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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES

Issue 547 Friday July 24 2009 £3.25

04 A new Discovery

18 Value Chain

TV channel details plans to bring its learning programmes to video games

With price currently a sticking point for consumers, we look at the budget market

05 Wayne’s World

14 Develop Awards Review

HMV snares former THQ man for newlycreated online games manager role

Pictures from the night and reaction comments from the winners

07 EA ramps up

27 Retail Biz

June UK chart figures show big market share gains for Electronic Arts

We preview Codemasters’ Ashes 2009 and list the new releases hitting stores

EVERY BUYER  EVERY BRANCH  EVERY INDIE  EVERY WEEK

INCORPORATING

Can recession end price war? Argos ticket increase could spell the end of widespread discounting, as pressure for profit mounts on High Street by Tim Ingham WILL WE see a cessation in rampant price-cutting from UK retail this year? That was the question from trade experts this week, as the High Street began to contemplate its reaction to Argos’ bold step of raising – not dropping – prices in its new catalogue.

increased its usual RRP for triple-A Christmas release Modern Warfare 2. Both Marks & Spencer and Next have also admitted they are being forced to raise their prices – highlighting the frailty of non-food retailers’ margins during a crucial shopping year. Verdict Research consultant James Flower told MCV: “Games retailers have UK

Games retailers’ margins are being squeezed – and they face many of the same pressures as Argos. James Flower, Verdict

Leading outlets have told MCV they are closely monitoring the surprise move from their age-old competitor – which has forged a reputation for ‘going first’ with eyebrowraising deals on both software and hardware The news comes less than a week after MCV revealed that publisher Activision had

prices set by the manufacturers, and they don’t buy from abroad as much, so are less affected by the weak pound. However, talking broadly, their margins are being squeezed and they face many of the same pressures as Argos. It’s getting to the stage where they effectively need to raise their prices, too.

[OPINION] Patrick Kelly, Head of Games, Play.com “Play.com does not work under the same constraints as, say, Argos. A large proportion of their products are shipped from overseas – and they have to face the exchange rate issues that this represents. Undoubtedly, in this tough financial climate we have a different set of pressures, but we are well placed to continue to offer excellent value for money and service levels to our loyal customer base. We certainly do not anticipate any across the board price rises.” The recession could spark a ceasefire in the High Street price wars

“However, such a competitive market makes it hard to do so. It’s likely the best way they will achieve this will be by higher margin bundles and less price cutting across software. Games being sold by a big proportion under their RRP will become less prevalent.”

Square and Eidos finalise Euro team THE COMBINED Eidos and Square Enix has named the team staffing its European office. MCV can reveal that former Square exec Doug Bone becomes sales director, with Eidos’ Jon Brooke named marketing director. Larry Sparks will continue as VP of brand, responsible for Square Enix’s Japanese titles. Eidos brand responsibilities will remain with respective studios. All sales, marketing and PR, along with Square Enixbranded titles developed in

When asked if Sainsbury’s would be raising prices on games this year, a spokesperson told MCV: “We will continue to monitor the rest of the market, however will always remain competitive.” Asda’s entertainment boss Fergal Gara commented: “We

will have to see whether that [Argos] move is relevant to video games or not. Our stance is that we want to remain competitive.” Morrisons declined to comment on the subject. An HMV spokesperson said: “[Price rises] are not something we are considering at present.”

APB HITS RETAIL IN MARCH

Key Square Enix staff Bone, Sparks and Sherlock all take new roles

Japan, will report directly to Mike Sherlock, now co-COO. The new team will operate out of Eidos’ Wimbeldon HQ. MCV understands there will be some staff losses – but that the new company has promised to

‘minimise this wherever possible and offer support to employees directly affected’. “This combined expertise means we have an extremely talented team in the UK,” said Phil Rogers, CEO.

The hotly-tipped APB – branded by some commentators as the successor to GTA – by Scottish developer Realtime Worlds will arrive at retail in March, MCV can reveal. EA Partners is distributing and marketing the online game. Insiders have also scotched industry chatter that EA is on the cusp of acquiring the studio, whose cofounder Dave Jones is credited for creating GTA and Lemmings.

PERSONNEL 26 RETAIL BIZ 27 NEW RELEASES 32 HIGH STREET 34 CHARTS 36


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NEWS

[LEADER] CUTS BOTH WAYS Retailers calling publishers greedy. Publishers labelling retailers shortsighted. Battle lines clearly drawn. The reaction to MCV’s report of Activision setting a £55 RRP for Modern Warfare 2 – with more labels likely to follow suit – got a little fiery over the past week, to say the least. But the next twist in this unfortunate tale – like all great gunslingers, set to a backdrop of tense economic decline – was unprecedented. Argos, that obstinate burlesque tease of ‘one week only’ offers, reached breaking point. Less than seven days after a major publisher was pilloried for trying to eke more money out of consumers, a retailer had done the same. All of a sudden, just like the publishing community in last week’s issue, the High Street looks stressed, vulnerable – and not a little desperate. Even companies that aren’t hugely hurt by the effect of exchange rates on trading – stand up GAME, HMV and the rest – face a dip in consumer spending and super-tight margins. Argos’ shock decision was symptomatic. All games retailers, it seems, now have less leeway to slash prices. So what could be the outcome of this new wariness at retail? Doom and gloom? Erm… Fewer price battles between warring retailers. Fewer new games being sold at silly prices. Fewer High Street stalwarts going the way of Woolworths and Zavvi this Q4. Overall, ‘fewer’ incidents of both sides grimacing at MCV’s letters page from now until next year. Okay. So it’s tough out there – for Christ sakes, it took a recession to get us to this point. But could this turn out to be the perfect platform for a new dawn in retail/publisher understanding? Possibly. Until someone mentions, pre-owned, of course.

Gaming is ‘a priority’ for the TV channel says games are ‘a natural expansion of our programming’ by Michael French THE DISCOVERY Channel is eyeing mass market consumers as it moves into video games, the company has told MCV. At E3, the TV channel announced plans to develop its own iPhone, PC and next-gen titles – and now MCV can reveal that it has signed a deal

publishers – as it has done with upcoming mobile games based on its properties. “Gaming is a priority for Discovery,” explained director of licensing Sue Perez-Jackson. “Discovery’s mission is to empower people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through a number of different platforms.

Discovery’s mission is to empower people to explore their world. Games are a natural extension of that. Sue Perez-Jackson, Discovery

with UK developer and publisher Slitherine to make its first major game product, Discovery Trivia. Discovery’s just one of many traditional media companies which has recently expanded to produce its own games. It owns a number of popular learning and education brands on TV. But it has now grown its strategy beyond just selling the licence for those to other

INTO ORBIT: Discovery has revealed ambitions to bring its exploration and learning ethos to games

“Games are a natural extension of the Discovery brand. The games arena allows us to bring our programming to the small screen. From animals to space and beyond, games allow us to bring the subjects viewers enjoy on our network to the games in front of them. “Our approach to video games cannot only be part of wider licensing program. We need to

look at video games as a natural expansion of our programming and content creation for online, mobile and other media contents.” She added: “The gaming market has expanded in so

AN EIDOS FOR DETAIL We’re not allowed to call the new HQ forming in SW1 Square Enix Europe, you know. Apparently, the division’s official brand is yet to be established, no matter how plain it looks on paper. But with one of the most impressive sales and marketing teams in Europe now in place – and some serious No.1 contenders over the horizon – perhaps the new firm feels it can afford to take its time with the little things.

THE REBIRTH OF EA Any of you notice how little EA troubled the charts in the first few months of this year? We certainly did. And we don’t mean the top ten, either – weeks went by during which time the mega-publisher only had two or three titles in the Top 40. That’s all changed now of course. With The Sims 3 and EA Sports Active driving the firm to glory in June (see page seven), and the publisher’s games taking the No.1 spot in ELSPA/GfK-ChartTrack’s All Formats chart in six of the last seven weeks, this is fast becoming the ‘summer of EA’. And watch out autumn: With FIFA 10 and The Beatles: Rock Band round the corner, you have to expect this new foothold to get even stronger. Tim.Ingham@intentmedia.co.uk

FIRST ‘360 EXCLUSIVE’ GTA DATED GTA: Episodes From Liberty City, the retail release of Rockstar’s downloadable content for GTAIV, will hit retail on October 29th. Branded as ‘the first ever 360 exclusive’ Grand Theft Auto – and effectively a sequel to the bestselling GTA game released last year – the disc will cost £34.99 and includes the episodes The Lost and Damned and Ballad of Gay Tony.


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Discovery Channel  Slitherine signed to produce first games

many ways. It now encompasses such a varied demographic that we feel now more than ever we can take this opportunity to reach a wider market.” On the studio signing PerezJackson added: “Slitherine is an

industry leader and has an experience like no others in blending entertainment and culturally-relevant content.” Discovery Trivia is due for release by the end of 2010. www.discovery.com

HMV snares THQ trade marketing boss FORMER THQ trade marketing manager Wayne Wilson has joined HMV in the newly-created post of online games manager. Wilson, who started at the retailer earlier this week, worked on major releases such as Saints Row 2, UFC: Undisputed and Red Faction: Guerrilla. Prior to that he worked at Woolworths for seven years in a number of games-related roles. HMV has also brought together a central content team for its site. Managed by Matt Porter, the new structure is designed to strengthen the team supporting all the content on HMV.com, including games. Commercial manager Jonathan Hayes commented: “We’re delighted to welcome a person of Wayne’s outstanding experience and product knowledge to the HMV Games team. He has a strong background in all aspects of games buying and marketing with a keen commercial eye. Working with Matt Potter and his

[PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10 UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3 SONY

2. GRAN TURSIMO 5 PS3..................................................SONY

3. MODERN WARFARE 2 360..........................................ACTIVISION Wilson returns to retail as he seeks to bolster HMV online

HMV.com content team, he has the right credentials to spearhead the development of HMV’s games offer online.” Wilson added: “I have enjoyed my time at THQ, and have learnt a great deal since being here. I wish the company and all the great people that work there well for the future. “However, I’ve definitely missed the excitement of retail. The games online manager role is an exciting proposition to me – it’s a strategically important role for the company.” HMV: 01628 818300

4. MODERN WARFARE 2 PS3..........................................ACTIVISION

5. PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010 PS3 ..............................................KONAMI

6. HALO 3: ODST 360..........................................MICROSOFT

7. OP. FLASHPOINT: DRAGON... 360......................................CODEMASTERS

8. HEAVY RAIN: THE ORIGAMI KILLER PS3..................................................SONY

9. WII SPORTS RESORT + WII MOTIONPLUS WII ............................................NINTENDO

10. ASSASSIN’S CREED 2 PS3..............................................UBISOFT Week ending July 17th Source: SHOPTO.COM

[MARKET VALUE]

Government forms games committee £16.9m THE GOVERNMENT is to create an all-new ‘video games committee’ – in which crossparty representatives will be tasked with considering changes in policy to help the industry.

the new PEGI age ratings system, tax breaks and more. The new committee will feature representatives from the Department Of Culture, Media and Sport, the

The Government is confident of being able to introduce pro-PEGI legislation before the next election. Michael Rawlinson, ELSPA

The decision was a result of ELSPA’s first formal meeting with new Minister for Creative Industries Siôn Simon last week. ELSPA director general Michael Rawlinson and Simon discussed

Department for Business Innovation and Skills, the Department of Health, the Home Office and the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

“The news was indeed upbeat,” he said. “The Minister assured us that the Government is confident of being able to introduce pro-PEGI legislation before the next election. “We also covered the other hot topic of the moment: tax breaks for the industry. Siôn Simon confirmed that the Treasury is now open in principle to the idea of tax breaks for the country’s video games industry. “But endlessly calling for tax breaks is not enough. What is obvious is that hard evidence has so far been very lacking so the Minister has now asked ELSPA to help

25

20

15

10

MP Siôn Simon met with ELSPA boss Mike Rawlinson

further the debate by furnishing that evidence. This, of course, we are happy to do.” Siôn Simon met with ELSPA again this week at the DCMS.

