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MONZA SEPARATES THE MEN FROM THE BOYS.
HEAVYWEIGHT TV CAMPAIGN F1 2009™ brings you every star, every car and every race from the sensational 2009 season. Race on your own, or against your family and friends. With F1 2009, anyone can be a race driver. F1™ FOR EVERYONE.
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THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES
Issue 561 Friday October 30 2009 £3.25
04 Risky business
15 30 Under 30
The industry reacts to MCV’s revelation that retail is turning away new releases
MCV prints its must-read annual round-up of the industry’s rising stars
07 Reach for the Sky
09 Mama’s the word
Microsoft reveals its retail plans for the launch of Xbox 360’s new Sky service
505 Games on why it’s not scared of releasing alongside Modern Warfare 2
06 Taking on the big boys
41 Shoot to thrill
Trilogy and The Producers team up to form UK’s new ‘super-distributor’
We take a special look at one of games’ most celebrated genres: The FPS
EVERY BUYER EVERY BRANCH EVERY INDIE EVERY WEEK
Asda breaks silence on supermarket price cuts Retailer ‘didn’t make any money’ from sub-£30 FIFA 10 launch Firm strongly denies ‘screwing suppliers’ by Tim Ingham THE TRUTH IS OUT: Supermarkets lose money on the triple-A titles on which they choose to slash prices. That’s according to Asda games category manager
cut the likes of FIFA 10 and Operation Flashpoint to sub£30 price tags this quarter – with all eyes on the release of Modern Warfare 2 next month. But despite accusations from specialist retailers that the UK’s grocers ‘fix’ product in collusion
We didn’t make any money on FIFA 10. The price we pay the supplier is more than we charge customers. Duncan Cross, Asda
Duncan Cross, who this week lifted the lid on the supermarket’s Q4 price cuts – and tackled the concerns of the indies that have crammed MCVUK.com’s messageboard in recent weeks. Alongside fellow supermarkets Tesco and Morrisons, Asda has already
with publishers, Cross claims that Asda sets its own prices. He said: “There have been many comments regarding the pricing of FIFA, particularly on MCVUK.com… It might surprise [other retailers], but we aren’t making any money on FIFA because the price we pay the supplier is more than what
SPEAKING OUT: Cross says that retail, not publishers, set Q4 prices
we charge our customers. I am sure other supermarkets are in a similar boat, so to criticise them as ‘bully boys’ doesn’t make sense – how can you be a bully if you are selling something for less than you buy it at?” Writing on his official Asda blog, Cross also met the accusation that price slashing hurts suppliers head on. He said: “Regarding the comment on ‘reducing choice and screwing suppliers’, again this is simply not the case at Asda. We’ve been growing our games range consistently for the past five years and now stock more titles from more suppliers than ever – over 350 lines.” Cross’s comments come after Konami boss Pete Stone told MCV: “It is our understanding that retail sets these prices, and they are unnecessary and worrying.”
Modern Warfare 2 to smash GTA sales record by Tim Ingham ACTIVISION’S wealthiest competitors are preparing themselves for a ‘Modern Warfare 2 Christmas’ – forecasting that the game will hit a record-breaking 1.7m UK sales in its opening week. According to sources close to top rival publishers, the figure has been estimated as the game secures 500,000 preorders at retail.
If the prediction becomes reality, the game would become the UK’s most lucrative entertainment launch of all time, smashing the previous record set by Rockstar’s GTA IV. According to GfKChartTrack, that title generated 926,000 unit sales in its first five days on sale – taking £40 million at tills. If Modern Warfare 2 hit 1.7 million sales at £40 per
500,000 pre-orders have already been registered for MW2
unit, it would net Activision a whopping £64 million. The game has an RRP of £55. Activision’s marketing director for the UK & Ireland David Tyler told MCV: “The level of pre-order success we are experiencing here in the UK sets us on a trajectory to be the largest video game launch in history. “The feedback from retailers is that the recent surge in preorders is a result of consumers
making sure that they don’t miss out should stores go out of stock on November 10th. “The industry has a multitude of titles which attract a good level of buzz pre-launch. However, Modern Warfare 2 is something unprecedented, even in our marketplace. “The marketing machine around the title will ensure that it is the title everyone is talking about throughout November and December.”
PERSONNEL 44 RETAIL BIZ 45 NEW RELEASES 56 HIGH STREET 58 CHARTS 60
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[LEADER] The combination of Trilogy and The Producers is evidence of what the industry does best – allowing smaller companies to step up and challenge the trade’s otherwise unstoppable giants. You can’t really term the two as underdogs especially Trilogy, which counts serious publishers like Ubisoft, Capcom and Square Enix amongst its partners. But it is great to see an element of disruption in a market that is increasingly conservative, as retailers and publishers batten down the hatches. Of course, it’s also just another sign of consolidation in games. But perhaps not the flavour we are used to – and which often spells doom and bad business bets. After all, Vivendi Games bought itself out of the market to save face, Eidos needed rescuing and – thinking back to a more dusty, parochial example – it was a financial black hole which swallowed Vis and Bam (remember them?). Instead, Trilogy’s new deal with The Producers seems to offer something for everyone in distribution, whether its plain ol’ box-shifting or digital downloads. Now that’s progress.
CAUTIOUS RETAILING IS TRANSFORMING THE MARKET Our cover story last week touched a bit of a nerve amongst both retailers and publishers. To recap: Buyers have declined to stock Rising Star Games’ Muramasa: The Demon Blade, a new IP for Wii – the market’s most popular console – in shops, but will sell it online. RSG thinks this spells a new wave of conservative behaviour from retailers, who only see profits in first-party titles, sequels, games with big marketing budgets and pre-owned stock – which both limits consumer choice and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where new IP becomes unviable based on conventional wisdom. We’ve since heard both reasoned agreement and disagreement (cast your eyes to the right) – and thankfully no stone-throwing, which isn’t really what this debate is about. Do these original games need bigger marketing budgets to make them a sure thing during the Christmas run-in? Do retailers need better terms – like sale-or-return, bountiful POS, or exclusivity on stock – to offset any bum investments? Are we looking at the increasingly-possible situation where smaller publishers focus on the offseason to ensure they aren’t trampled in the Christmas rush? There is no easy solution, but these are questions everyone needs to ask in order to make sure all the players in the market – retailers, publishers and, yes, product and bargain hungry consumers – are satisfied by what is on offer, and how it is offered. Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk
‘Risk-averse’ retailers Smaller publishers’ hidden gems are at risk, say suppliers Industry by Michael French PUBLISHERS THIS WEEK debated whether retailers are too sceptical about new IP following accusations that the High Street is ‘dumbing down’. Last week MCV revealed that Rising Star Games’ Wii release Muramasa had been declined by buyers at some major chains (23/10). City Interactive’s Roy Campbell – former UK MD at
releases into some of the chains if they go straight to pre-owned. ‘A brand new preowned title’ – it’s an oxymoron. How can you explain that to your nonEnglish speaking HQ?” City has re-evaluated its release schedule as a result. Said Campbell: “In Q4 you either need to have big balls, big marketing or a title that starts with ‘FI’ and ends with ‘FA’. For 2010 we will be
These days in Q4, you either need big balls, big marketing or a title that begins with ‘FI’ and ends in ‘FA’. Roy Campbell, City Interactive
THQ – told MCV he had been left “without a doubt” that retailers had become more conservative this year. He said: “The frustration felt by smaller publishers is very painful as there are ‘nuggets’ in many of their respective line-ups that will never be fully exploited. “I speak regularly to many other publishers and some tell me that they can only get new
THE CHANGING FACE OF DISTRIBUTION
looking to get a more balanced release schedule so that we can get the shelf presence our lineup deserves. “We have to be realistic about the marketing money impact we would get in Q4.” Koch MD Craig McNicol said it was up to publishers to tailor their line-up to the demands of the market. He added: “Retailers are operating in an extremely
RISING STAR HITS PS3 AND 360 UNDETERRED BY RETAILERS refusing to stock Muramasa, Rising Star has told MCV it will release nine games in Q1 2010 – including its first 360 and PS3 titles. February 2010 sees the release of Animal Kororo (DS) and HalfMinute Hero (PSP), plus Gamebridge titles Way of the Samurai 3 (360/PS3) and Papermates (DS). Another five games follow in March: Avalon Code (DS), Samurai Showdown Edge of Destiny (Xbox 360), Fragile Dreams (Wii), My World My Way (DS) and Rune Factory Frontier (Wii).
Kikizo launches four new games sites PUBLISHER KIKIZO has unveiled four new consumer games websites and has rebranded its flagship portal: VideoGamesDaily.com. Kikizo will remain the name of the network of websites, and a new corporate site has been launched at Kikizo.biz. The four new consumer sites include FPSgamer.com, which is aimed at shooter fanatics, Videogametv.com, which is filled with game videos, cheats and tips website Levelskip.com and GaijinGamer.jp, which focuses on Japanese games culture.
Doree has re-branded the Kikizo consumer site VideoGamesDaily
“Our mission is to be different,” said Kikizo director Adam Doree “Our websites refuse to follow the crowd, instead focusing on niches and
gaps in the market that engage high value, precisely definable audiences.” As a part of the expansion, the publisher has hired former Eurogamer editor Kristan Reed as a contributor to FPSGamer, and promoted Edwin EvansThirlwell to network-wide editor. Rupert Higham has also joined Kikizo, having worked for games retailer CEX. The new portals follow the launches of BlurayDaily.com and Flytrapgames.com, earlier in the year. www.kikizo.biz
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advised it should trust High Street buyers
COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
Konami hails Pro Evolution ‘rebirth’
City Interactive’s Roy Campbell and Koch’s Craig McNicol weigh in on the debate over retail being more selective on certain releases
competitive environment and they do so with transparent business objectives – to maximise sales and profits for their shareholders. “[Peak season] is the domain of the ‘hero titles’ and first party games. I would not want to tell others how to run their business, but I would say listen carefully to what the buyer
tells you – especially if its a suggestion to launch in a quieter period. It might just save you from making a costly mistake.” Rob Dobisch, owner of Hampshire independent Discz, said: “We play it safe because we have to. If money was made on these ‘risky’ titles, then we’d take them.”
KONAMI is celebrating the triumph of its ‘much improved’ Pro Evolution Soccer series – after the latest iteration hits No.1 in the All Formats Chart. PES 2010 took the top spot in the ELSPA/GfKChartTrack rankings on Monday, ahead of Microsoft’s Forza 3, EA’s FIFA 10 and Sega’s Mario And Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games. The company told MCV that the game’s success was largely down to improvements made after close consultation with the series’ fans following the release of PES 2009. “We are delighted to see PES 2010 top the chart against some incredibly strong competition,” said Konami GM Peter Stone.
“With the likes of Forza 3 and WWE Smackdown released on the same day, it is great to see our revitalised and much improved crowdpleaser emerge triumphant. PES is a key series for us, and we have high hopes for the coming year.” As revealed on MCVUK.com (26/10), 66 per cent of the game’s overall unit sales in its opening weekend were on PS3. According to GfK-ChartTrack data, Xbox 360 claimed 32 per cent, with PC generating just two per cent. Konami previously revealed that it had shipped three million copies of the title to retail. The series has sold over 55.5 million units to date. Konami: 020 8987 5730
2. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 PS3 ....................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
3. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010 PC ............................................SEGA
4. TEKKEN 6 PS3 ............................NAMCO BANDAI
5. MAG: MASSIVE ACTION PS3 ..........................................SONY
6. LIMITED EDITION BLACK WII Wii ....................................NINTENDO
7. TEKKEN 6 360 ............................NAMCO BANDAI
8. ASSASSIN’S CREED II PS3 ......................................UBISOFT
9. ASSASSIN’S CREED II 360 ......................................UBISOFT
10. GOD OF WAR III PS3 ..........................................SONY Week ending October 23rd Source: SHOPTO.COM Turn to page 59 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 leapt 27 per cent to £33.7 million, while units sold rose 20 per cent 1,335,452. The improvement in sales follow two consectutive weeks of decline. Sales were driven by Konami’s football sim Pro Evolution Soccer 2010, which was launched last week alongside Forza Motorsport 3, WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2010, Eye Pet and Borderlands. The beginning of half term for UK schools also benefited retail.
[WEEKLY MARKET VALUE]
Total UK Software Sales Source: ELSPA/ChartTrack and Intent Media
Week Ending October 23rd 2009
30 25 20 15 10
A handful of new releases are scheduled for launch next week, including Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, Football Manager 2010, DJ Hero and Tekken 6 PES 2010 drove software sales at retail this week
Week Ending October 10th
Week Ending October 17th
Week Ending October 23rd
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New super-distributor emerges Trilogy and The Producers form ‘strategic partnership’ Rob Gross brought in as commercial director by Michael French LOOK OUT Gem and Centresoft – a new distribution rival has emerged following a deal between The Producers and Trilogy. The two have teamed up under a ‘strategic alliance’ to offer an end-to-end service of manufacturing and logistics, plus white label home delivery, digital distribution and Nintendo products – which the firms claim they sell for 20 per cent cheaper than rivals. Former Midway and Black Bean man Rob Gross has been recruited as commercial director to oversee all new joint sales initiatives between the two companies. Bosses at both firms said the deal will offer a decent alternative to established distributors operating on the market. “We really do think that the games industry needs a credible and capable alternative to the current
MAKING THE SWITCH
We believe that the games industry needs a credible and capable alternative to the current choice of suppliers. Matthew Allen, Trilogy
choice of suppliers and we intend to offer that choice,” said Matthew Allen, managing director of Trilogy Logistics. “Between us we will offer a full range of services.”
Andy Payne (left), Matthew Allen (middle) and Rob Gross (right) have high hopes for their new distribution alliance
Andy Payne, managing director of Mastertronic, who own The Producers, added: “The prospect of working with Matthew Allen, his team and their customers, opens up so
many opportunities. This all puts us well and truly on the map now. “We have been the games industry’s best kept secret for years, and now we intend to get a little more known.” The Producers/Trilogy: +447774672891
Rob Gross explains why he has made the move over to distribution: “I have worked with The Producers and Trilogy down the years and always enjoyed the experience. Andy and Matthew both focus on their partners and offer solutions to all challenges, I have seen this first hand from my time within publishing. I have had 12 years of working in publishing and know what publishers need in terms of service levels. This is a real opportunity, one I am excited about.”
£6m ad spend planned for Left 4 Dead 2 US SUPER-DEVELOPER Valve has told MCV it will spend around $10m (£6.12m) on the European marketing campaign to support Left 4 Dead 2.
$25m is being spent on the game’s launch globally, Valve marketing chief Doug Lombardi told MCV. Half is set aside for Europe, with the lion’s share being spent on the UK release.
Based on the pre-orders, Left 4 Dead 2 will be the fastest-selling product in Valve’s history. Gabe Newell, Valve
The game, published under EA’s Partners label, follows on the heels of last year’s sleeper hit, and pits players in co-op first person shooter scenarios fighting off waves of zombies.
In Europe, the developer is lining up a plan Lombardi describes as ‘more aggressive than last year’s campaign’, with television advertising in all major markets appearing during
sports and lifestyle programming, plus strong outdoor investments in more cities than before, as well as online and print advertising. The move comes off the back of strong pre-order activity for the game. “Based on the strength of pre-orders, Left 4 Dead 2 will be the fastest-selling product in Valve’s history,” commented Valve president Gabe Newell. “Left 4 Dead 2 has consistently run at 300 per cent of Left 4 Dead’s numbers.” EA Partners general manager David DeMartini added: “Left 4 Dead 2 is expected to once again exceed everyone’s expectations and be an industry
Left 4 Dead 2’s pre-orders are tracking ahead of last year’s original
best title on PC and Xbox 360 for the year.” “With Left 4 Dead and now Left 4 Dead 2, Valve has created one of today’s most compelling video game
experiences and leading entertainment franchises." The game is released on November 20th in the UK on Xbox 360 and PC. EA: 01483 463 000
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Retail is critical to the success of Sky Player, says Microsoft Constant marketing and in-store bundles will drive console sales this Christmas, says Xbox boss Thompson by Christopher Dring UK XBOX BOSS Neil Thompson has called retail ‘critical’ to the success of its Sky Player service on Xbox. The service – which allows Sky subscribers to watch Sky TV through Xbox – launched earlier this week. Microsoft has
We try to include retail in all that we offer, and we’ll constantly look at packaging Live services in stores. Neil Thompson, Xbox
released a retail pack, which features a media remote, onemonth’s subscription to Sky and three months of Xbox Live Gold for £29.99. “We try to include retail in all that we offer, especially around Live,” Thompson told MCV. “Retail is a critical component in educating
marketing planned all the way until Christmas and beyond. “We’ve started a lot of the marketing – we’ve been on TV already,” he added. “We will constantly promote this, both through retail as well as online through Xbox.com. In terms of advertising, it will come more in peaks. However, there will be continuous service-based activity between now and Christmas and Sky will be part of that. “The more entertainment services we offer, the more likely it is people will value the Xbox and see it is as something they have to have. We do think it is very helpful in getting more people onto the platform and onto Xbox Live. In the UK we have more people on Xbox Live per Xbox sold than anywhere else in the world. “We are expecting Sky Player to be very successful and will be of great benefit to Xbox and Sky.”
consumers around the breadth of services we offer on Xbox. “We’ll constantly look at new ways of packaging Live services at retail and figuring out ways we can provide compelling offerings on the High Street. “One of the reasons for creating the retail packs is for
gift giving. When consumers plug their Xbox in on Christmas day, they often jump straight on Xbox Live. And something like this Sky pack would be great for Boxing Day football.” The Sky service is only available in the UK, and Thompson is confident it will boost hardware sales – with
Xbox boss Neil Thompson expects Sky Player to boost 360 sales
Microsoft: 0870 601 0100
I’m A Celeb TV show to boost game sales KOCH MEDIA expects the new series of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! to push viewers towards the
“I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! is one of the biggest events in the whole TV year and this year looks like being
ITV has been involved at every stage of development, and we are now working with its commercial people. Amy Curtin, Koch Media
game adaptation – after working closely with the broadcaster. The Wii and DS title from Mindscape is being distributed by Koch, and recreates challenges from the show.
no exception,” said Koch’s head of marketing Amy Curtin. “The high profile of the series can only be a major benefit to the sales potential of the games.”
