Yb^cm k]h\5bh8YW www.enjoynintendo.com © 2009 Nintendo TM, ®, DS logo and the Wii logo are trademarks of Nintendo.
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H\fYY[YbYfUh]cbgcZh\YDUhY`ZUa]`mYb^cmAUf]c?UfhK]] Follow Ant & Dec from October 16th, as the pair combine their love for Nintendo with what they do best: meeting and challenging Nintendo fans and families across the UK. For the ﬁrst time, the British public have been given the opportunity to star alongside Ant & Dec as the real stars of the ads. This follows a national recruitment campaign looking for genuine fans of Nintendo titles, from Professor Layton and the Curious Village™ to Wii Sports™ Resort. As gaming fans themselves, Ant & Dec will be asking the nation why they enjoy Nintendo so much – everyone from cabbies keeping their brains active with Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training™ :How Old is Your Brain?, to women at WeightWatchers® having fun with Wii Fit™. What will Dec’s Brain Age be? How will Ant fair at Mario Kart™ Wii? To ﬁnd out the results of the challenges, head over to www.enjoynintendo.com
www.enjoynintendo.com © 2009 Nintendo TM, ®, DS logo and the Wii logo are trademarks of Nintendo.
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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES
Issue 559 Friday October 16 2009 £3.25
06 Mario’s Q4 boast Nintendo guns for the Xmas No.1 spot, with its biggest ever Q4 marketing push
07 Hero’s welcome Activision franchise’s boss gets behind disc-based releases for next year
22 The Brooker prize Games journo turned TV star Charlie Brooker speaks exclusively to MCV
WITH THIS ISSUE MCV takes a special look at what may be the biggest game of 2009
EVERY BUYER EVERY BRANCH EVERY INDIE EVERY WEEK
Codemasters Rules Britannia Firm beats labels that “didn’t fancy the Q4 fight” Operation Flashpoint, Ashes and Dirt sequels coming in 2010 by Tim Ingham CODEMASTERS will release sequels to its biggest franchises next year, MCV can reveal – after a record 2009 that the firm says has been achieved “in the face of industry giants with much fatter wallets”. The publisher enjoyed its biggest-ever opening weekend for a debut title this week, as
Rising. The firm will also release the first game from its Guildford Studio, which opened in 2007 – whilst Codemasters Online will unveil MMO Jumpgate. Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens told MCV that the firm’s strategy next year will once again be one of “fewer, better” games – and that the
How long has it been since a UK publisher recorded such presence? And we’ve done so against much fatter wallets. Rod Cousens, Codemasters
Rod Cousens says Codemasters’ success has put UK development back on the map
He added: “How long has it been since the market has seen a UK publisher and content creator record such presence? Codemasters has done it at a time when major publishers didn’t fancy the fight in the face of impending giant releases.” Operation Flashpoint was boosted by a deal at Asda which saw the game sold for just £27 in its opening week. Codemasters still has to release its Formula One game on Wii and PSP in November. Cousens said: “Recent movements in hardware pricing and configuration coupled with seasonal spikes make Formula One the ideal Christmas gift.”
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising hit No.2 in the ELSPA/GfK-ChartTrack All Formats chart and No.1 in the PC rankings. The title follows similar Top Three success for Ashes Cricket 2009 and DiRT 2. MCV understands that all three series will enjoy new iterations in 2010 – alongside additional DLC for Dragon
company has achieved success in 2009 as bigger publishers moved releases to 2010 as they “didn’t fancy the fight” at retail. “In the final third of the calendar year, Ashes Cricket, Dirt 2 and now Operation Flashpoint have given rise to market share gains and prominence to UK creative talent,” Cousens told MCV.
UK market down in Q3
Studios lose out in Oxygen IP grab by Tim Ingham
THE OVERALL UK games market was down year-on-year in Q3 2009, according to new ELSPA/GfK-ChartTrack data. Q3 sales were worth £243m in the three months to the 26th September – versus 2008’s £316m (and 2007’s £292m). The results continue the trend from Q2 2009. Turn overleaf to pages 4&5 for MCV’s full analysis of the industry’s Q3 sales
THE ‘NEW’ owner of Oxygen’s assets has told MCV that developers have been left out of pocket following the firm’s fall into administration. OG International purchased Oxygen’s IP and stock after the firm went into administration this week (MCVUK.com Newsflash 14/10/09). The international sales and distribution firm is headed by
Jim Scott – Oxygen Games’ former CEO. Scott admitted to MCV that studios were owed payment by Oxygen – and must now deal with administrator FA Simms & Partners. “Obviously, we’ve only bought the assets, so any creditor would have to speak to the administrator [about Oxygen’s debt],” he said. “I’m not involved with the company now. I don’t think
GOING GLOBAL Even potentially parochial release Ashes Cricket 2009 has hit top selling figures across the world. “In its two key markets of the UK and Australia, Ashes Cricket has sold volumes which if prorated upwards worldwide would be the equivalent of two million,” reveals Cousens. “Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and Dirt 2 have reached a global audience where success has been achieved in the face of industry giants with much fatter wallets.”
SCOTT: Former Oxygen boss heads up acquirer of firm’s IP
there was many developers owed [money], to be fair.” Oxygen Games developers included Rebellion Studios, Magellen Interactive and Destineer Games, who produced titles including Cate West: The Vanishing Files and PDC World Championship Darts 2009. Scott told MCV that OG International distributes both software and hardware to over 250 retailers around Europe.
PERSONNEL 46 RETAIL BIZ 47 NEW RELEASES 58 HIGH STREET 60 CHARTS 62
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[LEADER] OPERATION HEALTHCHECK Ever get the feeling the industry is getting smaller? Not in volume terms of course, but, you know… companies and conversations. How many different people have you called this week? Or maybe just the usual few, mostly by email. There seems to be fewer companies in the mainstream space as every year goes by, be that in publishing, development or retail, even though the overall market size is bigger than any of us imagined five or so years ago. Which is why every time even a small publisher like Oxygen or Empire disappears, let alone a bigger player like Midway or Zavvi, my heart sinks a little. I know there is a brave new world emerging, populated by indie developers empowered by new digital distribution models, but whilst we wait for that to create jobs and a genuine trade community, one has to hope that all the power doesn’t end up residing with just half a dozen publishers and buyer drones at faceless supermarkets. That’s why the fantastic year that Codemasters has had should be cheered from the rooftops. Everyone knows how tough it has been for this company in the past couple of years and how much
“Codemasters has done brilliantly. And variety at retail is to be cherished.” has been riding on its key releases since summer. But guess what, this British company has done brilliantly. There are plenty who have wanted to knock it, yet Ashes, Dirt 2 and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising have all done the business – protecting jobs and providing variety at retail. Codemasters employs around 450 people and is a big player, a company with a strong history and fine commitment to quality game development. Hats off. There were 56 companies listed as ELSPA members in MCV two weeks ago, from Activision Blizzard to Zushi Games. And many more within Tiga. Variety, whether an iPhone developer or a format holder, is what this fantastic industry has been built on. And every time an Operation Flashpoint or Cooking Mama succeeds, even a Flight Control, it has to be good for the health of the industry at large.
EA, Batman and Wii Sports rule Q3 market data But does overall market decline mean we can expect a dip in Q4? by Michael French ELECTRONIC ARTS maintained a generous chunk of market share in the third quarter of the year, MCVpublished data can reveal. The quarterly ELSPA/GfKChartTrack data this week shows shows that the publisher accounted for over 17 per cent of games sales in unit terms from July to September – and over 20 per cent of the market in value terms. EA had a four-game run in the top ten games for the period, with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, Fight Night Round 4, Need For Speed: Shift and Harry Potter at places six to nine (see chart, right). Wii Sports Resort was the biggest selling game of the quarter, however, by a considerable margin – although its debut didn't change the
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Wii Sports Resort were the big hitters at retail in the last three months
Nintendo console's market share, which held firm at 23 per cent. Other star performers were Eidos and Batman: Arkham Asylum – the game was the second best selling game in Q3 and helped the firm leap up the charts and into the top ten ranking for publishers in unit terms for the period. Almost
three million units of the game have been sold globally. Despite those individual company successes, the overall market was down on last year. Q3 sales were worth £243m versus 2008’s £316m (and 2007’s £292m), continuing the Q2 2009 trend where the market sales were down over £100m from £366m to £265m.
PUBLISHERS GOING GA-GA FOR QUEEN GAME
EXTRA EXTRA! Read all about it… in MCV of course. Possibly twice. As we went to press, the Communication Workers Union were either telling the Royal Mail when its first strikes would be or offering one last chance for a resolution. God knows. But whatever happens, MCV will not be affected at retail level during the key Q4 season. We have tied up with Centresoft and others to print up to 4,000 extra copies of MCV every week all the way to Christmas if we have to. Let’s hope that consumers ordering from Amazon, Play or any other online store are equally protected. Stuart.Dinsey@intentmedia.co.uk
LEGENDARY BAND Queen could get its own The Beatles: Rock Band-style spin off. Speaking to the BBC former bandmate Brian May said talk were “going on behind the scenes” to make such a title. Part of the work is already done; Warner Bros has already licensed the band’s likenesses for use in Lego Rock Band, Tom Stone boss of developer Traveller’s Tales, recently told MCV: “To see these famous people move around on screen in LEGO form really is quite special.”
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IN COMPARISON: 2009 SO FAR VS 2008 VS 2007
Q1 2007 ........................£280m
Q2 2007........................£243m Q3 2007........................£292m Q4 2007 .......................£744m
UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES
Q2 2008 .......................£366m Q3 2008 ........................£316m
2. PES 2010
3. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
360 ....................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
Q2 2009 .......................£265m Q3 2009 .......................£243m
4. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 PS3 ....................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
Q3 - TOP TEN GAMES
FORMAT MARKET SHARE (UNITS)
5. FORZA MOTORSPORT 3
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
NINTENDO WII .............................................................................23.0%
6. FORZA 3: LIMITED EDITION
WII SPORTS RESORT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nintendo BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eidos HALO 3: ODST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Microsoft WII FIT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nintendo ASHES CRICKET 2009 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Codemasters TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EA FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EA NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EA HARRY POTTER & THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE . . . . . . . . . . . EA CALL OF JUAREZ: BOUND IN BLOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ubisoft
PLAYSTATION 3............................................................................15.9% PC .....................................................................................................11.5% SONY PSP .......................................................................................4.4% PLAYSTATION 2..............................................................................2.7%
7. BRUTAL LEGEND 360 ..............................................EA
8. RATCHET & CLANK: TIME PS3 ..........................................SONY
Q3 - PUBLISHER SHARE (VALUE)
Q3 - PUBLISHER SHARE (UNITS)
9. TEKKEN 6
LQ 1 2 3 5 15 19 10 6 7 4
LQ 1 2 3 4 9 6 15 5 7 18
PS3 ............................NAMCO BANDAI
TQ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
– – –
COMPANY ELECTRONIC ARTS................................20.2% NINTENDO ..................................................15.8% ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ........................13.0% UBISOFT.......................................................6.8% CODEMASTERS..........................................5.5% EIDOS .............................................................5.4% MICROSOFT ..................................................5.1% SEGA ...............................................................3.7% SCEE ...............................................................3.2% THQ .................................................................3.2%
TQ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
– – – – –
COMPANY ELECTRONIC ARTS...............................17.6% NINTENDO................................................14.4% ACTIVISION BLIZZARD .....................10.8% UBISOFT.....................................................8.3% MICROSOFT ..............................................4.4% SEGA ............................................................4.3% CODEMASTERS .......................................4.3% THQ ...............................................................3.9% SCEE.............................................................3.9% EIDOS...........................................................3.8%
10. GRAN TURISMO 5 PS3 ..........................................SONY Week ending October 10th Source: SHOPTO.COM Turn to page 61 for more pre-order charts from leading online retailers
UK SOFTWARE SALES MONITOR Your weekly guide to the UK games software market… This week’s UK software sales fell week-onweek by 32 per cent to £27.9 million, while units was also down 26 per cent to 1,153,811. The market is now back down to the levels it was at prior to FIFA’s launch. This week’s sales was driven by FIFA 10 once again, which fell 64 per cent in sales compared to its launch week. The arrival of Codemasters’ Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising also benefited retail, debuting in second position. Despite the news, expect next week’s sales to rise steeply with the arrival of three highly anticipated releases, including Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Brutal Legend.
[WEEKLY MARKET VALUE]
Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media
Week Ending October 10th 2009
FIFA 10 maintained its place at the top of the charts despite a dip in week-on-week sales
Week Ending September 26th
Week Ending October 3rd
Week Ending October 10th
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Nintendo hails its strongest ever Christmas Wii line-up Wii Sports Resort could be Christmas No.1, says firm Wii Fit Plus and NSMB Wii set for long-term success
Nintendo will promote Wii Fit Plus (left), New Super Mario Bros. Wii (middle) and Wii Sports Resort (right) well into 2010
by Christopher Dring NINTENDO is convinced that Wii Fit Plus and New Super Mario Bros. Wii make up its best Christmas Wii line-up yet, and expects both titles to dominate the Top 40 well into 2010. The new releases – along with Wii Sports Resort – will be backed by the platform holder’s ‘groundbreaking’ Q4 marketing campaign featuring Ant and Dec. And Nintendo’s
senior product manager Rob Lowe feels the products will appeal to all forms of gamer.
“We’ve got New Super Mario Bros. Wii for the families and gamers, Wii Fit
The sales curves on our titles are like FMCG products and less like traditional video games. Rob Lowe, Nintendo
“We think this is the strongest festive line-up we’ve had yet on Wii,” he told MCV.
Plus for the women and the older audience, and Wii Sports Resort for pretty much
everybody. We’ve also got Ant and Dec as the face of Nintendo. It’s a groundbreaking campaign that really heralds the move of gaming from a niche pursuit into the mainstream consciousness. “The sales curves on our titles are much more like FMCG products and less like traditional video games. You will see marketing for all of our key products – Wii Fit Plus, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Mario Kart Wii and Wii
Sports Resort – continuing well into 2010.” Nintendo is also optimistic that one of its titles could snatch the Christmas No.1 position – with Wii Sports Resort a surprise contender. “It might be a dark horse,” said Lowe, “especially as it now comes with the Wii console. It’s tough to call, but if you’re having a punt on the Xmas No.1, it might be worth putting a few quid on it!” Nintendo: 01753 483 700
P2 picks partners for Tracy Beaker release P2 GAMES has teamed up with publisher Random House and supermarket chain Morrisons for its upcoming Tracy Beaker video game. The title will be advertised in 100,000 Tracy Beaker reprints, as well as in the Tracy Beaker Fan Club newsletter and on relevant websites. Meanwhile, the title is backed by Jacqueline Wilson herself, who is doing interviews and signing copies of the game. “At the start of the project we could see how much value there would be in directly
targeting the massive Tracy Beaker fanbase,” said P2 Games managing director Gerry Whiteside. “It has been great working with Random House and Jacqueline Wilson as they have embraced all of our ideas to do this. We have been able to directly email the members of their fan club, which is nearly 200,000 members, run ads on their website and they have even placed an ad for the games in all their Tracy Beaker books.” Alongside this activity, P2 Games is offering a very special
The new Tracy Beaker game will be promoted within the hugely successful novels
bundle through supermarket giant Morrisons, which features a copy of the video game and the Tracy Beaker Quiz Book. “At retail, we feel that we have been able to produce a genuinely fantastic promotional pack for Morrisons,” continued Whiteside. “We believe this type of initiative will make the difference in terms of sales as awareness for the game will be excellent amongst Tracy Beaker fans in what is a very busy and competitive market sector.” P2 Games: 07785 231702
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More Hero discs due next year But Activision plans to beef up online strategy to help current retail offering ‘live longer’ during 2010 by Michael French THE CEO OF Guitar Hero has confirmed to MCV that retailers can expect more discbased releases for its music games in 2010. In an exclusive interview, Activision’s music game boss Dan Rosensweig said retailers can expect more Guitar Hero, DJ Hero and Band Hero games
will see is the games become more vibrant and live longer [at retail] due to connectivity,” said Rosensweig. The next Hero game, DJ Hero, arrives at retail at the end of the month with its own turntable peripheral. Familyoriented Band Hero is released in November. Retail is the primary source of revenue for the Hero
We are working on our 2010 slate, and you might see fewer SKUs as we focus on the best games. Dan Rosensweig, Activision
next year – but perhaps not as many as the various different expansions that hit this year. Instead, the firm is simultaneously beefing up its DLC strategy in a bid to boost retail sales. “You’ll certainly see a DJ Hero and the next iterations of Guitar Hero and Band Hero. But we’ll see how the market plays out and what the opportunities are. What you
Hero boss Rosensweig has hinted Activision may look to focus on quality over quantity in 2010
franchise due to its bundled instruments – Activision now wants to start releasing more digital content as an incentive to drive people back in store. Said Rosensweig: “We are really happy to be mostly purchased via retail – and we intend for that to remain our primary route to market. We don’t see physical and digital as one
versus the other – retailers enjoy the fact that the two complement each other “We will focus on what the fans want – we are working on our 2010
slate, and you might see fewer SKUs, but we will focus on the best games, the mosthighly reviewed titles that continue to lead the category in terms of innovation.” Activision: 020 3060 1000
Rising Star’s 50th game haunts Halloween PUBLISHER RISING Star Games is looking to capitalise on the Halloween season to drive its milestone release, JuOn: The Grudge.
released since its inception in 2005. The company has gathered a dedicated fanbase over the last four years, thanks to its
The Halloween release date is not a coincidence, but we are not just releasing the game for one season. Yen Hau, Rising Star
The social horror title, based on the iconic Japanese movie, holds particular importance for the publisher – as it is the 50th video game that Rising Star has
specialisation in bringing Japanese titles to Europe. Previous successes include the likes of the best-selling Hello Kitty and Harvest Moon titles,
as well as critically acclaimed Wii titles, No More Heroes and Little King’s Story. To ensure Ju-On will continue this trend, Rising Star is using the upcoming celebration of all things spooky to improve the game’s chances of high sales. However, product marketing assistant Yen Hau assures retailers the game will sell well throughout the year. “The targeted release date of October 30th is not a coincidence,” he told MCV. “Due to Halloween falling on a weekend this year, we expect it to perform very well during this time.
