THE INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
FRIDAY AUGUST 21 2009 £3.25
THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES
Issue 551 Friday August 21 2009 £3.25
Expect a 'significant' sales spike for PS3, says House SCEE boss confident that £249.99 slimline console will give dramatic boost to retail when it arrives next month by Michael French SONY SAYS RETAILERS should expect a major increase in PS3 sales when the slimmer, cheaper version of the console hits stores in just two weeks. Speaking to MCV at Gamescom this week, SCEE president Andrew House said
The machine will retail for £249.99 – £50 off the current RRP. It will sell for €299 in Europe and $299 in the US, where the price has been reduced by €100 and $100 respectively. PS3's new iteration rolls out around the world in the first week of September, but in the
We’re competing very seriously with Microsoft. This gives us the opportunity to do that more aggressively. Andrew House, SCEE
that the firm was closely tracking its prior activity on PS2 and PSOne by introducing new hardware at lower prices. As expected after months of internet leaks and speculation, Sony unveiled the slimline PS3 at a Gamescom press conference earlier this week.
HOUSE PROUD: The SCEE boss is “quietly confident” about PS3’s performance this Q4
meantime the price of older units has also been reduced. House said: “Experience has told us that you only get a few opportunites to address price for the consumer [in a console’s lifetime] – and the way to make the most of that is with a significant reduction
that gets as much impact and momentum as possible. “We have very high hopes for the new PS3 and think it will deliver a significant increase in our sales.” Speculation is now rife that Microsoft is waiting to clear the channel of 360 stock ahead of its own price cut. "We’re competing very seriously, head-to-head, with Microsoft in Europe – and this gives us the opportunity to do that more aggressively,” said House, adding that retail can expect a hassle-free transtiton from stocking the old model PlayStation 3. “I'm very pleased with how we have managed our inventory system on the existing model. We’ve done that very well in the European market. There are trucks and trailers leaving right now - it's on the road.”
Buoyant Gamestation marches into Europe by Tim Ingham THE GAME Group has opened its first Gamestation store outside of the UK, MCV can reveal. The firm has unveiled a mall-based store in Alcala de Henares in Central Spain, 20 miles East of Madrid. GAME currently owns 1,342 stores across the UK, France, Spain, Scandinavia and
Australia. In the last financial year to January 31st, 2009, it opened 112 non-UK stores – but none of these carried the Gamestation brand. A Gamestation spokesperson told MCV: “Even with the global economic slowdown, Spain’s PC and video games market remains robust. “We are trialling our Gamestation brand in Spain to establish whether a dual brand
More Gamestation European store openings are now expected
strategy can meet the level of games coverage that the mall owner demands.” In June 2001, The GAME Group purchased CentroMAIL, Spain’s leading specialist retailer of computer software and video games, which at the time had around 70 stores. This chain now has over 140 outlets, 102 of which are owned, with the rest being franchised. However,
Gamestation’s USP of being a store for the ‘hardcore’ gamer sets it apart from any other offering in The GAME Group’s portfolio. Further openings would be a key weapon in GAME’s global battle with US giant GameStop. After purchasing French market leader Micromania in October 2008, Gamestop took its total European store count up to 1,077.
PERSONNEL 39 RETAIL BIZ 41 NEW RELEASES 52 HIGH STREET 54 CHARTS 56
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[LEADER] A VERY FINE MESSE All the way through Cologne's debut trade fair this week, publisher heads praised Gamescom. Sony’s Kaz Hirai even called it “the third major date on the industry calendar”. Of course they would say that: They were the ones who wanted to up sticks and move the show away from Leipzig in the first place. But this week it was clear the European territory has found the best solution to providing something that caters for both the Western-ised, retail focused part of the global games market, whilst being tailored to local tastes. It also fulfills a joint purpose, with the marketing on the ground useful for getting messages across to the trade, as well as the thousands of gamers expected to turn up later in the week. Comparisons to Tokyo Games Show are particularly apt. Perhaps there’s still a way to go – a few slick product announcements do not a trade fair make, after all. The High Street still needs a little bit of convincing that attendance is worthwhile, for one thing – UK retail was the one area of the trade noticable by its absence. And it was too early to say at the time of writing if the droves of consumer crowds promised for the end of the week would turn up – and make the amount spent on stands and demos by publishers pay off. Nevertheless, Gamescom certainly felt like it had some purpose from the get go. While the German-centric GDC Europe – which preceeded Gamescom in Cologne – probably needs to find its feet in the years to come (San Francisco, it ain’t), the overall standard of what was going on within Koelnmesse was slick and reassuring. Certainly, it felt more relevant – and above all, worth the journey – than certain more introspective and, arguably, self-indulgent industry events.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS The decision by Eidos and its Beautiful Game Studios to sell the next Championship Manager’s digital version for a penny no doubt raised some eyebrows this week - moreso than the unveiling of the new slimline PS3 in some quarters. Okay, so it’s really being sold for £2.51, given there's a ‘transaction fee’ added into the mix, but it’s still the lowest ever price for a new game release. It’s not strictly an original move – misery rock band Radiohead did a similar thing with its 2007 album In Rainbows - but it’s new for our industry. From one point of view, it’s a gimmick to remind people that the game exists in a genre so dominated by Sega and Sports Interactive’s Football Manager. From the other, it’s a sign that Eidos, reinvigorated after the Square buyout and enjoying positive buzz for Arkham Asylum, is genuinely trying something innovative – a rare commodity in our trade these days. More importantly, at a time when pricing is such a big issue for everyone, it’s a brave move – despite the assurances that the parallel retail release will include lots of extras in the box. Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk
Sainsbury’s in console Grocery giant aims to grab five per cent of UK market in 18 months by Christopher Dring SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury’s has pledged to triple its games-related ad spend in an attempt to drive hardware sales this Christmas. Speaking during the firm’s entertainment conference last week, games manager Gurdeep Hunjan revealed Sainsbury’s games strategy for Christmas 2009 and beyond – which it believes will help it claim five per cent of the UK market.
