THE INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
Friday September 18 2009 £3.25
On the heels of winning 25 international gaming awards with FIFA 09, the top-selling football franchise from EA SPORTS™ is surpassed with FIFA 10. Responding to consumer feedback from millions of online games played, FIFA 10 reﬁnes an already potent game engine, focusing on what matters most to fans.
easports.co.uk/fifa © 2009 Electronic Arts Inc. EA, EA SPORTS, and the EA SPORTS logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All Rights Reserved. OfÀcial FIFA licensed product. “© The FIFA name and OLP Logo are copyright or trademark protected by FIFA. All rights reserved.” Manufactured under license by Electronic Arts Inc. The Premier League Logo © The Football Association Premier League Limited 1996. The Premier League Logo is a trade mark of the Football Association Premier League Limited and the Premier League Club logos are copyright works and registered trade marks of the respective Clubs. All are used with the kind permission of their respective owners. Manufactured under license from the Football Association Premier League Limited. No association with nor endorsement of this product by any player is intended or implied by the license granted by the Football Association Premier League Limited to Electronic Arts. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES
Issue 555 Friday September 18 2009 £3.25
04 Hero tolerance As GH5 hits No.1, franchise boss Michael Sportouch targets further growth
07 Tekken returns Namco Bandai dedicates £1m marketing budget to support sixth game in series
22 Q4 preview
WITH THIS ISSUE
MCV checks out over 100 games racing to retail in time for Christmas ‘09
MCV takes a sneak peek at DJ Hero and Activision’s line-up for Q4
EVERY BUYER EVERY BRANCH EVERY INDIE EVERY WEEK
Nintendo spends big to rule Xmas Ant and Dec head up most expensive Q4 campaign in firm’s history – as it bids to quash threat from Xbox 360 by Tim Ingham NINTENDO is banking on its biggest ever Christmas campaign to see off the threat from a freshly-discounted Xbox 360 and PS3 this Q4. The platform holder has signed family TV favourites Ant and Dec to head up its Christmas campaign and future
The news comes just two weeks after Microsoft cut the trade price of its 120GB Xbox 360 Elite to £199 – rivalling the SRP of Wii – as it continually strives to woo the family gamer. Nintendo general manager David Yarnton told MCV: “This is not just a run of the mill partnership, it goes beyond what would be expected from a
Ant and Dec will appear with both Wii and DS in Nintendo’s new ads
This is the most media support we’ve ever committed to Q4. It’s a step change for video games. Rob Lowe, Nintendo
marketing endeavours, MCV can reveal. Sources close to the company revealed that it felt its traditional celeb campaigns had “become stale” – and overly emulated by third party publishers. The TV ads, which will air from October 16th, will involve Ant and Dec interviewing real Nintendo fans about the firm’s products – echoing the pair’s style in programmes such as Pop Idol and Britain’s Got Talent.
‘traditional celebrity deal’ – not just for Christmas but into the future.” Senior product manager Rob Lowe added: “Our strategy is to bring gaming to everybody, whilst removing the niche status and stigma that has often restricted the industry. “Ant and Dec’s universal appeal and all-encompassing charm takes this strategy to the next stage and we hope it will herald a step-change in
ANT AND DEC: THE GAME?
the way video games are perceived by everybody. “We feel this is a hugely innovative campaign and the media support behind it is the most we’ve ever committed to during the October to December period. It truly feels like a groundbreaking approach for both Nintendo and the industry as a whole.”
MCV understands that Nintendo’s unique tie-up with Ant and Dec includes an agreement for the pair’s likeness to be used in future games from the platform holder. Ant and Dec have given the thumbs up to being involved with Nintendo at a development stage, increasing their involvement with the firm over and above the TV ads – which will feature cabbies playing Brain Training and women at Weight Watchers using Wii Fit.
PRICE DROP? Further evidence mounted this week that Nintendo is set to drop the price of Wii at Tokyo Games Show next week. A scan from a yet-to-be released US Toys R Us catalogue showed a reduction of $50 in the console’s selling price – down to $199. The news follows publishers’ calls for the price to be adjusted following similar drops from rivals Microsoft and Sony. However, Nintendo has told MCV that it has ‘no plans’ for a pre-Xmas drop.
Is world’s first digital chart coming to the US? by Michael French AMERICAN SALES tracker NPD has told MCV that it wants to introduce the globe’s first digital download chart. The move would help quash ‘misinformation’ about the games market, according to the data monitor's director of corporate marketing David Riley. Leading publishers and trade body ELSPA last
month told MCV that the time was right to introduce digital charts in the UK, through GfKChartTrack. Now NPD wants to offer charts for PC, console and even mobile across the Atlantic. “The charts are needed in much the same way that retail and online tracking services are needed,” explained Riley. “Objective third party tracking is essential to
separating the wheat from the chaff. In other words, accurate
level, keeping away from the spin, and in some cases,
Official digital charts are essential. The misinformation out there now can have a dramatically negative effect.
tracking will provide a nononsense view of what’s happening on the publisher
David Riley, NPD
misleading information that often appears on the internet. Misinformation can have a
dramatic, negative impact on a publisher’s bottom line." The NPD Group won’t yet confirm how quickly the charts will be created – but ruled out a merged retail and digital chart. The news comes ahead of the October 27th London Games Conference, the first event to throw the spotlight on digital distribution. Contact Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co. uk for more details.
PERSONNEL 36 RETAIL BIZ 37 NEW RELEASES 48 HIGH STREET 50 CHARTS 52
4 MCV 18/09/09
[LEADER] STAR POWER The games industry has been no stranger to celebrity endorsements in recent years. And what a spectrum of talent it has turned to; from John, Paul, George and Ringo right through to Ferne, Holly, Vernon and Tess. Publishers have shown no shame in trying to ride the coat tails of the rich and famous to the top of the charts. (And to mixed fortunes – I wonder if The Beatles: Rock Band’s failure to make it to number one despite all the dad-targeted hype has forced Harmonix to rethink their eggs-in-one-basket strategy?) So Nintendo’s latest celeb-driven marketing assault is no major surprise at face value. But the fact the company is turning the spotlight on actual gamers – instead of asking rent-a-quote sportsmen to talk about themselves – is interesting. That and the fact it will have no doubt shelled out the big bucks for national treasures Ant and Dec. Sure, it’s a marketing campaign designed to raise awareness and encourage sales for a product, but putting the focus on those consumers Nintendo has attracted in the march to the top should make for something different and interesting. Coverage showing gaming as an acceptable past time is something worth praising (even if it all turns out to be staged with convincing, anonymous actors). Of course the bigger questions is whether this push, Nintendo UK’s most expensive ad drive yet, is enough to help Wii stave off the pressure mounting from 360 and PS3. Retail sources tell us that the slim PS3 continues to sell at a brisk pace, and there has been an uplift in 360 sales. All of which makes good on Sony and Microsoft’s threat to eat into Nintendo’s audience and convert gamers into next-gen players. Nintendo maintains it is happy where it is right now, meaning the jury is still out on a console price cut. Instead the firm has chosen to invest more than ever into marketing rather than take the hit on its bottom line that a price cut would create. We’ll have to wait and see if it pays off.
A TRUE ACTIVIST It does sometimes feel that the increasingly corporate nature of the games industry has stamped out some of its personalities. So thank heavens for Activision, a publisher that isn’t afraid to say what it thinks, or do what it wants. If it thinks its tentpole game is worth more than the average RRP, it goes for it. If it thinks rival games aren’t even worth retail’s attention, it says so (check out Michael Sportouch’s comments, right). And now Activision boss Bobby Kotick is talking about launching a version of Guitar Hero that doesn’t even need a console. So who needs Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft? Well, given the amount of money those formatholders plough into third party marketing tie-ups with the likes of Activision, maybe even dear old Bobby would miss their helping hand. Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk
‘Retail should drop Guitar Hero’s European boss jokes about the competition, but is by Michael French ACTIVISION HAS told MCV it will keep aggressively growing its share of the music category through retail collaborations, new promotions and expansion to new genres. The publisher was celebrating this week after the Guitar Hero franchise secured its first number one – GH5 managed to top the UK All Formats chart in just two days. The game beat The Beatles: Rock Band, which had been on the market a few days longer and launched around Beatlemania hype. It all bodes well as the firm plans to launch its DJ Hero and Band Hero games towards Christmas – despite the influx of other music games – according to Michael Sportouch, the European head of the Guitar Hero franchise. “We are the clear leader of the category,” he said in an exclusive interview. “I’m not here to talk about the competition, but one of our competitors we outsell nine to one, eight to one or seven to one depending on the week. The last GfK research showed
Retailers should stop stocking those rival products which don’t sell through. Michael Sportouch, Activision
that we have a 50 per cent market share of the music category – which includes Rock Band, Wii Music, SingStar and every other music game. That doesn’t mean we are
complacent, we still have lots of consumers to attract and educate.” But what of the pressure on retail to fit more and more different guitar, microphone
ERA: ‘Don’t get greedy with extras’ PUBLISHERS have been urged not sell too much bonus content at a premium to consumers. ERA’s Kim Bayley has warned that the music and film markets made consumers cynical to top-priced SKUs. “Publishers need to be aware of growing consumer scepticism about ‘bonus features’ that has already emerged in music and film,” Bayley told MCV. “Products really need to justify themselves in terms of gameplay, additional features and quality otherwise there is a danger that consumers will turn away from such products.”
BAYLEY: Customers can get cynical over bonus features
Bayley’s comments came in an MCV investigation into the recent trend for DLC to be packaged onto disc at retail.
Previously online-only content for titles such as GTA IV and Fallout 3 will all reach retail on disc in time for Q4. HMV’s head of games Tim Ellis welcomed the trend – and said he expected more of it. He added: “I think there is a tendency to sometimes undervalue its importance, but retail plays a key role in engaging customers. We believe more DLC will appear this way.” Turn to page 14 for the full report, plus details of London Games Conference, the world’s first event dedicated to digital distribution.
MCV 18/09/09 5
Rock Band’ very serious about growing market share ZANE LOWE TO FRONT Q4 HERO PUSH Activision has signed Zane Lowe to help the Hero titles. The collaboration will see the Radio 1 DJ fully endorse the Hero series as well as offer up his expertise to help grow the brand. DJ Hero will also be the headline sponsor of Zane Lowe’s 2009 tour. “We're very proud to announce that Zane will be working closely with us in the UK on the Hero franchise,” said senior brand manager Ian McClellan. “To have him involved is fantastic both from an endorsement perspective, but also because of the advice he can give us – Zane is a renowned musician, DH and broadcaster and is massively respected in the music business.”
Guitar Hero 5 will be joined by the more mass-market Band Hero and electronica-focused DJ Hero later in the year
and instrument packages onto store shelves? He said: “One thing I do say to retailers is that they should stop selling those rival products which don’t sell through, and instead focus on the products that are selling through and generate retail value and return on investment.
“In order to keep our retail activity strong we have pursued a number of innovative retail executions. So far on Guitar Hero we have a very strong sell through curve and sell through ratio and we want to ensure that continue to stimulate demand. Retailers want to see those products keep moving in and out of the store – that’s something we work very closely with them on.” Read the full interview with Sportouch on pages 17 and 18
New digital gaming contender launches A PROMISING new download service is to launch in the UK later this year, offering new releases, indie and classic titles as well as free-to-play games. Get Games will be headed up by Graeme Struthers and will be headquartered in London. Fulfillment specialists, The Producers – from the same stable as Mastertronic – will be supplying all ecommerce billing, customer support and reporting functions. The service will benefit from a tie-up with Eurogamer across Europe, and will be managed by Mastertronic’s Andy Payne. Payne told MCV: “At Mastertronic, we have sold 30 million units down the years across our group of PC brands – Sold Out, PC Gamer Presents, Great Indie Games, Just Flight and MAD – and we feel very optimistic for the PC as a gaming platform. We have been selling some of our products by download for the last five years and have gained vital
TOP 10 UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3 SONY
2. FIFA 10 PS3 ..............................................EA
3. HALO 3: ODST 360 ..................................MICROSOFT
4. COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2 PS3 ..............................CODEMASTERS
5. FIFA 10 PC platform is full of potential, says Andy Payne
experience in this space. By combining this experience with Eurogamer’s quality editorial content and eyeballs we feel we have a winning combination.” Struthers added: “The experience of Eurogamer and Mastertronic, combined with the vision we have for this service means we are on the verge of launching something that will make waves in the digital distribution market.” Get Games is looking for new partners to work with. Get Games: 0207 502 4490
6. PES 2010 PS3........................................KONAMI
7. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ....................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
8. GRAN TURISMO 5 PS3 ..........................................SONY
9. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 PS3 ....................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
10. EYEPET (INC EYE CAMERA &, MAGIC CARD) PS3 ..........................................SONY Week ending September 11th Source: SHOPTO.COM Turn to page 51 for more pre-order charts from leading online retailers
UK SOFTWARE SALES MONITOR Your weekly guide to the UK games software market… THE UK SOFTWARE market fell once again, despite the release of Guitar Hero 5 and The Beatles: Rock Band. According to MCV calculations based on this week’s Gfk-ChartTrack/ELSPA weekly report, the UK market dipped six per cent to £17.6m for the week ending September 11th. Unit sales fell even further, dropping 14 per cent to 787,853. The fall comes as a surprise considering the success of Guitar Hero 5, Dirt 2 and The Beatles: Rock Band. There were other new releases in the charts too, including Championship Manager 10, Mini Ninjas and Section 8. Despite the slide, September still promises to be a strong month, with Need For Speed: Shift, Halo 3: ODST and Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box due for release.
Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media
Controversy of the unlockable Kurt Cobain avatar in Guitar Hero didn’t dampen the launch for GH5
Week Ending August 29th
Week Ending September 5th Week Ending September 11th
6 MCV 18/09/09
Aion will be a major force in MMO games, says NCsoft Firm’s Euro boss reveals pre-orders of 300,000 Publisher keen to lure Warcraft players by Michael French NCSOFT EXPECTS new title Aion can join Warcraft in dominating the MMO genre after its release next week. Speaking to MCV, European publishing MD Véronique Lallier revealed the game has already attractred over 300,000 pre-orders in the West. “Aion is going to be a real success – it adds new content and ideas to the MMO genre,” she explained. “It’s a
“There are a lot of other MMOs in the works – but I’m not sure how many of them are triple-A games,” said Lallier. “Plus we’ve been working hard to make sure players can find the games anywhere – be it at their favourite retailer or their favourite e-tailer.” As with many online titles, NCsoft has worked heavily on community activity in the run up to the event in terms of forums plus attendance of
The MMO genre is competitive right now, but I’m confident Aion will be one of the market’s biggest games. Veronica Lallier, NCsoft
competitive area now, but there is a lot of room for different players and new games in the space. I am confident Aion will be one of the biggest games on the market.” Aion launches ahead of a rush of new MMO titles arriving in 2010, including APB and Star Wars: The Old Republic. All of them are hoping to take a chunk out of World of Warcraft’s userbase of over ten million players.
Andy Irvine (top), Mark Allen (middle) and Manab Roy (below) have all moved roles this week
Trade in PR merrygo-round
events including a big showing at Gamescom. Explained Lallier: “On a daily basis there are lots of points of contact we have with our fans when it comes to building the excitement – we do a lot online, but we have done a lot in real life too with community player meets. We have been flying from country
LALLIER: NCsoft publishing boss for Europe believe Aion is one of only a few ‘truly triple-A’ MMO games
to country to make sure we meet our players.” Lallier said there is also an active post-launch strategy in place to add new content to the game to keep players
entertained once the game is released: “We are always listening to player feedback to ensure we are giving them new challenges and keeping them playing.” NCsoft: 01273 872 000
Big names sign up for U-Sing release
MINDSCAPE is banking on major pop star power for its new Wii singing game U-Sing. While Rock Band might not have been able to ride Beatlemania to the top of the charts, Universal Music-backed
U-Sing features the likes of The Saturdays, Just Jack, Mika and Duffy in its bid to impress gamers. The new title will feature music and songs from a raft of modern and
classic Universal Music artists, also including Snow Patrol, Culture Club, Coldplay and Stereophonics – plus soulful
legends Gloria Gaynor and Lionel Richie. Distributed by Koch Media, the game is due for release exclusively for the Wii on October 30th. www.mindscape.com
SOME OF THE industry’s most recognised PR execs have moved into new roles this week. At Microsoft, UK PR manager for Xbox & Games for Windows Andy Irving has taken a job in the firm’s marketing team. MCV understands that this will involve looking after a number of first party titles and working on third party marketing programs. Irving joined Microsoft from Lunch PR back in 2007, where he was a senior account exec. Previous to this, he worked as reviews editor on Future’s Official Xbox Magazine. Meanwhile, industry veteran Mark Allen has left 505 Games to join Kalypso Media, MCV can reveal. Allen is a former Activision and Eidos exec. Elsewhere, Ubisoft UK PR boss Manab Roy has left the French publisher – but his destination is as yet unknown.
MCV 18/09/09 7
Namco Bandai reveals £1m marketing push for Tekken 6 Publisher invests heavily in its ‘biggest release’ Sets sights on Xmas Top Ten spot by James Batchelor NAMCO BANDAI has told MCV its will spend in excess of £1 million on marketing for its upcoming beat-‘em-up, Tekken 6. The company has prepared an extensive campaign, incorporating print, online and TV advertising, as well as the use of social media and sampling to drive sales for the game in the run up to Christmas.
tournament that will crown a new King of the Iron Fist in early November and give one lucky gamer the change to travel to Japan to meet the development team and become immortalised in gaming history.” Tekken 6 will also have a major presence at the October MCM Expo and the Eurogamer Expo. The game will also be prominent across a range of social media, including a YouTube channel,
Our marketing campaign is already helping to position Tekken 6 as a Top Ten Christmas contender. David Miller, Namco Bandai
“The ‘What Do You Fight For’ marketing campaign we have crafted is already helping to position the title as a Christmas Top Ten contender,” marketing director David Miller told MCV. “Every touch-point of the campaign will enforce this, through our massive TV and print campaigns and the amazing viral videos. “We have also arranged a 17-date nationwide tour and
THE LARGEST ARMY OF SUPER HEROES IS BACK!
microsites, Facebook pages and a ground-breaking Twitter game. Namco Bandai is running a variety of preorder campaigns with all major retailers, offering several incentives for consumers than invest in the game early. “The first Tekken was one of the original killer apps for PlayStation and helped to
Defend the security of the country or ﬁght for personal freedom as you pick a side in the Marvel Civil War. Your decision will determine the fate of the Marvel Universe in this epic event that brings together thrilling gameplay and impassioned alliances.