The company has developed a strong working relationship with ITV and the makers of the show in order to raise the game’s potential further. “We have worked extremely closely with ITV in all aspects of bringing the games to market,” Curtin explained. “They have been involved at every stage of the development process and as we have
moved closer to the release of the two games, we have worked with ITV’s commercial people.” Mindscape has put together an extensive trade and consumer campaign designed to raise awareness of the games’ release, with high profile online and print activity planned with the company’s key partners, such as The Sun and Heat. The Wii and DS editions of I’m A Celebrity are due for release on November 6th and 20th respectively. Koch: 0870 027 0985
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THQ focuses on core market in 2010 Publisher signs new shooter Metro 2033 for release next year Key Q1 games include Darksiders and ATV by Michael French THQ HAS SIGNED the rights to a new Russian-made FPS – as it bids to grow its core gamer audience in the next 12 months. Metro 2033, by Russia's 4A Games, rounds out a trio of titles in key genres due for release at the start of next year. The shooter, based on a bestselling book by novelist Dmitry Glukhovsky, will hit 360 and PC in early 2010. The PC release will be complemented via a partnership with Nvidia and its physics technology PhysX. Metro 2033 joins actionadventure Darksiders and offroad racer MX vs ATV Reflex – all of which are due for release post-Christmas.
Metro 2033 is fantastic for our portfolio. We’re excited about our line up for early 2010. Richard Williams, THQ
Earlier this year the publisher saw great success with UFC and Red Faction II,
Metro 2033 tells the story of a group of underground survivors in a post-apocolyptic Moscow. The title will join Darksiders: Wrath Of War and MX vs ATV Reflex on THQ’s release roster for 2010
which were both released during quieter retail periods, but shifted big numbers.
“The announcement of Metro 2033 is another fantastic addition to our portfolio," VP of global brand management at THQ Richard Williams told MCV. “With Darksiders, MX vs ATV Reflex and Metro 2033 all offering high quality gameplay
targeted at the core audience, we’re excited about our lineup for early 2010.” He added: “Metro 2033 will plunge gamers into a terrifying vision of the future. 4A Games have worked closely with Dmitry Glukhovsky to deliver a
unique game world, a compelling, cinematic story and an incredible, atmospheric experience to rival anything in the category." Metro 2033, set in Moscow, sees gamers battle horrific underground encounters. THQ: 01483 767 656
More Big Fish games heading to retail CASUAL GAMES giant Big Fish has teamed up with Focus Multimedia to launch eight new PC titles at retail this Christmas. Games due for released today (October 30th) include Drawn: The Painted Tower, The Serpent of Isis, Flux Family Secrets: The Ripple Effect, Strange Cases: The Tarot Card Mystery, Lost in the City and Virtual Villagers Double Pack. Meanwhile, Hidden Expedition: Devil’s Triangle will arrive on Friday November 27th. Each game has a recommended price of £9.78. “We're delighted to strengthen our partnership with Big Fish Games,” said Focus MD Craig Johnson.
Focus will release a range of new Big Fish games into retail this week, including Lost In The City and Drawn: The Painted Tower
“In doing so, we continue our tradition of bringing only the world’s best casual games to market.” Big Fish Games’ director of licensing Paull Handelman added: “Our partnership with Focus is extremely successful. They are a fantastic team.
Big Fish has enjoyed much success at retail this year. Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst and Mystery in London: On The Trail Of Jack The Ripper both topped the ChartTrack budget PC charts, and Focus has sold over 250,000 Big Fish titles at retail in 2009 alone.
“As casual games, and in particular hidden object titles, continue their meteoric rise in popularity here in the UK, consumers and retailers alike are realising that Focus Multimedia’s range offers the very best selection of titles,” concluded Johnson.
“By licensing more premium products from Big Fish Games, Focus makes it possible for UK retailers to continue offering their customers the best known, best quality casual gaming titles in the world.” Focus: 01889 570 156
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Mama takes on Modern Warfare 505 Games refuses to budge on Friday, November 13th release date for Cooking Mama by Tim Ingham 505 GAMES will become the only publisher in the country to release a flagship Q4 release in the same week as Activision’s Modern Warfare 2 next month – and has no fear of the epic shooter. Retail has ordered more units of Cooking Mama 3 than
505 Games managing director Ian Howe said: “Clearly Modern Warfare 2 is going to do great business. But there are plenty of consumers who will be shopping that weekend for something other than Modern Warfare 2, and there will be huge footfall in stores, so it’s a good opportunity more than
Clearly Modern Warfare 2 will do great business. But there are plenty of consumers who want something different. Ian Howe, 505 Games
any other title in the series, according to 505 – in preparation for demand over the Christmas period. And despite fellow publishers shifting the release date of major releases to avoid doing battle with Modern Warfare 2, the firm told MCV this week that it wasn’t worried by the prospect of sharing shelf space with the title.
anything else. I do understand why other publishers have avoided this date though.” 505 has committed to a PR and media campaign that will run into 2010 to the title – in an attempt to broaden Cooking Mama’s audience yet further. “Our expectations are hard to judge at the moment,” added Howe.
HOWE: 505 boss says retail has welcomed Cooking Mama 3
KONAMI: The publisher has announced that Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 will be supported with free downloadable content over the next few months.
“All I can say is that we have had tremendous support from retailers for Cooking Mama 3. “They are all excited by the opportunity that it presents, especially given that we are
NAGER 2010 A M L L A B T O O F
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EA: Following the release of Shift, the publisher has confirmed that the Need For Speed franchise has surpassed worldwide life-todate sales of 100 million units. UBISOFT: James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game – published by Ubisoft – will be released for Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, PC and DS on December 4th, with the PSP version arriving on December 11th.
E WEEK H T F O N G I A P CAM Sports Interactive is back with its superaddictive Football Manager, and Sega has prepared an impressive marketing campaign…
PRINT Sega’s print promotional activity is designed to reach five million PC consumers over the launch week. The campaign includes advertisements in consumer national and regional press, taking in publications such as Shortlist, The Times, The Guardian, The Liverpool Echo, Metro and The Birmingham Mail amongst others. TV The publisher has booked a heavyweight TV campaign for the game aimed at 16-34 year-old males. Premium football spots have been targeted as well as men’s lifestyle viewing on channels such as Sky 1 and Dave.
DEMO Sports Interactive has launched its Football Manager 2010 demo, which is already available from mirrorfootball.co.uk.
coming out in time for Christmas this year. We are confident that Cooking Mama 3 will have strong sales and a long life. “ 505 Games: 01908 607 772
SQUARE ENIX: Final Fantasy XI Ultimate Collection will be released as a digital download on November 12th. The franchise compilation features the original MMO and all four expansions. NAMCO BANDAI: The publisher’s French arm has signed a new distribution deal with Rising Star to handle Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Ju-On: The Grudge in the region. EIDOS: The UK firm has confirmed that the Mac edition of Championship Manager 2010 will be released on November 13th.
ONLINE Sega has teamed up with Sky Sports and Football 365 for a six-week online advertising campaign. The firm is expecting to hit five million page impressions over a six-week period. TRADE A retailer-specific channel marketing plan is currently in place, and Sega insists that there will not be a bigger PC launch campaign between now and Christmas across retail.
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MCV INTERVIEW PAT GARRATT, VG247
Legendary status VG247’s Patrick Garratt was crowned Games Media Legend at the GMAs last week, while he also claimed awards for Best Games Blog and Specialist Online Writer. Christopher Dring speaks to the man himself… Were you surprised to win your three awards? I was expecting to win the Games Blog award, if I’m being honest, as VG247’s the only full-time publication of its sort in the UK. I was hoping very much to win the writing award, as it’s recognition of a skill I’ve basically pinned my life on. Winning that was extremely encouraging. I was up against writers I very much respect in that category. The Media Legend award was a complete shock. Being honoured by your peers on a personal level in that way is very special. I’ll never forget it. Why do you feel VG247 has been such a hit? There was a clear gap in the market for this style of product. VG247 just tells the core reader what’s going on without drowning them in low quality links or duplicates. Quite why it stands alone in this regard is a constant source of bemusement to me. What can we expect to see from VG247 in 2010? All being well we’ll have more staff, plenty of new features and some nice toys for our community. We’re very aware of how important the regular readers are to the site, and we want to make sure they’re well looked after. How and why did you get into games journalism? It was an accident, really. I was working as a trainee chef in Manchester, and saw an ad in the Manchester Evening News for writers in Glossop. It was working with Colin Campbell on FGN Online, literally in his bedroom. I got knocked back from the interview – which I lied my way through – but the guy he hired didn’t work out, so I was a second choice. I just wanted to be a writer. I didn’t care what I was writing about. I was trying to write books in my spare time, and had been for years. Working with Colin was both terrifying and amazing. I couldn’t have wanted for a
WINNER: Garratt has worked for Dennis, Computec, EMAP, Future and Eurogamer. He launched gaming blog VG247 last year
better first job. He’s fucking hardcore. That first year really did mould the rest of my career in games writing.
Loman had a big impact. I could be myself at Eurogamer, moreso than at any other publisher I’ve worked for, and I have a huge amount of respect for him as an MD. Rupert is the reason I’m my own boss: I wouldn't be doing what I’m doing now without watching Eurogamer evolve under the Lomans.
What has been the highlight of your career so far? Being branded a legend by the British games media is pretty hard to beat, but I’m lucky enough to have enjoyed some big VG247’s popularity and highs. I was awarded profitability proves that the ‘editorial employee of online appetite for games the year’ at Dennis when I worked there media really is changing. on the CVG relaunch, Pat Garratt, VG247 and got to spend ten days in Felix Dennis’s mansion on In terms of writing influences, Mustique. Working on Eurogamer's working with Tom Bramwell and Ellie European operation and helping move Gibson at Eurogamer really did have a the company it into such a dominating lasting affect on my style. They’re both position is probably the thing on my CV extremely talented people, and they I’m most proud of. both want to be as good as they possibly can be. It’s one of the main reasons Who and what have proven to be Eurogamer’s as successful as it is, and I your biggest influences? was forced to better myself and Colin Campbell was a huge influence. constantly evaluate my own writing to He has a brutal, do-anything style that lead them from the front. It’s no mistake really does win in the news they've both won the online writer environment. Working with Rupert award at previous GMAs.
What do you think about the current state of the games media, and what would you like to see from its future? I think VG247’s popularity and profitability proves that online appetite for games media really is changing. We link anywhere, show anything – it’s diametrically opposite in approach taken by ‘destination’ sites like IGN and Gamespot. Kotaku led the whole ‘blog’ movement in the US, and still leads in terms of mind-share, in my opinion: I think it’s very telling that VG247 is essentially unopposed in the UK. What I want to see from its future is sustainability, adaptability and professionalism. The online business model is favouring small teams and it’s very hard to maintain comprehensiveness and quality simultaneously. The sites that manage it rise quickly, but there are endless publications that simply can’t, for any number of reasons. I want VG247 to spearhead reliability in the field of online games news.
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SPC1900 SPC1901 PSPgo MCV SP aw.pdf
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MCV 30/10/09 15
INDUSTRY RISING STARS
Want to know who the industry’s hottest young talents are? Look no further: MCV provides a guide to some of the brightest young talents in the sector. Didn’t get in? Then you didn’t campaign hard enough...
Marketing Manager, amBX
Product Manager, Namco Bandai
European PR Manager, South Peak Games
In his five years with amBX, 26 year old Bolu has run product and technology launches, organised amBX’s presence at exhibitions internationally and presented the tech on five continents. At amBX, he is known for his attention to detail and dedication to driving amBX in the games industry and beyond.
Lauren joined Namco Bandai earlier this year from agency Cogent Elliot, where she was responsible for accounts with luxury brands such as Land Rover. In just over six months, her professional approach and refusal to crack under pressure has impressed those inside and outside the company.
28-year-old Rob took up his role at SouthPeak at the start of the year. Since then, he’s juggled a varied workload, one minute sending out decapitated heads to journalists, the next working with the Brownies for a baby game. He’s an enthusiastic and extremely dedicated PR manager.
Senior Games Buyer, Sainsbury’s
Account Director, Maverick
Marketing Executive, Gem
Chris’ colleagues call him an incredibly valuable member of the team who drives the supermarket’s games category both internally and externally. He has great relationships with suppliers, which have been instrumental in bringing Sainsbury’s closer to the games industry throughout the last 18 months.
Alice has worked on a number of high-profile creative projects for publishers – for brands including FIFA and Pirates of the Caribbean – earning praise from the likes of Disney, Bethesda and others. She now has a senior role at Maverick, helping clients with digital ad strategies in the non-boxed game space.
Recently-promoted Louise manages the marketing for Gem’s supply partners and works closely with sales teams to maximise product awareness in the channel. This includes overseeing marketing activity in Gem’s The Future magazine, co-ordinating web communications and trade campaigns.
2009’s MCV 30 Under 30 is sponsored by OPM Recruitment, the leading specialist recruitment consultancy in the computer, console, handheld, mobile, online games and interactive entertainment sectors. OPM recruits for a diverse roster of clients in the UK and worldwide with jobs available in every area of business associated with entertainment products and services. www.opmjobs.com
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16 MCV 30/10/09
30 UNDER 30
RAMONA DA SOUZA
Editor, Gamespot UK
PR, Lunch PR
Pre-owned Games Head, HMV
UK Trade Marketing Manager, THQ
Guy was recently appointed editor of Gamespot UK. A member of the editorial team since the site was relaunched in 2006, he steered the GameSpot UK Podcast to the top of the iTunes Games chart and a Games Media Award win in 2007. He also launched the site's GMA-nominated video show Start/Select. His recent promotion sees him taking control of GameSpot UK as it continues to grow: the latest stats for the site boast 4.5m unique users and 58.6m page impressions per month.
Described by her boss as ‘the real gem in the team’, Da Souza joined agency Lunch two years ago, coming straight from university after graduation from her degree in Public Relations. Since joining Lunch she has become a key member of the team, working across several highprofile accounts including work on games released by companies such as Sega, Majesco, Koch Media and Mindscape. She is currently working on the forthcoming release of U-Sing, the official karoke game on the Wii.
Hannah started work at Virgin Retail where she was accessory buyer, looking after the firm’s peripheral ranges. After that, she moved over to GAME working as pre-played games merchandiser for second hand titles. In April 2008, Hannah joined HMV. She has been instrumental in the successful launch of the second hand and trade-in Re-Play games range at HMV, which has steadily grown to become a key part of the retailer’s gaming offer since it was rolled out to stores a year ago.
Victoria recently took on her new role as trade marketing manager at THQ. This comes following a fouryear tenure working in the UK and European marketing team. There she worked on successful brands such as the publsher’s Disney/Pixar game tieins, plus titles based on Nickelodeon properties, as well as some of THQ’s releases, based on owned IPs. In her new role, Victoria has already successfully launched the WWE preorder campaign and continues to work hard and build trade relationships.
Brand Manager, Activision Blizzard
Senior Games Buyer, The Hut
Repairs Supervisor, Total Console Repair
General Manager, Creative Distribution
28-year-old Natalie has worked at Activision for over a year, having significant impact on the firm’s licensed IP releases and launching the new value range Fun 4 All. She has driven significant profit growth across these areas during a time when licensed kids titles have elsewhere struggled. Her continued enthusiasm has helped raise the profile of games that otherwise would be overshadowed by big names such as Call of Duty and Guitar Hero.