Rising Star feels its movie tie-in is ideal for holidays like Halloween
“But we are not just releasing a game for one season. The social nature and easy gameplay mechanics, plus the targeted market, means that Ju-On has the potential to
perform well at all the key holidays, but also when people choose to play together, potentially resulting in a steady sales line.” Rising Star: 01582 433 700
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EA warns against copycat publishing ‘Me too’ games will not succeed on Nintendo platforms, says publisher’s UK vice president Keith Ramsdale by Tim Ingham ELECTRONIC ARTS UK VP Keith Ramsdale has warned that publishers producing ‘me too’ product will struggle on Nintendo formats. The publisher unveiled its Flips range last week – a line-
to struggle,” he told MCV. “Unless you’ve got a compelling point of difference, it’s going to be an uphill battle. “If you look where EA’s successes so far in the Nintendo space have been – Littlest Pet Shop, EA Sports Active and more – wherever
If you look at EA’s success in the Nintendo space, it’s whenever we’re first to market with an innovation. Keith Ramsdale, EA
up of e-books for kids on DS from popular authors including Enid Blyton and Eion Colfer. And Ramsdale said that the range was another example of EA’s innovation in a market notorious for copycat product. “Where any publisher goes ‘me too’, they’re always going
we’re first to market with an innovation, we perform really well. That’s why we’ve got high hopes for Flips. “[Nintendo’s] 100 Classic Books was out there, and that may have produced a thought in [EA Play VP] Harvey Elliott’s head, but to all intents and
Ramsdale feels it takes original ideas like Flips to succeed on Wii and DS
purposes we’re the first to market with this.” Ramsdale’s comments come in the week that Oxygen Games – best known for its Wii and DS titles – went into administration. EA’s Flips will feature books from publishers Penguin and Egmont. Each title features multiple books and the first four SKUs will be released on December 4th. The titles also feature quizzes and interactive elements to encourage children to finish each chapter. To read our full interview with Keith Ramsdale and EA Play boss Harvey Elliott, turn to page 18
The Hut hires games marketing boss GROWING online retailer The Hut has hired a new marketing manager for its games category. Sarah Jasper joins the firm after working as brand marketing manager on the Play.com-sponsored Take That tour. She has also previously worked for Sony Vaio and BMW. In addition, she joins MCV’s Retail Advisory Board as The Hut’s representative, and will give advice and reaction on industry matters in future. “Sarah brings excellent brand marketing skills and will work closely with our publishing partners to promote
gaming brands to the entire three-million Hut Group customer base,” said The Hut product director Gian Luzio.
The firm has seen sales growth of 189 per cent a year from £997,000 in 2005 to a whopping £24 million last year.
Sarah brings excellent brand marketing skills and will work closely with our partners to promote gaming brands. Gian Luzio, The Hut
MCV revealed last month (25/09) that The Hut is planning a £3 million ad blitz for its sites throughout Q4. The group was also ranked at No.1 in The Sunday Times Tech Track 100 in September.
It has revamped the fortunes of Zavvi via Zavvi.com, which it fully owns. The Zavvi brand is also a London Games Conference sponsor, which takes place on Tuesday, October 23rd. www.thehut.com
Sarah Jasper will help promote video game brands on The Hut sites
NOT LONG TO GO! Join over 10,000 gamers, retailers and press at this year’s Eurogamer Expo GET YOUR TICKET NOW: EXPO.EUROGAMER.NET
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GAME Group plots even more exclusive products Retail chain snaps up more exclusives following special edition Call of Duty Xbox 360 by Christopher Dring GAME GROUP has pledged that it will keep securing exclusive products, after grabbing the rights to the limited edition Modern Warfare 2 Xbox 360.
“We are committed to delivering exciting and exclusive deals at GAME and Gamestation to gamers right across the UK,” said commercial and supply chain director for GAME Group Tricia Brennan. “We’ll always work hard to
We are committed to delivering exciting and exclusive deals at GAME and Gamestation across the UK. Tricia Brennan, GAME
The console joins a raft of GAME-exclusives this Christmas, which includes the special edition of Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, the Assassin’s Creed II White Edition and Modern Warfare 2 Veteran Package. The retailer has also secured an exclusive version of Tony Hawk: RIDE.
Enterbrain and Babel can provide all the knowledge and services required to help those developers be successful” The firm told MCV that it had signed up five new projects at Tokyo Games Show last month. www.babelmedia.co.uk
EA: FIFA sold more than 1.7 million copies across Europe in its first weekend, making it the biggest European launch in the publisher’s history.
SONY: New licensing deals have been signed with Target Entertainment Group that will see LittleBigPlanet and Ratchet & Clank theme books and clothes released. MICROSOFT: GTA IV, Midnight Club and BioShock are the newest additions to the Xbox 360 Classics range, retailing at £19.99 each. BETHESDA: Wet has been named as the sole sponsor for Gypsy Pistoleros’ October UK tour, after four of the band’s tracks were included in the shooter’s soundtrack. Brennan is on the lookout for more exclusive products for GAME
Babel expands East Head First celebrates UK TESTING and localisation firm Babel has formed a partnership with Japan’s market intelligence company Enterbrain – publisher of Famitsu magazine. Under terms of the partnership Babel will supply focus testing and localisation services to Enterbrain’s customer base. “The hot topic for Japanese developers is how to make successful games for the western markets” said Richard Leinfellner, Babel CEO. “This partnership means that
NINTENDO: A Business Week poll named Nintendo as the best company in the world, due to its commitment to innovation, aggressive expansion and a clear vision for the future.
bring our customers new and exciting deals and promotions.” GAME secured the Modern Warfare 2 Xbox 360 last month, which was unveiled in the US by Infinity Ward. “We’re very excited because we know customers will love it,” added Brennan. GAME: 01256 784000
KALYPSO: Tropico 3 for the Xbox 360 and PC will now be distributed by Advantage. The firm can be contacted on 0121 506 0985.
its tenth birthday ADVERTISING and design agency Head First is looking ahead after celebrating its tenth birthday. The firm has re-designed its website to highlight the milestone and is even running a series of blogs around the number ten. And the company is now looking to grow its presence in front of the industry’s biggest publishers. “The secret to Head First's ten years of success is down to
the ideas produced here daily,” said director Dom Conlon. “In the next ten years we plan on taking this approach forward. We win many pitches against the kind of agency which has offices in every port. But that’s not enough. We want to be alongside publishers as they think about their marketing and we want the Head First name to be associated with creative thinking at every level.” www.head-first.co.uk
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Trade ready for consumer show Sony UK, Sega, EA, Ubisoft, Bethesda, HMV and more gear up for Eurogamer Expo in London and Leeds by Christopher Dring PUBLISHERS HAVE thrown their weight behind the second Eurogamer Expo, which hits Leeds and London this month. The consumer show debuted in 2008, and this year the organisers have secured support from EA, Bethesda, Sega, Sony, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Konami, Capcom and others. “Last year’s Expo satisfied the needs of core gamers, with low ticket prices, great content and knowledgeable staff,” said SCEE marketing director Alan Duncan. “By sticking to these simple principles we believe this year’s event will be even better.”
EA’s UK marketing director Stuart Lang added: “The Eurogamer audience is totally passionate about games and so it’s superb that they have an event like this.”
Event sponsor HMV is also expecting big things. “The attention to detail in the Expo’s organisation means that some of the UK’s most avid gamers are guaranteed a slice of
The fact that gamers can go hands on with future triple-A titles will serve to build hype and drive sales.
“It’s important for us as well to get feedback from our fans.” Games set to appear at this year’s show includes MAG, Bayonetta, Assassin’s Creed II and Mass Effect 2.
Tim Ellis, HMV
gaming heaven,” said HMV’s head of games Tim Ellis. “The fact that gamers can go hands on with future tripleA titles will serve to build hype and drive sales.”
The Eurogamer Expo is set to cater for up to 14,000 consumers
The Eurogamer Expo will take place at the Saviles Royal Armouries Square in Leeds on Tuesday October 27th and 28th, and at Old Billingsgate, London on Friday October 30th to 31st. The expo is part of the London Games Festival. Other
E WEEK H T F O N G I A P CAM ES NG THIEV O M A : 2 D E T R UNCHA TV & CINEMA
Uncharted 2 has an incredible 97 Metacritic rating, but Sony isn’t resting on critical plaudits with a big pre-Christmas marketing push already underway…
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During September Sony ran a TV teaser campaign that invited viewers to go to the pre-order website: www.uncharted2launch.com and view the full trailer. This has been followed by an October campaign, with TV slots within programmes aimed at 16 to 34-year-old males, such as England World Cup qualifiers. This is joined by sponsorship on Sky 1’s Friday Movie, which lasts throughout October and November. Films include Days of Thunder, Mission Impossible and X-Men. Sony has also sponsored Discovery Channel’s Adventure and Survival programming, including Bear Grylls: Born Survivor and Quest into the Unknown. Finally, a cinema campaign is running during October and
November, featuring ads created using in-game footage. ONLINE Online advertisement has been booked on high traffic websites, including lifestyle portals. This is accompanied by a national competition for consumers to win the chance to be a real-life action hero, much like the game’s protagonist Nathan Drake. PRESS The national press campaign features activity in both specialist and lifestyle media. Publications include The Sun, T3 and Official PlayStation. Uncharted 2 has also bagged some impressive review scores, including 10/10 in Official PlayStation and on Eurogamer. The game also has a Metacritic score of 97.
events set to take place includes the MCM Expo and the London Games Conference. A preview of MCM Expo can be found on page 43, with a full guide to the London Games Conference in next week’s MCV. expo.eurogamer.net
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Games are about to get Horrid
14 MCV 16/10/09
NEWS ANALYSIS: OXYGEN GAMES
Oxygen couldn’t repeat the success of its first PDC Darts game with its 2009 sequel – as a crowded Wii market made it hard to get exposure at retail
WHY OXYGEN FAILED The publisher’s sad demise offers us evidence years ago was a risky strategy that rewarded WHEN NINTENDO launched Wii back in 2006, it looked as though the democratisation of the games industry had hit new heights. Smaller publishers, the logic went, now had two record-breaking systems (with Nintendo’s DS shooting ahead of all-comers) that didn’t require the vast development budgets only affordable for the likes of Activision, EA and THQ. If you were smart and understood the casual audience, there was free money to be had. It all started so well. Back in 2006, 505 Games’ Cooking Mama attracted
Based on the books by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross and published by Orion Children’s Books and the television series produced by Novel Entertainment Ltd. ™ & © Novel Entertainment Limited 2009. Developed and Published by Asylum Entertainment Limited © 2009 Asylum Entertainment Limited All Rights Reserved. Horrid Henry © 2009 Novel Entertainment Limited under exclusive licence to Asylum Entertainment Limited. All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2009 SouthPeak Interactive Corporation. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo.
As 2K Games’ own Christoph Hartmann pointed out to MCV last year, the key to establishing a successful franchise on Wii and DS was getting there early. A barrage of opportunistic product followed these early successes – and caused havoc for all concerned. CROWDED HOUSE You needn’t look much further than the Christmas ‘jumble sale’ on Wii and DS at retail last year for the crunch point. With every publisher and his dog pushing cheap titles into the market for Q4, exposure suffered – subtracting
There has been a flood of product [on DS and Wii], which had led to pressures. It has to settle down again. Ian Howe, 505 Games
mammoth sales on both systems, and cost about as much to make as the yearly bonus of most CEOs. 2K scooped a winner with its own take on Wii Sports – Carnival Games, still a bestseller on Wii today. Even Eidos’ much-maligned Pony Friends made enough of a dent in the DS chart to make its minimal investment look rosy. The new and the frugal became world-beaters overnight. Cheap mainstream games on Wii and DS were big business – and a fertile ground for the industry’s upstarts. However, this week’s sad news that Oxygen Games had gone to ground had an all-too-familiar ring to it: a publisher that had thrown money at making countless cheap Nintendo games, only to see them fail at retail. It’s a strategy that has led to more casualties than victors.
vital bonus sales for games that live and die on impulse purchases. Oxygen suffered a cruel example of this overcrowding. When it released flagship title PDC World Championship Darts in February 2008, the game hit No.6 in the All Formats chart – a bestever performance for the publisher. When the 2009 update came out on Wii and DS in June this year – with a far more expensive marketing campaign behind it – it failed to scrape the Top 40. “The barriers to entry were lowered significantly and there was a flood of product on to the market as everyone tried to jump on the bandwagon,” says 505 Games MD Ian Howe. “This has inevitably led to some short term pressures. I’m confident that once the market has settled down again, there will be a healthy market for retail, publisher and consumers.”
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NEWS ANALYSIS: OXYGEN GAMES
OUT 30 OCTOBER
TO HIT THE BULLSEYE that the rush to make cheap product on Wii and DS two the few, says Tim Ingham… As the market ‘settles down’ however, there will inevitably be victims – just like Oxygen. Empire Interactive collapsed back in May under a cloud of controversy, having placed its faith in the Nintendo market with familyorientated games. And in August, MCV reported that Dutch publisher PlayLogic – which has this generation concentrated on Nintendo platforms – had admitted that it would ‘struggle as a going concern’. In this week’s MCV, EA boss Keith Ramsdale warns against ‘me-too’ product on Nintendo’s systems. “Unless you’ve got a compelling point of difference, it’s going to be an uphill battle,” he says. Meanwhile, Ubisoft announced in July that it had seen Q1 revenue generated on DS fall by 67 per cent. CEO Yves Guillemot said: “The DS is declining quickly. The casual business is changing rapidly and we have to reinvent this.” It’s one thing to rue that reality when you’re a mega-publisher. But when every penny of your small business has been plunged into creating sub-selling games, you may have risked your existence. The smartest publishers that took part in the DS/Wii ‘goldrush’ two years ago have expand their business model. 505 Games, for instance, has released a mix of mainstream and non-mainstream titles. It’s even taken ideas to other platforms, resulting in success for titles such as IL-2 Sturmovik on PS3 and 360. Oxygen was a victim of a range of factors, of course: Piracy, recession, digital distribution and tight bank lending. But one thing’s for certain – its line up may not have cost a huge amount, but it was littered with product that looked similar to previous Wii and DS releases, and which struggled to win consumer attention. Anyone still doing the same best beware.
NO ROOM TO BREATHE Oxygen’s recent history: 08/08/07: Sets up a Wii and DS development studio in London, to cash in on Nintendo-mania. 04/10/07: Confirms it is to open a US office to handle its sales, first party and developer relations in the region. 02/02/08: PDC World Championship Darts 2008 is released on Wii, PS2 and PC. In a stunning performance for Oxygen, the title hits No.6 in the All Formats UK chart. 02/10/08: MyGames range for DS announced. 05/01/09: Admits that it is to shut down all internal development and concentrate on a ‘traditional publisher model’. 01/06/09: The latest in the firm’s flagship franchise, PDC World Championship Darts 2009 on DS and Wii, fails to match its predecessor’s performance, missing out on a spot in the All Formats Top 40.
18/09/09: Releases its big hope for 2009: Cate West: The Vanishing Files. The title fails to chart in the All Formats Top 40. 23/09/09: Signs deal to distribute titles from French publisher Nobilis – including Wii title Safar’Wii and Music on DS.
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MCV INTERVIEW KEITH RAMSDALE & HARVEY ELLIOT, UK VP & GM CASUAL, EA Ramsdale (left) And Elliot (right) believe that Flips can claim a Top 20 Chart spot during Christmas
That’s a novel idea... EA will release kids’ ebooks range Flips for DS on December 4th. Tim Ingham catches up with UK boss Keith Ramsdale and head of EA Play Harvey Elliot…
Will you be taking Flips global? Harvey Elliot: There are territory restrictions based on the publishing agreements we have with each of our partners. We’re specifically focusing this on the UK. A couple of other Englishspeaking territories are included, but we wanted to make the launch for this series UK-based. Literacy here is actually very high, and we feel that the UK is the right market for Flips. We compared UK and North America and found – to put it bluntly – that UK kids tend to be more advanced readers at this age group.
What would constitute success for you in terms of sales? Keith Ramsdale: This is a completely new category for us. To predict where the sales level will be is actually quite
tough. The only comparable product is Nintendo’s 100 Classic Book Collection, which has sold 150,000 to date. It’s not the most exciting product, but they’re relatively good numbers. I think we can do well against that. Fundamentally, if
‘Me-too’ publishers are always going to struggle on Nintendo platforms. You need a point of difference. Keith Ramsdale, EA retail keeps these games on shelves and online retailers keep them on their front pages post-Christmas that will be a sure sign that we’ve got something. Nintendo’s 100 Classic Book Collection, which is our only reference point, sold tens of thousands straight after Christmas [last year]. They’re averaging around 800 sales a week. I
would like to think we can get into the Top 20 at Christmas time, which would be sales of – depending on how the market goes between now and then – between 2,000 and 5,000 units a week. That would be a very good place for us to be. We don’t need to sell those numbers to be a success – let’s be clear about that. If we fall below that, Flips is still a viable opportunity for EA.
Will these games end up in book retailers? KR: That is the plan, yes. I don’t want to name anyone, but we think we’ll get this in the key book shops. We’re in negotiations with them currently. Are you talking to other book publishers about similar deals? HE: Right now, we’re very much focused on our partnerships with
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MCV INTERVIEW KEITH RAMSDALE & HARVEY ELLIOT, UK VP & GM CASUAL, EA try to appeal to too many people too quickly, you’re just not effective.
lot of machines waiting for this range to be put into them.
What does this tell us about EA’s hope to avoid ‘me too’ product on DS and Wii? KR: Where any publisher goes ‘me too’, they’re always going to struggle. Unless you’ve got a compelling point of difference, it’s going to be an uphill battle. If you look where EA’s successes so far in the Nintendo space have been – Littlest Pet Shop, EA Sports Active and more – whenever we’re first to market with an innovation, we perform really well. That’s why we’ve got high
KR: Also, retail is where the volume’s at right now, so that’s where we need to be.
“ What are your marketing plans? KR: This won’t be a heavy media campaign. We’re actually going to follow the book model from the experts. There’ll be lots of PR, where women’s magazines will be very important to target parents. This is very much a
retail-driven opportunity. The packaging echoes the front of the books. Each book contains six or eight titles. As you can imagine, that ranged together at retail is quite a powerful story. If Flips is a success, would you introduce a more teenage range? HE: Clearly this is a new area for us, and there are lots of opportunities it could open up. But the focus for us is to get this [initial line-up] to be a success. KR: The challenge for any video games publisher when launching something brand new is to keep it simple. If you
KR: We did talk about having multiple offerings, but we decided to go with this
The industry is tough - some major games aren’t performing. But Flips is a real innovation – it has its own market. Keith Ramsdale, EA
hopes for Flips. 100 Classic Book Collection was already out there, and that may have produced a thought in Harvey’s head, but to all intents and purposes we’re the first to market with this idea. Egmont and Penguin. We researched with these guys pretty early on and found that we could do something different with this software. In the future, who knows, but this is what’s working for us so far. We’ve talked to a lot of people, but we’ve not gone into any progressed conversations.
Why did you choose DS over iPhone? HE: We wanted to choose the right platform for the audience we were going after and that’s what we’ve done. If a platform fits what we’re trying to do we’ll look at it. That’s part of EA and our scale. Kids are playing DS right now.