MILLER: Namco Bandai marketing boss says Tekken 6 is publisher’s biggest game of the year
define the 3D gaming experience,” said Miller. “Tekken 6 is without a doubt the best version since that famous debut – it will wow gamers all over again.
“It is undoubtedly Namco Bandai Partners’ biggest release of the year and for the – largely ex-Atari – UK team, the biggest release for several years.” Namco Bandai: 020 8222 9700
ELSPA campaign praised by Government ELSPA’S fight to have PEGI instated by law has been singled out by a prominent Labour MP as one of the ‘greatest lobbying campaigns of all time’. Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East, has nominated the campaign to be included in Public Affairs Magazine’s prestigious Top 50 Best Ever Campaigns. In an open letter, Mr Watson wrote to Public
Affairs: ‘I have been deeply impressed with the video games industry’s recent engagement with Government. They played a blinder… ‘Frankly, politicians and games publishers did not get on. Keith Vaz has been pummelling the industry for years, The industry response was a mix of head-in-the-sand, please-make-it-go-away adolescent bravado. Message to the gaming industry: Do
not mess with politicians colluding with The Mail… ‘But the industry wised up. They listened and improved their own rating system. All credit must go to the excellent engagement strategy conducted by ELSPA.’ ELSPA director general Mike Rawlinson told MCV this week: “Our progress is the result of a joint commitment to open and constructive dialogue between
Government and the UK video games industry to achieve the best result for protecting British children. “I am very grateful for the support and assistance of Phil Snape from PSA Communications, Freud’s PR and members of the industry who lead and supported our work.”
Marvel, and all related characters and the distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of Marvel Entertainment, Inc. and its subsidiaries, and are used with permission. Copyright © 2009 Marvel Entertainment, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Licensed by Marvel Characters B.V. www.marvel.com. All rights reserved. Super Hero(es) is a co-owned registered trademark. Game © 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision is a registered trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. ‘2’, PlayStation, ‘7‘ and PSP are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All RIghts Reserved.
8 MCV 18/09/09
Sony: Uncharted has a ‘huge future’ Platform holder puts faith in IP’s potential as it readies marketing campaign for second iteration in series by James Batchelor SONY HAS predicted that Uncharted will become a longrunning successful franchise – and could even become as synonymous with the PlayStation brand as the likes of Gran Turismo, Buzz and SingStar.
Uncharted is now an established brand and is of huge importance to our future line-ups.
The firm is expected to release the eagerly awaited second game in the series, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, in October. “In terms of the style and tone, the game is inherently PlayStation, it’s a technical and graphical showcase of the power
for a comprehensive Uncharted 2 pre-order campaign, with each chain offering consumers a different incentive. “Pre-order numbers are becoming more and more important, both for retail to get a barometer of the consumer level of demand and, of course, pre-order charts are a good way for consumers to see how well a title is performing pre-launch, adding credibility and buzz to the release,” added Lynch. The partnerships have been drawn up as part of an extensive marketing campaign for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Premium TV advertising will begin at the end of the month. The 10-second teaser ads will end on a cliffhanger and direct viewers to the pre-order website. Online ads across Gamespot and Eurogamer will also drive pre-orders, all focusing on the action aspects of the game.
of the PlayStation 3 and the fluid, accessible gameplay and storyline mean that Uncharted 2 is a perfect storm in terms of an exclusive IP for our platform,” said Sony product manager Phil Lynch. “Uncharted is now an established brand in the gaming
Phil Lynch, Sony
market and Naughty Dog have managed to develop a new, contemporary and credible hero in Nathan Drake,” added Lynch. “With this in mind, Uncharted 2 is of huge importance to our line-up now and in the future.” Sony has teamed up with online and High Street retailers
Sony deems Uncharted to be the perfect exclusive IP for PlayStation
Sony: 020 7859 5000
Twentysomethings Oxygen and Nobilis team up spend big in UK THE LATEST TNS data shows that gamers aged between 25 and 34 years old spend the most money on games in the UK. This age bracket boasts the biggest share in terms of money spent with 30.9 per cent. Meanwhile, under 20s represent just 14.7 per cent. Males still invest the most in the games market, accounting for 60.3 per cent of money spent, while women account for 39.7 per cent. Overall expenditure on games was £1.81 billion for the year ending July 19th,
2009, an increase of 2.9 per cent when compared to 2008. Impulse buys have risen to 30 per cent of the total spend, but planned purchases still dominate, accounting for 70 per cent. Wii games are the most commonly gifted titles, with 40.1 per cent value share. Wii games also represent 41.5 per cent of titles bought for family use. The PS3 and Xbox 360 are bought the most for personal use with 54.8 per cent value share each. TNS: 020 8967 1437
UPCOMING titles from French publisher Nobilis will arrive in the UK through Oxygen, MCV can reveal. The new distribution deal will see Safari’Wii and Music hit UK shelves this autumn, while Nobilis will also launch a number of Oxygen titles in France this Christmas. “We are extremely pleased to be working with Nobilis on this joint venture,” said Oxygen CEO Jim Scott. “The deal enables Oxygen to get closer to the French retail market as well as adding more high quality products to our line up for the autumn.”
Oxygen’s Jim Scott discusses the mutual benefits of Nobilis deal
Safari’Wii is an adventure and exploration game for Nintendo Wii and is due for release this month. The title is aimed at the six to ten yearold age group and involves taking pictures of animals.
Music is a training game for DS, and features lessons on how to read music or compose your own. The game is based on the theory of Japanese musician Shiro Tsuji. Oxygen: 01922 442660
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MCV 18/09/09 9
HMV to launch digital games service? Acquisition of stake in 7Digital could lead to retailer launching its own download store by Christopher Dring
HMV HOPES to use its stake in digital delivery service 7Digital to take on the likes of Steam and Metaboli. The retailer acquired a 50 per cent stake in 7Digital last week, for £7.7 million in cash. The London-based firm has a catalogue of over six million digital music tracks and will become the single supplier for all HMV’s digital operations. 7Digital will also provide an ebooks store for HMV.
NAMCO BANDAI: The Xbox 360, Wii, DS and PC versions of Ghostbusters will finally hit Europe on November 6th – a couple of weeks later than originally expected.
SEGA: The publisher has revealed it is currently working on an all-new 2D Sonic title, codenamed Project Needlemouse. EIDOS: Batman: Arkham Asylum has sold almost two million units worldwide since launch.
This partnership will let us develop our entire digital offer and we very much hope games can be a part of this.
HMV CEO Simon Fox told MCV: “The great thing about this partnership is that it will give HMV the infrastructure to
Simon Fox, HMV
HMV CEO Simon Fox is confident the retailer can become a key player in the digital space and games will play a major role in this
develop its entire digital offer across all formats, and we very much hope games can be a part of this when the time is right.”
The HMV Group’s UK and Ireland division posted 12.5 per cent total sales growth for the 18 weeks to August 29th last week – with like-for-like sales up 1.7 per cent. The full group’s total sales advanced 4.4 per cent and were down 1.8 per cent likefor-like.
“With the Government, ISPs and the entertainment industry now working together to restrict illegal downloading, this is the right time for HMV to invest in digital entertainment. Our joint venture with one of its leading players gives us a strong position in a market poised to grow faster,” added Fox.
Al King returns to games industry FORMER EA and 20th Century Fox marketing director Al King has made a return to the video games industry with Creative Partnership. The marketing firm specialises in creating movie trailers, and has hired King to head up an expansion of its service offering to include video games. Creative Partnership has produced trailers and TV spots for hundreds of blockbuster titles including 28 Days Later, Spider-man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean and 24. King said: “More than ever before, games are competing
equally with movies for consumers’ attention. With the launch of a blockbuster title, there is a huge level of anticipation in the target market, regardless of whether the title’s a movie or a game. “The trailers for both products need to do exactly the same thing: deliver an aspirational, compelling and emotional narrative that satisfies the viewers’ anticipation whilst simultaneously creating more. “Unfortunately, some game trailers, like some movie trailers, fail to do this. There is a very unique skill set required to summarise, sell and entertain
Veteran Al King heads up Creative’s games offering
within a 90 second window. We believe that over our 30 year history we’ve sharpened
those skills and can now bring a fresh perspective to games publishers who are looking for a different, high-end approach to trailer making.” King was marketing director at EA from 1993 to 2003, and joined 20th Century Fox in 2004. He also held roles at Midway and startup Kwari. Nic Ost of Creative Partnership added: “The Call of Duty 4 and Grand Theft Auto IV trailers have caught the eye of the movie industry, and from our perspective are achievable benchmarks for the entire video games industry.” Creative: 07747 487270
RISING STAR: A new partnership has been formed with Italian distributor Cidiverte. The company will now handle Rising Star products in Italy. NORDIC GAMES: Upcoming Wii singing title We Sing is to be distributed in Australia and New Zealand by THQ Asia Pacific. WARNER BROS: The firm has created DC Entertainment, a division tasked with prioritising DC Comic and franchises as key growth points for Warner in films and games.
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10 MCV 18/09/09
Gamescom backs GMAs as limited number of Trade Tickets go on sale Europe’s largest trade event gets behind 2009’s Games Media Awards Tickets up for grabs at just £50 A LIMITED NUMBER of Trade Tickets for this year’s Games Media Awards are now on sale. The GMAs take place at Camden Jongleurs on the evening of Thursday, October 15th. It’s the single biggest gathering of games media of the year. You may or may not consider this to be a good reason to go. If you do, then you’ll be pleased and perhaps a little shocked to learn that tickets are just £50. What do you get for your money? Well, obviously, there’s the Games Media Awards. The great and
the even better of our industry’s fourth estate will be acclaimed heartily, with categories covering the specialist, mainstream, print and digital media. They’ll all be there. You know the ones. If a gathering of games journos could ever be described as a glittering event, this would be the one. On top of that, you get: Free drinks, free food, the brilliant stand-up comedian Micky Flanagan (pictured), plus the chance to make a tremendous arse of yourself doing live karaoke with BigDog Bandaoke.
Tickets are limited. To secure yours, email Dave.Roberts @intentmedia.co.uk
renewing its acquaintance with the UK media and industry at Jongleurs, Camden.
Meeting all relevant players in the market is vital to us, and that’s why we are pleased to be part of the GMAs. Franko Fischer, Gamescom
Meanwhile, Gamescom, the largest video game event in Europe, has signed up as an Event Partner with the Games Media Awards. After a successful debut show in Cologne this summer, the Gamescom team will be
Gamescom’s press and PR officer Franko Fischer told MCV: “Celebrating the games and meeting all relevant players in the market: That’s the corephilosophy of Gamescom and that’s why we are very pleased to be part of the GMAs.”
E WEEK H T F O N G I A P CAM DORA’S BOX AND PAN N O T Y A L R O S PROFES
Nintendo prepares its splendid sequel to one of the DS’s biggest ever games…
Pandora’s Box will be supported by a major twophase TV campaign kicking off the week before launch and going right through to October. The second phase of TV will concentrate on both Professor Layton titles, aiming to open up the franchise to a new audience that has yet to experience it.
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To complement the first phase of TV activity there will be takeovers online of major gaming and puzzle sites. The online activity will act as pre-awareness and is already underway. In addition to this there
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During the second phase of activity there will also be print advertising running. It will be placed in the puzzle sections of various magazines and newspapers. The ads will feature a quick puzzle for the reader to do. POS
Retail materials will be available for Pandora's Box in the form of standees, cubes, FSDUs, and more. All of the artwork ties to the game’s packshot.
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14 MCV 18/09/09
NEWS ANALYSIS: DLC AT RETAIL
Clockwise from top left: Ben Feder (TakeTwo), Tim Ellis (HMV), Simon Wells (Activision Blizzard) and Kim Bayley (ERA)
WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE With more DLC finding its way to retail shelves, are we seeing the start of a healthy relationship develop between bricks and mortar and digital distribution? James Batchelor investigates… THE GROWING importance of downloadable content is plain to see. Almost every major release over the past year has boasted DLC episodes and expansions, and now this content is making the journey from the online space to the High Street. Since the summer, the industry’s release schedule has been rife with titles that originated from or contain previously digital-exclusive content, destined to sit on shelves alongside or replace their original retail versions. This has been a mix of standalone versions of the DLC itself, such as Fallout 3’s Game Add-On Packs and the upcoming Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, or games that were previously released online, such as Warner Bros’ Watchmen: The End Is Nigh. Alternatively, there are a number of upcoming expanded re-releases such as Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition, and the Game Of The Year editions of Fable II and LittleBigPlanet, with content that has previously only been available online. In short: digital distribution has come full circle – and while retail might not be the place
that these games or add-ons originally ‘premiered’, they are proof that publishers have moved to bring a bit of unity, and find ways to encourage more sales, from how digital and retail can intersect. “The only way that retailers have traditionally been able to participate in DLC is through the sales of points cards,” says Activision Blizzard’s brand manager Simon Wells.
industry is watching these products carefully. Take-Two, for example, has told investors it will base its policy on future digital content on the expected success of Episodes from Liberty City, a new disc which incorporates the DLC for GTA IV. “Everything is going to have a download component, needs to have a download component to it and this is one of the key
Releasing downloadable content on disc gives retailers the opportunity to share in its success. Simon Wells, Activision
“By releasing existing DLC as part of a bundle with the original game, retailers get the opportunity to share in the success and sales of this additional content, as well as maintain the product’s longevity.” A SHOT IN THE ARM Add-on packs are nothing new, but the digital debut of them followed by a migration to disc is something that has only truly developed in the last one or two years, and as such the
lessons [we’ve learned from GTA IV],” CEO Ben Feder revealed during a recent investors’ call. “We’ll see how [the DLC] in the retail SKU performs. We are actually pretty optimistic about it and we think it’s terrific value – for $40, two great GTA games boasting new content at retail is an unbelievable value.” Given the high budgets for games like GTA and their extra content, the profit-making and
cost-mitigating potential of repurposing DLC to reach new consumers is obvious. Of course, even without a retail release for downloadable content, retailers have been benefiting from the continued digital support for new and older releases. Gears Of War 2 was propelled back into the charts in July, thanks largely to the release of its Dark Corners DLC. Bringing such online material to shelves as new or expanded products only serves to improve a game’s sales and status further. “As a brand extension, DLC gives consumers a longer playing experience and helps maintain the profile, sales and shelf-life of the original game,” adds Paul Oughton, sales director for Bethesda – who likewise recently saw Fallout 3 re-enter the charts alongside an add-on disc filled with former DLC content. Hybridising the digital and retail worlds helps to extend and promote brands and their shelf-life, Oughton says, as well as providing benefits to both the traditional bricks and mortar world, plus the ever-expanding digital one. DIRECTOR’S CUT As parallels continue to emerge between our industry and that
of Hollywood, the rising number of DLC-enhanced games on the shelves begins to follow the trend set by the DVD market. Some of the most popular films of all time have been able to maintain sales momentum and stature over long periods of time via re-release in the form of special editions, ultimate editions, director’s cuts – all driven by the inclusion of extra content. Key classic games can now become more permanent fixtures on store shelves in the same way. It’s a technique that could become more prevalent in the games industry should the current line-up of titles based on downloadable content prove to be strong sellers. With many games falling from the public mindset mere weeks after their debut, such products stand to recreate the success seen with expanded DVD and album releases – something retailers will no doubt welcome. “We’ve always felt that, where possible, added value is more often than not a preferable route to achieving enhanced customer engagement and increased traffic and higher spends,” says HMV’s head of games Tim Ellis.
MCV 18/09/09 15
NEWS ANALYSIS: DLC AT RETAIL RE-CONNECTING
“We’ve seen that with film content and, increasingly, the music industry has woken up to this also – so I feel it’s something we can successfully incorporate into our games offers when appropriate.” But the games industry should learn from the more entrenched video and music retail business before exploiting it too heavily, warns Kim Bayley, director general of the Entertainment Retailers Association. “Publishers also need to be aware of growing consumer scepticism of ‘bonus features’ that has already emerged in the video and music businesses,” she says.