Sainsbury’s in history – and drive hardware and accessories harder than ever. We will be supporting this with two to three times more marketing investment year-on-year. “Selling hardware is very important to us, it drives loyalty and it drives repeat purchases. About 25 per cent of our customers buy software from us three months after buying hardware. “From a hardware and accessories perspective, the
We’ll have the biggest product launches in Sainsbury’s history – and drive consoles harder than ever. Gurdeep Hunjan, Sainsbury’s
Marketing will feature in specialist and women’s magazines, direct mail outs, national press, as well as money-off vouchers, and tie-ins with publishers. He said: “We will have a much better Christmas, simply because we can go big and have less concerns on stock. “Our plans are to have the biggest launches on product at
business at board level recognises hardware as the gift for Christmas 2009. We have agreed that hardware will be the No.1 priority in non-food space at corporate level in the run-up to Christmas. This will be massive. This means we will have a pallet at the front of store in over 300 sites, we’ll have full corporate level POS, including car park banners. We
HUNJAN: Sainsbury’s games boss is confident the retailer can grow its market share
will have national press advertising and hopefully a Sainsbury’s TV advert. “We may even get Jamie Oliver singing on the next SingStar commercial.” Sainsbury’s was one of several retailers severely affected by the collapse of EUK
Future ‘open’ to single-game mags FUTURE PUBLISHING has told MCV it will consider creating other magazines dedicated to a single game – after the announcement of its global World Of Warcraft publication yesterday. As revealed by MCVUK.com (Newsflash 20/08), Future’s quarterly WoW magazine will be available to consumers quarterly via a yearly subscription. The publisher has decided against stocking the title in stores. The mag will be headed up by games media veteran Julian
Rignall, assisted by PC Gamer editor Tim Edwards in the UK, and won’t carry advertising. An annual subscription to the Official World Of Warcraft Magazine will cost consumers £29.95/€34.95. “There are some precedents for Future in terms of single-
software products – not least, of course, the Official PlayStation, Nintendo and Xbox magazines,” publishing director James Binns told MCV. “But World of Warcraft’s scale is unique – it has 11.5 million subscribers. If we did this for a game with a hundred thousand, it wouldn’t be so great. However, where we see opportunities, we’ll always be open to this sort of deal. WoW is the best possible product you’d ever want to do it with, though. We’re certainly starting at the top.” Future: 01225 442 244
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Games marketing spend tripled for Xmas
HALO 3: ODST 360 MICROSOFT
Borderlands ‘can rival GTA and Halo’
last year, and like its rival Asda, the firm has bolstered its buying team. The company has also raised £445 million for new floorspace, half of which will be dedicated to non-food items. The grocer’s games departments is set to improve with more in-store screens, major new game launches, promotions placed outside of its non-food areas and format branding.
“Our aspiration is to be five per cent of the market in around 18 to 24 months,” added Hunjan. “We are not in it for the short-term. “Our objective is to build a long-term profitable games business by working closely with suppliers to drive a targeted offering for our entertainment customers.” Sainsbury’s: 020 7695 6000
2K BELIEVES its new IP Borderlands can “stand shoulder-to-shoulder” with this Christmas’ biggest games, which include Call of Duty, Halo and GTA. The Bioshock publisher told MCV that it hopes Borderlands can become a long-term franchise for the firm, and may even spawn a new genre of shooter. “Borderlands is an incredibly strong offering for this Christmas,” said 2K’s UK marketing manager Simon Turner. “Created by veteran developer Gearbox, we think that Borderlands can stand shoulder-toshoulder with any game – it’s slick, fast-paced, tremendously polished, and incredibly stylish.