HE: The Play label is encouraged to find opportunities like this exactly for the reason that Keith describes. A big part of our business is to find new things now. One great thing about being part of EA is trying new opportunities and going all guns blazing. Why did you decide on a retail release rather than digital? HE: The audience we want to go after put a lot of resonance on personal attachments. There are 9.6 million DS consoles in the UK; about half of those are in the hands of under-14s. There’s a
market, test the concept, and take it from there. Do you have any concerns that you won’t get the exposure at retail you’re after during the congested Christmas period? KR: Are we going to get front of store and window promotion? No, but we’re not looking for that. We’re looking at calling out the right space and the right section and, touch wood, we’ll get that. The market is tough this year. We’re seeing polarisation, where FIFA sells extraordinary numbers, while major titles from other publishers that you would expect to do well – that are good quality – haven’t performed. In that space, there’s going to be a battle. What’s really interesting with Flips is that it’s a brand new innovation with a target [market] of its own.
FLIP-ING OUT EA’s Play label has teamed up with book publishers Penguin and Egmont for its Flips range, taking titles from authors ncluding Enid Blyton, Eoin Colfer and Cathy Cassidy to DS. Each Flips SKU features multiple books from each writer: Enid Blyton (Egmont): The Enchanted Wood; The Magic Faraway Tree; The Folk Of The Faraway Tree; Enchanted World – Petal And The Eternal Bloom; Enchanted World – Melody And The Enchanted Harp; Enchanted World – Silky And The Rainbow Feather
Cathy Cassidy (Penguin): Scarlett; Angel Cake; Sunday Girl; Shine On Daizy Star, GingerSnaps; Driftwood
Eoin Colfer (Penguin): Artemis Fowl; Artemis Fowl And The Arctic Incident; Artemis Fowl And The Eternity Code; Artemis Fowl And The Opal Deception; Artemis Fowl And The Lost Colony; Artemis Fowl And The Time Paradox
Too Ghoul For School (Egmont): Silent But Deadly; The In-Spectress Call; Ghoul Dinners; The Bubonic Builders; Attack Of The Zombie Nits; School Spooks Day; French Fright; Terror In Cubicle Four
23 OCTOBER 2009
© 2009 Gearbox Software, LLC. All rights reserved. Published and distributed by 2K Games under license from Gearbox Software, LLC. Borderlands is a trademark of Gearbox Software and used under license. 2K Games and the 2K Games logo are trademarks of 2K Games in the U.S. and/or other countries. Gearbox Software and the Gearbox logo are registered trademarks of Gearbox Software, LLC in the U.S. and/or other countries. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. “PlayStation” and the “PS” Family logo are registered trademarks and “PS3” is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. The PlayStation Network Logo is a service mark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All other marks and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
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22 MCV 16/10/09
MCV INTERVIEW CHARLIE BROOKER, GAMESWIPE
Charlie says… TV critic, comedian, the games journo ‘who made it’ – Charlie Brooker is many things to many people, but his recent TV special Gameswipe has been seen by some as a new dawn in grown-up TV coverage of games. Ben Parfitt finds out what Brooker made of the reaction, and his feelings about the industry… First off, MCV enjoyed the new show – but it has split opinions amongst others in the industry… Well, of course. It was a weird thing to do, partly because it was a one-off show. You sort of realise early on that it was really aimed at people who don't necessarily play games, but equally you think quite quickly that, you know, gamers are going to watch it as well. So it was a bit weird – as you realise that if you don’t play games you really literally know nothing about them. I felt we almost had to explain what they were.
When it became a bit more commercialised? Yes. That was when Sonic the Hedgehog arrived. I think really Sonic the Hedgehog is responsible for making people assume games are only for children. Much of Gameswipe was dedicated to helping people understand what gaming is. Is that lack of awareness something that frustrates you? Gamers don’t realise how off-putting the complexity of games is to people who don’t regularly play them. You can put an Xbox or PS3 controller in my hand and I don’t have to look at it, but for a non-gamer it’s daunting. Take GTA – it’s one of the most successful and popular games that there
With regards to the representation of games on TV up until this point, we presume you think it’s in a dire state? Pretty much. I liked [BBC Scotland’s] The very first coverage we Videogaiden and what had of games on television I’ve seen of wasn’t assuming they were Consolevania. something for children. But the problem is that all games shows, Charlie Brooker basically, have been aimed at teenagers or children. When is but it still is to the mass public, I you look back at the BBC archives the would guess, utterly baffling. Every first thing we found was the Electric gamer has experienced this – you Revolution piece from 1973 where you introduce someone to something like had Raymond Baxter playing Grand Theft Auto. You sit there with Pong. He doesn’t present it as a them and within minutes you’re going: recreation for children. Then we got in ‘No, press that button. No, that one. No, a load of Micro Lives, which was a you’ve gone into crouch. No, don’t do show from the ‘80s where they didn’t that. That’s the map. No, you can’t run in really cover games very much – it was that door. Why not? Well, you just can’t. mainly about buying a BBC Micro so It’s part of the scenery. I know you could you could do a spreadsheet or run in the other door, but you can’t go in something. It had this slightly that one. Why? Because you just can’t.’ disapproving air when it came to You have to sit there biting your tongue video games. It’s interesting to see as they point the camera at the ground that when you go back the very first and run into walls. You forget how coverage we had of games wasn’t difficult games are to the non-gamer. assuming they were for children. That belief was something that came about Gameswipe also helped during the late ‘80s. normalise people talking about
gameplay by featuring ‘famous gamers’ like Graham Linehan and Dara O’Brien… Dara’s comments about Gears of War being difficult have come in for a lot of stick. That seemed to open up the biggest debate. It’s weird – clearly Dara plays a lot of games. I had no idea he was such a committed games player, but he absolutely is. Yet you saw people online saying that ‘Well if he’s shit at games he shouldn’t play them.’ That’s totally the wrong attitude. Why are people so vitriolic about someone who doesn’t have the time to play games? I could completely understand where he’s coming from. And it’s partly because as you get older you have less spare time. The show had to be graspable. People who didn’t have any interest in games had to grasp what we were talking about and find it entertaining. Going on about an FPS on the PS3 – to a non-gamer that’s like listening to someone speak Cantonese. It’s a really fine line we were trying to walk.
Gameswipe was also criticised for focusing too much on game violence – why spend so long on that topic? Look at the bit in the Wolfenstein review where I’m chopping limbs off or something like World at War – to a nongamer that is shocking. Very, very shocking. When you put that on screen there is no getting around the fact. You would not get away with that in a film or TV programme, not that level of violence. The Call of Duty games are similar. I really like them, but there is something really uncomfortable in that when levels are loading in World at War it shows you real footage of people being shot. Real war footage. It purports to be, at some level, a realistic portrayal of war. You know, most soldiers in a war don’t
kill anyone. Most people scarcely pull the trigger. But how many people do you kill in a Call of Duty game? About 10,000. Let’s not beat about the bush – it’s tasteless. Maybe we did focus too much on violent games – given more time we would have lost the Wolfenstein review and done something else. But let’s not get away from the fact that a lot of games are bloody violent. I’m not saying they should be toned down or should be censored or whatever, but I’m not an ambassador for the games industry. Certainly the level of violence depicted in them is way beyond what you would see in a film, but by gamers it is accepted. So I guess there is a wider question there: is that right? Our producer felt physically sick at the footage from Madworld, and he’s in no way an uptight guy. He’s very relaxed, not a reader of The Daily Mail . He said: ‘My God, this cannot be good for you.’
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MCV 16/10/09 23
MCV INTERVIEW CHARLIE BROOKER, GAMESWIPE
Brooker is known for his acerbic appraisals of the latest TV shows – his one-off special Gameswipe sought to show every aspect of gaming, the good and the bad
Some people were commentating that ‘it wasn’t very helpful to show that’ from the point of view of promoting the standing of games. I was hoping it would be entertaining first and foremost, and to explain what games are to people who don’t know them and interesting to those who do. But I wasn’t making an advert. That’s like something saying ‘You should move your company to Wales’ and show pictures of the rolling hills, but ignore things like the drug problem in Cardiff. It’s not my job to say: ‘Hey everyone, all games are brilliant and here’s why you should play them!’ You started your career writing for PC Zone. When it comes to games journalism today are there any writers or publications you keep an eye on? I don’t tend to read reviews in depth. Every so often I’ll get that itch when I’ll wonder what’s come out recently so I’ll check Game Rankings or something like
The BBC did notice how well Gameswipe went down and they got very good feedback. There’s clearly an audience for games stuff on television. Charlie Brooker
that and do it quite democratically. I’ll then read the highest scoring review and the lowest one to work out if I’m going to buy it. I’m not that aware of the personalities behind them. Having said that, I like reading Kieron Gillen’s stuff and things like UK:Resistance and Yahtzee on The Escapist. I was about to say there aren’t many personalities around, but clearly there are. However I don’t religiously turn to the same person each time. Likewise, people don’t watch my show Screenwipe to find out what to watch on TV – it’s not a guide on what to watch. Would you do more episodes of Gameswipe if the BBC was interested in it? I doubt I would do a whole series. Because, well… never say never. It’s an interesting one. Could I do a series? I suppose actually I could do a short series. This is all up for discussion. I
can’t say too much, but I was taken aback by the response. Since it went out I’ve spoken to a couple of other people who would be very good for appearing on the show. I know the BBC did notice how well it went down and they got very good feedback. There’s clearly an audience for games stuff on TV. But when that will be I don’t know. I’ll often write about games in my Guardian column. I’ve got a book that has just come out and at the back I’ve chucked in a load of game-related articles. I know that if I were to do a Gameswipe series it would take up a lot of time to produce. And I’ve got all sorts of other things. Though there’s also the question of whether any channel would be willing to put a games show on. I’d certainly be interested in helping to develop such a show, though not necessarily with me in it. I know there are lots of talented people out there who could do a job, other comedians who could front something.
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© 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision, Call of Duty and Modern Warfare are registered trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. ‘2’, ‘PlayStation’ and ‘ ’ are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Nintendo DS is a trademark of Nintendo. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
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MCV 16/10/09 27
MCV INTERVIEW: BEN DRURY, CEO, 7DIGITAL
Are you ready to
face the music? HMV snapped up 50 per cent of 7Digital last month, and now the digital music specialist is keeping tabs on the games market. Christopher Dring discovers that CEO Ben Drury has some useful tips for software retailers…
How did 7Digital’s deal with HMV come about? I got to know [HMV CEO] Simon Fox over a period of 18 months. We both sit on the Entertainment Retailers’ Association. I was ribbing him saying: ‘What are you doing online? HMV should be a big player, you’re doing extremely well on the High Street. Why are you not doing digital?’ We raised our second round of venture capital in February 2008, and HMV expressed interest in getting involved in that but it was a bit too late. So we just continued talking and it became obvious that they wanted us to do everything – books for Waterstones, and music and video for HMV. The HMV Board wanted to own a stake in us so that we could be strategically aligned, and that coincided with a time when the investors were open to being bought out. What do you offer HMV that they can’t manage themselves? And how can they boost 7Digital? They’ll be the first to admit that they are not a technology company. So we bring a
wealth of technological experience, as well as our music catalogue and system. We are also a small company, so can be more nimble and innovative. Big companies struggle with that because they have corporate structures to worry about. On the flipside, they can help us with working with labels at a higher level, as well as giving us marketing power and presence and access to their High Street infrastructure. Having a big company behind us gives us more credibility than before. HMV as a brand is incredible – it is one of the top retail brands – and that is very important to us. The HMV deal has you moving into the digital movie and book market. But what about video games? Games downloads are certainly something HMV is looking into. It is something I am personally very interested in. I am an avid gamer and I download from Steam and various other places. We are looking at it, but we’re not proactively working on it right now. We have a lot to work on with music, video and books. But games is not too far away from my thoughts.
FRESH OUTLOOK: 7Digital boss Drury believes that anti-piracy efforts shouldn’t focus on individual users
I used to rib [HMV boss] Simon Fox about not being in the digital space. Then he bought out our investors. Ben Drury, 7Digital
You launched 7Digital on BlackBerry last week. Is delivering games onto BlackBerry – or even iPhone – something you’re looking into? We’re not actively considering that. But I totally agree it’s an interesting area. If you look at Apple strategically, one of the big gaps for them has been video games. Sony and Microsoft are there but Apple didn’t have anything. And sort of by stealth they’ve created this games console with iPod Touch – and I’m not sure they even envisioned it. But it shows you what can happen when you open up platforms. Things happen what you don’t even predict. And that’s what we’re doing – opening up our API – but obviously not to the same scale as Apple. Games is very interesting. It is tough in the digital market because the consoles are effectively shut. Independent third parties can’t distribute to consoles. They are limited to PCs and Macs – but also iPods and BlackBerrys. It is an everevolving space and is highly competitive as well, so it’s not something we are going to rush into.
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MCV INTERVIEW: BEN DRURY, CEO, 7DIGITAL You talked about Steam earlier, which has become the dominant online force in games. Has that service influenced you in anyway, and what do you feel Steam should do to expand its presence? I do love Steam. I feel it could do with more titles and it would be great if it could appear on other platforms. But what I do love about Steam is that they have a digital locker. They keep a record of what you have downloaded. So if you get a new PC you can re-download. You can also have your games on multiple machines. I bought Braid the other day, and that runs on my netbook, while most games I download on Steam don’t. So I admire that model, I buy games once in the cloud and I can access it on multiple devices. That’s very important part of our philosophy as well. Do you feel games can learn a lesson from the difficult transition that took place with music? Definitely. The iPhone is showing the convenience factor of distribution channels. It is so easy to buy games on iPhone because it is all digital. In the retail market PC gaming has been declining, so we need as many digital PC platforms as possible. And we need the likes of HMV to be supplying digital games. I do worry about the console market more. Unless they start opening up the consoles it is really hard for innovation to happen – because everything is controlled by Microsoft or Sony or Nintendo. It would be a brave decision to open those platforms up properly, but if they did it would pay dividends for them. You mention HMV, do you feel entertainment retailers need to have a digital offer now? Yes. You can already download movies and games on the Xbox. It is not too far-fetched that we will see a next generation console that requires no disc at all. We’ve just had PSPgo of course… Exactly. So the retailers are cut out. And they’ll need to do something about it. Steam recently pointed out that you can’t always compare music with games – especially as you can’t
Games downloads is an area that’s certainly interesting to us and HMV. I’m a big gamer and often use Steam. Ben Drury, 7Digital
split games into 99 cent increments. Do you feel consumers are reluctant to download a higher-priced product? Not necessarily. You might start to see a lower base-rate for a game and then follow it on with incremental add-ons. But games is a tough market. You currently only have a small window of opportunity to get your games sold at full price and then the price plummets. But I do agree with Steam. There are big differences between music and games. Music retains a longer-term appeal – some of the most popular albums today are years old. And you don’t see that with video games. What are your thoughts on the recent Government proposals to combat piracy? We believe the best way to fight piracy is to offer improved digital services, and not to chase individuals. But we welcome the Government acknowledging there is problem and taking some initiative. It’s hard to say what is the right approach. I’m not for Government intervention in anything really. But the creative industries are
FIND OUT MORE AT THE LONDON GAMES CONFERENCE Taking place on October 27th at BAFTA, Piccadilly, this is the first event of dedicated to digital distribution. Big name speakers from across the games industry are already on board. To make sure you have a place at the conference, contact Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535 647. Tickets cost £229, with discounts for ELSPA and Tiga members.
very important to this country. And it’s not just music – it is video, games, magazines, it is my job and it is your job. If everything trends towards free, then there will be a lot of creativity lost. What can games do to spark a similar similar digital catalyst to iTunes in music? If consoles truly opened up and allowed third-party services on there, then you would see that explosion. But they do have a business model problem, as a lot of the consoles are subsidised by subsequent sales of games. So there would be a fear of being cannibalised. But it wasn’t long ago that EA discussed for an open platform for games consoles. If you look at all other industries, open platforms – like the iPod – have taken things forward. It is fascinating, there is of course these cloud concepts, such as OnLive, that are coming through with games. OnLive is not all-too different to the likes of Spotify. Can multiple digital distribution models work? There are a lot of people who are black and white in their thinking. Everything has to be one way or another. If you look at most markets there is always room for different consumption models and services, and that will be true for games, music, books and videos. People are different. They consume things differently, at different times and on different levels.
© 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision is a registered trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BAKUGAN, BATTLE BRAWLERS, and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks and copyrights of Spin Master Ltd. and Sega Toys. NELVANA is a trademark of Nelvana Limited. CORUS is a trademark of Corus Entertainment Inc. Used under license by Activision Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Game developed by NOWPRODUCTION Co., Ltd. ‘2’, ‘PlayStation’ and ‘ ’ are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved. Bakugan ™ 2008 Spin Master LTD & Sega Toys.
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32 MCV 16/10/09
MARIO & SONIC: SPECIAL FOCUS
Going for gold Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games is one of the Wii and DS’ biggest sellers – having sold 2.5 million units in the UK alone. Christopher Dring speaks to the game’s producer Osamu Ohashi on the highly anticipated sequel…
THE THOUGHT of seeing Mario and Sonic in the same video game was something unfathomable 15 years ago. There were two factions – Team Sonic and Team Mario – and anyone who attended school during the ‘90s will recall that many a lunchtime was wasted bickering over which character was superior. The arrival of 2007’s Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games was an event no-one expected to see and finally gave gamers a means to pit the two mascots against one another. “You may have been surprised when the game first came out, but those of us who have worked at Sega since the ‘90s never expected to witness anything like
this,” the game’s producer Osamu So expectations are naturally high for Ohashi tells MCV. this week’s sequel – Mario & Sonic At “Wii and DS users believe Mario and The Winter Olympic Games – which Sonic to be the two major legendary according to the critics is even better. game characters and eternal rivals to each It’s not impossible for us to other. The Olympic title is move Mario & Sonic games the first game where the into other genres, but it could characters from Mario be very challenging. and Sonic’s universes make joint appearances, Osaumu Ohashi, Sega and I think this is why many game players were attracted it.” “The previous title was our first This character combination – as well attempt to combine the Olympics, as a certain official Olympic licence – Mario, and Sonic, and we barely meant the game sold well-over ten managed to contain them in one game,” million units worldwide, with 2.5 continues Ohashi. “Of course, though million copies sold in the UK alone. the title was a great success, there were
many things we‘d have liked to have included or improved. So some significant improvements have been made to make this title more partygame-like, more profound as a sports game, and more expressive as a character game. “Moreover, at the launch of this Vancouver project, we conducted market research. We received many opinions and we tried to reflect them in the game design. “Amongst their opinions were requests for more accessible and intuitive controls. Wii games allow gameplay with intuitive moves, closer to
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MCV 16/10/09 33
MARIO & SONIC: SPECIAL FOCUS OLYMPIC EXPECTATIONS
Igor Cipolletta CEO, ShopTo
Margaret Pearson, Jon Biggs, Commercial Director, Games Buyer, Centresoft Morrisons
Tim Ellis, Head of Games, HMV
Andrew Davidson, Don McCabe Editor, Joint-MD, Toxic CHIPS
Owen Anslow, Games Editor, News of the World
Lucy Saxton, Features Editor, Mizz Magazine
Our customers are obviously confident that this new Mario & Sonic will improve on the quality of the original. Adding new characters like Donkey Kong and Metal Sonic will provide players with more variety and including support for the Wii Balance Board will only add to the fun and competitive element.