“Products really need to justify themselves in terms of gameplay, additional features and quality otherwise there is a danger that consumers will turn away from such products.” Activision’s Wells agrees, pointing out that that DLCbased retail products need to be carefully tweaked and targeted as they are not being produced for the same market as those who have made the downloadable content successful in the first place. “The consumers that purchase DLC through retail are different to those that purchase directly online,” Wells adds. “Current owners of the original game who are looking
WANT MORE ON DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION? The October 27th London Games Conference is the first event dedicated to the world of digital distribution. Taking place at BAFTA, Piccadilly, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft and GfK-ChartTrack have already confirmed they will be presenting. It costs £229 to attend, with discounts available for ELSPA and Tiga members. To book your place, contact Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk.
to increase their gaming experience are the key targets for the online DLC, whereas the retail strategy is very much aimed at new consumers to the franchise and those yet to purchase the game.” STRANGE BEDFELLOWS So the latest wave of DLC released on disc is proof that publishers are far from ready to give up on retailers yet, despite the lower distribution costs and immediate community connection offered by digital sales. But while the age-old fear that digital distribution will somehow eclipse traditional bricks and mortar games releases isn’t yet realised, it’s clear publishers will keep pushing the boundaries. While DLC still drives disc sales, the hype and excitement around the introduction of new content is now something the digital world lays claim to. During its fiscal conference call, Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick assured board members that “retail remains our primary channel”, but his colleague Feder did admit the firm will be supporting both routes to consumers. “It’s clear that retail is the channel for the foreseeable
future,” he says. “The games live online and they live at retail. They live at both and whether that is download first, retail second/retail first, download second or some combination of the two, that’s an area that we are going to experiment with.” Nevertheless it is clear that going forward the two worlds of digital and retail will work hand in hand to capture as wide an audience as possible. The industry is confident that this relationship can only become stronger. “I think there is a tendency to sometimes undervalue its importance, but retail plays a key role in engaging customers,” says Ellis. “For this reason, we believe more DLC will appear on disc in future.” Bayley adds: “Retailers provide an excellent shop window for these products and, while many publishers may consider direct-to-consumer downloadable offerings as their ultimate goal, they need to be mindful of the real benefits of third-party distribution through retailers: namely, the implied endorsement of a trusted name, the long-term relationship with a favourite retailer and service with a human face.”
WHILE ANYONE can walk into a shop, the success of DLC is largely dependent on the market’s internet penetration. The UK is particularly fortunate in this, with a National Statistic Omnibus Survey published in August reporting that 70 per cent of our nation’s households are online and connected to the web. Under such circumstances, it’s easy to see why DLC content is thriving and publishers are increasing their efforts in the digital space. However, the same does not apply for other markets around the world, which is why discs that repackage DLC for sale via retail remain of crucial importance to publishers. “Outside the UK, online connectivity rates are not as high, so in these regions the boxed product is a primary route to market,” explains Bethesda sales director Paul Oughton. “Even in the UK, a large element of consumers still prefer to have a tactile product in a box rather than downloadable code. Fallout managed to break out from purely a hardcore of gamers and it’s this broader market that is less likely to download, hence the retail offering.” Activision Blizzard’s brand manager Simon Wells adds: “There are many gamers that do not have the availability of online accounts with either Microsoft or Sony and therefore cannot access the DLC normally. “This kind of proposition is attractive to these consumers that wish to continue and expand on their gaming experience with a particular title.” The benefits of such releases are obvious as a previoulsy inaccessible market is no longer out of reach, despite consumers’ lack of internet connections in certain areas. That also means the model for how retail and DLC is open for exploitation and experimentation. While online services like Xbox Live, PSN and Steam might get ‘first dibs’ on DLC packs, will the likes of GAME and Gamestation look to secure exclusive distribution of those DLC discs to make them even more useful to retail? It’s certainly one area to keep an eye on.
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MCV 18/09/09 17
MCV INTERVIEW MICHAEL SPORTOUCH, SENIOR DIRECTOR EUROPE, GUITAR HERO
Super Hero As senior director of Guitar Hero for Europe, Michael Sportouch oversees the local chunk of Activision’s billion dollar music franchise. Fresh from Guitar Hero 5’s rise to UK Number One this week, he spoke to Michael French about the growth of the music game genre – and the firm’s retail strategy… At Activision’s retail showcase earlier in the year you said that Guitar Hero is ‘more than a game’. What did you mean by that? Guitar Hero has changed the dynamic not just of the games industry but the music industry. We have sold some 35 million copies worldwide – it’s the fastest selling game ever. We were the first to reach $1 billion in 18 months and have now surpassed the $2 billion mark in 26 months. Even franchises like Mario and The Sims haven’t done that. We are also changing things for the music business. According to a lot of artists and labels, even if there was no activity for bands or musicians – like a tour or a new album – they saw a big peak in download sales as soon as the Guitar Hero games they featured in were released. The music industry, like
Hero, DJ Hero and Guitar Hero 5 really show that. I don’t want to dismiss the competition – we respect them – but GH5 has 85 tracks from 83 different artists, most of which have never been in a music game before, such as the Kings of Leon and The Killers, Stevie Wonder and Coldplay. All our research shows that the 35 million GH fans want music variety. That’s what we’re going to deliver this Christmas. Activison has talked a lot about growing its European business. How important are the Hero games to that strategy? We are very happy with Guitar Hero’s market share in Europe – we are the clear leader of the category. We outsell one of our competitors nine-to-one,
I don’t want to dismiss the competition, but Guitar Hero 5 has 85 tracks from 83 artists. Our fans want variety. Michael Sportouch, Activision
the games industry, is a small world – people talk to each other. Now the music industry, which was once upon a time a bit sceptical about us, have changed their tune. It’s a big year for the Hero brand – has anything changed as you’ve expanded it to new games Band Hero and DJ Hero? Bear in mind GH only first arrived three years ago in Europe, during the summer of 2006. It’s still a very new franchise and this is why we see a bright future for it. We continue to innovate, both in terms of hardware and software. Our strategy since the beginning has always been to have the largest variety of music and the largest variety of artists. Band
eight-to-one or seven-to-one depending on the week. The last GfK report I saw showed that we have a 50 per cent market share of the music category – which includes Rock Band, Wii Music, SingStar and every other music game. But we still have lots of consumers still to attract and educate. One reason some people have not yet bought Guitar Hero is because of the music – that is the big opportunity for DJ Hero. If you don't like rock music, heavy metal or guitars you might think GH is interesting but you won’t buy it. All of the people who like hip hop and electronic music – and we have a real dance culture in Europe – are left out by those games. DJ Hero is a great opportunity to appeal to them and grow our business.
Is entering new music genres the only way to grow it? Growth will come from a combination of new genres and continuing to innovate. It could be a big innovation, like DJ Hero, which has a new instrument and new music. The game includes 90 mixes you don’t have anywhere else. You can mash up acts like Daft Punk or Benny Benassi.
Or it can be smaller innovations, like in GH5 and Band Hero, which widen the selection of music for established or younger owners. We’re getting great reviews for GH5 and it has sold very well in its first few days – because we are including perhaps not big innovation but lots of great details, like new gameplay modes that really improve what it offers.
18 MCV 18/09/09
MCV INTERVIEW MICHAEL SPORTOUCH, SENIOR DIRECTOR EUROPE, GUITAR HERO
SMASH HIT: Guitar Hero 5 (above, left) leapt straight to the top of the UK charts this week, outperforming rival The Beatles: Rock Band; DJ Hero (above, right) hits at the end of October
You said there could be more hardware innovations. Does that mean new, different instruments? Well, innovation can come from software or hardware. When it makes sense – and if it makes sense, because we do a lot of research with consumers on that – we will do it. Currently, we’re introducing the turntable and have improved the guitars and drums for GH, so we continue to improve and finetune quality. We’ll see in future what new directions we might want to go in. We invest heavily in R&D, so we’ll see. Harmonix has The Beatles; Activision recently announced Rolling Stones tracks for GH5. Is there an arms race in the music genre over who can sign which act? We don’t see it as a problem. And having competition drives you to get better and improve consistently and innovate – again, the numbers speak for themselves. Today when we speak with labels we are the clear leader of the market by far, especially in Europe where we dominate. We have always proposed the largest variety of artists and the largest selection of music – we have iconic bands like the Rolling Stones, classic artists like Santana plus the most up-to-date stars like Coldplay and Kings of Leon. Again, we think that is a much more compelling offer than the competition. In the end, the consumers will decide. On one side you have one band – a great band, no question about that. On the other, you have us. Consumers today want something different and varied. Even our artist-specific packs like the Metallica and Aerosmith discs
feature other artists too. It’s always been our strategy. But doesn’t the pressure to sign bands exclusively go up as the number of music games rises? Even if we have other competitors – including those new entrants you mention – those other competitors have put all their faith in one band. That means the discussion is easier for us. Look at Band Hero, DJ Hero and Guitar Hero 5 – we have a selection of the best artists. Black Eyed Peas have dominated the charts – they are in DJ Hero. Kings of Leon are huge – they are in Guitar Hero. Really, we’re ahead of the curve in terms of talent – we get a lot of acts who are set to be big on board early.
with over 70 million downloads. In Band Hero, we have Taylor Smith – she’s a big star in the US and is growing her audience in Europe, but we were talking to her before she became big. And she’s in the game. So we do want to be partnering with the emerging talent as well as the stars of today – and we already are. I can’t reveal all our plans right now but we are always looking at opportunities for bands who people might not have heard of. MCV recently reported that the Official Charts Company is interested in tracking music DLC sales. Is that something you want to see? Yes, I think it will be a really interesting move. It will show the impact of music games versus CD units sold and MP3
Our competitors have put all their faith in one band. That means the discussion [with music labels] is easier for us. Michael Sportouch, Activision
MTV’s new Rock Band Network service is touted as being key for music stars of tomorrow to get in to music games. What are you doing to compete on that front? Well, they do a lot of announcements and talk a lot – but we don’t talk, we act. Last year we had a big booth at Midem and organised a competition to find a new artist to put in GH5. We helped discover Attack Attack! that way. They performed for us at Gamescom. And in Guitar Hero World Tour we introduced the Music Studio – 250,000 songs have been made and uploaded
sales – that’s very powerful. When music is in Guitar Hero it is an opportunity to reach millions of users, different people. And it’s complementary to the album sales, it doesn’t challenge it. So it will be important to measure that. There have been 12 Guitar Hero discs so far – what’s the balance between the retail offering and the DLC strategy? Today, and unlike some of our competition, most of our business is from retail and we want that continue.
We need to find the right combination between retail and DLC – but a good proportion of our audience isn’t yet downloading content. Overall it’s not what a Guitar Hero player looks for first. We have a good proportion of players on Wii, which doesn’t have as much DLC. So we will always produce disc-based games. That’s an important part of getting those new artists and tracks on GH early – even though there are more and more people with internet access, there is still a majority that will buy the game in shops, and plug a disc in their console. They’ll want to see the latest songs in our most recent disc offering. Given that Hero titles tend to include peripheral bundles, are you under any more scrutiny than normal, given the economic climate, as you’re asking people to spend on DJ decks and guitars? In all our research – and we spend a lot of time researching and testing – we talk to the consumers about pricing. So far the response is that people care most about value for money and the general answer on our range is that the value for money is strong – you can play for hours and hours and there is loads of replay value. That message is understood by consumers. It only puts pressure on us to make sure the games are always good value for money. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but compare Guitar Hero 5 versus the competition – we have over 80 songs from as many artists, but the competition has half of that. The Hero games are still the best value music titles out there.
“INTENSE AND MANIC... FLASHPOINT TAKES ITS COMBAT VERY SERIOUSLY” OFFICIAL PLAYSTATION MAGAZINE
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Welcome to Skira, a 220 km2 open world battleﬁeld and the newest frontline in the war for energy. Join the US Marine Corps as they take on the might of the Chinese PLA and ﬁght to stop a ﬂashpoint engagement over oil erupting into full blown war.
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© 2006 the codemasters software company limited (“codemasters”). all rights reserved. “codemasters”® and “operation ﬂashpoint”® are registered trademarks owned by codemasters. “dragon rising”™, “ego”™ and the codemasters logo are trademarks of codemasters. all other copyrights or trademarks are the property of their respective owners and are being used under license. developed and published by codemasters. unauthorised copying, adaptation, rental, lending, re-sale, arcade use, charging for use, broadcast, cable transmission, public performance, distribution or extraction of this product or any trademark or copyright work that forms part of this product is prohibited. “2” and “PLAYSTATION” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Core, and Core Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.
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MCV 18/09/09 21
Christmas cheer Some major games may have slipped to next year, but that doesn’t mean this year’s Q4 is lacking in chart-toppers. MCV guides you through what’s in store for retail over the next three months…
22 MCV 18/09/09
ACTION ASSASSIN’S CREED II 360/PS3/PC, Ubisoft, November 20th More parkour and professional murders, this time in the new historical setting of Renaissance Italy. BORDERLANDS 360/PS3/PC, Take-Two, October 23th This cel-shaded, role-playing triple-A shooter from Gearbox arrives in time for Christmas, with anticipation building nicely. BRUTAL LEGEND 360/PS3, EA, October 15th Rock-themed fantasy adventure starring Jack Black as a roadie destined lead a magical world into the Age of Metal. CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 2 360/PS3/PC, Activision, November 10th The highly-anticipated sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed firstperson shooters of all time. GTA: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITY 360, Rockstar, October 30 The retail release of the first two episodes of DLC developed for GTA IV. OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING 360/PS3/PC, Codemasters, October 9th The popular FPS returns, once again authentically recreating military combat. UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3, Sony, October TBC Following the success of the 2007 original, Nathan Drake embarks on a brand new adventure.
ONES TO WATCH DEAD SPACE EXTRACTION Wii, EA, October 2nd GHOSTBUSTERS 360/Wii/DS/PC, Atari, November 6th JAMES CAMERON’S AVATAR 360/PS3/Wii/DS/PSP/PC, Ubisoft, December TBC LEFT 4 DEAD 2 360/PC, Electronic Arts, November RESIDENT EVIL: THE DARKSIDE CHRONICLES Wii, Capcom, November 27th STAR WARS CLONE WARS 360/PS3/Wii/PS2/DS/PSP/PC, Activision Blizzard, October TBC TEKKEN 6 360/PS3/PSP, Atari, October TBC THE SABOTEUR 360/PS3/PC, EA, December 8th WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 360/PS3/Wii/DS/PSP, THQ, October 23rd
ALSO OUT… BAKUGAN: BATTLE BRAWLERS (360/PS3/Wii/DS/PS2, Activision Blizzard, October 23rd), DRAGON BALL Z (360/PS3/Wii/DS, Namco Bandai, October), GTA: CHINATOWN WARS (PSP, Rockstar, October 23rd), JU-ON: THE GRUDGE (Wii, Rising Star, October 30th), MARVEL SUPER HERO SQUAD (PS2/DS/PSP, THQ, October 23rd), MURAMASA: THE DEMON BLADE (Wii, Rising Star, November), NARUTO: ULTIMATE NINJA 5 (PS2, Namco Bandai, November), NINJA GAIDEN SIGMA 2 (PS3, Koei, October 2nd), PLANET 51 (360/PS3/Wii/DS, Sega, November), ROGUE WARRIOR (360/PS3/PC, Bethesda, Q4 TBC), SAW: THE GAME (360/PS3/PC, Konami, Q4 TBC), STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT: ELITE SQUADRON (DS/PSP, Activision Blizzard, Q4 TBC), STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED: ULTIMATE SITH EDITION (360/PS3/PC, Activision Blizzard, Q4 TBC), TMNT: SMASH UP (Wii, Ubisoft, October)
MCV 18/09/09 23
FAMILY ONES TO WATCH BUZZ! QUIZ WORLD PS3/PSP, Sony, October TBC UP 360/PS3/Wii/PS2/PC/DS/PSP, THQ, October 2nd EYEPET PS3, Sony, October TBC RABBIDS GO HOME! Wii, Ubisoft, Q4 TBC
ALSO OUT… ANGEL CAT SUGAR (DS, Rising Star, October 30th), GAME PARTY 3 (Wii, Warner Bros, Q4 TBC), IMAGINE (DS, Ubisoft, Various), JIG-A-PIX (DSi, Zushi, Various), LITTLE BOOK OF BIG SECRETS (DSi, Zushi, October 9th), MEDIEVAL GAMES (Wii, Bethesda, October 30th), SCENE IT? (360/PS3/Wii, Warner Bros, Q4 TBC), THE SIMS 3 WORLD ADVENTURES (PC, Electronic Arts, November 20th), WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (Various, Warner Bros, November), YOUR SHAPE (Wii, Ubisoft, Q4 TBC)
EA SPORTS ACTIVE: MORE WORKOUTS Wii, EA, Q4 TBC Expanding upon Electronic Arts’ best-selling fitness game, More Workouts introduces cardio-focused exercises to users’ routines. WII FIT PLUS Wii, Nintendo, Q4 TBC The successor to Nintendo’s retail phenomenon hits shelves, once again helping Wii owners maintain a healthier lifestyle. COOKING MAMA 3 DS, 505 Games, Q4 TBC Continuing the success of the addictive DS mini-game series, with the multitalented Mama preparing allnew dishes.
MUSIC ONES TO WATCH DISNEY SING IT!: POP HITS PS3/Wii/PS2, Disney, October 2nd LEGO ROCK BAND 360/PS3/Wii/DS, Warner Bros, November TBC LIPS: NUMBER ONE HITS 360, Microsoft, October 23rd
ALSO OUT… U-SING (Wii/DS, Mindscape, November 6th) WE SING (Wii, Nordic Games, October 30th)
BAND HERO 360/PS3/Wii/PS2/DS, Activision, November TBC A more family-orientated Hero title, this iteration supports all manner of microphones, drums and guitar controllers and boasts a mass-market setlist. DJ HERO 360/PS3/Wii/PS2, Activision, Q4 TBC The other iteration of this year’s Hero trilogy introduces the turntable controller, recreating the sensation of being a hit DJ. SINGSTAR: TAKE THAT PS3/PS2, Sony, Q4 TBC The newest addition to the SingStar family focuses on one of Britain’s biggest ever boybands – both with and without Robbie.
24 MCV 18/09/09
PLATFORMER NEW SUPER MARIO BROS WII Wii, Nintendo, Q4 TBC For the first time ever, the plumber’s fans can work together with four-player cooperative platforming. SCRIBBLENAUTS DS, Warner Bros, October 9th An innovative adventure where players can come up with tens of thousands of solutions to each and every puzzle, using over 20,000 words.