“We think that Borderlands could create an entirely new genre – RolePlaying Shooter. Think of Diablo in a Mad Max world and you’re close. “Our goal with all new IPs across our publishing label is to create longstanding franchises.” Borderlands it set to make the most of big name titles moving out of Q4, and 2K has planned a huge marketing push, including a heavyweight TV campaign on terrestrial and satellite channels, cinema ads, specialist press and a website take-overs on IGN, Eurogamer and Gamespot. Borderlands is scheduled for release on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on October 23rd. 2K: 01753 496800
2. FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 360 ..................................MICROSOFT
3. UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3 ..........................................SONY
4. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ....................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
5. GRAN TURISMO 5 PS3 ..........................................SONY
6. BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM PS3 ..........................................EIDOS
7. BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM 360 ..........................................EIDOS
8. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 PS3 ....................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
9. PES 2010 PS3........................................KONAMI
10. FIFA 10 PS3 ..............................................EA Week ending August 16th Source: SHOPTO.COM
Turn to page 55 for more pre-order charts from leading online retailers
UK SOFTWARE SALES MONITOR Your new weekly guide to the UK games software market… THE UK WEEKLY games market value continues to tumble, falling to its lowest figure since May. According to MCV calculations, based on this week’s GfK-ChartTrack/ELSPA weekly report, the UK market dropped to £15.8 million for the week ending August 15th a seven per cent decline over the week before. Units also slipped slightly, falling four per cent to 816,196. It is the lowest the market has been since May, which in itself was the lowest weekly value in over two years. The lack of big new releases could be cited for the fall, with EA’s Madden NFL 10 the only big new release last week. However, Madden was the only big release this time last year when the market’s weekly value was at £25.8 million and units sales had hit 1,202,743.
Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media
Codemasters’ Ashes Cricket 2009 was No.1 in the All Formats chart for a second time this week
0 Week Ending August 1st
Week Ending August 8th
Week Ending August 15th
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Dirt 2 ‘Codemasters biggest ever game’ Publisher prepares its largest marketing campaign in history for massive Colin McRae release next month by James Batchelor CODEMASTERS has claimed Colin McRae: Dirt 2 is the most important title in the company’s history – and is backing it with its biggest ever marketing spend. Fresh from two weeks at the top of the ELSPA/GfK-
“We are especially confident about the game’s quality, as well as our unique branding: The high-impact green of the packaging will run throughout all campaign materials. “Releasing in early September also gives us a key advantage in the competitive autumn window. All the lights
Dirt 2 is the biggest game in our history, and will benefit from our biggest ever marketing campaign.
Julien Socquet-Clerc, Codemasters
ChartTrack All Formats chart with Ashes Cricket 2009, the publisher is confident Dirt 2 will outperform its predecessor, as well as other racing hits such as Codemasters’ own Race Driver: Grid. “Dirt 2 is the biggest game in Codemasters’ history and will benefit from our biggest marketing campaign ever,” said brand manager Julien SocquetClerc. “Expectations are really high, especially in the UK where there is a huge awareness of the brand.
Codemasters hopes that Dirt 2 can emulate the chart success of Ashes Cricket 2009
have now turned green for Dirt 2’s launch.” Dirt 2, which is released on September 11th, will be promoted with a variety of print ads in specialist games magazines and action sports publications. This will be supported by a major online push, with ads appearing on all key specialist games sites in the month leading up to the game’s release. In addition, a heavyweight three-week TV campaign will
target 16 to 34 year-old males with ads running across Channel 4, Five, E4, Dave and more. Codemasters has also prepared other large-scale marketing initiatives, such as public sampling at motoring events and launch events throughout September. Codemasters: 01926 814132
F1 WII BUNDLE ANNOUNCED Codemasters has revealed that the Wii version of another of its highly anticipated racing titles will be bundled with a specialised peripheral. F1 2009 will come with a limited edition Race Wheel. This white shell houses the Wii Remote and is modelled on the steering wheel of Formula One cars to make the game more immersive for gamers.
Fitness First flexes games licence INTERNATIONAL gym giant Fitness First has increased its presence in the ‘healthy gaming’ sector with a new range of official peripherals.
NewU is the first product of its kind to feature video ‘personal training’ throughout. And now major peripherals manufacturer Blaze has
Video gaming products like these, which enhance our core business, fit into our mission perfectly. David Langridge, Fitness First
In May, the firm put its name to Black Bean and Ubisoft’s Wii fitness title NewU, due for release next month. The publishers claim that
secured the exclusive worldwide rights to produce Fitness First-branded ‘exergaming’ accessories across all platforms (pictured).