We are very excited about the release of Mario & Sonic At The Winter Olympics. Sega always gives great support to the independent retail sector with great POS and marketing support in-store. There has been huge consumer interest at retail, which is reflected in the substantial pre-orders received. This is a highly anticipated title and will be one of the biggest launches for us this quarter.
Sega are stopping at nothing to make this one of the biggest titles this Christmas. With a strong game fronted by two of the best loved gaming characters this will be a key driver at retail.
Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games is a sure fire hit for the Christmas season. I can see it bringing families together to take turns using the Wii Balance Board for the bobsleigh event or taking each other on in a massive snowball fight.
Once again, video gaming’s terrific twosome have teamed up for a family-friendly, icecool hit. Sega have worked wonders with this title, and at last the Wii Balance Board can be used for so much more than just a 21st century yoga mat. Like Mario & Sonic At The Olympics, there are plenty of games to work up a sweat. However, going head-to-head with friends this time round has a Mario Kart On Ice feel to it. Will it be a Christmas hit? Snow doubt.
I loved the Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games. I never knew I was such a good figure skater. Tobogganing and skiing are also great fun and the visuals are spot on. With new characters added and all the same slopes from the actual event, gamers will be occupied for hours.
the actual sport, and as for the DS version we changed the control mechanics from using both stylus and buttons, to using only stylus or just buttons to make it more accessible.” Of course satisfying the core Mario and Sonic fans is only one challenge for the developer, as the studio also has to come up with the goods to satisfy Olympic nuts too. And the team has gone about including a wide variety of events from the Winter Olympics, including games that make use of the Wii Balance Board. “Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games offers quite a number of sports events, so it was a big challenge to make this collection of events as
We have great expectations for Mario & Sonic and we think in terms of Wii this will be the biggest out there. Expectations are high and as usual on triple-A releases, customers are already asking in stores on whether we will be stocking the title.
Anything with Mario or Sonic in the title will tick some boxes. Sega works its titles and they do not just move onto the next release. There are a very pro-active publisher and you can really see the difference. Mario & Sonic is an evergreen release and we need more of that in the UK games industry.
close as possible to the actual sports,” adds Ohashi “The advantage in using the Balance Board is that it makes it easier to design more intuitive controls. “The disadvantage is that not every player may possess the peripheral. But we have made sure that you do not need to own the Board to still have a great time playing.” WINTER WONDERLAND
OHASHI: The Sega producer says the icons’ ‘eternal rivalry’ will never end
Nintendo and Sega have teamed up one further time since the release of the original Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games, with last year’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where Sonic and a Sonicthemed level could be unlocked. So
could the two characters team up in other titles in future? Concludes Ohashi: “Both Mario and Sonic have their own specific fictitious worlds, and this collaboration was achieved since the stage was set at the Olympic Games. “I don’t think it’s impossible to have the characters in other genres, but it could be very challenging.” Then again, considering the shock that reverberated around the trade following the announcement of the original game, it’s probably wise not to count any possibilities out when it comes to these two gaming legends. Including a Christmas No.1 spot for Winter Olympics, perhaps.
casual games ad (MCV Mag) 4
29 October 2009 London
EXPLORE THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT DEVELOPING CASUAL GAMES CAN OFFER Casual gaming is no longer niche. This “emerging market” is still growing and evolving at a very fas st pace – casual games have now successfully crossed over on to new platforms like handheld and online, plus new markets such as social gaming. Add to that the mass popularity of motion controlled and peripheral driven games and the future of casual game development holds huge potential.
OTHER SESSIONS INCLUDE:
KEYNOTE There is No Such Thing as a Casual Game or Casual Gamer Harvey Elliott is responsible for the Harry PotterTM videogame franchise and management of the EA Bright Light Studio where the Harry Potter games were developed. Posing thought-provoking questions such as “Why does everyone persist in trying to pigeonhole the Casual Gamer or to define a Casual Game?” Harvey will argue that casual games simply don't exist - you either play games or you don't, that you can create games that appeal to a specific type of gamer but the word "casual" is misleading and potentially dangerous. And is "game" even the right word any more?
Fan-tastic Gaming: Building a Community Around Your Brands Xavier Louis, Director of Product Management, Playfish So You Want to Start a Casual Games Studio? John Chasey, Chairman, Finblade Feed The Funnel: Finding The Levers to Turn Users into Profits Nicholas Lovell, Games Industry Consultant, GAMESbrief Casual Games on the iPhone: Lessons for success Stuart Dredge, Online Editor, Mobile Entertainment Panel: State of the Industry Debate Ben Parfitt, Editor, casualgaming.biz Oliver Kern, Director International Online Marketing, Oberon Media
GREAT NETWORKING Find out what other developers are up to compare notes and share experiences and ideas. There’s a working lunch with roundtable discussion plus a networking drinks reception for all speakers and delegates to round off the day.
Don’t miss out places are booking up quickly!
Register now at: www.casualgames-forum.com Partners
MCV 16/10/09 37
WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RETURNS
The WRC is looking to grow its popularity with new rules and a official video game tie-in
Off to the races The World Rally Championship is returning to the video games space next spring via publisher Black Bean. Christopher Dring visits the Rally De Espana to learn about the rise, fall and return of the WRC… THE WORLD RALLY Championship of the ball,” admits Marc De Jong, project has had a rough few years. leader for interactive games at ISC. First – after years of spiralling costs – “The costs were allowed to rise and key manufacturers left the there was not enough innovation in the Championship, including Subaru and show – at a time when other sports Suzuki in December 2008. Then Sony – were vying for the attention of the fans.” who owned the rights to develop WRCbranded games – didn’t renew their ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL licence following the release of WRC: But 2009 has seen something of a Rally Evolved in 2005. It was all a long chalk Games are an excellent way from when, at the turn of of bringing the excitement of the century, the owners WRC into living rooms. We of the Championship – the International have a very young audience. Sportsworld Marc De Jong, ISC Communicators (ISC) – told the world it wanted to overtake F1 resurgeance, with the ISC taking steps as the dominant force in racing. to address the issues. Firstly, the FIA has “The WRC enjoyed a very successful approved regulations for a new spell in the early years of this decade, generation of exciting World Rally Cars. but perhaps we collectively took the eye These will start appearing in next year’s
Championship, and are simpler and therefore cheaper to run. Secondly, the body developed a detailed strategy to promote the real strength of WRC – which has always been an epic motorsport challenge with the best drivers and best cars. “Based on this strategy, we have signed long-term agreements with FIA and the sport’s major protagonists,” says De Jong. “We unveiled this new approach earlier in 2009 and we are seeing a very positive response. Alongside the commitments to WRC made by Ford and Citroen, there has been significant interest from new manufacturers – and ISC has concluded new deals with various sponsors.” The WRC, it seems, is braced for a return to the big time. But the ISC isn’t
Milestone’s Simone Bechini (top) and Black Bean’s Francesca Tognoni (bottom) are working on a new official WRC title
getting ahead of itself. It no longer talks of challenging F1, but merely bridging the gap between the two. 14 new manufacturers have contacted the ISC about taking part in future seasons. And in the games space Sony has snapped up the rights for the 2008/2009 season to feature in Gran
38 MCV 16/10/09
WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RETURNS
Turismo 5 – and Black Bean will unleash the first in its new WRC series of games in spring next year. “We were looking for a product to strengthen our racing line-up,” says Black Bean’s international communication manager Francesca Tognoni. “We knew that the official WRC licence was absent from the market for several years, and we are really proud to obtain it. The licence has been acquired for three years but we like to see this as the beginning of a long friendship between Black Bean and WRC, and we are overwhelmed by the support given to us by the WRC community.” Simone Bechini, deputy general manager at developer Milestone, adds: “The WRC licence gives us the opportunity to replicate something that is very well-known. Our goal is to provide a gameplay experience that gives the player the opportunity to experience first person what they see on TV. So it is a big opportunity for us.” BACK IN THE GAME The WRC licence can certainly be a boost for any racing game. At the Rally de Espana earlier this month, fans piled
hour. It is a unique sport – and games are an excellent way to bring the WRC’s excitement into the living rooms of our fans. Through the medium of games we also hope to introduce the sport to a new audience, and with the potential of
We have been overwhelmed by the support given to us and the new licensed game by the WRC community. Francesca Tognoni, Black Bean
up besides the track to see their favourites zip by, while many more waited at the service parks to meet their heroes – including five times world champion Sébastien Loeb. The Championship is also popular around the world, with various TV shows and a radio programme broadcasted worldwide. But it’s not all about what the WRC licence can bring to the games space, with the ISC hopeful that the boom in video games can benefit them as well. “WRC is really a ferocious battle of man and machine against the elements,” continues De Jong. “The drama of our sport happens in the outdoor arena over events that last three or four days in locations on five continents. Our stadium is often some 1,500 square kilometres in size and our athletes literally move at 100 miles per
online gaming they can share their experiences around the world. “We also know that WRC fans like video games. Compared to other motorsports, we have a young audience that is very technology savyy and almost 80 per cent of fans do play video games. So we know the WRC franchise will connect to our fans.” The real challenge for Black Bean and Milestone is the sheer number of racing rivals vying for attention. From the new Need For Speed from Electronic Arts to upcoming big hitters – including F1, Forza 3, Gran Turismo 5, Split/Second and Blur – there’s certainly plenty of racing games for fans to get excited about. And that’s not to mention a certain big selling and critically acclaimed rally game called Dirt 2, which came up in conversation more than once in Spain.
The WRC’s biggest stars – such as Petter Solberg pictured here – enjoy similar adultation to that seen in Formula One
“There is a big number of very, very good titles. But competition is the essence of racing and our business as well,” continues Bechini. “We have a lot of respect for Codemasters and Dirt 2 is a fantastic game. But we will do our best to match or even beat it. The racing genre is very well populated and the WRC is very unique. From a technical standpoint we want the best quality, so in that sense we are facing our rivals. But the game itself will be very unique.” Tognoli also feels that Dirt 2’s success is reassuring: “The presence of other racing games is challenging. But we are confident in Milestone’s ability to get positive results with WRC. “Dirt 2 proves that rally racing games is still alive. And we feel that an official licence can help us compete.” Manufacturers Ford and Citroen have both commited to future WRC seasons
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MCV 16/10/09 43
EVENT PREVIEW: MCM EXPO
The London Games Festival starts next week, kicked off by the MCM Expo. MCV spoke to organiser Bryan Coney to find out more…
How did the Expo start out? Have games always been part of the show? MCM Expo started life as London Expo in May of 2002. It was a large collectors’ show at the then new Excel London. The show was an instant hit with over 10,000 consumers and has continued to grow. Video games started to appear around 2004 – with titles tied into comics or movies, the show provided a natural synergy.
We may even break our Guinness World Record again for most people wearing costumes from a game. What’s attracting publishers? We have the numbers and type of consumer that can be key to the success of any title. Publishers can get direct feedback from their customers as well as reach new ones. The industry sees the casual and family gamer as key to expanding their markets; MCM Expo offers access to these key demographics.
Which games companies are on board for this month’s show? MCM Expo is a strong, robust We have a very large show that has a broad reach number of publishers and is going to grow and involved in this month’s sustain a vibrant market. show, and we are the Bryan Coney, MCM Expo opening consumer event for London Games Festival. This, combined with the large Games today are either based on a numbers of consumers who attend, has comic, movie or TV show, if they are made MCM very attractive to the not then there is likely to be a comic, industry. Gaming takes up at least 40 move or TV show based on the game. per cent of the now sold out show The MCM Expo is all of these genres space. (See ‘Premier Show’ for details of rolled into a strong, robust show that who is exhibiting.) has a broad reach and is going to grow and sustain a vibrant market. You only What other highlights are there? need to look at the USA, with over Other than the vast amount of gaming 125,000 people attending Comic-Con we have activities for movies, TV, and the huge number of publishers comics, card games, anime, manga, taking part, to see why this works. steampunk and dancing games. Major Plus, MCM Expo has taken a view to film and TV distributors are bringing make exhibiting affordable – many cast and crew along to reach out to the gaming events have failed in recent fans. We have a large retail area and a years because they were just not cost huge theatre for special presentations. effective for publishers.
You must have seen first hand how the audience for games has changed – who comes to show these days? The hardcore gamer still exists, but what we have found with DS and PSP is that the female audience has grown dramatically. Our core is 12 to 24-yearolds, but the mix of genders is now almost 50/50. The young person that visits MCM Expo sees it as an extension of their online community where they can meet their friends from Facebook, MySpace and other social sites. MCM proves that games aren’t niche. Platforms such as Xbox 360 are no longer the sole domain of the boys. How many people are expected to attend MCM this month? We are expecting over 40,000. With the London Games Festival promoting the show and publishers reaching out to their communities we anticipate a fantastic turnout.
How will the event develop in the next 12 to 24 months? We have a clear goal to become the place to be seen and, based on the support we are now getting from ELSPA and the industry, we see no reason why we cannot double the turn out at the shows in the next 18 to 24 months. We have two shows a year offering a solid platform for summer and Christmas promotions and we hope we will continue to gain support from the industry.
The MCM Expo boasts a number of ‘firsts’ and game premieres this month, with the first public showing for a number of games. Key first showings include Sega’s Bayonetta, Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed II, Avatar, Rabbids Go Home and Splinter Cell: Conviction, plus EA’s Left 4 Dead 2 and Dante’s Inferno. Other publishers have also planned special features including a showing from 2K Games, a WB Games LEGO Rock Band stage and Scribblenauts stand, while Microsoft is also rolling up with a full-size Warthog as featured in Halo. Elsewhere, a big showing from Namco Bandai includes an appearance by the ECTO1 car from Ghostbusters along with an appearance from Troy Baker – the voice of Slimer the ghost and characters from Tales of Vesperia and Symphonia and Dragonball games. Namco is also working to attempt the Guinness World Record for Tekken and the ‘Longest Winning Streak’ on the game’s stand. Star Trek Online will also get its own stand. A number of Japanese giants have also signed up to bring their titles to the show. Firstly, Capcom’s Monster Hunter 3 Tri and Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars will be playable. Elsewhere, Rising Star will debut titles including Ju-on: The Grudge, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Angel Cat Sugar, Happy Party with Hello Kitty and Friends, Papermates, and Way of the Samurai 3. Tecmo Koei will also be present to show Warriors: Legends of Troy and Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce HD. Those in the trade wishing to attend can register for free tickets at www.londonexpo.com.
THE FUTURE BEGINS 30.10.09
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Sponsored by 46 MCV 16/10/09
Universally Speaking grows biz dev team Dring promoted at QA and localisation firm Paquito Hernandez named VP of operations for Eastern market UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING DANIEL DRING has been named as the localisation and QA firm’s new business development assistant. Dring recently graduated in business studies and has already gained experience while working in Universally Speaking’s testing department during his studies. His new responsibilities will include building relationships with new and existing clients, assisting with the company’s general growth and identifying new sales opportunities. “I am delighted to welcome Daniel to the company following
Hernandez joins Bug-Tracker Dring to assist business growth
his studies and for him to assume this exciting role,” said managing director VICKIE PEGGS. “I expect Daniel will make a positive contribution to our growth plans.”
BUG-TRACKER GROUP PAQUITO HERNANDEZ has been appointed at vice president of operations for Asia-Pacific. The move comes as QA and localisation specialists BugTracker Group works to build
Our client is an independent game development studio, located in the beautiful town of Villingen, Germany. The QA Manager will be responsible for managing testers and all testing processes. This includes planning, conducting and assessing product tests, as well as working on improving the testing process.
GAMEPRO MEDIA Veteran journalist JOHN DAVISON (below) has taken up to role of executive vice president of content at GamePro Media, the US publisher of GamePro Magazine and GamePro.com. During his 20 years in the industry, Davison has served at Ziff Davies Media, largely on the 1up Network. He also founded family-orientated games site What They Play.
UK National Account Manager – London
on the success it has seen in China over the last 18 months. Hernandex will now work to expand the company’s business in the region, including Japan, South Korea and Australia. “Hernandez is the most suitable person to develop our group’s activities in the AsiaPacific zone, and to re-create the successful establishment of our Montreal studio in China,” says Bug-Tracker Group president ANTOINE CARRE. “Paquito is one of the main players in our continued success over the last ten years and it was only natural for us to present him this task.”
Exc + Benefits
The Product Manager will be responsible for all aspects of the product marketing plan for selected products within the company portfolio.
THE COMPANY NAMCO BANDAI Partners, one of the industry’s leading video game distribution companies, is wholly owned by NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe. The company operates in 50 countries excluding North America (USA and Canada) and Japan, and distributes titles from NAMCO BANDAI Games, Atari and other major publishers on an international and local basis. Current key titles include Tekken and the successful Family Trainer Series on Nintendo WII. THE ROLE The role is of a National Account Manager reporting directly to the Sales Director and candidates should meet the following criteria:• Understand business performance and be able to analyse key performance drivers • Able to demonstrate a proven track record in retail account management in the computer & video games industry • Able to demonstrate extensive experience of developing customer-specific promotional calendars. • Own retail environment and plan customer merchandising support. • Leverage multi-functional team or Customer Service, Finance and Supply Chain to help identify and solve broader business issues. • Product portfolio management to include new releases • Attend trade shows and managers conferences when required • Forecasting
Senior Product Manager
Exc + Benefits
The Senior Product Manager leads and is the main day-to-day contact for the product management team. The role includes overseeing the company’s software marketing plans across all marketing channels.
To apply or request full job specs for any of the above roles please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PERSON Working within a small team, the successful candidate should be friendly, outgoing and have a positive attitude with an avid interest in games. In addition, they should have a minimum of 2 years experience within the games industry with a sound sales back ground, ideally within a publishing environment. CONTACT For more information please contact our exclusive consultant Lis Welsh at Lis Welsh Search & selection on 07968 114812 or send an email to email@example.com. Closing date for applications Monday 26th October 2009.