ONES TO WATCH A BOY AND HIS BLOB Wii, Majesco, October DRAWN TO LIFE: THE NEXT CHAPTER Wii/DS, THQ, October 16th JAK & DAXTER: THE LOST FRONTIER PS2/PSP, Sony, Q4 TBC LEGO INDIANA JONES 2: 360/PS3/Wii/PS2/PC/DS/PSP, Activision Blizzard, Q4 TBC RATCHET & CLANK: A CRACK IN TIME PS3, Sony, Q4 TBC
AND DONT FORGET... Q4’S BIGGEST SELLERS aren’t necessarily games out during October to December. These titles may have been released in September, but they still have the potential to keep selling in the run-up to Christmas… The Beatles: Rock Band (EA), Guitar Hero 5 (Activision Blizzard), Halo 3: ODST (Microsoft), Professor Layton & Pandora’s Box (Nintendo), Need For Speed: Shift (EA), Dirt 2 (Codemasters), Dissidia Final Fantasy (Square Enix), Academy Of Champions (Ubisoft), Order Of War (Square Enix), Mini Ninjas (Eidos), Wet (Bethesda), SuperCar Challenge (System 3), Toy Story Mania (Disney), IL-2 Sturmovik (505 Games), Spectrobes: Origins (Disney), Aion (NCsoft), Section 8 (South Peak), NewU (Ubisoft)
Little Book of Big Secrets is not a Nintendo DSiTM exclusive title. ©2009 Legend Studios. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi are trademarks of Nintendo.
MCV 18/09/09 25
RACING F1 2009 Wii/PSP, Codemasters, Q4 TBC Forumla One racing returns to retail, allowing fans of the motorsport to exprience the thrills of the track. FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 360, Microsoft, October 23rd The third instalment in Microsoft’s acclaimed racing series moves to raise the bar for the racing genre once more. BLUR 360/PS3/PC, Activision November 6th Bizarre Creations’ racing ‘new kid on the block’ has won excited previews in the specialist press and looks set to impact on the Top Ten. GRAN TURISMO PSP, Sony, October 1st Sony’s incredibly successful series finally goes portable – released alongside PSPgo. NEED FOR SPEED: NITRO Wii/DS, EA, November 17th Electronic Arts revitalises its classic racing franchise with a more accessible outing on the Wii and DS.
ALSO OUT… DISNEY PIXAR’S CARS: RACE-O-RAMA (360/PS3/Wii/PS2/DS/PSP, THQ, October 16th), MOTORSTORM: ARCTIC EDGE (PS2/PSP, Sony, Q4 TBC), WHEELSPIN (Wii, Bethesda, November TBC)
Hair Salon © 505 Games S.r.l. Developed by Sonic Powered Co., Ltd. All rights reserved. Published by 505 Games S.r.l. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DSi is a trademark of Nintendo.
26 MCV 18/09/09
SPORTS ONES TO WATCH FIFA 10 360/PS3/Wii/PS2/DS/ PSP/PC, EA, October 2nd The best-selling football franchise returns to dominate the Christmas charts with a revamped engine and Virtual Pro mode. MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES Wii/DS, Sega, October 16th Gaming’s most famous mascots team up once more to compete in snow-covered sports at the upcoming Vancouver Olypmics.
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 PC/PSP, Sega, October 30th TONY HAWK: RIDE 360/PS3/Wii, Activision Blizzard, November 20th
ALSO OUT… NBA 2K10 (360/PS3, Take-Two, Q4 TBC), NHL 2K10 (360/PS3/ Wii/PS2, Take-Two, Q4 TBC), SHAUN WHITE SNOWBOARDING: WORLD STAGE (Wii, Ubisoft, November TBC)
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010 360/PS3/Wii/PS2/DS/PSP/ PC, Konami, October 23rd Konami’s acclaimed franchise seeks to bolster its reputation with improved gameplay and an updated Master League.
RPG & STRATEGY KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 DAYS DS, Square Enix, October 9th The DS debut for the hugely popular RPG series that combines the universes of Disney and Final Fantasy. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SPIRIT TRACKS DS Nintendo, Q4 TBC Link returns in the followup to Phantom Hourglass, swapping his boat for a train as he seeks to rid the land of evil. DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS 360/PS3/PC, Electronic Arts, November 11th BioWare’s return to fantasy RPGs spins a tale of heroes that changes depending on players’ initial choices.
ONES TO WATCH ALPHA PROTOCOL 360/PS3/PC, Sega, October 9th MARIO & LUIGI RPG: BOWSER’S INSIDE STORY DS, Nintendo, Q4 TBC RISEN PC, Deep Silver, October 2nd
ALSO OUT… LUMINOUS ARC (DS, Rising Star, October 9th), TALES OF SYMPHONIA (Wii, Namco Bandai, November TBC), TROPICO 3 (PC, Kalypso, October 16th)
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Fallout® 3 Game of the Year Edition © 2009 Bethesda Softworks LLC, a ZeniMax Media company. Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, ZeniMax and related logos are registered trademarks or trademarks of ZeniMax Media Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Fallout, Prepare for the Future and related logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Bethesda Softworks LLC in the U.S. and/or other countries. All Rights Reserved. “2“, “PLAYSTATION” and “À” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. The PlayStation Network Logo is a service mark 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 Rights Reserved.
3 is the ultimate video game.â€? - Game Critics Awards
30 MCV 18/09/09
DREAMCAST IS TEN
I had a Dream 09/09/09 was very much Beatles day. At EA, busy launching Beatles Rock Band, it must have been particularly moptop-tastic. But for one of the firm’s senior execs, the date was significant for other reasons, and sparked memories of revolution number 9/9/99. Peter Moore, now head of EA Sports – but then president of Sega US– remembers the ground-breaking launch of the Dreamcast and reflects on its legacy... I HOPE MCV READERS will allow me the indulgence of reminiscence and nostalgia in this period that marks the 10th anniversary of the period between the launch of the Dreamcast here in North America on 09/09/99, and in Europe a month later. It certainly doesn't feel like a decade has gone by since this innovative console ushered in the era of online gaming, albeit through a 56K modem, and thus changed the face of interactive entertainment forever. The memories of course are bittersweet – we all know how this movie ended – but I was fortunate to have worked at that time with some of the most amazingly dedicated individuals, all of whom were galvanised around a single goal: Prove the naysayers wrong, launch the console with a bang, get to a meaningful installed base within the first twelve months, and keep the momentum going in the face of the upcoming stiff competition. With the Dreamcast’s online capabilities, we coined a phrase: ‘We're taking gamers where gaming is going’. In our heart of hearts, we worried that we would not be there for the entire journey, but it was with great pride that, with our Sega Sports games in particular, we ushered in the era of connected interactive entertainment.
I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that the Dreamcast and its online network laid the ground for what we all take for granted today – online gameplay, linking innumerable gamers from around the world to play, compete and collaborate, as well as enabling new content to be delivered in addition to that which was delivered on the disc. Over the years, I have been asked many times whether EA's decision not to develop and publish games for the Dreamcast was a major contributing factor in its early demise. That we will never know. But it is hard to argue with EA's rationale at the time and the ultimate outcome – get in position for the impending arrival of the Playstation 2, deploying all resources against the
our computers were about to burst into flames on 01/01/00... And what a launch line-up we had. 18 titles was probably three or four too many, but we had all genres covered, featuring classics such as Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure, NFL 2K and Ready 2 Rumble. All were brought to glorious 3D life through the Power VR graphics chip. ‘CAST’S IRON The "biggest 24 hours in retail entertainment history" occurred on 9/9/99, with day one sales totalling just under $98m To support this outstanding portfolio of games, and the need to explode out of the blocks at launch with the console, we knew we needed a disruptive,
The Dreamcast was a lastgasp failure in finance terms. But it had a profound effect on the history of video games.
newest version of Sony's already wildly successful video game platform. And you can't argue with the results. EA came out of the blocks strongly in support of the PS2, and enjoyed tremendous success throughout the key years of that console. If there was one irony to come out of this, it was necessity of investment in a sports label to bolster the Dreamcast line-up. Conventional wisdom in that period was that the first party should have a sports brand (PlayStation had 989 Sports and Xbox would have XSN), and the Dreamcast was no exception. Thus was born Sega Sports 2K – named after the Y2K phenomenon that had us all paranoid that
attention-grabbing campaign that would get gamers talking and drive anticipation. Thus was born the ‘It's Thinking’ campaign, where we urged you to ‘Not think out loud, it might hear you’, informed you that ‘Outsmarting it will only make it smarter’ and warned you that ‘You know it's alive. Worse. It knows it's alive’. Quirky and slightly dark, the ads generated more PR than the media spend – always a sign of a successful campaign. The media plan came to a crescendo on launch night as we debuted ‘Apocalypse’ during the MTV VMA's; still, ten years later, one of the more dramatic and lavishly-produced video game commercials. Allow me this forum to correct one misconception about the final days of
the Dreamcast. Sega of Japan had rightly set sales goals for the North American market for the critical Christmas selling period of 2000, and as strong as our numbers were, they fell short of where we needed to be. In January, The decision was made, from Japan, to pull the plug and begin the transition to becoming a multi-platform third party developer and publisher. We at SOA, while disappointed, were in full agreement that this was the only real course of action, and it was with a heavy heart that I hosted the conference call on January 31st, 2001, announcing that Sega was ceasing manufacturing of the Dreamcast console. The call on the decision was made by SOJ. The conference call to announce the decision was conducted by SOA. Many saw the Dreamcast as a spectacular failure, a last-gasp effort by a once-powerful player in the industry to remain relevant (and solvent). If measured by longevity and the ultimate financial outcome, they were right. But the Dreamcast had a profound and lasting impact on the world of video games. Isao Okawa, the chairman of Sega Enterprises and the driving force behind the Dreamcast, tragically passed away two months after that fateful January conference call. He had a vision that a game console, combined with the power of the internet, could bring people together in ways that were previously unimaginable. He didn't live to see that vision come to fruition, and his beloved Dreamcast couldn't survive to play a role in the powerful world of connected gaming we all enjoy today, but it certainly lit the spark, and that we should never forget. This article first appeared on Peter Moore’s Official Blog – http://itsinthegame.ea.com
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DREAMCAST IS TEN
EA Sports boss Peter Moore says he announced Dreamcast’s demise in 2001 “with a heavy heart”
34 MCV 18/09/09
GAME PACKAGING: SPECIAL EDITIONS
Especially for you From Batarangs to night vision goggles, this year’s line-up of collector packs is certainly impressive – but is it all getting out of hand? Christopher Dring speaks to publishers and retailers on the benefits, hazards and the future of the special edition…
BACK IN JULY Infinity Ward revealed to the world its Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition. The developer’s community manager Robert Bowling showed the set off in a special YouTube video and it came with everything – there was the tin box, the art book, the downloadable game, the bust and, of course, the pair of fully operational night vision goggles. The response to the reveal was ecstatic, the forums lit up with eager fans desperate to know where they can get their hands on the product and HMV – the retailer that obtained the pack exclusively in the UK – sold out in a matter of weeks. It isn’t the only limited edition set to sell out this year, with the Batman: Arkham Asylum’s Batarang pack proving particularly popular, and this Christmas consumers can look forward to more special editions than ever before. “Retail is an important thing to us – and our core audience loves nice physical products,” says NCsoft’s European chief Veronique Lallier “That’s why we always pay attention to high end
collectors editions with statues and merchandise – it’s very important for our target audience. They like collectables and nice items.” Activision’s senior UK sales director Roy Stackhouse agrees: “One of the eyeopeners for me is when we had the midnight opening for Wrath of the Lich King. You suddenly saw how the gamers live and breathe their games. They want something they can own so they can become more a part of the franchise. And collector’s editions allow them to do that. They’ll have the statues and the night vision goggles, because it means that much to them.” Limited editions have certainly evolved from the extra posters and alternate pack shots of the past. Today everything from figurines, clothing, making of DVDs, soundtracks and extra digital content comes a standard, and publishers are becoming even more creative – such as with the aforementioned night vision goggles in Modern Warfare 2, last year’s Fallout 3 lunch box or the upcoming knife artefact in Sony’s US version of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. “From a marketing point-of-view it is all about finding new ways to excite the consumer, and gives us something else to talk about,” explains Activision’s UK marketing director David Tyler.
“We are getting more creative, but it’s got to be audience appropriate.” SPACE CONSTRAINTS
As popular as the collector’s sets are proving to be, they do come with significant challenges – especially during the Christmas run-in. The sheer quantity of Q4 releases means that space is tight, so a surge in packs filled with toys will cause additional ranging headaches. So are we reaching a stage where there’s just too many special editions?
With the rise in digital downloads, retail needs to offer more and more as part of the boxed product. Lauren Bradley, Namco Bandai “Not at the moment,” says HMV’s head of games Tim Ellis. “But it goes without saying that if you bring out too many special editions, they stop becoming special and start becoming standard. So it’s important to strike the right balance. “Stocking special editions helps to underline our growing specialist games credentials and extends the range of service we can offer our customers.” Namco Bandai’s product manager Lauren Bradley adds: “Unless the edition adds real value then it is very
difficult for our retail partners to range some of the items. “Retail has to be careful with what they choose. In the UK we limit which of Namco Bandai special editions we offer as they have to be right for our market specifically – arguably the most inundated in Europe.” This Christmas gamers are spoilt for choice with collector’s editions, from entire in-game quests for Assassin’s Creed 2 to an exclusive Eminem and Jay-Z CD pack with DJ Hero. But what about the future? What digital giveaways and plastic addons can we expect in the future? “The focus should be in making the content special and making the edition a worthwhile purchase,” says Ubisoft brand manager Jan Sanghera. “We think in the future they will provide even more downloadable and in-game content.” Bradley concludes: “With the proliferation of digital download, offline retailers need to offer more and more as part of the boxed product so we’re going to see real improvements going forward, especially incorporating more functional items. “As an industry we’re lucky to be really creative in this area and less limited than the DVD market.”
MCV 18/09/09 35
GAME PACKAGING: BOX ART
TEN YEARS OF PACK DESIGN Collector edition sets can certainly grab consumer attention, but nothing does that better than the traditional pack shot. Design specialist Fluid takes us through the last decade of its pack design and discusses how evolving technology, improved marketing and consumer demand have played a part in changing the way games look on store shelves... 1999 – KULA WORLD: James Glover, Creative Director: “Back in the 1990s, pack art generally wasn’t renowned for its artistic merit. More often that not it would feature just a blown up screenshot and would be really simplistic and poorly edited.“ Mark Harris, Image Creation: “Although this game wasn’t the biggest title we worked on that year it’s an interesting one to look at as it signifies the introduction of more sophisticated design tools. Rather just using flat ingame imagery this pack was created by us using 3D modeling to give a more dynamic representation of the game.“ 2000 – PRO BOARDER JG: “This is definitely one of my favorite packs of the past ten years. Falling within the lifestyle genre, we were given much more freedom to play with the design. Rather than having to strictly represent in-game artwork, this pack art represents an evolution in how marketing teams targeted consumers. It was starting to become more about understanding the wider cultural context of the consumer – what they wore, what music they listened to, where they partied and so forth. These influences were then included in the game branding.” 2001 – RIDGE RACER Neil Roddis, Operations Manager: “This pack came at a time when developers had just started creating intros to the games using high quality renders of the ingame characters. In the case of Ridge Racer we were provided with high polygon 3D renders of the female character and the car meaning that visually we were able to do a lot more, as the artwork was higher resolution.” 2002 – XIII Lee Basford, Deputy Creative Director: “XIII was one of the first celshaded games released on to the market, a design style which has recently seen a resurgence with the likes of Madworld. It was created for PS2 and highlights how the evolution of console technology directly affects the quality of the marketing campaigns – quite simply because the games visuals got better.”
2003 – DEVIL MAY CRY 2 LB: “This game came at a time when Capcom was trying to raise consumer awareness in slightly experimental ways. Video games had now become more mainstream and big brands from other areas of popular culture were taking notice of their consumer appeal. In this particular instance Diesel had facilitated a brand tie-in and I remember creating point of sale standees featuring the main character wearing the brand’s clothing. Rather than being literal with the presentation of the game this pack art lent towards the neo-gothic style that was in fashion at the time.”
2006 – DEAD RISING Jonny Costello, designer: “This game came out of nowhere and is a great example of how a well thoughtout marketing campaign can propel an unknown title to the number one position. “Japan gave us a key piece of zombie artwork and we had to create everything around it, so the escalators that are seen in the background was actually taken from a photo shoot in Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre at 6am in the morning. The images were then ‘zombified’ and reproduced 100s of times imitating the swarm technology, which is a key feature of the game.“
2004 – VIEWTIFUL JOE JG: “This game is quite nice as it’s really different to everything else we’ve picked and it obviously went on to win a whole host of accolades for it’s style and personality. Essentially there had been nothing else like it before and the development team had its own cult following. The assets we were provided with were so strong we felt that rather than over complicate the pack art this time we would go back to a more traditional style of presentation.”
2007 – MOTO GP NR: “This game raises the issue of localisation and how crucial it is that the pack art is specific to the country. “In this instance the individual territories were given the choice of featuring their star rider – so the person on the pack was different for Italy, US, Spain and Australia. In the past ten years we’ve seen marketing teams massively increase their awareness of cultural sensitivity, what works for one regional audience may be completely unacceptable for another and it’s important that the branding messages don’t get lost in translation. However, that said we’ve now begun to see a move towards global packs, so trends are always constantly evolving“
2005 – RESIDENT EVIL 4 LB: ”Probably one of the most important pieces of pack art we’ve ever worked on. Although it was really well known, the Resident Evil franchise had come to a point where it needed to be refreshed. The game and its marketing campaign came along and just blew the brand up to a completely different level. We weren’t supplied with any assets and were allowed to just run with our own creativity – a brave move by the marketing team, but it paid off. “Because the brand was already familiar to the consumer we could afford to be really subtle with the artwork, focusing on creating a really eerie atmosphere that left most of the marketing up to the imagination. This must have been quite scary for the marketing team, but it shows how much more intelligence they now credited their consumers with, compared to the ridiculously literal interpretations of the early days.”
