to re-kindling our strong developer relationships and we are actively looking for new
released for Nintendo Wii on September 11th. The firm is already keenly courting other licensees for boxed product and also independent developers for original IP to release digitally.
innovative gaming content and brands that will help us to achieve our goal of chart success in 2009 and beyond.” Whiteside added: “We’re delighted to be back working together and truly believe that the wealth of our experience can add real value to the video game industry.”
8. FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 360 ......................................................EA
9. FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 PS3 ......................................................EA
10. TEKKEN 6 PS3 ....................................NAMCO BANDAI Week ending June 5th Source: SHOPTO.COM
P2: 07785 231702
Will 360 Games on Demand worry retail? MICROSOFT INSISTS that its new Xbox 360 Games on Demand service won’t dampen retail sales. But at E3, where the new service was unveiled, the firm admitted it hadn’t yet decided how long – if at all – a wait there will be between a digital release and its boxed brethren. Last week the formatholder unveiled the service, which offers an array of back catalogue games for the 360 from EA, 2K and other publishers for download. These titles, previously disconly products, will replace the
Originals service which made old Xbox titles available for download. New Games on Demand titles will be added to the
service, available in Xbox Live territories around the world including the UK, on a weekly basis. Customers can pay for the titles with a credit card or Microsoft Points. “It’s all about more choice to consumers,” said Xbox Live
rep Scott Austin. The service offers users the chance to provide score-based reviews and access to add-on content for each game.
But as for whether games will still be allowed to ‘premiere’ at retail, he admitted: “We’re not sure how that’s going to work – we’ve got new technology and we’re going to see how it works.
“Ultimately it just gives convenience and easy access to loads of the great content available for 360 - people can buy games, and get the great retail experience from their consoles in the comfort of their own homes.” He added that publishers were briefed on the service prior to E3, and most of them are ready for the August launch of Games on Demand. “Xbox has always been the leader in digital distribution and this is just the next step in that.”
Week Ending May 24th
Week Ending May 31st
Week Ending June 5th
Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media
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Trade rallies behind reborn E3 Last week’s LA Electronics Entertainment Expo was a ‘return to form,’ declares UK video games retailers by Christopher Dring UK RETAIL HAS hailed E3 2009 a triumph, following a string of key announcements at last week’s show. Many major UK games retailers sent personnel to the LA event, and the trade was thrilled by the new products including Sony’s PSPgo, Microsoft’s Project Natal and Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus. “It was a great E3, with a return to form in terms of huge
new announcements and a focused approach for retail,” said Asda’s games buying manager Duncan Cross. “Nintendo has a lot of strong titles for Q4, which will serve the market very well, Microsoft certainly stole the show with their presentation – great products, some great
“With Wii Fit Plus, Nintendo is adding to its core mass market appeal. The Vitality Sensor could bring a whole range of new games to market and the new Mario titles will be loved by gamers of all ages.” GAME’s online MD Alex Croft continued: “Obviously everyone at E3 was excited by
This year’s E3 was the most exciting in recent years - the console manufacturers grabbed the headlines. Martyn Gibbs, GAME
future innovation and some incredible celebrities – whilst Sony certainly surprised with a strong PS3 line up.” GAME’s customer and brand director Martyn Gibbs added: “This year’s E3 was the most exciting in recent years – the console manufacturers grabbed the headlines by showcasing their future developments, and there was plenty for gamers to get excited about this Martyn Gibbs (left), Alex Croft (Middle) and Duncan Cross (Right) were delighted by this year’s E3 show in LA Christmas, too.”
the announcement of Project Natal. Although it is still in development, it could change the face of gaming forever.” “The preview of Sony’s motion controller is also an interesting new concept and once again, the array of exclusive games for the PS3 will delight gamers who will be eager to get their hands on GT5, God of War 3, Agent and Final Fantasy XIV.” MCV’s review of E3 2009, which also includes thoughts on the event from EA’s Peter Moore, Take 2’s Ben Feder and LucasArts president Darrell Rodriquez, can be found on page 19.
Sega reveals new marketing team PUBLISHER SEGA has promoted its top marketing and product personnel, following the appointment of its new UK marketing director last month. Jo Fawell makes the step up from senior product manager to UK marketing manager. Fawell joined Sega UK back in April last year, and has ten years of games industry experience, with lengthy stints at Vivendi Games, Empire Interactive and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.
Fawell’s previous post is filled by Ben Payne, who moves up from product manager. And finishing the moves is Clare Hawkins, who becomes head of channel marketing. These promotions follow the appointment of ex-Atari head of marketing Amanda Farr as UK marketing director. “As the market changes and Sega have growth aspirations it’s vital that we strive to stay on the front foot,” said Sega’s UK MD John Clark.
MEET THE MARKETEERS: (from left to right) Amanda Farr, Clare Hawkins, Ben Payne and Jo Fawell take new roles at Sega UK
“There are so many opportunities and challenges with reaching our target consumer. The exciting developments within the
marketing department reflect our intentions to embrace this. We’ve just had our best year, this year’s release schedule is stronger; Sega has great people
and we’re ensuring that we establish the right team to drive our growth amidst what could prove to be a challenging year for the industry.” Last month, MCV revealed that managing director for Sega Europe North Alan Pritchard has become full European MD, while John Clark has moved up from sales director to take the position of UK MD. Both will report to president and COO Mike Hayes. Sega: 020 8995 3399
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Hero products to rescue retail Activision looks to capture the mass market with DJ Hero, Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero by Christopher Dring A TRIPLE-WHAMMY of major new Hero products dominate Activision’s Christmas line-up, as the publisher sets its sights on the wider music audience – and pleasing retail with new hardware bundles. The publisher has decided to take its Guitar Hero brand back to its rock roots with Guitar Hero 5, leaving the
director Brian Bright told MCV when describing how wide its target market has become. “My mum’s playing Guitar Hero now. It has a really broad base and appeals to everybody. “This year we’re testing the audience to see what people want. Guitar Hero is like a CD in a store, you won’t want to get every CD, but there’s something for everyone. If you like Metallica for instance, then that version will appeal to you.”
I believe that over half of those that will play DJ Hero will never have played a video game before. Chris Lee, Activision
recently-announced Band Hero to focus on more mainstream music, while DJ Hero sees the firm turns its attention to the lucrative hip-hop and dance scene. Each will be bundled with relevant guitar, drums or turntable peripherals. “The target audience for Guitar Hero is maybe 13 to 50,” Guitar Hero project
Commercial director of the DJ Hero developer FreeStyleGames Chris Lee added: “I believe that over half of those that will play DJ Hero will never have played video games before, and that’s because we’re delivering music they’re familiar with. “This has an enormous potential audience. One group
Chris Lee (left) and Brian Bright (right) feels Activision’s Hero franchise has the potential to appeal to an even wider audience
of people will be buying this for David Bowie and another for DJ Shadow.” Like Rock Band, the Guitar Hero series boasts a vast array of downloadable music. However, the publisher doesn’t see the digital market replacing the need for boxed games anytime soon.
“Right now we sell so much more at retail than we do via DLC,” explained Bright. “It would not be a viable business opportunity to go download only with Guitar Hero. There’s so many people in America that go to Wal-Mart to go buy their games.” Activision: 020 3060 1000
THQ and Nintendo enjoy May triumph PUBLISHER THQ saw its software value share jump five per cent in May, following the release of UFC 2009: Undisputed. According to market data the firm’s software sales share jumped to 9.2 per cent in the month, and the company has managed to jump ahead of Ubisoft, Take Two, Sega and Capcom in the rankings. THQ’s performance was driven by the success of UFC 2009: Undisputed, which was the company’s first UK weekly ChartTrack No. 1 in over two years. The game also managed to secure second place in the monthly May charts, and that’s despite only hitting shelves
UNDISPUTED SUCCESS: THQ’s publisher software market share leapt up for May, following impressive sales of UFC 2009: Undisputed
towards the end of the month. Despite UFC’s impressive performance, it couldn’t quite dislodge Nintendo’s Wii Fit
from the top of the monthly charts. Nintendo’s software value market share is now over 20 per cent, six per cent
ahead of nearest rival EA. The platform holder also has five games in the GfKChartTrack/ELSPA’s monthly Top Ten, including the newly released Pokémon Platinum, Wii Play, Mario Kart Wii and Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Activision Blizzard also saw its market share increase in May, aided by the release of Xmen Origins: Wolverine. The firm currently holds 11 per cent of UK market share in terms of value, with its Call of Duty titles continuing to sell strongly. For a full run down of the May monthly charts, turn to page 30.
HASBRO and its logo, TRANSFORMERS and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. © 2009 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. © 2009 DreamWorks, LLC and Paramount Pictures Corporation. Paramount and the Paramount logo are trademarks of Paramount. TM © 2009 Paramount. All Rights Reserved. Game © 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision is a registered trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. ‘2’, ‘PlayStation’, ‘PLAYSTATION’ and ‘PSP’ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
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Foley returns to games industry Publisher’s bid to capitalise on the casual gaming revolution by Christopher Dring KOCH MEDIA has appointed Juliana Foley as trade marketing and purchasing manager. Foley returns to the games industry following successful stints at EUK, Eidos, The Learning Company and THE Games/Nintendo. She is part of a trio of new staff who have been recruited to help the company expand its presence in the casual gaming space. Also joining the firm is Mark Jackson, who signs up as senior national account manager, having worked at The Game Factory as sales manager. Jackson previously worked at EA and LEGO. Completing the new faces is Peter Ballard who is appointed as the company’s marketing executive for casual games. Ballard spent 13 years at Universal Music, managing
Multiplay’s M Festival: the ‘Glastonbury of games’ returns Organisers keen to see gamer-focused event grow to full trade show
We believe the casual gaming revolution will cause a supply chain polarisation that we are fully equipped to deal with. Craig McNicol, Koch Media
back catalogue titles for artists including U2, Ian Brown and Dusty Springfield. Koch Media UK’s managing director Craig McNicol stated: “Casual gaming has been the biggest phenomena of the past three years. Koch Media are receiving more and more
CASUAL ACQUAINTANCE: Foley will help Koch Media grow its presence in the casual games market
requests for games that appeal to families and casual gamers. “Through our partners and products with high profile endorsements such as Ready Steady Cook, Jillian Michaels, The History Channel and the forthcoming Coronation Street, Koch Media are able to supply
this demand. Koch Media has an exclusive distribution model with our partners which enables us to evolve commercially in response to the market. “We believe that the casual gaming revolution will cause a supply chain polarisation that we at Koch Media are now fully equipped to deal with.” Koch Media: 08700 270 985
MULTIPLAY is working to ensure the upcoming M Festival in August is the company’s biggest event so far, with its supporters likening the show to Britain’s biggest music festival. “M Festival is a real gem,” Multiplay’s operations director Stewart Fletcher told MCV. “It’s been tagged by attendees as the ‘Glastonbury of gaming’. It attracts a lot of people and it’s continuing to grow. We’re selling out with each event we do.” The August iteration of the event has already sold out, and looks set to improve on the success of the April M Festival, once again held in Southampton’s Stoneleigh Park exhibition centre. Now the company is seeking to secure more exhibitors, confident that it will be able to fill the 3,500 square metre hall again. The event is already supported by several leading
publishers and vendors, including EA, Ubisoft, Codemasters, Logitech and Sennheiser. Multiplay believes the continued success of M Festival could see the rise of a new trade show to serve the UK’s games industry. “There are always stories of publishers and other companies from the industry saying they want to see a trade event in the UK, rather than in Germany or on the other side of the world,” said the firm’s sales and marketing director Jason Fletcher. “What they may not realise is that we already have one. “The feedback from the April festival was positive overall – someone said it was the best event they had been to – so for us to recieve comments like that is quite encouraging and gives us the confidence to build up for the August event.” Multiplay: 0845 868 1337
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Blockbuster offers Wii, DS rentals Gamers can now rent Mario Kart, Wii Fit or Professor Layton from £3.95 for a week by Christopher Dring BLOCKBUSTER is finally extending its rental range to include DS and Wii titles, MCV can reveal. The entertainment specialist has been offering Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games for rent for some time, but has now extended this to Nintendo platforms.
manager told MCV. “We’ve got quite a wide selection of new and popular games. “On DS we have games such as Professor Layton and the Curious Village, while on Wii we have Mario Kart Wii and even Wii Fit. So there’s something for everyone, from kids to adults.” Promotion for the offer is currently limited to in-store
It’s a slow start so far. As soon as people know the offer is here, via word of mouth, then they’ll come. Store Manager, Blockbuster
Members of Blockbuster can expect to pay as little as £3.95 to own DS or Wii software for a week. “We’ve been doing Nintendo DS and Wii games for rent for about three to four weeks now,” a Blockbuster store
POS, leaflets and posters, but Blockbuster is optimistic that word of mouth can see consumer uptake increase. “It’s a slow start so far, and I think it’s a case of getting word of mouth out there,” continued the manager. “As
WII RENT: Nintendo gamers will now be able to use the retailer’s services to test out the latest games.
soon as people know the offer is here, then they’ll come.” Blockbuster has recently moved away from its core rental and DVD business, instead focusing on new and
LOGGED ON: Richard Moggridge and Stephen Staley expand online
informative and easy to use site run by our experienced online team, who have been selling through Amazon and Play for six years. “To boost our web offering we will always be looking for
SONY: The SingStar range will see the addition of a Take That version in late 2009. The game is due for release on PS3 and PS2, with a PS3 SongPack offering a taste of the final version. MICROSOFT: Peter Molyneux has been promoted to creative director of European studios at Microsoft Games Studios. While maintaining his role at Lionhead, he will also oversee the creative direction of fellow UK Microsoft studio Rare, as well as other European external projects.
pre-owned video games, which prompted the firm to run out its Total Entertainment concept stores in September last year. Blockbuster: 01895 258866
Online indie retailers reveal new websites INDEPENDENT retail continues its push into the online space, as GameXchange and Gameseek reveal their new websites. GameXchange is a High Street chain with six stores nationwide, and was nominated as one of the Top 20 indies in MCV last month. The chain is owned by Richard Moggridge and Andy Parkes, and the new site is found at GameXchange.co.uk. “This website is years in the making,” said Moggridge. “We've always had in mind exactly what we wanted and we now feel we have a fun,
marketing deals and cross promotional opportunities.” MCV Award nominee Gameseek has also updated its site, with new features including extra categories, the ability to track games, new search
options, gift vouchers and a PC download service with Metaboli. “Gameseek has been due a facelift for sometime; it was designed for the older monitors and since most people have upgraded to larger screens we wanted to take advantage of the extra space,” explained Gameseek boss Stephen Staley. “It is a big improvement and we will be adding more features throughout 2009. Sales have increased immediately, so we’re very happy with the response. “We continue to listen to our customers’ demands and endeavour to attract more new customers.”