47 MCV559_final:43 MCV462
RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES PRICE CHECK CHARTS NEW RELEASES
WITH THIS ISSUE MCV offers a guide to some of Activision Blizzard’s biggest upcoming releases
INVIZIMALS P50 Sony’s camera-based monster hunter reveals vicious critters in your own home
HIT THE DECKS Activision Blizzard’s DJ Hero makes players the life and soul of the party... P48
LIPS: NUMBER ONE HITS P51 Microsoft rolls out the second entry in its popular singing series WII FIT PLUS P52 The retail phenomenon returns and is gunning for the Christmas No.1 spot STYLE BOUTIQUE P53 Nintendo caters to the DS’ female fanbase with this fashion-infused simulation EYEPET P54 Sony brings virtual pets into the real world using the PlayStation Eye camera A CHRISTMAS CAROL P55 Point-and-click puzzler based on the upcoming film and the Dickens novel LEGO INDIANA JONES 2 P56 Indy is back in the latest addition to the best-selling LEGO range RABBIDS GO HOME P57 Ubisoft branches away from mini-games in favour of a trolley-racing adventure NEW RELEASES P58 MCV provides a rundown of all the games waiting to be placed on your shelves HIGH STREET P52 We round up the most important Metacritic scores of the week, and check your prices
RETAILBIZ: DJ HERO 48 MCV 16/10/09
DJ Hero’s collection of tunes and artists gives gamers a completely different experience to Activision’s previous music games
Activision’s newest Hero seeks to expand the music games genre, swapping guitars for turntables…
by James Batchelor AS IF THE chart triumph of Guitar Hero 5 wasn’t enough to prove that Activision is still dominating expands on the music game sector, the company is the revolutionary gameplay taking the Hero franchise in a brand that we have developed and new direction. refined in Guitar Hero, and brings in DJ Hero shies away from performing new types of music that have not been in favour of the more intricate art of used previously in this gaming genre. blending established tunes together. Using the new DJ Hero is a completely new turntable controller, players experience for us. We’re attempt to scratch and mix really excited about the songs together to form diversity of the music. different mixes. Ian McClellan, Activision While the gameplay is similar to the more than familiar Guitar Hero structure, “We’re really excited about consumers Activision is keen to highlight the being able to enjoy hip-hop, R&B and differences between the long-running electronica, as well as rock and pop. series and the new scratch-‘em-up. And With this kind of diversity, we are also even though Guitar Hero has established a expecting DJ Hero to appeal to people fanbase, the publisher is confident DJ who may not have yet discovered the Hero can bring in an even wider Hero franchise.” audience of its own. The key factor, says McClellan, is that “DJ Hero is going to be a completely the music of DJ Hero is still very new experience for us,” says senior accessible and there’s plenty of it. Over brand manager Ian McClellan. “It 90 mash-ups have been created specially
for the game, mixed by notable DJs, including Daft Punk, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Shadow, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Scratch Perverts. Across the 93 mixes are 101 songs from artists such as Black Eyed Peas, 50 Cent, Beastie Boys, David Bowie and Queen. The tunes selected give DJ Hero a much broader appeal and provide a wide range of interesting combinations (see Pick ‘N’ Mix).
WHEELS OF STEEL
Activision has drawn on its previous experience in this market to build anticipation in time for DJ Hero’s arrival, but has also recognised that the target audience is different to that of its guitar-based predecessor. Promotional initiatives, such as the recent sponsorship of the Notting Hill Carnival, have touted DJ Hero to the masses, and the company expects this title to expand the overall gaming audience in the same way the original Guitar Hero did.
RETAILBIZ: DJ HERO WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 16/10/09 49
PICK ‘N’ MIX DJ Hero has 93 unique mixes to choose from, encompassing a wide variety of contemporary and classic tunes. Examples include: 50 Cent - Disco Inferno vs. David Bowie - Let’s Dance Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom Pow vs. Benny Benassi - Satisfaction Daft Punk - Robot Rock vs. Queen - We Will Rock You Eminem - My Name Is vs. Beck - Loser Foo Fighters - Monkey Wrench vs. Beastie Boys - Sabotage Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc. vs. Blondie - Atomic Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl vs. Rick James - Give It To Me Jackson 5 - I Want You Back vs. Gang Starr - Just To Get A Rep Motörhead - Ace Of Spades vs. Noisia - Groundhog Rihanna - Disturbia vs. The Killers - Somebody Told Me Tears For Fears - Shout vs. Eric Prydz - Pjanoo Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby vs. MC Hammer - U Can’t Touch This
“DJ Hero will grow the category so retailers should expect this title to bring even more music-lovers into their stores, some of which may not have even bought a music game before,” says McClellan. “Again, the investment behind this title will be at the level that they have come to expect from the Hero franchise. “We believe trialling the game is going to be very important – one of the secrets behind Guitar Hero’s success is its addictive nature and the way it brings people together socially. The turntable controller immerses fans into the authenticity of DJ culture as they master various techniques such as scratching, blending, and cross fading. “To support this, we are planning some heavyweight ways to introduce people to DJ Hero. For this reason, retailers can expect a high level of promotional support for DJ Hero from launch through to the end of the year.”
RELEASED: OCTOBER 30 FORMATS: XBOX 360, PS3, WII, PS2 PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION DEVELOPER: FREESTYLEGAMES PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
Activision has prepared an extensive marketing campaign that will include large-scale TV support and ads across a range of other media. The publisher has already begun to raise awareness among gamers with previews and videos on the game’s official website, djhero.com, including behind the scenes footage from Grandmaster Flash and exclusive gig footage from Eminem and Jay-Z. Additionally, Activision will be making the most of every opportunity created by its partnership with popular DJ Zane Lowe, including sponsorship of his current nationwide tour.
RETAILBIZ: INVIZIMALS 50 MCV 16/10/09
This innovative game uses the camera to generate fantastical creatures in the real world for children to battle and capture
Sony brings the everpopular monster hunting genre into the real-world with the camera-based Invizimals…
by James Batchelor EVER SINCE the debut of Pokemon, young gamers have dreamed of the day when they would be able to go out into the world and hunt for little creatures of their own. And while genetic engineering has yet to extend to the field of pocket monsters, Sony’s newest PSP title should help to satisfy this lust for adventure. Invizimals uses the PSP Camera to generate seemingly invisible monsters into the real world. Players simply attach the camera and use it to look around their bedrooms, their homes, their local neighbourhood or any environment imaginable to search for these little critters, before laying down the star-shaped plastic Trap panel to capture the new beast. “Invizimals is a completely unique game, that uses augmented reality to hunt down monsters, trap them and then battle them,” says product manager Claire Backhouse.
RELEASED: NOVEMBER FORMATS: PSP PUBLISHER: SONY DEVELOPER: XDEV STUDIO EUROPE NOVARAMA PRICE: VARIOUS (SOLUS, STANDARD EDITION AND PSP BUNDLE) DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
“Invizimals uses all elements of PSP technology from capturing monsters in the real world with the camera to blowing on the microphone to create a snowstorm whilst battling.
highlight other selling points. For example, since the gameplay requires kids to actively search the area for new monsters, the company is hoping parents will approve of Invizimals. “Monster battling and The depth of the marketing swapping games have will ensure that Invizimals is had much success as a genre in the past,” the most requested PSP Backhouse says. game the Christmas. “This game offers all Claire Backhouse, Sony this and something more, “All of these unique and exciting by now taking creature hunting into the elements come together to give you an real world. active, totally unique game, making “In research, kids were engaged and Invizimals the must-have kids game for loved the idea of hunting around the Christmas.” house to find the monsters. Parents saw Gamers can play through an Adventure the game as active, healthy and fun. We mode on their own, in which they help think the very nature of this game will to defeat the evil Axel Kaminsky. appeal to kids everywhere as it is a Alternatively, they can hunt, battle and mixture of treasure hunting and trade Invizimals with their friends. traditional monster battling games.” The appeal of monster hunting games There will be multiple Invizimals is obvious given the success of previous SKUs available at launch. The standard titles in the genre, but Sony is keen to version of the game will include both
RETAILBIZ: LIPS: NO.1 HITS
RETAILBIZ: INVIZIMALS WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 16/10/09 51
Microsoft extends its karaoke gaming brand just in time for the inevitable Christmas parties with Lips: Number One Hits… by James Batchelor
the PSP Camera and the Trap, but solus versions will also be available for those who already own the peripheral. Finally, non-PSP owners will be able to buy a Black PSP bundle with a copy of the game included. MONSTER MARKETING
2009 has been a significant year for the PSP, with Sony orchestrating a renewed marketing drive throughout the summer and into the upcoming holiday trading period – not to mention the attention garnered by the arrival of the PSPgo. As a result, Invizimals is well placed to rack up strong sales as the gifting season approaches, but Sony is keen to go the extra mile. “Invizimals is an important title to us for PSP this year and a key focus for us in the lead up to Christmas, which can be seen in the strength of our marketing support for the title,” says Backhouse. The publisher has prepared an extensive campaign focused on kids and families. The push begins in November with 30-second TV spots across a variety
of mainstream channels. These will also run on Nickelodeon and Disney XD in order to target kids and build hype around the title. “With Disney XD and Nickelodeon, we have a heavy online campaign – including mini sites on each of these running until the end of the year,” explains Backhouse. “Kids will be able to engage with the brand, monster hunt, sign up and watch reviews and trailers of Invizimals online – all in a safe environment that parents feel comfortable with. “I really believe the depth of this marketing campaign will ensure that Invizimals is the talk of the school yard and the most requested Christmas PSP game this year.” Following all of this, December will see advertorials in children’s press, including titles such as Marvel Heroes, Spectacular Spiderman, Scooby-Doo, Ben 10 and Toxic. Additionally, Sony will be sponsoring Ben 10 on Cartoon Network for the six weeks leading up to Christmas.
MUSIC CONTINUES to play a major role in the games industry, but amidst the countless Hero and Band titles, it’s easy to forget that singing was a gaming hit long before the advent of plastic instrument controllers. Such titles continue to be popular, prompting Microsoft’s own venture into this field with last year’s Lips. The game brought the fun and atmosphere of karaoke parties to Xbox 360 owners everywhere, expanding the console’s audience, and now the company hopes to further that success. “We were exceptionally happy with Lips last year,” says UK Xbox boss Neil Thompson. “It was a new fracnhise and it was a new genre for us. It was a successful product, which is why we’re extending the brand further this year with Lips: Number One Hits. “We have high expectations for this game. As our audience grows, these sort of experiences are what consumers want and we think it’s going to be a real success.” GOT YOUR NUMBER
Number One Hits once again offers a strong list of songs from a variety of artists, encompassing a good mix of modern stars and timeless legends. Every song on the disc has been No.1 in one of the many major music charts from around the world, ensuring
RELEASED: OCTOBER 23 FORMATS: XBOX 360 PUBLISHER: MICROSOFT DEVELOPER: INIS CORPORATION PRICE: VARIOUS (SOLUS AND MIC PACK) DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 01279 822 800
there are no obscure filler songs. Players can sing along to the likes of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, Rihanna’s Disturbia, MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This and Culture Club’s Karma Chamelon. However, simply crooning along with the scrolling words is not enough to earn the high scores in Lips. The specially developed motionsensitive microphones detect singers’ actions. They can be used as a percussion instrument during instrumental sections and players trigger Star Stream Power Bonuses by gesturing, shaking or striking a pose with the microphone at key points. Even non-singers can join in by playing percussion on the standard Xbox 360 controller. As with Microsoft’s other familycentric titles, Number One Hits will integrate the Xbox Live Avatars, allowing players to use their digital selves to represent themselves ingame. Avatars can be customised as they progress, with good performances and high scores unlocking additional clothing and accessories.
RETAILBIZ: WII FIT PLUS 52 MCV 16/10/09
Nintendo’s fitness blockbuster returns for a brand new workout, getting gamers and non-gamers alike in shape for 2010... by James Batchelor ONE OF THE publishing mega-hits of the last few years is about to go for the burn with Wii Fit Plus. The original Wii Fit attracted millions of new consumers to gaming with a blend of exercise, fun and interactivity. The new enhanced version, Wii Fit Plus, offers a range of new features, exercises and games to create a whole new workout and revitalise regimes. As well as the original activities, there are 15 new balance games and six new strength training and yoga exercises. Users can personalise their activity far more than before. They can input the amount of time they want to spend on each session and highlight an area they particularly want to improve. Wii Fit Plus will then come up with the perfect programme. For the first time, gamers can also mix and match strength and yoga activities in Wii Fit Plus. The seamless flow between these disciplines makes it much easier to maintain their routines and reach their goals. New activities include obstacle courses, powering across a beach on a Segway or flapping their arms like demented chickens. Yes, it’s silly, but it doesn’t half work. The increased variety of exercises, coupled with the options to customise, mean players really enjoy their workouts and come back day after day, resulting in real improvements which, again, encourage them to keep at it. SHAPING UP FOR CHRISTMAS
“Our secondary campaign will be to look for new Wii Fit Plus users. We think there is still a huge potential audience for the Wii Fit Plus bundle. This unique piece of software really allows us to speak to a non-gaming
The Wii Fit Plus campaign will target key audiences, and give them the information they require about the new and existing features. However, the campaign We are expecting good things will have two very separate creative from Wii Fit Plus. With such a directions. great installed base, we hope “We see there being Wii Fit fans will love it. two key audiences for Zoe Cooper, Nintendo Wii Fit Plus when it launches in October,” says product audience and introduce them to the manager Zoe Cooper. benefits of Wii and Wii Fit Plus.” “We will be kicking off the campaign A TV campaign specifically targeting by targeting the current group of Wii Fit Wii Fit owners will start on October owners, encouraging them to purchase 12th and build up to the launch. The the solus disc and upgrade their current ads will educate Wii Fit owners about Wii Fit workout. all the new features available in Wii Fit
Plus, while a Wii Fit solus campaign will run through until mid-November. Further TV sports directly targeting an older female audience will see Ant and Dec visit a Weight Watchers meeting, to find out what real women love about their Wii Fit and introduce them to the all-new features of Wii Fit Plus. The testimonial creative will hit TV screens from November 9th. The print campaign will see advertorials appear in titles such as Bella, Good Housekeeping and Yours, while a POS campaign will raise awareness of Wii Fit Plus and its new features in stores during the run up to Christmas. Wii Fit Plus will also be part of the Nintendo sampling tour.
RELEASED: OCTOBER 30 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: NINTENDO DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PRICE: VARIOUS (SOLUS AND BALANCE BOARD BUNDLE) DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 0870 027 0985
“Wii Fit Plus is a key release for Nintendo this Christmas and as such it will benefit from a high level of marketing activity,” says Cooper. “We are expecting good things from the launch of Wii Fit Plus. We have managed to achieve incredible sales with the original release and with such a great installed base we would hope that they are all looking for the next step in their workout.”
RETAILBIZ: NINTENDO PRESENTS STYLE BOUTIQUE WWW.MCVUK.COM
Nintendo works to engage the DS’ massive established female audience with a management simulation title designed to unlock their creativity…
Style Boutique draws on genuine fashion labels to make this game as appealing to as many girl gamers as possible
MCV 16/10/09 53
tastes and budgets all ask for advice from an expert. Spread across 16 in-game labels (including some genuine designer names), Style Boutique contains 10,000 items to produce endless eye-catching combinations. As the sales flow and the coffers swell, players can add to their inventory, get ready for seasonal changes and try to stay a step ahead of the trend. Through a wireless connection, they can have a catwalk competition with three friends to see who’s got the best
by James Batchelor
DEVELOPED FOR DS, Nintendo Presents: Style Boutique challenges players to run their own fashion store. It combines a love of fashion and creativity with a collection of trendy clothes, shoes and accessories. For girls who love to shop, it’s the perfect DS accessory – but it also challenges their sense for business as much as their sense of style. “Nintendo DS has a huge female user base and most young girls love fashion, they love styling people and would probably love Our partners at New Look to spend their days doing and the London College of it as a career,” says Fashion have enabled us to product manager Zoe bring the game to life. Cooper. “Now they Zoe Cooper, Nintendo really can with Nintendo Presents: Style Boutique. “The development of this game is about fashion sense. They can also visit each giving girls what they want to play on other’s stores to see what’s hot and pick their Nintendo DS, but with the depth up tips. and reality that Nintendo always tries to IF YOU’VE GOT IT, FLAUNT IT offer in its development process.” Nintendo has drawn up a high profile Girls must first stock their shop consumer campaign to promote Style with the very latest designs to Boutique, using partnerships with New try and please a constant Look and the London College of Fashion stream of demanding and to engage the game’s target audience. fashion-conscious “Our partnerships with New Look customers. They’ll and London College of Fashion for this also need to get a launch will hopefully bring these bit Gok Wan, as experiences to life, as we search for the customers UK’s best young stylists and give girls with across the UK the chance to style a New different Look fashion show and take part in a needs, young creatives course at London College of Fashion,” says Cooper. “These partners have enabled us to bring the game life to real life and give girls all over the UK a chance to show us their styling skills.” A TV campaign will kick off this
RELEASED: OCTOBER 23 FORMATS: DS PUBLISHER: NINTENDO DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: KOCH CONTACT: 0870 027 0985
week. The online campaign has already begun, too, with the official site supported by a four-week display campaign. The online ads will directly target the key Style Boutique target audience of six to 16 year-old girls, and will feature on Disney, Sugarscape, MSN Messenger and many more female-focused websites. All activity will be supported in-store from October 16th. All POS will also promote the New Look and London College of Fashion partnership, and ensure everyone knows how to enter the search for the UK’s Best young stylist. POS will feature the iconic Style Boutique shoe and will add a touch of style to gaming retailers throughout the UK and Ireland. Nintendo Presents: Style Boutique will also be available to sample at a limited number of New Look stores throughout the UK, over the launch week, and the event weekend. Style Boutique will also be part of the Nintendo peak season sampling tour. “Although some people might take one look at this title and dismiss it as being for younger users, the depth of this game and its similarities to real life roles in fashion should also capture the imaginations of the slightly older female player too,” adds Cooper. “We really see the core audience being girls aged six to 12 but with vast potential to stretch the appeal to 13 to 16-yearolds. Don't judge a book by its cover.”
RETAILBIZ: EYEPET 54 MCV 16/10/09
Sony dusts off the PlayStation Eye for a pet simulator with a difference, in this endearing upcoming PS3 release… by James Batchelor PET SIMULATORS have been popular among both casual and avid gamers for decades and developers continue to find ways to make these titles more and more interactive. Sony’s London Studio further innovates this genre by bringing virtual pets directly into the home. EyePet uses the PlayStation Eye camera peripheral to generate a cute furry pet into your living room. The animal then reacts to any movements made by anyone in the room, allowing players to interact with them. It’s a charming concept that suits the increasingly family-focused market currently driving the industry, and one Sony has high hopes for. “We have very high expectations for EyePet,” says product manager Lucy Duncan. “It’s a brand new and exciting IP for us, and we believe can really open up the PS3 market to young families. “When people see EyePet in action, their reaction is always one of amazement and it never fails to make people smile. The feedback from retailers, consumers and press has been incredible, so we are really excited about the potential of EyePet and also what it can do for PlayStation 3.”