Ben has single handedly taken games at The Hut group from nothing to turnover in excess of £20 million within the last three years – and he's only 28. Ben isn’t afraid to speak his mind: he was promoted from being a customer service agent in his first couple of weeks after he stepped up to single out the poor range on offer. He has since created a formidable product offering which is nearly always cheaper than other online competitors.
Originally hailing from South Africa, 27-year-old Ryan came to the UK in 2004 and his keen interest in gaming led him to eventually taking a role at Total Console Repair in 2006. According to his boss he quickly excelled at the firm. His colleagues attribute Ryan’s strong leadership skills, passion and determination as having helped seriously grow the business into what is now Europe’s largest independent console repair centre.
During his three years at Creative Distribution, Australian Craig has built solid relationships within the trade and established himself with a mix of intelligence and good buying skills. Last year he stepped up to the position of general manger from senior buyer and is now the most senior member of staff outside of the directors. He is seen as a major driving force in pushing the company forward, so expect to hear a lot more of his name in future.
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30 UNDER 30
Games Buyer, Asda
Managing Director, Eurogamer
Editor, Official Nintendo Magazine
Operations Director, VideoGamer.com
Skillfully managing Asda’s accessory category boosted Laura’s reputation in 2009; the section continues to grow ahead of the market and deliver big year on year growth. And thanks to effective management of her stable of a dozen suppliers she has delivered stella launch results on titles such as Ashes and Operation Flashpoint. Her down to earth and ‘happy to help’ approach has earned her credibility plus many friends from across the industry, all of whom say we should expect to see more her in the future.
Since co-founding Eurogamer in 1999, Rupert has helped develop consumer site Eurogamer.net into Europe’s leading games website. In recent years he has overseen the launch of Eurogamer in ten languages and established consumer event the Eurogamer Expo as a key date in the gaming calendar. More recently, he worked with Patrick Garratt to launch the Games Media Awardwinning games blog VG247.com. He is also a founding trustee of industry charity GamesAid.
Long is a familiar face to MCV readers – but his career in games started before a three-year stint with the industry’s leading trade publication. He started out in marketing at Special Reserve, moving to Intent Media in 2005. He was appointed editor of MCV two years later, at 24. He then made the switch to Future London in November 2008, taking up the reins of the Official Nintendo Magazine and Wii Guide, and is pushing the magazine forward on all fronts including print, online and special projects.
Adam founded consumer site VideoGamer.com while still at university. Now 25, colleagues say his tireless passion and enthusiasm for games drives him to work until all hours devising strategies to push the brand forward. These efforts – such as forging a deal to make VideoGamer Virgin Media's gaming content partner, further expanding the site’s editorial reach – have achieved sterling results. The site now boasts over 1.1m uniques and over 4m page impressions a month.
Asset Management, Indigo Pearl
Senior Marketing Executive, Interactive Ideas
Co-founder and CEO, Playfire
Publicist, EA Games
Olly looks after the assets for some of the biggest publishers in the world for Indigo Pearl, such as Activision, Sega, Namco Bandai, Disney, Konami, Bethesda and Sony. He also updates, develops and designs new systems to help maintain Indigo's edge in asset management. Oh, and, his colleagues are quite keen to point out he enjoys time outside the office, with active hobbies such as skiing and abseiling, and, apparently, a touch of naked golf when weather permits.
29-year-old Andy has been instrumental in the growth of distributor Interactive Ideas. Thanks to his input, the company has achieved record revenues and doubled in size during the last two years. Descrbed by colleagues as an excellent communicator and creative thinker, he has built strong relationships with both Interactive Ideas’ key customers and its top suppliers, helping Interactive to outperform its competitors.
The first firm Kieran set up was a video sharing website he opened age 15 – and which he sold for $1.25m at 19. But forget early retirement, he then founded three companies, two in games: PSU.com, a huge online community for Sony fans, and social network for gamers, Playfire. The 24year-old is doing something right – key investors include founders of Skype, Bebo, Lastminute.com and LoveFilm, plus industry luminaries Chris Deering and David Gardner.
Sophie has worked in the industry for two years, hailing from an agency background, and is the day-to-day point of contact for franchises including Battlefield, Need For Speed and Left 4 Dead. She is also heavily involved in event management and PR strategy. Her eye for detail, efficiency and commitment have greatly impressed colleagues and contacts – so much so that she is already managing a number of her own projects.
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30 UNDER 30
CHIN SUN SOON
Xbox EMEA Third Party Marketing Manager, Microsoft
Project Manager, Babel Media
Creaive Designer & Community Director, Tecmo Koei
Product Manager, Disney Interactive
26-year-old Gary works with a number of high profile publishers to deliver integrated marketing campaigns that drive use of 360 hardware, software and Xbox Live to create the best possible console ecosystem. He joined the Microsoft team from EA about a year ago and is proving to be a real asset to the EMEA team, one very senior Xbox boss tells us. He has a genuine passion for both the games and music industries – and is also rather talented at Guitar Hero and DJ Hero, we hear.
Daneila has risen through the ranks at Babel and is now one of the QA and localisation firm’s star project managers. Both co-workers and industry contacts lobbied for her to be on the list thanks to her sterling work looking after the releases from major clients including THQ, Eidos, Playlogic and Take 2. She’s known as easy to deal with, efficient, very responsive – and, above all, honest; all very important skills when helping publishers during the most crucial period before a game’s release.
Chin has been instrumental in supporting Tecmo Koei’s rebrand and merger, helping to create a continuity and identity between all the firm’s brands. He oversees and drives the creative process for marketing across Europe, and has a clear vision for the identity of each product. Whether working on press invites and billboards or dealing with fanatical Dynasty Warriors fans, Chin’s input and vision is driving the awareness of Tecmo Koei and its games, helping to not only keep core fans happy, but grow its audience.
James joined Disney Interactive Studios in January 2008 from Konami. He currently works across the UK and Ireland sales and marketing team leading product forecasting and managing frontlist releases such as Disney’s Club Penguin DS – which topped the DS chart this year. In addition, James is point person for Ireland, South Africa and Australia’s marketing activities. He is currently leading the local sales and marketing team for next year’s hotly-tipped racer Split/Second.
Co-host and Head of News, One Life Left
Site Merchandiser, Amazon
Community Manager, Codemasters
Martin opened his indie store ZX aged just 19, in October 2008. Situated in the busy university town of Loughborough, the store recently celebrated its first year of business and has enjoyed continual month on month sales growth in the face of the recession and local pressure on the High Street. The store has two employees, recently introduced its own reward scheme, the ZCard, and is financially self sufficient. Martin’s next aim is to open a second store early next year, plus an e-commerce site.
24-year-old Scantlebury is Head of News (or, colloquially, ‘News Fox’) and co-host of Games Media Award winner One Life Left. Co-hosts Ste Curran and Simon Byron say Scantlebury is a perfect representation of the expanded games audience in 2009, who know little about video games but don’t care; they play things because they are fun and they make their lives better. She can hold her own without them too – in their absence she recently hosted special episode ‘Ann Life Left’.
Craig joined Amazon.co.uk in July 2007 from a background in hospitality management. The 24-yearold has become an integral part of the team through his creative approach to site merchandising, aided by his product knowledge and passion for genres including RPGs. Responsibilities range from planning trade marketing campaigns to management of email and editorial strategy. He’s also a ‘glorious leader’, ‘key player’ or ‘complete liability’ at the MCV Pub Quiz, depending on who you talk to.
In a job requiring endless patience, nerves of steel and dedication to community causes, Ian Webster has shown how to inspire, manage and entertain online gaming communities, wherever they are. His community contribution to the marketing and development process makes better games, as proven with the recent successes of Operation Flashpoint and Dirt 2. Work on both led to some ‘best of breed’ social media efforts, including number one rankings on YouTube.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS Bryony Benoy (Ubisoft), James Haley (Imagine), Alastair Islip (Asda), Andrew Mehta (United Games), Chris Tufnell (BHPR), Darren Neville (HMV), Graeme Boyd (Xbox), Johanna Hakala (Activision Blizzard), Ken Clow (Sainsbury's), Keyleigh Watson (BHPR), Nick Arran (Sainsbury's), Peter Oliver (Indigo Pearl), Richard Thompson (HMV), Sarah Jasper (The Hut), Sharan Jain (Bounjourno), Laura Hewitt (Electronic Arts)
Proud sponsors of MCV's 2009
OPM Response Ltd Tel: +44(0)1206 21 44 21 www.opmjobs.com
© SEGA. SEGA and the SEGA logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of the SEGA Corporation. © 2009 Ilion Animation Studios, HandMade Films International & A3 Films All Rights Reserved. © 2009 Pyro Studios S.L. All Rights Reserved. “2”, “PlayStation” and “PS3”, are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Trademarks are the property their respective owners. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo.
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GENRE FOCUS: FIRST PERSON SHOOTERS
is the 360 and PC Dead on Xbox the market in s es cc Valve’s Left 4 su y FPS to enjo latest original
Shoot to thrill The first person shooter is one of the world’s most popular video game genres, with the likes of Halo and Call of Duty dominating the charts. Christopher Dring investigates the sector and talks to the experts on the past, present and future of the FPS...
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the first person shooter is one of gaming’s oldest genres. It first arrived in 1974 when Steve Colley – a future NASA engineer – created Maze War, a game that boasted network play, wireframe graphics and the ability to turn and move in two directions. But it took almost 20 years before the FPS reached the mainstream, with id Software’s 1992 hit Wolfenstein 3D. The Nazi-based blaster is seen as the daddy of the modern day first person shooter and laid the groundwork for 1993’s smash hit Doom. At the time the FPS’ home was on the PC, with fans insistent that the genre simply couldn’t work without a mouse and keyboard. And then in 1997 British developer Rare launched GoldenEye, the N64 game that went on to sell eight million units worldwide. “The final product was a more traditional FPS than we’d first planned – it’s well-documented that the original design was all on-rails,” says Rare’s head of studio Mark Betteridge “As the work progressed we realised that it made sense to shift development in that direction, both as a game and as a potential asset for Nintendo. It turned out to be a great tool for attracting a
different type of gamer to the N64. Up to that point the consoles had never been able to field many serious competitors to the PC FPS market.” In the years that followed GoldenEye the FPS grew to become one of the world’s most successful genres. Today Halo and Call of Duty are two of the biggest franchises in games, while four of the top five most played titles on Xbox Live are first person shooters.
When making Call of Duty we look at every genre such as racers and RPGs - and include elements of all of them. Robert Bowling, Infinity Ward So what has been the secret to the category’s continued success? Valve’s marketing boss Doug Lombardi explains: “When done correctly, it’s hard to argue that there is another genre that allows you to feel like ‘I did that.’ “Using our own games as examples, Portal was a puzzle game that managed to make you feel smart and emotionally attached to a crate with a heart painted on the side of it. Meanwhile Left 4 Dead allows you to feel like you’re part of a team, and there are distinct outcomes based upon your teamplay.”
Valve is a great example of how the first person shooter remains such a dominant force in gaming. The developer is responsible for some of the most innovative shooters on the market, from its first game (1998’s Half-Life), past Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, Portal and last year’s zombie-infested Left 4 Dead. And the firm says that trying something new is key to growing the genre. “For Valve, innovation has been everything,” adds Lombardi. “That was Half-Life’s mission statement – innovate. Since then we’ve managed to take a pretty different approach to every game – from taking a little multiplayer-only MOD called Counter-Strike to retail in 2000 to doing an FPS puzzler in 2007 with Portal to our latest attempts to bring new things to the genre through co-op play in Left 4 Dead.”
COMBAT EVOLVED The first person shooters of today are vastly different to the experiences pioneered by Doom in the ‘90s. Over the years the humble FPS has come to incorporate rival genres into its framework, introducing puzzles, racing sections and even RPG elements into the final product.
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MCV 30/10/09 23
GENRE FOCUS: FIRST PERSON SHOOTERS
e most e amongst th its sequels ar ted ea cr rs Half-Life and te oo st person sh influential fir
THE HOLY RAIL
“We look at everything when we are making a game,” says Infinity Ward’s creative strategist Robert Bowling. “I think it is important to appreciate the work everybody is doing, no matter what the genre. Really, when making Call of Duty we look at all genres such as racing games and RPGs, and incorporate elements of all of them. “We will play an RPG and go: ‘This xp, ranking and perk ability is awesome’ and that inspires decisions in our games. And that is why we are moving away from being a first person shooter to creating a first person action game.” Kikizo director Adam Doree, who has just launched FPSgamer.com, adds: “You can’t understate the contribution survival horror games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill have made to the shooters’ transformation from B-movie fare to something capable of real atmospheric nuance and narrative sophistication. Also significant on this front – as broader cultural influences – are Stephen Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan and the Alien films.” Indeed, today’s shooters are a far cry from the FPS of yesteryear, so much so that some titles – such as 2K’s latest Borderlands and Nintendo’s Metroid Prime series – have looked to drop the first person shooter moniker altogether. “We have developed Metroid Prime Trilogy with a viewpoint to seeing how Metroid – a 2D game – would change in 3D by utilising a FPS platform,” explains Kensuke Tanabe, who oversaw the Prime series as manager of production group No.3 at Nintendo’s Software Planning Development Division. “So it’s important to understand that the idea is based
on pursuing a better Metroid on a FPS platform, rather than a better FPS title that utilises the Metroid franchise. In that sense, we adopted a unique categorisation for our game — the first person adventure.” LEFT FOR DEAD First person shooters may be the world’s leading video game genre, but breaking into the sector can be a tough task. For every BioShock or Far Cry that cuts through, there is a Haze, Turning Point or XIII that falls aside. In 2007, Midway put millions behind the launch of Blacksite: Area 51 even telling MCV that it expected the title to top the
Right now our sights are trained on Natal. It’s an opportunity to exercise some genre evolution. Mark Betteridge, Rare charts. But the game failed to even impact the Top 40. The latest publisher attempting to crack the tough FPS market is SouthPeak, with its multiplayer-based Section 8 – which launched last month. “It’s been tough, especially for a company the size of SouthPeak, to bring through games that compete on a similar level with established brands such as Halo and Operation Flashpoint; let alone the behemoth that is Modern Warfare,” comments SouthPeak’s European marketing director Ed Blincoe. “Bringing new, innovative features and gameplay with you doesn’t guarantee interest or visibility with
the consumers and you have to fight hard to make sure your voice is heard over the shouts of others.” FUTURE PERFECT Looking ahead there are plenty of new first person shooters on the horizon vying for attention. This year gamers will be enjoying Left 4 Dead 2, Modern Warfare 2 and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, while 2010 boasts even more sequels, including BioShock 2, Ghost Recon: Predator and Red Steel 2. There’s new IP coming too, in the form of Activision’s promising Singularity and 2K’s Borderlands, while Sega is looking to crack the FPS market with the classic Aliens vs Predator licence. “The Alien and Predator are amongst the most iconic film characters in the history of Sci-Fi ,” says Sega’s senior product manager Ben Walker. “The Colonial Marine has pretty much been the blueprint for futuristic FPS characters in recent times; and all of this affords us with incredible awareness and familiarity, which is a rarity in the genre.” And what can we expect after 2010 – especially with the launch of Project Natal and Sony’s motion controller? Rare’s Betteridge concludes: “It’s still a booming business, you only have to look at the success of the Halo series to see that. And we’re obviously very happy about the excitement over Perfect Dark coming back to Xbox Live Arcade. “Right now our sights are trained on Natal, which is a great opportunity to break new ground with content and gameplay, It’s also an opportunity to exercise some genre evolution, so hopefully we’ll be able to develop something on that front.”
A sub-genre to the FPS is the onrails shooter. These games were particularly popular in arcade rooms during the ‘90s, with the likes of Virtua Cop, House of the Dead and Time Crisis dominating the sector. However, as the arcade industry went into decline on-rails titles began to die out – with just a few enjoying moderate success on consoles. Until the arrival of Nintendo Wii, that is. Nintendo’s console is crammed with on-rails shooters, including House of the Dead: Overkill, Dead Space: Extraction and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, which have all received postive reviews in the specialist press. And Capcom’s UK PR manager Leo Tan feels that on-rails games can do a job not covered by your typical first person shooter: “When the beauty of your product is in its simplicity, I don't think you want to risk losing that beauty by overcomplicating,” he said. “In that sense, you could argue that it's challenging to innovate, but within the limitations of that simplicity amazing things can happen. “When the director is free to tell the story that he wants, how he wants, a game becomes closer to the kind of experience that a film offers. Every aspect of the camera control and pacing is strictly directed and elements like plot progression can be masterfully orchestrated. That’s the kind of experience that our upcoming Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles on Wii is going to deliver.” Sega’s senior UK product manager Ben Walker adds: “Historically, Sega’s FPS line-up has been borne from its arcade roots. Titles such as House of the Dead and Ghost Squad have long been arcade favourites and with the advent of the Wii and its control system, there’s now a natural console home for these shooters.”