2008 - CRISIS CORE: FINAL FANTASY VII NR: “This pack is particularly demonstrative to us of how far the combination of technology, design tools and marketing savvy have come in the past decade. If you compare the pack art we created for Final Fantasy VII in 1997 to its 2008 incarnation as Crisis Core the two designs are a world apart. “The 1997 marketing campaign was completely print based, whereas everything for the 2008 campaign was really high tech, escalator step video advertising, web banners, pre-orders online and so on. The entire campaign reflected how the industry had grown up in the past ten years and is a great benchmark of how much technology has progressed as well.”
2009: HOUSE OF THE DEAD: OVERKILL LB: “This was a well known Japanese arcade franchise that was developed this time in the UK. It was an important release for Sega and they allowed us a decent period of research to ensure that the look and feel of the pack art concisely conveyed the fantastic imagery in the game. Marketeers were starting to acknowledge the importance of investing time and budget in creating a powerful look and feel to all elements of a game’s branding.” JUST OUT: DIRT 2 JG: “There’s so much going on in this pack – it incorporates such a diverse variety of cultural references, brands and design styles. It goes to show how ingrained video games have become in the mass entertainment market. We’re no longer designing just for gamers, consumer interests are multi-layered and complex and marketing teams understand this.” THE FUTURE…? JC: “With the way the market is going it is fair to say that games are slowly but surely moving away from the shelves and onto the internet. Presence online is now just as important as offline and there is a bit of a concern that we will see a repetition of what happened with sleeve art in the music industry. “However, in the same breath, gamers like to hold a physical object so taking that point into consideration I don’t think we’ll ever see pack art totally wiped out. Whatever the future holds, design wise the standard of pack art has never been stronger and I think we’ve got a lot of exciting developments to come.”
Fluid is a design specialist and boasts clients such as Codemasters, EA, Sega, THQ, Capcom and Warner Bros. The company has developed some of the most memorable pack designs and marketing creatives of recent years. For more information visit fluidesign.co.uk or call: 0121 212 0121.
Sponsored by 36 MCV 18/09/09
Crytek hires pop star in sound role Visage’s Tregenza joins UK team Disney snaps up Bungie founder – and his studio S3DGA recruits EA dev CRYTEK Crytek UK has hired ROSS TREGENZA as sound designer, at the European developer’s Nottingham branch, formerly known as Free Radical. In addition to working in the games industry since 2003, Tregenza is the modern day guitarist for ‘80s pop band Visage, as well as for his own band Goteki. He was a freelance composer for Free Radical’s TimeSplitters series, eventually joining the company permanently as a sound designer in 2007, when he worked on Haze and projects for LucasArts.
TREGENZA: Going in-house
SEROPIAN: Ex-Bungie boss moves
After Free Radical closed, Tregenza spent six months working at Rebellion, but now rejoins his former colleagues. “The upbeat attitude and fierce creativity here is really infectious,” he said.
DISNEY As part of its acquisition of Wideload Games, Disney Interactive Studios has hired ALEXANDER SEROPIAN for the newly-created role of vice president of creative.
Seropian, the founder of Halo creator Bungie, will become responsible for overseeing creative development across Disney’s portfolio of video games. He has worked in the industry since 1991, when he formed Bungie and negotiated its acquisition by Microsoft. In 2003, he founded Wideload, which produced titles such as Stubbs The Zombie. “Joining Disney is an ideal next step, both for our studio and me,” Seropian said. “I’m looking forward to Wideload’s continued success as a part of Disney.”
EA The firm’s senior art director HABIB ZARGARPOUR has joined industry standards and advocacy group, the Stereoscopic 3D Gaming Alliance. He joins the S3GDA’s advisory board, bringing his experience from working on such titles as the Need For Speed series. He has also worked in the film industry with IMAX 3D. “We need an industry-wide standard for S-3D gaming, and S3DGA has the drive and experience to push this forward,” he said. “All developers should participate.”
RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES PRICE CHECK CHARTS NEW RELEASES
WITH THIS ISSUE A closer look at some of Activision’s biggest Christmas releases, including new IP such as DJ Hero and Blur...
KINGDOM HEARTS DS P40 Disney and Final Fantasy characters combine once again in this Square Enix RPG LITTLE BOOK OF SECRETS P41 505 Games’ latest DSi-enhanced title is a diary-based mini-game collection WHEELSPIN P42 Archer Maclean’s futuristic Wii racer speeds towards retail this Christmas SCOOBY DOO: FIRST FRIGHTS P43 The Mystery Inc. are back in a new action adventure for Wii, DS and PlayStation 2 GRAN TURISMO P44 Sony’s racer is more than just a PSPgo launch title with a UMD version coming too
EXCITEMENT RISING Codemasters’ acclaimed Operation Flashpoint series returns to retail
WE SING! P45 Nordic Games will unleash its new fourplayer singing title at retail next month RISEN P46 An epic new fantasy RPG from the makers of the critically acclaimed PC title, Gothic
RETAILBIZ: OPERATION FLASHPOINT 38 MCV 11/09/09
Codemasters’ tactical shooter offers players a true modern war experience... by Aaron Lee
directing troops to flank a group of approaching hostiles or securing the floor of a building. “A major part of Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising’s unique experience is the four-player multiplayer mode – here co-op is king,” says Codemasters’ brand manager, Dan Robinson. “The game’s full campaign
‘AUTHENTICITY’ IS a term often applied to games offering contemporary experiences. Call of Duty 4 was praised as one of the most realistic shooters ever and music games, such as Rock Band, offer controllers very reminiscent of their real life equivalents. Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is the This game has had a twolatest game on the block to bring gamers their very year build of publicity, and own slice of the real will benefit from a clear world. This FPS game, launch window for shooters. built using Codemasters’ Dan Robinson, Codemasters proven EGO game engine, takes place in an open world environment, known as Skira. Silence can be played through in co-op, which and precision are paramount to survival is a massive plus point – that social level – and the game’s publisher believes the of gaming is almost tipping the balance title could raise the intensity of what over the anticipation for the single we’ve come to expect from virtual war. player experience with FPS gamers,” The player takes charge of a small team As with other shooters, Dragon of soldiers as they attempt to out think Rising will also feature online the opposition and gain tactial multiplayer modes. The console versions advantages. This could take the form of will be limited to two squads of eight
players or two squads of four players. However, the PC version will play host to 32 players. More information is still to be revealed, but an online beta is expected to take place before the game’s release. WAY OF THE DRAGON
Codemasters has lined up one of the biggest marketing campaigns in its history to promote the title. “The campaign launches an early barrage online to hit core gamers and culminates with an explosive cinema campaign to impact and inspire the mainstream,” adds Robinson. “Operation Flashpoint’s ‘Think You’re Ready?’ campaign is executed with believable, documentary, gritty, unnerving and visceral creative work. “Online promotional activity will run two months before and after release across top tier online gaming sites and a raft of hardcore gaming networks. The title will also enjoy a presence on Xbox
RETAILBIZ: OPERATION FLASHPOINT WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 11/09/09 39
EGO OF EXCELLENCE
Live and PSN before widening out to mainstream sites in the immediate run up to launch. “We also have a ‘Sound of War’ cinema campaign which will then run for two months and target three million impressions.” The reaction from publications has been largely postive so far. OXM said that Operation Flashpoint is ‘a war we can’t wait to get a piece of,’ while OPM dubbed it ‘the most realistic shooter ever made.’ PSM3 commented: ‘OF's realism is set to redefine your expectations of first person shooters – war has never been so cerebral or rewarding.’ “The marketing drive is all about maximising the consumer’s opportunities to see the game in the right channels. This game has had a two-year publicity build and now is launching in a relatively clear launch window for shooters,” says Robinson. Codemasters are shooting for authenticity throughout, with clever enemy AI, locations modelled on real world environments and motion capture sessions making character movements all the more believable. Added touches,
such as smoke and fire visual effects and contextual sound, complete the brutal depiction of modern war. “Three years ago the dev team here at Codemasters Studios set out to take gamers ‘as close to war as they’ll ever want to get’ with a game that challenged what console gamers have come to expect from on-rails shooters – a game for those that were ready to graduate and take more control of their men, their missions and the war,” says Hayley Holland, brand director at Codemasters. “The result is the most accessible, immersive, engaging, sandbox war game seen in recent times.” Offering a rough, challenging tactical war experience, Codemasters certainly look to be pushing the authenticiy of shooter with Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising. RELEASED: OCTOBER 9 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3, PC PUBLISHER: CODEMASTERS DEVELOPER: CODEMASTERS PRICE: VARIOUS (FROM £34.99) DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 0127 982 2800
SINCE ITS inception two years ago, Codemasters’ middleware, the EGO Engine, has been used in a number of the company’s games to resounding success. In development for almost three years at Codemasters’ Central Technology unit, the first generation of the EGO engine (originally known as Neon), powered the critically acclaimed 2007 racer, Colin McRae: DiRT. The game was prasied for eliciting a gripping racing experience, thanks to the game’s heightened visual effects and near indistinguishable realisation of off-road driving. In early December 2007, Codemasters officially branded their middleware technology as the EGO Engine, and also announced that it would be enchanced further for their next project, Race Driver: GRID. Displaying some frightingly impressive crash simulations, with a highly detailed damage and physics system, Race Driver: GRID solidified
Codemasters’ lofty claims about their game engine. Pushing their technology further still, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising promises to feature impressive details, like burning wood, chunks of dirt and shrapnel flying everywhere during explosions, and relentless sound effects, that will immerse the player in a version of war rarely seen in games. “Particularly for Operation Flashpoint 2, we simply could not fulfil the ambitions we have for the game with any off-the-shelf middleware; certainly not one that enabled us to develop across the major fifth generation consoles simultaneously with PC, rather than as an afterthought, and no one was doing that,” said Ron Cousens, CEO of Codemasters, in 2007. Codemasters continues to make enhancements and changes to the EGO Engine, which will be fueling many of its upcoming titles, including Colin McRae: DiRT 2 and F1 2010.
RETAILBIZ: KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 DAYS 40 MCV 18/09/09
Square Enix’s highly popular amalgamation of Final Fantasy and Disney makes its debut on the DS… by James Batchelor
Nightmare Before Christmas and more – meeting and interacting with many famous Disney characters along the way.” Square Enix is confident the series’ tried and tested formula will prove to be a success once more. The game has
INITIALLY, IT SEEMS like an odd combination. But when you see it in action, it just.... works. Kingdom Hearts has gathered a massive fanbase by masterfully bringing the worlds of Final Fantasy Kingdom Hearts has always and classic been incredibly popular and Disney properties pre-orders for this are already together, so any ahead of typical DS titles. new entry in Adrian Arnese, Square Enix the series has a substantial audience already established. already generated a great deal of Enter Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, interest amongst Kingdom Hearts fans the franchise’s first venture on the and DS owners, indicating 358/2 Days Nintendo DS. This epic adventure not should be a big hit for the publisher. only brings the renowned charm and “Kingdom Hearts has always been familiar characters to a brand new incredibly popular and as the first new demographic, it also offers fans a fresh release into the franchise for three adventure to enjoy while they wait for years, pre-orders are already way in word of Kingdom Hearts III. excess of typical DS product,” says UK “There’s something in sales director Doug Bone. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 “The strength of the brand, quality of Days for both seasoned the product and the perfect timing in adventure game fans and the approach to Christmas all set gamers less familiar with the series Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days up as a too,” says senior product manager star performer for retail over the peak Adrian Arnese. period, justifying a Top Ten chart “Disney and Square Enix position throughout the duration.” characters unite in a magical game world, exciting players with a KING FOR A DAY gripping storyline, action-packed 358/2 Days serves as a prequel to gameplay and imaginative worlds. 2006’s Kingdom Hearts II, exploring “The player explores several Disney the untold story of Roxas, a character worlds during the story that unfolds – connected with the series’ main including those from Alice In protagonist Sora. The game not only Wonderland, Aladdin, Hercules, The
RETAILBIZ: LITTLE BOOK OF BIG SECRETS WWW.MCVUK.COM
explores his origins and the reasons for his eventual departure from Organisation XIII, it also reveals some of the secrets behind the mysterious organisation. Starting the game with no recollection of his past, he joins the mysterious Organisation XIII and follows their orders as he is sent on a series of missions into various Disney worlds, many of which will be familiar to players of the PS2 version. As he continues his journey, he is joined by Xion, the fourteenth member of Organisation XIII, who proves to be integral to the plot. Rather than taking the form of a long, sprawling adventure, the Kingdom Hearts formula has been tweaked to better suit a handheld platform. Players take on a series of missions, with the story progressing in between each one. Of course, that’s not to say the scope of 358/2 Days has been limited by the journey to the DS. “Technically speaking, the Nintendo DS is being pushed far,” Arnese says. “The game boasts 3D graphics that more than do justice to the earlier PS2 iterations of the series, together with high quality music, CGI sequences and voice acting. “Not only that, but this title is the first in the series to feature multiplayer gameplay, where up to four players can co-operate and compete as the various members of Organisation XIII. Finally, a mission-based game
MCV 18/09/09 41
structure allows handheld users to enjoy the game in short sessions – ideal for those on the move.”
GOOD OLD DAYS While 358/2 Days is already making its impact with a high level of preorders, Square Enix is working hard to raise awareness of the game’s imminent arrival even further. An extensive marketing campaign has been drawn up that will promote the title over a longer period of time, starting a month before its release and running into the busy November period. “Print media advertising will run for three months starting during September, via single page and double page executions in a range of specialist gaming and kids press,” says Arnese. “Also in print media will be a series of carefully targeted promotions towards the late tween and early teen audiences. “Highly impactful online advertising on launch will feature various takeovers and rich media video on a range of gaming and kids websites. “Online promotions with several key partners aimed at younger gamers and RELEASED: OCTOBER 9 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX DEVELOPER: SQUARE ENIX PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: OPEN CONTACT: 020 7324 5200
Square Enix brings together the worlds of Disney and Final Fantasy in 358/2 days
505 Games readies its first DSi-specific game, catering to young girls everywhere with camera customisation and fun mini-games… by James Batchelor ANOTHER GAME TO take advantage of the increased functionality of the DSi, Little Book of Big Secrets is a fun fusion of diary, scrapbook, personal organizer and address book – as well as being packed with great mini-games. Aimed at six to 12-year-old girls, it is a treasure trove of applications, puzzles and activities. Using the DSi cameras, girls can personalise their diary by uploading pictures of themselves and their friends – then really customise things through adding bunny ears, deely boppers, stickers, and so on. The game works in a similar way to social networks. Through both Wi-Fi and local wireless connections, players can send messages to their friends, or enjoy voice and picture chat. The DSi compatibility allows them to customise this experience by
uploading pictures of their friends to the game’s contacts pages. They can even share content and information with their friends from the in-game diary. The camera also plays an integral part in Little Book Of Big Secrets’ collection of mini-games, creating a unique experience compared to similar titles already available on the DS. By getting players to create their own look and feel at every stage, it encourages creativity and then allows them to share it with friends via local and Wi-Fi connections through voice and picture chat. RELEASED: OCTOBER 9 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: 505 GAMES DEVELOPER: LEGEND STUDIOS PRICE: £19.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9585
RETAILBIZ: WHEELSPIN 42 MCV 18/09/09
Legendary developer Archer Maclean delivers a brand new racing experience for Nintendo Wii owners… by James Batchelor WHEELSPIN IS A futuristic racing game created by Awesome Play, the studio lead by development legend Archer Maclean. Created specifically for Wii, the game doesn’t try to encroach on any other established racers’ territory, but instead focuses on providing a fun, accessible experience designed to appeal to both hardcore and casual gamers. “What we’ve tried to do is avoid competing with the big boys of the racing world because a lot of them are more focused on being simulations and they’re on higher tech consoles,” Maclean told MCV. “We didn’t want to do just a straight simulation – we wanted to do something more fun, so the Wii was the perfect choice.” Wheelspin takes place across a vast array of inter-planetary tracks and features a mind-blowing line-up of vehicles. It utilises the Wii Remote and Nunchuks as players scream along at
speeds of up to 650kph in three more accessible to casual players different modes and in various who don’t want to play the same multiplayer options online. tracks over and over again to access Solo mode challenges players to beat the others. times, unlock stages, discover shortcuts While racing or battling, certain and find secret spanners. accomplishments and securing victory Race mode is a frenzied battle against will earn players the cash needed to seven other cars along tracks that aren’t unlock upgrades and new cars. only challenging, but actually fight back With these souped-up racers, – throwing cars into the stratosphere at the trickier sections of each circuit breathtaking speeds. Wheelspin pushes the Nintendo Battle mode, Wii hardware further than any meanwhile, is a snarling test of aggression versus other game to date. mobility as players use Archer Maclean, Awesome Play their weapons as well as their speed to get to the front. become easier, giving them an Across all three modes, there are 13 advantage in each challenge. tracks to unlock, each with their own Wheelspin was built for the Wii from perils and quirks. Unlike other the ground up and tests players’ racers, which give players just a reactions to the max, with the slightest handful of tracks at the start, Wheelspin tilt of the Remote making the difference offers them 12 challenges from the between victory and disaster. word go, almost a third of the game’s The cars all handle differently, with content, and success in these unlocks players able to find a vehicle that suits the rest. This makes the game much their abilities, and the graphics, while
not the most detailed, are some of the smoothest on the platform. “Wheelspin pushes the hardware further than any other Wii game to date,” says Maclean. “You have to see the graphics moving to believe it’s coming out of a Wii. The visuals rush past smoothly at 60 FPS all in widescreen.” The game is essentially a hardcore racing game for Wii, although casual gamers will find it accessible enough to enjoy the initial modes and races. Wheelspin will even be compatible with a variety of third-party controllers, including Logitech’s force feedback wheel.