5

£20.1m

£18.7m

£16.9m

836,461 Units

825,244 Units

785,124 Units

Week Ending July 3rd

Week Ending July 10th

Week Ending July 17th

0

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


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THQ adopts long-term marketing strategy 2010 release Darksiders benefits from seven-month campaign as THQ’s UK office signs Midway’s Mark Cook by Tim Ingham THQ UK has adopted the firm’s new global strategy of marketing its games earlier – and is hoping the long-term approach will help it score a No.1 with actionadventure Darksiders next year. The publisher has already begun promoting the title, which is due for release on Xbox 360 and PS3 in January 2010. THQ told investors in May that it would begin to market its games earlier, as part of a strategy to take it back to profitability after a $431 million annual loss. Meanwhile, the UK office has hired popular Midway exec Mark Cook as product marketing manager for UK & Europe. Cook will look after the seven-month marketing campaign for Darksiders. “We decided early on that it was important to own a space with the release of Darksiders,” Cook told MCV. “Releasing in January allows us to build anticipation for the title, engage consumers with the Darksiders brand through the peak period and set the tone for 2010 as the first major release of the year.”

Releasing in January allows us to build anticipation for Darksiders, and set the tone for 2010 as a major release. Mark Cook, THQ

THQ has already begun promoting the title with a strong presence at Comic-Con

Cook joins THQ from Midway as the UK office reforms the way it handles marketing for its biggest releases, including Darksiders

in San Diego, US this week. Cook added: “Key asset drops and events will be supported

with targeted media across online, print, social networks & TV as we begin the Countdown to Armageddon. “We will also be taking advantage of new and innovative ways to engage our consumers, like the VidZone activity we will be using to

support the Comic-Con drive this month.” THQ has enjoyed recent success with UFC: Undisputed and Red Faction: Guerrilla, which respectively reached No.1 and No.2 in the UK All Formats chart. THQ: 01483 767656

Iceberg sweeps into UK games market NEW NETHERLANDS publisher Iceberg Interactive has signed a UK distribution deal with Advantage.

The new deal will see Advantage handle all distribution responsibilities for independent retail accounts.

We are very excited to have Advantage represent us – they are the right company to help reach our goals. Erik Schreuder, Iceberg

Iceberg was created following the collapse of Lighthouse Interactive and is set to launch a series of games this year, including anticipated horror title Killing Floor on PC.

Titles from Iceberg include Ship Simulator 2008 Collector’s Edition, Restaurant Empire 2 and Poker Simulator, while a further seven titles are planned for release before Christmas.

“We are very excited to have Advantage represent us in the UK and I am certain they are the right company to accomplish the level of sales we anticipate,” said Iceberg Interactive CEO Erik Schreuder. Advantage general manager Max Butler added: “Iceberg Interactive are an ambitious publisher with a strong vision and a strong catalogue of products with good solid content that makes for great gaming experiences. “We are delighted to have been chosen to help make this vision a reality and to further

establish Iceberg Interactive with the core gamers within the UK market. “We are particularly pleased that Iceberg has recognised the experience that Advantage have with the independent retail sector.

“Historically this is a key retail channel when it comes to breaking new publishers and the independents have affinity when it comes to understanding the needs of the PC gamer.” Iceberg Interactive: 0031 23 54 30 960


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NEWS

HOTLIST

EA takes June crown Publisher dominates the monthly sales figures, thanks to The Sims and EA Sports Active by Tim Ingham ELECTRONIC ARTS took the title of June’s biggestselling publisher, after The Sims helped it generate almost a quarter of all UK software revenue in the month. The firm dominated publisher tables in terms of both unit sales and revenue. EA’s share of units sales grew 3.9 per cent in the month to 20.4 per cent, whilst its share of revenue leapt up an astonishing 8.6 per cent to 22.3 per cent. The main driver of the company’s success was The Sims 3 – June’s biggest selling All Formats title. Other EA titles that helped the publisher dominate the month included EA Sports

Active – June’s fifth best-selling game – and Fight Night Round 4, which took tenth spot after only a week on sale. EA overtook Nintendo to take top spot of GfKChartTrack/ELSPA’s publisher revenue share ‘league table’. The platform holder lost 6.1 per cent of monthly software revenue share to claim 14 per cent, dropping to third – behind Activision Blizzard, which boasted 14.3 per cent. THQ came in fourth place with 11 per cent. Elsewhere, Sony gained 2.3 per cent of revenue share, jumping from No.7 to No.5, swapping places with Ubisoft, who lost three per sent share. One of the best performances of the month came from

PUBLISHER REVENUE SHARE This Last Month Month

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

2 3 1 4 7 6 5 16 8 19

   –  –    

Electronic Arts Activision Blizzard Nintendo THQ Sony Computer Entertainment Sega Ubisoft Codemasters Take-Two Warner Bros. Interactive

Out Now PS3, PSP, PS2, Xbox 360, PC, Wii, NDS (autobot and decepticon skus)

EA: 01483 463000 The Sims and EA Sports Active boosts publisher

Become the ultimate Autobot ™ or Decepticon™ in TRANSFORMERS™: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, the official game of one of 2009’s biggest blockbuster films. Unleash your power to determine the fate of Earth as the ultimate war rages across the globe. Every second counts as you experience TRANSFORMERS like never before!

THE TOP TEN Total Value %

Company

Codemasters, which jumped from 16th spot to eighth place and accounted for two per cent monthly revenue share.

22.3 14.3 14.0 11.0 6.2 5.2 4.7 2.0 2.0 1.8

Source ELSPA, GfK-ChartTrack

According to GfK/Chart-Track data, the top ten selling games in June were: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

The Sims 3 (EA) ..........................................................................PC UFC 2009: Undisputed (THQ)......................................360, PS3 Wii Fit (Nintendo) .......................................................................Wii [Prototype] (Sony) ..................................................360, PS3, PC EA Sports Active (EA)...............................................................Wii Red Faction: Guerrilla (THQ)........................................360, PS3 Pokemon Platinum (Nintendo) ................................................DS Infamous (Sony)........................................................................PS3 Guitar Hero: Metallica (Activision) ............360, Wii, PS3, PS2 Fight Night Round 4 (EA) .............................................360, PS3

Out August 21st X360, PS3, PC Wolfenstein brings the Nazi dark obsession with the occult to life with epic action and harrowing shooter combat. Move between the Nazi’s sinister reality and yours as you battle through the streets, rooftops and sewers of occupied Eisenstadt. Unleash the Nazi’s own dark powers and perverted science against them with supernatural weapons and firepower.

Source ELSPA, GfK-ChartTrack

Codemasters plots Benelux expansion CODEMASTERS has signed a deal with EBS Sales to increase its presence in Benelux. The agreement, which was signed during IDEF in Cannes, will see EBS Sales market Codemasters’ games, such as the updated Bestsellers series for PC, PS3 Platinum and Xbox 360 Classic, to nontraditional gamers. “We are seeing a growing trend of a more diverse range of people playing and buying games in the region,” said general manager of Codemasters Benelux Jurrie Hobers.

“We have not yet managed to reach all corners of this new market, but are hoping that our collaboration with EBS

“There are rather a lot of ‘evergreens’ in the Codemasters range, which lend themselves well to finding new customers

We haven’t managed to reach all corners of this market, but are hoping our deal with EBS will change that. Jurrie Hobers, Codemasters

Sales will change that. I’m really impressed with the vision that EBS has developed and fine-tuned over the last few months.”

through new channels. “I am looking forward to working with EBS Sales and expect that these new channels will enable us to

increase our market share in the Benelux countries.” EBS Sales MD Ed Hom added: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with a leading games publisher like Codemasters. The firm’s products have a good reputation, both in the retail sector and with consumers. Codemasters has developed an extensive games portfolio over recent years and we are pleased to be able to help them reach a wider market.”

Out September 4th NDS, Wii Enjoy all of your favourite summer sports, including Beach Volleyball, Tennis, American Football, Football, Baseball, and Golf. Play at the ProCentre, where coach will guide you through intense drills to test your athletic skills. Push yourself to the max as you compete against your rivals to become the ultimate sports champion!

Codemasters: 01926 814132

Activision.com


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French publisher Bowls into UK Focus Home Interactive looks to gain foothold across The Channel  Blood Bowl set for September release by Christopher Dring FOCUS HOME Interactive has set its sights on snaring share as a publisher in the UK games market with its action sports title, Blood Bowl. The French publisher first told MCV last year that it was looking to break into the UK games market – and the firm is

the UK is still the market where our results have been a lot lower than in other countries. “We hope to turn that around this year, thanks to some key titles such as the Sherlock Holmes series published by Ubisoft and Blood Bowl, which has been adapted from the Games Workshop mythical board game. It has

The UK is still the market where our results have been a lot lower – we hope to turn that around this year. Cédric Lagarrigue, Focus

confident that Warhammer tiein Blood Bowl will be its first big success in the region. “Today, the UK is the largest market goal-wise,” said Focus Home Interactive COO Cédric Lagarrigue. “We’re very well represented all over Europe, where we achieve excellent results, but

already been a huge success in countries such as France, Germany and Spain and we are very confident that it will be a hit in the UK as well.” The PC edition of Blood Bowl hit European shelves in late June, and was greeted to acclaim and strong sales. And the publisher is optimistic it

Focus’ Lagarrigue is looking to the UK to boost the firm

can repeat its success in the UK when Blood Bowl launches in September. “We didn’t know what to expect before the launch of Blood Bowl on PC in France, Germany and Spain,” adds Lagarrigue.

“We just knew for sure that there are a lot of fans of the original board game and that the universe and the game mechanics could appeal to a larger audience. From its release, the game has been extremely well received by

critics and players. Many stores, like GAME in France, are already sold out. Knowing that the UK is Blood Bowl country, we’d be very disappointed if the game doesn’t meet with the same success.” Focus: 0033 1 48105969

Capcom plots long-term Monster Hunter success PUBLISHER Capcom has vowed to keep up the TV advertising to promote its new Monster Hunter game. The title has sat at the top of the ChartTrack PSP Top 10 since its launch last month, and the firm is hoping to build on these sales to establish a ‘body’ of Monster Hunter fanatics in the UK. “We’re satisfied with Monster Hunter Freedom Unite sales so far, but for us Monster Hunter isn’t just about the launch week, the launch month or even the first six months on sale,”

explained Capcom’s head of UK marketing Stuart Turner. “This is a long-term project for Capcom as we know that

“The game itself is a longterm investment for purchasers and one that people tend to play for, well, months and

This is a long-term project as we know Monster Hunter has a much longer shelf life and a less traditional sales curve. Stuart Turner, Capcom

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite has a much longer shelf life than many other titles and a less traditional sales curve.

months. Once somebody joins the world of Monster Hunter and understands how it works, they tend not to leave.

“It’s this body of long-term customers that we’re interested in building, and we’ll continue to do so through both traditional means such as TV advertising and non-traditional means such as our Gathering Hall project in central London.” Monster Hunter Freedom Unite was a smash hit in Japan, topping the 2008 charts in the country and selling over 3.5 million units in the territory. The game outsold every other title on all other formats. Capcom: 020 8846 2566

Monster Hunter’s appeal lies in its multiplayer quests


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Sponsored by

System 3 set to Challenge racing rivals SuperCar Challenge will make System 3 become ‘the world’s best racing publisher’ by Christopher Dring WATCH OUT Codemasters, System 3 has pledged to become the greatest racing publisher in the world beginning with the upcoming SuperCar Challenge on PlayStation 3. Developed by Eutechnyx, the new game is based on last year’s multi-format hit Ferrari

be a one-off but is the second part of a new brand in the racing genre. It’s not been developed to mimic any other games in the market. Our intention, over a period of time, is to become a forerunner with regards to how racing games will be perceived by the general public and the industry in general.

It’s the next step in becoming the world’s best racing publisher, which has always been a long-term plan for us. Patrick Cadore, System 3

Challenge, and will hit shelves in August. The title boasts 40 cars and 20 tracks, and System 3 COO Patrick Cadore is confident the product will show gamers that there’s more to racers than Gran Turismo. “We want to draw a line in the sand for the racing genre,” said Cadore. “SuperCar Challenge is not designed to

“SuperCar Challenge is massively important to System 3 as it’s the next step in aligning ourselves as the best racing game publisher in the world. It’s always been a longterm plan for us; we have the knowledge, the passion, the staff, the relationships and the vision to convince the gaming public that Gran Turismo and

[IN BRIEF] NINTENDO: NPD data shows the DS and DSi sold over 766,000 units in the US during June, more than all current generation consoles combined. The DSi shifted more than 424,000 units, while over 342,000 DS units were sold in the same month. EA: Harmonix has announced it will launch the Rock Band Network in late August, an initiative that will provide bands with a toolset and instructions on how to create new songs that can be played on Rock Band.