The stylised packaging is sure to give EyePet a unique in-store presence, attracting both casual and younger gamers
The PSEye technology will obviously be familiar to fans of EyeToy titles, but draw. Simply show a drawing to the Duncan is keen to point out how Sony camera and your pet will copy it. This has advanced the technology, making could be a car, aeroplane, rocket and EyePet even more interactive than many more options. The drawing will previous camera-based efforts. then turn into a 3D toy that EyePet can “EyePet is incredibly lifelike and has play with and you can control with your all the benefits of a real-life pet, but DualShock 3 controller.” without wrecking your We have high expectations house or incurring vets for EyePet. It’s a new and bills,” she says. “EyePet uses Augmented Reality exciting IP for us, and can – the animal is fully really open PS3 to families. aware of people in the Lucy Duncan, Sony room and will interact with you and your environment. Tickle Sony is employing a ‘show not tell’ it by waving your fingers in front of the strategy for EyePet’s marketing campaign. camera and it laughs, poke it and it The company will be supporting the game jumps, or roll it a ball to watch EyePet with a heavyweight campaign, centred chase around the screen. around a two-week TV campaign that “One of the real ‘magic moments’ targets families and starts from October with EyePet is teaching your pet to 19th, and this will be supported with a
highly targeted kids promotion with Nickelodeon, using both TV and online. An online campaign will target both mums and kids, with three different video MPUs that show a boy and girl playing with EyePet and demonstrating showing the different features and interactions that are possible within the game. In terms of the game’s instore presence, a range of POS will be available to retailers, but it’s the company’s choice of packaging that will ensure EyePet stands out. “To build on the experience of taking a pet home, we have developed some bespoke packaging for EyePet in the style of a ‘pet carrier’, which will help the game stand out in-store and appeal to a younger demographic,” says Duncan.
RELEASED: OCTOBER 23 FORMATS: PS3 PUBLISHER: SONY DEVELOPER: LONDON STUDIO PRICE: £34.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
“We will be carrying out sampling experience across many stores, both at traditional retail outlets and grocery to reach a broader family audience. We have four preorder incentives, which are being used to drive sales online with GAME, Play, HMV and Amazon.” Sampling has already begun, with EyePet being shown as a part of the PlayStation House Tour across six major shopping centres up until the December 13th. Sony will also be running a dedicated EyePet sampling tour.
RETAILBIZ: DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 16/10/09 55
Disney offers DS owners a Dickensian treat this Christmas with a literary adventure timed to coincide with the new film and the season of plenty… by James Batchelor AS HAS BEEN discussed earlier in this very issue, the DS is establishing itself as a source of literary entertainment in addition to the traditional gaming genres. The likes of Nintendo’s 100 Classic Book Collection and EA FLIPS add a number of written delights to the DS’ software library, but this Christmas Disney provides a far more interactive story-based offering. Disney’s A Christmas Carol is based on the upcoming film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless Yuletide tale. While its big screen companion is being driven by the talents of Robert Zemeckis and Jim Carrey, the game draws its inspiration from the author himself to provide a more classical experience for DS owners. “Disney’s A Christmas Carol provides engaging Christmas-themed gameplay inspired by the new Walt Disney and Robert Zemeckis film,” says Disney’s marketing manager Steve Woodward. “It offers exploration of Scrooge’s supernatural adventure and replayable festive mini-games. The film is Disney’s priority for the festive season and will be heavily promoted. Game messaging will feature alongside this to ensure all filmgoers are targeted.” features such as an advent calendar, a The game essentially takes on the form sing-a-long collection of five Christmas of a point-and-click adventure, similar to carols and other themed activities also the hidden object, mystery and puzzle make it perfect for the upcoming titles that have been a massive hit with holiday season. casual gamers. “A Christmas Carol is Disney’s DS Players become the Hand Of Fate and title for the festive season,” says progress through the story by exploring Woodward. “The game features an each scene, and interacting with the characters to A Christmas Carol is perfect trigger the next event. An interesting touch is for the festive season. It that all of the in-game encourages family play, and dialogue and descriptions is is a great game for all ages. written in the style of Steve Woodward, Disney Charles Dickens, making players feel a part of the narrative. On top of that, a variety of additional advent calendar which we are content – including the full Dickens promoting to push pre-Christmas sales. novel in its original form – makes A The game re-tells the classic story Christmas Carol unlike any previous through cutscenes, interactive scenes literary offering on the DS. Extra and narrative voiceover.” BAH, HUMBUG
“The Hand Of Fate mechanic through environment interactions, feedback to the player and reactions from characters makes this a great game for all ages. “It includes 14 unlockable minigames, which are integrated into seamlessly into the story and a ‘pass the DS’ multiplayer feature encourages family play, which is perfect for Christmas.” A Christmas Carol is being promoted as part of Disney’s ongoing campaign encompassing all of its family friendly titles released this quarter. The publisher is also focusing on gifters and families with a targeted above the line campaign. “We are sponsoring key family entertainment programmes on housewife and children’s channels such as Living
RELEASED: NOVEMBER 6 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: DISNEY DEVELOPER: SUMO DIGITAL PRICE: £29.99 DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
and Gold as part of a huge TV campaign running from launch through to December 23rd,” says Woodward. “The online campaign includes a Christmas gift guide widget, which will be placed across key sites, and the title will be promoted via a blogging campaign aimed at gifters. “Our celebrity ambassador Suzanne Shaw is promoting this title for us along with all of our new Christmas releases. She is hosting a story-telling event at Hamleys on October 25th reading A Christmas Carol from the DS.”
RETAILBIZ: LEGO INDIANA JONES 2 56 MCV 16/10/09
The world’s favourite archaeologist returns in another LEGO-themed outing, but this time the adventure has been rebuilt brick by brick… by James Batchelor ONE OF THE only criticisms levelled at the best-selling LEGO titles is that there has been very little change with each iteration since the original LEGO Star Wars. Even LEGO Batman, which cast off the restrictions of following a specific movie plot, did little to change the hugely popular gameplay formula that has delighted gamers since 2005. That all changes with LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues. While this may seem to be Indy’s own take on LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, this sequel makes countless more improvements over the original and advances the series as a whole. Once again following the adventures of Dr Henry Jones Junior, the key addition
dimensional than the more linear and limited stages found in previous LEGO games. So, players will be able to wander freely around a Cairo marketplace rather than working from one end to the other. The series’ renowned drop-in/dropout co-operative mechanic is also more freeform in LEGO Indy 2. Rather than trapping players in the same area and limiting their movements, the screen now splits into two and allows each player to wander off and explore the levels at their own pace. Other mechanics, such as the ability to build and drive vehicles and, of course, Indy’s whip have also been enhanced. IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME
However, by far the biggest improvement over previous LEGO titles is the addition of the Build Your Own Adventure Mode.
Following the phenomenal success of last year’s game, expectations are incredibly high with this new adventure. Simon Wells, Activision
this time is levels and missions that follow the plot of last year’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. However, the original trilogy covered by the first game is also present, this time rebuilt from the ground up in order to provide a fresh challenge. “Still hugely popular with both kids and adults alike, the new title mixes innovative re-tellings of the classic movies and a brand new story with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” says brand manager Simon Wells. “Families will be able to share their Indy adventures in the humourous, tongue-in-cheek world of LEGO ensuring that this title will be a favourite this Christmas and one of the key gifting titles for the holiday period.” This time around, both the original adventures and Kingdom feature much larger levels that feel more three-
LEGO Indy 2 delves into every movie, old and new, to provide something that will appeal to any Jones fan
This gives players a blank area of terrain and allows them to fill it with their own creations, whether it’s platforms to climb, puzzles to solve or Indiana Jonesstyle booby traps to avoid. This not only gives that game more replayability than ever, it allows players and Indiana Jones fans to tap into the creativity and come up with their own adventures worthy of the Fedorawearing treasure hunter himself. These can be shared online on the PS3 and Xbox 360 editions, tuning in perfectly with the rise of LittleBigPlanetstyle user-generated content. “For the first time ever in a LEGO game, Build Your Own Adventure Mode allows you to create your own levels and environments and share them with your friends, which makes this the most interactive and constructive LEGO game yet,” Wells adds. “With a tongue-incheek take on all of the Indiana Jones
films, including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, this is one to recommend for all children’s stockings this Christmas.” LEGO Indiana Jones will be supported by a three-week TV campaign covering UK and Irish TV. The ads will be supported by Sony and will run around key children’s programmes to drive demand and what Wells describes as “pester power”. “One of cinema’s most beloved adventure heroes returns to the fun and constructive world of LEGO for his latest outing,” says Wells.
RELEASED: NOVEMBER FORMATS: 360, PS3, WII, PC, DS, PSP PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD DEVELOPER: TRAVELLER’S TALES PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
“Following the phenomenal success of last’s year’s LEGO Indiana Jones game, expectations are incredibly high with this new adventure and LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues will certainly be one of the top performing kids’ titles this Christmas.”
RETAILBIZ: RABBIDS GO HOME WWW.MCVUK.COM
The lupine lunatics return, shunning minigames in favour of a larger adventure that should entertain Wii owners everywhere…
MCV 16/10/09 57
by James Batchelor
adventure genre is a great way for us to attract new consumers as well: those who were not convinced or have grown out of party games can now engage with the Rabbids’ zany universe too.”
FOR THIS YEAR’S Rabbids offering, Ubisoft is taking the franchise in a new direction, opening up the Rabbids’ maniacal universe to create a full-blown OFF YOUR TROLLEY adventure game. Players take control of two Rabbids While the gameplay and structure pushing a shopping trolley. Guiding this will be new to the series, the publisher bizarre duo and their unorthodox mode is quick to assure fans that Rabbids Go of transportation around a variety of Home holds true to everything that made the original games so popular with families. The Rabbids have got a “For the past three strong fanbase, making this a years, the Rabbids have serious contender on grown in Ubisoft’s children’s Christmas lists. portfolio to become one of our key franchises,” Ombeline Wallon, Ubisoft says UK brand manager levels, gamers must explore their Ombeline Wallon. environment and complete a number of “The Rayman Raving Rabbids party challenges along the way, making games have been very successful and Rabbids Go Home accessible to those have generated a strong fanbase. With accustomed to mini-games. Rabbids Go Home, we built on this And, as could be expected, the series’ success but shook things a little: this smirk-inducing humour is apparent time the Rabbids are going on an throughout the game. adventure to the moon. “This is a Rabbids game: it has all the “In this new title, the existing cuteness, cheekyness and irreverence Rabbids fans will recognise the humour that made the Rabbids famous and and craziness they loved in the previous popular,” explains Wallon. “The Rabbids games. Extending the franchise to the
RELEASED: NOVEMBER 6 FORMATS: WII PUBLISHER: UBISOFT DEVELOPER: UBISOFT MONTPELLIER PRICE: £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: TRILOGY CONTACT: 0845 362 7769
have got a strong fanbase and are popular with people of all ages. “Being an adventure game, Rabbids Go Home is a great addition to the franchise, refreshing it while staying in line with the Rabbids personality. “The game is primarily targeted at children, although their parents and older brothers and sisters will probably want to have a go as well. “The release date, as well as the strong marketing campaign we have built for this title, will make it a serious contender on children’s Christmas lists.” The marketing campaign will promote Rabbids Go Home from the end of October all the way up to Christmas. Ubisoft will be supporting the game heavily on TV, with additional support from print and online activity. The publisher will also be sampling the game at some of the UK’s key shopping areas in Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, London and Newcastle. During this tour, it will be running a ‘Pimp Your Trolley’ competition, where consumers can win trolley dashes and a variety of Rabbids merchandise.
Genuine opportunities in games Development Management QA & Testing Sales and Marketing Audio
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OPM Response Ltd Tel: +44(0)1206 21 44 21 www.opmjobs.com
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RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 58 MCV 16/10/09
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0121 625 3388 01279 822 800 01376 555 333 0845 234 4242 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0870 027 0985 01279 822800 01279 822 800 0121 625 3388 01582 433700 01279 822 800 0121 506 9585 0870 027 0985 01869 338833 020 8987 5730 0121 625 3388 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0845 234 4242 0117 373 6151 01376 555 333 0121 506 9585
Centresoft Gem Open Mastertronic Centresoft Koch Koch Gem Gem Centresoft Centresoft Gem Advantage Koch Open Open Centresoft Trilogy Trilogy Mastertronic Open Open Advantage
Wii Mini-games PS3 RPG DS Action Wii Mini-games DS Puzzle Wii / DS Quiz Wii Simulation PS3 Casual PSP / DS / Wii / PS3 / PS2 / XBOX 360 Racing DS / PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 Mystery DS Adventure Wii Action XBOX 360 Action PC Simulation PC Simulation PC Chess Wii Mini-games Wii Mini-games DS / PC / Wii Mini-games PC Sports Wii Sports DS / Wii Action/Adventure DS Action/Adventure PC Action Wii / DS Mini-games PS3 / XBOX 360 Beat-'em-up PC FPS Wii Music Wii Self-Improvement PC Action
Nordcurrent Ghostlight Midas Activision Blizzard S.A.D Mindscape 505 Games Sony THQ Ubisoft Ubisoft Namco Bandai Rockstar First Class Simulations Sega Excalibur Publishing Majesco Majesco South Peak THQ Activision Blizzard Mindscape Mindscape City Interactive Activision Blizzard Namco Bandai City Interactive Nordic Games Nintendo Deep Silver
0845 362 7769 01376 555333 01376 555333 0121 625 3388 01582 436043 0870 027 0985 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 01279 822 800 01869 338833 0121 625 3388 01869 338833 0117 373 6151 0117 373 6151 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0870 027 0985 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0870 027 0985
Trilogy Open Open Centresoft PlayV Koch Advantage Centresoft Advantage Trilogy Trilogy Advantage Gem Open Centresoft Open Open Open Centresoft Advantage Centresoft Koch Koch Trilogy Centresoft Advantage Trilogy Centresoft Koch Koch
PS2 / PSP
020 8987 5730
OCTOBER 23rd Bakugan: Battle Brawlers Borderlands Clever Kids: Creepy Crawlies Constellation Professional EyePet Fairytale Fights Family Fortunes Forza 3 Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Hannah Montana: Rock Out The Show Ju-on: The Grudge Lips: Number One Hits Marvel Super Hero Squad Nintendo presents Style Boutique Pole to Pole Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 Shaun The Sheep: Off his head Sniper: Southern Strike Terrorist Takedown 3: Operation Crossfire The Big Deal Ultimate I Spy World Cup Of Pool WWE SmackDown Vs RAW 2010
OCTOBER 30th 101-in-1 Party Megamix Wii Agarest: Generations Of War Allied Ace Pilots Arcade Zone Around The World In 80 Days Beat The Intro Big Catch Bass Fishing 2 Buzz!: Quiz World Cars: Race O Rama CSI: Deadly Intent Dolphin Island 2: Underwater Adventure Dragon Ball: Revenge Of King Piccolo Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City Flight Deck 6 Football Manager 2010 Fritz 12 Chess Go Play Circus Star Go Play City Sports Horrid Henry League Of Leagues Mountain Sports Playmobil: Circus Playmobil: Pirates Rage Of The Dead Science Papa Tekken 6 Terrorist Takedown 3 We Sing Wii Fit Plus X3 Gold
NOVEMBER 5th Pro Evolution Soccer 2010
MUSTSTOCK .....................FOOTBALL MANAGER Released: October 30 Format: PC Publisher: Sega Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388
Sega’s best-selling football management sim returns, with the new edition reinvigorating the series with a complete overhaul. Football Manager 2010 boasts a brand new interface and games mechanics that have been tweaked according to feedback from fans.
MUSTSTOCK ..........................STYLE BOUTIQUE Released: October 23 Format: DS Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Koch Contact: 0870 027 0985
Nintendo Presents Style Boutique is the plaftorm holder’s own take on the female-focused fashion genre that has dominated DS shelves for years. Players are encouraged to be creative as they seek ways to keep their boutique in business.
58,59 MCV559_final:43 MCV467
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MCV 16/10/09 59
Consumers need to have their business senses well and truly honed as October draws to a close, with the arrival of the latest instlament in Sega’s ever-popular Football Manager series and Nintendo’s own managment simulation title Style Boutique. Also nearing release is Forza 3, Grand Theft Auto, WWE, Tekken, Wii Fit Plus, EyePet and more... TITLE
Wii Wii Wii / DS PC / DS Wii / DS Wii DS / Wii DS XBOX 360 / PS3 / PC DS Wii DS / PC / Wii / XBOX 360 DS Wii / DS Wii Wii / DS DS DS DS DS Wii XBOX 360 / PS3 / Wii / DS Wii Wii DS / PC / Wii / PS3 / XBOX 360 DS / Wii Wii Wii DS / Wii DS DS DS / PC / Wii
Platformer Music Simulation Mystery Adventure Action Quiz Adventure RPG Action Mini-games Action Casual Mini-games Mini-games Mini-games Imagine Casual Casual Casual Mini-games Racing Adventure Mini-games Action/Adventure Adventure Simulation Action Music Puzzle Mystery Simulation
Majesco THQ Activision Blizzard City Interactive Activision Blizzard City Interactive Mindscape Disney Interactive EA Namco Bandai Warner Games Atari Ubisoft EA Mindscape Activision Blizzard Ubisoft Zushi Zushi Zushi Ubisoft Activision Blizzard Zushi Ubisoft Sega Ubisoft Activision Blizzard Mindscape Mindscape Konami THQ THQ
0117 373 6151 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0845 362 7769 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0121 625 3388 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0121 625 3388 0845 362 7769 01279 822 800 01279 822 800 01279 822 800 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 01279 822 800 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388 0870 027 0985 0870 027 0985 0208 987 5706 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585
Open Advantage Centresoft Trilogy Centresoft Trilogy Koch Centresoft Centresoft Advantage Centresoft Advantage Trilogy Centresoft Koch Centresoft Trilogy Gem Gem Gem Trilogy Centresoft Gem Trilogy Centresoft Trilogy Centresoft Koch Koch Open Advantage Advantage
PC / DS
Wii XBOX 360 / PS3 / PC
Activision Blizzard Activision Blizzard
0121 625 3388 0121 625 3388
DS PS3 / XBOX 360 Wii PC DS DS DS Wii DS PSP / DS / Wii / XBOX 360 Wii DS / Wii
Casual Action Mini-games Simulation Simulation Simulation Casual Racing Action/Adventure Kids RPG Self-Improvement
505 Games Atari Zushi First Class Simulations Ubisoft 505 Games 505 Games Ubisoft Mindscape THQ Namco Bandai THQ
0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 01279 822 800 01869 338833 0845 362 7769 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0845 362 7769 0870 027 0985 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585 0121 506 9585
Advantage Advantage Gem Open Trilogy Advantage Advantage Trilogy Koch Advantage Advantage Advantage
PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 PSP DS Wii / DS
Action Action/Adventure Action/Adventure Racing
Ubisoft Ubisoft Ubisoft EA
0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0845 362 7769 0121 625 3388
Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy Centresoft
NOVEMBER 6th A Boy And His Blob All Star Cheerleader 2 Animal Planet: Vet Life Art Of Murder: Cards Of Destiny Barbie and the Three Musketeers Combat Wings Countdown Disney's A Christmas Carol Dragon Age: Origins Dragon Ball Z: Attack Of The Saiyans Game Party 3 Ghostbusters: The Video Game Girls Life Makeover Hasbro Family Game Night Volume 2 I'm A Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here iCarly Imagine Wildlife Keeper Jig-a-Pix: Pets Jig-a-Pix: Wild World Jig-a-Pix: Wonderful World Knockout Party Madagascar: Kartz North American Hunting Extraganza Peppa Pig Planet 51 Rabbids Go Home Rapala: We Fish The Ultimate Red Ball Challenge U-Sing Wire Way Women's Murder Club: Games Of Passion World Of Zoo
NOVEMBER 7th Titanic Mystery
NOVEMBER 10th Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
NOVEMBER 13th Cooking Mama Dragon Ball Z: Raging Blast Family Gameshow Fly The Boeing Fleet Girls Life Sleepover Party Hair Salon Little Book Of Big Secrets Monster 4X4 Stuntrace Playmobil: Knight SpongeBob: Truth or Square Tales Of Symphonia: Dawn Of The New World The Biggest Loser
NOVEMBER 20th Assassin's Creed II Assassin's Creed: Blood Lines Assassin's Creed: Discovery Need For Speed: Nitro
MUSTSTOCK ........................................FORZA 3 Released: October 23 Format: Xbox 360 Publisher: Microsoft Distributor: Gem Contact: 01279 822800
Forza Motorsport 3 gives gamers unprecedented levels of customisation over their cars, enabling them to define every engine part and even the vehicle’s livery. Expanded community features also allow them to sell their creations to other Forza players online.