David Langridge, head of group marketing at Fitness First said: “The group is on mission to make the world a fitter place so products which enhance our core business fit into this perfectly.’’ Blaze’s Fitness First-branded accessories range include a Silicon Skin, which enhances players’ grip, as well as a Wii Fit Yoga Mat, which it claims ‘reduces impact and lessens strain’. In addition, the pair will launch wrist and ankle weights and a full Wii Fit Workout Kit, which it says offers ‘the perfect
combination of resistance, safety and style’. Chairman of Blaze Europe Jason Cooper said: “We are delighted to be working with Fitness First. This is a great
chance for us to build on our reputation for quality accessories with the perfect brand for our fitness range” Fitness First is the largest privately owned health club group in the world with over 540 clubs worldwide reaching over 1.4 million members in 24 countries. Blaze: 01302 325225
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EA Sports advises trade how not to market games Peter Moore says short-term spending leads to failure – and that 24 hour promotion is key by Tim Ingham EA SPORTS president Peter Moore has warned the publishing community against using traditional logic when marketing their games – which he believes offers too little, too late to succeed. Discussing EA Sports’ turnaround since he joined the label two years ago, Moore said
making games, when we’d just lob the consumer a screenshot on the odd afternoon” he said. “It wasn’t enough. If you’re not talking [to your customers] every hour of every day, you’re not talking.” Speaking at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival last week, Moore said that he was constantly monitoring Google Analytics to see how often EA
You can’t market late. If you’re not talking to your consumers every hour of every day, you’re not talking. Peter Moore, EA Sports
that publishers were still making major mistakes in the way they promoted their games. He added that the firm was now marketing its games earlier, whilst allowing its community to interact with studios for the first time in its history. “We needed to get away from the [secretive] black art – the ‘dark science’ days of
Sports was discussed online, as well as reading reports from Nielsen Media Research each afternoon to measure the effectiveness of the label’s yearround strategy. “If you’re not doing these things, you’re failing,” he said. “You can’t market your way back a few weeks from launch. You need people talking about
MOORE: EA Sports boss believes publishers need to interact more with their consumers
your games all year round. “These days, you can see if consumers are talking about you on Twitter, Facebook and blogs.” Moore revealed that EA Sports developers use cameras to share work pics with the firm’s gaming community, and said
that having his own official EA blog had helped “break down barriers” with consumers. “I had to be thick skinned: I got called ‘ugly’ – but I knew that already,” he joked. “Now, we’re never not interacting with our community.”
Football Manager returns to retail SEGA WILL release Football Manager 10 on October 30th, MCV can reveal – setting up one of the publisher’s longestrunning marketing campaigns for the series. By announcing the game earlier than usual, Sega and developer Sports Interactive have bought extra time to communicate with the FM community – and help their bid for a return to the top of the UK All Formats chart. Football Manager 2010 features a brand new match tactics system, and the debut of a Match Analysis tool.
“We have worked very hard with the Football Manager community to target not only the areas of the game that needed re-working but also what we could add to improve what’s already there,” said Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson. “There has been a lot of polish to existing areas of the game but we’ve also introduced changes to answer some of the feedback. We’re very confident that we will deliver the very best Football Manager to date.”
JACOBSON: “We’re confident that we will deliver the very best Football Manager to date”
Sega senior product manager Ben Payne added: “This year’s Football Manager is the best yet. We’ll use our PR and community teams to communicate that to our massive fanbase. As ever, FM will be one of Sega’s biggest titles this Q4. “This year we will push Football Manager to as many potential customers as possible, as early as possible. “We expect FM10 to repeat last year’s success at launch and enjoy strong sales through next year’s World Cup.” Sega: 020 8995 3399
© 2009 Id Software, Inc. All rights reserved. Published and distributed by Activision Publishing, Inc. under license. Wolfenstein™ is a trademark and ID® is a registered trademark of Id Software, Inc. in the United States and some other countries. Activision is a registered trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. ‘2’ and ‘PLAYSTATION’ are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Vista Start button, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies, and ‘Games for Windows’ and the Windows Vista Start button logo are used under license from Microsoft. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
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THQ: New WWE will make us champ of the fighting genre Smackdown vs Raw publisher prepares epic reveal at this week’s Summerslam for its ‘biggest title of the year’ by James Batchelor THQ HAS declared WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2010 the biggest release of its financial year – and said that its release will cement its place as the fighting genre’s No.1 publisher. The firm will unveil the game this weekend at WWE event Summerslam – a show it
told MCV. “The game remains our biggest release this fiscal year and will be launching on six platforms on October 23rd. “Strategically the title is of crucial importance and will further cement THQ’s dominance of the fighting category, along with the launch of UFC 2009 Undisputed earlier this year in May.”
This title is of crucial importance for us. It will cement THQ’s dominance of the fighting category. Mark Cook, THQ
says emphasises the “crucial importance” of the title to its business. “WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2010 is a pillar release for THQ this Christmas,” THQ’s product marketing manager for UK and Europe Mark Cook
For this year’s iteration, THQ has taken a more reserved approach to revealing the game’s features. “Our traditional campaign would be to announce the new title at Wrestlemania in March and then blow out the
EBS Benelux snaps up Favour Games EUROPEAN distributor EBS Benelux has acquired independent rival Favour Games. The takeover comes as EBS moves to strengthen its position as a distributor of home and portable entertainment products in the Benelux region. “We are very excited and proud to welcome Favour Games into the EBS family,” said EBS Benelux MD Ruud Severien. “The openness, speed and mutual trust with which
the acquisition came into play has created high expectations for all involved. “We now not only have a unique proposition for games publishers, but the acquisition opens up many other business opportunities too.” Favour Games’ operations will be integrated into the EBS Benelux central warehouse in The Nethelands. EBS Benelux: +31 625 010496
THQ product boss Cook (inset) is overseeing a campaign to “tease WWE fans and whip them into a frenzy”
feature set and start the PR campaign from E3 onwards,” Cook explained. “This year, we took a strategic decision to save the big reveal for Summerslam on August 23rd. It’s the biggest event of the summer for WWE fans and is a perfect platform for
us to deliver a fully integrated announce programme. “By holding back on the feature set for so long and teasing the fans with the upcoming PR initiatives, we have been able to whip the Smackdown Vs Raw gamer and WWE fan into a frenzy of
excitement and anticipation about the big reveal.” PR activity begins this weekend, including the first on-air gameplay footage on The Jimmy Fallon Show and a sponsorship deal for all WWE programmes on Sky Sports. THQ: 01483 724 500
Game Player starts phone business GAME PLAYER is offering fellow indies the chance to boost revenues by unlocking mobile phones. The retailer is selling equipment that enables stores to open phones to accept any network, providing technical support for a monthly fee. “The margin is 100 per cent,” said MD Gary Noakes. “You plug the phone in and the gear unlocks it for free, so indies can easily make extra income. It’s a massive market – everybody has a mobile.”