SuperCar Challenges is System 3’s biggest upcoming release

Forza aren’t the be-all and endall of racing games.” The racing genre has enjoyed a renaissance of late, with hype building around the upcoming F1, Dirt 2, Gran Turismo 5, Split/Second and Blur. But

Cadore is confident that SuperCar Challenge has what it takes to compete with the best the genre has to offer. “No other racing game can match our strengths,” he said. System 3: 0207 491 4441

CHIPS lifts shutters Exspect grips iPhone on its latest outlet INDEPENDENT video game chain CHIPS has opened a new store in Leicestershire. Based in Market Harborough, the new outlet sells software and hardware for all major consoles, as well as accessories, books, cards, merchandise and pre-owned. The store is run by former accountant and local resident Andrew Colclough. “I first looked at opening a CHIPS store in Market Harborough about five years

ago but I just couldn’t find the right premises,” commented Colclough. “I think the recession has bottomed out now and we should see a slow and steady recovery over the next 18 months or so.” “I believe this is the first new store to open in the town for several months and I hope the local consumers feel we have a lot to offer. CHIPS: 01642 65800

EXSPECT HAS released a new gaming-specific case for the iPhone which functions as an ergonomic grip for the Apple portable. Available for both the iPod Touch 2G and the iPhone 3G and 3GS, the Gaming Grip delivers an experience similar to that of a dedicated mobile games console. “Mobile gaming is really taking off among UK consumers. We want to give these mobile gamers the same experience of

a console gamer, with great accessories to match the great games they’re playing,” said Mike Sanderson, head of development at Exspect. “Using our expertise in both the hardware protection and gaming market we have developed a product that really brings the mobile gaming experience to life.” The grip will be available from Amazon at just £14.99. Exspect: 01282 684 871

HMV: The retailer will exclusively stock the Prestige edition of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The £119.99 bundle will include a copy of the game, a Steelbook, an art book, a bust of an in-game character and a pair of working Night Vision Goggles. MIDWAY: The struggling publisher’s Newcastle studio has entered administration. Despite decent sales of its last release Wheelman, the studio was not picked up in Warner’s recent acquisition of Midway.

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

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J’ACCUSE

The price is ripe Our story about Modern Warfare 2 carrying an RPP of £54.99 incited some passionate respose from across the industry last week. But, Michael French asks, why is this an issue so many are frightened of…? SINCE THE first arcade machine happily gobbled up spare coins, the issue of pricing has been important to the games industry. And as the reaction on MCVuk.com to last week’s price hike story shows, it’s never been more sensitive. Almost 100 different people from retail and publishing have chipped in to offer their views on why companies like Activision have warned the price of flagship games like Modern Warfare 2 will rise. Although it is just one example, Activision’s decision is no doubt based on a number of factors that will be familiar to all publishers. For a start there’s that widely-reported issue of increased costs across the board. The rise in development budgets (at a modest guess, MW2 probably cost around $35m to make), plus the fact that the Euro and Pound are close in parity will no doubt have put a dent in the firm’s accounting that it wants to compensate for. DUTY FREE But ultimately most view Activision’s decision as simply opportunistic. At E3 earlier this year, Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith told me he was more than happy to admit that his strategy exploits market conditions – which shrewd businessman wouldn’t? So when the music genre looked set to explode, Activision stepped in to buy Guitar Hero owner Red Octane. When other publishers slowed production of racing games, Activision moved in to the genre. And when customer interest, retail expectations and its own projections say Modern Warfare 2 sales will go through the roof, it’s little wonder that Activision has pushed the price up. That’s just capitalism. On the one hand, Activision is making a genuinely positive

When Modern Warfare 2 lands in November it will be one of the more expensive games on the market

statement about the health of the industry when it can unblinkingly slide the price up by £10. What a strong, mature market this must be – right? Well, you’d think. But straight away the £54.99 price tag creates not so much a debate over pricing, but fury from some quarters and a bit of a

Going by the range of responses to this on the MCV site, I’d say this is the main problem with this latest pricing scandal: whenever the matter comes up the games industry doesn’t really know what to do. Retailers clam up, and most publishers don’t want to go on record. The behaviour that

Modern Warfare 2 might be the first attempt to establish an ‘anti-budget’ luxury end to the price spectrum.

PR issue for Activision. Not helped by its corporate policy to not discuss pricing – thus declining the opportunity to clarify its position – knee-jerk reactions branding the firm as ‘greedy’ have come thick and fast from indies But I’d say the discussion about the price is more important than the price itself.

follows when questions about prices are raised, or when prices themselves are raised is sometimes too much of a contrast to the chest-beating that goes on when the industry boasts that it’s the most lucrative entertainment medium in the country. Pricing is often just too sensitive an issue for this

industry to enter into a rational discussion about. So why is that? Do we have something to hide? Are usually sensible, rational people unable to comprehend the issues? MODERN ARTS I think the real answer is that the industry is still, deep down, a relatively young one. It’s current status as a massmarket powerhouse is only years old. The games medium itself is just 40 years-old, and has only been commercially relevant at retail for just under 30 of those. Against all that, the industry is still experimenting with what does and doesn’t work when it comes to pricing. The arrival of the Wii has created a slightly lower cost expectation around games – remember when it was surprising that some new releases for that format were £29.99? Well now some sell for £20, skirting close to ‘budget’ territory. For some this skews

the perceived value of games – so is it any wonder that a new big hitter for the more cuttingedge home consoles has planted itself squarely at the other end of the spectrum? So on the flipside, after years of going in for the cheap kill, Modern Warfare 2 might be the industry’s first real antibudget game, the Aston Martin of video games if you will. A premium product with a premium price. If you separate that issue from the (still very important) discussion still to be had between retailers and publishers over the cost price, this kind of activity is something the industry is inevitably going to keep trying, recession or not. Every mature industry needs a broad strategy on pricing – and in a time when the traditional core is being disrupted by online sales, the free-to-play model and 59p apps, more of these ‘experiments’ will be par for the course.

Nationwide Experiential Gaming. p4wnd. Play. Experience. Shop. Coming to 47 hmv stores this year. Virtua Tennis 2009 All formats - SEGA Freeplay & Competitions at all gamerbase stores Joining this impressive roster of tennis stars are hmv customers all over the country competing for exclusive prizes! Promotion during Wimbledon Fortnight and again in early August.

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DEVELOP AWARDS: WINNERS IN FULL

Last week’s Develop Awards were the biggest and best yet – rewarding the finest talent from the global creative sector. Over 500 leading industry execs attended the bash in Brighton. Here, we celebrate every winner from the night – and hear what picking up the accolade meant to each company...

TECHNOLOGY & SERVICES

TECHNICAL INNOVATION

BEST TOOLS PROVIDER

BEST ENGINE

“This is of course on behalf of the programmers, more than anyone else. I don’t do tech as it makes my head hurt, so to those guys, thank you very much.” Mark Healey

“This is a huge surprise, and I just want to say thank you to everyone at Autodesk for their work towards this.” Tim Doidge

“I want to thank all the guys on the UE3 team, and all our customers for making us look so good.” Mark Rein

LITTLEBIGPLANET (Media Molecule)

AUTODESK

UNREAL ENGINE 3 (Epic Games)

CREATIVITY

BEST NEW IP

BEST USE OF A LICENCE

VISUAL ARTS

“This is an amazing award, and personally I’m really excited. I’d really like to thank all of Media Molecule. I’m really proud to have worked with you all on this game.” Pete Smith

“Thanks so much and thanks to the team. Thanks to Travellers Tales, who do it time and time again.” Jonathan Smith

“It’s a great honour to be even nominated for working on this game. Thanks so very much everyone.” Kareem Ettouney

LITTLEBIGPLANET (Media Molecule)

LEGO BATMAN (Traveller’s Tales)

LITTLEBIGPLANET (Media Molecule)


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DEVELOP AWARDS: WINNERS IN FULL SPECIAL RECOGNITION

DEVELOPMENT LEGEND

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

GRAND PRIX

“Thanks very much to everybody at Develop. If my son, when he gets to work, gets to be in an industry that is as brilliant and fun and talented as this one, I’ll be very pleased.”

“I’m truly honoured. I’m very pleased, and very proud to be part of this industry. Thank you all very much.”

“There are too many people to thank. I don’t know where to start. I’m very proud and honoured. It’s not my award – it’s for the whole company.” Trevor Williams

JACQUI LYONS

CODEMASTERS

PHIL HARRISON

RECRUITMENT COMPANY

SERVICES

CREATIVE OUTSOURCING

“We’re really quite excited because we’ve been nominated so many times. Thanks so, so much for this.” Liz Prince

“Thank you. This is for all our clients out there, all our publishers, all our developers, and everyone else who’s helped us.” Mick Morris

“We’ve all worked very hard for this for the past few months and we all feel very passionate about the projects you’ve trusted us with, so thank you all so much.” Andy Emery

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“Thanks so much. Thank you to the 140 people that worked on the audio, and thanks to the whole team, who are all amazing.” Georg Backer

“On behalf of Ngmoco and all the other partners, all involved, plus Steve Jobs and all at Apple, thank you.” Alan Yu, Ngmoco - collecting on Apple’s behalf

FABLE II (Lionhead)

APPLE

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DEVELOP AWARDS: WINNERS IN FULL STUDIOS

BEST NEW STUDIO

BEST HANDHELD GAMES STUDIO

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

“This one is something to smile about. Someone once said fortune favours the brave, and we would like to thank everyone who had faith in us.” Siobhan Reddy

“This award would never have come to us if it weren’t for the efforts of the entire Rockstar family. We’ve got friends in New York, San Diego and mostly up North.” Ian Bowden

“Thanks everyone. We specialise in basement games, so thanks to everyone who plays basement games.“ Steven Shipton

MEDIA MOLECULE

ROCKSTAR LEEDS

PLAYFISH

BEST INDEPENDENT DEVELOPER

BEST IN-HOUSE TEAM

“A lot of people took a big bet on us. Especially Sony, who gave us a huge amount of their dedication.” Chris Lee

“Gay Tony and everyone is working very hard, so thank you very much for this.” Lucien King

MEDIA MOLECULE

ROCKSTAR NORTH

JUST FOR LAUGHS: Comedian Jason Manford hosted the Develop Awards 2009


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VALUE GAMES

Building up

Budget With retailers and consumers up in arms over the rising trade prices for big budget core games, James Batchelor takes a look at how invaluable the budget sector is to the industry and the perils the market currently faces... IT IS UNDENIABLE that this current generation of consoles has changed the face of gaming demographics. The success of Wii and DS has created the highly lucrative casual market. Retail is now enjoying long-tail hits and impressive sales that are unaffected by traditional trading seasons. However, it’s important to remember that there is a sector that has long been providing consumers with accessible titles for a minimal price: budget games. From PC re-releases to the retail debuts of online casual titles, publishers have been able to breed success without setting a hefty RRP.

the games industry over recent years has been in casual gaming. Imagine how retail would be hit if we had not had this influx or new customers.” Mastertronic’s MD Andy Payne is more cautious over the future for the casual sector: “It will be interesting to see how long this lasts. It has certainly grown the market in terms of consumers. The PC market has not really grown, but having said that, it has not receded, so we are still very happy to be in this space.” However, Payne observes that things are less stable for the console market, where there seems to be two sorts of

When three of the top four PC budget games are casual, you know a seismic shift has taken place. Grant Hughes, Focus

A look at the charts alone shows how much weight budget titles carry at retail, able to outsell some of the bestselling mainstream PC games. And while the current trend dictates that these titles are largely casual, it can’t be ignored that the sector’s price point is a crucial factor in chart success. “When three of the top four PC budget games are casual, you know that a seismic shift has taken place in the industry,” says Focus Multimedia’s marketing manager Grant Hughes. “That happened in April, when World of Warcraft was beaten into third place in ChartTrack’s PC Budget Chart by two of our Mystery titles.” Data Design Interactive’s MD Stewart Green agrees: “The biggest growth for

value offerings. Firstly, games made with slim development budgets “that are usually rubbish” and then overstocks that failed to meet sales expectations. “Natural selection will mean that both of these areas will slim down as publishers and game makers cannot afford unsuccessful games any more,” he explains. “Such is the power and savvy nature of consumers. This is a good thing. Quality and experience go up and everyone wins. Some lose, but then again, what value did the total cheapskate companies add anyway?” WII VALUE

The budget market on Wii is one area that has flourished over the past few years. And for companies such as DDI

Casual games are starting to out-perform the likes of World of Warcraft and Football Manager in ChartTrack’s budget charts.