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24 MCV 30/10/09
GENRE FOCUS: FIRST PERSON SHOOTERS
The rise and rise of the
first person shooter From Maze War to Modern Warfare 2, the FPS has come along way from its 1974 debut…
Maze War (1974)
Hovertank 3D (1991)
Wolfenstein 3D (1992)
Steve Colley designed the very first FPS on PC. Incredibly, the game even boasted network play but wasn’t made commercially available.
Developed around the same time as Maze War, Jim Bowery’s Spasim was a first person shooter set in space, but again it wasn’t available in shops.
Atari’s tank shooter brought the FPS to consumers. The game appeared in arcades in 1980 and hit home computers in 1983.
Id Software began its FPS career with Hovertank and Catacombs 3D. Both titles were well received for their impressive visuals and were followed by...
...Wolfenstein, which brought the first person shooter to the mainstream. It introduced weapon selection, 360 degree movement – and Nazis.
Wolfenstein may have been a watershed moment, but Doom was the first big FPS hit. It introduced the word ‘deathmatch’ to the genre.
Alien vs Predator (1994)
System Shock (1994)
Dark Forces (1995)
Duke Nukem 3D (1996)
This was Rebellion’s first AVP game and was an early example of a console FPS. The studio returned to the franchise in 1999, and will again next year.
Although not Bungie’s first game (Pathway to Darkness was released in 1993), Marathon was a huge success and spawned two sequels on Mac.
The progenitor to BioShock, System Shock combined RPG elements with the FPS experience and enjoyed great reviews. A sequel arrived in 1999.
LucasArts got in on the act with a Star Wars FPS. The game expanded what was achieved by Doom by allowing you to crouch as well as look up and down.
The sequel to a platforming series, Duke Nukem was praised for its humour and its level design, with a wealth of secrets to discover.
Id software continued its trend of creating significant shooters with Quake, which allowed gamers to play against each over the internet.
GoldenEye 007 (1997)
Rainbow Six (1998)
Medal of Honor (1999)
The N64 Bond tie-in proved that consoles could do FPS games too, selling eight million units globally. 2000’s Perfect Dark is its spiritual successor.
Turok was a big hit on N64. Four sequels followed before Acclaim went under. Disney has since picked up the rights and released a game last year.
Unreal took the FPS to new levels with its AI and visuals. The game gave birth to the Unreal engine, which has powered other FPS’ such as BioShock.
Valve entered the FPS scene in 1998 with the groundbreaking Half-Life, which was renowned for its superb story, no cut scenes and impressive AI.
Publishers started going tactical in 1998. Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six is the best known, but Spec Ops and Delta Force were also released that year.
Created by Steven Spielberg for the Sony PlayStation, Medal of Honor started a trend of World War II-based shooters.
Deus Ex (2000)
Red Faction (2001)
Metroid Prime (2002)
Call of Duty (2003)
The multiplayer-focused title was created by the guys behind GoldenEye. The first game was a PS2 exclusive, while its sequels were multiplatform.
Often described as the best PC game of all time, Deus Ex demonstrated perfectly how a FPS can blend seamlessly with other genres.
The PS2 version of Red Faction was released a full four months before its PC counterpart as FPS developers began to focus more on consoles.
The game that sold the Xbox. Halo’s AI, combat systems, visuals and vehicles pushed Bungie right to the top of the FPS pile.
Nintendo wasn’t known for its shooters, but Retro Studio’s Metroid Prime changed all that. The game was more an adventure title than a shooter.
The project leads behind Medal of Honor: Allied Assault launched their own studio: Infinity Ward. A year later Call of Duty was born.
AND THE REST… Far Cry (2004)
Modern Warfare (2007)
Left 4 Dead (2008)
Crytek entered the scene with the CryENGINEpowered Far Cry. The title boasted cutting-edge visuals, advanced AI and huge draw distances.
Sony put its weight behind the FPS genre in 2004. Although Killzone didn’t live up to the hype, its PS3 sequel, released this year, certainly did.
Portal is one of the most original first person games. Set in the Half-Life universe, the title is in fact a puzzler with an amusing storyline to boot.
Call of Duty went modern in 2007, and hype for this year’s sequel has reached fever pitch. Cast your eyes to the right for our full Infinity Ward interview.
As the world waits for Half-Life 2: Episode 3, Valve delivered a unique co-op experience with Left 4 Dead. A sequel is due in November.
Annoyed Crysis, Perfect Dark Operation Flashpoint, XIII, Resistance etc. didn’t make the list? Why not drop us your thoughts on the most influential first person shooters to firstname.lastname@example.org
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MCV 30/10/09 25
MCV INTERVIEW ROBERT BOWLING, CREATIVE STRATEGIST, INFINITY WARD
Modern development Infinity Ward is this year’s most talked about developer. Christopher Dring speaks to community manager Robert Bowling on sky-high expectations for Modern Warfare 2 and developers marketing their own games…
We still make Call of Duty games because we’re having fun doing them. And When that stops being fun, we’ll move on to something new. Robert Bowling, IW
” Sponsored by:
FPS Gamer is a new gaming site dedicated to first person shooters. It is the one-stop destination for shooting fanatics on both console and PC. www.FPSGamer.com
Call of Duty 4 remains one of this generation’s defining video games. Do the ultra-high expectations heap pressure on you? It does, but just as much pressure that you always have when you make a game. Early on we decided to shelter ourselves from the hype. We are focusing on making a game that we can be proud of and our fans will like. And I am confident in our product. You told our sister magazine Develop earlier in the year that Twitter was like ‘having the players in the studio with you’. Is that still the case? Definitely. I try to be very transparent on Twitter. I communicate with our Twitter followers the same way I’d communicate with my office buddies. So during development, if we are sitting in a meeting and we are arguing about something, no matter what it is, I can just turn to what is now 60,000 people and ask them. Twitter has been fantastic throughout development, and I would recommend more people adapted that into their design schedule. How dramatically do you think games production has changed because of this relationship studios are now having with their audiences? The average gamer is much closer to the people who make the games than they ever were before. And as a result they are much more developer aware. No longer is it an Activision game, but an Infinity Ward game, or a Treyarch game, or a Bungie game. And gamers know where to go to offer their feedback. You’ve been involved in the PR of Modern Warfare 2. What are the advantages to being so close to the game, from development to when it appears in shops? We know everything there is to know about Modern Warfare 2. Not only do we know the game but we know the gamer. We know what to expect from them and what they expect from us. So it helps us guide design decisions and decisions overall, including with PR. Have you been involved with the marketing at all? I am directly involved. A benefit of being so close to the gamer is that you can call bullshit on the really lame shit. Sometimes a marketing idea will come through we don’t like. For example, recently it was suggested that we should send a mass e-mail to our website users to pre-order the Modern Warfare 2 guide. And I said no. Yeah it would probably sell a few more guides, but we don’t use our newsletter to market to our gamers.
How important is it for developers to be involved in these decisions? I don’t think any developer should not have control of how their game is presented. And they should take control of that a lot more. It is why I started the Twitter account in the first place. I have direct line to our audience and the press. Many editors will follow me, and they can direct message me and I can clarify things. There’s no middleman. We are responsible for what we say and do, and we can be held accountable for our successes and failures. You appear to have invested in audio, with Hans Zimmer on the score and some top voice actors. Why have you gone down this route for audio? We never go for the really big actor everybody knows. We want to get characters that fit perfect. We will sit, night-after-night, and just watch demo reels and audition tapes. For Hans Zimmer, it is his first time scoring a game. We designed it to be a cinematic experience and he is a master of creating that. We didn’t want to get anything that didn’t meet the quality you’d expect from a film. I guess Hans Zimmer doesn’t come cheap and I imagine the development budget is pretty high. How has this helped creating Modern Warfare 2? We are pretty tight on our budgets. Early on – when we decided to make a
sequel – Activision estimated out a ridiculous budget. And we were like: ‘No, we don’t need that.’ If you have excess you feel like you should use excess. So we said: ‘Let us design a game the way we’d always design a game’. We didn’t let the budget affect our mentality. We would only put stuff in the game that is right for it, and not because we can. Of course it does afford us certain luxuries. With Hans, it wasn’t so much about the money. It is something he has never done before. You have to score a game in a totally different way to a film. So he took it on because he was intrigued by it and he liked the story. Not because we had a cheque book. You’ve been working on Call of Duty for ten years. Have you ever been tempted to create a new IP? We still make Call of Duty games because we’re having fun doing it. And when it stops being fun, we’ll move on to something else. If we do want to do something else, then we will. We don’t feel tied to making Call of Duty games. You moved from PC to consoles with Call of Duty, what needs to happen before you’d consider Wii? Or PSP? If we feel we could deliver the cinematic experience on other platforms, then we would gladly move to that platform. Right now, we don't think the Wii can deliver the exact experience that we’re doing.
COMING SOON Artwork subject to change
For more details, or to place your order, call the Focus Multimedia sales team â€“ 01889 570156 Focus Multimedia Limited, The Studios, Lea Hall Enterprise Park, Wheelhouse Road, Rugeley, Staffs WS15 1LH. All copyrights and trademarks are acknowledged as the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
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LGC PARTNER PROFILE: ZAVVI.COM
The Hut looks forward London Games Conference sponsor Zavvi and its parent firm The Hut have transformed the defunct High Street chain into an online success – but does digital distribution fit into its future? Yes – and in a big way, Tim Ingham discovers…
THE HUT ON THE UP The Hut has seen sales growth of 189 per cent a year – from £997,000 in 2005 to a whopping £24 million last year. As well as running its own retail sites at thehut.com and zavvi.co.uk, The Hut provides ecommerce services for the likes of Asda, Argos, Lovefilm and WH Smith. This month, The Hut Group will further expand its client base by launching offerings for new partners Borders and Littlewoods, aiming to realise its target of operating 30 sites by January 2010.
WHEN ZAVVI collapsed last Christmas, it looked like there was no way back for the High Street entertainment store. The firm plunged into administration on Christmas Eve – another deadly blow to the High Street after Woolworths suffered a similar fate but weeks before. Fast-growing online retail specialist The Hut, however, saw something in the Zavvi brand as other firms dawdled, and snapped it up in March. And after trading with the brand for seven months via Zavvi.com, things are on the up. After UK success, a multilingual website is on the cards. Zavvi.com aims to have over 50 per cent of its customer based in Europe by September 2010. Despite giving Zavvi a new lease of life online, however, The Hut knows it also has to steer the brand into the next evolution of consumer spending: digital distribution. The firm got heavily involved in London Games Conference – both sponsoring and attending the show. “It is important that the industry has a forum where we can shape the future together,” says The Hut’s product director Gian Luzio. “Together we have to avoid the pitfalls that we have seen take place in the music industry where the labels agreed digital distribution prices that made their whole business model unviable for many large companies.” Although The Hut is currently very much a boxed product business, the firm has an eye on the future. In a shock admission, Luzio candidly admits that the firm will launch its own streaming and download service in future, “across all entertainment formats including books, music, games and movies” – a sure-fire indication that this company has no qualms about upsetting the apple cart when it comes to traditional relationships. In the short term, The Hut is very keen on the idea of selling Xbox Live and PSN points – something which has already been adopted by US retailers such as Amazon. Luzio believes that the
games industry is at a critical time, whereby it can avoid the retail monopolisation that Apple enjoys in the music industry. “We should try and get a free market in games digital distribution,” asserts Luzio. “iTunes cornered the music distribution market and they are solely responsible for the problems the music labels are facing.” SHINY ZAVVI PEOPLE
Despite his certainty that The Hut needs its own digital distribution platform, however, Luzio is not naïve enough to think he has the sector’s future fully mapped out. “The digital distribution of games and the current business models are in
“Despite Call of Duty possibly being the biggest selling game of all time this Christmas I am convinced I will not get a duvet set, a plush toy, the t-shirt a book or any other merchandise from the high street or online. We all want more people to be playing more games and digital distribution will be a great channel to assist this but to increase revenues and brand awareness we all need to work together in retail and publishing and be more innovative.” Companies currently profiting from boxed products will need to be forward-thinking, brave and no-nonsense to fully take advantage of the digital revolution; a plate it seems The Hut will have no problem stepping up to.
There will be models in future where people can play the same game on their mobile, and home console. Gian Luzio, Zavvi.com
their infancy,” he adds. “There will be more advanced models coming over the next few years that will enable people to play the same game on their mobile phone, portable gaming device and console – and interact with everyone on it.” Before that point, The Hut is – like any good businesses – concentrating on making money and helping expand the market today. Over and above digital distribution, it believes (in typical maverick fashion) than the games industry is missing a very simple trick. Luzio concludes: “The industry is very poor at maximizing retail opportunities compared to film. A clear example of this is the recent Monster vs Aliens release on DVD. I bought the DVD, the plush toy, the bed spread, the pyjamas and the stickers and my two-year-old son is extremely jealous. My point being is that the games industry should focus on maximizing merchandising opportunities.
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LGC PARTNER PROFILE: ZAVVI.COM
INTO THE BREACH... The Hut’s Gian Luzio on the future of digital distribution:
Luzio says that The Hut will eventually offer customers digitally downloadable product
“Digital games distribution is going to see massive growth over the next few years as it is relatively simple and allows you to buy from the comfort of your own home. It will not replace physical product as nobody wants to receive a voucher code for a birthday present or a Christmas present – they want a physical product. “A couple of years ago one of my family gave me a voucher code for a department store. I never spent it and I’ve never spoken to her again. The truth is that downloads make awful presents and we must make sure that games remain objects of desire and not worthless digital products. In essence – digital distribution gives you immediacy but does not give you the enjoyment, experience and security of physical product. The technology can deliver everything but do we want it to?”
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Direct2Drive’s Rich Keen feels it is vital that a digital download chart is made available
PIRACY PROBLEMS Rich Keen believes that the industry needs to group together to nix digital games disribution’s bigget threat – piracy: “We believe that illegal downloads are mainly driven by ease of access. Sure, there’s a cost element – it’s nice to get something for free – but getting a game off these things is not as easy as ripping a music file. You need to work quite hard.
“The ability to purchase a PC game online legitimately is very simple, and once this becomes the norm it will have a huge effect. “We allow people a sense of ownership, where you can redownload for free. There’s always
going to be an element that’s going to look to syndicate and buy pirated material, but we feel that is going to reduce once customers feel that they’re getting a problem-free user experience and quality customer service elsewhere.”
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LGC PARTNER PROFILE: DIRECT2DRIVE
Drive a hard bargain IGN-owned Direct2Drive is one of the earliest success stories in digital games distribution. Tim Ingham catches up with marketing boss Rich Keen…
IF GAMES is to have its own ‘iTunes’, then there are three very early contenders for the prize: Steam, Metaboli – and IGN’s Direct2Drive. The firm has seen huge growth in recent years, and celebrated its fifth birthday last month. Indeed, it’s not only one of the most successful companies in the digital sphere – but one the fastest growing in the entire industry, with year-on-year revenue up from fiscal year ’08 to fiscal year ’09 by over 300 per cent. Traffic growth from August last year to August this year was up 240 per cent. “PC digital distribution has exploded over the last three years with very little central support from core industry bodies,” explains Direct2Drive marketing director Rich Keen. “This is testament to consumer confidence in
for within an official chart. It will take the industry to come together to make this happen. We also need to come together to share understanding and generate consensus to ensure that we all best position digital products in our consumer marketing, as bullet-proof consumer confidence in digital distributed products is a challenge that we all face.” The firm hasn’t met much resistance from publishers, who may have been concerned that selling titles digitally could impact negatively on boxed product. Indeed, the only major PC release not carried on Direct2Drive is Blizzard’s World of Warcraft – which is sold via the publisher’s own platform. Direct2Drive’s ambition is to secure yet more major exclusives from these partners – and to continue to see
We feel that now is the time to allow all digital sales to be accounted for within an official chart. Rich Keen, Direct2Drive
digital within the core PC community and the steps that companies such as ourselves, Steam and Metaboli have been taking to ensure the customer experience is positive and the digital product offering is good. “We’re now at the stage where more and more mainstream consumers are being attracted to digital distribution, so events like LGC are vital in bringing the industry together to formulate a joint strategy and voice to ensure that digital distribution delivers maximum benefit to the UK software market.” One of the hottest topics at this week’s London Games Conference was the call for a digital chart – something that, unlike its rivals, Direct2Drive fully endorses. “Digital distribution across all formats is making a huge impact on overall unit sales but no-one knows what the overall uplift is because there is no transparency on sales figures,” says Keen. “We feel that now is the time to allow all digital sales to be accounted
where technology and consumer spending evolves. “We’re at the start of a long journey of discovery and development,” adds Keen. “We feel that as a business we have progressed immensely over the last five years but we also understand that there is a long way to go before our vision for digital distribution is realised. “Whilst new business models are constantly being developed, most are all still shifting and growing as ours is, so no model has been truly fully investigated and realised. “The beauty of tying your business to developing technologies is that you are constantly challenged to innovate, whilst also translating the benefits of emergent platforms to impact on the consumer and improve their gaming experience. Live streaming platforms like Gaikai are a perfect example of fantastic innovation that now needs to translate into a commercially marketable consumer service; which once a reality should have a hugely positive impact on the market.”