NOAKES: Game Player boss’s new indie business is growing
Noakes has already gained experience with the service by offering it to customers through his own stores, and now hopes to expand this
business. “I hope to provide a one-stop service for all phone-related items to help indies,” he said. “I aim to give a high quality service and our engineers can log into the clients’ PCs to assist with support. “I’m confident customers will love this service – it’s a chance to make 100 per cent profit for a small outlay. We can also provide a repair service so the business can decide how much they want to take on board.”
To take part in the UK's biggest sampling event, contact David Lilley email@example.com
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‘New music means new audiences’ EMI calls for a move away from classic artists in games, to engage a ‘whole new audience’ by Christopher Dring RECORD giant EMI has called on game makers to feature more new artists in titles such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero to attract the younger user. The British music company, manages new artists including Babyshambles, Lily Allen and Bat For Lashes, as well as classic acts such as The Beatles
More and more young people will buy games. If publishers use new music in software, it will engage this audience. Hywel Evans, EMI
and Queen. It has licensed its music and advised games publishers since the original Wipeout on PSOne, and has seen its interest in the sector grow with the rise in popularity of titles such as SingStar, Rock Band and Guitar Hero. EMI synchronisation boss Hywel Evans told MCV: “It would be great to see more new music used in
games. To date, a lot of the success of titles such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band have relied on classic tracks, which obviously is great as EMI has a fantastic catalogue. But as more and more new and younger consumers buy games, providing them with the opportunity to interact with new music will engage a whole new audience.”
An NPD report revealed in July that music game sales in America had fallen by almost 50 per cent for the first half of the year – yet Evans is still optimistic for growth in the sector, particularly thanks to new iPhone applications and The Beatles: Rock Band. “We have worked closely with the games industry for many years since the first uses
EA: The Spore franchise will land on Wii and DS this year with Spore Hero and Spore Hero Arena respectively on October 9th. The games focus on action and combat. ROCKSTAR: Music creation software Beaterator – developed in collaboration between Rockstar and ‘super producer’ Timbaland – will be released on PSP on October 2nd. GRIN: The Swedish development studio behind Bionic Commando and Terminator Salvation has closed its doors after suffering financial difficulties.
IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU: EMI believes publishers are ignoring the chance to monetise music in games from new artists like Lilly Allen
of recorded music on PSOne games, through Dancing Stage to today’s Rock Band, Guitar Hero and SingStar franchises, and emerging platforms like the Tapulous iPhone app and
of course The Beatles: Rock Band. Games are a great way to generate revenue for artists and an exciting way to expose their music to new audiences.” www.emimusic.com
WARNER: A family-friendly take on the Lord Of The Rings licence, Aragorn’s Quest, will be released on Wii, DS, PS2 and PSP in Spring 2010. MAD CATZ: The peripherals specialist has teamed up with Activision Blizzard to produce officially-branded controllers and other accessories to complement Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 this November.
Need For Speed back on top, says EA ELECTRONIC ARTS believes Need For Speed: Shift will see the franchise reclaim its crown as king of the racers, after a disappointing showing in 2008. The company is preparing a major marketing plan to support the title when it hits PS3, Xbox 360, PSP and PC on September 18th. “Shift is a huge priority for EA,” product manager Kevin Flynn told MCV. “It will be treated to a triple-A launch campaign, as you would expect for such a prestigious title.
“We will be in all ATL areas with a significant TV campaign using a stunning high definition ad. We’ve been raising awareness of Shift for some time now and have had a presence at E3 and Cologne, as well as Gadget Show Live and the European Drifting Championships. “September 8th is only the beginning, however, and Shift will remain a priority through to Christmas this year.” Shift will be 2009’s ‘core’ entry in the racing franchise,
EA will market Shift to core Need For Speed racing fans
arriving ahead of new ‘casual’ racer Need For Speed: Nitro on Wii and DS. “We are confident that Shift will confirm Need For Speed as the premier racing franchise in the industry – it is a return to a quality and engaging racing game,” said Flynn. “With the racing pedigree and expertise of Slightly Mad Studios, combined with Black Box’s presentation skills, Shift should delight Need For Speed fans both old and new.” EA: 01483 463000
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Exspect celebrates official Sony deal Peripherals business delighted to be a part of 2009’s ‘PlayStation Christmas’ New products due next month by Christopher Dring GEM-OWNED accessories firm Exspect has heralded this week’s deal with SCEE a ‘significant milestone’ in the company’s development. The agreement will see Exspect launch a range of officially licensed screen
could be the biggest PlayStation Christmas for many years and also provides the market with the biggest new product range launch in the space,” he said. “These products will be available when PSPgo arrives and to a small extent we hope will play their part in the excitement around that launch.