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VALUE GAMES that specialise in this sector, the appeal is inescapable. But Green warns that making a casual Wii game isn’t necessarily a licence to print money. “Some companies might spin how sales have increased, which is true, but turnover isn’t profit,” says Green. “Financially, this sector is having serious problems and history tells us that things are only going to get worse. A year ago the market was growing and titles were in short supply, but now the tables have turned.

to buy something else if that £10 game didn’t quite hit the spot. Although developing games at budget prices can be tough (albeit potentially profitable), an action that has always provided good revenues for budget publishers is re-releasing classic games at a more affordable price. “Republishing is a fantastic way to monetise your back catalogue titles,” adds Hughes. “From packaging, warehousing and merchandising to point of sale, PR and marketing, every

The games industry needs the budget market. It is a breeding ground of promising new talent. Stewart Green, DDI

“There is a lot more supply with hundreds more budget titles available, and competition forces the trade prices down. We also have to take into account the increase in full price titles, which end up in price reduced bins and discounted overstocks, and if this wasn’t competition enough, the real challenge comes from pre-owned games.” Zushi Games marketing executive Chris Walton adds: “The sector had certainly become more competitive over the last 12 months as more publishers realise the advantages of broadening their offering to an ever-expanding consumer base.” Meanwhile, in some cases, simply cutting the price is no longer an option to achieve retail success. In fact, some games need to be cut in price even before it is distributed. And as Payne warns, this often means cutting costs at development level. “If games are to be sold cheaply as a deliberate publishing choice then development is the only real cost that needs to be kept down,” he says. “It is actually possible to develop great selling games on the cheap, but do not bank on it – the instances of this actually happening are rare and getting even rarer. “Logic dictates that until the platform owners reduce the cost of goods, then value offerings across all formats will be fewer and far between and could be more cost effective via digital distribution. It’s all about choice, value and convenience – whether buying new, trading in or digitally downloading – and that’s not to mention being able

step of the sales process is managed by Focus, leaving the publisher free to concentrate on their full-price business. “For many years now we have been working successfully with some of the biggest games publishers in the world, including Ubisoft and THQ. When you republish top quality titles you get two bites at the cherry – an initial launch at SRP £9.99, followed by a super budget release at £4.99.” Focus’ successful budget model is now commonplace in the market, although, much like its rivals, the firm has teamed up with online casual giants (such as Popcap and Big Fish) to grow its budget range with original releases. BUDGET APPRECIATION

Despite all this, there is discontent in the budget sector. The companies that make up this market feel somewhat neglected, given the games industry’s focus on mainstream and casual titles. Green even suggests budget games are vital to the industry’s future. “The role of budget games is currently undervalued in our industry,” he states. “We are the starting point of much of the talent and creativity for the future of gaming. We employ new programmers, artists, and designers and release original games that could not get approval at full price. “In other creative industries, this breeding ground of talent is

acknowledged and celebrated. Independent film makers with aspiring actors are looked upon as the future stars of Hollywood, small bands playing local pubs and clubs are tomorrow’s rock stars, short story writers develop into award-winning novelists.” “The games industry needs budget. We need to appreciate that small low cost games are important and the small independent teams that it employs and supports are the industry’s life blood.” However, Walton feels attitudes are changing: “I think this sector of the market is going to broaden out and continue to grow with the female audience,” he concludes. “Current trends suggest that this sector is both gaining interest in gaming and also being catered for better by publishing.”


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TERRITORY REPORT: SOUTH AMERICA

The Lost Continent Poverty and piracy make South America sound like a territory to avoid, but there are millions of eager gamers locked within its borders. Christopher Dring investigates…

SOUTH AMERICA is a spectacular luxury apartments in many of South continent, filled with incredible natural America’s biggest cities. wonders and amazing creatures – from Yet even the wealthiest South the Amazon River to The Andes; the Americans would think twice before anaconda to the jaguar. picking up a new games console, with Its population is made up of cultures the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii often on from across the world. Joining the sale for over US$1,000. indigenous people, who can be mostly found in Bolivia and Peru, are Additional costs from tax and those of European a lack of trade agreements descent in Argentina put tremendous pressures on and Uruguay, as well as margins in South America. sizeable Indian, African Kevin Baqai, Proximo Games and Asian communities, who have found a home in Paraguay, Venezuela, “Most Latin American countries charge Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador. import taxes which can be 20 to 80 per Economically, however, the continent cent of the value,” explains Kevin Baqai, suffers. The divide between the rich and director of retailer Proximo Games. poor is vast, with slums and shacks “In addition, local VAT rates and found next door to skyscrapers and tarrifs are high. Many countries have

not yet fully implemented some of the International Free Trade Agreements. All these additional costs put tremendous pressures on margins.” Because of the sheer cost of console hardware, it isn’t uncommon to see a Mega Drive sit in the window of a local South American games shop, while the PC and Sony’s PlayStation 2 are the continent’s market leading formats. “We have a strong preference for PC games in South America,” says Durgan A. Naller, director of Argentinean magazine and website Irrompibles. “PlayStation 2 is the most loved and used console of the region. Over the last two years the PS3, 360, PSP, DS and specifically Wii, have begun to expand, but these are expensive.


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TERRITORY REPORT: SOUTH AMERICA [THE FACTS: SOUTH AMERICA] Population: 382,426,000 Countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela Language: Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English, French, Quechua, Guarani, Aymara, Mapudungun KEY RETAILERS: Proximo Games, GamePlanet, Ponto Frio, Lojas Americanas, Shoptime e Submarino, Hermes, Casa & Video, Wal Mart, Extra, Lojas Insinuantes, Fnac, Pernambucanas, Magazine Luiza, Carrefour, Ricardo Eletro

“Imported games are also very pricey medium to publish their software on a and this situation limits the consumer. console platform.” So the vast majority of gamers remain DEVELOPING NATIONS attached to PC and PS2.” The development community in South Indeed, software prices are high America is a growing one. The territory throughout South America, which has boasts studios such as Wanako Games in resulted in a severe piracy problem in Chile, which developed Assault Heroes the region. And this has made 1 and 2 on Xbox Live Arcade, and developers and publishers reluctant to Sabarasa Entertainment in Argentina, localise or release titles in many South which has produced 3D modelling for American countries. Rockstar Games. And that’s not to A potential solution to the high costs and piracy arrived in Brazil last month, with Most content in South new machine Zeebo. The America is not properly home console is a digitallocalised for the language of only device, designed to be affordable whilst the company it is released in. discouraging piracy and John Rizzo, Zeebo encouraging local studios. mention studios such as Three Melons, “We released Zeebo in Rio De Janeiro Gameloft, QB9 and more. on June 1st and It has gone down really “I co-founded my studio in Uruguay well,” said Zeebo CEO John Rizzo. eight years ago, when there were very “It is in 191 stores and we are really few developers,” explains Gonzalo Frasca, pleased. Most of the content in South America is not localised for the language co-founder of Powerful Robot Games. “Thankfully, since then things have or for the culture. In Brazil, the version changed quite a bit and there’s a larger of FIFA on Zeebo is in Portuguese, not community in Argentina, Chile and just the words but the voice-overs too. Brazil. Sometimes it’s sad that we have And we think that will attract a set of to fly all the way to California to meet consumers that is more interested in with people who live next door. But content with a local flair, than simply there are more and more local events. having American content. “I’m co-organising a National “Also, Zeebo has a wireless Game Development contest here in distribution mechanism. Now for the Uruguay for the fourth year now. first time, small independent software We’re also encouraging the vendors from the local countries have a

development of games for the One Laptop per Child programme. “Maybe larger companies had kept South America under the radar for too long, but they are slowly getting here. What is lacking I think is for young people to realise that there’s a real chance to make games in this part of the world.” Argentina is a particular hotbed of development talent. Several big studios can be found in Buenos Aires, and these firms often work closely with US and European companies to develop their titles. “South American metropolitan cities are pretty much considered Western societies, so cultural bonds with Europe and the US are big,” says QB9’s business manager Hernan Rozenwasser. “That improves communication, while the language and the time zone is also a big thing. In Argentina, English is widely spoken and the time difference with the US is slight.” Three Melons CEO Mariano Suárez Battán agrees: “We’ve grown up with the same pop culture as most Western people, which allows us to understand what the consumers in those markets want. “In Argentina costs are lower compared to North America and Europe, and we are able to work similar

hours – and communicate with these regions – given that we have a similar time zone. “Best of all, in Buenos Aires there is a legacy of world-class design in different areas like fashion, graphic design and TV production. The university system regarding technology is also significant, accelerated from the first dotcom wave in the early 2000s. To date, as a reference, Turner, Viacom, Disney, Fox all have their regional offices in Buenos Aires.” Indeed, even with high prices, severe piracy and few dedicated retail outlets, South America’s games market is growing. Recently, retailer Proximo Games has begun rolling out company-owned and franchised stores in the region, and the platform holders – in particular Sony – are opening offices and hiring staff dedicated to the continent. “Gaming manufacturers and publishers are taking notice of South America,” concludes Baqai. “Sony recently opened offices in several countries and plans on expanding in the region. Microsoft has been in the market but it has only made modest inroads. Nintendo has recently hired additional personnel dedicated to the area. “We are convinced that with our collective marketing, purchasing and operations, we can reduce the cost, thus reducing the retail price and increasing the demand of games in South America.”


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28 MCV547_final:46 MCV515

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Sponsored by 28 MCV 24/07/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

PERSONNEL

Realtime Worlds hires US executive Former Microsoft man joins APB studio  Jones strengthens Uber digital offering  Hare joins Jagex REALTIME WORLD  The Dundee-based Crackdown developer has named JOSHUA HOWARD as the company’s new program manager. Howard leaves his position as an executive at Hidden City Games, a virtual world firm in Seattle. Before this, he spent fifteen years at Microsoft, where he rose to become studio head of Carbonated Games, the company’s casual games studio. At Realtime Worlds, Howard will be responsible for coordinating the firm’s various divisions, including development, operations,

marketing and business development. He will also liaise with RTW’s external partners in order to ensure new game APB is as successful as possible. “I was drawn to Realtime Worlds because they had the expertise and experience to deliver on their ambitions goals,” said Howard. “I am very pleased at the chance to be a part of Realtime Worlds, to help ship APB, and to be working with the tremendously talented people here focused on the vision of creating great games.”

HOWARD: US exec joins Dundee-based studio

UBER  Creative agency Uber has recruited NIC JONES as head of digital. The appointment follows several moves by the agency to expand its digital offering. Jones previously served as senior project director at McCann Erickson, and has also worked at Thomas Cook, Vodafone and Aldi. “I’m delighted to be joining a great agency with a fantastic client list,” he said. “My job is to champion our digital offering and integrate the digital channel into existing client campaigns.”

JAGEX  Games veteran JON HARE has taken up the role of head of publishing at Jagex. Hare has worked on more than 30 games – including Sensible Soccer and Cannon Fodder – on more than 20 formats, ranging from the Sinclair Spectrum to Wii. “Jon is one of the most highly rated game designers in Europe and has had a hugely successful career,” said Jagex CEO MARK GERHARD. “He will play a very hands-on role, actively engaged in developing and optimising all of our games.”


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RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES  PRICE CHECK  CHARTS  NEW RELEASES

MADDEN 10 P32 Electronic Arts’ classic American Football franchise returns to UK retail NEW U P33 Ubisoft teams up with Fitness First for a new personal training game on Wii NEW RELEASES P34 MCV provides a rundown of all the games waiting to be placed on your shelves

WE DON’T LIKE CRICKET... ...we love it. Or at least we do after seeing Codemasters’ smashing new sports sim

Page 30

HIGH STREET P36 We round up the most important Metacritic scores of the week, and check your prices FULL UK CHARTS P38 MCV recounts the full All Formats top 40 – as well as individual console charts


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RETAILBIZ: ASHES CRICKET 2009 30 MCV 24/07/09

The sporting event of summer is already underway, and Codemasters has just the tie-in cricket fans have been craving for…

WWW.MCVUK.COM

by Christopher Dring

“It’s a dream,” enthuses Ashes Cricket 2009 producer Jamie Firth. “I’m really enthusiastic about what we and our partners have done with the game – it’s great fun, but also informative and hopefully will win a lot

THE LAST ASHES cricket series that took place on English soil was one of the greatest in the event’s long history. It was a closely fought affair, with England beating Australia 2-1, which marked the first time The game looks fantastic and England had won the series I’m sure fans are going to since 1987. relish the opportunity to take It sparked renewed interest in the game in the UK, and part in a virtual Ashes series. made a hero of England allKevin Pietersen rounder Andrew Flintoff, who took home the BBC Sports Personality of new fans as Ashes fever continues to of the Year award few months later. sweep the nation. Since then England has endured “The sport itself is full of great people several ups and down, including a and it’s genuinely been a pleasure humiliating 5-0 defeat to Australia when working with them, from the ECB, the the Ashes returned Down Under. But MCC and Cricket Australia, to there’s already renewed optimism for manufacturers, Hawkeye Innovations, this year’s series, which kicked off last our community and our commentators. month when Pietersen, Ponting and “My enthusiasm for the sport grows Flintoff returned to the crease. And every day, seeing how passionate people publisher Codemasters is equally as are about it, and it goes without saying excited to release its official event tie-in. that I’m looking forwards to a great

RELEASED: AUGUST 7 FORMATS: 360, PS3, PC, WII PUBLISHER: CODEMASTERS DEVELOPER: TRANSMISSION GAMES, GUSTO GAMES (WII) PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 01279 822800

summer. It promises to be a fantastic Ashes on the pitches and consoles alike.” HOWZAT!