DIRECT2INDIES One of Direct2Drive’s USPs is that it carries a wealth of independent games that would struggle to get exposure at retail. Rich Keen explains: “Our concentrated focus on bringing indie games onto Direct2Drive began mid-2008 when we brought in staff to solely focus on bringing cutting edge indie content into the store,” says Keen. “Our dedicated indie channel subsequently launched in August 2008, which was developed into a co-branded partnership with the Independent Games Festival. “The partnership quickly grew and in 2009 we sponsored the Independent Games Festival at GDC San Francisco where we launched the Direct2Drive Vision award, the winner of which received a £5,000 prize.
We treat indie releases on par with triple-A products and regulary run indiespecific campaigns. “We now have strong links with the indie development community in the US and UK and actively work closely with them to ensure we generate the widest possible interest for their products across our network. “A recent example of this was a project we ran with UK developers Rudolf Kremers and Alex May whose indie smash Dyson was recently forced to undergo a name change prior to release. We ran an exclusive competition on Direct2Drive and across the IGN network globally, where we asked our users to send in their recommendations for the game’s new name. “The response from our community was fantastic, the eventual winner being the catchy Eufloria, which is now the official title of the released game. We regularly run indie specific marketing and promotional campaigns, treating indie releases on a par with triple-A products. We make sure independent products receive premium merchandising spots on Direct2Drive and subsequent coverage across the IGN Network.”
ÂŠ 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision is a registered trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
A fright simulator “…a great social experience.” Cubed3
“…if you want a creepy game to terrify your nearest and dearest, we can’t think of anything that even comes close.”
www.risingstargames.com Basepoint Business & Innovation Centre Butterﬁeld Luton United Kingdom LU2 8DL © Toei Video / JU-ON Film Partners / JU-ON 2 Film Partners. © 2009 AQ INTERACTIVE INC. Licensed to and published by Rising Star Games Ltd.
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LGC PARTNER PROFILE: TEAM 17
Developer Team 17 has kept an eye on the evolution of digital distribution for years. Tim Ingham discovers more…
IF YOU WANT a company that has been freed to hit new critical heights by digital distribution, you needn’t look further than Team 17. The developer, best known for its work on the Worms franchise, decided to become a digital-only publisher last year – removing publishers from the payment chain of its titles. As one of the industry’s greatest digitial acolytes, its choice to get involved in London Games conference was obvious. The firm’s belief in the power of non-traditional distribution – and forthright views on the industry at large’s reluctance to commit to it – makes it one of the most interesting players in the market. “The fact that digital distribution is finally being spoken about with some degree of interest made me think that wherever digital distribution is concerned, I’d like Team17 to be associated,” explains CEO Martyn Brown. “I’ve spent a fair bit of time discussing the virtues of digital publishing during 2009 and we’ve had digital titles since early 2006. ONLINE OPERATOR
“There are a lot of companies that need to get their strategy right because a lot of the opportunities will not be around forever. I think the digital medium Brown has ‘freed’ his firm from traditional relationships with boxed game publishers requires a lot more strategy and certainly an agility – not all companies release in Alien Breed around “[With publishers involved], we were have that in relation to digital, where the corner. being driven more by marketeers and sales and marketing are performed to Adds Brown: “It means that we the financial quarter rather than very different degrees.” could duck out of the third party genuine excitement for what we Team 17’s decision to wanted to develop. I think push all of its titles out it’s probably unfair to label We’ve managed to duck out independent of every third party with the of the third party publishing publishing partners is a same brush, but our nonsense – and I use that controversial move – relationship with many of but Brown doesn’t them was rarely smooth – word deliberately. mince his words when for some it appears we were Martyn Brown, Team 17 it comes to the benefits. an unfortunate requirement He believes that the firm’s business publishing nonsense – and I mean that in the whole process. model allows it to test more creative term. We were sick of the low-risk “As the model becomes more and ideas than rival studios. The firm approach to development and wanted more broken – particularly the triple-A already has four smash digital releases to get back to making the games we next-gen model – it was getting harder under its belt, an enviable presence on wanted to make on the platforms we to enjoy developing titles, so something Apple’s App Store – and a promising feel make most sense to do so. had to give.”
PUBLISH AND BE DAMNED? Team 17’s Martyn Brown discusses publishers’ approach to digital distribution: “I think they’re slowly coming around to the fact but really I think a lot took their eye off the ball – or ignored it because the finances didn’t make sense, which they won’t if you’re a large, bloated organisation. You’re seeing a lot of small indie breakaways who are leaving for the same reasons we did. We actually offered Worms on XBLA to our then publisher of the handheld versions of Worms and there was no interest. We couldn’t believe it. It’s gone on to be one of the best selling titles on XBLA and didn’t undergo any price reduction for 18 months. At one time we had two titles in the global weekly top ten. For a minnow from Wakefield, it shows what can be done.”
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LGC PARTNER PROFILE: POWER PLAY
The Power of good
How can a peripherals firm like Power Play take advantage of digital? Tim Ingham finds out… Power Play’s Paul Holcomb believes games companies need to change their thinking on how people consume media
RIIFLEX-OLOGY Power Play’s latest accessory for the market is its Riiflex dumbbells. These add weight to both the Wii Remote and Wii Nunchuk to give consumers a more hearty workout on title such as Wii Fit and EA Sports Active. The dumbbells will initially only be available in 1kg varieties at launch. However, the firm plans to launch 0.5kg and 2kg versions next year.
YOU’D BE forgiven for wondering Holcomb believes that digital’s why an accessories firm like Power Play impact on the industry is already much wanted to get involved in the digitally- bigger than some have estimated – and focused London Games Conference. goes back a longer way than most But like many of its peers, the believe. In addition, he questions Atlanta, US-based firm realises it needs whether the trade is doing enough to to keep a close eye on the sector – take advantage. and the way its customers are “Digital distribution for video games engaging with it. has been around as long as the “Consumers are becoming more Peripherals connect the user accustomed to accessing to the game experience, so entertainment onare unaffected by how the demand, and video content is delivered. games are no different,” explains Power Play Paul Holcomb, Power Play president Paul Holcomb. “Companies that currently lead the internet, so it seems about 20 years too gaming industry need to create late to be discussing how to respond to innovative distribution models or else it,” he says. the marketplace will create new ones “The internet is a microcosm of and replace these companies as leaders. business models whose potential “Apple has become a key player in transcends the online space alone. the industry because they understand However, discussing business models is that, ultimately, consumers are in the wrong way to look at this and control in any competitive marketplace.” sadly, for the most part, the video game
industry has been reactive rather than proactive about creating the idealistic game experience. “Virtually every household games console is now connected to the internet, so we as consumers should expect to see business models that recognise that all our devices will be connected to the internet, and to each other too. “Why should a consumer have to wait to get home to a console in order to continue a game that they can access on their mobile device? This isn’t a technology challenge; it’s a business paradigm challenge. “The point is, business models should follow the experience that the users desire. Innovative business models will become self evident if the industry focuses on creating the ultimate experience for gamers; consumer-centric thinking will always reveal the most successful result. In
order to find the most innovative business models, we need to think like a consumer, not a corporation.” The company is less certain on the unknown question of how peripherals can interact with digital-only releases in future. But it is sure that, however the relationship evolves, it wants to be part of it. “Peripherals connect the user to the game experience, so they are neutrally affected by how the content is delivered to the end user,” adds Holcomb. “Accessories are increasingly becoming as much of the appeal of a game experience as the game itself, so publishers that develop strong relationships with peripheral manufacturers can create a unique value proposition to the game consumer regardless of how the game is acquired. Peripherals help bridge the gap between the real and virtual world that the gamer is experiencing. A well thought-out peripheral can drive consumers into retail stores.”
1 29(0 % (5
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best-selling first-person action game of all time. MCV_MCV_Hard_Centre.indd 2
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check out: MODERNWARFARE2.COM
© 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. Music composed by Hans Zimmer. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
1 29(0 % (5
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LGC PARTNER PROFILE: GAMESTREAMER
Stream come true The company previously said it wants to become the ‘iTunes of video games’ – and GameStreamer’s ambition doesn’t stop there. Tim Ingham speaks to chief operating officer Steig Westerberg... ONE OF THE industry’s most forward-thinking companies, GameStreamer can’t wait for the digital revolution to take the industry by storm. The company’s digital distribution and streaming services offer developers and publishers access to a B2B network of consumer sites that will host their titles online, targeting a wide range of demographics. Clients can choose from a selection of payment models, and decide whether they want their game streamed or available for download. “GameStreamer believes that digital distribution is about to begin rapid growth as physical distribution drops, explains GameStreamer COO Steig Westerberg. “Now is a pivotal point in that juncture and it is important that participants in this business establish a solid base for anticipated further growth.” Sites hosting games delivered by GameStreamer include social networks, retailers, e-tailers, media companies, churches and schools. The firm says its growing network will ‘result in the widest catalogue of games available anywhere’. One of its major targets are retailers, whom it believes should be making bolder moves into the digital world. “Retailers should realise that the such as micro-transactions and in-game movement towards digital distribution ads that are not possible with traditional has already begun and that it will retail sales,” adds Westerberg. accelerate in the future,” adds “At GameStreamer we realise the Westerberg. “They need to partner market is large and that different with GameStreamer to establish a sound digital Retailers should realise that distribution platform or the movement towards risk being digital distribution has begun marginalised.” and will now accelerate. However, Steig Westerberg, GameStreamer GameStreamer understands that its core business relies on challenging the High participants require various business Street’s traditional dominance with models to attract purchasers to their new solutions. games. We are aware of market “GameStreamer believes that digital changes and are more agile than distribution will provide a basis for traditional retailers at meeting these many cutting edge business models new models.”
BUDDY SYSTEM GameStreamer’s Steig Westerberg wants to work more with retail in bringing digital video games to the maintream
GameStreamer COO Steig Westerberg discusses the firm’s white label clients: “Our white label partners are already highly successful businesses in their own right,” says Westerberg. “They typically have unique offerings that draw dedicated viewers. But what they lack is the skills, expertise and experience to expand a games store offering to their customer base. “We complement their existing offerings and build a game store that is indistinguishable from their own website. Their customer base already meets the profile of game buyers and it becomes a natural extension of their offering. At first game buys might be impulse purchases, but end users soon realise how reliable the system is and come back for more.”
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LGC PARTNER PROFILE: CD TEAM FUTURE PROOF? CD Team’s Jo Fone on what the games industry has yet to explore in digital distribution: “Our industry has so much to be proud of as one of the most creative and innovative, I am confident it will constantly evolve to enhance the consumer experience whilst maximizing revenue streams. “CD Team specialises in delivering the content securely and on time with our services, and providing solutions in the form of hardware, software and discs to enable developers to do so in-house. We work with prerelease content, whilst we don’t influence what that content is, we do ensure companies can share and test that content in-house, and journalists across the world receive their marketing and review titles on time.”
CD Team’s Jo Fone and Richard Dearing believe the firm can benefit from the digital revolution
A Team player DUPLICATION specialist CD Team “We also need to be sure we work is in its 15th year of business – having on practical solutions for today’s serviced the traditional games industry business. The consumer experience admirably for its entire lifespan. must be the focus and whilst we So why, you could justifiably ask, can’t say exactly what the future did it sponsor the digital-focused will look like, we are supporting London Games Conference? customers today – developers’ and The answer is a simple one: even publishers’ pre-release titles, PR and businesses that have physical marketing materials with reliable digital product in their company name have to The media industry is in look to the future. And turmoil. All media companies for CD Team that and the games industry must means one thing – address critical questions. working as close as possible with the Jo Fone, CD Team creators of software. “The media industry is in turmoil,” delivery on disc, flash memory and says CD Team MD Jo Fone. “New USB formats. platforms such as online, mobile, and Operations director Richard Dearing social networking, are driving major adds: “In partnership with Imation TDK shifts in consumer behavior and it was clear to see that sponsorship of advertising. Companies are rethinking this event was an excellent opportunity their business models. All media to demonstrate our continued companies and the games industry commitment to the games development must address some critical questions. community and to enable CD Team to
CD Team’s core business is in physical product – so why has it got involved in LGC? Tim Ingham reports…
be part of the ongoing discussion regarding its future.” After forming in 1995, the firm has worked through the transition from CD, through to DVD and now Blu-Ray publishing. But what of digital? How will the next evolution fo the industry affect a disc replication company? Fone believes that the hybrid of physical and digital product will carry on for years yet – certainly into the next generation of consoles. “CD Team offers services and equipment which support the games development community before the release of the title to the consumer, so the effect on our business will be different to that of a disc replication company which is tied into the mass production of discs for retail distribution,” adds Fone. “Removing the optical disc drive from the next generation hardware
would reduce cost but it would also remove a proven content delivery method and a range of ‘backwards compatible’ entertainment features. “USB has become the standard for peripheral connections so it is likely that USB flash drives will be supported and support for Secure Digital memory cards has also become a standard feature of home entertainment devices. “The services and equipment CD Team offers to the games development community is a vital part of the process. “The methods of delivery, physical and online, will change when the next generation of consoles are released but we believe there will still be a requirement for both.”
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44 MCV561_final:46 MCV515
Sponsored by 44 MCV 30/10/09
Birch teams up with PlayReplay Former Oxygen and Pinnacle man forms digital marketing firm Gem signs new national accounts manager PLAYREPLAY OLIVER BIRCH has joined a new marketing and PR agency for games released on digital platforms such as Xbox Live Arcade and PSN. He has previously worked for Oxygen and Pinnacle. The firm says it combines traditional games marketing knowledge with emerging methods of reaching gaming audiences and extensive experience of targeted platform marketing to stimulate more customers to trial, buy and recommend. “Developers and publishers are fast realising that digital
Birch’s new marketing firm will specialise in digital games
platforms require an entirely new marketing approach,” said Birch. “The digital shelf is infinite and there is an incredible
amount of noise to cut through when influencing a customer’s online purchasing decision. The challenge is to initiate and maintain visibility for any game. “Developers put a significant commitment and investment into creating a game and more often than not, fall short in effectively telling the consumer about their game and where they can buy it. “Marketing is not usually at the heart of their business and because of this a lot of great titles are falling at the last hurdle.”
GEM ANDREW WATKINS has been hired as Gem’s national accounts divisional manager. Watkins previously served at Pinnacle Software and Prism, managing their sales function, and also worked in telco accessory sales with Dextra. Over the past two years he has worked in consumer electronics. At Gem, Watkins will be responsible for maximising opportunities with the firm’s supply partners for national retailers – focusing on range supply and management of
Gem’s existing and new retailer partners. “I’m excited about Gem’s ability to cover all aspects of retail supply solutions and to work with our retail partners to realise all immediate and future opportunities,” said Watkins. GAMIGO RAINER MARKUSSEN has been named as a member of European online gaming provider Gamigo’s executive board. Markussen joins from the Computer Bild Group, where he held the role of managing director. He replaces SVEN OSSENBRÜGGEN.