The timing of this deal is critical. This could be the biggest PlayStation Christmas for years.
Neil Meredith, Exspect
protectors and cases for both PSP 3000 and PSPgo, with the first products due to hit shelves towards the end of next month. And Exspect’s commercial director Neil Meredith is excited at the prospect of being a part of the PSPgo’s launch on October 1st. “The timing of this launch is critical as we approach what
“Our main objective for this exercise is to demonstrate to SCEE and our partners that we understand the Sony consumer
and their needs by offering well designed, stylish products offering great value for money,” continued Meredith. “As a team we know we have delivered a compelling range of products that we can be very proud of. As a company that believes in, and focuses on, brands, we are a perfect partner for licensing partnerships in the accessory space.
“We see licensed accessory solutions for the PSPgo as a huge revenue attach opportunity for all channels and we feel confident that our range and offering will enable partners to have a great PSPgo launch.” The peripherals specialist is also optimistic that its partnership with SCEE will be the first of many.
“The expectation of style and quality in the product build runs deep within both our organisations and are cornerstones of both brands. “The initial reaction we are having from retailers and distributors across all PAL territories is very positive and we are excited about other initiatives in the pipeline too.” Exspect: 01282 684871
ON THE CASE: Exspect’s PSP add-ons will benefit from Sony’s Christmas plans
WEEK E H T F O N G I A CAMP FANTASY L A IN F IA ID S DIS
Square Enix unleashes an epic campaign to match the power of its upcoming PSP release Dissidia Final Fantasy, celebrating 20 years of the renowned RPG series…
RELEASED: SEPTEMBER 4 FORMATS: PSP PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX DEVELOPER: SQUARE ENIX
Square Enix is working hard to make sure Dissidia Final Fantasy lives up to both gamers’ expectations and the strong performance of its predecessors. The marketing will also raise awareness of the Collector’s Edition, which features extra products such as a music CD and art book. PRINT Dissidia ads will run for three months across key specialist gaming and movie titles, including single page and double page ads, and unique breakout executions.
PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 020 7324 5200
TV A heavyweight TV advertising campaign is set
to run from launch, delivering an impactful 20second ad that Square Enix claims will target over two million 16 to 34 year-old males via key terrestrial and satellite channels. OUTDOOR An outdoor poster advertising campaign is set to run on the London Underground, engaging Square Enix’s target audience for two weeks after the game’s release. ONLINE Pre-release online advertising is already running, and is centred around a special online widget. This application can
be shared via leading social networking sites and keeps users fully engaged and upto-date with the game’s development. Content will be periodically released through this widget in the run-up to launch and beyond. Closer to the game’s release, online advertising
will feature creatives of various sizes and execution, including takeovers and rich media video on a range of gaming and movie websites. Square Enix will also be targeting relevant YouTube users with in-video advertising.
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MCV INTERVIEW STEPHEN MCGILL, ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTOR, MICROSOFT
MCGILL: Microsoft entertainment boss says that Halo 3: ODST is a ‘key title’ for the industry this year
You had us at Halo Microsoft’s flagship series returns next month with Halo 3: ODST. But can it be a global smash like its predecessor? James Batchelor grills Xbox boss Stephen McGill…
How important is Halo 3: ODST to innovative, high quality title. It was no Microsoft and to your Q4 plans? coincidence that following a great Halo 3: ODST is an absolutely key title showing at E3, Nielsen Media for us. As part of arguably one of the Research quoted Halo 3: ODST as the biggest video game, if not entertainment number one title that consumers should franchises of all time, Halo 3: ODST is very It’s no coincidence that after much something fans of E3, Nielsen Media Research blockbuster action titles quoted Halo 3: ODST as the are looking forward to. From a software top game to pre-order. publishing perspective Stephen McGill, Microsoft we’ve always believed in delivering the very best AAA pre-order in 2009. This has also been blockbuster gaming experiences, and reflected in the UK press: Recent Halo 3: ODST is no different, and we’re preview events have seen UK media extremely excited for the title. First off, incredibly excited and extremely it’s a Halo game in every sense of the positive about the title, so we know word, and we know that Bungie will there’s a huge amount of anticipation undoubtedly deliver another incredibly and excitement around the game.