KONAMI: Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow has been announced for Xbox 360 and PS3, due for release in 2010. Previously announced as a new IP, Lords Of Shadow, the Japanese publisher decided to attach the Castlevania name to the project. DISNEY: A new range of gift cards coming to retail will allow mobile users to download Hannah Montana content to their phones. The first card is already available at 600 Sainsbury’s stores across the UK and allows customers to access games and other content based on the popular teen icon. GUINNESS: During E3, the people behind Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition awarded a number of industry icons and companies for breaking industry records, including Wii Sports for bestselling game, Infinity Ward for most played online game and Red Octane for bestselling rhythm game series. JUST TRAINS: Trainz 2009 has been released in the UK, Eire and Holland. The latest in the Trainz series of train simulators is set to follow the success of its predecessors, which have a combined sales total of over one million copies.
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Grainger Games builds on success with 21st store’s grand opening Leading independent retailer continues business expansion with the unveiling of its new Byker store by James Batchelor INDEPENDENT retail chain Grainger Games has opened its newest stores, bringing the company’s total number of outlets up to 21. The store is located in Byker
helped establish Grainger Games in the area,” said Grainger Games’ managing director Stephen Bowyer. “Grainger Games is already a well established and well recognised brand in the North East, and once again, we were
The opening was a great success, well attended and helped establish Grainger Games in the area.
Stephen Bowyer, Grainger Games
and is the second in Grainger Games’ history to be an entirely new build, following the recent construction of the Thornaby branch. “The opening was a great success, well attended and
very pleased with the number of customers attending.” The creation of the Byker store is part of Grainger’s latest expansion, which will see the launch of four new stores in towns such as Thornaby,
GUESTS: Lara Croft models and local VIPs were in attendance
Billingham and Darlington. “Grainger Games has continued expanding, in accordance with our business plan,” said Bowyer. “We now
WEEK E H T F O N G I A CAMP THQ breaks down the barriers to retail as Red Faction: Guerrilla works to build on the success of its predecessors...
have 21 stores open across the North East and Scotland. Of course, the expansion is important to us but maintaining high quality service and
keeping control over the business expansion is equally, if not more, important.” The new stores have been designed to fit into Grainger’s operation without causing disruption to the company’s business. The logistics and daily operation of the stores were pre-planned, so the new outlets could open their doors and begin trading as an established store, rather than facing the teething problems new stores encounter. According to Bowyer, the company has already identified several potential sites for future development, and is running feasibility studies to ensure any possible new stores can be maintained in the long term. Grainger Games: 0191 2181829
GUERILLA : N IO T C A F D E R
PRINT THQ kicked off its print campaign with a broad print campaign that focused on film, lifestyle and sci-fi press, as well as the traditional specialists. Print advertising began in April and will run until January in specialist press. ONLINE Online media for Red Faction includes full site takeovers as well as more traditional ads across all key video game websites. An initial heavyweight spend was focused around the demo launch to drive traffic to it. The majority of the online spend took place over the four week launch period. THQ also ran a number of activities across social media outlets like Facebook.
TV THQ has run a mix of 30- and 10-second spots, that hit across a broad portfolio of channels including: C4, Sky, C5, FX, Sci-Fi, Dave, Virgin1, Bravo and E4 On top of TV advertising Red Faction: Guerilla will be sponsoring WWE programming reaching over 500,000 16-34 year olds a month. The TV campaign runs from mid-May to mid-June. RETAIL Shelf charts, website takeovers, posters, DVD wraps, game of the week promotions and multiple branding options has all taken place at retail. The firm also worked with retailers to create a number of pre-order incentives including a model of the in-game walker
and exclusive in-game items and multiplayer maps. Print and TV advertising for the game also includes THQ’s trade partners. PR A specialist PR agency has been charged with securing coverage in national, men’s and sci-fi media. Furthermore, a specialist PR campaign was rolled out targeting all key print an online media. Activity includes press sampling events and unique creative merchandise. RELEASED: JUNE 5 FORMATS: 360, PS3 PUBLISHER: THQ DEVELOPER: VOLITION PRICE: £49.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9585
Ice Age 3 ™ & © 2009 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Twentieth Century Fox, Ice Age, Ice Age 3 and their associated logos are trademarks of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Game © 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision is a registered trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. ‘2’, ‘PlayStation’ and ‘PLAYSTATION’ are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
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14 MCV 12/06/09
MCV INTERVIEW IAN LIVINGSTONE, LIFE PRESIDENT, EIDOS
The view from the top Eidos’ new bosses at Square Enix made Ian Livingstone Life President at the Britsoft firm last month – and with his exemplary track record, it’s little wonder. Here, the industry legend tells Tim Ingham his thoughts on the state of the market…
Now the Square business is out of and responsible for over 22,000 jobs in the way, it’s back to games at Eidos. the UK. Games sales were recently cited What can be done to grow the as helping to save the High Street Tomb Raider franchise? Does Lara during these tough times. have the legs to feature in a more International bestsellers generate casual (maybe DS) title in future? many millions in revenue. When GTA 4 Inevitably, more diverse platforms was launched in May last year it sold continue to appear on the market, over 6m copies in its first week of sales, offering different ways of playing games. generating $500m in revenue. It was Obviously the experience of playing a bigger than any entertainment release in game on an iPhone or a DS will be any other media. No movie has come different to PS3 or Xbox 360 because of close in its first week of sales. And the differences in functionality and notorious though it is, GTA 4 is actually horsepower of the devices. a brilliant game, made in Scotland, a To be a true multi-platform success, great British success story that specific gaming experiences will have to undeservedly is more criticised than be delivered on platforms according to celebrated by the national press. user expectation and by playing to the strengths of the platform functionality. You recently discussed the UK’s As the games market expands into the skill shortage with MCV. Can we mass market, new consumers of games learn anything from the North are more likely to want a casual or American model – is it any better? social experience initially. Lara Croft I am sure we can learn from models in already reaches an audience beyond many countries. UK universities are games and we continue to explore all new The simple truth is that opportunities to exploit games are as important her celebrity in games and other mediums. socially, culturally and
economically as movies.
Globally speaking, how does the modern video games market stack up against the movie industry in your opinion – both in terms of public perception and mainstream success? The simple truth is that games are as important socially, culturally and economically as music and film. It’s just that not everybody realises this or cares to admit it even if they do. Games are certainly the preferred entertainment choice of today’s youth. No longer just the lonely pursuit of the geek in the bedroom, games have become mainstream entertainment with people playing games together in the living room and online. Games are now part of our culture, a new art form, that helps to define us as what we are as human beings. Games are generating huge revenues, contributing 0.75 per cent to UK GDP
Ian Livingstone, Eidos failing the industry, although it is not strictly their own fault. With a quota system in place where they are funded by Government on the basis of bums on seats, it is not surprising that courses are dumbed down to get the student numbers up. It’s the easy option for the universities and the students. But for that the UK pays a price. There are currently 81 courses at UK universities offering computer games courses. However, most of these are not fit for purpose from an industry point of view and only five have been accredited by Skillset. The courses are largely generic, focussing on general design, history, social relevance of games, etc. But can these graduates make games? No. This is failing the students and failing industry. Of courses we need designers but they are only a small percentage of
the overall team. What we need is computer scientists, artists and animators. It is more productive for studios to hire graduates straight out of Imperial College even though it doesn’t have a games course because the graduates are trained in C++ can and start work tomorrow. The universities have to change because more and more development is going offshore. Coverage of games has undoubtedly improved as we become more mainstream – but we still see a thoughtless jump to what murderers were playing in the news, etc. How can we finally rid this reactionary view from the media? There are positive articles written about games but they are usually tucked away inside a magazine. They never make the headlines unlike the negative articles. Some newspapers just can’t help themselves, creating sensational headlines to reinforce prejudiced views. The ill-informed public assume that all games are violent and are only played by children. But only three per cent of games carry an 18+ rating; most are suitable for younger players. An article about the fact that games are sociable and are an invisible learning tool that can teach people about solving puzzles and problems, intuitive learning, choice and consequence, interactive learning, strategy, management, etc. will never make the headlines as such stuff does not generate headlines. So it’s not surprising that much of society remains deeply suspicious of games. And despite the launch of games that encourage active participation like Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, dance mats, SingStar, etc the media still gets it wrong as it did with the recent Change4Life campaign.
And what of the Government’s role? The Government has not helped the games industry to help change the perception of games. It has kept the
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MCV INTERVIEW IAN LIVINGSTONE, LIFE PRESIDENT, EIDOS
industry at arms length despite its economic contribution for fear of being associated with negative press. Other governments openly celebrate their games industries. However as more consumers enjoy games, perceptions will change. It just takes time. One day all the old fogies will be gone or will find a new threat to society for them to warn us about. Last year’s E3 was seen as a bit of a disappointment by many publisher bosses – likened to a ‘hospital
corridor’ and called ‘soulless’ by prominent members of the international publishing community. What three things did the show need to do better this year from your perspective? It needed to do what it was supposed to do: Demonstrate and celebrate all that is happening and is going to happen in the ever-changing and exciting world of games. It has to be a focal point for an international market, a convenient meeting place with lots of areas where people can meet without hassle, getting
lost or eardrum-bursting noise. And they needed to bring back the booth babes! You famously snapped up LEGO Star Wars when it was being rejected by other publishers – to great success. But have you ever turned down a product you’ve lived to regret? I can’t actually recall turning down a title that went on to be a great success. But maybe that’s my selective memory. However, I do recall signing a few real stinkers in the early years...
BIOGRAPHY His career in interactive entertainment began in 1975, when he founded Games Workshop with Steve Jackson. The duo launched Dungeons & Dragons in Europe. Livingstone oversaw the flotation and merger of Domark with Eidos Technologies in 1995. He served as executive chairman of Eidos’ Board until 2002. He has earned a BAFTA and OBE for his services to the industry, and acts as chairman for the Computer Games Skills Council.
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Getting better all the time 2007 was a shambles. 2008 was a disappointment. But 2009 saw E3 back with a vengeance – and perfectly balanced between the huge scale the industry needed to show off, and the more personal focus required to do actual business. Over the next four pages Michael French looks back at last week’s big Los Angeles event…
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE: The Beatles (well, the remaining ones) opened the show, pretty much summing up how E3 was back – and with style
IT WILL COME as a huge relief to many in the industry that last week’s E3 in LA was neither a waste of time nor a waste of money. With over 40,000 attendees – a huge number, but a third less than when the show was at its pandemonium peak of over 60,000 in 2006 – you could certainly feel that the show was busy, but not too manic. Sure, there were queues for new games, a bit of chaos outside the press conferences and a dash of controversy – but it wouldn’t be the expo without it. And when those things are all part of the experience – and not E3’s reason to exist – it’s clear that, finally, the organisers at US publishers and the ESA have found a winning formula. No wonder, then, that the show has already been confirmed for next year, taking place June 15th to 17th. But don’t just take our word for it. We asked a variety of leading names across American publishing and UK retail for their reaction to the show… “I had a chance to walk around the show and see the first party press conferences and I am excited – I’m encouraged by the
enthusiasm everyone has in the industry. So it’s great to see the return of this big, enthusiastic event.” Mike Griffith, CEO, Activision Publishing
without the unmanageable crowds and over-the-top booths. All business and easy to navigate – I’ll give it two thumbs up.” Peter Moore, President, EA Sports
“I think E3 is back! And thank goodness – the trick was to control the arms race, and make sure we can have conversations and not be drowned out by booming speakers. I think E3 generates and projects the energy the industry is about and the growth the industry is about, plus the passion that gamers and publishers have for the products. I think this year was great –and I think next year will be even better.” Ben Feder, CEO, Take 2
“In my opinion E3 was a very successful show this year; it delivered just enough razzmatazz without returning to the ‘over-the-top’ stands. The noise levels were at a level where business could be done and the reduced attendance levels from its heyday allowed you to get close to product as well as maneuver around the show floors a lot easier. I feel E3 is back with a vengeance and I would like to see more retailers from across international markets attend next year. I hope the show can maintain the disciplines imposed this year and that we continue to learn from the mistakes of the past.” Ian Curran, EVP – International, THQ
“It’s been a fantastic show. The noise level has increased a bit from last year so that shows we’re doing something right!” Darrell Rodriguez, President, LucasArts “The show was a vast improvement on the previous year. It had the energy and buzz of the past,
“This year’s E3 was definitely the most exciting in recent years – the console manufacturers certainly grabbed the headlines by showcasing their future developments but there was certainly plenty for gamers to get
excited about for this year. The new Mario games on Wii, Modern Warfare 2 and Halo ODST on Xbox and the new PSPgo and Gran Turismo Portable will certainly get core and casual gamers excited in the run-up to Christmas. We’ll be working very closely with both first and third party partners through the next few months to offer the best deals for our customers on all these exciting products.” Martyn Gibbs, Customer and Brand Director, Gamestation “It was a great E3, with a return to form in terms of big announcements and a focused approach for retail – and not too many people. There were three very strong presentations from the format holders: Nintendo have a lot of strong titles for Q4, Microsoft certainly stole the show with their presentation – great product, some great future innovation and incredible celebrities – whilst Sony surprised with a strong PS3 line up and some exciting new motion sensor controller applications. Away from the conferences, there was a great product line up for this Q4 and beyond from the third parties.” Duncan Cross, Asda
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GAME ON For Nintendo, the primary focus at E3 was on how it will keep growing its audience in two directions: more casual products and more hardcore ones. So under the banner ‘Everyone’s Game’ the firm announced a key mass-market product for each staple franchise. For every New Super Mario Bros. Wii there was a Wii Fit Plus, and for every Metroid M, there was a Wii Sports Resort.
IN PICTURES There were a lot of announcements at last week’s expo. Here we offer a brief run through of the key reveals for each of the format holder’s press conferences…
WANT MORE E3? MCV WAS ON HAND ALL WEEK, REPORTING ON THE KEY ANNOUNCEMENTS. READ MORE AT
STAR POWER Microsoft relied on glamour to sustain its press conference, opening with The Beatles and closing with Spielberg. But it didn’t forget to talk first-party software. As well as new controller-less kit Natal (pictured far left), it debuted Alan Wake, new Halo and Forza games, and a raft of Live improvements and Arcade titles.