Ashes Cricket 2009 boasts everything a cricket fan could want from a video game. The Ashes mode features every authenticallyrecreated venue (from Lords to the Brit Oval) for all five tests, complete with licensed kits, equipment and players. But there are more than just the Ashes for gamers to take part in. The game is packed to the brim with extra teams and modes, including traditional test matches, the popular One Day Internationals, 20/20 and a series of challenge modes. And that’s not to mention the wealth of multiplayer modes on offer. All of this is presented in the typical high-definition flair on next generation systems, while Wii gamers can get closer to the action by using the Wii


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RETAILBIZ: ASHES CRICKET 2009 WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 24/07/09 31

WILLOW TALK Back in 1882, England lost to Australia for the first time on home soil. It was a shock for cricket lovers and the Sporting Times ran a mock obituary to English cricket, which stated: “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” The obituary took its place in sporting history, and England headed to Australia vowing to bring the Ashes back to the UK. During the tour of Australia, the England captain at the time, Hon Ivo Bligh, was presented with a small terracotta urn as a symbol of ‘the ashes’ and a new test cricket series was born. The urn currently resides in the MCC Museum at the Lords cricket ground, and is visited by thousands of cricket fans from all around the world each year. Meanwhile, In 1990 a new urnshaped Waterford Crystal trophy was created for the Ashes series, and has been presented to the winner ever since. Most recently, the Ashes trophy was won by Australia, who defeated England 5-0 during to 2006-2007 Ashes series.

Remote to drive, cut and slog their way to victory. And the game of course comes direct from Codemasters, the same guys that developed the popular Brian Lara series of cricket games. Yet this time the studio is eager to address the over-complication of recent cricketing sims. “As consoles have developed, there’s been a move towards increased buttons, seeing more control over what you want to do,” continues Firth. “I think Super International Cricket on the Super Nintendo was the first to do this, and that approach carried right through to both the Brian Lara Cricket and EA games. “In the last couple of years, even more control has been added. The analogue sticks have enabled even more control over both batting and bowling. However, I think in doing this, casual cricket game fans may have found it a bit too much, which is what we’re trying to address with the controls in Ashes Cricket 2009.

“There are default controls for the more casual players, and more depth on toggles available to advanced players. “The Wii version too is seeing a completely new control system for the first time, which is really exciting. Looking forward, all of the platform holder’s new hardware systems could build on this even further.” FAMOUS FACES

One of the key selling points of the new Ashes is the cricketing stars

backing it. Sir Ian Botham and Shane Warne have given their voices to the game, providing hints and tips as well as commentary, while England batsman Kevin Pietersen adorns the game’s box in the UK (with Australia’s captain Ricky Ponting being used Down Under).

Former Australian bowler Shane Warne concludes: “Recording commentary for Ashes Cricket 2009 was a lot of fun and I am really pleased with the result. “It’s always good to have some banter with Beefy. I played in eight Ashes series and it’s an amazing feeling to represent your country on the biggest stage. Hopefully Ashes Cricket 2009 will allow cricket fans a taste of what that feels like.”


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RETAILBIZ: MADDEN 10 32 MCV 24/07/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

EA Sports rolls out a wave of new features for the annual Madden update, tweaking the game’s mechanics to appeal to both a hardcore and casual audience… by James Batchelor AS THE SUMMER continues, so too does the regular roll-out of EA Sports titles, updating each of the publisher’s series to ensure they stay ahead of the competition. With Tiger Woods and Fight Night already enjoying commercial success and FIFA 10 mere months away, it’s time for American football fans to immerse themselves once more in their sport of choice. While not as popular on these shores as our own breed of ‘football’, EA’s Madden series has always fared well at retail, building up an impressive established userbase that will be queueing round the block for Madden

actions to evade the opposing team. The attention to detail is even carried across to the characters around the player – with referees peeling footballers off the in-game fumble pile. All this and more makes the action on the in-game pitch just as intense as that of its real-life counterpart. This is further enhanced by the overall authenticity of the Madden package: from the arenas to teams, from the players to the equipment, everything in the game can be seen in the onscreen leagues. The general presentation also lends the game that authentic NFL atmosphere, modelling itself on the style of a TV broadcast. Cinematic camera angles will make the instant replays

The key to immersion here is the detail – and Madden NFL 10 is the most comprehensive American football game ever.

NFL 10. This year, EA Sports has a few special treats for both long-time followers and newcomers. As with many of EA’s other sports titles, the key to immersion is in the detail and Madden NFL 10 will be the most comprehensive, detailed American football game to date. The leads SKUs on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC will once again boast stunning visuals, as well as new technology to take players closer to the field than ever before. Perhaps the most notable example is the new Pro-Tak animation system. This gives players unprecedented control over the action, allowing them to recreate the brutal tactics seen on screen during the real matches. Gamers will be able to drag defenders towards the first down marker, orchestrate nine-man tackles, fight for a fumble at the bottom of the pile and use the all-new quarterback avoidance RELEASED: AUGUST 14 FORMATS: 360, PS3, WII, PS2, PSP PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS DEVELOPER: EA SPORTS PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388

even more impressive, and the inclusion of commentators will make players feel like they’re part of the big leagues. THE MIDAS TOUCHDOWN

As well as controlling the action directly on the pitch, players will be able to get a taste of the power wielded behind the scenes in the Franchise mode. This management-centric campaign allows gamers to run every aspect of their chosen team, including drafting players, signing up free agents and managing the salary cap. They then watch the action via the new, TV-style highlight show. This mode has also been expanded online. Players can manage all of these options and compete in leagues of 32 teams, with EA organising these in the style of real NFL scheduling. In addition to managing this mode through their console, virtual managers can even adjust their strategies and rosters through a web browser and a special iPod Touch/iPhone application, meaning Madden is never more than a click away. For fans of a more traditional multiplayer mode, Madden NFL 10 introduces online co-op for the first time in the series’ history. Players can team

up with a friend and rotate through a variety of positions, giving them an experience of everything American football has to offer. The Wii version also features a variety of multiplayer modes, taking a slightly less serious approach to the sport in order to appeal to the console’s expanded audience. Families can enjoy standard tournaments for up to four players, either competing on a full team of 11 or dipping into a quick five-a-side game.


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RETAILBIZ: NEWU WWW.MCVUK.COM

Wii Fit and other ‘healthy living’ titles continue to enjoy serious sales on Nintendo platforms – and Ubisoft’s latest certainly has the potential to share in this success...

MCV 24/07/09 33

have real credibility with the consumer,” Slaughter says. “Fitness First has over 5.5 million members worldwide and 1.4 million members in the UK. Meanwhile, You Are What You Eat has a new series starting this August. This prime time show will really extend the reach of our title. Retailers should expect a good level of brand awareness of this title and the sales that will go along with it.”

by James Batchelor

IN A licencing double-whammy, Ubisoft’s NewU not only features exercises selected by the world’s foremost gym chain Fitness First, but also boasts dietary advice from Channel 4’s You Are What You Eat series. And with such strong brands behind NewU – and fitness games more popular than ever – Ubisoft is confident the title will perform well at retail. With the backing of Fitness “There are strong First and You Are What You expectations for this title,” says Ubisoft UK Eat, NewU will have real brand manager Mark credibility with the consumer. Slaughter. “We have Mark Slaughter, Ubisoft seen the fitness segment of the market expand rapidly and Ubisoft sees this as a great As with other fitness games, the addition to its line-up of fitness games.” focus of NewU is on the Balance BoardThe key to the game’s promise is the compatible workouts. Players are guided two brands. Fitness First gyms can be through these exercises by leading found all over the nation, whilst the Fitness First personal Channel 4 TV show originated as a trainer Julie Seymour and three of highly successful book range before her colleagues. making the journey to the small screen. The introduction of real personal “As NewU is developed in trainers that offer feedback, rather than conjunction with the world’s largest a digital avatar, is designed to make fitness centre chain Fitness First and the users feel more comfortable and keep nutritional experts from the TV show them motivated effectively. Each You Are What You Eat, the title will personal trainer has over 80 exercises in

RELEASED: SEPTEMBER 17 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: UBISOFT DEVELOPER: LIGHTNING FISH BLACK BEAN PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: TRILOGY CONTACT: 0845 362 7769

their repertoire, ensuring workouts don’t become repetitive. The game also helps consumers monitor their diet and general eating habits. The minds behind You Are What You Eat have worked closely with the developers so that once a user has specified their nutritional preferences, NewU can devise a dietary play for them to follow. It even suggests ideal recipes from a possible 138, accounting for 20 weeks worth of different food. “NewU is fully customisable,” adds Slaughter. “Players can choose a particular lifestyle objective and the game will create customised workouts and nutritional plans using recipes that complement physical activity.” There are 25 different personal goals that can be set, and NewU combines the knowledge of Fitness First and You Are What You Eat to come up with the ideal way for players to achieve these. “NewU is about finding the right balance between exercise, food and regaining a healthy lifestyle,” says Slaughter. “The game is an ‘all in one’ fitness and nutrition concept made to improve your health condition and help you to get in shape.”


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RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 34 MCV 24/07/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more

The Dark Knight swoops into August Eidos brings the Caped Crusader to life in one of the year’s most anticipated superhero games, as Koch Media adds to its impressive As Seen On TV range with an adaptation of the BBC’s own culinary masterpiece, Ready, Steady Cook... TITLE

FORMAT

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

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

Adventure Action Action Chess Action RPG Puzzle Simulation Simulation

Focus Multimedia Zushi City Interactive Deep Silver Disney Interactive Koei Zushi Flight 1 Focus Multimedia

01889 570156 01279 822 800 0845 362 7769 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388 01462 476 130 01279 822 800 01869 338833 01889 570156

Open Gem Trilogy Koch Centresoft Open Gem Open Open

DS Wii / DS Wii / PC / DS DS

Self-Improvement Action/Adventure Kids Adventure

Nintendo Playlogic Slitherine Ubisoft

0870 027 0985 0870 027 0985 0870 027 0985 0845 362 7769

koch Koch Koch Trilogy

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

Self-Improvement Sports Mini-games FPS

Mindscape/Koch EA Sports Mindscape/Koch Activision Blizzard

0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388

Koch Centresoft Koch Centresoft

PS3 DS PC DS PC Wii Wii Wii PS3

RPG Sports RPG/Action Music Simulation Sports Shooter Mini-games Racing

Ghostlight Oxygen Kalypso Media Deep Silver Excalibur Publishing Ghostlight Majesco Ubisoft System 3

01376 555333 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0870 027 0985 01869 338833 01376 555333 0117 373 6151 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388

Open Centresoft Advantage Koch Open Open Open Trilogy Centresoft

PC / PS3 / 360 PS3 PC DS DS PC PC PC PC / 360 PSP DS Wii DS Wii

Action RPG Simulation Platformer Simulation Mystery Action Simulation FPS Fighting Racing Sports Sports Sports

Eidos Koei Excalibur Publishing Atari Mindscape/Koch City Interactive City Interactive Excalibur Publishing South Peak Ubisoft Midas Zushi Midas Blade Interactive

0121 625 3388 01462 476 130 01869 338833 0121 506 9585 0870 027 0985 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 01869 338833 0121 625 3388 0845 362 7769 01376 555 333 01279 822 800 01376 555 333 0870 027 0985

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

PC

Simulation

First Class Simulations

01869 338833

Open

PC PC PC

Self-Improvement Self-Improvement MMORPG

City Interactive City Interactive Atari

0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585

Trilogy Trilogy Advantage

JULY 31st Barrow Hill: Curse of the Ancient Circle Big Foot Collision Course Code Of Honour 3: Rise Of The Desert Devil Fritz Chess G-Force Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis Puzzle Kingdoms Ultimate Traffic 2 Your 3D Home Designer 2 - Deluxe Edition

AUGUST 7th Active Health with Carol Vorderman (with activity meter) Aliens In The Attic Horrible Histories: Ruthless Romans Peppa Pig

AUGUST 14th Gardening Guide: How To Get Green Fingers Madden NFL 10 Ready, Steady, Cook: The Game Wolfenstein

AUGUST 21st Agarest: Generations Of War All Star 5-A-Side Football Dawn Of Magic 2 DJ Star Euro Truck Simulator Gold International Athletics Mad Dog McCree: Gunslinger Pack Peppa Pig SuperCar Challenge

AUGUST 28th Batman: Arkham Asylum Cross Edge Farming Simulator Go Go Cosmo Cops Groovy Chick: My Fashion World Mary Celeste Navy Seals Pole To Pole Section 8 Soul Calibur Broken Destiny Super Speed Machines Ten Pin Alley World Cup of Pool WSC Real 09: World Snooker Championship

SEPTEMBER 1st Lancaster

SEPTEMBER 4th Brain College 3 Brain College 4 Champions Online

MUSTSTOCK ...........BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM Released: August 28th Format: PC/PS3/360 Publisher: Eidos Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388

THE hype surrounding this one began after the release of The Dark Knight movie last year – and has shown no sign of stopping in subsequent months. The title pits Batman against some of his most classic foes, including The Joker, Catwoman and Harlequin.