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RETAILBIZ RECOMMENDED GAMES PRICE CHECK CHARTS NEW RELEASES
GHOSTBUSTERS P48 Namco Bandai Partners brings the muchloved franchise to Xbox 360, Wii and more JAMBO! SAFARI P51 The classic 1990s arcade game gets a modern console revival from Sega SHAUN WHITE P52 Ubisoft follows up on last year’s snowboarding smash with this Wii title F1 2009 P54 Codemasters brings the thrill of the racing season to Wii and PSP
NEED FOR CREED
NEW RELEASES P56 MCV provides a rundown of all the games waiting to be placed on your shelves
Consumers have been waiting two years for a sequel to Assassin’s Creed – and Ubisoft has delivered with one of the most exciting games of 2009 P46
HIGH STREET P58 We round up the most important Metacritic scores of the week, and check your prices
RETAILBIZ: ASSASSIN’S CREED II 46 MCV 30/10/09
Ubisoft brings its award-winning action adventure back – set in an exciting new era… by Tim Ingam WHEN ASSASSIN’S CREED was released back in 2007, a slight lack of optimism rung out through the industry. Sure, it looked great, but with fresh IP struggling in the All Formats chart and the tsunami of franchised releases that came during Q4 (including Need For Speed, FIFA and Super Mario Galaxy) how could it compete? More fool the doubters. Ubisoft knew that the game was something slightly special – but even the publisher must have been surprised at the game’s success. A No.1 spot in the All Formats chart and many awards later, the title is possibly the biggest ‘word of mouth’ hit of the decade. So it’s little surprise that the title’s fan base is baying for a sequel. And after two years’ hard work, Ubi is ready to give it to them. Gone are the Middle Eastern Crusades setting of the first game – replaced instead by a sexy Renaissance Italy open world environment. The game invites players to take control of Ezio – a privileged young noble in who’s been betrayed by the rival ruling families of Italy. Ezio’s subsequent quest for vengeance plunges players into an epic story that offers more variety in missions, diverse weapons and the sort of character progression that typified the first game. “The development team have methodically reacted to all of the feedback from the original Assassin’s
and we’re confident that review scores will reflect this,” says Ubisoft’s James O’Reilly. “The challenge is in showing that AC2 is a true sequel and a genuine development on the first iteration. Our marketing campaign is focused on highlighting the these developments and ensuring that both retail and consumer confidence is high in what AC2 will deliver as a game play experience.” CREED ALL ABOUT IT
Ubisoft’s marketing campaign for Assassin’s began months ago – reflecting an epic promotion for an epic release. “Our objective was to create real buzz for AC2,” adds O’Reilly. “We used PR and digital to kick-start awareness and supported this with tactical advertising spots on TV and online around key events and content releases. Pre-order initiatives were also set up earlier to help build demand.” Ubisoft is confidently unflustered by other Triple-A releases this Q4: “Assassin’s Creed was the fastest selling new IP in video game history,” adds O’Reilly. “We’ve established a brand that is strong and unique and the demand is there for a sequel. “AC2 has all the qualities needed to be a stand out game regardless of the competitive landscape.” This November, Assassin’s Creed returns to market as an established multi-million selling brand, and with a real chance of troubling the top of the Christmas All Formats chart.
RETAILBIZ: ASSASSIN’S CREED II WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 30/10/09 47
‘SIN THE BAG RELEASED: NOVEMBER 20 FORMATS: 360/PS3/DS/PSP PUBLISHER: UBISOFT DEVELOPER: UBISOFT GRIPTONITE GAMES PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: TRILOGY CONTACT: 0845 362 7769
Ubisoft’s marketing campaign for Assassin’s Creed II is almost as epic as the adventure itself. Highlights include: Premium position advertising in specialist and mainstream magazines from early October Online advertising across specialist websites from end of October to release and mainstream websites in release week
THE HOOD OLD DAYS: Assassin’s Creed II is set in Renaissance-era Italy
Teaser campaign running in conjunction with FIVE’s The Gadget Show and Virgin and Sky throughout October Extensive TV launch campaign on terrestrial and multi channel from early November to December LoveFilm envelopes sponsorship during releases week Ubisoft’s James O’Reilly explains: “All areas are equally as important as they form part of our 360 degree engagement strategy. We’ve spent a lot of time on both the TV strategy and the creative execution, as it is the best way we can inform and engage a mainstream audience. “We’re pushing everything that makes AC2 unique – the engaging narrative driven storyline, the Renaissance period, the beautiful gameplay and stylish combat. Ezio embodies many of these qualities so creatively the focus is on him.”
ALL IN HAND Assassin’s Creed II won’t only be hitting the major home consoles and PC. A DS version of the title, Assassin’s Creed II Discovery, has been developed by Griptonite Games. In the platforming adventure, Ezio travels to Spain to rescue fellow assassins being held under the guise of the Inquisition, only to uncover a Templar plot to sail west and discover the New World. Nintendo DSi owners will be able to take pictures of themselves and put them directly into the game as ‘WANTED!’ posters. The PSP version of the title, Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines, takes place between the events of Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed II. The title was created in conjunction between Griptonite Games and Ubisoft. The player primarily assumes the role of Altaïr, similar to that of the original Assassin's Creed, in the actionadventure video game infused with stealth elements.
RETAILBIZ: GHOSTBUSTERS 48 MCV 30/10/09
Namco Bandai Partners brings the Xbox 360, Wii, DS and PC games of this mammoth franchise to retail… by Tim Ingham
Ghostbusters: The Video Game was penned by original Ghostbusters writers and stars Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd – and reunites many of the original cast members. It’s basically Ghostbusters 3. But you play it.
The player joins up as a new recruit with the original team to track, wrangle WHO YOU gonna call? and trap a wide range of awe-inspiring If you were a Ghostbusters fan phantasms in an all-new funny battle to and an Xbox 360 or Wii owner this save New York City from its latest summer, the answer to that classic paranormal plague. query would have been: “To support the launch, “My mate with the PS3.” Namco Bandai Partners is Although the game has Sony’s ‘lockout’ on the running ads in specialist, been released on Sony title denied many a lifestyle, movie and kids platforms, the 360 and Wii Ghostbusters worshipper press,” explains Namco versions are new and fresh. the chance to play one of Bandai’s Lauren Bradley. the most anticipated “A high-profile PR Lauren Bradley, Namco Bandai licensed games of recent campaign has delivered years – but now Namco Bandai Partners In addition to Aykroyd and Ramis, covers on Official Xbox and 360 have stepped in to finally release the original Ghostbusters Bill Murray and Magazine. Reviews will appear in titles across formats. Ernie Hudson lend their voices and inNovember and December issues. The Wii, Xbox 360, DS and PC game likenesses to the original story set Competitions will garner further versions of Ghostbusters will be two years after Ghostbusters II, with coverage in kids’ press. released on Friday, November 6th. For Manhattan once again overrun by “Although the game has already been those unfamiliar with the title, ghosts and supernatural forces. launched on Sony platforms, the Xbox
RELEASED: NOVEMBER 6 FORMATS: 360/WII/DS/PC PUBLISHER: NAMCO BANDAI DEVELOPER: TERMINAL REALITY PRICE: VARIOUS DISTRIBUTOR: ADVANTAGE CONTACT: 0121 506 9585
360 and Nintendo versions are genuinely new and fresh and we have solid expectations for those.” Trade and consumer promotions have already been plentiful from Namco Bandai. The iconic Ecto-1 and 30ft Stay Puft inflatables have popped up at various events including Atari Live, the MCV Awards, the London Marathon, the MCM expos and more. With such a strong brand heritage, retail should expect this one to fly off shelves next month.
THE FUTURE BEGINS 30.10.09
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E N O Y R E V E C I S U THE M KNOWS & LOVES
D KI T PICK UP THE BANE OR THE GAM
65 SONGS BY THE BIGGEST POP ARTISTS MUSIC BY DUFFY DURAN DURAN JACKSON 5 KT TUNSTALL
LILY ALLEN MARVIN GAYE NELLY FURTADO & MANY MORE...
OUT NOVEMBER 6TH BANDHERO.COM
© 2009 Activision Publishing, Inc. Guitar Hero and Activision are registered trademarks and Band Hero is a trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. Patents Pending. ‘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. ACTIVISION AUTHORIZES USE OF THIS ACTIVISION GAME ONLY IN COMBINATION WITH CONTROLLERS PROVIDED BY ACTIVISION OR OTHER AUTHORIZED CONTROLLERS. ACTIVISION ALSO AUTHORIZES USE OF THIS CONTROLLER ONLY WITH AN ACTIVISION GAME PRODUCT OR OTHER AUTHORIZED PRODUCT. ANY OTHER USE IS PROHIBITED AND NO OTHER LICENSE, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IS GRANTED. NDS game differs from console, 30 tracks included, visit guitarhero.com for full track listing
THE COOLEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO ON YOUR CONSOLE... AWARDED 92%
THE FUTURE BEGINS 30.10.09
RETAILBIZ: JAMBO! SAFARI WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 30/10/09 51
A PIZZA THE ACTION Sega has secured 850,000 Jambo! Safari-themed kids menus in Pizza Hut restaurants nationwide. The promotion will run until the end of November. These contain 15 pages of puzzles, line-art, word searches and competitions. The firm has also teamed up with National Geographic Kids for a half price subscription offer promoted in the magazine and online, targeting 100,000 readers.
Sega resuscitates its classic 1990s coin-op African adventure game for modern consoles…
by Tim Ingham WHAT WITH being a stickler! for grammar, the MCV! team isn’t sure about putting! exclamation marks! randomly in the middle! of sentences. It’s just not us. It’s our failing. Maybe we’re just not wacky enough. Luckily for consumers, Sega suffers from no such qualms – which is just one reason why the publisher has been able to resurrect classic 1990s coin-op adventure-cum-racer Jambo! Safari. As with the original game, the new title allows gamers to play as one of four safari park rangers – but this time round they are fully customisable. With the ultimate aim of becoming a fully qualified ranger, players must take
on high-speed challenges and rescue missions across the free-roaming landscapes of the African Plains. Aimed at younger gamers, the title lets players used one of the four customisable vehicles, including the fully licensed Land Rover Defender 90 and 110.
Jumbo! Safari has a respected heritage. We know people love the original, and we expect them to love this. Kate Billingham, Sega Jambo! Safari missions include rescuing animals in need, treating them, photography, sight-seeing adventures and even hot air balloon rides. “Jambo! Safari has a respected heritage,” explains Sega Europe PR
RELEASED: NOVEMBER TBC FORMATS: WII/DS PUBLISHER: SEGA DEVELOPER: FULL FAT PRICE: £34.99 (WII) / £29.99 (DS) DISTRIBUTOR: CENTRESOFT CONTACT: 0121 625 3388
and marketing executive Kate Billingham. “With the latest instalments on the Wii and DS, we’re bringing you the fun and excitement of the original and reinventing it with modern graphics, deeper gameplay and a new nurture and treatment element for the whole family to enjoy. We know people loved the original Jambo! Safari, and we expect them to love the new games even more.”
RETAILBIZ: SHAUN WHITE SNOWBOARDING 52 MCV 30/10/09
Ubisoft bring back its popular snowboarding title to market in time for Christmas…
RELEASED: NOVEMBER 13 FORMATS: WII
by Tim Ingham ANY OF YOU hoping for a white Christmas? Yeah? Oh, wouldn’t it just be so romantic; a touch of the Arctic to gift us a picture perfect festive season? Yeah, well, give up. Sorry to come over all Scrooge three months early, but it just aint gonna happen. Even with the unbridled promise of global warming messing up our seasons, Christmas in the UK isn’t mean to be a Hallmark moment. It’s about family tensions rising to the surface, drinking too much booze and disappointment. That’s why it’s so special – as a nation, they’re probably the three things we revel in the most. Luckily for those members of the public that can’t live without
experiencing a bit of frozen water on Christmas morn, Ubisoft is bringing its Shaun White franchise back to retail just in time. And the latest edition, Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage, looks to take the series to new heights.
The developers have improved last year’s game in every way – graphically and in terms of content. Phil Brannelly, Ubisoft “Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip has now sold through 200,000 units in the UK and is a key brand on the Nintendo Wii,” explains brand manager Phil Brannelly. “A high impact campaign established the brand at launch last year and this year is no exception so we expect similar success.
“The developers have improved the game in every way graphically and in terms of content, and gaming hours. “It offers much more but maintains what made the last one so successful and that is the excellent use of the Wii Balance Board to play – although this is optional.” The Nintendo Wiiexclusive title allows players and their ‘crew’ to travel the world, participating in a variety of events to become a worldrenowned athlete – including half-pipe competitions, racing down the mountains and free-riding. Mr. White acts as a good-natured friend and mentor to the player, hooking them up with the right friends to conquer challenges together, introducing them to new locales – and sharing in a few ‘gnarly’ laughs.
PUBLISHER: UBISOFT DEVELOPER: UBISOFT MONTREAL PRICE: £39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: TRILOGY CONTACT: 0845 362 77 69
CAMPAIGN A comprehensive TV campaign will be the focus of Ubisoft’s marketing efforts for Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage. The publisher told MCV it will be investing heavily in TV advertising to convey the new features introduced in World Stage. Its TV spots will also be used online, in order to rack up an additional five million impressions with the ads. In addition, Ubisoft is also working with retailers to ensure the game has a strong instore presence with a range of POS, including inlays, posters and other promotions.
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
xx MCVxxx_v1:Layout 1
RETAILBIZ: F1 2009 54 MCV 30/10/09
Codemasters will release a solus Wii version - as well as a special steering wheel hardware bundle
accessories The heart of your gaming world For more information on our full range of products contact Mel Jones:Email: email@example.com or your Trilogy Logistics account manager
RETAILBIZ: F1 2009 WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 30/10/09 55
Codemasters’ first Formula One title leaves the pits just as Jenson Button wins the real life World title – making it an ideal Christmas gift for racing fans… by James Batchelor FOLLOWING the success of Colin McRae: Dirt 2, Codemasters continues to prove it is a world leading publisher in the racing genre with its newest release, F1 2009. The action starts with the upcoming Wii and PSP titles in November, with a PS3 and Xbox 360 version due at the start of the next Formula One season in the summer. Given the popularity of the motorsport, Codies is understandably confident it has a smash hit on its hands. “Our expectations are justifiably huge – in many ways, F1 2009 is a perfect storm,” says brand manager Paul Waters. “Firstly, we’ve got the F1 licence, which is absolutely massive – especially with a British World Champion. “Secondly, we’ve got a great game. Early feedback from both gamers and
“Without doubt, the game’s defining feature is the Formula One content,” he says. “We’ve got all the stars, all the cars, and all the tracks from the 2009 season. However, as much as this game is about immersing people in the sport they love, it’s also about getting them to share that passion with friends and family. “The PSP SKU has four-player ad-hoc Wi-Fi multiplayer modes, which will no doubt make the bus journey to school more exciting and competitive. The Wii SKU has two-player splitscreen mode and has been built to fill that gap in the market for games that both fathers and sons can enjoy together.” STEERING F1 TO MARKET
Codemasters has drawn up an extensive marketing campaign to raise public awareness of F1’s arrival. This is not only to ensure the avid gaming fans pick it up at launch, but also to entice a
Our expectations are justifiably huge. We’ve got a great game at a time when F1 is massive in Britain. Paul Waters, Codemasters
Formula One fanatics have been incredibly positive. We’re also bundling a Formula One-style race wheel peripheral with the Wii version, creating a must-have Christmas gift. “Off-shelf, F1 2009 will also benefit from a heavyweight TV ad campaign at launch. We’ve partnered with Nintendo and are looking forward to our biggest ever UK TV campaign for a Wii title.” As the title suggests, the game is completely officially licensed. Having acquired the Formula One rights this year, Codemasters and developer Sumo Digital have used everything at their disposal to recreate the authentic atmosphere and thrills of F1 racing – which Waters touts as a major selling point.
wider audience, taking advantage of the holiday season. “With F1 2009 launching in midNovember, this is perfect timing to capitalise on the busy Christmas gifting season, especially for those ‘hard to buy for’ dads and lads,” says Waters. “As the Wii format will launch as a bundle pack along with a steering wheel peripheral, this will give us a key point of difference at retail. We are actively promoting online and at store level through point of sale and Christmas catalogue inclusions.” TV ads will run around programming aimed at three distinct audiences: fathers and sons, housewives and children, and 16 to 34-year-olds. The first TV spots will run in mid-November.
RELEASED: NOVEMBER 20 FORMATS: WII/PSP PUBLISHER: CODEMASTERS DEVELOPER: SUMO DIGITAL PRICE: £29.99-£39.99 DISTRIBUTOR: GEM CONTACT: 01279 822800
For print and online, Codemasters will be concentrating on specialist Formula One media, a demographic Waters claims has a good level of crossover with the Wii’s install base. THE RIGHT FORMULA
The publisher is also working closely with Nintendo and Sony to promote the game through the platform holders’ official channels. “In addition to being a pillar title for race gamers, F1 2009 has great potential amongst impulse and gift purchasers,” adds Waters. “Given that it comes in an outsized box with the wheel, it’s certainly a title that can be recommended to the more casual gift purchasers throughout the holiday season. “The bundle pack has been specifically designed to stand out on shelf and, when you combine that with the Formula One licence, the game quality, the race wheel and the TV spend, we’re looking at big numbers.”