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WARDING OFF PIRACY Sony’s new PSPgo and Motion Sensor controller should help answer concerns over IP theft, publisher support and the firm’s hardware commitment, but the company had plenty of software announcements too. Key games included Uncharted 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, MAG, Modnation Racers, Gran Turismo and two (count ‘em) Final Fantasy games.
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Six and the city Hundreds of games might have been on show in Los Angeles, but it was clear that six broad themes were running across a number of key titles. Here’s a guide to each trend and the relevant games for each…
Clearly driven by the Guitar Hero and Wii booms, E3 2009 showed a number of publishers embrace the hardware market with open arms. Activision rules here: the most atypical was Tony Hawk: Ride, while the most popular at the show was DJ Hero. But format holders are keen to explore non-traditional devices, too: Microsoft demoed Project Natal and Sony teased with its Motion Sensor. Not to be outdone, Nintendo also announced the Wii Vitality Sensor (which is like one of those medical-finger-clothes-peg things you see on Casualty or Grey’s Anatomy). The question is, has retail got enough room? The key products: Natal (Microsoft); Sony’s Motion Sensor (Sony); DJ Hero, Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero and Tony Hawk Ride (all Activision); Your Shape (Ubisoft); Wii Vitality Sensor (Nintendo); Def Jam Rapstar (4mm Games); and various Wii MotionPlus titles.
There’s a huge overlap here with the peripheral trend – indeed, almost all of the below use guitars, microphones or other faux-musical items. But the vast number of music games had proven this to be a viable category all of its own. At E3, the most interesting thing was the various ways publishers are now looking to widen the appeal beyond rock music to new musical genres and also new demographics. Band Hero and Lego Rock Band are for younger audiences, and DJ Hero and Def Jam Rapstar for more urban gamers. The core classics Guitar Hero 5 and The Beatles: Rock Band should maintain interest amongst core and older fans of those titles. The key products: DJ Hero, Guitar Hero 5, and Band Hero (akk Activision); last.fm on Xbox Live (Microsoft); Def Jam Rapstar (4mm Games); Lego Rock Band (Warner Bros); The Beatles: Rock Band (Harmonix/EA).
A number of games for the ‘tween’ market were on show at E3, offering a hybrid between casual and kids’ game markets. Why now? Perhaps there’s an increasing numbers of guilty industry execs or developers who feel their own children are underserved by our market? Or maybe everyone has woken up to the fact that there is gold in them thar High School Musical hills? Either way, the variety of youth-oriented product, beyond just (or also including) kids games was palpable across a variety of formats. The key products: Imagine Boutique Owner, Imagine Detective, Imagine Fashion Designer World Tour, Imagine Salon Stylist, Petz Dogz Talent Show, Petz Nursery, Petz Pony Beauty Pageant, Petz Saddle Club, Girl’s Life Makeover and Girl’s Life Jewellery (all Ubisoft); Charm Girls Club (EA); Style Savvy (Nintendo); Hannah Montana: Rock Out the Show (Disney)
Sure, LA is no stranger to a bit of glitz – but this year video games have genuine star power. Hence why The Beatles opened the show with their Rock Band spin-off. Every other presentation following saw big stars turn up. Bethesda even had one for the nerds with Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Eliza Dushku on hand to tout her part in new action game Wet. Even Posh Spice arrived to test Natal, apparently. (Another camera to look miserable in front of, then.)
What was once a buzzword in games development circles is now an established area of games – and publishers showed off the titles to prove it. Nintendo formats proved to be a primary driver – surprising given its previously closed approach to online sharing. The key products: Modnation Racers (Sony), Mario vs Donkey Kong: Minis March Again, Flipnote Studio and Wario Ware DIY (all Nintendo), Forza 3 (Microsoft) and Scribblenauts (Warner Bros.)
A number of key companies – including format holders and major publishers – were on hand in LA, each either with their own answer to ‘saving’ or improving the racing genre, or adding a new business model. The key products: Split/Second (Disney), Joy Ride (Microsoft), Modnation Racers (Sony), GT5 (Sony), Gran Turismo Mobile (Sony), Forza 3 (Microsoft), Need For Speed: Nitro (Electronic Arts), Need For Speed: Shift (Electronic Arts) and Blur (Activision).
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KOCH’S NEW MOVE
Serious about casual Koch Media is set to increase its presence in the casual games sector with a new strategy. Here, UK boss Craig McNicol sets out the firm’s vision… USE THE WORD ‘casual’ in everyday surely now it’s all about just stepping on society and most will know the situation and sitting aboard the long-awaited being summed up is an exercise that gravy train. Well maybe, if you have the will not be repeated – or is not a correct strategy and don’t accept serious arrangement. without question that the growth in the If you were given an outline of a casual market is a ‘nice little earner’. person’s job as casual work, or described We at Koch have a belief that the a relationship as one of casual sex, you casual market is starting to appear would instantly know that the situation similar to the PC multimedia was purely a temporary one. marketplace of the mid 1990s. Today’s To add more weight to this point, the casual market could possibly follow the dictionary provides the following same rise and fall – and see many explanation for the meaning of casual: developers and publishers that operate ‘Happening by chance; fortuitous and purely in this one sector face failure. without definite or serious intention, “However we also recognise that it is devoid of or seeming to be without plan not all doom and gloom. This segment or method.’ Yet this definition surely Within casual, pre-released does not fit the muchtitles are maintaining focus talked about, surely overwith retail, while new hyped casual video games market sector – that most releases get bumped. current publishers and, Craig McNicol, Koch Media without doubt, several future players are trying to participate does have one major positive difference within. The above casual definition to the old PC multimedia sector – definitely does not sum up the high format owners that are committed to amount of hours being burnt discussing, driving software sales for hardware planning, launching and managing the success long term. huge amount of releases within the The PC multimedia marketplace was over-described sector. targeting ‘a PC on every desk’ (as in Bill However, for the industry, this is the Gates’ vision), but suffered because of era we have all been waiting for. The the boom of the internet, as well as the era when your 80-year old grandmother ever-changing technical specs, confusing wants to know if her brain is actually installation routines and importability of 80, when you go to a party and people the PCs of yesteryear. Today’s hardware actually understand your job – as they is more affordable, easier to use, and have played or seen a game played and even offers true gaming on the move. ‘it looks like fun’. Yes, this is the age Koch’s insight is not unique; probably many prayers have been answered and every publisher and developer has
recognised this similarity and subsequent market opportunities. Nevertheless, Koch is in an exceptional position to be able to maximise the casual marketplace and reap good returns for developers and publishers. SMART/CASUAL
Our research shows that retailers are unable to keep up with the number of releases that are already in the marketplace, and those that are due in the next six months. We know that that the volume of casual releases are bucking the trend of ‘traditional’ releases (multi-format or core gaming titles) by the figures illustrated in the pie charts below (Fig A and Fig B). With casual releases in 2008’s peak season running at roughly 39 per cent of the whole casual market sector on Nintendo DS as opposed to around a quarter of traditional Nintendo DS titles, shelf space was always going to be tight. Yet it’s surprising that retailers are not providing the same focus to casual as publishers may want to believe. Fig C below outlines this perfectly, with only a third of all available Nintendo DS space dedicated to new and pre-released casual releases each week throughout the peak of 2008. This is an alarming discovery, and one that could be perhaps explained as retailers already recognising that casual product is a risky product – a release that will possibly not perform as well as a properly
MCNICOL: The Koch Media boss says the firm has a better understanding of the casual market than its rivals
marketed, fully PR’d, already established consumer-known branded title that targets an audience known to repeat purchase. Therefore, who can blame a retailer for refusing to support this largely ‘Me Too’ product, and failing to give any justified promotional, high visibility shelf space without a rock bottom, probably loss-making (for the publisher) price point. This is a dangerous and perhaps unfixable situation, as more publishers will fail without realising a profit and consumers will believe that other titles are expensive, forcing overall price
KOCH’S CASUAL RETAIL RESEARCH
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KOCH’S NEW MOVE
TAKING IT SERIOUSLY... Koch Media’s back catalogue in the casual sphere is impressive enough... Deal or No Deal; Banker is Back on DS and Wii Golden Balls on DS and Wii Are You Smarter Than A 10 Year Old on DS Ready Steady Cook on DS Gardening Guide on DS And new titles coming this year will include... DJ Star will launch in Q3. Coronation Street on NDS will launch in Q4.
points down indefinitely. Another tactic that we are familiar with is the rapid penetration strategy that certain publishers have adopted. This rapid penetration approach is undertaken by advantageously entering a sector early – in this case, a huge range alongside a low price point and large financial marketing and promotional budget. The intent is to capture market share and long term dominance, overcoming any retailer reluctance. Once this market position is established, this advance should enable the publisher to reap lasting results
when other publishers have failed or indeed lost interest in the sector. However, this approach has also in the main failed, as illustrated in Fig D below. THE RIGHT APPROACH
After two years of first launching the range and with large marketing spend supporting the franchise, you’d expect retailer support to be higher for the latest releases than that achieved by initial launch titles. In fact the reverse is true. Although there could ultimately be a ‘jewel in the crown’ title to follow, which will subsequently allow this
strategy to become an overnight success, current statistics suggest that the high marketing investment and vast range management resource surely involved, financial return will have been largely unsuccessful. Moreover, this approach will always need huge marketing investment. But unless the range attracts major word-ofmouth recommendation, as in several of the innovative Nintendo releases, or has the ability to generate vast column inches of mass market PR space, the strategy will always have to rely on major marketing campaigns at huge
expense, to stand out from the crowd. Another observation we have acknowledged is that traditional Nintendo DS titles have a focus at various retailers for a limited amount of time, and typically new releases get the lion’s share of the shelf space focus. However, within casual, pre-released titles are maintaining a larger focus at retailer level with new releases appearing to be ‘bumped’ on average by all retailers types at least a week earlier. We expect that 2009’s forthcoming peak will see dramatic worsening focus for Nintendo DS casual releases. Nevertheless Koch has seen some brilliance in the industry, and through our major investment in defining product positioning strategies alongside procuring the correct product, we believe that in 2009 challenges are largely anticipated. We have built a team capable of delivering our goals who have long-term experience and relationships within the industry to capitalise on this casual opportunity. We judge this long-awaited mass-market potential as an area that Koch will extensively participate successfully within, and whilst we identify that new challenges will emerge, ultimately our attitude to making our product portfolio thrive can be described as anything but casual.
Koch Media commissioned information provider Fancensus to analyse the behavior of casual video games consumers, which assisted in the formation of its new strategy. Fancensus drew weekly data from a visited retail panel of 50 stores, consisting of ten multiple retailers.
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HOW TO ENTER AND QUALIFICATION CRITERIA Contact the CentreSoft Activision Product Manager, Amar Mosaid on 0121 625 3388 to request an entry form Create a winning window or instore display using the TRANSFORMERS REVENGE OF THE FALLEN POS Promote and guarantee dedicated space in-store for the TRANSFORMERS REVENGE OF THE FALLEN video game during the period 19th June to 31st July Purchase TRANSFORMERS REVENGE OF THE FALLEN video games and display within store throughout the period 26th June to 31st July Submit two photos of the completed window or instore display* *Please note entry will only be accepted upon receipt of all photos and therefore we cannot accept responsibility for photos not supplied
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HASBRO and its logo, TRANSFORMERS and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. © 2009 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. © 2009 DreamWorks, LLC and Paramount Pictures Corporation. Paramount and the Paramount logo are trademarks of Paramount. TM © 2009 Paramount. All Rights Reserved. Game © 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision is a registered trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. ‘2’, ‘PlayStation’, ‘PLAYSTATION’ and ‘PSP’ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. NINTENDO DS, Wii AND THE Wii LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NINTENDO. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
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MONTHLY CHARTS: MAY
May’s Undisputed champs THQ, Activision and Nintendo enjoy a big month with UFC 2009: Undisputed, Wolverine and Wii Fit... THIS LAST MONTH MONTH
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 2 3 4 7 5 6 8 11 10
–-–-–-–- –- –--
SOFTWARE SHARE BY COMPANY
NINTENDO ELECTRONIC ARTS UBISOFT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD THQ SEGA TAKE 2 SONY MICROSOFT DISNEY
16.5% 14.1% 9.4% 8.8% 7.3% 6.0% 4.6% 4.4% 3.2% 2.8%
NINTENDO and Wii Fit dominated May in a month that saw just a handful of new releases hit shelves. The platform holder’s software market share increased in terms of both units and value during the month, aided by the improved supply of Wii Fit and the release of Pokemon Platinum.
THIS LAST MONTH MONTH
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 2 4 9 3 5 8 7 6 10
–-–- –- –--
EA also held onto its position in May, comfortably sitting in second place. And that’s despite April’s top performer, The Godfather II, slipping from second place to 13th. FIFA 2009 continued to be a big seller for the publisher, while the late release of EA Sports Active also aided the firm’s performance in May.
SOFTWARE SHARE BY COMPANY
NINTENDO ELECTRONIC ARTS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD THQ UBISOFT SEGA SONY TAKE 2 CAPCOM MICROSOFT
20.1% 13.7% 11.0% 9.2% 7.7% 4.9% 3.9% 3.6% 3.4% 2.8%
Meanwhile, Activision saw its market share improve thanks to the release of movie tie-in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was the fourth best seller for the month, while THQ also jumped up thanks to the huge success of UFC 2009: Undisputed, which was May’s second biggest selling game.
© 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision is a registered trademark and Prototype is a trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. ‘2’ and ‘PLAYSTATION’ are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
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(c) ELSPA, Compiled by GfK-ChartTrack
TOP 50 ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE 1.
Wii Fit Wii
UFC 2009: Undisputed 360, PS3
Football Manager 2009 PC, PSP
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Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection PS3, 360
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"DESTROY OR DECEIVE IN THE YEAR'S MOST DEVASTATING SANDBOX EPIC!"
Idef2009_AP 230x315_UK:Mise en page 1 05/05/09 14:23 Page1
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MCV 12/06/09 33
MCV INTERVIEW ROY CAMPBELL, GLOBAL SALES AND MARKETING VP
Campbell’s super THQ’s former UK managing director has taken over the global marketing reigns at up-andcoming Polish games publisher City Interactive. Tim Ingham asks the questions… What are the major differences between working for City Interactive and THQ? Scale, really. The principles of business are the same for every publisher in this industry. If you manage to build the amount of inventory that you are capable of selling, invoice it at a good price and collect it all debt free, then you give yourself a fighting chance. I expect to be treated the same today as I was treated when I was at THQ; I’ve never asked for favours, just equality. That has been my mantra throughout my working life and remains true today. I do miss many of my colleagues at THQ but I do not miss the lunchtime walks in Woking avoiding the ‘extras’ from The Jeremy Kyle Show.