Can ODST be the phenomenon Halo 3 was? I think Halo 3 had a unique moment in time – when it launched it truly was the biggest entertainment launch of all time, surpassing the biggest films and albums in terms of opening box office and day one numbers. Although overall market conditions are in a slightly different place today, we firmly believe Halo 3: ODST will be a fantastic success, and continue to drive the cultural phenomenon that is the Halo franchise. The title boasts an all new, fully comprehensive single player campaign, which puts fans in the shoes of an all new character from the Halo universe – that of an Orbital Drop
MCV 21/08/09 15
MCV INTERVIEW STEPHEN MCGILL, ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTOR, MICROSOFT Shock Trooper. As part of the elite special forces that fight alongside the more familiar Master Chief, this offers a totally new and unique Halo experience. Firefight is also an all new game mode that we’re confident will resonate extremely well with both the established Halo core and newcomers to the franchise. Coupled with that, Halo 3: ODST also includes all of the Halo 3 multiplayer maps released to date as game add-ons on Xbox Live, as well as several new and exclusive maps.
phenomenon. We recently announced Halo Legends – a series of animated short films set in the Halo universe, helmed by the creators of some of the most imaginative and innovative anime movies of recent times. We’re also creating a Halo-specific experience on the Xbox Live dashboard called Halo Waypoint. This will house exclusive content and keep fans up to date with the latest happenings in the Halo universe – again, the first time we’ve done anything like this around a game
Fans will only be able to play the Halo: Reach Beta through the ODST disc. That’s a compelling reason to buy it. Stephen McGill, Microsoft
Halo 3 is still the most consistently played game on Xbox Live, so we know there is a very active and engaged audience out there hungry for more Halo experiences. Looking forward, what about Halo: Reach? How big a title can that be for you? Launching in 2010, Halo: Reach will be the next title from Bungie set in the Halo universe. We’re not talking too much about it right now, but we have confirmed there will be a multiplayer Beta launching ahead of the game’s release. The only way to access this beta will be through the Halo 3: ODST disc, so we feel there’s another extremely compelling reason for both fans and newcomers to the franchise to experience Halo 3: ODST. We saw the success of this mechanic with the Halo 3 multiplayer beta that came on the Crackdown game disc and the continued sales momentum and excitement generated around that title throughout its lifecycle, and we fully expect Halo 3: ODST to exceed that achievement. It’s a great way to extend the shelf life of the title at retail, and allows us to deliver some cool and creative sustained marketing activity around the game throughout 2010. In addition to the existing products available and the upcoming launch of ODST, there are even more reasons arriving in the coming months that cement Halo’s position as a true entertainment and cultural
title, and Halo 3: ODST is a great way title to kick this off. Trade and media buzz is extremely positive. Pre-orders are looking very healthy at the moment, so yes, we’re very excited.
Will the marketing rival that of Halo 3? What do you currently have planned? We’ve got an extremely robust and exciting marketing campaign in place that will do a great job of building and delivering the already incredible amount of consumer demand out there today. From a media perspective we’ve got a fantastic, highly targeted plan in place, including TV. A heavyweight online campaign in specialist media has already driven great pre-order momentum, and this will continue throughout the launch period, incorporating homepage takeovers and re-skinning of multiple specialist and men’s consumer online sites. Specialist print and men’s consumer print are comprehensively covered in the run-up to launch and beyond. TV is, of course, a critical part of the plan – we’ll be delivering multiple TVRs weighted throughout specific targeted programming, along with the takeover and sponsorship of select shows and programming events. Given the nature of the Halo 3: ODST
consumer and their appetite for all things Halo we’re also creating a compelling, interactive branded digital experience that supports the existing Halo content on Xbox.com. Retail buzz kicked off with the preorder mechanic – fans who pre-order the game will get an exclusive playable character in the form of Sgt Johnson – an unsung hero of the previous Halo games. This is the first time Bungie has done anything like this for one of their titles, and we ensured we had the standout POS to convey this messaging.
In the run-up to launch we’ve got a ton of cool and innovative POS, standees, posters and kiosk wraps ready to activate that will drive home the fact this is yet another blockbuster title from the Halo universe. As mentioned before, the PR campaign continues to gather momentum following off the back of an extremely impressive E3 showing and preview events. Media feedback has been incredibly positive so we feel great about the game meeting our quality expectations. As we near launch, PR will activate bespoke review events, multiple preview and review front cover features in the specialist press, promotions and features across national and consumer media, along with some very cool and exciting tactics to be announced soon. When it’s released on September 22nd, we’re aware we’ve got a fantastic opportunity to own consumer mindshare before we hit the more traditionally crowded release schedules later in the year. However, this gives us a great opportunity for a second burst of activity in the run-up to the critical Christmas buying period, along with the sustained marketing activity offered throughout 2010 with the launch of the Halo: Reach beta. Who is the target audience – established fans or newcomers? How will the game appeal to newcomers? We definitely feel both. As mentioned, existing Halo fans have an incredible appetite for all new content around the Halo universe. We know the anticipation for Halo 3: ODST around these guys is extremely high, and they’ll relish the chance to play both as an all new character and in a totally new game mode within the game. However, by including all of the Halo 3 multiplayer content released to date on the disc, and coupled with the fact you don’t need the original game to play them, we feel there’s a great opportunity to talk to consumers completely new to the franchise, and that Halo 3: ODST offers the perfect introduction to the Halo universe.