F1 2009 will be released on Wii and PSP this year, with other format versions to follow in summer 2010
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RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES 56 MCV 30/10/09
Check out MCVUK.COM/RELEASE-DATES for more
Mario and Mama gear up for Xmas TITLE
Wii Wii Wii / DS PC / DS Wii / DS Wii DS / Wii DS XBOX 360 / PS3 / PC DS PC DS / PC / Wii / XBOX 360 DS Wii / DS PC Wii Wii / DS DS DS DS DS Wii XBOX 360 / PS3 / Wii / DS Wii / DS Wii Wii PS2 / PSP DS / Wii Wii PC PS2 / PS3 PSP / DS Wii PC DS / Wii DS DS DS / PC / Wii
Platformer Music Simulation Mystery Adventure Action Quiz Adventure RPG Action Casual Action Casual Mini-games Casual Mini-games Mini-games Imagine Casual Casual Casual Mini-games Racing Mini-games Adventure Mini-games Sports Adventure Simulation Casual Music Action Action Casual Music Puzzle Mystery Simulation
Majesco THQ Activision Blizzard City Interactive Activision Blizzard City Interactive Mindscape Disney Interactive EA Namco Bandai Mastertronic Atari Ubisoft EA Mastertronic Mindscape Activision Blizzard Ubisoft Zushi Zushi Zushi Ubisoft Activision Blizzard EA Zushi Ubisoft Konami Ubisoft Activision Blizzard Mastertronic Sony Activision Blizzard Mindscape Mastertronic Mindscape Konami THQ THQ
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Open Advantage Centresoft Trilogy Centresoft Trilogy Koch Centresoft Centresoft Advantage Open Advantage Trilogy Centresoft Open Koch Centresoft Trilogy Gem Gem Gem Trilogy Centresoft Centresoft Gem Trilogy Open Trilogy Centresoft Open Centresoft Centresoft Koch Open Koch Open Advantage Advantage
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505 Games Atari Zushi Ubisoft 505 Games Ubisoft Mindscape THQ Namco Bandai THQ
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Advantage Advantage Gem Trilogy Advantage Trilogy Koch Advantage Advantage Advantage
020 8987 5730
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 Frankenstein Ghostbusters: The Video Game Girls Life Makeover Hasbro Family Game Night Volume 2 Hollywood: The Director's Cut 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 Need For Speed: Nitro North American Hunting Extraganza Peppa Pig Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 Rabbids Go Home Rapala: We Fish Secrets Of The Vatican: The Holy Lance SingStar: Take That Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron The Ultimate Red Ball Challenge Treasure Seekers 1 & 2 U-Sing Wire Way Women's Murder Club: Games Of Passion World Of Zoo
NOVEMBER 10th Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Reflex Call Of Duty: Mobilised Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
NOVEMBER 13th Cooking Mama 3 Dragon Ball Z: Raging Blast Family Gameshow Girls Life Sleepover Party Hair Salon Monster 4X4 Stuntrace Playmobil: Knight SpongeBob: Truth or Square Tales Of Symphonia: Dawn Of The New World The Biggest Loser
NOVEMBER 20th Pro Evolution Soccer 2010
MUSTSTOCK ..........................COOKING MAMA 3 Released: November 13th Format: DS Publisher: 505 Games Distributor: Advantage Contact: 0121 506 9585
The Cooking Mama phenomenon continues with its third instalment this month on Nintendo DS. The Mama brand has sold an incredible seven million units worldwide, and 505 Games is backing this latest release with a big marketing push.
MUSTSTOCK .............NEW SUPER MARIO BROS Released: November 20th Format: Wii Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Koch Contact: 0870 027 0985
New Super Mario Bros. is one of the DSâ€™ biggest sellers, attracting both core Mario fans and casual players. This Wii sequel promises to go even further, with up to four players able to play at once. The game is backed by a multi-million pound marketing campaign.
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RETAILBIZ: NEW RELEASES WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 30/10/09 57
Modern Warfare 2 may be grabbing the headlines, but November is filled to the rafters with major video game releases. Ubisoft’s gorgeous looking Assassin’s Creed II arrives at retail that month, along with 505 Games’ DS hit Cooking Mama 3, Nintendo’s highly-promising New Super Mario Bros Wii and Capcom’s latest Resident Evil… TITLE
Assassin's Creed II Assassin's Creed: Blood Lines Assassin's Creed: Discovery Club Penguin: Limited Special Edition Discover Arabia Discover Europe Dubai Airport: Gateway To The World Easy Piano Formula 1 Karaoke Revolution Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues Murumasa: The Demon Blade My Baby 2 New Super Mario Bros Wii Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers Of the Sky SAW: The Game Scene It? Bright Lights Big Screen! Sherlock Holmes Vs Jack The Ripper Take A Break's Puzzle Master The Secret Saturdays: Beasts Of The 5th Sun The Sims 3: World Adventures
PS3 / XBOX 360 PSP DS DS PC PC PC DS DS / Wii Wii / PS3 DS/ PS3/ 360/ DS/ PSP/ WII/ PC Wii Wii / DS Wii DS PC / PS3 / XBOX 360 PS3 / XBOX 360 XBOX 360 / PC DS PSP / DS / Wii / PS2 PC
Action Action/Adventure Action/Adventure Mini-games Simulation Simulation Simulation Music Racing Music Action RPG/Action Simulation Platformer RPG Survival Horror Quiz Adventure Puzzle Action/Adventure Simulation
Ubisoft Ubisoft Ubisoft Disney Interactive First Class Simulations First Class Simulations First Class Simulations Namco Bandai Codemasters Konami Activision Rising Star Games South Peak Nintendo Nintendo Konami Warner Games Ubisoft Ubisoft D3Publisher EA
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Simulation Simulation Casual Action Compilation Sports Self-Improvement Strategy Simulation Mini-games Puzzle/RPG FPS Action Simulation Simulation Simulation Sports Racing
City Interactive Deep Silver City Interactive Ubisoft Kalypso Media Ghostlight EA Kalypso Media Sega Ubisoft Ubisoft City Interactive Namco Bandai City Interactive Ubisoft Ubisoft Ubisoft Bethesda
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Trilogy Koch Trilogy Trilogy Advantage Open Centresoft Advantage Centresoft Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy Advantage Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy Trilogy Advantage
DS Wii DS XBOX 360 / PS3 / PC Wii / PS3 / XBOX 360 DS
Action Mini-games Mini-games Action Sports Puzzle
EA Warner Games Mindscape EA Activision Blizzard Warner Games
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Wii / DS DS
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NOVEMBER 27TH LEGO Rock Band Planet 51 Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Where The Wild Things Are
NOVEMBER TBC Animal Country: Life On The Farm Ballerina Brain College: 3 Days Zoo Mystery C.O.P: The Recruit Crazy Machines Ultimate Edition Dancing On Ice EA Sports Active: More Workouts Grand Ages Rome: Gold Edition Jambo! Safari Master All Classics Might And Magic: Clash Of Heroes Multiplayer Shooter Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja 5 Party Designer Petz: Nursery Princess Melody Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage Wheelspin
DECEMBER 4th Flips Game Party 3 I'm A Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here The Saboteur Tony Hawk: Ride Touchmaster 3
DECEMBER 11th Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakwal The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
MUSTSTOCK .....................ASSASSIN’S CREED II Released: November 20th Format: PS3, 360 Publisher: Ubisoft Distributor: Trilogy Contact: 0845 362 7769
Ubisoft’s sequel to 2007’s groundbreaking new IP finally arrives at retail this November. Versions are planned for DS and PSP too, and early previews in the specialist press have been glowing, with a huge amount of front covers already secured for the game.
MUSTSTOCK ........................TONY HAWK: RIDE Released: December 4th Format: Wii, PS3, 360 Publisher: Activision Distributor: Centresoft Contact: 0121 625 3388
Tony Hawk will make his longoverdue return to video games this year, with a reboot to the popular franchise. The game comes complete with a special skateboard accessory, and the UK is one of the few countries set to stock the game this year.
RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET 58 MCV 30/10/09
REVIEW SCORES MCV provides the most important average review scores of the last few days – all sourced from Metacritic...
MCV offers a weekly digest of the latest news on the High Street...
GTA Chinatown Wars Rockstar, PSP
Borderlands, 360, 2K Games
WWE 2010, 360, THQ
PES 2010, PS3, Konami
Muramasa: Demon, Wii, Rising Star
*Metacritic scores correct at the time of going to press
DEAL OF THE WEEK
FIRST MICROSOFT STORE OPENS Microsoft has opened the first of its branded retail stores to coincide with the launch of Windows 7. The site, in Arizona, USA, is expected to showcase PCs and mobile phones running Microsoft software, as well as its own Xbox 360 hardware. A further site is reportedly planned for Viejo, California. The move is seen by many as a response to Apple’s branded stores, which have helped boost the firm's popularity since their roll out. Meanwhile, Apple last week announced record profits for its fiscal fourth quarter – in which it sold over seven million iPhones TESCO APP TURNS IPHONE INTO A SHOPPING SAT-NAV British grocery giant Tesco has released an iPhone App that lets users pinpoint where certain goods can be found within its fleet of stores. The free App asks users to type in a product name into their iPhone, to which the App returns a list of nearby stores
MCV POLL WHAT WILL BE OCTOBER 30TH’S BIGGEST RELEASE?
Football Manager 2010
Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City
UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES FORMAT: PS3
DEVELOPER: NAUGHTY DOG PUBLISHER: SONY
FIFA 10 360
BRUTAL LEGEND 360
FIFA 10 PS3
OPERATION FLASHPOINT 2 360
OPERATION FLASHPOINT 2 PS3
PROFESSOR LAYTON AND PANDORA’S BOX DS
FIFA 10 PS2
BRUTAL LEGEND PS3
EA NINTENDO EA
MARIO & SONIC: AT THE OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES WII NINTENDO Charts compiled by Game Guide/Complete EPOS Solutions. For more information about Complete EPOS Solutions call 01543 370002. For more information about the Game Guide call 01606 836347.
21% Wii Fit Plus
Venom is targeting the nontraditional gamer this Q4 with its Purple Ronnie range of licensed products. The accessories specialist has readied cases for DSi and DS Lite. Amongst the accessories is a set of holders for DS titles, a flip and play case
Our latest poll has split opinion amongst the trade – with most people believing that Sega’s single-format FM2010 will outsell-all comers this Friday. However, GTA: Episodes from Liberty City, Wii Fit Plus and Tekken 6 aren’t far behind. Take part in MCV’s next poll at www.mcvuk.com for DSi, and a Purple Pack for DSi and DS Lite – which features a carrier bag, screen protectors, storage and protective cases, wrist strap, neck strap, headphones, antistatic cloth, stereo headphones and stylus saver. Venom: 01763 284 181
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 LAST WEEK
FORMER AMAZON EXEC SETS UP ONLINE GAMES STORE Ex-Amazon finance director John Pollard has launched his own online video game retail website. According to the Lancashire Telegraph, Playgamesuk.com is based in Ribchester – and Pollard hopes to double his company's £1 million turnover. “They basically sold games they no longer wanted and it proved so popular that we began speaking to distributors about selling various accessories as well," said Pollard. “In the end, we started selling new Nintendo Wii games on eBay and other stock we had imported from America, until we became so busy that we decided to create our own website, and that’s how Playgamesuk.com came into being.”
FOR UP-TO-DATE NEWS ON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON THE UK HIGH STREET, CHECK OUT: WWW.MCVUK.COM/RETAIL-BIZ
The brand new super elite Forza Motorsport 3 Xbox 360, complete with extra controller, copy of Forza 3 and a 250GB hard drive, is available from ShopTo.net for the bargain price of £239.99.
stocking the item, and at the same time details which row and shelf the product can be found. Apple initially rejected the App – entitled Tesco Finder – back in September after it was found to be defective.
RETAILBIZ: HIGH STREET WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 30/10/09 59 Sponsored by
FROM THE [PRE ORDERS]
TOP 10 COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD 2. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
FRONTLINE Nindie.com speaks to Sam Karam of online retailer Game Gears…. How has the market been for you so far this year? We have seen a slight decrease in yearon-year sales. However we are optimistic that as the UK economy recovers we will see significant growth in Q4 and Q1.
3. FORZA 3: LIMITED EDITION
4. TEKKEN 6
PS3 ........................................................NAMCO BANDAI
5. MAG: MASSIVE ACTION
6. MAG: MASSIVE ACTION
7. FORZA 3
8. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010
9. ASSASSIN’S CREED II
Karam, far left, with his team
What makes your website unique? Our new site coming in November will stand out with our guaranteed release date delivery, magnificent branding, dedicated live customer online service, and unbeatable prices on most pre-orders and back-catalogue. What has been performing well? We have seen an increase in sub-£20 games and deal stock, and this may be
due to the current economic climate. There has been a slight decline on PSP. What are the biggest challenges facing your website? The release day price cuts by supermarkets. These have undermined the industry, and devalue key titles. How much of a threat does digital distribution pose to your outlet? We do not regard digital distribution as a
threat. We believe that as digital distribution evolves, so will gaming firms with it, no matter how big or small. It is up to the publisher and the format holders to ensure that retailers will be given redistribution and retail rights of titles. Do you think the PSPgo will rejuvenate the PSP market? PSPgo is a fantastic new proposition, however we believe the positive effects of it will be in the future – not immediately.
360 ................................................................2K GAMES Week ending October 23rd Source: SHOPTO.COM
Brutal Legend PS3, EA
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves PS3, Sony
Fallout 3: GOTY 360, Bethesda
Mario & Sonic: Olympic Winter
Up Wii, THQ
IN STORE: CAMBRIDGE
COD: MODERN WARFARE 2 360 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD 2. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PS3 ................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
3. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010
4. WII FIT PLUS
5. ASSASSIN’S CREED II: LIMITED EDITION 360 ..............................................................MICROSOFT
6. COD: MODERN WARFARE 2
PC ..................................................ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
7. ASSASSIN’S CREED II: LIMITED EDITION
360 ................................................................2K GAMES
9. GTA: LIBERTY CITIES
10. DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS
NINTENDO DS, IS A TRADEMARK OF NINTENDO.
Week ending October 23rd Source: PLAY.CO.UK
TO TAKE PART PLEASE CONTACT: JAMES.BATCHELOR@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
60,61 MCV561_final:54-55 MCV553
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS 60 MCV 30/10/09
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
MARIO & SONIC: WINTER OLYMPICS SEGA DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING NINTENDO RHYTHM PARADISE NINTENDO PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE NINTENDO UP THQ FIFA 10 EA MARIO KART DS NINTENDO SCRIBBLENAUTS WARNER BROS. NEW SUPER MARIO BROS NINTENDO
3 2 16 5 10 6 7 4 14
DEVELOPER: LEVEL 5 PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
PLAYSTATION 2 THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 THQ COD: WORLD AT WAR ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SINGSTAR MOTOWN SONY GUITAR HERO 5 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD TRANSFORMERS: FALLEN ACTIVISION BLIZZARD DISNEY SING IT: POP HITS DISNEY BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE D3P UP THQ SCOOBY-DOO! FIRST FRIGHTS WARNER BROS.
2 3 5 4 7 8 6 9
PSP THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
2 3 4 5
FIFA 10 WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 GTA: CHINATOWN WARS DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY
4 5 6 7 8
6 7 8 9 10
PRO EVOLLYTION SOCCER 2010 FORMAT: 360, PS3, PC
FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 360
FIFA 10 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC, PSP
MARIO & SONIC: WINTER OLYPMICS Wii
UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES PS3
WWE SMACKDOWN 2010 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PS2, PSP
BORDERLANDS 360, PS3, PC
WII SPORTS RESORT Wii
NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT 360, PS3, PSP, PC
OPERATION FLASHPOINT 2 360, PS3, PC
PROFESSOR LAYTON: PANDORA’S BOX DS NINTENDO
FALLOUT 3: GAME OF THE YEAR PS3, 360, PC
WII FIT Wii
HALO 3: ODST 360
SUPER SMASH BROS. BRAWL Wii
GUITAR HERO 5 360, PS3 ,Wii, PS2
MICROSOFT NINTENDO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
BRUTAL LEGEND PC, PS3, 360
LEGO BATMAN PC, DS, PS3, 360, Wii, PSP
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV PC, PS3, 360
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
DEVELOPER: POLYPHONY DIGITAL PUBLISHER: SONY
PC CD-ROM PUBLISHER
DEVELOPER: PES PRODUCTIONS PUBLISHER: KONAMI
DEVELOPER: EA PUBLISHER: EA
PROFESSOR LAYTON: PANDORA’S BOX
[ENTERTAINMENT - ALL PRICES]
THE SIMS 3 DEVELOPER: THE SIMS STUDIOS PUBLISHER: EA
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010
CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER 2010
OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING CODEMASTERS
FALLOUT 3: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION
NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT EA MOTORSTORM: ARCTIC EDGE SONY MONSTER HUNTER: FREEDOM UNITE CAPCOM HARRY POTTER: HALF-BLOOD PRINCE EA RESISTANCE: RETRIBUTION SONY
WOW: WRATH OF LICH KING
EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR
WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR II
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SEGA THQ ROCKSTAR NCSOFT
60,61 MCV561_final:54-55 MCV553
RETAILBIZ: RETAIL CHARTS WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 30/10/09 61
KONAMI’S PES 2010 triumphs over EA’s FIFA 10,
THQ’s WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2010 at No.5
stealing the top spot of the All Formats Chart and
and 2K Games’ Borderlands at No.7. Sony’s Uncharted 2 falls four places after a 53
breaking its rival’s three-week streak at No.1.
per cent drop in sales. Nintendo’s Wii Sports
but the new titles shifts 39 per cent fewer units that its predecessor.