MUSTSTOCK ..................READY, STEADY, COOK Released: August 14th Format: Wii/DS Publisher: Koch Distributor: Contact: 0870 027 0985

BBC light entertainment series Ready Steady Cook has dominated the pre-teatime TV schedule for years – and now, through Koch Media and Mindscape, it could do the same to the casual gaming market. This one offers families plenty of mini-games.


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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 36 MCV 24/07/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Sponsored by

RETAIL BIZ:

NEWS

REVIEW SCORES MCV provides the most important average review scores of the last few days – all sourced from Metacritic...

85%

83%

79%

78%

Red Faction: Guerrilla Capcom, PC

UFC 2009: Undisputed THQ, 360

Rock Band Unplugged EA, PSP

Resident Evil Archives Capcom Wii

SEGA DATES MARIO & SONIC’S WINTER OUTING Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games will be released in Europe on both Wii and the DS on October 16th. The dual-SKU release will bring both the home and portable versions in line for the first time – there was a gap of over two months between the Wii and DS releases of predecessor Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. The first game topped the UK games charts seven times.

*Metacritic scores correct at the time of going to press

PACHTER PREDICTS PS3 PRICE CUT ONCE AGAIN Games industry analyst Michael Pachter has predicted that Sony is planning to cut the price of its PlayStation 3 console in the near future. In a preview note issued ahead of NPD’s latest US market report, he stated: “We think that the console manufacturers will be forced to consider a price cut before year-end, with Sony cutting the PS3’s price by October 1st. “Further, we don’t think that Nintendo’s hardware forecast figures are achievable

DEAL OF THE WEEK GAME customers can save just under £70 when they buy an Xbox 360 Elite with Electronic Art’s Fight Night Round 4 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10. The bundle is on sale for £239.99.

LAST WEEK

1

TITLE/FORMAT

PUBLISHER

FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 FORMAT: 360

DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA

2

3

CALL OF JUAREZ: BOUND IN BLOOD 360

3

1

FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 PS3

EA

TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 360

EA

4

NEW

5

5

6

NEW

7

RE

8

RE

9

9

10

RE

PROTOTYPE 360

DO PRE-OWNED GAMES MAKE UP MORE THAN A THIRD OF YOUR SALES?

56% YES

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

While the numbers are fairly even, more than half of retailers that took part in the latest MCV online study achieve the majority of their sales through preowned games.

BETHESDA THQ

THE SIMS 3 PC

EA

TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 PS3

EA

POKÉMON PLATINUM DS

MCV POLL

UBISOFT

FALLOUT 3: THE PITT & OPERATION ANCHORAGES 360 UFC 2009: UNDISPUTED 360

PIRACY SINKING IN THE UK Filesharing is on the decline in the UK, according to new research. Statistics established by research groups Music Ally and The Leading Question state that in January, around 17 per cent of consumers were sharing music illegally online, compared to 22 per cent in December 2007. Young adults in particular were shown to be backing away from illegal downloads. 42 per cent of consumers aged from 14-18 had illicitly consumed music online in December 2007, while that figure stood at 26 per cent 13 months later. It may be considered misleading that the research groups have reported differences between two months of the year that carry such a striking contrast in buying mentalities – one being a month for Christmas and long-awaited product releases; the other being a month where many entertainment markets take a huge dive, due in part to a lack of new products.

FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS ON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON THE UK HIGH STREET, CHECK OUT: WWW.MCVUK.COM/RETAIL-BIZ

INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS THIS WEEK

without a price cut, and we expect one around the same time as the PS3 cut. “It is likely both manufacturers will cut by $50, with Sony making up any lack of increased demand with a software bundle. We expect Microsoft to follow suit." PS3 price cut predictions have been rife since the machine was first released. Sony has been denying the reports for over two years.

NINTENDO

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.

44%

 Take part in MCV’s next poll at www.mcvuk.com

NO

ble at a l i a v All A

For more information contact sales - 01256 385 251

NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.

91%

Street Fighter IV Capcom, PC

LITTLEBIGPLANET RETURNS ON PS3 Media Molecule is working on a LittleBigPlanet Game of the Year edition for PlayStation 3, MCV understands. The new title is due for release this year and will feature much of the downloadable content currently available over PSN.

MCV offers a weekly digest of the latest news on the High Street...


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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 24/07/09 37 Sponsored by

FROM THE [PRE ORDERS]

TOP 10 UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3 SONY 2. GRAN TURISMO 5 PS3 ..........................................................SONY

3. MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ..................................................ACTIVISION

4. MODERN WARFARE 2 PS3 ..................................................ACTIVISION

5. PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010 PS3........................................................KONAMI

6. HALO 3: ODST 360 ..................................................MICROSOFT

FRONTLINE This week, Nindie.com speaks to Gamesmaster manager Mark Bates… How has the market been for you so far this year? We have substantially changed our business from being a retailer of games to more of an internet cafe, PC and console gaming centre. This is due to the substantial losses we were making on game software. What games are shaping up to be the big sellers for you this year? By the end of the year, with most of our customers being Xbox 360 owners, we expect games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Guitar Hero, Bioshock 2, Halo ODST, Splinter Cell and Dead Rising 2 to be the most popular releases amongst our consumers.

What has been performing well for you? Guitar Hero does well, along with Gears Of War 2, Left 4 Dead and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare. What’s been underperforming? The PS3 format as a whole. There are some great games out now and some better ones to come but we just don’t seem to have a PS3 customer base.

What makes your store so unique? The atmosphere in-store is truly amazing, and we have a fantastic setup as well, with all ten PCs, Xbox 360s, PlayStation 3s, Wiis and so forth. We also have a great surround sound system on one of our Xbox 360s that really livens up a game of Guitar Hero. There’s nowhere else quite like Gamesmaster on the Isle Of Man.

7. OP. FLASHPOINT: DRAGON... 360 ..............................................CODEMASTERS

8. HEAVY RAIN: THE ORIGAMI KILLER

PRICE CHECK

PS3 ..........................................................SONY

9. WII SPORTS RESORT + WII MOTIONPLUS WII ....................................................NINTENDO

10. ASSASSIN’S CREED 2 PS3 ......................................................UBISOFT

The Conduit: Special Edition

Week ending July 17th Source: SHOPTO.COM

Oblivion/BioShock Bundle

Wii, Sega

360, Take Two

Guitar Hero: World Tour (Guitar Bundle) PC, Activision Blizzard

Moon

Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires

DS, Rising Star

PS3, Koei

IN STORE: SWANSEA

MARGIN MAKER

NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.

Impact International seeks to enhance the Wii fitness experience with its new Riiflex weights. These dumbbell-like shells house both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk adding resistance during virtual workouts. The weights are available in 1kg and 2kg varieties and boast an ergonomic grip to ensure the player has a good level of control over them at all times. Impact: 07785 281200

£39.99

£29.99

£69.99

N/A

£29.99

£37.99

£29.99

£79.99

£29.99

£29.99

£37.99

£29.99

N/A

N/A

£29.99

£34.99

N/A

£29.99

N/A

£24.99

£29.99

£24.99

£49.99

£24.99

£24.99

£32.97

£24.97

N/A

£22.97

£22.97

£29.96

£24.96

£54.96

£22.96

£17.96

£29.95

£23.85

N/A

N/A

£19.99

ONLINE

TO TAKE PART PLEASE CONTACT: JAMES.BATCHELOR@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK


38,39 MCV547_final:54-55 MCV525

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RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 38 MCV 24/07/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM

OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

3 2 10 4 5 8 7 6 9

[1] [FULL PRICE]

TITLE

PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE CURIOUS VILLAGE DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO

PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TOP 40ALL

PUBLISHER

HARRY POTTER & THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE EA POKÉMON PLATINUM NINTENDO RHYTHM PARADISE NINTENDO MARIO KART DS NINTENDO TRANSFORMERS: AUTOBOTS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO CLUB PENGUIN: ELITE PENGUIN FORCE DISNEY LEGO BATTLES WARNER BROS. THE MYSTERY OF THE MUMMY UBISOFT

[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]

[2]

1

PUBLISHER

FORMAT: DS, PS2, PSP, WII, PS3, XBOX 360, PC

DEVELOPER: EA BRIGHT LIGHT PUBLISHER: EA

THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

2

3

TRANSFORMERS 360, PS3, PC, Wii, DS, PS2, PSP

3

1

TIGER WOODS PAG TOUR 2009 360, Wii, PS3

4

6

WII FIT Wii

5

2

FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 360, PS3

6

5

CALL OF JUAREZ: BOUND IN BLOOD

7

8

THE SIMS 3 PC

8

7

VIRTUA TENNIS 2009 PS3, 360, PC, Wii

9

9

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

10

13

EA SPORTS ACTIVE Wii

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

HARRY POTTER: HALF BLOOD PRINCE

[3]

TITLE

PUBLISHER ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA NINTENDO EA 360, PS3, PC UBISOFT

EA SEGA

EA

1

TRANSFORMERS: FALLEN

11

14

MARIO KART WII Wii

DEVELOPER: KROME STUDIOS PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

12

16

PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE DS NINTENDO

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

HARRY POTTER: HALF BLOOD PRINCE EA CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD FIFA ‘09 EA BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P ICE AGE 3: DAWN OF DINOSAURS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD GHOSTBUSTERS SONY NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD SQUARE ENIX EUROPE INDIANA JONES: STAFF OF KINGS LUCASARTS

13

10

[PROTOTYPE] PC, PS3, 360

14

17

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

15

15

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

16

11

UFC 2009: UNDISPUTED 360, PS3

1 4 3 5 7 8 11 6 9

PSP THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

TITLE

1 2 3 4 5

2 3 4 5

TRANSFORMERS: FALLEN ACTIVISION BLIZZARD FIFA ‘09 EA HARRY POTTER & HALF-BLOOD PRINCE EA RESISTANCE: RETRIBUTION SONY

6 7 8 9 10

6 8 7 9

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 SEGA NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2009 THQ

DEVELOPER: CAPCOM PUBLISHER: CAPCOM

[5]

EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD THQ

17

12

GRAND SLAM TENNIS Wii

20

WII PLAY Wii

NINTENDO NINTENDO

EA

19

18

POKÉMON PLATINUM DS

20

19

GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR PS3, Wii, 360, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

PUBLISHER

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

18

PC CD-ROM

[FULL PRICE]

MONSTER HUNTER: FREEDOM UNITE

RE

[4]

NINTENDO

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

PUBLISHER

1

THE SIMS 3

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 SEGA WOW: WRATH OF THE LICH KING ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ARMA II 505 GAMES SPORE: GALACTIC ADVENTURES EA EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR SEGA WARHAMMER 40,00: DAWN OF WAR II THQ CALL OF JUAREZ: BOUND IN BLOOD UBISOFT FALLOUT 3 BETHESDA GRAND THEFT AUTO IV ROCKSTAR

2 4 3 5 6 8 7 14 15

DEVELOPER: THE SIMS STUDIO PUBLISHER: EA


38,39 MCV547_final:54-55 MCV525

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RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 24/07/09 39