Campbell is looking to expand City Interactive’s UK presence beyond its offices in Manchester
What formats are you currently focusing on – and why? Our strength has been in budget/midprice PC games, which are especially strong in Germany and Eastern Europe but we have now made our entry into the DS and Wii market too. We have high quality development talent for Nintendo and PC and feel that we have the right offering for today’s challenges in a very congested marketplace.
What are your plans for expansion in the UK – both in terms of presence and physical site? We have just signed a UK distribution deal with Trilogy, have a UK-based sales manager and I will probably look to employ a PR and marketing person to help us through our next phase.
Will you be increasing your scope beyond PC and Nintendo platforms? Yes. We hope to have some 360 titles out later We have the experience to this year and most handle big franchises, and we certainly next year. We are very much on the radar have some outstanding IP that is perfect for the 360. for major licence holders.
Roy Campbell, City Interactive
Does being a smaller company make it easier or harder to survive the recession? We are trading within our means and the aim is to have the correct people in place to exploit the market when we do come out the other end. It’s never been about the number of staff you have, it’s about the quality of staff you have and that is our mission at all levels of the business.
So there’s no ivory tower, no fountains in reception and no Porches in the car park. We may look at another office down south but as I am spending much of my time on a plane, we have an office in Manchester, which I work from when in the UK. It does become difficult on a sunny day though with all that silverware at Old Trafford reflecting on my office window.
What kind of purchasing power does City Interactive have? We are listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and are well funded. However, this does not mean that we are reckless in our spending and in the major decisions that we make. We are fortunate that the bourses in Poland and some Eastern European countries have proven to be more resilient to the current crisis than other countries. Perhaps Polish MPs do not submit duplicitous expense claims for Plasma TVs, the cleaning of their moat, or horse manure for the gardens of their second homes, and instead get down to prudent business practices.
Can you see the company acquiring studios, publishers and/or major licences over the next 12 months? Even for a small publisher we are very much on the radar for major licence holders as they recognise that we have
many employees with vast experience in handling major franchises. Do you have any fear of the existing competition in the games space? No publisher has a God given right to success in this industry and we should always be able to justify our proposition to retail and the consumer. We have to continually challenge our PR and marketing guys to give the sales team that edge when they see a retailer; that is the focus with City Interactive. Can you become a world-leading publisher in the next few years? Managing our expectations will keep our feet on the ground. We will grow sensibly and react to opportunities that will present themselves in the next few years. We have offices in Warsaw, Frankfurt, Manchester, Montpellier, Madrid and New York. With that infrastructure, plus our great distribution network, we have a global reach that satisfies our business needs for now.
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34 MCV 12/06/09
The forgotten platform As the PC software market continues to decline, game sales on the Mac are on the up. Christopher Dring speaks to the companies looking to capitalise on Apple’s other gaming platform…
JUST AS E3 closed its doors for yet EA is one publisher that’s vocal in its another year, EA launched what will support of Macintosh. The firm held a undoubtedly be the biggest PC game of launch event for The Sims 3 at Apple’s the year – The Sims 3. Regent Street store, and launched six The third in the 100-million selling Mac games in 2008 – including the franchise was originally scheduled to hit acclaimed Spore. shelves back in February, but EA RETURN OF THE MAC decided to push it back until June. The This commitment is set to continue as reason? To release the game well, with the publisher using simultaneously on PC and Mac. TransGaming’s Cider technology, an The news came a surprise to some, engine that acts as a wrapper on PC especially as Mac’s market share is games, allowing EA to release Mac dwarfed by its PC rival. Yet while the games for minimal cost. PC games market is in decline, the Mac “We’ve seen heightened interest in format’s is on the rise, and with 40m the Mac market by publishers,” says Apple computers expected to be in US homes by the end of the year, there’s a huge A lot of The Sims fans are potential audience. Mac users and it’s a growing “It’s very important to platform. We hope to attract us that The Sims 3 is available for Mac new players to the franchise. gamers,” explains EA’s Claire Ridley, EA UK marketing manager TransGaming president and CEO Vikas Claire Ridley. “We know that a lot of Gupta. “TransGaming’s Cider The Sims fans are Mac users and it’s a technology makes it easy to bring PC growing gaming platform – so we hope games to Mac so publishers aren’t to attract new players to the franchise.” necessarily looking to develop their games for Mac directly. “As Apple sells more Macs and as those machines become increasingly powerful, we believe the Mac gaming market will start to grow quickly. We also believe that this growth is directly attributed to the number and quality of games. Day and date PC and Mac releases should also help grow the market. It's been unfair to Mac consumers to have games released on the format months after the PC release.” However, despite the renewed interest in Mac, one challenge the sector has to overcome is distribution. Few retailers stock Mac games, with Apple stores the only notable exception. And many publishers are instead looking to release Mac and PC games on special
dual-discs (such as with The Sims 3 and Football Manager), while others are going down the digital route, using services such as TransGaming’s GameTreeOnline and Aspyr’s gameagent.com. “It’s hard to get the games out in front of consumers,” comments Glenda Adams, former director of development for Aspyr, another company that specialises in converting PC games to Mac. “The main place to sell is at Apple’s retail stores, which are more focused on iPods and Macs than game software. Digital distribution is still fairly new on the Mac, but I think that will be the force that helps keep Mac games selling. The ability to just download a game and play it will open up the market to more Mac users.” Whether or not Mac can succeed as a viable platform relies a lot on Apple’s own attitude. The computer giant has enjoyed major success with games via its iPhone App Store, and a similar service on Mac could see casual gaming take this platform by storm too. “I’d love to see Apple take some of the focus they have for games on the iPhone and move it to the Mac,” adds Adams. “It would be fantastic if Apple built an App Store for Mac software, as this would provide an instant widespread portal for people to buy software online. Bringing some unique game controls to the Mac (like Wii or iPhone) could also be a great thing for Apple to do – it would let Mac game developers focus on unique Mac content and not just rely on ports of existing PC games.” Ed Allard, VP of PopCap’s video game platform studio, concludes: “Gaming hasn’t historically been the Mac’s strong suit, but that perception has started to change. In particular, I think there’s a great opportunity for casual gaming to take off on Mac. “Apple has always been at the forefront of innovative design, and they continue to explore and create new hardware, software and user interface features for their customers. I hope that their innovative approach finds its way into gaming – from new user interface paradigms to entirely new input hardware.”
This Christmas, the Rabbids are going home. ÂŠ 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Rabbids Go Home, Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. Wii and the Wii logo are trademarks of Nintendo.
Exclusively for Wii MotionPlus this Christmas. TM
ÂŠ 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Red Steel, Ubisoft and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. Wii and the Wii logo are trademarks of Nintendo.
Exclusively on Wii this Christmas
© 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. Shaun White is used under license from Shaun White and Shaun White Enterprises, Inc. Wii and the Wii logo are trademarks of Nintendo.
“It is a thrill to continue to inspire a new generation” - Pelé
© 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Academy of Champions, Ubisoft, ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. Wii and the Wii logo are trademarks of Nintendo.
ww ww.yoursshapegam me.com The included motion-sensing camera scans your body and tracks every exercise move in real time, giving you an unprecedented level of accuracy, feedback and efficiency.
A new era of fitness, coming this Christmas. ÂŠ 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. Wii and the Wii logo are trademarks of Nintendo. ÂŠ 2006 Nintendo.
39 MCV541_FINAL:46 MCV515
Sponsored by WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 12/06/09 39
THQ man heads up Future’s online network Cantwell joins GamesRadar Network Lunch promotes Robins Developer Ruffian hires 15 new recruits FUTURE MARK CANTWELL has joined Future in the newly created role of associate publisher for its games portfolio. He will be responsible for increasing the reach and influence of the GamesRadar Network, including GamesRadar, CVG and Edge-Online. Initial goals include stepping up the sites’ video production and improving user profiles. Cantwell joins from THQ, where he held the position of digital marketing manager and drove the publisher’s integration of digital
CANTWELL: Digital ad specialist returns to Future
communications into its overall media strategy. Before this, he worked at Future across a range of sites, focusing on digital advertising on the likes of BikeRadar.com and GamesRadar.com.
RUFFIAN The Dundeebased development studio has taken on no fewer than 15 new recruits as its begins full production on Crackdown 2. The new faces hail from various companies across the games industry, with a wealth of experience in a range of different areas. RICHARD WAZEJEWSKI and CARLOS GARCIA join as artists, alongside new VFX artist SHANE O’DOWDA plus junior artists KEVIN DUNLOP and RYAN ASTLEY. ROB COWSILL and JOHN HYND take up the role of
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senior engineer, overseeing junior engineers RICHARD WELSH and TERRY DREVER, as well as engineer ANDREW HEYWOOD. MARTIN LIVINGSTON has been named mission designer under senior mission designer DEAN SMITH. Two new testers, KEVIN BLACK and EWAN MCKENZIE, have also been appointed. Finally, STEVE RANDELL has been recruited as IT manager. “We’ve come a long way in the last six month and have been overwhelmed by the number of developers keen to join our merry band,” said
Ruffian’s studio head GAZ LIDDON. “Now we’re in full production, we’re itching to share the fantastic work these guys have been producing. Hopefully that won’t be too far away.” LUNCH MARK ROBINS has been promoted to senior account manager after 14 months with the PR agency. He has previously worked on UK specialist PR for Lunch’s Bethesda and Codemasters Online Gaming accounts, and was instrumental in the launch of Fallout 3.
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RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES PRICE CHECK CHARTS NEW RELEASES
READY TO RUMBLE... EA Sports’ popular Fight Night series re-enters the retail ring Page 44-45
LET’S TAP P46 Sega’s acclaimed, budget-priced, innovative Wii party game hits shelves FUN PARK PARTY AND SUMMER SPORTS PARTY P48 Ubisoft prepares to unleash its latest set of Wii party game collections GUITAR HERO: GREATEST P50 Activision revamps classic Guitar Hero tracks so the entire band can play ICE AGE 3 P52 The latest in the popular animated kids movie series gets the tie-in treatment MUNCHABLES P53 Pacman meets Katamari in this charming platformer from Namco Bandai HIGH STREET P56 The latest peripherals, indie charts, tales from the frontline and deals in this week’s High Street
RETAILBIZ: FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 44 MCV 12/06/09
The leading boxing franchise returns to consoles this month to reinvigorate the genre once more as EA Sports calls Fight Night Round 4 into the ring…
by James Batchelor WHILE THE vast majority of sports see annual outings in the video game space, catering for fans of football, basketball, wrestling and more, enthusiasts generally have to wait a little longer for the latest boxing game. But now the leading franchise in this genre returns to shelves with Fight Night Round 4. The third bout of EA Sports’ renowned boxing series debuted back at the start of the current console generation and redefined the genre with its stunning visuals and deep gameplay, offering the most authentic digital boxing experience ever – until now. Fight Night Round 4 advances the sport further with a completely new gameplay engine, a wealth of new
features and the biggest names in boxing just waiting to punch gloves and begin fighting. Understandably, EA is confident about Round 4’s potential and the publisher is claiming that consumers seem to be just as excited.
There is a great level of buzz and anticipation around the release of Fight Night Round 4. Luke Cousens, EA Sports “There is a great level of buzz and anticipation around the release of Fight Night Round 4, a title that’s been a long time coming for fight fans,” offers a bullish EA Sports senior product manager Luke Cousens. “We’re expecting our strongest launch for a Fight Night title to date.” Once again, the development team
behind Fight Night has aimed to take gamers closer to the ring than ever before. The new engine, developed from scratch for Round 4, recreates the sport perfectly, with an all-new physics-based animation system making the action appear to be even more realisitic. The animations treat fans to innumerable punch impacts, calculated to reflect the angle and strength of each and every hit. Taking the game beyond simple ‘hit or miss’ conventions, Round 4 shows off missed punches, glancing punches, knockout blows and rough and tumble inside fighting. All of these depend not only on the player’s skill, but also on the boxer’s fatigue, adrenaline, footwork and timing. “There’s a powerful new gameplay engine keeping the action in the ring
RETAILBIZ: FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 12/06/09 45
EA Sports is confident of delivering knockout sales to retail when Fight Night Round 4 hits retail later this month
FORMER CONTENDERS The past few months have seen a slew of boxing and fighting titles arrive at retail, proving that demand for a new Fight Night will be high and setting the EA Sports title up for guaranteed commercial success. Punch-Out!! – Nintendo resurrected its veteran boxing franchise for the hundreds of Wii fans begging for a fight. Ironically, the original Punch-Out!! featured Fight Night frontman Mike Tyson as a major boss. Ready 2 Rumble Revolution – Another series brought back after a lengthy absence, Atari’s latest Ready 2 Rumble title maintained a less serious tone than Fight Night, with each character parodying real-life celebs. Don King’s Prizefighter – released last year on Xbox, with Wii and DS releases following back in March, this 2K Sports title brought in famous names from both in and out of the ring, with Don King himself leading the documentary-style campaign mode. Facebreaker – A more light-hearted take on boxing developed by the same team behind Fight Night, this new IP met with moderate success when it launched in the run up to Christmas last year.
faster than ever, delivering the truest representation of the sport’s incredible speed, accuracy, timing and power like never before,” adds Cousens. “We’ve also got the most exciting boxer line-up of all time, with over 40 licensed boxers from today’s best and the greatest of all time. Notably, we have the man everyone wants to see ingame: Iron Mike Tyson.” Tyson is joined by other boxing legends, including Muhammad Ali, which means that players have the chance to pit the two icons against each other for the first time. Depending on the star they choose, players will see their onscreen boxer employing unique fighting styles that affect their performance – whether it’s the bobbing and weaving of Tyson or Ali’s reach, hand speed and fleetness of foot. The use of these styles allows gamers to vary their own fighting preferences:
they can choose to be a brawler, counter-puncher or an inside fighter. Only by mastering the distinct styles that cater to their height, reach and other attributes will they beat the allnew legacy mode and survive the online multiplayer bouts. HEAVYWEIGHT MARKETING
Fight Night Round 4 features over 40 licensed boxers, including the likes of Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson
Since Fight Night titles arrive less frequently than the likes of FIFA and Madden, Electronic Arts will be working hard to make sure all of the series’ fans are aware of the latest edition, as well as aiming to entice those who have yet to play the acclaimed boxing games. With its marketing weight heavily focused on Round 4’s target audience, the publisher has everything in place to boost its new title. “We will be targeting gamers and fight fans with an extensive launch
RELEASED: JUNE 26 FORMATS: 360, PS3 PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS DEVELOPER: EA SPORTS PRICE: £49.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
campaign featuring standout creative across TV, print, online and outdoor,” explain Cousens. “In addition to this, we will be working with our in-game talent to generate significant PR coverage throughout the launch window on top of the specialist reviews which are shaping up nicely.” Electronic Arts’ Fight Night games have always been popular, and with a loyal fanbase waiting patiently for Round 4 to enter the ring, expect the game to fly off shelves when it arrives at the end of the month. Certainly one to stock up on.