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TERRITORY REPORT: GERMANY KEY RETAILERS Saturn, Media Markt, Amazon, Galeria Kaufhof, GameStop
Berlin Capital LANGUAGE German
GDP: (per capita)
DISTRIBUTORS Groß Electronic Otto Group Playcom Software Vertriebs Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel Koch
Going Deutsch Germany is one of Europe’s video game powerhouses, home to one of the world’s biggest trade shows and the European base for publishing giants such as Nintendo. Christopher Dring takes a closer look at the German games market, its continued growth and the challenge surrounding its strict censorship laws…
THE GERMAN games market grew 14 per cent in terms of sales during 2008, with more than €1.5 billion spent on games in the territory last year. Although the economic downturn has had its impact, it was announced last week that Germany is one of the first countries to escape the recession and its games market is expected to grow even further this year (see German Efficiency) – particularly in terms of software sales. “The German games industry is able to look back on an unprecedented success story,” says MD of the German Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment (BIU) Olaf Wolters. “With constant double-digit growth figures, it has developed into the dynamo of the
media industry over the last few years. More than 55 million games passed over the counters last year – more than ever before. Drivers for growth in recent years are clearly the latest console systems – Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony Playstation 3 – as well as the handhelds Nintendo DSi and Sony PSP.” Sales director for Koch Germany Dietmar Toenges adds: We are in a very fortunate position in Germany in that the recession has not really reached the games market in the same way as it has other areas of consumer purchasing. The sales figures for computer and video games are still at an acceptable level at the moment.” Germany has always been at the heart of the European games industry. For years the
20 MCV 21/08/09
TERRITORY REPORT: GERMANY
GERMAN EFFICIENCY: FORECAST FIGURES 2008 actual
Year on year growth %
Wii. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.0m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -4.3% Xbox 360. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.4m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.3m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -18.7% PS3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.5m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.6m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20.2% Software value ¤m Wii. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.6% Xbox 360. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2% PS3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.0% Installed base market share Wii. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51% Xbox 360. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22% PS3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27% © Screen Digest, 2009
country has been the base for Nintendo and Konami’s European operations, it has housed some of the continent’s top development talent, such as Crytek, and even plays host to Europe’s biggest video games trade show. In fact, it is the country’s location that has been a major benefit to its continued success. “Geography works to our advantage,” offers Iris Ludolf, international operations director for German-based localisation specialist Partnertrans. “Not only is the country fairly small compared to the US, which brings people close together, but being located in the heart of Europe has its advantages in dealing with international contacts.” Although console sales are high in Germany, the territory’s growth has largely been for PC gaming. And not just PC boxed products either; the country has become a serious player in the MMO market too. “Although the German market is primarily focused on PC gaming, this year it has been rather stagnant and Germany is rapidly becoming Europe’s leading MMOG developer and publisher,” explains Marie-Laurence Amigues, executive president of localisation firm Anakan. “Other important game platforms are still rather neglected in this region and
compared to last year Anakan has localized fewer DS games.” Ludolf agrees: “I think Germany is not much different from other countries. We follow the trends like everyone else, we have even heard about those nextgen console thingies. “Right now, browser and online games are the big thing here in Germany. The German companies Bigpoint and Gameforge are the pioneers in that sector and both companies have grown massively since the early days.” VIOLENT DEBATE
Despite the growth and success, there are still many obstacles facing games in Germany. The country has always adopted strict policies on violent video games, but this has intensified further following shootings in a German school in March – shootings which were linked to both Counter-Strike and Far Cry 2. “There is an issue with what are widely known in Germany as ‘killer games,’ continues Ludolf. “Unfortunately, the overzealous press is always quick to attribute teen violence, especially very rare killing sprees, to the killers playing violent computer games. I think Counter-Strike is a word 90 per
cent of Germans know, even if only from the press. And as there is always another election just around the corner, politicians are happy to jump on the bandwagon and demand stricter ratings or even banning all remotely violent games from shelves altogether.” Toenges adds: “We agree that young people should not be exposed to images
per cent in terms of retail and online sales to $3.7 billion (excluding hardware). However, although games certainly boost the country’s economy, the German Government has yet to offer the sector the level of support seen in Canada or the UK. “Germany is still not the first choice for European headquarters when it comes to international games companies,” Being located in the heart of concludes Amiques. Europe has its advantages “A lot of potential when it comes to dealing with investment and business international contacts. opportunities are lost in this way. When it comes to Iris Ludolf, Partnertrans the German studio sector, that are unsuitable for their age. for example, there is a lot of diversion of However, video games are an development resources into cheaper or entertainment product in the same way subsidised territories. that movies are an entertainment “One can still notice a rather strong product. A reliable and robust rating presence of the social stigma attached to system for all games should prevent video games in Germany, which was young people from experiencing content recognised as a valid media industry aimed at adults.” only last year. Governmental and Although the concern over violent academic support for the games industry software in Germany has dominated is quite limited. headlines around the world, the “The level of support from national territory’s games market is a strong one and regional governments and public that continues to grow. funds should be more substantial. This According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ could prevent large publishers relocating Global Entertainment and Media Outlook to subsidised territories, and qualified 2009-2013, the market will grow five labour migrating with them.”
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