MUSTSTOCK .....GTA: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY Released: October 30th Format: Xbox 360 Publisher: Rockstar Distributor: Gem Contact: 01279 822800
The retail debut for Rockstar’s formerly download-only GTA IV episodes, packing The Lost & Damned and The Ballad Of Gay Tony onto disc. Gamers return to Liberty City with these new adventures that add extra life to last year’s smash hit crime blockbuster.
RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 60 MCV 16/10/09
REVIEW SCORES MCV provides the most important average review scores of the last few days – all sourced from Metacritic...
FIFA 10 EA, PS3
Beaterator, PSP, Rockstar
Scribblenauts, DS, Warner
Risen, PC, Deep Silver
Kingdom Herats: 358/2,
DS, Square Enix
*Metacritic scores correct at the time of going to press
DEAL OF THE WEEK
TESCO ‘WELL-PLACED FOR GLOBAL RECOVERY’ Tesco has reported solid results for the first half of the financial year, including a 14 per cent growth in profits. In the 26 weeks ended August 29th, the Group’s trading profits rose to £1,551 million, or £1,419 million before tax. The supermarket also recorded £30.4 billion worth of sales, an improvement of 8.3 per cent when compared to the same period in 2008. Group revenue came in at £27.8 billion, a year-on-year increase of 9.3 per cent. “Our UK business is delivering solid growth and improving volumes,” said chief executive Terry Leahy. “This progress across the Group, combined with our strong financial position funding continued investment in new space and new businesses, means we’re well-placed for the global recovery.” However, shares fell from 3.9p to 387.5p as the results were announced, with investors concerned about the weakerthan-expected sales growth shown in the second quarter.
MCV offers a weekly digest of the latest news on the High Street... PES TO GO DOWNLOAD ONLY? In a remarkable admission, Konami’s longtime Pro Evolution Soccer producer Shingo ‘Seabass’ Takatsuka has admitted that future versions of PES may not be available as a boxed product. When asked by GamesTM if he’ll transform PES into a microtransactionfunded online series, Seabass stated: “Yes, I do think about it. But I also think about the fact that 100 per cent of the people aren’t connected to the internet. When that day comes, it’s something we should definitely consider or do. “However, even if it’s 80 per cent, there’s still 20 per cent who can’t play because they aren’t connected. I have to take those people seriously as well.” F1 2009 DATED UK publisher Codemasters has revealed that the Wii and DS versions of anticipated racer F1 2009 will be released in the UK on November 20th. The pair will be released in other PAL territories a day earlier and will cross the line at US retail on November 17th.
FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS ON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON THE UK HIGH STREET, CHECK OUT: WWW.MCVUK.COM/RETAIL-BIZ
HMV customers receive Wii Sports Resort, Super Smash Bros Brawl and FIFA 10 for free when they buy a Wii for £179.99, saving over £100.
DOES THE INDUSTRY NEED MORE TELEVISION COVERAGE LIKE GAMESWIPE? 87%
FIFA 10 PS3
PROFESSOR LAYTON AND PANDORA’S BOX DS
HALO 3: ODST 360
FIFA 10 PS2
NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT 360
NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT PS3
FIFA 10 PSP
GRAN TURISMO 5 PSP
DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA
WII SPORTS RESORT WII
Charts compiled by Game Guide/Complete EPOS Solutions. For more information about Complete EPOS Solutions call 01543 370002. For more information about the Game Guide call 01606 836347.
Blaze’s 8-in-1 Travel Kit for PSPgo has everything a gamer could need to protect, store and clean their new handheld. The bundle features a protective carry case, which is complemented by a wrist strap, memory card case and earphones.
Charlie Brooker’s recent Gameswipe got the big thumbs up from retailers in the latest MCV online survey with the majority of voters deeming it to be just the sort of coverage games should be given on TV.
Take part in MCV’s next poll at www.mcvuk.com A screen protector kit will keep the display free from fingerprints and other marks, and the car charger and USB cable will help ensure the device is always charged. A similar 5-in-1 Starter Kit is also available. Blaze: 01302 325225
ble at a l i a v All A
For more information contact sales - 01256 385 251
NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.
INDIE CHARTS - ALL FORMATS
RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 16/10/09 61 Sponsored by
FROM THE [PRE ORDERS]
TOP 10 UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3 SONY 2. PES 2010
3. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
FRONTLINE Nindie.com speaks with Aaron Jones from Powys’ indie, Top Shop Video… How has the market been for you so far this year? Good during the holiday periods, but very slow throughout the rest of the year. However, we are expecting a good Christmas, which should bring us up to where we should be.
360 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
4. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
5. FORZA MOTORSPORT 3
6. BRUTAL LEGEND
7. FORZA 3: LIMITED EDITION
8. TEKKEN 6
PS3 ........................................................NAMCO BANDAI
9. RATCHET AND CLANK: CRACK IN TIME
What makes your store unique? We are the only video game suppliers in town. It’s great not having competition but I wish we had more people in the town to take advantage. What has been performing well? PS3 and DS have been our best sellers this year – the titles have been great for our demographic. The Wii has also done
well but has slowed down over the past few months – this will have something to do with the price hike and the current economic downturn. I am very positive that sales will pick up once again now that the new Wii Bundle is out and the Wii console will once again dominate. How much of a threat do supermarkets pose to your store? None really at the moment. However, a
Tesco is coming to the area soon and this may have a difference but we will diversify in order to stay unique and hopefully our customers will stay loyal. Do you think the PSPgo will rejuvenate the PSP market? No, not really due to the foothold the DS has in the handheld market. I don’t think the PSPgo will make much difference in the market. Maybe if it was priced a little lower, it may then do well.
10. GRAN TURISMO 5
Week ending October 9th Source: SHOPTO.COM
FIFA 10 360, EA
Up Wii, THQ
Ninja Gaiden: Sigma 2 PS3, Koei
TMNT Smash Up Wii, Ubisoft
IN STORE: LANCASTER
COD:MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD 2. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
3. UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES
4. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010
5. ASSASSINS’S CREED II
6. PES 2010
7. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PC ..................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
8. ASSASSINS’S CREED II
9. FORZA MOTORSPORT 3: LIMITED EDITION
10. FORZA MOTORSPORT 3
NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.
Week ending October 9th Source: AMAZON.CO.UK
TO TAKE PART PLEASE CONTACT: JAMES.BATCHELOR@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
62,63 MCV559_final:54-55 MCV553
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 62 MCV 16/10/09
Check out RETAILBIZ at WWW.MCVUK.COM
OFFICIALUKCHARTS NINTENDO DS THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
 [FULL PRICE]
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
SCRIBBLENAUTS WARNER BROS. KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 DAYS SQUARE ENIX PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE NINTENDO MYSIMS AGENTS EA DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO COMBAT OF GIANTS: DRAGONS CODEMASTERS MARIO KART DS NINTENDO MARIO & LUIGI: BOWSER’S INSIDE STORY NINTENDO PUZZLER WORLD UBISOFT
3 2 4 24 5 NEW
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
COD: WORLD AT WAR SINGSTAR MOTOWN MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 2 TRANSFORMERS: FALLEN GUITAR HERO 5 BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER UP SCOOBY-DOO! FIRST FRIGHTS
5 4 6 7 13 NEW
PSP THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
FORMAT: PS3, 360, DS, PSP, WII, PS2
DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA
OPERATION FLASHPOINT 2 360, PS3, PC
NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT 360, PS3, PSP, PC
PROFESSOR LAYTON: PANDORA’S BOX DS NINTENDO
WII SPORTS RESORT Wii
HALO 3: ODST 360
GRAN TURISMO PSP
WII FIT Wii
MARIO KART WII Wii
GUITAR HERO 5 360, PS3 ,Wii, PS2
COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2 360, PS3 ,Wii, DS, PSP
SONY NINTENDO NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
MYSIMS: AGENTS Wii, DS
BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM 360, PS3
STAR WARS CLONE WARS 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP LUCASARTS
KILLZONE 2 PS3
D3P EA THQ WARNER BROS.
[FULL PRICE] TITLE
2 3 4 5
1 3 4 5
FIFA 10 DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT MOTORSTORM: ARCTIC EDGE
6 7 8 9 10
MONSTER HUNTER: FREEDOM UNITE CAPCOM BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P LEGO BATMAN WARNER BROS FIFA ‘09 EA HARRY POTTER: HALF-BLOOD PRINCE EA
DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA
PROFESSOR LAYTON: PANDORA’S BOX
[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]
DEVELOPER: POLYPHONY DIGITAL PUBLISHER: SONY
KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 DAYS DS
PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE DS NINTENDO
WII PLAY Wii
MARIO STRIKERS CHARGED FOOTBALL Wii
PC CD-ROM THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING DEVELOPER: CODEMASTERS PUBLISHER: CODEMASTERS
THE SIMS 3
CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER 2010
EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR
WOW: WRATH OF LICH KING
EA EIDOS NCSOFT SEGA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
CITIES XL WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR II
EA KOCH MEDIA ATARI THQ
62,63 MCV559_final:54-55 MCV553
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 16/10/09 63
EA’S FIFA 10 holds onto the top spot in the All
came second on its console formats, making it
Formats Charts for a second week, despite seeing
the publsher’s biggest selling launch title. with Warner Bros’ Scribblenauts as the next
it was released.
highest debut at No.12. Two other new titles
The best-selling football title managed to fend
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes at
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising. The tactical shoot-’em-up managed topped the PC charts, and
No.15 and Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days at No.17.
PS3 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
Highest New Entry
WOLFENSTEIN PC, PS3, 360
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD NINTENDO
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 360, PS3, PC
LEGO STAR WARS: SAGA 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP LUCASARTS
UP 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP
COD: WORLD AT WAR 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC
WET 360, PS3
MARVEL UA2 360, Wii, PS3, DS, PSP, PS2
SEGA SUPERSTARS TENNIS 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PS2, PC SEGA
TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10 360, PS3, Wii
G-FORCE 360, PS3, PS2, DS, Wii, PSP
COD4: MODERN WARFARE 360, Wii, PS3, DS
RISEN PC, 360
EA DISNEY EA KOCH MEDIA
GRAN TURISMO 5: PROLOGUE PS3
LEGO BATMAN PC, DS, PS3, 360, Wii, PSP
TOY STORY MANIA! Wii
COMBAT OF GIANTS: DRAGONS DS
MARIO KART DS DS
IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS 360, PS3, DS, PSP
PC CD-ROM THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD BETHESDA
DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIO UBISOFT NINTENDO 505 GAMES
WOW: BATTLE CHEST DEVELOPER: BLIZZARD PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
2 4 7 3 11 17 16 13
ESCAPE THE MUSEUM
MYSTERY CASE FILES: RAVENHEARST
HIDDEN MYSTERIES: BUKINGHAM PALACE GSP/AVANQUEST
MYSTER CASE FILES: HUNTSVILLE CIVILIZATION IV
FOCUS MASTERTRONIC SOLD OUT
[FULL PRICE] TITLE
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM INFAMOUS COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2 NINJA GAIDEN: SIGMA 2 WOLFENSTEIN GUITAR HERO 5 WET
2 3 14 5 4 16 8 6
WII THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA
WII SPORTS RESORT
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
WII FIT FIFA 10 MARIO KART WII TOY STORY MANIA SUPER SMASH BROS: BRAWL GUITAR HERO 5 MYSIMS AGENTS ASHES CRICKET 2009 EA SPORTS ACTIVE
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
TECMO KOEI EUROPE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ACTIVISION BLIZZARD BETHESDA
NINTENDO EA NINTENDO DISNEY NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD EA CODEMASTERS NINTENDO
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING HALO 3: ODST NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2 GUITAR HERO 5 RISEN BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM WET WOLFENSTEIN
2 3 5 4 9 6 8 17
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
1 4 2 3 7 12 5 6 8 11
WORLD OF WARCRAFT
appear in the Top 20, with Activision Blizzard’s
off competition from the debut of Codemasters’
No other new entries made it into the Top 10,
more than two million units across Europe since
(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack
a 64 per cent decline in sales. The game has sold
WEEK ENDING 10/10/09
DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA CODEMASTERS MICROSOFT EA CODEMASTERS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD KOCH MEDIA EIDOS BETHESDA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
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
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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
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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 66 MCV 16/10/09
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
Tel:+381(0)11 309 95 95
45 rue Delizy,
Gameworld BV............................Capelle A/D Ijssel
Fax:+381(0)11 309 95 96
93692 PANTIN Cedex, France
Email purchase: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email export sales: email@example.com
Rigu Sound B.V................2153 GB Nieuw Vennep
Cornusbaan 1, 2908 KB Capelle A/D IJssel
Tel: +31 10 298 3838 Web: firstname.lastname@example.org
SINGAPORE Replay Interactive....................................Singapore
GERMANY Groß Electronic .......................................Rohrnbach
Otto Group ...................................................Hamburg
Pan Vision Norway.....................................Trollasen
Playcom Software Vertriebs .......................Erfurt
Vitrex Multimedia Großhandel.....................Erfurt
SOUTH AFRICA Midigital ..............................................Johannesburg Nu Metro Interactive ......................Johannesburg
3752 LH Bunschoten-Spakenburg
Pan Vision Norway..............................................Oslo
Distribuciones Videográficas Digitales ....MADRID
Lamee Software S.L. .....................................Madrid
Phone: +31 (0)33 201 21 00
Fax: +31 (0)33 201 21 01
CD Projekt Sp. z o.o......................................Warsaw
PLANETA DEAGOSTINI INTERACTIVE
Diagonal, 662-664, 3ª planta D, 08034,
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
Engomi / Nicosia 2404 / Cyprus
TECHLAND Sp. z o.o.
Barcelona, Spain, Tel: +34 93 492 08 89 email@example.com www.planetadeagostini.net
Web: www.techland.pl 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) firstname.lastname@example.org 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
66,67 MCV559_final:Layout 1
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 16/10/09 67
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: email@example.com Website: www.gameoutlet.se
Video Games Distributor in the Middle East P.O BOX 16999 Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai U.A.E. Tel: 00971 4 883 5960 Fax: 00971 4 883 5175 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org U.A.E. Website: www.alesayi.ae Group Website: www.alesayi.com
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has revealed that over 2.2 million DSi units have been sold in North America. In an interview with CNBC, the Nintendo exec praised the strong performance of the new handheld, expecting this success to continue during the upcoming Christmas season. Fils-Aime also discussed the positive results of the recent Wii price cut and named Wal-Mart as the company’s largest retail partner in the territory.
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
Tel: +971 4261 8111 Fax: +971 4261 8112
ARAL Import..................................................Istanbul Nortec Eurasia...............................................Istanbul
Modern Pluto Trading LLC...............Saudi Arabia
Meanwhile, US retail giant Wal-Mart has begun selling pre-owned games for the first time. The ASDA parent has previously installed trade-in kiosks in its stores – a move which has been followed by the likes of Best Buy and the UK’s very own GAME. Now, however, Wal-Mart has also launched a standalone in-store pre-owned section – suggesting its kiosk experiment has been a success. According to the firm’s website, each pre-owned game the grocer handles will be ‘polished, tested and inspected prior to shipping’.
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 Email: email@example.com Web: www.bascodistribution.com
U.S. GAMES DISTRIBUTION, INC. 16700 Schoenborn St. #2 North Hills, CA. 91343 Tel: +1 818 920 9393 firstname.lastname@example.org www.usgamesdist.com
DIGITAL CODES for PlayStation Network titles are now available to buy at the Amazon.com video game store. The line-up includes games for both PSP and PlayStation 3, with 200 titles available. Amazon.com already sells WiiWare and Xbox Live Arcade titles through its website. “We are excited to expand our current library of video game platform downloads,” commented vice president of consumer electronics for Amazon.com, Paul Ryder. “PlayStation Network games are an important addition and we plan to continue making it easier for customers to instantly enjoy new content as well as their favourite games from the comfort of their living rooms.”
ELECTRONIC ARTS’ upcoming Left 4 Dead 2 has been classified for release in Australia. The game was banned in the territory last month for its violent content, but the Australian Classification Board’s website now shows it has been given the maximum rating of MA 15+. A Valve spokesperson told Kotaku that the build of Left 4 Dead 2 granted classification for the region was an ‘adjusted version’. He added that the developer is hoping the standard Left 4 Dead 2 could be cleared for release before the game is due to launch. “We are still awaiting the decision on the standard edition and remain optimistic about being able to ship this version in November,” said the spokesperson.
PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR
DISC REPAIR TDR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01202 489 500
Distributors of DVDs, Blu-Ray, Music CDs and Video Games
www.discstribution.com Over 100,000 Different Items to Order Online
DISTRIBUTION BDA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0777 192 7688 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
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 GAMING ACCESSORIES
...bringing you all the right lines
GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR Total Console Repair Ltd. . . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21
NYKO 360 Charge Base
GAMING ACCESSORIES Pinpoint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01606 558 428 LOCALISATION Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 Testronic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 653 722 Universally Speaking. . . . . . . . . . . . 01480 210621
SkipDr Premier Disc Cleaner Enigma DSi Necessity Kit
01606 558 428
or email: email@example.com Road One, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 3QG www.pinpointce.co.uk Part of the Pinpoint Group
PINPOINT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01606 558428 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.pinpointce.co.uk DISTRIBUTION
STORE FITTINGS Retail Entertainment Displays . . . . 01733 239001
For further online advertising information please contact
Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk or call
SUPPORT YOUR PRINT ADVERTISING WITH AN
MERONCOURT . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1462 680060 . . . http://trade.meroncourt.co.uk
68-73 MCV559_final:Layout 1
EDITORIAL PLANNER Some of the special issues coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the market... FRIDAY OCTOBER 23rd
LONDON GAMES CONFERENCE SHOW GUIDE On the eve of the London Games Conference, MCV offers an exclusive in-depth guide to what you should expect from the much-anticipated event. We’ll provide a full rundown of the panels and the various speakers involved, and we will explore the background of the key topics due to be discussed.
LONDON GAMES FESTIVAL SPECIAL The 2009 London Games Festival is set to top every previous incarnation, with several events spread across both the week and the city for both the industry and consumers. But don’t fret – we have a complete breakdown of the festival’s schedule, from video game concerts and publisher exhibitions to awards ceremonies and the London Games Conference, to help you get the most from the UK’s biggest celebration of the games industry.
GUIDE TO GMA WINNERS This definitive rundown lists the winners in every category of the third Games Media Awards, recognised by their peers as the leading players in games journalism and broadcasting. We report back from the event, incuding reaction from the winners and provide a full pictorial review.
WINTER PERIPHERALS SPECIAL It’s not just the games that will be dominating the shelves this Q4. As the biggest gifting period of the year begins, we offer the definitive round-up of the key peripherals vendors and their hottest stocking fillers, including those that are already available and those due for release soon. We speak to companies about the changes in the market and why gaming accessories fare so well at Christmas.
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 an 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 UK video games industry. It will include promising young marketing managers, PR executives, journalists, retailers, games buyers, consultants and much more. Will you make it onto this year’s list?
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 and developers 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.
FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT: LOGIC 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01923 471000 . . . . . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org
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TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR DISTRIBUTION
Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month.
STUDIOS NDreams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01252 375754 Razorback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.razorback.co.uk Realtime Worlds . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1382 202 821 Stainless Games . . . . . . . email@example.com Strawdog Studio . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1332 258 862
CURVEBALL LEISURE . . . . . . 01792 652526 . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org DISTRIBUTION
TOOLS Blitz Games Studios. . . . . . . +44 (0) 1926 880 000 Crytek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +49 69219 77660 Epic Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +1 919 870 1516
SERVICES 3D Creation Studios . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 151 345 9551 Air Studios. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 207 794 0660 amBX UK Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.ambx.com Ian Livingstone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01483 421491
CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION. . . . 0208 6643456 . . . . www.creativedistribution.co.uk
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
To be included in the Develop Directory (which appears every month in Develop and every week in MCV) contact email@example.com. All subscription requests should go to firstname.lastname@example.org GEM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01279 822800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.gem.co.uk
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GLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01708 725742. . . . . . . . . email@example.com GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR
TOTAL CONSOLE REPAIR . . . . . . 087 19 18 17 21. . . . . www.totalconsolerepair.co.uk DISTRIBUTION
IDEAL SOFTWARE . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1767 689720 . . . . . . . . . . www.idealsoftware.net
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk
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RETAIL ENTERTAINMENT DISPLAYS . . 01733 239001 . . . . . . . www.reddisplays.com DISC REPAIR
TOTAL DISC REPAIR. . . . . . . . . . 01202 489500 . . . . . . . . . www.totaldiscrepair.co.uk
SUPPORT YOUR PRINT ADVERTISING WITH AN
WWW.MCVUK.COM For further online advertising information please contact
Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535647 BDA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0777 192 7688
68-73 MCV559_final:Layout 1
TO ADVERTISE CONTACT ROB BAKER ON: 01992 535647 OR ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK LOCALISATION
DIARY DATES ‘09 From the MCV Awards to our next Pub Quiz, here are all the essential industry dates to get in your diary…
OCTOBER MCM EXPO Saturday, October 24th – Sunday, October 25th Excel Centre, London www.londonexpo.com PARTNERTRANS . . . . . . . . . . . . 01753 247731 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.partnertrans.com LOCALISATION
Quality Matters At Testronic Labs, we help you produce great quality games. For us, quality means a game that exceeds the expectations of the players, a game that works on every platform and reads right in every language, a game that’s just right for its audience. We’re here to make it better. Testing on all major console, PC and iPhone platforms Functionality testing Translation and localisation Localisation testing PC compatibility Compliance testing MMO performance testing Usability / focus group testing New Player Experience (NPE) testing
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org www.testroniclabs.com
TESTRONIC LABORATORIES . . . +44 (0) 1753 653 722. . . . www.testroniclabs.com LOCALISATION
LONDON GAMES FESTIVAL Saturday, October 24th – Sunday, November 1st London www.londongamesfestival.co.uk EUROGAMER EXPO Tuesday, October 27th – Saturday, October 31st London and Leeds expo.eurogamer.net GAMECITY SQUARED Tuesday, October 27th – Saturday, October 31st Nottingham www.gamecity.org ACGI 09 Tuesday, October 27th – Thursday, October 29h Dubna, Russia www.acogi.org
Taking place at BAFTA and focused on digital distribution, London Games Conference will be the biggest standalone UK event dedicated to the issue that is currently top of the industry’s agenda. Highlights include Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft discussing their online gaming strategies in a panel chaired by Edge editor Tony Mott and a session hosted by erstwhile Sony development director Phil Harrison discussing the demise of physical media.
GAMEHORIZON: BEST OF BRITISH Wednesday, October 28th Kings Place, London events.gamehorizon.net GOLDEN JOYSTICK AWARDS Friday, October 30th London www.goldenjoystick.com
NOVEMBER DEVELOP LIVERPOOL Thursday, November 5th Arena/Conference Centre, Liverpool develop-conference.com/liverpool NEON DIGITAL ARTS FESTIVAL Thursday, November 12th Sunday, November 15th Dundee, Scotland www.northofnortheast.com SPIN Friday, November 13th Tuesday, November 17th Montreal, Canada www.spinmtl.com UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING . . . . . . . 01480 210621 . . . . . . . . . . . www.usspeaking.com
LONDON GAMES CONFERENCE Tuesday, October 27th BAFTA, London Rob.Baker@intentmedia.co.uk
MCV/XBOX 360 INDUSTRY PUB QUIZ Thursday, December 3rd Sway Bar, Holborn orlaith.kennedy@ intentmedia.co.uk Taking place every three months or so at the rather swanky Sway Bar in Holborn, it brings together the market’s leading publishers, retailers and media to compete for some pretty substantial prizes – and the honour of being the biggest brains in games. It’s also a very smart networking event, with buyers and publishers, editors and agencies all rubbing shoulders at the bar.
LY T! AR OU NE LD SO
Digital Distribution & the Future of the European Games Market Programme 5:00pm Welcome to London Games Conference Stuart Dinsey –
MD, Intent Media 5:05pm Opening Address Ed Vaizey –
Shadow Minister for Culture The man who may well be the games industry’s next voice in government talks directly to the market 5:10pm The Future of Digital Distribution
Nick Parker – Parker Consulting One of the games market’s most respected analysts outlines the current digital distribution landscape and offers up exclusive pointers to the future of the sector 5:35pm Daddy, What’s a Disc?
A discussion on the death of physical media and the business models that will rise up to replace them Chairman: Phil Harrison – Former president of SCE Worldwide Studios Panelists: Kristian Segerstrale – CEO and Co-Founder, Playfish Mark Gerhard – CEO, Jagex Thomas Bidaux – CEO, ICO Partners Coffee 6:30pm The New Food Chain
Games will still be made, sold and distributed. But not like they have
been. This session looks at the new lines of demarcation. Chairman: Andy Payne, ELSPA Panellists: Charles Cecil – CEO, Revolution Software Rich Keen – Marketing Director, Direct2Drive Nick Pili – Network Director, SEGA Gian Luzio – Product Director, The Hut
Tuesday, October 27th BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London Registration: 4.30pm Conference: 5:00pm – 8:00pm Networking and dinner: 8:00 – Midnight
7:00pm Charting the Progress of PC Downloads
Dorian Bloch – GfK-ChartTrack The man behind the games industry’s charts (and holder of vast amounts of sales data) explains how digital distribution is the future of the PC market – and makes a forceful case for a download chart 7:20pm Outside the Box
Key figures from the market’s three established format holders discuss their roles in the brave new digital future Chairman: Tony Mott, Edge Panellists: Pete Edward – Director, PlayStation Home, SCE Neil Thompson – Head of Xbox, UK & Ireland, Microsoft Rob Lowe – Senior Product Manager, Nintendo UK
in association with
HURRY! LAST FEW PLACES Discount for ELSPA and TIGA members Email email@example.com or call Rob Baker on 01992 535646
Delegates so far:1C Publishing • 505 Games • AN.X • Antigrav Media • Arete Research • Arvato Digital Services • Aurel BGC • Barrington Harvey • Bastion • BBC • Beacon Multimedia • Beggars Group • Black Rock Studios • Blitz Games Studios • Cavendish Corporate Finance • CD Team • CD-Media • Character Communications • ChartTrack • Classic Media • Contagious Magazine • David Reeves Consulting • Delta Group • Direct2Drive • Disney Interactive Media Group • Disney Interactive Studios • Distinctive Developments • Doublesix • e4e/AQ • Edge • Eiconic Games • Eidos Interactive • Electronic Arts • ELSPA • Entertainment Retailers Association • Exient • Focus Multimedia • GAME • Gamesareevil.com • Gamesindustry.biz • Gamespot • GameStreamer • GDI Game Domain International • Gem • Glu Mobile • GOG Limited • ICO Partners • iGAME Family • Incomm Europe • Invest Quebec • ISIS EP • Jagex • Koch Media • Konami Digital Entertainment • Kuju Entertainment • Live Social • Maclay Murray & Spens • Marriott Harrison • Maverick Media • Microsoft • NC Soft • Nexway • Nick Parker Consulting • Nintendo • NLGD Foundation • Nordic Games Publishing • OGPlanet • Olswang Solicitors • OPM Response • Orange • Osborne Clark • Pan Vision • Play.com • Playfish • PlayReplay • Playstos • Pluto Games • Power Play • Relentless Software • Revolution Software • SCE • Sega • Shadow Minister for Culture • Sitel • Soccer Matrix • Sony DADC UK • TC Associates • Team 17 Software • Tech Radar • Testronic Labs • The Guardian • The Hut • THQ • Veritas Research • VG247 • Virtual Air Guitar Company • Warner Brothers • Winning Moves UK • Xplace • Zattikka • Zavvi.com • Zoonami…
75 MCV559_final:47 MCV443
MCV 16/10/09 75
‘Supermarket cuts help the industry’ SO THE INDIES have rallied online over FIFA 10 and Operation Flashpoint being sold for under £30 in supermarkets – even demanding laws be passed to restrict price cutting. ‘Herald the evil supermarket!’ they squeal; ‘Your greed knows no bounds!’; ‘You’ll ruin this industry just like you did music!’ Can we all take a deep breath please? I work for a supermarket that sold FIFA for less than £30 (and no, I’m not telling you which one). First and foremost, we set the price, and we didn’t do it because our competitor beat us to it. We did it because we want to get the best deal for our consumer. Simple as that, really. You’ll also notice we try and stock the lowest prices on meatballs, marrows and Matt Le Tissier’s autobiography. Do we think about the independent retailers’ plight when we set these prices? You really, honestly want me to say yes? Come on! That’s just not living in the real world. So I have no defence for that. I’ll say it blatant for you all here and now: We try and beat all of our competitors on price each and every time. When Man Utd play Darlington in the FA Cup, do they let them have a three-goal start because it’s fair? No. They want to win. Because it’s a competition. Just like business. I can’t speak for others, but we do no special deals with publishers. We buy in bulk, and that helps our cause – but there’s no behind-closed-doors plotting. It’s just the same in entertainment as it is for any other product. We buy at the
One supermarket buying exec fights back against the furious reaction to price cuts for FIFA and Operation Flashpoint…
Codemasters’ Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and EA’s hugely popular FIFA 10 have both recieved price cuts in supermarkets across the nation in recent weeks
best price we can, then we sell at the best price we can. As for claims that we are ‘ruining the industry’. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we’ve just
give them a bit of escapism from things – but they are just that bit too expensive. Supermarkets drop the price with a week-long promotion
Pricing is just the same in entertainment as it is for any other product: we buy and sell at the best price we can.
come out of an economic recession – and things are still looking pretty gloomy, no? People want video games to
and hey presto, FIFA breaks sales records and Flashpoint becomes Codemasters most successful ever release.
So we as retailers are happy, the publishers are happy and the consumers are certainly happy. It sounds to me like the only people really losing out are other retailers. In our competitive world, we’ve been in that situation plenty of times, and we’ve got some advice: Don’t moan. When you feel you can’t compete, work out a way in which you can. It’s a fundamental of good business, folks. Yours, ‘Northern pride’
LATEST NEWS STRAIGHT TO YOUR MOBILE Bookmark us in your phone:
76 MCV 16/10/09
Off The Record
This week, an ex-Hear ‘Say beau gets into GAME, trade execs hit the town – while MCV’s managing editor releases her own Triple-A product in time for Q4...
DRESSED TO THRILL... One thing we know about this industry is that, when we do fancy dress, we really do fancy dress. Here we have a motley crew out for the stag do of 505 Games Dan Cooke, all donning the atire of classic video games icons. Dotted around here you’ll find: Solid Snake (CG3’s Jon Dunnet), Ico (Dan Cooke), Hitman (CG3’s Michael Bates), Parappa The Rapper (CG3’s James Hazell) and Team Fortress’s Medic (GAME’s David Hall)
PIC OF THE WEEK Wherever Disney Interactive Studios’ Sing It goes, she’s gonna be there, whatever Disney Interactive Studios’ Sing It does, she’s gonna be there... Singer-slash-actress-slash-’personality’ and former Hear ‘Say star Suzanne Shaw promoted the SingStar rival title last week in GAME stores. She knows a thing or two about games, of course, having presented Binglotto on Virgin 1.
MCV 16/10/09 77
RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD
MCV takes soundings from its Retail Advisory Board on the biggest issues of the day. The current members are...
A PINT OF FOSTER’S... Well, 6lbs 6ozs to be fully accurate. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the newest member of the games industry: little Charlie Carter, son of MCV queen Lisa Foster and fellow Intent Media darling Darrell Carter. Mother and baby are both doing very well. Coo over him while you’ve got the chance – judging by his genes, he’ll be writing front page scoops about your company before you know it...
LISA MORGAN, GAME
DUNCAN CROSS, ASDA
MARTYN GIBBS, GAMESTATION
DON MCCABE, CHIPS
TIM ELLIS, HMV
KEITH SHARPE, PLAY.COM
SARAH JASPER, THE HUT
JON BIGGS, MORRISONS
AZEEM SADIQ, COMET
GRAHAM CHAMBERS, AMAZON
PETER WILLIS, DSGI
IGOR CIPOLLETTA, SHOPTO
ANTHONY STOCKER, ARGOS
STEPHEN STALEY, GAMESEEK
NAUT-Y SCAMPS... It’s garnered some great specialist press reviews – and currently has the MCV team struggling to find the right words (something we’re not used to...). So it’s little wonder that Warner’s launch of DS puzzler Scribblenauts in London last week attracted the great and the good of the games media, including PC Zone’s Ali Wood, GDI’s Tim Ponting, Future Publishing’s Mark Wooldridge, Warner’s own Nicola Woodburn and Borkowski PR’s Sarah Jones.
JOANNA HUNT, TESCO
GURDEEP HUNJAN, SAINSBURY’S
OMPETITION COMPETITION COMPETITION COMPETITION Activision is set for a massive Christmas – and so could you be, with the chance to win a copy of all seven games featured in this week’s very special Recommended Extra. To be in with a shout, just tell us... WHAT’S THE NAME OF THE DEVELOPER BEHIND MODERN WARFARE 2? A) INFINITY WARD B) INFINITY AND BEYOND C) EMERGENCY WARD 10
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SAXON HOUSE, 6A ST. ANDREW STREET, HERTFORD, HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND SG14 1JA Intent Media specialises in trade-dedicated print and digital publishing for entertainment and leisure markets. As well as MCV, Intent publishes Develop, PCR, ToyNews, Mobile Entertainment, MI Pro, Audio Pro International and BikeBiz. It also has two online-only brands: CasualGaming.biz, dedicated to the growing mass market video game sector, and Licensing.biz, for everyone in the global licensing industry. It also runs a number of events including the MCV Industry Excellence Awards, the London Games Conference and the Games Media Awards.
ISSN: 1469-4832 Copyright 2008
MCV has an exclusive media partnership with Famitsu - Japan’s leading video games analyst and news source
Kicking off on October 16th, Ant & Dec will take over the airwaves and set the scene by discussing their passion for Nintendo games. From October 19th the campaign will hit full swing, with the ﬁrst of the interviews hitting our TV screens.
Part of the interview will comprise of a challenge with Ant or Dec and their interviewees. To ﬁnd out the results of the challenge, viewers will be encouraged to log on to www.enjoynintendo.com where they will be able to view the challenges as well as the TV ads. The website will also contain information on Nintendo products, divided into separate versions for existing Nintendo users and those new to the products. The handy Buyers’ Guide will take you through each product step-by-step, as well as linking to all retailers, for an easy and pain-free purchase.
Products discussed in the ads include the Brain Training and the Professor Layton series, as well as Mario Kart and New Super Mario Bros.® on Nintendo DS™. On Wii™ Ant & Dec will be challenged on Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit™ Plus and Mario Kart Wii.
=b!ghcfY The in-store activity will mirror what happens on TV and online. At the start of the campaign, the POS will focus on Ant & Dec. It will then be refreshed to represent the various people and their related products.
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Yb^cm k]h\5bh8YW www.enjoynintendo.com © 2009 Nintendo TM, ®, DS logo and the Wii logo are trademarks of Nintendo.
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The market for computer and video games