RETAILBIZ: LET’S TAP 46 MCV 12/06/09
Sega puts the finishing touches to its innovative Wii title, Let’s Tap, allowing players to enjoy a range of activities without even holding the controller… specialist press, getting 8/10 from Edge and Eurogamer.” Rather than sticking to the increasingly stale genre of rhythm action games, Let’s Tap treads the line between this musical genre and mini-games, another vein of entertainment that has prospered particularly well on the Wii. Whether you are a hardcore skill-centric gamer or a more casual fun-seeking player, the game is certain to have something that appeals to you. “Let’s Tap has an exceptional minimalistic game design that allows anyone to play,” says Fawell. “The tapcontroller mini-games begin at an easy entry level and gain complexity as you move through the various gaming modes. “There are five gaming modes, which are each very different. Tap Runner is made up of sixteen obstacle courses in which four players can compete, while
by James Batchelor
RHYTHM ACTION games are common these days but, despite their universally appealing concept, they can potentially alienate the wider audiences they target with complex controls. The likes of Guitar Hero and Rock Band may seem ideal for a family multiplayer session, but Granny is unlikely to be able to handle the World Tour slide bar. While developers continue to innovate the genre, Sega’s Let’s Tap is by far and away the most accessible rhythm action game to date. There are no complex controls involved, no expensive peripherals, no mind-boggling array of buttons, switches and pedals – just the Wii Remote and a cardboard box. The key to Let’s Tap is that players don’t even have to hold the controller to play. Instead, the already user-friendly Wii Remote is placed on top of the special cardboard Let’s Tap has an exceptional box that comes with the minimalistic game design game. When the controller that allows anyone to play, is lying flat, it can detect much subtler movements removing all barriers to play. (without the need for the Jo Fawell, Sega imminent MotionPlus add-on), so all of Let’s Tap’s activities Rhythm Tap allows four players to have been designed around tapping the control songs by tapping to the beat. box the Remote is resting on. The innovative design has removed any barriers to entry and with the multiplayer TAP’S ENTERTAINMENT aspects too, this game really does have a The game will detect light, medium and universal appeal.” heavy taps and translate these into the Other game modes include Silent relevant in-game movement. It’s a Block, where players use light and hard simple and innovative concept that fits taps to strategically remove blocks from perfectly with the Wii’s audience and a column without causing it to topple ethos, and Sega is confident that this over, and Visualiser, in which players’ will translate into strong sales when the taps are translated into special visual game hits retail. effects such as fireworks displays. “Let’s Tap is a very unique gameplay Finally, Bubble Voyager sees players experience and we believe that don a space suit and navigate a range of consumers will receive the game with hazard-filled mazes. A single tap keeps the same enthusiasm that we have seen the character afloat, while a double tap both online and in print press,” says unleashes a missile that can take out an Sega’s product manager Jo Fawell. obstacle. “The game won best Nintendo Wii All of these title of last year’s Tokyo Game Show game modes can and has already reviewed really well in be played with up to four RELEASED: JUNE 19 players, making Let’s Tap FORMATS: WII as much a party experience as it is a PUBLISHER: SEGA solitary distraction. Sega is keen to DEVELOPER: PROPE promote the multiplayer appeal of the PRICE: £24.99 game, as can be seen by the boxed DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT product’s contents.
CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
“The game comes with two tap boxes within an oversize box to encourage the multiplayer aspects of the game,” says Fawell. “Let’s Tap not only offers great value for money but it’s a fun collection of party games for all the family this summer.” DRUMMING UP TRADE
Sega is focusing a large proportion of its media spend on television advertising, with supporting campaigns in print, online and in stores. The TV campaign will run for two weeks from July 16th and will comprise 20- and 30-second ads heavily targeting housewives and children. There will be print ads running in children’s magazines for two months, starting in June, while a bespoke microsite developed with Nickelodeon will run for three weeks from June 16th. Let’s Tap has all the necessary ingredients to make it a retail success. The colourful visual style and accessible gameplay will appeal to the Wii’s demographic, while the simple but addictive concept broadens the appeal to include both casual and hardcore gamers. Throw in the game’s impressive developer pedigree – Let’s Tap is the brainchild of Sonic creator Yuji Naka – and the game’s value for money, and it safe to say Sega’s toes will be tapping with joy come release.
VARIETY: Let’s Tap’s mini-games make the gameplay much more interesting than standard rhythm action games
RETAILBIZ: LET’S TAP WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 12/06/09 47
BOX CLEVER: Sega’s innovative control scheme depends on the simple cardboard boxes included with the game, allowing the Wii Remote to detect subtle movements
RETAILBIZ: UBISOFT’S PLAYZONE 48 MCV 12/06/09
Ubisoft boosts its Playzone range with two more titles, Fun Park Party and Summer Sports Party…
games including bumper boats, skee ball, haunted houses and batting cages. Throughout the game, players can take part in 200 quests, and can even unlock quantities of items to customise their characters. And, as with previous Playzone titles, they can enjoy all the games in multiplayer mode to share the fun with family and friends. The setting of a theme park is perfect for the summer season, with children excited to experience the likes of rollercoasters and assorted sideshows. Fun Park Party should keep them satisfied until the inevitably drab British weather clears up – or their parents are
by James Batchelor
THE WII HAS seen a variety of less traditional gaming genres flourish, and the console’s expanded casual audience has taken to mini-game compilations particularly strongly. From the likes of Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games to the Game Party series, friends and families still seem to love nothing more than a few entertaining distractions – rather than lengthy, deeper gaming sessions. Ubisoft in particular has fared well with its mini-game offerings, such as its popular annual outings for the Rayman Ravin Rabbids series. And in June 2008 the publisher announced its new Playzone range. These releases enable us to Exactly one year later and capture children and families this property is still going while they are on holidays, strong with two new titles when they have free time. approaching, starting with Fun Park Party. Ombeline Wallon, Ubisoft “Party games have been able to drum up the funds to take them very successful on Wii and our Playzone to a real one. range is definitely a part of this,” The variety of mini-games on offer are says Ubisoft’s UK brand manager sure to keep young gamers and their Ombeline Wallon. families entertained in the evenings. But “As a new addition to our range, we should they tire of the selection on offer, expect Fun Park Party to follow that fresh challenges will be available in July trend. The release date enables us to when the next title in the range arrives. capture children and families while they “In the summer, we will also release are on holidays and therefore have more Summer Sports Party, another Playzone free time to discover and play games.” title where you experience sports such PARTY TIME as archery, bocce ball and basketball,” In Fun Park Party, players experience adds Wallon. the fun and thrills of an amusement Again, the theme is more than park. In the adventure mode, they can appropriate for the hot summer months, explore the park and unlock 40 minikeeping kids active regardless of
RELEASED: JUNE 15/JULY TBC FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: UBISOFT DEVELOPER: 7 STUDIOS INC PRICE: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: TRILOGY CONTACT: 0845 362 7769
whether or not they spend time outside. The conventions of the game will also be more than familiar to Wii owners, as sports mini-games have proven to be some of the most popular compilations on the format. Players will be able enjoy a range of activities, from football to archery, and all in a tropical beach setting. STROLL IN THE PARK
As appropriate as Fun Park Party and Summer Sports Party are to the current season, the games stand to become a long-tail success, much like their predecessors. Thanks to the accessible controls, requiring nothing more than a Remote for each player, and simple premise, the latest Playzone games have everything Ubisoft needs to continue the series’ success. “Our Playzone titles are family-friendly and Fun Park Party is no different: it is set in the fun and unique setting of an amusement park, includes a variety of games for hours of fun and comes at a reasonable price point, which is even more attractive,” says Wallon. “The game has the potential to be a steady seller all the way up to Christmas as it will not go out of fashion quickly. We are planning very targeted activity online and in-store for launch. “This will allow us to raise the awareness of the game and of the Playzone range in preparation for more activity pre-Christmas.”
LucasArts and the LucasArts logo are trademarks of Lucasﬁlm Ltd. © 2009 Lucasﬁlm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasﬁlm Ltd. & TM as indicated. All rights reserved. ‘2’, ‘PlayStation’ and ‘PSP’ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
RETAILBIZ: GUITAR HERO: GREATEST HITS 50 MCV 12/06/09
THE PEOPLE’S FAVOURITE Fans have chosen tracks from their favourite artists across four Guitar Hero titles, so expect to hear tunes from: AFI, Anthrax, Blue Oyster Cult, Boston, Deep Purple, Dragonforce, Extreme, Franz Ferdinand, Heart, Helmet, Incubus, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Judas Priest, Kansas, Kiss, Lamb Of God, Living Colour, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osborne, Pantera, Pat Benatar, Poison, Priestess, Queen, Queens Of The Stone Age, Rage Against The Machine, Ratt, Reverend Horton Heat, Rush, Slayer, Stone Temple Pilots, The Donnas, The Exies, The Police, The Sword, Twisted Sister, Warrant, White Zombie, Wolfmother
Activision Blizzard celebrates its bestselling Guitar Hero series with the release of Greatest Hits, a fan-chosen compilation of the franchise’s most popular songs…
From more contemporary hits like Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name to classic stuff such as Queen’s Killer Queen, there are songs that will be familiar to players of any age. As with previous Guitar Hero games, the setlist will also cater for those with different abilities. More casual players will be able to enjoy the likes of the relatively simple I Love Rock N Roll by Joan Jeff and The Blackhearts, while series veterans will be able to hone their skills and master tracks such as Guitar Hero III’s notorious Through The Fire
by James Batchelor
THE GUITAR HERO series may be a widespread mainstream phenomenon today, but for the first few releases, the franchise didn’t enjoy the massive audience it does today. With the original Guitar Hero only available on PS2, and its sequel released on PS2 and Xbox 360, there are still thousands of gamers who have yet to enjoy the entire Guitar Hero experience. Enter Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits, a compilation disc featuring songs from the first three games and Guitar Hero: Rocks The 80s, bringing some of the most popular songs from the series to the PS3 and Wii for the first time. Perfect for Guitar Hero completionists, the game Perfect for Guitar Hero also serves as a fantastic completionists, it also serves introduction to the as a great introduction to the property for those who property for those yet to have yet to wield a guitarshaped controller. wield a plastic guitar. There are 48 songs to enjoy from Guitar Hero I, II, III and And Flames by Dragonforce. 80s, all of which have been picked by That’s not to say the difficulty will fans of the series via the official website. deter new players. Far from it, as There are no filler songs here – only the Beenox has revamped all of the old cream of the crop as Guitar Hero tracks with new difficulty modes aficionados have selected the most introduced by later Guitar Hero games. enjoyable and most challenging tunes Beginner Mode, first seen in last year’s available. Guitar Hero: World Tour, has now been
RELEASED: JUNE 26 FORMATS: 360, PS2, PS3, WII PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD DEVELOPER: BEENOX PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
brought in to ease new gamers into the franchise. For experienced players, the Expert+ Mode, which debuted in the recent Guitar Hero: Metallica, brings fresh challenges to each song. Even if gamers believed they had mastered these tracks from previous Guitar Hero titles, they will now have to prove their skills in a whole new way. More importantly, every single track has now been updated to incorporate the multiple instruments brought in with Guitar Hero: World Tour. The game follows the structure of previous titles, featuring all of the modes that fans will know and love from Guitar Hero: World Tour and Metallica. To unlock each of the tracks, players will need to master the Band Career mode, in which they team up with friends or AI rockers and perform at virtual gigs in exotic locations around the world. Gamers will also be able to compose original music, which can then be shared with other Guitar Hero owners online. Finally, the multiplayer modes – one of the most popular features of the series – are all present.
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RETAILBIZ: ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS 52 MCV 12/06/09
Activision Blizzard thaws out a successful movie franchise for Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs, the companion video game for the upcoming family blockbuster... by James Batchelor ICE AGE IS a name known to millions of parents and children around the world. The first two films have made the series a household name, racking up worldwide gross revenues of $380 million and $650 million respectively. Now as recognisable as rival Dreamworks property Shrek, Ice Age charts the antics of its loveable prehistoric misfits as they attempt to survive the ice age and other perils of the era. As with almost every family film these days, the Ice Age movies have always been accompanied by an official video game, giving fans the chance to explore the world and interact with the characters. The franchise’s third cinematic outing is no exception, with Activision Blizzard once again publishing the latest Ice Age video game. Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs follows the events of the film from which it takes its name. Sid the sloth, Manny the mammoth and Diego the sabre-toothed tiger, along with the various madcap characters they have picked up over the last two adventures, continue their journey through the frozen tundra. The herd soon stumbles upon a lush world of dinosaurs, saved from extinction by a vast jungle that survived
beneath the ice. Naturally the dinosaurs don’t take too kindly to the newcomers, so it’s up to our hapless heroes to find a safe way to pass through their territory. JURASSIC LARKS
For the first time in an Ice Age game, players will be able to take on the role of multiple characters from the film. As well as donning the fur of series stalwarts Manny, Sid and Diego, gamers will also be able to play as fan favourite Scrat and new characters such as Buck, the oneeyed dino-hunting weasel. Each character will have their own
down and enjoy a selection of competitive mini-games, which will see them hurling snowballs and escaping from dinosaurs. The multiplayer options perfectly suit the target audience for Ice Age, which aims to deliver its humorous antics to the same audience as its silver screen counterpart. Both the film and game iterations of Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs will see plenty of exposure over the coming months, which will guarantee high awareness among the game-buying public. Activision will be running its own marketing campaign to promote the game, but Fox’s own marketing efforts will promote the title as well.