RELEASED: NOVEMBER TBC FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: BETHESDA DEVELOPER: AWESOME PLAY PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9585
RETAILBIZ: SCOOBY-DOO! FIRST FRIGHTS WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 18/09/09 43
Scooby, Shaggy and the rest of those ‘meddling kids’ return in Warner Bros’ latest offering for youngsters... by Aaron Lee
should expect a huge amount of enthusiasm from the market for this title,” reveals Spencer Crossley, UK sales and marketing director at Warner Bros. Scooby-Doo may be a household name, but nevertheless, Warner Bros is plotting a campaign to crosspromote many of the upcoming products in the franchise. Naturally, the publisher will be advertising the game heavily in children’s magazines. It will also be promoted in conjunction with the national live Scooby-Doo stage show and during the cartoon’s programming hours. They will also be advertising the game online via social networking sites and Google Earth. In addition to a poster campaign and in-store POS, Warner Bros have the
SCOOBY-DOO HAS long been a favourite children’s cartoon, with over nine million DVDs sold to date. Warner’s new adventure game, Scooby-Doo! First Frights, picks up its story from direct-to-DVD film ScoobyDoo! The Mystery Begins – which is to be released alongside the game. Players take control of Scooby, Shaggy and the rest of the Mystery Machine gang. There are puzzles to solve, creepy environments to explore and freaky foes to fight. Players must discover clues to unmask devious villains and sample humorous moments, with voiceovers from the DVD cast. The game gives players the chance to undertake the pesky kids’ first cases. The highlight of the title, Scooby-Doo! is the No.1 selling and property in Warner Bros’ something consumer products portfolio. that hasn’t Spencer Crossley, Warner Bros. appeared in Scooby-Doo games before, is two-player co-op with drop in/drop out gameplay. advantage of being a major DVD Characters can disguise themselves and distributor. The company will be gain new abilities to outwit the ghosts supplying printed Scooby-Doo inserts and ghouls that stork the night. with their DVD releases as well as crossIt’s made up of over 20 levels, promoting the game with their including a phantom cruise ship, a high successful toy division. school filled with paranormal occupants, A bespoke mailout will also be sent to and – something no Scooby-Doo addresses on the Scooby-Doo database. adventure should be complete without – “Previous Scooby-Doo games have a haunted castle. performed really well on DS and PS2 Scooby offers gamers some paw-fisted but this is the first time he has appeared action, while Shaggy has a yo-yo that on the Wii,” adds Crossley. “This, doubles as a weapon and grappling combined with our ‘Year of Scooby-Doo’ hook. Collar-wearing clutz Fred can use promotion and our exceptional cross his strength to position heavy objects, divisional activity with Warner Bros while geeky maiden Velma can tinker Consumer Products and Home Video with technology. divisions, means we fully expect ScoobyIn classic LEGO Star Wars-fashion, Doo to take over Halloween this year.” the game will also feature a free play RELEASED: OCTOBER 9 mode. This will allow players to explore FORMATS: WII, DS, PS2 areas using any of the characters, PUBLISHER: WARNER BROS. costumes and items they’ve collected. DEVELOPER: WARNER BROS/ Villians will also be selectable in this TORUS GAMES mode, plus previously inaccessible areas. PRICE: VARIOUS “Scooby-Doo is the number one DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT selling property in Warner Bros’ CONTACT: 0121 625 3388 consumer products portfolio so retailers
RETAILBIZ: GRAN TURISMO PSP 44 MCV 18/09/09
The latest addition to Sony’s premier racing franchise arrives alongside PSPgo with a plethora of cars, tracks and game modes to get petrolheads excited... by Aaron Lee THE LONG WAIT FOR Gran Turismo to arrive on PSP has left some racing enthusiasts truly exhaust-ed. But now, finally, after five years of silence, Sony has lifted the bonnet on Gran Turismo PSP. The title is released this October, alongside the latest iteration of Sony’s handheld console, PSPgo. And the platform holder is keen to make up for lost time. “As one of the most well loved PlayStation franchises ever, GT on PSP is gearing up to be a big hit,” commented Claire Backhouse, SCEE UK product manager. The decade-old and massively successful racing franchise helped Sony conquer the home console market with the original PlayStation release of Gran Turismo in 1998. Since then the series has had three major releases and will soon be making its long awaited debut on the PS3 with Gran Turismo 5. A portable version of Gran Turismo 4 was originally announced for the PSP in 2004.
major publishers announcing new titles for the device. With such a huge release on its hands, Sony is planning a heavy print marketing campaign that Backhouse says will also be bolstered with other above-the-line activity, such as digital outdoor, an online press GRAN PLANS campaign and extensive PR. The game boasts over 800 cars, 30 “Demand for this game is going to be tracks, mission and arcade modes and huge, and awareness will be high due to our hefty marketing campaign,” she explains. We expect Gran Turismo PSP “For the first time you to be a real hardware shifter can play GT anywhere. I think that’s really – on both PSPgo and the exciting for fans of both original PSP-3000 model. the game from the Claire Backhouse, Sony previous formats, and new player-to-player car trading via Wi-Fi. and existing PSP owners.” The visuals are something to savour, The game will be available on both with cars and tracks modelled to series’ UMD for the PSP-3000 and via digital creator Kazunori Yamauchi’s usual download for the PSPgo (also launching perfectionist standards. on October 1st). “The player-to-player car trading is As an added incentive, consumers something that is really going to interest who purchase and register a PSPgo the PSP owner,” adds Backhouse. “The within the first ten days on sale will be physics and gameplay are just superb – given a free download voucher for the it’s a beautiful looking game.” full version of Gran Turismo. The last six months has seen a Packed with hundreds of exotic cars resurgence for Sony’s PSP with many from manufacturers such as Ferrari and With this being a handheld release, many might expect the portable version of Gran Turimso to be sparse on cars and features when compared to its home console cousins, but that’s not the case.
Bugatti and countless attractive features, this automotive delight is sure to please fans and retailers. Backhouse says: “We expect this portable Gran Turismo iteration to be a real hardware shifter – on both the new console and the original PSP-3000.” RELEASED: OCTOBER 1 FORMATS: PSP PUBLISHER: SONY DEVELOPER: POLYPHONY DIGITAL PRICE: £24.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
RETAILBIZ: WE SING WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 18/09/09 45
Nordic Games looks to give the likes of SingStar, Lips and similar party games a run for their money... by Aaron Lee MUSIC GAMES THAT PROVIDE social experiences have become celebrated money spinners for first party publishers. Sony’s SingStar has blossomed on PS3, while last year saw Microsoft take its own wedge of the ‘party pound’ at Christmas with Lips. On Nintendo platforms, however, it’s been third party publishers that have made the most impact on the genre. Now Nordic Games Publishing is looking for its own slice of this lucrative sector with We Sing.
game’s crowning glory is that it allows four players to sing at once. The publisher is planning to market We Sing in female lifestyle, teen and kids publications leading up to the game’s launch. There will also be a TV campaign running on terrestrial and satellite channels. “We Sing has quietly crept up on retail,” adds Blower. “We believe in telling people what we have as opposed to what we might have. Before the middle of August it hadn’t been on anyone’s radar but now its release is closing fast. Nordic Games believes that We Sing will be a big success and
Enormous effort has gone into not making We Sing ‘just another’ family or casual title on Wii. Retailers should prepare for high stock turnover. Nik Blower, Nordic Games
And this is no ‘me-too-without-thelicences’ shelf clogger. With the rights to music back catalogues form the likes of Universal, fans of Coldplay, Lady Gaga and Lily Allen won’t be disappointed. Nik Blower, Nordic Games’ sales and marketing director, explains: “Enormous effort has gone into not making We Sing just another family or casual title for the Wii. “We Sing is a full-production game built using a cutting-edge engine with fully licensed music and video. We Sing’s primary focus has always been the most important aspect of a game like this – social interaction and fun.” We Sing features 30 hit music videos, solo, party and karaoke modes. The user interface is simple and easy-to-use, and there’s the addition of a playlist feature which should mean less time spent in menus for consumers. The game comes complete with two Logitech microphones and a USB hub, and Nordic Games believes that the
retailers should be prepared for a high and fast turnover of stock.” Nordic Games is hopeful We Sing will become ‘SingStar for Wii’. What’s more there are already new versions of the game in development for next year. “For too long gamers have had nothing but sequels of the best-selling singing franchises, but of course not for the Wii,” comments Blower. “You could say we had high hopes for the title. However, following the initial announcement of We Sing and the incredible reception the product recently received at Gamescom I’d say that our expectation of the title has gone from high to stratospheric.” RELEASED: OCTOBER 30 FORMATS: WII (SOLUS & MIC PACK) PUBLISHER: NORDIC GAMES DEVELOPER: LE CORTEX PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
RETAILBIZ: RISEN 46 MCV 18/09/09
Deep Silver looks to captivate consumers and create a ‘major new franchise’ with its fresh third-person RPG... “Risen is Deep Silvers’ major launch of the year. Our expectations are that the game will be well received by both the specialist gaming press and consumers, which will enable us to create a major new RPG franchise,” said Paul Nicholls, sales and marketing director at Deep Silver. Risen is a product that should appeal to the hardcore audience and those
by Aaron Lee
not have heard of Risen by the time the title launches on October 2nd.”
IT’S FAIR TO SAY that Xbox 360 has enjoyed the lion’s share of RPG titles on RISING STAR consoles this generation – but few could In preparation for the game’s launch, match Deep Silver’s latest addition. Deep Silver has a stacked marketing Third-person RPG Risen – a brand campaign lined up. Single page adverts new IP – contains fighting, magic, will run in specialist magazines puzzles, charachter development, traps throughout September and October, as and boss fights, all with striking detail. well as Deathray and Sci-Fi magazines. The game is set on a In total, Deep Silver volcanic island, which is estimates the game will be Risen is Deep Silvers' major populated with fantastic seen by more than launch of the year. All gamers creatures and voiced 500,000 readers. Adds will have heard of it by human characters – Nicholls: “In terms of featuring speech from online we have booked release day next month. the likes of Andy Serkis homepage and channel Paul Nicholls, Deep Silver (Lord Of the Rings, King takeovers alongside preKong) and John Rhys Davies (LOTR, looking for an exciting new game roll videos across core gaming sites, as Indiana Jones). experience. “The game features more well as full page ads in PC Zine and 360 With a wealth of rival titles pushed to than 60 hours of gameplay, so Zine running through September and spring next year, October may prove represents excellent value for money,” October – achieving well over five the perfect time for Deep Silver to adds Nicholls. “It will be supported with million impressions. attract the niche audience they’re a far reaching marketing and PR “We also have community days aiming for. campaign that will ensure no gamer will in September giving fans of the genre
a chance to get early hands on with the game. “Risen is a beautifully told story that unfolds over four chapters. You enlist with one of three factions and play with them all the way through the game. “The action takes place on a remote volcanic island in medieval times, and features unique enemies and interesting allies. Every action you make in game has a consequence. People will react to your style of play, as NPCs and monsters have their own daily routine. The tripleA voice over cast includes Andy Serkis, John Rhys Davies and Lena Headey. This is the hardcore RPG players’ RPG.” RELEASED: OCTOBER 2 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PC PUBLISHER: DEEP SILVER DEVELOPER: PIRANHA BYTES PRICE: £44.99 (XBOX 360), £34.99 (PC) DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 0870 027 6504
Trade tickets now available ÂŁ50 Contact Dave.Roberts@intentmedia.co.uk
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RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 48 MCV 18/09/09
Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more
First-party phenomenons approach The Big Three up the ante with the imminent arrival of Microsoft’s Halo 3: ODST, Nintendo’s Professor Layton & Pandora’s Box and Sony’s PSP Gran Turismo. Also released soon is FIFA 10, Kingdom Hearts, MySims Agents, Aion, and more... TITLE
SEPTEMBER 22nd Halo 3: ODST
01279 822 800
PC PC PC Wii / XBOX 360 PC / DS PS3 Wii XBOX 360 PSP DS PC PSP / DS / Wii / PS3 / PS2 / 360 DS DS / Wii PSP PC DS DS / Wii / PS2 Wii PC / XBOX 360 DS
MMORPG Casual Self-Improvement Action Casual RPG Mini-games Action Strategy Kids Action Action/Adventure Action Action Action Simulation Puzzle Action/Adventure Action Action Action
Ncsoft City Interactive City Interactive South Peak 505 Games Koei Atari 505 Games Koei 505 Games City Interactive Activision Blizzard Konami EA Namco Bandai Zushi Nintendo Warner Games Capcom Zushi 505 Games
01279 822 800 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 01462 476 130 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 01462 476 130 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0208 987 5706 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 01279 822 800 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 01279 822 800 0121 506 9585
Gem Trilogy Trilogy Centresoft Advantage Open Advantage Advantage Open Advantage Trilogy Centresoft Open Centresoft Advantage Gem Koch Centresoft Centresoft GEM Advantage
DS DS PC / DS DS Wii DS PS2 / PS3 / Wii XBOX 360/PS2/PS3/Wii/PC/DS/PSP DS DS PC PS3 DS Wii XBOX 360 / PC PC DS DS PSP/DS/PC/Wii/PS3/PS2/XBOX 360
Puzzle Adventure Mystery Action FPS Adventure Music Sports Simulation Imagine Sports Action Puzzle Mini-games RPG RPG Arcade Kids Action
Ubisoft City Interactive City Interactive Ubisoft EA Disney Interactive Disney Interactive EA Mindscape Ubisoft THQ Koei Ubisoft City Interactive Deep Silver Deep Silver Square Enix Ubisoft THQ
0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 01462 476 130 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0870 027 0985 0870 027 0985 020 7324 5200 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585
Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Centresoft Koch Trilogy Advantage Open Trilogy Trilogy Koch Koch Open Trilogy Advantage
PC PC DS DS PSP DS / PS3 / XBOX 360
Adventure Strategy RPG RPG Survival Horror FPS
City Interactive Namco Bandai Square Enix Rising Star Games Playlogic Codemasters
0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 020 7324 5200 01582 433700 0870 027 0985 01279 822 800
Trilogy Advantage Open Centresoft Koch Gem
SEPTEMBER 25th Aion Brain College: El Dorado Quest Brain College: Lost Cities Of The Amazon Brave: A Warrior's Tale Clueless Cross Edge Family Trainer: Extreme Challenge Guilty Gear II Overture Holy Invasion Of Privacy, Badman! I Did It Mum! Spelling/Doll's House Invasion Over Europe Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 Miami Crisis MySims Agents Naruto Shippuden: Legends: Akatsuki Rising Premier Manager '10 Professor Layton & Pandora's Box Scooby Doo: First Frights Spyborgs Stoked Zorro: Quest For Justice
OCTOBER 1st Gran Turismo
OCTOBER 2nd Amazing Adventures: The Forgotton Ruins Chronicles Of Mystery: Curse Of The Ancient Temple Chronicles Of Mystery: The Tree Of Life Combat Of Giants: Dragons Dead Space Extraction Disney Fairies: Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure Disney Sing It!: Pop Hits FIFA 10 Groovy Chick: My Fashion World Imagine Party Planner League Of Leagues Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Puzzler World Redneck Chicken Riot Risen Sacred 2: Ice & Blood Space Invaders Extreme 2 Tracy Beaker Up
OCTOBER 9th Chronicles Of Mystery: The Tree Of Life Cities XL Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days Luminous Arc 2 Obscure 2 Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising
MUSTSTOCK ................................HALO 3: ODST Released: September 22nd Format: Xbox 360 Publisher: Microsoft Distributor: Gem Contact: 01279 822800
The prequel to the best-selling 2007 hit, Halo 3. Players take on the role of an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper fending off an attack from the Covenant and exploring the ruins of New Mumbasa. The game also includes all of the Halo 3 multiplayer DLC on a bonus disc.
MUSTSTOCK .....................PROFESSOR LAYTON Released: September 25th Format: Wii Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Koch Contact: 0870 027 0985
The sequel to Nintendo’s DS phenomemon, Professor Layton & Pandora’s Box sees the puzzle-solving gentleman and his young companion on the trail of a murderer. More lateral brain-teasers ensue as players try to uncover clues and solve the mystery.
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Digital Distribution & the Future of the European Games Market
Tuesday, October 27th BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London Conference: 4:30pm – 7:45pm Networking and dinner: 8:00 – Midnight
Programme Opening Address Nick Vaizey – Shadow Minister for Culture The Future of Digital Distribution Nick Parker – Parker Consulting Daddy, What’s a Disc? Chairman: Phil Harrison – Former President of SCE Worldwide Studios Panellists: Kristian Segerstrale – CEO and Co-Founder, Playfish Mark Gerhard – CEO, Jagex Thomas Bidaux – CEO, ICO Partners
The New Food Chain Chairman: Andy Payne – ELSPA Panellists: Charles Cecil – CEO, Revolution Software Nick Pili – Network Director, SEGA Gian Luzio – Product Director, The Hut
Charting the Progress of PC Downloads Dorian Bloch – GfK-ChartTrack Outside the Box Chairman – Tony Mott, Edge Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft discuss their online gaming services
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RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 50 MCV 18/09/09
REVIEW SCORES MCV provides the most important average review scores of the last few days – all sourced from Metacritic...
The Beatles: Rock Band EA, PS3
Guitar Hero 5, Wii, Activision
Dirt 2, Xbox 360, Codemasters
Layton: Pandora’s Box, DS, Nintendo
IL-2: Birds Of Prey, PS3, 505 Games
*Metacritic scores correct at the time of going to press
DEAL OF THE WEEK
MCV offers a weekly digest of the latest news on the High Street...
‘HOPES OF A RETAIL RECOVERY ARE PREMATURE’ The British Retail Consortium has warned UK retailers that improving results may not be a sign of recovery from the recession. August figures showed little improvement over July, according to Retail Bulletin. The BRC’s director general Stephen Robertson said: “The stronger figures of June and July haven’t been sustained. It’s clear the deceptively good sales growth of those months was due to summer sun and price cuts – not any major revival in how custmers are feeling. What spending we now have is all about value and essentials. “As we head into autumn, we must nOt make too much of any positive sales growth because the comparison will be with very weak figures a year ago when total sales growth dipped below zero.”