FIFA is pushed down to No.3 thanks to the similarly successful release of Microsoft’s Forza
Motorsport 3. Other strong new entries include
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
Highest New Entry
MARIO KART WII Wii
STAR WARS CLONE WARS 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP LUCASARTS
UP Wii, PS3, 360, PC, PSP, PS2,
BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM 360, PS3
DR KAWASHIMA’S BRAIN TRAINING DS
LEGO STAR WARS: SAGA 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP LUCASARTS
COLIN MCRAE: DIRT 2 360, PS3 ,Wii, DS, PSP
WII PLAY Wii
PURE 360, PS3, PC
GRAN TURISMO PSP
RHYTHM PARADISE DS
PROFESSOR LAYTON: CURIOUS VILLAGE DS NINTENDO
MYSIMS: AGENTS Wii, DS
CARNIVAL: FUNFAIR GAMES Wii
LEGO INDIANA JONES PSP, 360, Wii, PS3, PS2, PC, DS
TOY STORY MANIA! Wii
EA 2K PLAY LUCASARTS
DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIO ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
COD: WORLD AT WAR 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC
MARIO POWER TENNIS Wii
TIGER WOODS 10 360, PS3, Wii, PSP
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES FIFA 10 WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT BORDERLANDS OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING FALLOUT 3: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM BRUTAL LEGEND
1 2 NEW
3 5 8 6
DEVELOPER: PES PRODUCTIONS PUBLISHER: KONAMI
SONY EA THQ EA 2K GAMES CODEMASTERS BETHESDA EIDOS EA
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
WOW: BATTLE CHEST DEVELOPER: BLIZZARD PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
5 4 2 3 6 20 8
MYSTERY CASE FILES: RAVENHEARST
AMAZING ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD
AGES OF EMPIRES III
ESCAPE THE MUSEUM
JEWEL QUEST III
HIDDEN EXPIDITION: AMAZON
FOCUS ACTIVISION BLIZZARD FOCUS MICROSOFT
MARIO & SONIC: OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
WII SPORTS RESORT WII FIT SUPER SMASH BROS: BRAWL MARIO KART WII FIFA 10 GUITAR HERO 5 TOY STORY MANIA STAR WARS: CLONE WARS - REPUBLIC HEROES MYSIMS AGENTS
1 3 4 5 6 8 7 9 10
DEVELOPER: SEGA PUBLISHER: SEGA
WORLD OF WARCRAFT
GH: WORLD TOUR 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
Resort also falls four places, despite a three per cent rise in sales. Retail bundles boost LEGO Batman sales by 123 per cent and Pure sales by 563 per cent. James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk
THIS LAST WEEK WEEK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010 FIFA 10 BORDERLANDS WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2010 HALO 3: ODST OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT BRUTAL LEGEND FALLOUT 3: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION
1 NEW NEW
3 2 5 4 6
NINTENDO NINTENDO NINTENDO NINTENDO EA ACTIVISION BLIZZARD DISNEY LUCASARTS EA
FORZA MOTORSPORT 3
(c) ELSPA, Compiled by ChartTrack
66 per cent of PES sales come on PS3 –
WEEK ENDING 24/10/09
DEVELOPER: TURN 10 PUBLISHER: MICORSOFT KONAMI EA 2K GAMES THQ MICROSOFT CODEMASTERS EA EA BETHESDA
62,63 MCV561_final:Layout 1
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 62 MCV 30/10/09
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
62,63 MCV561_final:Layout 1
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WWW.MCVUK.COM
MCV 30/10/09 63
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.
In the biggest offensive ever mounted against the piracy-enabling R4 flash card device, Nintendo and Capcom have joined forces with 53 other unspecified games publishers to file a lawsuit against four retailers who currently sell the device. The joint action follows moves earlier this year under the 2009 Japanese Unfair Competition Prevention Act, which issued an injunction against sales of the device. However, Capcom claims that new laws to date have been ineffective, stating that the four vendors in questions have “ignored warnings and not shown sincerity” in their responses. The publisher adds that “our company and other software manufactures have sustained extreme damages from proliferation of illegal instruments.”
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
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 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
SONY’S PLAYSTATION 3 Uncharted series has been a firm favourite in the West since its arrival in late 2007, but its reception in Japan has been less enthusiastic – a problem that the sequel seems to have very ably addressed. First day figures for its sequel, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, hit 46,000 copies – not a huge number in itself but a massive 630 per cent higher than its predecessor, which managed just 7,300 units in its first day.
HOT ON THE heels of Microsoft’s 250GB Xbox 360 machine – which is set to be included in a number of bundles this year – Sony has announced it’s own high-capacity PS3 SKU. “The PS3 platform is poised for a tremendous holiday season,” vice president of product marketing for Sony US Scott Steinberg stated. “The new 250GB PS3 provides consumers with another compelling hardware option and speaks to the growing consumer appetite for digital content from the PlayStation Network, particularly highdefinition content that showcases the power of the PS3 system.” Sony has already released a 250GB SKU in the UK.
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
A former US postal worker has admitted to stealing over 2,200 rental games set for customers of GameFly. Reginald Johnson of Germantown faces 12 to 18 months in prison with sentencing set for January. He stole approximately $86,000 worth of video games during a three month period in 2008. He was under surveillance by the police, and when they entered his place of work to arrest him he fled the scene, and was taken into custody after crashing his vehicle and tried escaping on foot. According to reports on philly.com, he had been trading the games into GameStop.
PLEASE CONTACT ROB.BAKER@INTENTMEDIA.CO.UK
64-69 MCV561_final:Layout 1
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 STORE FITTINGS AMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 01924 507217 Retail Entertainment Displays . . . . 01733 239001
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
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
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EDITORIAL PLANNER Some of the special issues coming up in MCV, the only trade publication that covers all sectors of the market... FRIDAY NOVEMBER 6th
LGC REVIEW MCV reports back from the first London Games Conference, providing you with an in-depth guide to the results of every panel. We interview the renowned speakers and key attendess, getting their thoughts on the matters discussed, from the future of digital distribution to the current online plans of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.
TERRITORY REPORT: MIDDLE EAST In between the warzones 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 speaks to key players about the various difficulties in bringing the latest titles to shelves in the region. FRIDAY NOVEMBER 13th
TERRITORY REPORT: JAPAN The Japanese games market is in upheaval, with software and hardware sales in decline and the country’s publishing superpowers looking to Europe for its profits. MCV takes an in-depth look at the territory and speaks to distributors, retailers and publishers on the future of Japan’s legendary games sector.
ELSPA TRADE UPDATE The UK trade body tells MCV’s readership what’s on its agenda – exclusively through your favourite weekly B2B. Recent topics have included piracy, age classification law, political parties, the inner workings of ELSPA and the organisation’s annual AGM.
DISTRIBUTION SPECIAL We take a look at the runners and riders in one of the UK games industry’s most vital sectors. Whether a pick’n’pack specialist or a multi-faceted sales and marketing behemoth, we’ll cover every major player in the distribution sector. FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20th
ADVENTURE GENRE FOCUS With Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Brutal Legend, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins all hitting retail in time for Christmas, we take a look at the still-very-healthy adventure genre. FRIDAY NOVEMBER 27th
TERRITORY REPORT: INDIA MCV goes behind the scenes of one of the most intriguing markets in the world. Despite rife piracy and under-developed infrastructure, India’s games market continues to grow – not least in terms of mobile. FRIDAY DECEMBER 4th
CHRISTMAS GAMES MARKETING The festive period is upon us and the major publishers are preparing their Q4 marketing campaigns to ensure their latest titles are on the Christmas lists of everyone and anyone. MCV takes a look at the latest marketing initiatives dominating the sector, from extensive TV activity to shopping centre tours...
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Develop is the only dedicated publication for the UK and European games development community. It reaches over 8,000 request-only subscribers every month.
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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
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Partnertrans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1753 247 731 Testology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 07919 523 036 Testronic Labs . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0)1753 653 722 Universally Speaking . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1480 210 621
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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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Insider’s | Guide
This week’s interviewee is Side’s casting director Cheryl Prince… What services does Side provide? Side is an award winning production company and trusted partner for leading publishers and developers. Our creative services include casting, character creation, voice direction, scriptwriting, performance capture direction and recording and mixing facilities. Tell us something we didn’t know about Side... Side has an independent casting department providing quality actors for games. To really tell the stories, today’s actors need to be able to embody their characters with their performance. Through a casting process – including auditions – we’re selecting the best actors for a project from across all the leading acting and voice agencies in the UK and US.
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As facial capture becomes common, we’re not just casting for voice anymore. For projects like Dead Space: Extraction and Killzone 2, we’re searching for actors with strong facial expression and sometimes even a likeness to the character art. With the addition of Full Performance Capture, it’s also about the physical performance. So the casting we’re doing is much like casting for a film. What are your hopes for Q4? That Santa brings a sack full of reviews praising the performances in games Side has worked on. What is the best thing about your job? Working with such a diverse bunch of creative people: actors, directors, writers and the most creative (and crazy) bunch – game developers.
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GAMES CONSOLE REPAIR
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IDEAL SOFTWARE . . . . . . . +44 (0) 1767 689720 . . . . . . . . . . www.idealsoftware.net
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DIARY DATES ‘09 From the MCV Awards to our next Pub Quiz, here are all the essential industry dates to get in your diary…
NOVEMBER DEVELOP LIVERPOOL Thursday, November 5th Arena/Conference Centre, Liverpool develop-conference.com/liverpool
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
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 MONTREAL GAMES SUMMIT Monday, November 16th Tuesday, November 17th Montreal, Canada http://sijm.ca
DECEMBER GAME CONNECTION EUROPE Tuesday, December 8th – Thursday, December 10th Lyon, France www.game-connection.com
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.
FEBRUARY DICE SUMMIT 2010 Wednesday, February 17th – Friday, February 19th Red Rock Casino, Las Vegas, US www.dicesummit.org
MARCH GDC 2010 Tuesday, March 9th – Saturday, March 13th Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco, US www.gdconf.com
JUNE E3 2010 Tuesday, June 15th – Thursday, June 17th Los Angeles Convention Centre www.e3expo.com
UNIVERSALLY SPEAKING . . . . . . . 01480 210621 . . . . . . . . . . . www.usspeaking.com
MCV/XBOX 360 INDUSTRY PUB QUIZ Thursday, December 3rd Sway Bar, Holborn orlaith.kennedy@ intentmedia.co.uk
DEVELOP INDUSTRY PUB QUIZ Monday, December 21st Sway Bar, Holborn orlaith.kennedy@ intentmedia.co.uk The game development community will reunite at the Sway Bar in Holborn this Christmas for the Develop pub quiz. Once again Develop’s Ed Fear will host the evening, as coders, testers and artists complete for pretty substantial prizes – and the honour of being the biggest brains in games. It’s also a smart networking event, with developers and outsource agencies rubbing shoulders at the bar.
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‘New IP isn’t worth the risk’ An indie retailer responds to last week’s MCV opinion leader piece, which was supportive of smaller publishers whose new games miss out on retail shelf space – including Rising Star’s Muramasa: The Demon Blade... I HAVE OWNED my games shop Discz for over five years now. We are quite a busy store and will sell over 100 copies of your FIFAs and Halos and the like, so have plenty of people through the door. Up until a year ago, I stocked every new release on every platform – even if it was just ‘one for the shelf’ of the more unusual titles. I did so for the sake of having them – mostly in the knowledge that at best I would break even, or (probably) lose money on them. But at the time I considered it worthwhile because, as a retailer, I think it is important to offer a good range of titles. But over the last two years, the ‘riskier’ titles have gone from ‘risky’ to a waste of money. Quite literally, nine out of ten titles that aren’t a Need For Speed, a FIFA or a Call Of Duty fall in price so rapidly (mainly online, which retailers then have to respond to) that they are not worth even considering at day of release any longer. Trade-ins are not to blame for this either – just about every ‘risky’ title drops in price within days of release nearly every time. I have been ‘taking a punt’ as [MCV’s leader last week] puts it, for a few years on these titles – and it has lost me a small fortune, so I have decided to cut them out of the equation. I have a business, where the idea is to make a profit, and as in any other business you do away with the products that lose you money. This is basic stuff and hardly ‘being picky’. If ‘being picky’ is saying ‘no’ to yet another Wii or DS minigame shovelware collection then count me in.
An additional issue is supplier cost versus online pricing. Do you really expect us to keep on buying a DS title at £18.95 before VAT per unit from suppliers, only to see it at £17.99 on Amazon on day one? Or see it start at a ‘normal’ price, only to find it half what I paid for it a week later?
Customers have realised this and steer clear, leaving games on our shelves only to be sold when reduced to silly money (and for me a big loss). This has a knock-on effect wherby quality third-party games like Muramasa get left behind also. Guess what? That is NOT the retailer’s fault!
I have been ‘taking a punt’ with riskier new titles for a fair few years now and it has lost me a small fortune. Rob Dobisch, Discz
On to Muramasa. It looks great and deserves to sell bucketloads. But it won’t sell as well as it should because people now perceive most Wii titles to be of poor quality unless made by Nintendo. Martin Defries is free to make his ‘warning’, but the truth is that the Wii and DS are host to some games of truly appalling quality.
With the supermarkets discounting the major releases too, it is hard enough to survive WITHOUT taking in titles you know are almost sure-fire money losers. I will stock Muramasa in small quantities as it deserves to do well – although I half expect to have to settle for breaking even on it at best. The problem with the industry is not that retailers aren’t willing
to ‘take a punt’ – we have taken plenty, thanks, and lost a packet. The problem is a combination of online stores selling games for less than our supplier cost, mediocre quality games and piracy (we get asked for R4 cards and Wii mod chips every day). We play it safe because we have to. If money was to be made on these ‘risky’ titles we would take them. But too much money has been lost in ordering these titles and enough is enough. It isn’t being ‘picky’, it’s being sensible. Assassin’s Creed was a bad example in my view of ‘proof that a new IP pays off’. Assassin’s Creed was one of the most sure-fire hits of that year and MCV knows it. Assassin’s Creed had the advertising, the hype – it had everything a game needs to make it a great seller. 99 per cent of other new IPs do not get this treatment so will not have the same impact.
I promise that if I have ten people a day for four months asking when Muramasa is coming out (just like I did with Assassin’s Creed), I will get 100 copies in. As it stands I will ‘risk’ five copies and hope I break even. Rob Dobisch
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PIC OF THE WEEK Get ‘em down you! MCV was invited to the annual London Bierfest last week by 505 Games – and it certainly lived up to its name. 505’s Ian Howe and Ali Mitchell drunk along with MCV’s very own Michael French (below), whilst Bastion’s Dean Barrett made friends and influenced as always (right).
Off The Record BLOCK AND ROLL
Warner has released the LEGO Rock Band characters that gamers will be getting their hands on next month. Our verdict? Queen and Iggy are ace, and Bowie is passable. Blur, on the other hand, just look like three slightly nerdy students and a prick. Say what? Blur are three slightly nerdy students and a prick? It’s truer to life than we realised!
This week, we slug back the pints with 505 Games, as Popcap gets a real, live Kitten to help out with its charitable promotion...
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RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD
MCV takes soundings from its Retail Advisory Board on the biggest issues of the day. The current members are... LISA MORGAN, GAME
DUNCAN CROSS, ASDA
MARTYN GIBBS, GAMESTATION
DON MCCABE, CHIPS
TIM ELLIS, HMV
KEITH SHARPE, PLAY.COM
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I’d rather raise nerds than raise gangsters.” Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA admits to being a geek at heart
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
JOANNA HUNT, TESCO
KITTEN BEARS ALL PopCap’s Celebrity Play-offs sees household names encouraging the UK public to get gaming, all in aid of Children In Need. It kicked off with ex-Atomic Kitten Liz McClarnon – and a giant Pudsey Bear – last week at Tower Bridge. We would normally say something a little snide about Liz being a ‘celebrity’ here, but as it’s all for charity and she’s got a nice face, we’ll refrain.
GURDEEP HUNJAN, SAINSBURY’S
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OFF THE RECORD
EXCEL-LENT STUFF Power Rangers, Pokemon, Storm Troopers, Spyro the Dragon, and erm... Doctor Who star Tom Baker united for the MCM Expo at the London Excel last weekend. Thousands upon thousands of cos-players, game nuts, anime fans and movie buffs braved the rain for an orgy of free hugs, conga lines and photographs. It was twodays of unashamed geeky brilliance – with a wealth of new games to play, including Left 4 Dead 2, Avatar, Assassin’s Creed 2, Bayonetta, Borderlands, Ninja Gaiden, Monster Hunter and Lego Rock Band.
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