Like the previous Ice Age titles, Dawn Of The Dinosaurs is a friendly and accessible platforming affair, inviting players to traverse a variety of hazardous environments Ice Age will see plenty of based on the film’s settings, exposure over the coming from dark caves to months, which will guarantee treacherous mountain paths. There are over 15 levels in high public awareness. the game, each with their own unique challenges to overcome, including some intense chase abilities, which will be essential to sequences where characters will find completing the various levels, whether themselves outrunning a rampaging they’re solving puzzles to open up new dino or flying a pterodactyl. paths or battling the dinosaurs to make As well as environmental dangers, the area safer. Young fans will RELEASED: JUNE 26 players will also have to fend off the particularly enjoy the Wii FORMATS: 60, PS3, WII, PS2, PC, DS local inhabitants. Whether it’s a version, which depends on the PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD dangerous carnivorous plant or a motion-sensitive controls as they DEVELOPER: EUROCOM colossal, hungry dinosaur, there are balance, lasso and more. ARTIFICIAL MIND & MOVEMENT plenty of creatures that will go out of Also new to the Ice Age games, PRICE: VARIOUS their way to gobble up the heroes. Dawn Of The Dinosaurs includes DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT Fortunately, a larger cast is on hand a range of multiplayer options. CONTACT: 0121 625 3388 this time. Friends and family can now sit
RETAILBIZ: THE MUNCHABLES WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 12/06/09 53
Namco Bandai’s The Munchables is a fun, quirky platformer – and could even help to encourage children to eat their vegetables...
Atari delivers a charming platformer to Wii fans everywhere as The Munchables tasks them with fending off an invasion in the ultimate food fight…
by James Batchelor DESPITE BEING one of the oldest genres of gaming, platformers can still surprise consumers with a little developer innovation and some quirky charm. In the case of Atari’s latest platform offering, The Munchables, this has been achieved by combining various genres and concepts together. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Namco’s own Pac-Man and the Katamari games, as well as the more traditional conventions of the platforming genre, The Munchables delivers an experience that Wii owners are certain to find enjoyable. Munchables are hungry creatures who survive by munching on the local wildlife. When the evil Don Onion and his faithful space pirates attempt to take over the Munchables’ home planet, the ravenous critters must fight back in the only way they know how – by chewing and swallowing. Fortunately, this won’t be as challenging as it might sound. As his name suggests, Don Onion is an onion, and his seemingly vicious space pirates turn out to be a mix of vegetables, fruits and chocolates. With this in mind, it’s clear that The Munchables has the lighthearted atmosphere and cheeky sense of humour that make many Wii games so popular. “The Munchables is definitely the cutest game we’re releasing this year,” says Atari’s product manager Lauren
There are over 150 enemies for players to consume in the game, each modelled on something edible
Bradley. “It’s a really quirky and fun platform puzzler that is super addictive. “Kids will be our focus but adults and fans of games like Katamari are going to like this one too. The cartoon graphics which make up the colourful Munchables world look great on Wii.” EAT ME
The object of the game is to eat as much as you possibly can to make your Munchable big and strong – more than a subtle nod towards the time-honoured parenting issue of getting children to eat
The Munchables is definitely the cutest game we’re releasing this year. It’s a really quirky and fun puzzler. Lauren Bradley, Atari their vegetables. The more they eat, the larger the character grows, allowing them to take on larger enemies and the eight bosses, before finally confronting Don Onion himself. There are over 150 enemies to consume in the game, each of which are modelled on something edible, with bizarre characters such as Eggplanter, Space Shroom and Rice Baller. Even the bosses are twists on commonplace foodstuff, from the hard-hitting Brocco-lee to the towering Big Choco. The weaker enemies can be gobbled up in a single bit, but the larger ones need to be tackled more strategically. Players can either focus on devouring smaller foes until they grow to be big
RELEASED: JUNE 19 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: ATARI DEVELOPER: NAMCO BANDAI PRICE: £24.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9585
enough for these larger villains, or they can attempt to break them down into more manageable chunks. There are a variety of challenging modes that are certain to draw players back for more. Aside from the standard single-player campaign, a Time Attack mode allows gamers to hone their skills by mastering each level within a strict time limit. There’s even a co-operative mode if they wish to enlist a friend to help them take on the forces of Don Onion. The addictive nature of the gameplay makes The Munchables perfect for fans of the genre, with the Katamari-like challenge enticing the more competitive completionists within the Wii demographic. However, the game’s cutesy style makes it more appealing to children and Atari will be targeting this audience with its marketing efforts. “Marketing-wise, we’ve focused efforts on PR with a campaign heavily weighted towards the kids press with coverage due to appear in all premium eight to 12 year-old print publications and some children’s TV channels,” says Bradley. “We also showed the game at the MCM Expo to anime fans.”
54 MCV54_final:43 MCV467
RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 54 MCV 12/06/09
Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more
Triple-A titles hit PSP as June heats up As the PSP’s resurgence continues, EA’s Rock Band Unplugged and Capcom’s Monster Hunter Freedom Unite boost the handheld’s software library, arriving alongside console hits such as Ghostbusters, Fight Night and Overlord... TITLE
PC PC PC DS DS XBOX 360 / PS3 Wii PS3 / PS2 PS3 / XBOX 360 DS PSP Wii Wii DS DS Wii / DS PSP PSP DS PSP Wii DS Wii
Self-Improvement Self-Improvement Self-Improvement Simulation Action FPS Mini-games Action/Adventure Action Simulation Simulation Party Simulation Simulation Simulation Racing Simulation Simulation Simulation Music Action/Adventure Mini-games Action
City Interactive City Interactive City Interactive Majesco 505 Games Ubisoft Ubisoft Sony South Peak City Interactive Ubisoft Sega Ghostlight 505 Games 505 Games EA Ubisoft Ubisoft Deep Silver EA Rising Star Games City Interactive Atari
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Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy Open Advantage Trilogy Trilogy Sony Centresoft Trilogy Trilogy Centresoft Open Advantage Advantage Centresoft Trilogy Trilogy Koch Centresoft Centresoft Trilogy Advantage
PC PC PC xx DS DS / Wii PC PC PS3 / XBOX 360 XBOX 360 / PS3 360 / PS2 / PS3 / Wii / PC / DS DS DS DS PSP DS DS Wii PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 / Wii / DS PSP DS PC Wii XBOX 360 / PS3 / PC DS Wii 360 / PS2 / PS3 / Wii / PC / DS / PSP
RTS Action Mystery Action Simulation Action Self-Improvement Self-Improvement Action Fighting Action Simulation RTS Puzzle RPG FPS Self-Improvement Puzzle Action RPG Adventure Action FPS Racing Cards FPS Action
Ubisoft 505 Games City Interactive City Interactive 505 Games Zushi City Interactive City Interactive Koei EA Activision Blizzard Ubisoft Warner Games City Interactive Capcom Rising Star Games Ubisoft Midas Codemasters Koei Majesco City Interactive Midas Black Bean Midas Sega Activision Blizzard
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Trilogy Advantage Trilogy Trilogy Advantage Gem Trilogy Trilogy Open Centresoft Centresoft Trilogy Centresoft Trilogy Centresoft Centresoft Trilogy Mastertronic Gem Open Open Trilogy Mastertronic Koch Mastertronic Sega Centresoft
PC PC / PS3 / XBOX 360
City Interactive Ubisoft
0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769
JUNE 19th Brain College: Ancient Quest Of Saqqarah Brain College: National Geographic - Herod's Tomb Brain College: Stoneloops Drama Queens Emergency Rescue Far Cry 2 (Classic/Platinum) Fun Park Party Ghostbusters: The Video Game Hail To The Chimp I Love Beauty: Hollywood Makeover Imagine Champion Rider 2009 Let's Tap Mary King's Riding School 2 My Pet On The Farm My Pet Parrot MySims Racing Petz: My Baby Hamster Petz: My Puppy Family Pony Life (Whitakers) Rock Band Unplugged Rygar: The Battle Of Argus Sushi Academy The Munchables
JUNE 26th Anno 1404 ARMA 2 Art Of Murder: Hunt For The Puppeteer Battlestrike: Shadow Of Stalingrad Beauty Salon Big Foot Collision Course Brain College: Blood Ties Brain College: Lost Island Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires Fight Night Round 4 Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs Imagine My Boutique LEGO Battles Logic Machines Monster Hunter Freedom Unite Moon My Cooking Coach: Prepare Healthy Recipes Octomania Overlord 2 / Dark Legend / Minions Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? Puffins: Island Adventure Royal Marines: Commando Skyscraper Superstars V8 Racing The Big Deal The Conduit Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
JULY 3rd Brain College: Magic Shop Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood
MUSTSTOCK ................ROCK BAND UNPLUGGED Released: June 19th Format: PSP Publisher: EA Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388
The first handheld iteration of EA’s bestselling rhythm action series, Rock Band Unplugged puts the addictive, accessible gameplay in players’ pockets – without the need for an extra peripheral. The game uses the PSP’s controls to recreate the popular Rock Band experience.
MUSTSTOCK ........................MONSTER HUNTER Released: June 26th Format: PSP Publisher: Capcom Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388
The latest instalment in the Japanese phenomenon, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite calls for PSP owners to team up and battle a range of colossal monsters. With new quests, weapons and new multiplayer options, expect fans to flock to stores for this.
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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 56 MCV 12/06/09
RETAIL BIZ: NEWS
[RETAIL REACTION] TAKING INDEPENDENT RETAILING ONLINE
MCV offers a weekly digest of the latest news on the High Street...
“The very face of retail is changing. We have known for a long time that the change is coming so we needed to develop the online side of our operations as soon as possible.” However, we stuck with it and we now have a great site run by our experienced online team, who have been selling online through Amazon and Play for six years – and there is much more to come. The very face of retail is changing. We have known for a long time that the change is coming so we knew we needed a website. First of all, people will buy games online instead of in shops – then will come digital downloads. It is essential for anyone in our industry to be ready for that to happen and we are hoping that our website will be so well established and successful by then that people will be buying those digital downloads from us. Richard Moggridge Proprieter of GameXchange
INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS THIS WEEK
POKÉMON PLATINUM FORMAT: DS
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
UFC 2009: UNDISPUTED 360
TERMINATOR SALVATION 360
UFC 2009: UNDISPUTED PS3
GUITAR HERO: METALLICA 360
VIRTUA TENNIS 2009 PS3
VIRTUA TENNIS 2009 360
EA SPORTS ACTIVE Wii
WII FIT Wii
EA SPORTS ACTIVE TOPS 600,00 SALES IN TWO WEEKS Electronic Arts revealed EA Sports Active achieved worldwide sales of over 600,000 units in its two weeks on sale. This accomplishment was announced during the company’s E3 press conference, with EA Sports president Peter Moore declaring the publisher was “delighted by the overwhelming response” to the Wii fitness game. “This is, by far, the most successful launch of any Wii title in EA history, and even more encouraging is that our second week sales worldwide were as strong as our first week. We are off to a great start at retail.” EA also announced the game would be followed with a new expansion pack this holiday season, introducing new challenges and activities for current Active owners. PREMIUM DJ HERO SKU TO UNITE GAMING AND MUSIC RETAIL At its E3 investor briefing, Activision further detailed its collaboration with superstar musicians Jay-Z and Eminem on DJ Hero – and revealed that a premium SKU featuring their music will also be available at retail. Guitar Hero division CEO Dan Rosensweig also revealed that as well as the turntable and game bundle expected to arrive later this year, a premium SKU featuring exclusive music, gameplay and bundled albums will be available. “This is the first time these artists will be involved in a game,” he added. “Obviously their music is in the game – but there is exclusive music and gameplay in there too.” It’s the first time albums will be distributed with a game at video game retail, pointed out Rosensweig, describing it as a “fantastic opportunity” for the music industry. UBISOFT TO LAUNCH NEW CAMERA PERIPHERAL FOR WII Ubisoft will be launching its own camera for the Wii to innovate gameplay interfaces later this year. Designed to support new fitness game Your Shape, the camera helps create a fitness game that requires no other peripherals except for other exercise equipment. The game should be in shops in time for Christmas. VP of sales and marketing Tony Key said the game and hardware represented “a new era in fitness gaming”.
FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS ON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON THE UK HIGH STREET, CHECK OUT: WWW.MCVUK.COM/RETAIL-BIZ
MCV POLL ARE PRE-OWNED SALES BENEFICIAL TO THE INDUSTRY?
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.
Despite being a touchy subject between retailers and publishers, the latest MCV online study shows the majority of participants believe selling pre-owned games actually benefits the industry in some way.
Take part in MCV’s next poll at www.mcvuk.com
ble at a l i a v All A
For more information contact sales - 01256 385 251
NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.
As every year passes, more and more people are shopping online – particularly with games retailers. Our customers are gamers and by definition more technically minded, so the percentage is much higher. As such, we needed to develop that side of our operations as soon as possible. It’s very early days at the moment and we have only just started to advertise the site, but the website has been years in the making. We’ve always known exactly what we wanted but the difference between dreams and reality sometimes seemed insurmountable.
RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 12/06/09 57 Sponsored by
MARGIN MAKER WHILE SOME gamers are unable to fork out for the more expensive fighting joysticks available, dreamGEAR is offering Wii and PS3 owners some more affordable alternatives. The Arcade Fighter sticks offer fans of 2D beat-‘em-ups the traditional eight-button layout with an old arcade-style joystick, recreating the feel of the earliest titles in the genre. Smaller versions are also available in the form of the Arcade Fighter Micro. These feature all the controls of their larger brothers, but are
FRONTLINE Nindie.com heads to Games Centre to speak with manager Robert Lindsey… How strong has your business been in 2009 so far? Like-for-like sales in in our stores have been around the same as last year so far. Where we have seen good growth is online, especially with the current strength of the Euro, which has brought significant business from customers abroad. What do you think will be the most promising games this summer? Key titles in the next few months include The Sims 3, UFC Undisputed, Infamous, Guitar Hero: Metallica and Batman: Arkham Asylum, all of which are preordering well at the moment.
much lighter and more compact for convenicence. The controllers boast a Turbo function to give players the edge in combat, and a stylish colour scheme that matches their console of choice: blue and white for Wii, black and red for PS3. The Wii sticks plug directly into the Wii remote, while the PS3 models are powered by a 12 foot USB cable. dreamGEAR: (310) 308-1214
DEAL OF THE WEEK
NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.
Sporty gamers can add to their fitness routine with GAME’s newest Wii bundle, which contains the console, Wii Sports, a Remote, a Nunchuk and a copy of EA Sports Active for £189.99, a saving of £24.99.
How have the three formats been performing at your store? The Xbox 360 is still our largest platform, followed by PS3, although there has been a good spread amongst the other formats as well. The Wii has underperformed for us in the past few months due to the price increase and our inability to be competitive on deals available through other retailers.
What makes your store so unique? Our stores have the same wide product range of the nationals accompanied by the price points of the supermarkets. Along with the great product knowledge of our staff, an excellent trade-in system that has proved popular with our customers and our integrated website, we feel Games Centre ticks all the boxes for gamebuying consumers everywhere.