PS3

L FORMATS Highest New Entry

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

Highest Top 40 Climber

21

RE

RHYTHM PARADISE DS

22

23

MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC GAMES Wii, DS

SEGA

23

26

SEGA SUPERSTAR TENNIS Wii, 360, PS3, PS2, DS

SEGA

24

30

CARNIVAL: FUNFAIR GAMES Wii, DS

25

24

INFAMOUS PS3

SONY

26

25

GHOSTBUSTERS PS3, PS2

SONY

27

27

BUZZ! MASTER QUIZ PSP

SONY

28

33

OVERLORD II 360, PS3, PC

CODEMASTERS

29

32

MARIO KART DS DS

NINTENDO

NINTENDO

2K PLAY

30

21

RED FACTION: GUERRILLA 360, PS3

THQ

31

34

TRANSFORMERS: AUTOBOTS DS

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

32

28

GUITAR HERO: GREATEST HITS 360, PS3, Wii, PS2 ACTIVISION

33

RE

SINGSTAR SINGALONG WITH DISNEY PS2

34

31

ICE AGE 3 DS, WII, PS3, PS2, XBOX 360, PC

35

39

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360, PS3, PC

36

37

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 PC, PSP

37

40

MYSIMS RACING Wii,. DS

SONY

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ROCKSTAR SEGA EA

38

36

MY FITNESS COACH Wii

39

22

FALLOUT 3: GAME ADD-ON PACK 360, PC

BETHESDA

40

RE

DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS

NINTENDO

PC CD-ROM THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

3 5 1 4 7 8 9 6 17

TITLE

UBISOFT

PUBLISHER

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: BATTLE CHEST DEVELOPER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD HIDDEN EXPEDITION: AMAZON FOCUS WORLD OF WARCRAFT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD FALLOUT 3: GAMME ADD-ON PACK BETHESDA MYSTERY CASE FILES: RAVENHEARST FOCUS BEJEWELED TWIST FOCUS WOW: THE BURNING CRUSADE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ROLLERCOASTER TYCOON 3 MASTERTRONIC MYSTERY IN LONDON: JACK THE RIPPER FOCUS CIVILIZATION IV MASTERTRONIC

Woods and The Sims all achieving the same feat. Another big winner this week is Nintendo’s Rhythm Paradise. The DS game saw sales increase by 96 per cent, leaping back into the Top 40 into 21st place. The title was boosted by a recent TV ad featuring popstar Beyoncé. Christopher.Dring@intentmedia.co.uk

TITLE

PUBLISHER

1

FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

CALL OF JUAREZ: BOUND IN BLOOD TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN VIRTUA TENNIS 2009 INFAMOUS CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE GHOSTBUSTERS UFC 2009: UNDISPUTED [PROTOTYPE]

2 3 4 5 7 9 8 6 10

WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

DEVELOPER: EA CANADA PUBLISHER: EA

TITLE

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

EA SPORTS ACTIVE MARIO KART WII TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 HARRY POTTER & THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE GRAND SLAM TENNIS VIRTUA TENNIS 2009 TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES THE CONDUIT

SEGA SONY ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SONY THQ ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO EA NINTENDO EA EA EA SEGA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SEGA SEGA

[FULL PRICE]

TITLE

1

FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN CALL OF JUAREZ: BOUND IN BLOOD TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE [PROTOTYPE] VIRTUA TENNIS 2009 UFC 2009: UNDISPUTED CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR HARRY POTTER & THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE

4 2 3 5 6 8 7 9 10

EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

PUBLISHER

WII FIT

THIS LAST WEEK WEEK

UBISOFT

[FULL PRICE]

1 3 5 4 6 2 7 10 9 8

WEEK ENDING 18/07/09

[FULL PRICE]

XBOX 360

[BUDGET PRICE]

Potter is the fourth EA title to take the top spot over the past two months, with Fight Night, Tiger

(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack

ELECTRONIC ARTS saw unit sales of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince rise five per cent this week, following the launch of the latest movie. The small increase was enough to take the game to the top of the ChartTrack Top 40, overtaking Tiger Woods 10 (which fell 20 per cent in sales) and Activision’s Transformers, which rose a place to second position despite a four per cent sales dip.

PUBLISHER

DEVELOPER: EA CANADA PUBLISHER: EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD UBISOFT EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SEGA THQ ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA

[SOURCE]

[ANALYSIS]


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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 40 MCV 24/07/09

WWW.MCVUK.COM

International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA

DENMARK

INDIA

PORTUGAL

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

ecofilmes...............................Sao Joao Da Madeira TM

AFA INTERACTIVE

GATEWAY DISTRIBUTION APS Gateway Distribution ApS

MILESTONE INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE LIMITED

66 Hughes Street, Mile End,

+44 1279 408 665 (UK)

Pramukh Plaza, 2nd Floor,

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE

South Australia 5031

+45 7026 0870 (DK)

Cardinal Gracious Road,

Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D,

Tel: +61 8823 41355

dt@gatewaydistribution.dk

Chakala, Andheri East,

08034, Barcelona, Spain,

www.gatewaydistribution.dk

Mumbai 400 099, INDIA.

Tel: +34 93 492 08 89

Tel: +91 22 28203319

distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es

Fax: +91 22 28203334

www.planetadeagostini.net

AUSTRIA

ESTONIA

Koch Media GmbH...............................Rottenmann

Andrico ..............................................................Tallinn

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

Play Art Multimedia Handels GmbH....Rankweil

BELGIUM

FINLAND

ISRAEL

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

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

Horelec S.A. ...........................................Bruxelles

ITALY

CLD Distribution S.A. .........................Fernelmont

BENELUX

v.2 PLAY. LDA Studio Office Marquês de Pombal – Avenida de Loulé nº 123 1069-152 -

FRANCE

Cidiverte Spa ...............................................Gallarate

Lisbon, Portugal

EMC GROUPE CASINO..........Croissy Beaubourg

Coop Italia..........................................Sesto F.NO (FI)

Tel. 00351 21 31 46 51 0

Digital Bros spa................................................Milano

Fax 00351 21 31 61 12 5

Leader Spa.................................Gazzada Schianno Newave Italia...................................................Firenze

INNELEC MULTIMEDIA

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

RUSSIA

NETHERLANDS

Hitzona.............................................................Moscow

GAMEWORLD

45 rue Delizy,

Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel

93692 PANTIN Cedex, France

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

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

Tel: +31 10 298 3838

Email purchase: f_alglave@innelec.com

Micromedia BV...........................................Nijmegen

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

Web: rishi@gameworld.nl

Email export sales: g_armspach@innelec.com

Favour Games..................................................Tilburg

Tel: 00.33.1.48.10.55.55

Rigu Sound B.V................2153 GB Nieuw Vennep

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

SERBIA

NEW ZEALAND GERMANY

Gamewizz..........................................................Albany

EBS Benelux

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

Lorentzweg 1

Otto Group ...................................................Hamburg

NORWAY

3752 LH Bunschoten-Spakenburg

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

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

The Netherlands

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

COMPUTERLAND DOO Kumodraska 45 11000 Belgrade, Serbia

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

Tel:+381(0)11 309 95 95

Phone: +31 (0)33 201 21 00

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

Fax:+381(0)11 309 95 96

Fax: +31 (0)33 201 21 01

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

mail:games@computerland.rs

GREECE

Pan Vision Norway..............................................Oslo

website:www.computerland.rs

Centric ...............................................................Athens Nortec Multimedia.........................................Athens

POLAND

Zegetron S.A....................................................Athens

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

E-mail: info@ebs-benelux.com Website: www.ebs-benelux.com

CYPRUS

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

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

HUNGARY Antec .............................................................Budapest

GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD 1 Alkaiou Street / Office 1 / Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus

ICELAND Sena ................................................................Reykavik

SOUTH AFRICA TECHLAND Sp. z o.o.

Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg

ul. Jana Szczyrki 12,

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

54-426 Wroclaw, Poland E-mail: business@techland.pl Web: www.techland.pl

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

tel. +357 22 666612

Phone: +48 71 354 46 10

Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID

www.greatgames.com.cy

Fax: +48 71 354 46 10

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

TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE


40,41 MCV547_final:Layout 1

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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM

MCV 24/07/09 41

The International Distribution Guide is dedicated to promoting companies outside of the UK. If you are looking for new customers overseas, then look no further...

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

JAPAN

PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE

DREAMGEAR, LLC

Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034,

20001 S. Western Ave.

Barcelona, Spain,

Torrance, CA 90501

Tel: +34 93 492 08 89

Phone: 310-222-5522 x 111

distributioninteractive@planetadeagostini.es

Fax: 310-222-5577

www.planetadeagostini.net

Contact: Moris Mirzadeh Email: moris@dreamgear.net

VIRGIN PLAY

 Meanwhile, the latest release in Square Enix’s hugely popular RPG series, Dragon Quest IX on DS, has enjoyed a fantastic debut in Japan racking up sales of 2,343,440 copies in its first two days. The numbers mean that DQIX bettered the debut of predecessor DGVIII, which sold 2,237,000 units in its first two days on the Japanese market.

Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11, 28046 Madrid, Spain Tel: +34 91 789 35 50

U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC.

Web: www.virginplay.es

16700 Schoenborn St. #2 North Hills, CA. 91343

DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid

Tel: +1 818 920 9393

Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas

info@usgamesdist.com

JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo

www.usgamesdist.com

Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona

SWEDEN

UAE

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

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

GAME OUTLET EUROPE AB

PLUTO GAMES

PO Box 5083

PO Box 10705, Office 103-104

S-650 05 Karlstad, Sweden

Emirates Islamic Bank Building,Dubai, UAE.

Phone: +46 54 854750

www.pluto-games.com

Fax: +46 54 854759

Tel: +971 4261 8111

E-mail: info@gameoutlet.se

Fax: +971 4261 8112

WARNER BROS. movies are now available to rent through the Nintendo Wii in Japan. 54 films can be viewed, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor, Contact, Batman Begins, Last Samurai, The Goonies, Free Willy and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The films are available through Fujisoft’s Everyone’s Theater Wii service, which has a standard rental price of 300 Wii Points for 47 hours. The Everyone’s Theater service is currently only available in Japan, and costs 500 Wii Points to download. The service streams a variety of anime, TV dramas and movies.

USA

NEW DATA from metrix specialist comScore has shown that the number of people playing online casual games in the US was up by 22 per cent annually in May – a stat that’s in stark contrast to the mass market losses seen in the console sector. Over 87 million people in the US played casual games in the month – around half the total number of internet users in the territory. However, in June NPD reported that core games revenues was down 23 per cent year-on-year in the US. Of the casual portals monitored, Yahoo! Games emerged as the most popular ahead of the likes of EA, Nickelodeon, WildTangent and Disney.

Website: www.gameoutlet.se

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

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

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

NXT Global LLC .................................................Dubai Pluto Derinton Games LLC............................Egypt

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

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

UNITED STATES BASCO, INC. VIDEO GAMES DISTRIBUTOR Tel: 1-917-627-3000 Fax: 1-718-228-4401 Email: sales@bascodistribution.com Web: www.bascodistribution.com

 Elsewhere, online monetization firm PlaySpan has announced that a new code card will be stocked in over 800 Toys R Us stores across North America. The cards are made in conjunction with PBS Kids Play and go under the name of Ultimate Game Card. The cards can be used to pay for online subscriptions to PBSkids.org, a website that offers casual games targeted at the ages 3-6 demographic and starring many of America’s most popular children’s brands.  Concerns that Way Of The Samurai 3 could end up an Xbox 360 exclusive have been alleviated with the news that Agetec is to handle publishing duties on the PS3 version in North America. The game, developed by Tenchu studio Acquire, was released in Japan late last year selling 80,000 copies in its first three days on sale on PS3. An Xbox 360 version arrived in February in Japan.

PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK


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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR

DIRECTORY

DISTRIBUTION

KEY CONTACTS

DISTRIBUTION Creative Distribution ...........020 8664 3456 DVD Technology .......................01189 215 999 Discstribution ........................0845 430 8735 Gem ............................................01279 822800 Ideal Software..........................01767 689 720 Logic3 ........................................01923 471 000 Meroncourt ..............................01462 680060

GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR Total Console Repair Ltd .......087 19 18 17 21

Distributors of DVDs, Blu-Ray, Music CDs and Video Games

www.discstribution.com

LOCALISATION Partnertrans................................01753 247731 Testronic....................................01753 653 722 Universally Speaking................01480 210621 STORE FITTINGS AMA ............................................01924 507 217 Retail Entertainment Displays01733 239001 DISC REPAIR TDR ...........................................01202 489 500

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

DISCSTRIBUTION . . . . . . . +44 (0)845 430 8735 . . . . . . . . . www.discstribution.com DISTRIBUTION

DISTRIBUTION

CURVEBALL LEISURE . . . . . . 01792 652526 . . . . . . . simonbrown@googlemail.com

IDEAL SOFTWARE . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1767 689720 . . . . . . . . . . www.idealsoftware.net

DISTRIBUTION

DISTRIBUTION

MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk

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


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ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK DISTRIBUTION

EDITORIAL PLANNER Some of the special issues coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the market... FRIDAY JULY 31st

GAMESCOM PREVIEW We offer the definitive guide to the biggest European games trade event of the year. Expect to find a complete overview of Gamescom as it makes its debut in Cologne, including what exhibitors will be attending and what the industry expects to see from this year’s show. FRIDAY AUGUST 7th

BACK TO SCHOOL SOFTWARE FOCUS As the summer holidays draw to a close, parents and 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 opportunities the sudden need for school supplies can present to both publishers and retailers.

TERRITORY REPORT: NORTH AMERICA The United States and Canada form the biggest and most influential video games market in the world. MCV analyses this gargantuan market, speaking to key players in the territory about how the sector is performing and the changes seen in the territory over the past 12 months. FRIDAY AUGUST 14th

GAMESCOM SHOW SPECIAL The inaugural Gamescom trade show opens in Cologne, and there will be an extra 3,000 copies of MCV available at the event. Amongst the features tucked inside one of the biggest issues of the year will be a plethora of high profile interviews with UK and European publishing bosses, maps of the halls, a list of exhibitors, a full guide to Cologne and a look at the products set to take the show by storm.

MUSIC GENRE FOCUS MCV takes a look at this ever-expanding genre with Activision Blizzard’s Hero franchise branching out into new fields and EA bringing the world’s most iconic band to games in the latest Rock Band. We speak to the publishers and developers and offer a guide to where this market leading genre is heading. FRIDAY AUGUST 21st

TERRITORY REPORT: GERMANY One of Europe’s largest video games markets is also one of the most important, with Europe’s premier trade show occurring within its borders every year. Fresh from this year’s Games Developer Conference, Gamescom and Games Convention Online in Cologne and Leipzig, MCV takes a closer look at the German games sector, speaks to key developers, retailers and publishers, runs through the latest charts and discusses the country’s concerns over violent software.

FRIDAY AUGUST 28th

GAMESCOM REVIEW Germany’s Cologne-based trade show has come to an end. Deals have been struck, announcements have been made and European retailers are now well prepared for the Christmas run-in. MCV provides a comprehensive run-down of the key products, the big announcements and the best moments from this year’s Gamescom.

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

CHRIS.DRING@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK


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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR 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.

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To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and every week in MCV) contact sam.robinson@intentmedia.co.uk. All subscription requests should go to mcv.subscriptions@c-cms.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…

JULY GAMES CONVENTION ONLINE Friday, July 31st Sunday, August 2nd Leipzig Messe, Germany www.leipziger-messe.com

AUGUST 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 sales-tl@testroniclabs.com www.testroniclabs.com

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

MULTIPLAY M FESTIVAL Friday, August 7th – Monday, August 10th Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire www.mfestival.com 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

SEPTEMBER

The MCV and Xbox 360 Pub Quiz returns to the rather swanky Sway Bar in Holborn. Once again the event brings together the market’s leading publishers, retailers and media to compete for some pretty substantial prizes – and the honour of being the biggest brains in games. It’s also, of course, a very smart networking event, with buyers and publishers, editors and agencies all rubbing shoulders at the bar.

TOKYO GAME SHOW Thursday, September 24th – Sunday, September 27th Makuhair Messe, Tokyo tgs.cesa.or.jp/english BRAND LICENSING 2009 Wednesday, September 30th – Sunday, October 1st Olympia, London www.brandlicensingeurope.com

OCTOBER HANDHELD LEARNING Monday, October 5th – Wednesday, October 7th The Brewery, Barbican, London www.handheldlearning2009.com MCM EXPO Saturday, October 24th – Sunday, October 25th Excel Centre, London www.londonexpo.com EUROGAMER EXPO Tuesday, October 27th – Saturday, October 31st London and Leeds http://expo.eurogamer.net UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING . . . . . . . 01480 210621 . . . . . . . . . . . www.usspeaking.com

MCV AND XBOX 360 PUB QUIZ Thursday, September 24th Sway Bar, Holborn Orlaith.Kennedy@intentme dia.co.uk

GAMES MEDIA AWARDS Thursday, October 15th Jongleurs, Camden, London dave.roberts@intent media.co.uk Now in its third year the Games Media Awards returns to the Jongleurs Comedy Club in Camden and will once again hail the best brands and individuals from the specialist and mainstream sectors, both in print and online. Last year’s Games Media Awards saw wins for the ‘big three’ of Future, Imagine and Eurogamer, whilst there was also awards for FHM and The Guardian. The event is free to enter for the media.


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MCV 24/07/09 47

MCV FORUM

Modern Warfare 2 price rise:

The Response WHEN will all these publishers and distributors see that RRP means nothing to anyone? If we all sold games at RRP, we would all be on a level playing field. Of course we all know that a few weeks after this game is launched, publishers do deals with GAME and HMV, allowing them to sell the game cheaper so it gets to No.1 for Christmas.

Indie retailers, publishers, developers and consumers hit the MCV forums to debate Activision Blizzard’s decision to raise the cost of Modern Warfare 2...

Modern Warfare 2’s elevated RRP of £54.99 has been met with mixed reaction on the MCV website, with some supporting Activision Blizzard’s decision and others condemning it

Indie R.I.P

THEY SAY production costs have risen. But what they don’t admit is that they already had the basics of the game engine from Call of Duty 4. Production costs should come down. BK

PERSONALLY, I don’t see the problem. If we want games to be better, they are going to cost us more. Take cars for example: if you want a better car, you’ve got pay more for it. We’ve been lucky enough to pay almost a flat rate on games no matter what the quality. Benjamin Reid

THE UK is the lowest priced in PAL countries for video games. This is because retailers fight hard to maintain their market share and pay little attention to publisher RRPs. UK retailers are happy to work on half the margin of their European counterparts, and there’s not a lot any indie, developer or publisher can do to change that. Remember, publishers cannot by law control the end-price; only the price to distributors can be controlled. Ohiyeah

IT IS INTERESTING that the commentators on here support the free market in terms of

selling secondhand goods but not in terms of publishers being free to price their games at whatever they like. And I take it no-one has ever asked for a raise or looked around for better interest on their savings, because that would be greedy wouldn’t it? JS

I MUST have spent something like 60 hours playing COD: World at War – single-player and then multiplayer since it launched. If I spend a similar time playing Modern Warfare 2 I figure I am getting entertained for less than 90p per hour. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.

it was fairly easy to pick one up for around £16; now you’re lucky if you get change out of 20 quid. As less of a product is sold, they balance that out by hoiking the price up. It’s a simple economy of scale thing.

Fraser Durham

EVERY single year, the costs of developing a game, particularly a triple-A game, goes up. This is because each year there are some huge blockbuster titles that reset the bar of what is expected from a title. When this happens, the big games in development need to match and, ideally, raise this bar. That involves more people, more time, more hardware for the extra people, more software licences, and on and on. Then the marketing of these

I THINK that’s the point, JS. If too many people take that attitude and just walk away, that has got to be detrimental to the industry as a whole. With the economic climate, consumers will not just sit back and accept a price increase on anything. All I can see a price hike doing is increasing the rental market, which seems to be on the rise already. People will pay £10 to rent the game for two to three weeks then send it back and wait for a price drop.

LOOK, IT’S quite simple. If you’re a consumer and £55 is too much for you then don’t buy it. If you’re a retailer and you don’t want a part of one of the most wanted games this year, then walk away. It’s your loss. It isn’t very often that a publisher holds the strong position over retail and in some ways I applaud them for what they are doing. If nothing else this shows their commitment and belief in the demand for the title.

Subliminal

The Big Cheese

GO BACK ten to thirteen years and games cost more than that. Some N64 games used to cost £60 at retail.

THE PRICE of everything has gone up in the recession, particularly non-essential or luxury goods. Anyone bought a bottle of JD recently? Last year

Phil

Alex W-M

blockbuster games increases by tens of millions in order to sell more of the game that just cost more, and everyone else has to play catch-up. And all of this sends costs of both development and publishing spiralling. Modern Warfare 2 will obviously cost more to develop than COD4. Just things like pay rises, inflation, increased manpower, more outsourcing of art to allow for more or better looking levels in the allotted development time, and so on. Also, as a franchise becomes as mature and sought after as COD, other costs pop up, such as using bigger named talent to voice the characters, hiring better script writers, and so on. It all adds up in a big way. Some doofus early on said costs should be cheaper because there has been other Call Of Duty games so the ‘engine’ exists. That person needs to go away or stop commenting on anything to do with development, because they clearly have no idea what they’re going on about. Old Timer

IN THE middle of a recession, who in their right mind will pay £50 for a game that will drop in price a few months later? The public responded by not buying Sonic 3 when Sega tried this on the Mega Drive. The same will happen again. Kristian

GAMEPRESS ERROR FIXED We’re grateful one of your readers wrote in to highlight the discrepancy between MCV’s Games Press click-through data and the results of its nearest competitor. Turns out this was the result of an error in one of our press release tracking tools. Our boffins have corrected the offending code and can report that the news feeds on both sites are now returning equally magnificent numbers of hits. So it’s doubles all round! Steve Owen, Games Press


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48 MCV 24/07/09

Off The Record

PIC OF THE WEEK Last week’s Develop Conference provided a perfect opportunity for industry charity GamesAid to host a poker tournament. CEO of Hansoft Patric Palm took home first prize, followed by Warner Bros’ Mark Ward. Kuju’s Ian Baverstock came third – pictured above right with an ominously full bottle of whisky. Bravo to all who raised £5,000 – including Eidos’ Ian Livingstone, IGA’s Ed Bartlett and Namco Bandai’s Lee Kirton.

WWW.MCVUK.COM

This week, the boys play poker and the girls go running – all for charity. Elsewhere, EA’s marketing Aussie gets hit for six...


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MCV 24/07/09 49

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

NO ‘SOFT RETURN Not to be outdone by the altruistic efforts of the boys opposite, a collection of Ubisoft’s finest females are looking to raise a similarly applause-worthy amount for Cancer Research UK by running a Race For Life this Sunday. The girls – including familiar faces Ombeline Wallon and Natalie Williams – have already tempted over £600 out of friends and families’ pockets... and now they want your cash. Please give generously at: http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/ubi-ladies

A GRAND POSITION This is John Dale. He’s a very wellliked man in media circles – and also the editor of ‘are they/aren’t they’ soap bible Take A Break. He’s so well liked, in fact, that on missing out on appearing in The Guardian’s Media 100 list – which chronicles the most important people in magazines, entertainment and that – a swathe of his colleagues and friends voted him into the coveted 101st position. Why is this of interest to games? Because of who he pipped: the Rockstar-founding Houser brothers. In John’s own words: “We came in this morning to find ourselves at 27 per cent against [Rockstar Games’] 66 per cent and, deep down, I reckoned we'd lost. Then we realised this was destiny, a symbolic end battle: Take a Break vs Grand Theft Auto. Rockstar our nemesis. Light vs Darkness.” Take A Break vs Grand Theft Auto? Sounds like some premium DLC to us.

DEBBIE O’NEILL, COMET

GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON

PETER WILLIS, DSGI

IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO

ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS

STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK

JOANNA HUNT, TESCO

GURDEEP HUNJAN, SAINSBURYS


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‘OW-SPLAT! An anonymous EA mole sent us this rather topical – and, may we say, painstakingly adapted – image of Australian marketing boss Craig Auld, literally seconds after England’s heroic Ashes victory was sealed this week. The Left 4 Dead 2 imagery is particularly apt, of course, due to some of the genuinely ‘horrific’ decisions that went against our oldest cricketing foes. It’s almost enough for you to feel sorry for ‘em. Yeah, right.

KEEPING WICKET Here’s a picture that proves an age old truth: those with the most power know how to relax in the most style. These particular company bosses – from left to right: Nintendo’s David Yarnton, ELSPA and Mastertronic’s Andy Payne, Rising Star Games’ Martin De Fries and MCV’s own Stuart Dinsey – were joined by other industry luminaries at the first day of the Test at Lord’s last Thursday to watch a thrilling display from the England batsman. This shot was obviously taken early on – as proud Aussie Yarnton is still all smiles…

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MCV547 July 24th 2009