The US edition of this bundle was unveiled last week, and contains a silver PSP-3000, a copy of Gran Turismo, a 2GB memory stick and download vouchers for selected PSN content. Sony has yet to announce the contents of the new UK pack.
EXCLUSIVE GT PSP BUNDLE HEADING TO UK Sony has confirmed a new variation of the Gran Turismo PSP Entertainment Pack will be heading to the UK. The company told CVG: “There will be a GT bundle for the UK, but it’s different to the US one.”
BIOSHOCK HITS 360 GAMES ON DEMAND BioShock has been released on the Xbox games download Live service, available to download for £19.99. The cheapest price for BioShock online, according to GamesTracker, is currently £9.98 courtesy of Choices UK.
METAL GEAR SOLID GOES PLATINUM SCEE will soon add a number of new titles to its PS3 Platinum software range – and the offering is set to include Konami’s Metal Gear Solid 4. The latest Solid Snake adventure will soon join Killzone 2, Motorstorm: Pacific Rift and Resistance: 2 in the £19.99 catalogue. The exact release date has not yet been confirmed, though reductions to the current retail SKUs for most of these titles suggest that they will arrive in the near future.
FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS ON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON THE UK HIGH STREET, CHECK OUT: WWW.MCVUK.COM/RETAIL-BIZ
GAME is offering a PS3 Slim with Tiger Woods 2010, Call Of Duty: World At War and Call Of Juarez for £299.99, representing a saving of £55.
MCV POLL Can Wii still compete with 360 and PS3 following recent price cuts? 44% YES
BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM FORMAT: 360
DEVELOPER: ROCKSTEADY STUDIOS PUBLISHER: EIDOS
BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM PS3
WII SPORTS RESORT - WITH WII MOTION PLUS Wii
DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY PSP
IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS OF PREY PS3
IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS OF PREY 360
DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY LIMITED EDITION PSP
METROID PRIME TRILOGY Wii ASHES CRICKET 2009 Wii
Take part in MCV’s next poll at www.mcvuk.com
SQUARE ENIX ACTIVISION BLIZZARD NINTENDO CODEMASTERS
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Participants in the latest MCV online survey seem to be evenly divided over the Wii’s future, but the slight majority believe Nintendo’s console will struggle to compete with the now-cheaper Xbox 360 and PS3.
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INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS
RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 18/09/09 51 Sponsored by
FROM THE [PRE ORDERS]
TOP 10 UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3 SONY 2. FIFA 10
3. HALO 3: ODST
4. COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2
5. FIFA 10
FRONTLINE This week Nindie.com speaks to Games Centre’s Robert Lindsay… What makes your store unique? Our website contains live stock listings for our warehouse and six stores, so the games and DVD offering is extensive and continually changing. Our stores have a national feel to them while we concentrate on having an extensive back catalogue range to rival the best independents. Our staff are very knowledgeable and honest when advising about games.
expect this to change as we come to the festive period.
before it has a big impact on our business, especially the pre-owned side of things.
What has been performing well? What has been underperforming? Throughout the summer we have primarily focused on back catalogue as it has been a relatively quiet period on the new release front. The Wii has suffered, especially during the summer, although I
What are the biggest challenges your business faces? In the long term, I think downloads will definitely have the largest impact on games retailers. You can just see this starting to take effect, although I anticipate it being several years yet
How much of a threat do supermarkets pose to your store? They seem to have dropped the aggressive pricing policy they adopted last year, but this might only be temporary. A recent visit to the local Morrisons and Asda showed no major price differences to us.
6. PES 2010
7. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
360 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
8. GRAN TURISMO 5
9. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
10. EYEPET (INC EYE CAMERA &, MAGIC CARD)
PS3 ......................................................................SONY Week ending September 11th Source: SHOPTO.COM
IL-2 Sturmovik Xbox 360, 505 Games
PS3 Slim Sony
Dissidia Final Fantasy PSP, Square Enix
SuperCar Challenge PS3, System 3
Metroid Prime Trilogy Wii, Nintendo
IN STORE: HARROGATE
COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 MICROSOFT 2. HALO 3: ODST
3. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
4. FIFA 10
5. FIFA 10
6. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010
7. UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES
8. PROFESSOR LAYTON PANDORA’S BOX
9. ASSASSIN’S CREED II: BLACK EDITION
360 ..............................................................505 GAMES
10. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD Week ending September 11th Source: AMAZON.CO.UK
TO TAKE PART PLEASE CONTACT: JAMES.BATCHELOR@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 52 MCV 18/09/09
Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM
OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
 [FULL PRICE]
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 6 5 7 4
PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE NINTENDO MARIO KART DS NINTENDO 42 ALL-TIME CLASSICS NINTENDO NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. NINTENDO MYSTERY STORIES GSP/AVANQUEST POKÉMON PLATINUM NINTENDO
8 9 10
9 10 15
CLASSIC WORD GAMES CLUB PENGUIN: ELITE PENGUIN FORCE G-FORCE
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
SOULCALIBUR: BROKEN DESTINY UBISOFT MONSTER HUNTER: FREEDOM UNITE CAPCOM COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2 CODEMASTERS RESISTANCE: RETRIBUTION SONY FIFA ‘09 EA BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS OF PREY 505 GAMES HARRY POTTER & HALF-BLOOD PRINCE EA NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA
FORMAT: 360, PS3, Wii, PS2 DEVELOPER: NEVERSOFT PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION TITLE
COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2 360, PS3 ,Wii, DS, PSP
BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM 360, PS3
THE BEATLES: ROCK BAND 360, PS3, Wii
WII FIT Wii
WII SPORTS RESORT Wii
DEVELOPER: SQUARE ENIX PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX
IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS 360, PS3, DS, PSP
COD4: MODERN WARFARE 360, PS3, PC, DS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
MARIO KART WII Wii
ASHES CRICKET 2009 Wii, PS3, PC, 360
TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 360, Wii, PS3
FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 360, PS3
CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER 2010 PC
COD: WORLD AT WAR 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC
MINI NINJAS 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PC
DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY PSP
WOLFENSTEIN 360, PS3, PC
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360, PS3, PC
EIDOS SQUARE ENIX ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ROCKSTAR
LEGO BATMAN PC, PS3, 360, Wii, DS, PS2, PSP
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
GUITAR HERO 5
1 8 5 6
DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY
DEVELOPER: BUDCAT CREATIONS PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
COD: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD TRANSFORMERS: FALLEN ACTIVISION BLIZZARD G-FORCE DISNEY BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD HARRY POTTER: HALF BLOOD PRINCE EA NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER EA GHOSTBUSTERS SONY INDIANA JONES: STAFF OF KINGS LUCASARTS
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
GUITAR HERO 5
1 2 3 4 7 5 6 9 8
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING
[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]
WARNER BROS. NINTENDO
CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER 2010
THE SIMS 3
EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR
WOW: WRATH OF LICH KING
WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR II
THE SIMS 2: DOUBLE DELUXE
SOUTH PEAK GAMES
DEVELOPER: BEAUTIFUL GAME STUDIOS PUBLISHER: EIDOS EA SEGA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ATARI ACTIVISION BLIZZARD THQ EA
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 18/09/09 53
anticipated The Beatles: Rock Band, as five other new titles make their debut this week. Not only did the Activision title win the muchtouted ‘Battle of the Bands’, it is the first Guitar
Hero to reach the top spot in the charts, with III and World Tour having failed to rise above No.4. The Beatles: Rock Band was also outsold by another new entry: Codemasters’ Colin McRae: Dirt
FORMATS Highest New Entry
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
Highest Top 40 Climber
CALL OF JUAREZ: BOUND IN BLOOD
360, PS3, PC UBISOFT
SECTION 8 360, PC
SOUTH PEAK GAMES
G-FORCE 360, Wii, PS3, 360, PS2, PSP
PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE DS NINTENDO
FIFA ‘09 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, PC
GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR PS3, Wii, 360, PS2 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
THE SIMS 3 PC
KILLZONE 2 PS3
MARIO KART DS DS
WII PLAY Wii
HARRY POTTER: HALF BLOOD 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PC, PS2 EA
MYSTERY STORIES DS
SEGA SUPERSTAR TENNIS 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PS2, PC
TRANSFORMERS: FALLEN 360, PS3, PC, Wii, DS, PS2, PSP ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
ASSASSIN’S CREED 360, PS3, PC
SONIC UNLEASHED 360, PS3, Wii, PS2
FALLOUT 3: ADD-ON 2 360, PC
CARNIVAL: FUNFAIR GAMES Wii, DS
HALO 3 360
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3 6 5 4 1 9 20 11 8
[FULL PRICE] TITLE
BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2 GUITAR HERO 5 THE BEATLES: ROCK BAND IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS OF PREY CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 CALL OF JUAREZ: BOUND IN BLOOD
NEW NEW NEW
4 2 5 3 6 7
WEEK ENDING 12/09/09
DEVELOPER: ROCKSTEADY STUDIOS PUBLISHER: EIDOS CODEMASTERS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA 505 GAMES ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA UBISOFT
2, which also outperformed its own predecessor by debuting one place higher than the first Dirt. Following this trend, The Bealtes: Rock Band also placed higher than previous titles in the franchise, breaking the record set by the original Rock Band, which debuted at No.6. However, it had to settle for fourth place as Batman: Arkham Asylum fell from first to third with a 60 per cent drop in sales. James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk
UBISOFT SEGA BETHESDA SONY 2K PLAY MICROSOFT
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
WII SPORTS RESORT MARIO KART WII GUITAR HERO 5 THE BEATLES: ROCK BAND ASHES CRICKET 2009 EA SPORTS ACTIVE CURSED MOUNTAIN TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2
1 3 NEW NEW
4 5 9 6 NEW
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
WOW: BATTLE CHEST DEVELOPER: BLIZZARD PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD JEWEL QUEST MYSTERIES: EMERALD
HIDDEN EXPEDITION: AMAZON
MYSTERY CASE FILES: RAVENHEARST
MYSTERY CASE FILES: MADAME FATE
FALLOUT 3: GAME ADD-ON PACK
WORLD OF WARCRAFT
ESCAPE THE MUSEUM
AMAZING ADVENTURES OF THE LOST TOMB FOCUS MYSTERY CASE FILES: PRIME SUSPECTS
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
GUITAR HERO 5 BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM THE BEATLES: ROCK BAND IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS OF PREY CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 SECTION 8 GRAND THEFT AUTO IV
3 2 4 5 NEW
NINTENDO NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA CODEMASTERS EA DEEP SILVER EA CODEMASTERS
COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2
(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack
GUITAR HERO 5 has triumphed over EA’s highly
DEVELOPER: CODEMASTERS PUBLISHER: CODEMASTERS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EIDOS EA 505 GAMES ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA EA SOUTH PEAK GAMES TAKE-TWO
YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SERVICE COMPANIES
creative and promotional SErvices 3DI Tel: 0845 4582898 www.threedi.net
Indigo Pearl Tel: +44 (0)20 8964 4545 www.indigopearl.com
The Audio Guys Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 1926 813546 www.theaudioguys.co.uk
AN.X Ltd. Tel: 020 7785 7156 www.anxagency.com
JR DESIGN Tel: +44 (0) 7824 506436 www.joeryandesign.co.uk
The Pixel Tel: 0800 043 1040 www.thepixel.com
Ark VFX Ltd. Tel: 0114 268 4999 www.arkvfx.net
Media Safari PR Tel: +44 (0)1225 471 202 www.mediasafari.co.uk
Über Tel: 0114 278 7100 www.uberagency.com
Barrington Harvey Tel: +44 (0)1462 456780 www.bhpress.co.uk
More Creative Tel: 020 7561 6010 www.morecreative.co.uk
Bastion Tel: +44 (0)20 7421 7600 www.bastion.co.uk
Multiplay Tel: +44 (0)20 7100 1337 www.multiplay.co.uk
Gfk Chart-Track Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 20 8741 7585 www.chart-track.com
Parker Consulting Ltd Tel: 07771571639 www.parkerconsulting.biz
Dilute Recordings Tel: 01483 306834 www.diluterecordings.com
PMA Marketing Tel: 020 7483 0568 www.pmamarketing.com
Eye-D Creative Ltd Tel: +44 (0)20 7407 1440 www.eye-dcreative.co.uk
RAINBOW PRODUCTIONS Tel: +44 (0)20 8254 5300 www.rainbowproductions.co.uk
FEREF Tel: +44 (0)207 292 6330 www.feref.com
RealtimeUK Tel: 01772 682 363 www.realtimeuk.com
FINK Creative Ltd Tel: 01480 302350 www.finkcreative.com
Richard Jacques Studios Tel: 07831 756977 www.richardjacques.com
Fluid Tel: +44 (0)121 212 0121 www.fluidesign.co.uk
Shorewood.Blueprint Tel: 020 7183 9666 www.shorewood-blueprint.com
Freeform.London Tel: 020 7183 6664 www.freeformlondon.co.uk
Side Tel: +44 (0) 207 631 4800 www.side.com
Frontroom Tel: 020 7384 5400 www.frontroom.com
SKYSKRAPER® Tel: +44 (0)20 7252 3288 www.skyskraper.net
Game Frontier Ltd Tel: 0870 420 2424 www.gamefrontier.com
Studio CO2 Tel: +44 (0) 1483 414 415 www.studioco2.com
AntiGrav Media Ltd Tel: 01932 454929 www.antigrav-media.co.uk Hubb Accessories Tel: 01642 204343 www.playwithhubb.com Logic3 plc Tel: 01923 471000 www.logic3.com Pebble Entertainment GmbH Tel: +49 (231) – 477 927 0 www.pebble-entertainment.com/en Pinpoint Consumer Elec. Tel: +44 (0) 1606 558 428 www.pinpointce.co.uk
international distribution ComputerLand doo Tel: +381 11 309 95 95 www.computerland.rs CURVEBALL LEISURE Tel: 01792 652521 www.thegamecollection.net Funtastic Tel: +61 3 9419 5444 www.funtastic.com.au GameStreamer, Inc. Tel: 001-813-527-0383 www.gamestreamer.net
TO BE INCLUDED IN THIS
In association with
Tel: +44 1 480 210 621 www.usspeaking.com
LOCALISTATION QA AND TESTING
4-Real Intermedia GmbH Tel: +49 (0) 69809088 - 0 www.4-real.com
Orange Studio Tel: +39 051 588 04 50 www.orangestudio.it
Harbottle & Lewis Tel: +44 (0)207 667 5000 www.harbottle.com
Absolute Quality Tel: +44 (0)141 220 5600 www.absolutequality.com
Partnertrans Tel: +44 1753 247731 www.partnertrans.com
Marriott Harrison Tel: +44 (0)20 7209 2000 www.marriottharrison.co.uk
ANAKAN GmbH Tel: +49 (0) 30531420450 www.anakan.de
PlayableGames Tel: 020 7421 6487 www.playablegames.net
Babel Tel: 01273 764100 www.babelmedia.com
Testronic Laboratories Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1753 653722 www.testroniclabs.com
Cenega Poland Sp.Zo.o Tel: +48 22 574 2578 www.cenega.com
Universaly Speaking Tel: +44 1 480 210621 www.usspeaking.com
Enzyme Labs Tel: +1 (450) 229-9999 ext.312 www.enzyme.org
U-TRAX Tel: +31 30 293 2098 www.utrax.com
ChaYoWo Games Tel: +1 917.650.0010 www.chayowogames.com Crytek UK Tel: +44 115 949 0808 www.crytek.com Data Design Interactive Tel: +44 0 1384 44 79 00 www.datadesign.uk.com xaitment GmbH Tel: +49 (0) 6897-600 80-0 www.xaitment.com
manufacturing services Arvato digital services Tel: 0121 502 7800 www.arvatodigitalservices.com
OK Media Tel: +44 (0) 20 7688 6789 www.okmedia.com
DISCHROMATICS LTD Tel: 01495 243222 www.dischromatics.co.uk
Technicolor Tel: 0208 987 7829 www.technicolor.com
MPO UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 8956 2727 www.mpo-international.com
The Producers Limited Tel: 0845 234 2444 www.theproducers.co.uk
Multi Media Replication Ltd Tel: +44(0) 1264 336330 www.replication.com
Total Console Repair Ltd Tel: 08719 181 721 www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk
uk distribution and logistics Discstribution Tel: + 44 (0) 845 4308735 www.discstribution.com EntaTech Tel: 0333 101 1000 www.entaonline.com Gem Tel: 01279 822822 www.gem.co.uk Meroncourt Europe Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 1462 680060 www.trade.meroncourt.co.uk
recruitment Aardvark Swift Tel: 01709 876877 www.aswift.com
Game Options Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1382 731909 www.gameops.co.uk
Amiqus Tel: 01925 252588 www.amiqus.com/games
Specialmove Consultancy Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 141 585 6491 www.specialmove.com
Trilogy Logistics Ltd Tel: 0845 456 6400 www.trilogy-uk.com
GUIDE PLEASE CONTACT: ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK OR 01992 535647
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 56 MCV 18/09/09
International Distribution Guide AUSTRALIA
All Interactive.................Helensvale Town Centre
Koch Media GmbH...............................Rottenmann
Cidiverte Spa ...............................................Gallarate
Noviy Disk .......................................................Moscow
Play Art Multimedia Handels GmbH....Rankweil
Coop Italia..........................................Sesto F.NO (FI)
Digital Bros spa................................................Milano
EMC GROUPE CASINO..........Croissy Beaubourg
Leader Spa.................................Gazzada Schianno
Horelec S.A. ...........................................Bruxelles
CLD Distribution S.A. .........................Fernelmont
Promovideo SRL ...........................................Senago
SERBIA COMPUTERLAND DOO Kumodraska 45 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Gameworld BV............................Capelle A/D Ijssel
Tel:+381(0)11 309 95 95
45 rue Delizy,
Fax:+381(0)11 309 95 96
93692 PANTIN Cedex, France
Email purchase: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rigu Sound B.V................2153 GB Nieuw Vennep
Email export sales: email@example.com
Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel
Groß Electronic .......................................Rohrnbach
Pan Vision Norway.....................................Trollasen
Otto Group ...................................................Hamburg
Nu Metro Interactive ......................Johannesburg
Playcom Software Vertriebs .......................Erfurt
Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel.....................Erfurt
Pan Vision Norway..............................................Oslo
Lamee Software S.L. .....................................Madrid
Phone: +31 (0)33 201 21 00
CD Projekt Sp. z o.o......................................Warsaw
Fax: +31 (0)33 201 21 01
Tel: +31 10 298 3838 Web: firstname.lastname@example.org
EBS Benelux Lorentzweg 1 3752 LH Bunschoten-Spakenburg The Netherlands
Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID
PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE
HUNGARY Antec .............................................................Budapest
GOODTONES GREAT GAMES LTD
1 Alkaiou Street / Office 1 /
tel. +357 22 666612 www.greatgames.com.cy
ul. Jana Szczyrki 12, 54-426 Wroclaw, Poland E-mail: email@example.com
Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus
TECHLAND Sp. z o.o.
Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034, Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 firstname.lastname@example.org www.planetadeagostini.net
Phone: +48 71 354 46 10 Fax: +48 71 354 46 10
PORTUGAL ecofilmes...............................Sao Joao Da Madeira
Paseo de la Castellana 9 – 11, 28046 Madrid, Spain Tel: +34 91 789 35 50
DistribucionesVideográficas Digitales ....Madrid
GATEWAY DISTRIBUTION APS Gateway Distribution ApS +44 1279 408 665 (UK) +45 7026 0870 (DK) email@example.com www.gatewaydistribution.dk
v.2 PLAY. LDA Studio Office Marquês de Pombal – Avenida de Loulé nº 123 1069-152 -
Distribuye Palmera................................Las Palmas JC Distribuciones .............................................Getxo Shine Star, S.A...........................................Barcelona
Lisbon, Portugal Tel. 00351 21 31 46 51 0 Fax 00351 21 31 61 12 5
SWEDEN Bergsala AB............................................Kungsbacka
TO ADVERTISE IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 18/09/09 57
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...
ALESAYI UNITED COMPANY GAME OUTLET EUROPE AB PO Box 5083 S-650 05 Karlstad, Sweden Phone: +46 54 854750 Fax: +46 54 854759 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.gameoutlet.se
Video Games Distributor in the Middle East P.O BOX 16999
n Microsoft has replicated its recent moves in both Europe and the US by dropping the price of Xbox 360 hardware in Japan. And, like in North America, the platform holder has not increased the price of its Arcade SKU – a move that seems to have been reserved exclusively for Europe. The price of an Xbox 360 Elite has dropped from YEN 39,800 to YEN 29,800 – a discount of over $100. The Arcade’s price point in the region remains at YEN 19,800. The price of the Xbox 360 Pro has been declared as ‘open’, meaning retailers are free to charge what they like as stock of the soon-to-be extinct model runs out.
Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai U.A.E. Tel: 00971 4 883 5960 Fax: 00971 4 883 5175 E-Mail: email@example.com U.A.E. Website: www.alesayi.ae Group Website: www.alesayi.com
Panvision....................................................Stockholm SIBA AB ...................................................Gothenburg
SWITZERLAND ABC Software GmbH.......................................Buchs
PLUTO GAMES PO Box 10705, Office 103-104 Emirates Islamic Bank Building, Dubai, UAE www.pluto-games.com
Square Enix has confirmed that Final Fantasy XIII will be released on PS3 in Japan on December 17th. The game will cost YEN 8,800 – that translates to around £60, which could conceivably point to a higher-than-usual RRP in the UK. There’s still no word on an exact European release date beyond the spring 2010 window already indicated by Square.
Tel: +971 4261 8111 Fax: +971 4261 8112
n The new slim PS3 has sold 150,252 in its first seven days on sale in Japan – the most it has ever sold in a single week since its debut in 2006. Around 88,000 machines were sold in the first two days alone, with the weekly total reaching 150,832 according to figures from Famitsu. Life-to-date sales of PS3 in Japan now stand at 3,431,964 units.
Modern Pluto Trading LLC...............Saudi Arabia NXT Global LLC .................................................Dubai Pluto Derinton Games LLC............................Egypt Red Entertainment Distribution ..................Dubai
BASCO, INC. VIDEO GAMES DISTRIBUTOR Tel: 1-917-627-3000 Fax: 1-718-228-4401
The re-designed PS3 was also a major seller in France. The console sold 37,000 units in its first week on release in France – an increase of 1,000 per cent.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.bascodistribution.com
U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC. 16700 Schoenborn St. #2 North Hills, CA. 91343 Tel: +1 818 920 9393 email@example.com www.usgamesdist.com
A centre called ReSTART has opened in Seattle to help people wean themselves off pathological computer use, including obsessive gaming. Gamers looking to move on from addictive titles such as World of Warcraft need to pay $14,000 for a 45-day treatment programme. The facility also helps those addicted to online auctions, social networking and texting. n The UMD version of the upcoming Gran Turismo for PSP will be available as a PSP bundle in the US. The Gran Turismo PSP Entertainment Pack will include a silver PSP-3000, a copy of Gran Turismo, a 2GB memory stick and three vouchers for DLC and will retail for $199.99. The bundle will be launched in the US and Canada on October 20th.
PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR
DISTRIBUTION Creative Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 020 8664 3456 Curveball Leisure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01792 652562 Discstribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0845 430 8735 Gem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 GLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01708 725742 Ideal Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01767 689 720 Logic3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471 000 Meroncourt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01462 680060 Revive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01462 483555
Distributors of DVDs, Blu-Ray, Music CDs and Video Games
www.discstribution.com Over 100,000 Different Items to Order Online
THE NEW FORCE IN ENTERTAINMENT
DISCSTRIBUTION +44 (0) 845 430 8735 Call Kevin, Ashley, Richie or Pete Accepted Payments - Paypal - Google Checkout - Credit Cards - Bank Tranfers and 30 Day Credit Accounts
DISCSTRIBUTION . . . . . . . +44 (0)845 430 8735 . . . . . . . . . www.discstribution.com
GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR Total Console Repair Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21
GAMING ACCESSORIES Pinpoint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01606 558 428 LOCALISATION Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 Testronic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 653 722 Universally Speaking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01480 210621 STORE FITTINGS Retail Entertainment Displays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01733 239001 DISC REPAIR TDR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01202 489 500 IDEAL SOFTWARE . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1767 689720 . . . . . . . . . . www.idealsoftware.net GAMING ACCESSORIES
...bringing you all the right lines
Wii Wand Action Pack Wii Wand Multi format Metal Pedal
01606 558 428
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Road One, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 3QG www.pinpointce.co.uk Part of the Pinpoint Group
PINPOINT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01606 558428 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.pinpointce.co.uk
MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk
EDITORIAL PLANNER Some of the special issues coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the market... FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 25th
SELF IMPROVEMENT & NON-GAMES SOFTWARE Thanks in no small part to the success of titles such as Wii Fit and Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training on Nintendo formats, the non-games software sector has never been in such rude health (and boasting toned abs and an increased IQ, no doubt...). MCV takes a look at this area of the market, offering a guide to the key titles set to hit retail during Q4.
BRAND LICENSING EUROPE With this year’s show boasting a dedicated interactive entertainment section, Brand Licensing Europe (taking place at London Olympia, September 30th to October 1st) has never been more relevant to developers and publishers. MCV takes a look at the licensed games sector, its successes and its challenges. FRIDAY OCTOBER 2nd
LGC: WHY YOU NEED TO BE THERE We offer an in-depth preview of the London Games Conference. The event will offer an insight into the future of digital distribution and how it intersects with retail. Expect keynotes and discussions from leading industry figures. The event will also serve as a great opportunity for networking.
FPS GENRE FOCUS With the Christmas charts likely to be dominated by the likes of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Halo 3: ODST, we take a look at how publishers can survive in this increasingly competitive genre. We also speak with leading companies about the key titles due to hit shelves throughout Q4, how they will stand out from their rivals and where the future of this popular genre is heading.
TERRITORY REPORT: JAPAN The Japanese games market is in upheaval, with software and hardware sales in decline and the country’s publishing superpowers looking to Europe for its profits. MCV takes an in-depth look at the territory and speaks to distributors, retailers and publishers on the future of Japan’s legendary games sector. FRIDAY OCTOBER 16th
TERRITORY REPORT: MIDDLE EAST Inbetween the tax havens and highly sought-after oil fields are some of the world’s most interesting emerging markets. In the latest of our territory reports, MCV takes a in-depth look at the major retailers and distributors across the various territories and speak to key players about how the various difficulties in bringing the latest titles to shelves in this region. FRIDAY OCTOBER 30th
30 UNDER 30 One of our most popular annual features makes its triumphant return. MCV provides the definitive round-up of the hottest up-and-coming talent that’s currently working within the video games industry. It includes promising young marketing managers, PR executives, journalists, retailers, games buyers, consultants and much, much more. Will you make it onto this year’s list?
FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT: LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . email@example.com
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Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month.
STUDIOS NDreams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01252 375754 Razorback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.razorback.co.uk Realtime Worlds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1382 202 821 Stainless Games . . . . . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org Strawdog Studio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1332 258 862 TOOLS Blitz Games Studios. . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1926 880 000 Crytek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +49 69219 77660 Epic Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +1 919 870 1516
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk DISTRIBUTION
SERVICES 3D Creation Studios . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 151 345 9551 Air Studios. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 207 794 0660 amBX UK Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.ambx.com Onteca . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0151 709 0028 Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1753 247 731 Testology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 07919 523 036 Testronic Labs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0)1753 653 722 Universally Speaking . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1480 210 621 COURSES University of Hull . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1482 465 951
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Insider’s | Guide
GLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01708 725742. . . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR
This week’s Insider’s Guide interviewee is PlayableGames’ Gemma Boguslawski…
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What services does PlayableGames provide? We do user research. It allows developers to ensure their game is fun and understood, and to identify issues that might affect the playability of it. For example, is the difficulty level right? Is it too dull? Is the concept of the game overcomplicated? Do the controls make sense? This usually involves testing either the whole of the game or part of it at the Beta stage, with small numbers of users who represent the title’s intended customer base. We also work at really early stages to help with concept definition – this is particularly helpful for the developers at the presubmission point to publishers. We can also review prototypes as a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ to identify likely gameplay issues. This works when clients have limited budgets or time. Furthermore, we run testing in the UK and internationally, and we work with developers,
publishers and the major platform holders, including Microsoft and Sony. Tell us something we didn’t know about PlayableGames We are the first and most experienced UK team specialising in gameplay research and usability. What are your hopes for Q4? This year we have seen a huge leap in the awareness of user research and how it can be used to improve video games. It would be great to hear from publishers and developers who want to find out more about the benefits of user testing and how best to work it into their development processes. What is the best thing about your job? Getting to test and influence the development of a huge variety of different video games. But also knowing that what we do genuinely makes a difference to today’s industry.
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DIARY DATES ‘09 From the MCV Awards to our next Pub Quiz, here are all the essential industry dates to get in your diary…
SEPTEMBER TOKYO GAME SHOW Thursday, September 24th – Sunday, September 27th Makuhair Messe, Tokyo tgs.cesa.or.jp/english
PARTNERTRANS . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.partnertrans.com
BRAND LICENSING 2009 Wednesday, September 30th – Sunday, October 1st Olympia, London www.brandlicensingeurope.com
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 email@example.com www.testroniclabs.com
TESTRONIC LABORATORIES . . . +44 (0) 1753 653 722. . . . www.testroniclabs.com LOCALISATION
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 LONDON GAMES FESTIVAL Saturday, October 24th – Sunday, November 1st London www.londongamesfestival.co.uk LONDON GAMES CONFERENCE Tuesday, October 27th BAFTA, London firstname.lastname@example.org EUROGAMER EXPO Tuesday, October 27th – Saturday, October 31st London and Leeds expo.eurogamer.net GOLDEN JOYSTICK AWARDS Friday, October 30th London www.goldenjoystick.com
NOVEMBER GAME ON! LONDON Saturday, November 14th – Sunday, November 15th Earls Court 2, London www.gameonlondon.com
DECEMBER MCV/XBOX 360 PUB QUIZ Thursday, December 3rd Sway Bar, Holborn email@example.com
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 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 numerous buyers and publishers, editors and agencies all rubbing shoulders at the bar.
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.
MCV 18/09/09 63
‘Stop blaming the R4 card’ This week, a ‘doctor of games’ explains why Nintendo’s most hated accessory is actually not that bad after all…
ONCE AGAIN, the R4 card is brought up when it is an innocent technology (‘Nintendo snares Warner anti-piracy guru’, MCV 28/08). Yes, I know that it was almost certainly created to help piracy. And that almost certainly most owners use it as such. However, this is NOT known for certain, and there are a sizable minority, including myself, who own one to be able to play and create homebrew software. There is NO method for developing games on the DS available to anyone but an approved developer; trust me, I have tried to get official dev kits from the big N, but been turned down. This is THE biggest selling handheld console ever, and one of the
most accessible and innovative, yet my students are unable to get their programming skills to this platform. The Sony PSP has committed and responsible homebrewers, who make it clear that they do not condone or support piracy.
games. NOTE: We own and paid for PSP dev kits at Newport. It was an avenue available to us. This is not the case for Nintendo. What your article does do is identify the problem with the attitude of people willing to
Don’t criminalise a tech that allows creativity. Blame the people providing the ROMs and benefitting financially.
Dr Reddy, Newport Business School
One example would be ChickHEN (the HEN stands for Homebrew Enabler) which the designer has publicly stated will never be engineered to allow ISOs to run; it is purely there to allow free dev tools to be used to create your own
‘steal’ by downloading copies of games they don’t own. Personally, I think using the R4 card with games that you have bought and are careful not to make ‘available to others’ is a grey area, but one that I don’t condone either.
However, the most important people to go after are the ones who financially benefit from ‘subscriptions’ or web advertising revenues when you go to their Warez sites. Don’t blame the R4. Blame the people providing the ROMs and work on the attitudes of those that support them by downloading games, rather than the hard work of those that make them. Don’t criminalise a tech that allows creativity. Remember the C90 cassette tape? Remember cutting together that party mix from your old LPs? That’s where creativity truly thrives. Dr. Mike Reddy, Games Development and A.I., Division of Computing, Newport Business School
‘You missed LMA Manager!’ I was a bit disappointed to see no mention of LMA Manager in your genre focus: Football Games. It was the biggestselling management game on consoles, selling over three million units. Plus most of those sales were in the UK. LMA Manager is one of my career highlights and I spent over five years of my life making it a success. It was certainly much more of a commercial and critical success than a lot of the other
LMA Manager: A forgotten gem?
games mentioned in the piece. LMA would always go to No.1 in the charts immediately after release and it scored well above 80 per cent in reviews. Although I did notice Club Football got a mention. This
also took a lot of my blood, sweat and toil. But I have to say the game was not one of my career highlights… Running Hoodoo Studio at Codemasters (the studio that developed LMA Manager and Club Football) is where I cut my game management teeth. I learnt a lot from that time and I now capitalise on that experience in my role as CEO at Lightning Fish in Banbury. Simon Prytherch Lightning Fish Games
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64 MCV 18/09/09
Off The Record
This week, a pop starlet gets her hands on an industry icon, as Sega (and friends) take over a country hotel…
PIC OF THE
A Europe-wide World Record attempt for the most concurrent players of a Guitar Hero game took place last week. The UK leg, organised by BHPR, took place at HMV Oxford Street and featured a certain Pixie Lott (pictured above), plus Inside Xbox’s Andy Farrant (on drums), Eurogamer’s Johnny Minkley and Activision work experience girl Amy Dinsey. Four days later, it hit No.1 in the charts...
MCV 18/09/09 65
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
HORSE PLAY... Sega’s annual retail Fast Forward event kicked off last Thursday at the very posh Luton Hoo hotel, and – as it so often does – a fancy dress theme livened up proceedings no end. Our man with the camera caught the likes of Sega’s John Clark, Ben Payne, Alan Pritchard, Amanda Farr and Jo Fawell in full regalia, alongside Centresoft’s Margaret Pearson and Amazon’s Brian Foote.
MARTYN GIBBS, GAMESTATION
DON MCCABE, CHIPS
TIM ELLIS, HMV
KEITH SHARPE, PLAY.COM
CAROLINE AUSTEN, THE HUT
JON BIGGS, MORRISONS
AZEEM SADIQ, COMET
GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON
PETER WILLIS, DSGI
IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO
ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS
STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK
JOANNA HUNT, TESCO
Okay, so this strictly isn’t about games, but the nice chaps and chappesses at HMV have asked us to cover their latest 18-month calendar, from which all proceeds will go to CLIC Sargant – a charity that helps teenage and young adult cancer sufferers. It looks ace and features rock icons including Elvis, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen. And it’s a bloody good cause.
GURDEEP HUNJAN, SAINSBURYS
MPETITION COMPETITION COMPETITION COMPETITION COMPETITIO
WIN ALL THESE!
To be in with a shout of winning a copy of all the corking games in this Recommended Extra, just answer the following question: Activision’s whizzy new racer Blur is from the renowned developer of the Project Gotham Racing series. What is their name?
A) Bizarre Creations B) Ridiculous Happenings C) Quite Silly Software Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
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THE INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
Friday September 18 2009 £3.25
The market for computer and video games