Boom Blox Blash Party
Guitar Hero: Metallica ( Guitar Bundle) 360, Activision Blizzard
Night at the Museum 2
IN STORE: PLYMOUTH £29.99
TO TAKE PART PLEASE CONTACT: JAMES.BATCHELOR@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
58,59 MCV541_final:54-55 MCV525
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 58 MCV 12/06/09
Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM
OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
 [FULL PRICE]
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
MYSTERY STORIES GSP/AVANQUEST THE MYSTERY OF THE MUMMY UBISOFT PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE NINTENDO DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO MARIO KART DS NINTENDO NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. NINTENDO MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES SEGA WALK WITH ME! WALKING ROUTINE? NINTENDO MYSTERY CASE FILES: MILLIONHEIR NINTENDO
10 2 3 4 5 7 6 NEW
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR FIFA ‘09 X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD MONSTERS VS ALIENS GUITAR HERO: METALLICA
PSP THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 THIS WEEK
DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA
RED FACTION: GUERRILLA 360, PS3
UFC 2009: UNDISPUTED 360, PS3
EA SPORTS ACTIVE Wii
WII FIT Wii
POKÉMON PLATINUM DS
GUITAR HERO: METALLICA Wii, PS2, PS3, 360 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
VIRTUA TENNIS 2009 PS3, 360, PC, Wii
TERMINATOR SALVATION PC, 360, PS3 FIFA ‘09 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, PC
EA NINTENDO SONY NINTENDO
SEGA WARNER BROS.
COD4: MODERN WARFARE 360, PS3, PC, DS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
MARIO KART WII Wii
SACRED 2: FALLEN ANGEL 360, PS3
COD: WORLD AT WAR 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC
DEVELOPER: MONKEY BAR GAMES PUBLISHER: D3P ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA
EA EIDOS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
FUEL 360, PS3, PC
MY FITNESS COACH Wii
STAR OCEAN: THE LAST HOPE 360
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
2 3 4 5
2 3 4 6
RESISTANCE: RETRIBUTION BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER
6 7 8 9 10
9 5 7 10 8
SBK 09 SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPS BLACK BEAN X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 THQ LEGO BATMAN WARNER BROS. ACTION PACK (RIVAL SWORD, DRIVER 76, R6V) UBISOFT
DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA SONY D3P SEGA EA
WII PLAY Wii
NINTENDO KOCH MEDIA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD UBISOFT SQUARE ENIX NINTENDO
MYSTERY STORIES DS
[FULL PRICE] TITLE
THE SIMS 3
BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE
2 3 5 10 6 9 7 8 4
[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]
THE SIMS 3
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 SEGA EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR SEGA WOW: WRATH OF THE LICH KING ACTIVISION BLIZZARD COD4: MODERN WARFARE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD FALLOUT 3 BETHESDA WOW: BATTLE CHEST ACTIVISION BLIZZARD THE SIMS 2: DOUBLE DELUXE EA WARHAMMER 40,00O: DAWN OF WAR II THQ C&C: RED ALERT 3 EA
1 2 3 6 8 7 5 4 9
DEVELOPER: SPORTS INTERACTIVE PUBLISHER: SEGA
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RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 12/06/09 59
OVER THE past few weeks we’ve only seen a few
more than any other publisher. Another notable
key titles reach the Top 40 but this week sees no
success is THQ’s Red Faction: Guerrilla, which
fewer than six new releases achieving chart success.
managed to top the Xbox 360 charts but failed to
The Sims 3 takes first place, proving that there is still strength in the PC market. It’s the second PC game to top the charts this year, following the triumph of Sega’s Empire: Total War. Koch Media proves to be particularly successful this week with two new releases in the top 40,
topple Sony’s InFamous on PS3.
L FORMATS Highest New Entry
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
Highest Top 40 Climber
MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES Wii, DS
X-MEN: WOLVERINE 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, PSP, DS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
THE MYSTERY OF THE MUMMY DS
PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE DS NINTENDO
GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR PS3, Wii, 360, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
BIG FAMILY GAMES Wii
JILLIAN MICHAEL’S FITNESS ULTIMATUM Wii
CARNIVAL: FUNFAIR GAMES Wii, DS
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 PC, PSP
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2 360, Wii, DS, PC
BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE PS2, Wii, PSP, DS
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS
SEGA SUPERSTAR TENNIS Wii, 360, PS3, PS2, DS
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009 Wii, PS3, 360
MAJESCO D3P NINTENDO SEGA KONAMI
HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE 360, PS3, PS2, Wii
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360, PS3, PC
HALO WARS 360
GEARS OF WAR 2 360
LEGO INDIANA JONES PS3, PS2, Wii, 360, PSP, DS, PC
RESIDENT EVIL 5 PS3, 360
PC CD-ROM THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
WORLD OF WARCRAFT
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
WARHAMMER 40,00O: DAWN OF WAR II THQ WOW: THE BURNING CRUSADE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD MYSTERY CASE FILES: RAVENHEARST FOCUS AMAZING ADVENTURES: LOST TOMB FOCUS COMPANY OF HEROES: TALES OF VALOR THQ ROLLERCOASTER TYCOON 3 ATARI THE ORANGE BOX EA AGES OF EMPIRES III MICROSOFT
2 4 7 8 9 6 3 16 12
[FULL PRICE] TITLE
DEVELOPER: BLIZZARD PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
MEDAL OF HONOR: ALLIED ASSAULT DELUXE
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
UFC 2009: UNDISPUTED RED FACTION: GUERRILLA VIRTUA TENNIS 2009 TERMINATOR SALVATION GUITAR HERO: METALLICA CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE FIFA ‘09 SACRED 2: FALLEN ANGEL FUEL
4 5 3 7 8 NEW NEW
DEVELOPER: SUCKER PUNCH PUBLISHER: SONY
EA SPORTS ACTIVE
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
WII FIT MARIO KART WII GUITAR HERO: METALLICA MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES RAYMAN RAVING RABBIDS TV PARTY GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2 BOOM BLOX BASH PARTY DONKEY KONG: JUNGLE BEAT
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
UFC 2009: UNDISPUTED GUITAR HERO: METALLICA TERMINATOR SALVATION STAR OCEAN: THE LAST HOPE FUEL VIRTUA TENNIS 2009 SACRED 2: FALLEN ANGEL CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE FIFA ‘09
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA KOCH MEDIA CODEMASTERS
NINTENDO NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SEGA UBISOFT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD MAJESCO EA NINTENDO
RED FACTION: GUERRILLA
WARNER BROS. ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA
1 1 2 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 9 10 18
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
the upcoming DLC package Dark Corners, due for release in July.
Microsoft’s Gears Of War 2 makes a surprise return to the charts, boosted by anticipation for
(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack
WEEK ENDING 06/06/09
DEVELOPER: VOLITION PUBLISHER: THQ THQ ACTIVISION BLIZZARD WARNER BROS. SQUARE ENIX CODEMASTERS SEGA KOCH MEDIA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA
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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 60 MCV 12/06/09
International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA
All Interactive.................Helensvale Town Centre
Otto Group ...................................................Hamburg Playcom Software Vertriebs .......................Erfurt Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel.....................Erfurt
POLAND CD Projekt Sp. z o.o......................................Warsaw
GREECE ENTERTAINMENT TRADING APS AFA INTERACTIVE
Stenholm 1, 9400,
66 Hughes Street, Mile End,
South Australia 5031
Phone: +45 70277640
Tel: +61 8823 41355
Fax: +45 70277650 email: email@example.com Web www.entertainment-trading.com
Centric ...............................................................Athens Nortec Multimedia.........................................Athens Zegetron S.A....................................................Athens
TECHLAND Sp. z o.o. ul. Jana Szczyrki 12, 54-426 Wroclaw, Poland E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
HUNGARY Antec .............................................................Budapest
Web: www.techland.pl Phone: +48 71 354 46 10 Fax: +48 71 354 46 10
Koch Media GmbH...............................Rottenmann
ecofilmes...............................Sao Joao Da Madeira
Play Art Multimedia Handels GmbH....Rankweil
GATEWAY DISTRIBUTION APS
Gateway Distribution ApS
+44 1279 408 665 (UK)
Horelec S.A. ...........................................Bruxelles
+45 7026 0870 (DK)
CLD Distribution S.A. .........................Fernelmont
ESTONIA Andrico ..............................................................Tallinn
FINLAND Panvision Oy.......................................................Turku
GAMEWORLD Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel Tel: +31 10 298 3838
MILESTONE INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE LIMITED Pramukh Plaza, 2nd Floor, Cardinal Gracious Road, Chakala, Andheri East, Mumbai 400 099, INDIA. Tel: +91 22 28203319 Fax: +91 22 28203334
EMC GROUPE CASINO..........Croissy Beaubourg
Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 email@example.com www.planetadeagostini.net
INNELEC MULTIMEDIA EBS Benelux
45 rue Delizy,
93692 PANTIN Cedex, France
3752 LH Bunschoten-Spakenburg
Email purchase: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email export sales: email@example.com
Phone: +31 (0)33 201 21 00
Fax: +31 (0)33 201 21 01
Cidiverte Spa ...............................................Gallarate Coop Italia..........................................Sesto F.NO (FI) Digital Bros spa................................................Milano
Newave Italia...................................................Firenze Promovideo SRL ...........................................Senago
Gameworld BV............................Capelle A/D Ijssel Micromedia BV...........................................Nijmegen Favour Games..................................................Tilburg Rigu Sound B.V................2153 GB Nieuw Vennep
CYPRUS DTP ENTERTAINMENT AG Goldbekplatz 3-5, 22303 Hamburg, Germany
GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD
Fax: +49 (0)40 66 99 10 10
1 Alkaiou Street / Office 1 /
Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus
Tel: +49 (0)40 66 99 10 0
tel. +357 22 666612
Avenida de Loulé nº 123 1069-152 Lisbon, Portugal Tel. 00351 21 31 46 51 0 Fax 00351 21 31 61 12 5
RUSSIA Hitzona.............................................................Moscow Noviy Disk .......................................................Moscow Soft Club..........................................................Moscow Vellod...................................................................Mitishi
NEW ZEALAND Gamewizz..........................................................Albany
NORWAY Pan Vision Norway.....................................Trollasen MPX.no .......................................................Sandefjord Platekompaniet....................................................Oslo Massemedia AS...........................................Notteroy
Groß Electronic .......................................Rohrnbach
v.2 PLAY. LDA Studio Office Marquês de Pombal –
Leader Spa.................................Gazzada Schianno
08034, Barcelona, Spain,
Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D,
PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE
Pan Vision Norway..............................................Oslo
COMPUTERLAND DOO Kumodraska 45 11000 Belgrade, Serbia Tel:+381(0)11 309 95 95 Fax:+381(0)11 309 95 96 mail:firstname.lastname@example.org website:www.computerland.rs
TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE
60,61 MCV541_final:Layout 1
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 12/06/09 61
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...
ARAL Import..................................................Istanbul Nortec Eurasia...............................................Istanbul
SOUTH AFRICA Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg
Nu Metro Interactive ......................Johannesburg
VIDEO GAMES DISTRIBUTOR
Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID
Lamee Software S.L. .....................................Madrid
Fax: 1-718-228-4401 Email: email@example.com
A NEW BLACK Wii will hit shelves on August 1st for YEN 25,000 or £260. The launch of the first colour variant always marks a significant point in a console’s lifecycle, so considering the Wii’s slowing sales in Japan, news of a new look for the machine is hardly surprising. In addition, complementary black peripherals will also be heading to retail, including a Black Wii Remote (YEN 3,800/$40), a Black Nunchuk (YEN 1,800/$19) and Black Classic Controller Pro (YEN 2,000/$21). A red DSi was also announced. There is no word of a European release date for either device, but given Nintendo’s past record with such releases, it is unlikely these products will leave Japan.
PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034,
Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89
20001 S. Western Ave.
Torrance, CA 90501 Phone: 310-222-5522 x 111 Fax: 310-222-5577 Contact: Moris Mirzadeh Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
VIRGIN PLAY Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11, 28046 Madrid, Spain Tel: +34 91 789 35 50 Web: www.virginplay.es
U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC. DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid
16700 Schoenborn St.
Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas
#2 North Hills, CA. 91343
JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo
Tel: +1 818 920 9393
Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona
SWEDEN Bergsala AB............................................Kungsbacka
UAE Red Entertainment Distribution ..................Dubai
PLUTO GAMES GAME OUTLET EUROPE AB PO Box 5083 S-650 05 Karlstad, Sweden Phone: +46 54 854750 Fax: +46 54 854759
PO Box 10705, Office 103-104 Emirates Islamic Bank Building,Dubai, UAE. www.pluto-games.com Tel: +971 4261 8111 Fax: +971 4261 8112
E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.gameoutlet.se Modern Pluto Trading LLC...............Saudi Arabia Panvision....................................................Stockholm
NXT Global LLC .................................................Dubai
SIBA AB ...................................................Gothenburg
Pluto Derinton Games LLC............................Egypt
SWITZERLAND ABC Software GmbH.......................................Buchs
NPD HAS revealed that 18 per cent of Xbox 360 owners who subscribe to Microsoft’s Gold Membership ‘regularly’ download content – markedly higher than the 10 per cent of PS3 owners who do the same. Membership of the Xbox Live Gold service is also on the up, increasing 24 per cent in the 12 months ending Q1 2009. The total video game subscription market, which includes services such as Xbox Live and subscriptions to MMOs, grew by 18 per cent in the same period. At present, one in five gamers now subscribes to such a service. NPD also estimates that 17 per cent of all PC games purchases were made digitally, too – a stat that many observers would claim to be far too low. Meanwhile, Ubisoft will publish No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle in the US. Rising Star Games holds the publishing rights for the game in the UK and Europe, with the title due for release in 2010. Both publishers were responsible for releasing the original game in their respective territories, which went on to win multiple awards and garner critical acclaim. KALYPSO MEDIA has acquired most of insolvent publisher Ascaron’s brands, intangible assets and exploitation rights. The deal has been signed with the German administrators, Pielemeyer & Welsch. Kalypso will take over the full rights of Ascaron’s game brands such as DarkStar One, Patrician and Port Royale. However, MCV understands that a few existing licence agreements held by Ascaron UK will remain with the Ascaron until expiration. Kalypso will also retain a majority share of a new studio which will be established mutually with former Ascaron lead designers Kay Struve and Daniel Dumont. The 12 ex-employees of Ascaron will be employed at the new studio.
PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISTRIBUTION
Distributors of DVDs, Blu-Ray, Music CDs and Video Games
www.discstribution.com Over 100,000 Different Items to Order Online
THE NEW FORCE IN ENTERTAINMENT
DISCSTRIBUTION +44 (0) 845 430 8735 Call Kevin, Ashley, Richie or Pete Accepted Payments - Paypal - Google Checkout - Credit Cards - Bank Tranfers and 30 Day Credit Accounts
CURVEBALL LEISURE . . . . . . 01792 652526 . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org
DISCSTRIBUTION . . . . . . . +44 (0)845 430 8735 . . . . . . . . . www.discstribution.com
ITEEJAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0116 216 1442 . . . . . . . . . www.teejaydistribution.com
CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION. . . . 0208 6643456 . . . . www.creativedistribution.co.uk
MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk
GEM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.gem.co.uk
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EDITORIAL PLANNER Some of the special issues coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the market... FRIDAY JUNE 19th
DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL MCV takes an in-depth look at the big issues involved in the everimportant distribution sector. We speak to the major players about the future of the supply chain, and how they will be tackling the challenges ahead for the distribution side of the games trade.
ALL EYES ON COLOGNE As the industry comes down from its E3 high, we turn our attention to the next big games event in Cologne. MCV takes a closer look at the upcoming Gamescom to find out why the industry should go and how the event is shaping up to surpass that of its Leipzig-based predecessor. FRIDAY JUNE 26th
SUMMER PERIPHERALS SPECIAL The accessories sector enjoyed a fantastic 2008, with the continued success of Wii, DS, Rock Band and Guitar Hero having a positive effect on the market. And now the leading peripherals firms are preparing to launch their latest range of items for the summer period. MCV provides a detailed rundown of the latest products that are set to take the retail community by storm.
TERRITORY REPORT: FRANCE France is one of Europe’s biggest video game territories. MCV takes a closer look at how the country’s video game output is evolving, and speaks to the key retailers, developers and publishers about the current challenges affecting the region. FRIDAY JULY 10th
IDEF REVIEW MCV reflects on this year’s Interactive & Digital Entertainment Festival, one of Europe’s key interactive entertainment trade shows. We report back on the companies and games in attendance, speaking to key players in our industry and other exhibitors. FRIDAY JULY 17th
TERRITORY REPORT: SOUTH AMERICA In the latest MCV Territory Report, we look to the developing countries of South America and their developing video game industries, charting the course these markets are taking to improve themselves. We discuss what challenges publishers face and who the key retailers are. FRIDAY JULY 24th
BUDGET SOFTWARE SPECIAL FOCUS With the economy still suffering, MCV looks at how publishers can take advantage of the budget software market. We look at the growing trends and recent success stories, as well as exploring the advantages value software offers everyone from retailers to consumers. FRIDAY AUGUST 7th
BACK TO SCHOOL SOFTWARE FOCUS As the summer holidays draw to a close, parents and their children turn their attention away from leisure and entertainment titles and towards preparing for the new academic year. MCV investigates what part video games can play in this and what opportunites the sudden need for school supplies can present to both publishers and retailers.
FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT: LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . email@example.com
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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISTRIBUTION
Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month. STUDIOS Blitz Games Studios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1926 880 000 Broadsword Interactive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1970 626299 Denki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.denki.co.uk Lightning Fish Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1295 817 666 nDreams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44(0) 1252 375754 Razorback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.razorback.co.uk Realtime Worlds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1382 202 821 Rebellion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1865 792 201 Stainless Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org Strawdog Studio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1332 258 862 TOOLS Epic Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +1 919 870 1516 Fork Particle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 00 (1) 925 417 1785 bluegfx. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1483 467 200 Natural Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0)1865 250575
Distributors of CD, DVD, Blu-ray, SD-Ram, Micro-SD, and lots, lots more...
X-Box 360 - Wii - DSi - PS3 new release games & accessories UK Sales: ...............................01189 215 999 European Sales: ......01189 215 916 email@example.com DVD TECHNOLOGY . . . . . . . . . 01189 215 999. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.dvdtech.com CREATIVE & PROMOTIONAL SERVICES
SERVICES 3D Creation Studio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 151 236 9992 Air Edel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 207 486 6466 Air Studios. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 207 794 0660 High Score . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1295 738 337 Ian Livingstone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1483 421 491 Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1753 247 731 amBX UK Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.ambx.com Specialmove. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 141 585 6491 Tsunami Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 207 350 2828 Universally Speaking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1480 210 621 COURSES University of Hull . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1482 465 951
To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and every week in MCV) contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All subscription requests should go to email@example.com WRAPSTAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 7778 204970 . . . . . . . . www.wrapstar-skins.com DISTRIBUTION
IDEAL SOFTWARE . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1767 689720 . . . . . . . . . . www.idealsoftware.net
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk
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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR
TOTAL CONSOLE REPAIR . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21. . . . . www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk STORE FITTINGS
AMA DISPLAYS . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1924 507217 . . . . . . . . . www.ama-displays.co.uk STORE FITTINGS
RETAIL ENTERTAINMENT DISPLAYS . . 01733 239001 . . . . . . . www.reddisplays.com
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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK LOCALISATION
DIARY DATES ‘09 From the MCV Awards to our next Pub Quiz, here are all the essential industry dates to get in your diary…
JUNE GAME ON! LONDON Saturday, June 20th – Sunday, June 21st Olympia Exhibition Centre, London www.gameonlondon.co.uk
PARTNERTRANS . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.partnertrans.com LOCALISATION
Quality Matters At Testronic Labs, we help you produce great quality games. For us, quality means a game that exceeds the expectations of the players, a game that works on every platform and reads right in every language, a game that’s just right for its audience. We’re here to make it better. Testing on all major console, PC and iPhone platforms Functionality testing Translation and localisation Localisation testing PC compatibility Compliance testing MMO performance testing Usability / focus group testing New Player Experience (NPE) testing
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org www.testroniclabs.com
TESTRONIC LABORATORIES . . . +44 (0) 1753 653 722. . . . www.testroniclabs.com LOCALISATION
GAME HORIZON CONFERENCE Tuesday, June 23rd – Wednesday, June 24th The Sage, Newcastle www.gamehorizonconference.com GAMEPLAN 2009 Wednesday, June 24th Friday, June 26th Surrey, UK IDEF Tuesday, June 30th – Thursday, July 2nd Palais des Festivales, Cannes, France www.idefexpo.com
JULY DEVELOP CONFERENCE 2009 Tuesday, July 14th – Thursday, July 16th Hilton Metropole, Brighton www.develop-conference.com
The latest outing for this essential networking event will pit 20 teams of five against each other. Studios, publishers, QA, recruitment and localisation companies are all invited to attend, with a full night of entertainment and competition on offer. First prize is a £2,000 advertising credit in Develop print or online, plus a trophies and bottles of champagne.
DEVELOP INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS Wednesday, July 15th Hilton Metropole, Brighton www.developmag.com GAMES CONVENTION ONLINE Friday, July 31st Sunday, August 2nd Leipzig Messe, Germany www.leipziger-messe.com
AUGUST EDINBURGH INT. FESTIVAL Monday, August 10th – Sunday, August 16th TBC, Edinburgh 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 UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING . . . . . . . 01480 210621 . . . . . . . . . . . www.usspeaking.com
THE DEVELOP QUIZ Thursday, June 18th Sway Bar, Holborn jaz.kandola @intentmedia.co.uk
MCV/XBOX 360 PUB QUIZ Thursday, September 24th Sway Bar, Holborn dave.roberts @intentmedia.co.uk The Xbox 360/MCV Pub Quiz is now established as one of the industry’s favourite nights out. Taking place every three months or so at the rather swanky Sway Bar in Holborn, it brings together the market’s leading publishers, retailers and media to compete for some pretty substantial prizes.
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Graeme Kidd 1957 - 2009 The industry pays tribute to a games journalism legend, who sadly passed away last month. Co-workers and friends come together to honour Graeme’s legacy and his remarkable career, and send out their deepest condolences to his family... Graeme Kidd was by turns a benign Pickwickian, amused and amusing, kind man and a waspish debunker of myths, with a barbed wit. He was always good company, even when he was taking the piss – perhaps that’s ‘especially when’… He edited the then market-leading Spectrum mag Crash in the mid ‘80s for the indie kids Newsfield, up against the behemoth that was EMAP in its pomp with Sinclair User and the witty, cool Your Sinclair from Dennis. All three regularly sold over 100K copies. He joined Future in late ‘88 to edit ACE (broadly speaking, it was a little more Edge than GamesMaster). With great professionalism, he readily accepted the commercial position when EMAP came knocking for ACE just a few months later in the following spring. EMAP paid a million quid for a mag that was much loved by the industry but made only a thin profit; Future never looked back. In fact, it wasn’t just ‘great professionalism’: he found it hugely amusing that when it came to the solemn handover of work-in-progress, not only was there virtually none happening (the mag did occasionally, er, go late), but it was handed over on Mac disks to a company that at that stage was still using typewriters and had no means of accessing any of the work. Graeme moved over to other nongames magazines at Future and left the company in the ‘90s. Years later, he popped up – only slightly incongruously – as the Mayor of Ludlow and champion of its Food and Drink Festival. Graeme died of a suspected heart attack on May 31st. He is survived by his wife Sally Newman-Kidd and his sons Warwick and Alisdair. Greg Ingham, Media Clash If nothing else, I owe Graeme a huge debt of gratitude for rescuing me from a job at EMAP which I loathed and bringing me in to the relative sanity of Future. So for that alone he’ll always remain a key figure in my life.
I never knew Graeme as well as I perhaps I should, but I always found him to be a genuine enigma, a multifaceted personality who could switch from boozer to connoisseur; from rogue to gentleman; from fearsome ogre to gentle mentor – all on a whim. He was completely his own man, at the behest of no-one, and thus truly unique. Of course that’s the trouble with unique things… they’re so very bloody hard to replace. Steve Jarratt,
Future It’s difficult to know what to say about Graeme without it feeling inadequate. As an innocent teenager coming into the industry Graeme had a profound effect on me. He was so upstanding and capable and thoughtful and vulgar and inspirational, which immediately struck a chord with me. He was a fundamental influence; an unparalleled mentor and an even better friend. He gave so much to me professionally and personally. I know he touched many others but he’d never have known how many and how deeply – he was so self-effacing and more generous than he’d care to admit. It’s easy to remember specific instances of just how excellent Graeme was, but for me just the sheer memory of the man leaves me feeling all the better for knowing him. Even though he’s gone, he still makes me smile. Gary Penn, Denki My thoughts go out to Sally. 52 is nothing. Graeme was one of the first people I worked with and was an inspirational editor. More recently, I loved his work promoting Ludlow and the food festivals. I’d often see him at the BBC Good Food show events – there’s one this weekend and he won’t be there, which is very sad.
LEGEND: From games journalist to Ludlow’s mayor, Graeme touched the lives of all who worked with him over the years
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68 MCV 12/06/09
PIC OF THE WEEK Just an average day at the Sega UK offices, then. The likes of Jo Fawell, Fay Burgin, Stefan McGarry, Claire Hawkins, Kate Billingham, Ben Payne, Jonathan Edwards and Karl Johns got together to promote the release of Virtua Tennis 2009 here – complete with wacky wigs and strategically deployed reading material. Look at them pretending that they read publications other than MCV. The wags.
Off The Record
This week, Sega makes a ‘racquet’ and Joe Calzaghe beats up small boys. Elsewhere, PlayV’s Luiz Ferreria shows off his skills...
FUEL FOR THOUGHT Some people push nails through body parts to get into the Guinness Book Of World Records. Some people smash bricks with their head. But, then again, these people are mental. So it’s a sensible ‘well done’ for the chaps and chapesses at Codemasters this week, whose racing epic FUEL has been recognised for having the biggest ever in-game area for a console title. Not a punctured limb in sight.
MCV 12/06/09 69
RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD
MCV takes soundings from its Retail Advisory Board on the biggest issues of the day. The current members are... LISA MORGAN, GAME
DUNCAN CROSS, ASDA
MARTYN GIBBS, GAMESTATION
DON MCCABE, CHIPS
TIM ELLIS, HMV
KEITH SHARPE, PLAY.COM
CAROLINE AUSTEN, THE HUT
JON BIGGS, MORRISONS
PUNCHING ABOVE HIS WEIGHT Boxing champ Joe Calzaghe visited HMV Oxford Street recently to promote Punch Out! where he came up against determined little terrier Freddie Goggin. The littl’un defeated the athlete at the game – but he’d be wise not to try in real life. Still, on recent form, he could probably take Ricky Hatton. (Don’t tell him we said that).
DEBBIE O’NEILL, COMET
GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON
PETER WILLIS, DSGI
IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO
ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS
IS THAT RONALDO...? Not quite – it’s PlayV UK boss Luiz Ferreria playing his heart out at Old Trafford. The exec took part in a charity match for the Field Of Dreams charity, which supports medical research to find a cure for and improve the quality of life of young people with Type 1 diabetes. He told Off The Record: “Here’s an action photo where I’m not pulling a strange face or showing off any spare tyres... All good training for the MCV GamesFives on June 12th!” Luiz is still raising money for the charity and you can donate at: www.justgiving.com/luizferreira2009
STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK
JOANNA HUNT, TESCO
GURDEEP HUNJAN, SAINSBURYS
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PLEASE EMAIL US YOUR FUNNIEST INDUSTRY PICTURES AT
OFFTHERECORD@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK A LOTT OF LEG A fresh-faced, toned, traffic-stopping beauty sizzled at EA’s Sims 3 event. But enough of PR boss Simon Smith-Wright. Rising star Pixie ‘Amy without the drugs’ Lott was also on hand to grab the spotlight with a short set – and to pose with the EA crew for Off The Record’s cameras.
HUT UP On the surface, this image of Burnley celebrating their return to top flight football during this year’s Championship Play-Off Final has nothing to do with the industry. But look closer at Burnley No.11 Wade Elliot. What’s that adorning his buttocks? Why, it’s The Hut’s logo. Proof that online retail + arses = success.
EDITORIAL: 01992 535646
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MCV, Intent Media, Saxon House, 6a St. Andrew Street, Hertford SG14 1JA.
Deputy Editor: Chris Dring Chris.Dring@intentmedia.co.uk Staff Writer: James Batchelor James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk Retail Editor: Ben Parfitt Ben.Parfitt@intentmedia.co.uk Contributors: Ed Fear, Andrew Wooden, Will Freeman
ADVERTISING: 01992 535647
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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.
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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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